Lucid dreaming, like any advanced skill, requires a considerable investment of time, energy and dedication in order to master. Yet, as a lucidity researcher, I'm regularly asked by those new to the subject, for an easy and low-effort technique, something that will give a curious newcomer their first taste of lucid dreaming.
I, like many other teachers who are asked this question, generally default to techniques such as MILD or WBTB while also mentioning the importance of keeping a dream journal and performing regular reality tests. These are, after all, the staples of the world of lucid dreaming.
Yet, this has always seemed somewhat messy, while these may seem a low effort to those of us dedicated to lucid dreaming, for a newbie they still require some not insignificant lifestyle-changes.
So, I decided to tackle this problem head on. In doing so I asked myself two questions:
In order to address this problem, I established that there are two unresolved problems facing lucid dreamers:
Wouldn't it be nice if we could find a way to make the world we live in do the work for us, to train us to become lucid dreamers?
Even better if, in doing so, we could also share our interest in dreams socially.
Curiously, the solution to both these problems lay in the social dimension.
When we humans interact on a face-to-face social level, the activity in our brains lights up across the board. Social interaction is a deeply complex and ancient behaviour that requires a great deal of our mental processing power. Interestingly, many of the areas required for processing, mentalizing and regulating the emotional aspects of social interaction, namely the ventrolateral, dorsolateral, precuneus and medial prefrontal cortex; are areas that are subdued during dreaming sleep.
If we could develop a lucid dream training during our waking hours that would involve these and the other social areas of our brains, perhaps such an experience would help trigger their activation during our dreams. After all, a great deal of dream content involves the processing of social interactions from our waking hours - especially surprising or emotionally charged events.
I've spent the past few months field testing a new technique
with my students that addresses and solves these problems. It's
incredibly simple, low effort and impressively effective. I call it
START - short for Socially Triggered Awareness Reality Test,
In our casual field testing, the results have been impressive with 9 out of 10 students experiencing multiple START induced lucid dream within two weeks. It's a small sample size and further testing is needed but these preliminary results are very promising. Moreover, the principles have a firm foundation in our knowledge of the dreaming mind.
Based on the concepts outline above, the technique is as follows:
As you can see this is an incredibly simple technique that
requires minimal effort, yet it engages one of the most powerful
principles for creating memories and behaviours that are likely to
influence and transfer into your dreams - surprise and novel social
Unlike standard reality tests, that are self-generated and which occur when your mind is already focused and clear, the START technique is designed to catch you, off guard, at random and unpredictable moments, times when you otherwise may be lost in thought, distracted and generally lacking in awareness.
Even better, you're signalling to the world that you're a proud lucid dreamer - it's a great way to meet and connect with other like-minded dreamers.
Even though this technique can be performed absolutely for free, I've made the effort to create a series of t-shirts and other items designed for use with this technique; for those of you who are uncomfortable making and wearing a sticker and who would like to invest in this technique a little more seriously. These are the same t-shirts my students and I have been using and have been very comfortable and effective. Even better, each sale directly supports future lucid dream research, content and events.
In fact, I'm looking forward to spotting fellow lucid dreamers and coming over to say hello and "Are you dreaming?".
Should you decide to support our work and invest in a START technique shirt, don't forget to share a photo of yourself online wearing your shirt. Add the hashtag #luciddreamtshirt so we can easily find your photo!
You can buy your START technique t-shirt from www.thelucidshop.com
In our trials, we discovered that those who also wore their
signs or t-shirts to bed were considerably more likely to experience a
lucid dream. It would seem that the act of wearing the t-shirt while
sleeping creates the mental expectation that you could be asked if you
are dreaming at any point in the future. This is a great way to really
ensure you "hack" your dream characters into helping you to become
Remember, the START technique is not a replacement for traditional lucid dreaming methods, it's simply a powerful introduction for newcomers and a useful addition to an experienced lucid dreamers arsenal of techniques. It's a brand new way to instigate a DILD and a unique way to meet local lucid dreamers!
So, I hope you enjoy this technique. Remember, pop over to www.thelucidshop.com and to grab your tee while they are available!
Have you ever seen a tiger in the clouds? How about Jesus in the gnarled bark of a tree - or Richard Dawkins in a coffee stain? This peculiar quirk of human psychology goes by the rather lovely sounding name of Pareidolia (say: pah-ray-doh-lee-a). Many great scientists have pondered the origins of this trait. The simplest explanation is an evolutionary one: being able to detect predatory faces and figures amid background noise gives you a greater chance of surivival.
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.
Virtual reality is upon us. Shipping of the Oculus Rift began in April 2016. Vive launched in June. And Playstation VR breaks loose in October. These mind-expanding technologies are bringing interactive virtual worlds to gamers everywhere. But did you know that you already possess a far superior form of biological virtual reality? It stretches all the way back to before the discovery of fire. To the the dawn of our species.
Chloe is a natural lucid dreamer. That's to say that all of her dreams are conscious (lucid), highly realistic and incredibly vivid. She can remember these dreams as far back as being a toddler. That level of mindfulness we regular folk strive to achieve in our dreams is always present in her nightly escapades. Her dreams, by default, are highly intense, profound and acutely self aware.
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?