This article will teach you exactly how to stay lucid in dreams - transforming a few brief seconds of lucidity to many long, memorable lucid experiences. I have included a number of dream stabilizing techniques below, based on Dr Stephen LaBerge's lucid dreaming experiments and my own personal experiences.
My first lucid dreams were very short - we're talking seconds. I would realize I was dreaming and run around telling everyone about it. This is a common pattern for newbie lucid dreamers. You absolutely have to keep a cool head, or you'll just wake up.
So next time you become lucid, immediately perform these simple dream stabilizing techniques to increase your self awareness in an instant. This will enhance the conscious clarity of the dream, making it easier for you to recall your lucid dream intention and explore your new surroundings.
1. Stay calm - Don't run around or shout "I'm dreaming!" if you can help it. It's better to get a grip and relax back into the dream.
2. Rubs your hands together - Movement appears to engage the conscious brain and prevent it from changing to a waking state.
3. Look at your hands - Focus on your hands close-up to help you notice the finer details which aren't normally present in a dream.
4. Demand "clarity now" - Say it out loud and your dream scene will instantly snap into focus, as per your conscious instruction.
5. Do some mathematics - Do a simple arithmetic sum in your head, such as 4 + 4, which engages the logical part of your brain.
If you notice the dream is slipping away (losing color and detail):
6. Spin around - Spinning can help stabilize your awareness of the dream, although it can also make the dream scene go black. Save this for when you have more experience and control of the dream state.
7. Fall backwards - Again, this relies on the principle that movement helps increase self-awareness within the dream.
As soon as I learnt how to stay lucid, my dream world exploded. It suddenly became a new adventure playground, in which I could travel anywhere and do anything I wanted to with complete clarity and awareness. I had incredibly vivid conscious dreams that lasted a lot longer.
My lucid dreams can last up to one hour, sometimes as part of an even longer dream scenario. During one episode I have been able to escape from a nightmare, fly into space and back, time travel to an ancient civilization, explore a mansion, pass through the walls, fly over mountains and valleys, play the piano, and eat delicious food. I was fully conscious the whole time, guiding the dream and letting the dream guide me.
It's really important that you learn these techniques to prolong lucid dreams. Next time you realize you are dreaming, it should be a habit to do two reality checks, then perform as many of these exercises as you can remember. It only takes a few seconds and dramatically improves the outcome of your lucid dream.
Can you have lucid dreams that guide themselves?
Yes, although you will probably want to control your dream given the amount of freedom you now have. It is also possible to be self-aware and control some elements of the dream, while allowing your subconscious mind to control others. Conversely, you can control your dreams without having very much awareness or clarity going on. It is always better to increase the intensity of the dream before you begin (by saying "clarity now!")
"Everything you can imagine is real"
I fell backwards and woke up in bed - what happened?
In his experiments, Stephen LaBerge found that falling backwards with the aim of relaxing could often bring on false awakenings. If you expect to wake up in bed, there is a chance that you will do just that. Of course, it is only a dream bed and you are still inside a very lucid dream! Make it a habit to perform a reality check every time you wake up and you can turn your false awakenings into brilliant lucid dreams.
I span around and woke up in bed - what happened?
Another false awakening! Spinning around can feel so vivid and real that you may imagine your arm hit the bed. But as LaBerge teaches us, it is only your dream arm hitting a dream bed. Perform a reality check to get your lucid dream going again - this time from your bedroom.
I span around and the dream went black - what happened?
LaBerge also discovered that spinning often causes a new dreamscene to emerge. However if the dream goes black, you can create another one by simply visualizing the next scene in front of you.
When this happened to me, I found myself a bodyless point of consciousness, floating in space! I improvised the next dream scene by picturing it on a piece of movie reel in the darkness. Then I zoomed in until I was in the movie, and the scene became 3D around me. You may surprise yourself with unusual ways to overcome problems in your lucid state of awareness. Once you understand the rules of the dreamworld you will see the possibilities are endless.