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.
If we're completely honest, lucid dreaming isn't really known for being the most social of interests. In fact, often it's a lone pursuit - just you, your dream journal and the landscape of your mind. But this technique called PAL (or Partner Assisted Lucidity) breaks down that wall and turns lucid dream exploration into a social event.
Members of our lucid dream forum have been asking how to create dream characters in lucid dreams. The most common problem is having characters who look nothing like they should. Or they seem disinterested in your company. Or they fail to show up on command altogether. So, how to combat this? It's a matter of finding creative solutions that bypass logical expectations.
To lucid dream, I recommend being able to remember at least one vivid dream per night. That will boost your self awareness in dreams (making lucidity more likely) and also means you can actually remember your lucid dreams. Which is nice. Here are four detailed tips on how to remember your dreams more frequently. And if you don't think you dream at all - trust me, you almost certainly do. It takes an extraordinarily rare sleep disorder to deprive someone of dream sleep.
It is estimated that these wise and wily Indians have been using mugwort in their healing and ritual practices for 13,000 years, where it is known as the ‘dream sage’. They use the herb to promote good dreams, which they consider an essential aspect of normal human functioning! But that’s not all...
Silene Capensis has been used for millennia by the Xhosa shaman of the river valleys in the eastern cape of South Africa, where it is known as Undela Ziimhlophe or 'white paths'. It's fragrant white flowers open only at night, when they emit a fragrant and almost hypnotising aroma. Also known as African Dream Herb or Ubulawu, Silene Capensis induces spectacularly vivid dreams - yet has never entered the mainstream and remains a fringe taste within western culture.
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?