Have you ever awakened from a dream so intense that you had to pinch yourself to make sure you were awake? Many people experience this captivating sensation after having a lucid dream. Lucid dreams are drastically different from normal dreaming; the person dreaming is able to have control over some or all aspects of the dream. I will outline how to become a lucid dreamer and the many possibilities it brings.
Image: Paul Sapiano
As a lucid dreamer, there are limitless possibilities dreams only bounded by the imagination of the dreamer. In this respect, normal dreaming is akin to playing the lottery for what you dream about. You might dream about being trapped in a Stephen King nightmare or be reminded of that ex-lover who broke your heart. Lucid dreaming allows the dreamer to transcend the seemingly random pattern of dreams. Here are a few experiences with dreams that have inspired interesting results. Mary Shelly, 19th century novelist, became inspired to write the first transcript for Frankenstein after awaking from a dream. Paul McCartney is no stranger to dreams; he wrote the entire melody for the Beatles’ hit “Yesterday” after a vivid dream. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the most covered song by other bands with more than 3,000 versions.
For first time lucid dreamers, I developed a simple plan to begin your journey in the dream world. Follow the four Rs and you will be well on your way to having a lucid dream.
To start off your lucid dreaming experience, you need to sleep. This is obvious but absolutely important to achieving your first lucid dream. According to Dream Lucid, humans have vivid dreams during rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. During a standard eight hour sleep cycle, a person might have three to five occurrences of REM sleep (Funfacts.com). It is during REM sleep that you will have the highest chances of remembering your dreams.
Remembering is a difficult and frustrating step for many beginning lucid dreamers. Often when we dream, they come to us in fragments or the dream itself might not make any sense. However, remembering what you dream about is the most important step in lucid dreaming. Quite simply, if you don’t remember what you dream about then how can you expect to control what happens in them?
Part of remembering a dream requires you to accurately record what happened during that dream. Before you go to sleep, set a pen and a notebook aside your bed. This will be your dream diary. When you wake up, make recording your dreams the first thing you do. Try to recall as many details as you can about your dream. What happened in the dream? How did you feel during the dream? Where did it take place? Was the dream in color? Can you remember any sounds? All of these details are important when you record your dreams. I really do stress recording your dreams in a notebook. The physical act of writing has much more of an impact on your memory instead of typing them out or using an audio recorder. Finally, you will want to repeat this process as best as you can. Make it a habit to wake up every morning and record your dreams. It might be slow at first but after a few weeks of constantly waking up and recording, you’ll find it quite easy to remember and record what you dream.
The fourth R to lucid dreaming is realization. When you dream, you want to come to the mental realization that you are dreaming. This is much like pinching yourself in the morning to convince yourself that you’re awake. It might sound harder than it is but there are a few tricks you can do to make this step easier. You need to develop an indicator for yourself that lets you know that you’re dreaming. Many people try to flick a light switch. Others try to splash around some water. Also, your indicator might change depending on the type of dream you have.
For example, if I’m in a dream where I’m doing a physical activity, like jumping, I’ll try jump higher than I know I can in real life. If I can jump over a tree or a house, then I know I’m dreaming. The hardest part about this step is being flexible to your dreams and adapting your indicator accordingly. The end goal should be a very clear signpost to your mind that you’re dreaming. Once you get realization down, you’re very close to lucid dreaming.
Image: Raúl A.
So you’ve practiced the four Rs habitually for about a month and now you’ve trained yourself to be a seasoned dreamer. All that’s left to having a lucid dream is controlling your will and intentions when you dream. This can only come after much practice with the four “Rs”. As I stated earlier, the possibilities are limitless when you dream. It is entirely up to the dreamer to shape what he or she intends to control. What will happen the next time you dream?
I hope this brief guide is helpful in your journey to becoming a lucid dreamer. If you have any more questions, you can contact me via my profile page here. Thanks and happy dreaming!