I've been lucid dreaming since I was 14 years old. Over the years, I've researched a lot about lucid dream induction. I have practiced many different exercises and developed my own ways to become lucid and stay conscious in the dream state for longer.
The following is a snapshot of all that work. It's my big picture take on lucid dreaming for beginners, whittled down into 5 sensible steps to prime your mind for lucid dreams.
This is a big one.
You should improve your dream recall so that you remember at least one dream vividly every night. Preferably more.
Plant the seed. Tell yourself regularly: "I will remember my dreams". Do this just before you go to sleep. Say it over and over in your mind like a mantra. This plants the desire in your unconscious mind.
Record your dreams. Next, start a dream journal. Keep it by the bedside so you can write down your dreams the moment you wake up. Recording your dreams verbally on your phone is another good option.
Emphasize your desire. Discuss your dreams with your friends. Chat about them in our forum. Hit home the message that dreams are important and must be remembered. Your unconscious will attend to it.
Go subliminal. Get the message in deep. Watch our subliminal lucid dreaming video.
This is a spectacularly easy lucid dreaming exercise.
Reality checks are the secret weapon of those who tend towards spontaneous Dream Initiated Lucid Dreams (DILDs). That's a fancy way of saying: you're dreaming, then you realize you're dreaming. You become lucid.
Just attempt an impossible action, like pushing your hand through a wall, while asking: "Am I dreaming?"
Reality checks definitively prove whether you're awake or dreaming. When awake, it's simply a way of forming a habit. When you're asleep - BINGO. This is the end goal of a reality check.
Reality checks are NOT needed to decide your reality when you're awake, as if in doubt. That means you're mentally ill.
Aim to do 10-20 reality checks randomly throughout your day. This enhances your self awareness and programs the question.
Soon, you'll spontaneously perform a reality check in a dream - and become lucid.
Meditation is really, really cool.
If you didn't know that already then you're not doing it right.
When you meditate, you can experience all kinds of mental effects, including hypnagogic hallucinations, feelings of euphoria and sudden insights. Meditation tunes you in to your internal state like never before and helps you feel more at peace in yourself.
Research has also linked meditation with lucid dreaming. That's because it trains you to actively enter altered states of awareness on demand. And it makes you more self-aware, helping you to recognize the unreality of the dream world more often.
Start by introducing a simple 10-minute breathing meditation into your daily routine. Then go deeper. I find this much easier with brainwave entrainment.
Meditation forms a part of many lucid dreaming techniques, and is especially valuable when you're learning to have WILDs or Wake Induced Lucid Dreams.
With the first three steps you can easily have a handful of spontaneous lucid dreams.
But if you're serious about having regular lucid dreams, you need to study up. This will help you identify the best induction methods for you (out of the dozens available) as well as what to do with your lucid dreams when you have them.
Also check out my resources page for more juice.
The more you think about lucid dreams during the day, the more likely you are to become conscious in your dreams at night. This part is ridiculously easy. Lucid dreaming comes faster to those who obsess about it. And that obsession can take any form you like.
Like I say, you will have some cool experiences with the easy lucid dreaming techniques described above. But then it's time to go deeper. Way deeper.
Take on some advanced techniques, like the Wake Induced Lucid Dream (WILD). This was originally developed by Tibetan Buddhists in the form of Dream Yoga. As the name implies, it involves training yourself to go directly from waking to a lucid dream state.
This one's not so easy. But once you figure it out, the payoff is huge.
Follow the link above to learn about WILDing, or sign up to my online course for comprehensive tuition. I'll take you all the way into the world of lucid dreaming. And show you some surprising stuff when we get there.
Jeremiah Morelli is a whimsical fantasy artist and visual storyteller. He places conceptual fairytale creatures in vivid dreamscapes to capture the imagination. He's also a school teacher, and amazingly finds the time and motivation to create this huge gallery of artwork. Such light and dark fairytale paintings make beautiful places to visit in your lucid dreams.
Inspired and named for the notion of Flatland, artist and photographer Aydin Buyuktas has created a series of works where "a space of surprises creates a space that creates surprises." Based on photos of Istanbul, Buyuktas explains: "We live in places that most of the times don't draw our attention, places that transform our memories, places that the artist gives another dimension; where the perceptions that generally crosses our minds will be demolished and new ones will arise. These works aim to leave the viewer alone with a surprising visuality, ironic as well as a multidimensional romantic point of view."
One summer, the 19th century lucid dream researcher, Marquis d'Hervey de Saint-Deny, took a bottle of an unfamiliar scent on his travels to France. He whiffed his scent-laden handkerchief by day, making an unconscious and emotional connection between the French countryside and his chosen scent. On returning home, he put the bottle away, out of sight and out of smell. His cunning plan was to have a servant sprinkle a few drops of the scent on his pillow at night. Lo and behold, Saint-Deny recorded dreams that took place at his vacation spot: the mountains of Ardeche.
Lately I've become a touch obsessed with the optical illusion paintings of Canadian artist, Rob Gonsalves. Everyone loves a good trick of the eye... but these paintings seem to be sprung straight from lucid dreams. Maybe it's their surreal nature. Or maybe it's the mockery of perspective. Gonsalves has spent decades perfecting his art, aiming to spark the imagination and jolt our expectations of reality at once. Check out the surprising results in these 22 visionary paintings. They're great lucid dream fodder.
Some people are born lucid dreamers. Others have to work at the ability to have lucid dreams. Regardless of how you get started, here are 11 signs that you're ready to wake up and take control of your dreams. 1. Your daydreams are intense. Do you have crazy vivid daydreams? Do you find it easy to fantasize visually? Such a knack for visualization makes it easier to drift into Wake Induced Lucid Dreams at night, or plant mnemonic cues to trigger Dream Induced Lucid Dreams. This is a natural advantage.
Experts agree that everyone is capable of having lucid dreams. Dreaming itself is a normal function of the mind. We all dream every night, even if we don't remember. And we all achieve conscious awareness while awake every single day. So what does it mean to combine these states? Why, the amazing ability to have conscious - or lucid - dreams. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So why do I keep hearing from people who say they can't achieve their first lucid dream?