In the movie Inception, a spinning top was used as a reality check. Does that apply in real life lucid dreams?
Rebecca says: When Dom Cobb spins his spinning top in Inception, he does it to determine whether he's awake or dreaming. In reality, the top eventually runs out of energy and falls over. In a dream, it has the potential to spin on forever, which tells him he's dreaming.
Ryan's totem doesn't spin - which is really a relief because it's very time-consuming to watch a spinning top in your dream and wait for it to fall over. During waking reality checks this would become a mundane performance 10-20 times per day. And during your dream, watching a spinning top that never falls is a waste of precious dream time!
As a more functional alternative, Ryan worked with a specialist coin designer to create a totem that serves as a definitive reality check. Examining the weight, feel and texture of the coin can form part of your reality check routine, as well as reading the incriptions on both sides. (To evoke an ancient feel to his amulet, it features the Latin phrase dormiens vigila - meaning, to sleep with vigilance - as well as the English words: 'are you awake?' and 'are you dreaming?')
So, is it effective as a lucidity trigger? The totem received a big thumbs up in a review by Bill Murphy in the Summer 2015 edition of the Lucid Dreaming Experience magazine. I'm also working with the Lucid Talisman myself to test its awareness-rousing features. Certainly, I've never used anything like this before, relying instead on looking at my palms, or pushing them through a wall as a default reality check. But the novelty of using a specific coin totem could be the spark I need to trigger those unexpected lucid dreams.
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?