Today we'll examine how to stay lucid in dreams - transforming a few brief seconds of lucidity to many long, memorable experiences.
This is based on my own dreams as well as lucidity expert Dr Stephen LaBerge's lucid dream stabilization methods.
My first lucid dreams were very short. We're talking seconds. I would realize I was dreaming and then get excited and run around telling everyone about it. This is a common mistake among newbie lucid dreamers. The fact is you have to keep a cool head, or you'll most likely 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 clarity of the dream, making it easier for you to recall your lucid dream intention and explore your new surroundings.
Avoid running around or shouting "I'm dreaming!" at every man and his dog. Just get a grip on your emotions and try to relax back into the dream.
Movement stimulates the conscious brain and increases your awareness of your dream body, helping to ground you in the dream.
Focusing on your hands close-up draws your awareness to the finer details, enhancing your lucidity in the moment.
Push your fingers through your palm, or a solid object, or do your standard reality check and remind yourself clearly "I'm dreaming".
Shout it out loud and mean it! Your dream scene will instantly snap into focus, as per your willful instruction.
Do a simple arithmetic sum in your head, such as 4 + 4, to engage the conscious brain within the dreamstate.
Spinning can help stabilize your awareness in the dream. Sometimes it can also make the dream scene go black, so it's also good for changing scenery. Just visualize the next scene you want to visit and it will appear clearer.
This relies on the principle that movement helps increase your self awareness within the dream, although be warned it may also jolt you awake or into a false awakening! See below for troubleshooting...
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.
So it's crucial to your lucid dream life that you learn some techniques to prolong your lucid dreams. Next time you realize you're dreaming, perform as many of these methods as you can remember. It only takes a few seconds and dramatically improves the outcome of your lucid dream.
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 dream scene to emerge. However if the dream goes black, you can create another one by simply visualizing the next scene in front of you.
After spinning once, I found myself a bodiless 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. Experiment!
Access Rebecca's popular e-course, 10 Steps to Lucid Dreams, plus personal insights and links to her best web content. 30,000 people are on board.
Humans are unique in our endless capacity for imagination. According to Steven Mithen, an anthropologist at the University of Reading in the UK, we needed to evolve seven critical mental skills before we could have imagination as we know it. Each of these abilities serve a distinct purpose in their own right, while imagination is the culmination of them all.
The coolest brain hack I've ever experienced is the Wake Induced Lucid Dream - or WILD. The name says it all: during a WILD, you literally hand-off your awareness from a physically waking state directly into a sleeping lucid dream state. Though not the easiest lucid dream technique, it does have two big advantages. Lucidity on demand - choose when you have a lucid dream. Peak lucidity - it's the most vivid type of lucid dream available. In this tutorial, I explain how to have a Wake Induced Lucid Dream via two routes: visualization (using your hypnagogia) and the out-of-body exit. Buckle up, Dorothy, 'cause Kansas is going bye bye.
So here's a quirky little nighttime oddity that can strike terror into your soul. Sleep paralysis. It's the mechanism that stops you from acting out your dreams. It happens to you every single time you go to sleep, and you've probably never even been aware of it. There's a lot to say about sleep paralysis. One the one hand, it's a very normal bodily process. One the other, it can be a terrifying sleep disorder. And on the third hand (yes, that's three hands now) it's the gateway to the lucid dream world. It covers quite the spectrum of emotions.
Want to get your hands on some futuristic technology? Then why not use your lucid dreams to explore new scientific concepts and developments? In fact, it's thought that numerous well-known scientists including Nikola Tesla exploited their dreams to simulate theories and prototypes in action. Here are five futuristic concepts to get your dream cogs in motion.
So you want a real challenge for your next lucid dream? Check out these thought experiments. They have no right or wrong answers, at least as far as we can prove in 2015. If you undertake any of these - please add a comment below. The beauty is that everyone's experience will be different and I'm eager to read your results.
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?