When I first decided to write a guide to lucid dreaming I was planning on having a good ‘ol fashioned Mickey take. I assumed that lucid dreaming would be a topic covered exclusively by crystal wagging, patchouli oil adorned hippies. Anyone who’s been sad enough to follow my previous rants will know that I have no room in my heart for incorrigible hippies. The 70’s are dead, it’s time to move on.
I imagined that the guides to lucid dreaming would be daubed with chakras and dream catchers. To be honest with you I was a bit disappointed to find that there actually might be something in this lucid dream shizzle. Some of the “how to” guides are guff laden testicle-fests, but lucid dreaming itself may well be an actual real thing after all.
In case you’ve not heard the local LSD-head banging on about it, lucid dreaming is when you are dreaming but feel fully conscious and can control your dreams. It sounds pretty ace.
Psychologists and neuroscientists have taken lucid dreaming seriously enough to study the subject, but not everyone is convinced it is a real phenomena. Just because someone wakes up and says they dreamt of a troll and controlled their actions and decided when they wanted to wake up doesn’t mean that they did. They might have just dreamt that they controlled the dream. See what I mean? There’s no way of proving it, even if someone genuinely thinks they were lucid dreaming, they might have just been dreaming that it was lucid.
I decided I would have a try at lucid dreaming myself; without ruining the surprise — I failed. That might be because I am roughly 100% drunk all of the time though. None of the helpful and handy lucid dreaming guides specifically say “don’t be constantly smashed” but I’m assuming it might interfere with things.
So hit the next page/summary collated from guides around the web…
1) Keep A Dream Diary
All of the guides I read mention dream diaries. Just keep a pad of paper next to your bed and every time you wake up make a note of what you were dreaming about. Simple. My diary remained fairly empty throughout the trial period. The only entry was on day three and read:
Dream — felt desperate for a wee. Imagined I had a bladder the size of a space hopper. Woke up to find I had pissed myself.
The dream diary is supposed to help you recognise “dream signs”. So if you have any recurring themes like realizing you are naked at your desk holding a kumquat or whatever, when it happens in the dream you will be familiar with it and realise you are dreaming. Well, that’s the theory any way.
2) Reality Checks
This one is easy but can make you look a little special when you’re in public. At regular intervals throughout the day you have to make sure you aren’t dreaming. Apparently there are a few ways of doing this, here’s a couple:
Stare at your hands and check they seem normal. My advice is that you don’t do this on a train or bus, staring at your hands for a long period of time makes you look mental. Alternatively you can look at your face in a mirror to make sure you don’t look different. Try and do that at home too, otherwise you come across like a Narcissist. Another way to check you are not dreaming is to jump up and down and see how long you stay in the air, again, it’s probably best not to do this in public unless you want to look like a plum.
The thinking is that if you are very conscious of when you are conscious, you should be able to notice when you’re dreaming easier.
In this step, just before you go to bed at night you have to repeat in your head “I will remember to recognise that I am dreaming”. Or something along those lines. This is supposed to help you prime your subconscious to be on high alert when you do slip into a dream.
4) Imagine Your Perfect Dream
A lot of the guides ask you to day dream about a dream you would like to have. Imagine all the outcomes and what you would prefer to happen. This won’t count as a lucid dream of course, but it will apparently help prime your brain for future sleepy times.
5) Wake Yourself In The Night
In this step you are supposed to set your alarm for around 3 am, wake yourself up for a few minutes and then drift back off. The theory goes that if you wake up at an odd time and then slip off to sleep again you’re more likely to go straight back into REM sleep which is when lucid dreaming is thought to occur; it gives you another bite of the dream apple. I only tried this step once, it turns out that if I set my alarm for that time in the morning my subconscious self forces me to throw my alarm clock at the wall.
6) Enjoy Yourself!
This is my least favourite stage. “Enjoy yourself?” Maybe I would have enjoyed myself if it had worked, but personally I don’t enjoy being made to look a fool on the train and having to buy a new alarm clock. I am completely over lucid dreaming and won’t be trying it again.
If you have tried these steps and it hasn’t worked for you either then have a go at this guide and see where that gets you. I hope you have more luck than me.