Many lucid dreamers use dream signs to recognize when they're dreaming and become spontaneously lucid. Dream signs provide handy cues to lucidity, sparking your rational brain to chip in with the realization: "Hang on - I must be dreaming!"
The more attention you pay to spotting dream signs, the more you'll notice them and the more lucid dreams you'll have, night after night. In this article we'll look at the four types of dream signs and how to familiarize yourself with them.
What exactly is a dream sign? Talking animals, deceased loved ones, time travel, and even oddly shaped door handles can all be types of dream signs. In short, they are ANY cue which suggests that your dream reality isn't real.
Dream signs can be very personal to you - and sometimes only you can spot them. For instance, a vivid dream about your house might reveal odd details out of place, such as a missing window. Other times, the dream sign would obvious to anyone, such as flying on a cow that jumps over the moon...
Dr Stephen LaBerge, author of Exploring The World of Lucid Dreaming, identified four categories of dream signs to help us log and look out for them:
If you keep a dream journal, you may already be aware of some recurring dream signs. This makes them much easier to detect. For instance:
Here are two simple waking exercises that will help you pick up on these valuable lucid dream triggers next time you're dreaming...
Every day, your goal is to recognize when things seem out of place and question their nature. Practice reality checking real events when you're watching the sci-fi channel, talking about something surreal, or day dreaming about the past.
Be on the lookout for oddities and question their existence. The dreaming mind can quickly confabulate answers too, but deeper reflection will show them to be unrealistic. Entrain a questioning mind set to get to the root of cause and effect.
In your dream journal, underline all dream signs and categorize them: IA (inner awareness), A (action), F (form), or C (context). Once you've recorded several dreams this way, identify the most common type of dream sign you're experiencing.
If your most common dream sign is form, study the way things look in waking life. A form-based dream sign can be as subtle as a different hair color, or as obvious as having seven fingers on one hand. Tune yourself in to these potential differences in waking life and you will find they become much more noticeable in dreams...
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Stop humping unwitting dream characters and go on a REAL adventure. Planting these dream seeds will help cement your lucidity and give your lucid dreams more meaningful direction. Next time you're lucid, think hard to recall a meaningful lucid dream intention.
Meditation is an excellent primer for having lucid dreams. In this review I've ranked my favorite brainwave entrainment products for meditation, helping to kick-start your journey by improving your skills in self awareness, visualization skills and dream incubation.
Mirrors present an interesting puzzle in lucid dreams because their main property in real life - reflection - is driven by the laws of physics. Yet these laws are entirely moot in dreams. In fact, the only reason things do follow the laws of cause and effect in any dream is because we expect them to. Physical law drives our entire conscious experience and we carry it with us - both consciously and unconsciously - into the dream world.
A sleep mask is a handy lucidity aid to have in your bedroom. There are various reasons why sleep masks promote lucidity. I'll briefly run through the most important before detailing my top 5 recommended sleep masks for lucid dreaming and meditation.