Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So You Want To Be A Lucid Dreamer...

By Lesley Groft

You have heard about lucid dreaming and think it is something you would like to do. That is a good starting point but exactly how do you begin and what are the steps to being a successful lucid dreamer?

It's important to think about why you'd like to become a lucid dreamer, too. There are a number of benefits to dreaming this way, but first we should look at normal sleep, so we'll understand them.

When you go to sleep, you get into bed, close your eyes for a certain length of time, and either dream or just see black for a few hours and then wake up! It isn't very interesting now is it?

Instead of having to observe passively, you could be the person who leads your dream to be whatever you would like.

Consider the idea of taking control of your own dreams. What would it feel like to purpose what direction your dreams would take you? Explore new worlds that are only limited to your control and imagination. This is what it means to be a lucid dreamer, kind of the ultimate fantasy world where you call all the shots.

Are you are ready to begin but remain unsure of how any of this is possible? That is ok we are getting there, there are two way to enter lucid dream state. The first is a dream initiated lucid dream, (DILD). This happens once you have already begun to dream and during the dream, you come to the realization that you are indeed dreaming. At this point, you have brought an element of control to the dream because your conscious mind is now involved.

Another popular method is to have a wake initiated lucid dream (WILD); this is a straight shot from awake to asleep with no lapse in your consciousness. This is usually achieved by purposefully retaining awareness during the hypnagoogic state, which directly precedes sleep.

So, what methods are used to induce both of these kinds of lucid dream experiences?

Dream Recall

If you're interested in being a lucid dreamer, one of the most successful methods you can use is dream recall. This is the ability to remember your dreams. By developing this ability, you'll be more readily able to recognize them while you're asleep. That's because you're likely to have the same dream or dream elements on more than one occasion.

To make dream recall easier you can keep a dream journal. This is a notebook or pad of paper that has the sole purpose of recording your dreams. Whenever you have a dream, you should write all you can remember in the journal as soon as you wake up. The longer you are awake the more details of the dream that will be lost.

Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD)

This is a technique that was developed by Dr. Stephen LaBerge, one of the lead scientists studying lucid dreaming. The intent here is to simply tell yourself that you will remember something, like an object for example and then in the dream, when you see this object you will realize it is a dream.

Wake-Back-to-Bed (WBTB)

The process here is to go to sleep, doing nothing but setting your alarm to wake you up a few hours later (5 or 6). Once you wake up, DO NOT go back to sleep. Instead, do something else like read for a while, or think as much as you can about lucid dreaming for around an hour then go back to bed.

According to LaBerge, this technique has about a sixty percent success rate. That's because you wake up in the middle of your sleep cycle, with your mind not fully aware, and are still in the middle of your REM cycle. This results in something a lot like telling your mind you want to dream lucidly and having it obey!

Cycle Adjustment Technique

This technique was created by Daniel Love, and involves setting an alarm that will wake you an hour and a half before you'd normally get up. Once you're used to waking up early, alternate between the early alarm and your old alarm. When you're waking up normally, your body will already be expecting the early alarm, and make you more likely to "wake up" in your dream.

Wake-initiation of Lucid Dreams (WILD)

When you consider all the methods and techniques wake initiated is by far the most intriguing way to enter lucid dreams. What you have to do is manage to keep the brain aware while the rest of you falls asleep. You can enter your dreams much like entering a theater. You go into watch the movie, set down and the light go down, (sleep) dark envelopes you just before the movements on the screen appear.

To get into this correct frame of mind if you will there are a few tricks you can use. Focus seems to be key so try to focus your mind on things like your breathing, counting, perhaps chant or meditate. In a way, you are practicing self-hypnosis. Use this technique when you are not extremely tired, perhaps during a late nap.

Technology has moved on in recent years, and there are various devices like dreaming masks and other scientific appliances which contain such things as strobe lights to induce lucid dreams.

If you want to increase, your chances of success use the method that has proven to be the best. Using a set of headphones listen to binaural beats at the right sound frequencies during sleep.

These work by synchronizing the two hemispheres of the brain and have the effect of almost instantaneously changing your brainwaves to the REM frequency needed for a lucid dream to occur.

Combined with self hypnosis sessions and personal affirmations that help prepare your subconscious mind, these methods make being a lucid dreamer a reality for anyone.

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