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.
What do blind people dream about? Can they "see" in their dreams? Take a look at scientific studies into the dreams of the blind, colorblind, and black-and-white dreamers. In 1999, dream researchers at the University of Hartford analyzed 372 dreams of 15 blind people. They found that both the congenitally blind and those who went blind before five years old did not have any visual dreams at all. That's because our dreams are made up of real world experiences and our innermost thoughts, anxieties and desires. So for someone who has never perceived images or light (or can't remember any) their dreams simply can't manifest visually.
Not long ago, scientists at Frankfurt University discovered how to produce lucid dreams with electronic stimulation. It was a world first. And - astonishingly - it worked in non-lucid dreamers 77% of the time. Now you can buy the same technology for yourself. The foc.us V2 - which delivers the proven optimum 40 Hz transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) - was originally developed to increase working memory in video gamers and improve sleep.
As technology continues to move us towards more immersive dreamlike experiences, one can only wonder what digital wonders lay just beyond the horizon of tomorrow. We may also question just how the future of virtual reality will impact the study and practice of lucid dreaming. Are we, perhaps, the last generation to whom lucid dreaming will maintain an appeal?
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."
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?