The hunt for lucidity has been taking place for about a week now I am remembering my dreams on a nightly basis and every day I am studying the strategy of what it takes to have a lucid dream. Just last night a good friend and I were exploring an abandon mansion from my childhood. Today I found out that I was in his dream as well but not in a mansion. Coincides; who can say? Here are some basic tricks for becoming lucid while dreaming coming from a beginner going through all of this stuff for the first time.
When it comes to dreaming lucidly what I am coming to find out is that lucidity is something that happens to degrees. You have your basic dream like state which counts more or less as a zero on the awareness level. Sure, maybe you have some subconscious idea that pink elephants don’t have a good reason to dance around your bedroom but you go dreaming anyways and then wake up to discover that it wasn’t “real”. The sense that we have for the real is what’s really interesting. What is this sense that dictates what we consider as real and what we take to be illusion.
In my experience through Zen practice, reality is something that goes without saying. It’s just something that is and when we put words or images to it what we are doing is creating a narrative to explain the reality of our experience. The narrative and stories that we tell are important because it allows us to cross examine our experience with the experience of other people to see if anyone is experiencing the same thing. The first words that any form of life would have been able to produce would have been no more than a similar sounding moans created by two autonomous individuals in a simple way to express the sensation of the moment. To be placed in a universe that is so uncertain and then to find something that gives the slightest assurance to even the most trivial aspects of existence would be like finding a spec of light in a place that before was nothing but darkness. The question of the real within the sphere of communication is that spec of light.
There seems to be an intuitive grasp of what is dream and what is not. Perhaps we cannot say that we are not currently dreaming, but we can at least say “I woke up from that dream.” The reason that we have this sense is because we are the surviving linage of the most real persons to have ever walked the earth. Life is striving for reality. Even through self-deception is life striving for reality. Cultivating this sense for reality by simple awareness checks is what we hope to learn and accomplish in this project.
Here are a few basic checks to implement into your day.
#1- Keep a dream journal
The first step is that you need to start remembering your dreams. The simplest way to do this is start a dream journal and make an entry every time you remember your dreams i.e. right when you wake up. I have been experimenting with film and so started a dream video journal. There are certainly advantages to writing that are not captured in film but personally I like how quick I can speak to my video camera in order to get the dream out of my head.
#2- Reality checks
Usually it’s enough to ask yourself “am I dreaming?” Do it now. How do you know if your dreaming or not? If you are dreaming, and I am an invention of your dream, then you might be able to sniff it out with this simple reality check. Personally, I have been tricked by my dream back into thinking that it wasn’t a dream when it was a dream the entire time, so here are some more detailed reality check that you could implement so that you can out smart yourself. Look at the time. Look at some text, look away and then look back again. Getting into the habit of making these reality checks throughout the day (every 2 hours) can help get in the habit so that you make the check when your dreaming.
#3- Set the intention each night before bed.
This is the most important task. Each night, right before falling asleep make sure to remember that you want to lucid dream. If you want it enough then this will be the only thing that you need to do in order to have a lucid dream. The art of a burning desire is something I have written about before and I would recommend more research and then some deep meditation on the object of desire.
#4- Consider setting an alarm for an odd hour of the night.
One idea is to go back to sleep right after you wake up. At this point of going back to sleep you have a good chance to realized that your dreaming. Just try not to wake up too much to your alarm and instead turn it off quick and let sleep take you again.
#5- Get the app
There are more than a few apps that a designed specifically for lucid dreaming. Some of the apps have a subtle alarm that can be set for the middle of the night, others track your brain waves over the course of the night, and others emit video light as another method to trigger lucidity. Check it out at the app store.
Those are my 5 tips for beginners who want to get into lucid dreaming. Check it out and be sure to write a reply in the comment section below as I love all things dream.
Here are some links to some helpful lucid dreaming stuff