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Lucid Dreaming Article Part 2: How to Induce a Lucid Dream and the Perpetuation of Consciousness Within One

posted May 21, 2013, 3:53 PM by Golden Knight


By Josh Fredette 

5/21/13

There are dreams, then there are lucid dreams. Some people don't even believe they have dreams to begin with. They fall asleep, and they wake up. Everything between is merely darkness. This is ludicrous. Everyone dreams, but not everyone remembers their dreams. Then, there is a higher level, and that is being able to induce lucid dreams. Dreams in which the dreamer has complete control over his actions, and thoughts within the dream. This opens up a world where there are no rules, boundaries, or physical limits. Suddenly everything is possible, and your common nights of sleep become much more exciting.Lucid dreams are ones in which the dreamer is fully aware that he is dreaming and is able to manipulate his body as he would in the real world. Not many people have lucid dreams frequently. (Most of the population reports experiencing them only once in their lifetime while only a small percentage has less than three monthly.) Of course, unexperienced dreamers do not remember most of their dreams, lucid or not; therefore there is no true way of knowing. Those who are fortunate enough to induce them regularly are the ones who practice consistently, and with consistent practice, it becomes second nature. Some people have misconceptions about lucid dreams. They believe that the state can be attained during waking life, but this is not so. Lucid dreams occur during the usual time one - when you fall asleep. It is merely what you do with the opportunity that changes its significance. Lucid dreaming is a simple art of determination. Luckily, the bulk of the work required is done directly before, after, and during your sleep. Thus it is not a time-consuming practice. The more creative and invested you are in the methods of inducing lucid dreams, the higher success rate you will have.

The following techniques have been compiled after nearly two years of studying and steady practice.

 

Dream-Journals

 If you journal regularly, you are in luck. But if not, rest assured, this process is one of the easiest. Using a journal is a healthy habit that improves memory of both your waking life and your dreams. Keeping a dream journal is incredibly simple and will at most take three minutes of your morning. Keep this journal along with a pen close to your bed. Whenever you wake up and remember one of your dreams, write it down from start to finish. Do not delay this process even minutes after you wake up; your mind can forget significant parts of the dream within that short span of time. I can still distinctly recall one morning when I opened my journal, excited that I recalled a dream so perfectly. As I wrote it, it seemed more parts of the dream dissipated with each completed sentence. Needles to say I was bemused. By the time the entry was completed at least a third of my dream was lost. Still, what little I remembered was still an improvement. The trick to this exercise is writing with detail, and consistency. And if you happen to remember something about the previous night's dream randomly throughout the day, hold onto it and jot it down later. Anything helps. You will find that steady journal usage will greatly increase the number of dreams you remember as well as improve the vividness of your recollections.Studies show that memory of dreams is a direct correlation to the consciousness of a dreamer within his dream. Eventually, you may induce a lucid dream just by having the intent to remember it. Understand that the consciousness within a dream is inconsequential without the ability to remember the event itself. What is the point of practicing methods for becoming lucid within dreams if you won't remember the experience when you wake up?

Reality Check

Have you ever been in a dream and experienced the sensation that 'something is just not right'? This sensation is what lucid dreamers have learned to utilize in order to become conscious that one is in a dream. Being able to differentiate between reality and the dream is crucial to the art of lucid dreaming. One would think these two are distinctions like night and day. Quite the opposite, in fact, our brain is wired to replicate reality in dreams. Being able to spot the details that make dreams strange are what make lucidity attainable. The act of becoming aware of these details are what made reality checks a popular technique.Reality checks are a popular method with lucid dreamers. They even made an appearance in "Inception" with the spinning tops. In reality, the top eventually stops spinning, but within the dream it doesn't. For once Hollywood is correct. Reality checks are actions with particular results in reality that differ in the dreamscape. These actions can be unique to the person. Like the exercise of using your journal, consistency is key. When doing a reality check, ask yourself, "Am I dreaming? When you do this during your waking life, do not ask the question expecting the answer. Seriously consider the fact that you may be dreaming. If you do not consider the question during a normal day, what makes you think you will in the dream? Your dreams are more realistic than you think. Our brains are wired to replicate reality in dreams as much as possible. Scientists believe we adapted to having dreams in order to better prepare ourselves for our environment when 'survival of the fittest' meant hiding from predators, finding water, and hunting animals of prey. It's a learning tool A common reality check is looking at your reflection. Your reflection in a dream is always distorted. No matter the person. So when you are near an object that can show your reflection, look at it, and ask yourself, "Am I dreaming?" Examine your facial expression, the way your body is shaped, and if there is anything there that usually isn't, e.g. extra limbs, snakes in your hair, wings, a girlfriend.

Here is a list of reality checks. Choose only one or two, (or make your own), and them hourly:

   Look into a mirror and examine your reflection. Is it contorted?

   Look at your hands. Are they talons, claws, webbed, or having a strange number of fingers?

   Ask a stranger if you are dreaming, at least three times. During a dream it is common for characters to deny the fact you are dreaming until the second or third time you ask. If you've ever wondered if you are a pathological liar - here's your chance to find out!

   Jump in the air with the intent of flying. Note: those who are shy/unconfident often are unable to fly within dreams.

   Look at a trinket, bracelet, watch, or necklace you wear throughout the day. More often than not the item will not be there within the dream, or it will be dramatically disfigured.

   Put your hand against a hard surface and see if you can push through it or not. In a dream, you can normally walk through solid objects.

   Can you read a sentence without it changing?

   Observe a clock. Does it look normal?

 Remember, every reality check should be preceded by the question, "Am I dreaming?".  After a stark conclusion is made, state it to yourself. It is vital to make reality checks a regular habit. If they are not habit, and merely scattered throughout your day, this method will prove ineffective. Inability to regularly question your surroundings during waking life will have a similar result in dreams, too. Fortunately, a typical reality check is less than thirty seconds.The moment a reality check is successful, you will notice it immediately. It's as if you flicked a switch. Suddenly you are on a different planet, suddenly you have wings, and suddenly nothing is impossible; lucidity within the dream is yours. After this epiphany occurs, you can expect total control of your little universe.

 The Mantra of the Dreamer

The trick to this method is repetition. It involves continuously repeating a declaration to yourself minutes before you fall asleep. It may not work the first or second time, but with more practice comes higher chances of success. As you lay in bed and prepare to rest, simply repeat, "I will remember my dreams when I wake up." Or, "When I fall asleep I will be conscious during my dreams." These statements, when repeated like a mantra for meditation, are essentially tricking your brain into believing them. This will greatly benefit the chances of remembering your dreams or being conscious during them.

 

The Early Riser

Typically not recommended for St. Francis students, this technique involves tinkering with your sleep cycle. If you are a studious scholar, this method does not require that you make it a regular habit. Therefore you can attempt it during the weekends with ease. For those that generally catch eight or more hours of sleep each night, this is a favorable approach. For this method you must wake yourself up at least an hour earlier than you normally do. After you awake, spend no more than one hour on a quiet activity such as reading or meditating. (Do not look at screens or any form of live media, as it will stimulate your mind too much). After this time is spent, return to sleep. It is almost guaranteed to induce a lucid dream. If you ever have the opportunity to combine this technique with all the previous mentioned for several weeks without fail, you will, without a doubt, become adept at lucid dreaming.

 

Perpetuating Consciousness Within the Dream

There are many who have tried the previous methods and succeeded. Each time they are ecstatic that it worked, but disappointed at how little time they were able to spend in the dream while being lucid. Oftentimes the dreamer becomes excited that he has attained lucidity and, ironically, wakes himself up. The trick is to remain calm once this realization occurs. If you feel yourself becoming too excited, stop yourself. A typical lucid dream for a beginner lasts less than five minutes. As you become more adept they can be thirty minutes to an hour. Eventually, time becomes almost as measurable in the dream as it is in the waking world. Those who have mastered the craft can be in a dream for hours.

 And of course, if there are techniques to induce a lucid dream, there are ways to perpetuate them as well. These methods generally consist of focusing on small details within the dream in order to ground oneself in the dreamscape. They may sound ludicrous, but they work.

 If you feel yourself being pulled back to reality....

   spin in circles. This will not only prevent premature awakening, but it will renew the environment in the dream.

   focus intently at an object or your hands.

   fall backwards.

   rub your hands together.

 These methods have all been professionally tested and deemed effective by scientists observing test subjects. Through one way or another, these certain actions stimulate a part of your mind that allows you to stay within the dream despite the sensation that feels as if you are coming back to reality. Being able to recall these methods once in the dream is a wonderful skill, as it allows the dreamer to prolong the dream. 

 

Concluding Thoughts and Suggestions

   If you took the time to read this lengthy article, it is likely that you will have a lucid or at least vivid dream tonight. Simply by giving your mind a chance to ponder these techniques it will increase your awareness within your sleep. Lucid dreaming has been an inspiring part of my life because it has taught me to not only be more aware of my actions in dreams, but also in reality. I've become a more considerate and conscious person because of it. Within dreams, I've seen parts of myself reflected in the characters and the environment.. For example, those who are generally unconfident or have shy personalities cannot fly in their dreams, even if they are in a world where everything is possible. Being able to recognize these symbols are what shine light on the innermost sides of myself, the sides I can appreciate, and the ones I cannot. It is with hope that I can successfully pass on several of my techniques so others can better understand themselves, too.

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