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Wake Induced Lucid Dreams
(The WILD Technique)
The Wake Induced Lucid Dream (aka WILD) is often considered the most powerful lucid dreaming technique for two reasons. First, it enables you to have a conscious dream at the time you choose. Second, it
produces the most vivid kind of lucid dream because there is no lapse in consciousness from waking to dreaming.
Also known as the Mind Awake / Body Asleep technique, it enables you to enter a lucid dream directly from a waking state. The method is also often used by "out-of-body" explorers, where the experience begins with a feeling of floating out of your body. If you're targeting a lucid dream, simply imagine a separate dream scene.
A lucid dream involves having full conscious awareness
inside the dreamworld. Dream control is a side effect.
The Basics of WILD
The modern WILD technique stems from practices used in Tibetan Buddhism for thousands of years -
an art form they call Dream Yoga. In Buddhism this is one pathway to enlightenment.
of your religious views, you can use this WILD technique to have fantastic guided dreams. It is a natural, instinctive method of entering the dream world and many children have figured out this
technique on their own without tuition.
I have split my Wake Induced Lucid Dreams tutorial into four parts:
- Physical & Mental Relaxation
- The Hypnagogic State
- Creating a Dream Scene
- Entering The Lucid Dream
The best time to initiate a WILD is typically after 4-5 hours of deep sleep, when your body is deeply relaxed,
your REM cycles at their longest, and your dreams the most vivid. To this end, if you are a deep sleeper, set your
alarm clock about 2-3 hours earlier than usual. If you are a light sleeper, simply practice this method when
you naturally wake up in the night. Alternatively, you can practice if you are tired and taking an afternoon
nap, when your brain attempts to catch up on lost REM sleep.
Step 1. Physical & Mental Relaxation
Think about how you fall asleep every night. We're going to replicate that process with one tiny difference:
as your body falls asleep, your mind will stay awake. That may sound like an alien concept, but rest assured it is entirely possible (and becomes easier with practice). When it does happen, you'll be surprised how natural it feels.
To begin, your body should already be very relaxed and loose. Lie on your back, or whatever position
you can lie in for a while without moving. Empty your mind and gaze into the blackness of your closed
eyelids. If any thoughts pop up, just observe them - don't interact - then send them on their way. If you don't know how to meditate or can't enter that state of calm meditation, try listening to brainwave entrainment such as The Lucid Dreaming MP3 which creates a good state of deep relaxation. I have used brainwave entrainment for years for this purpose.
Step 2. The Hypnagogic State
Once relaxed and dreamy, lead your mind into the half-asleep hypnagogic state. Sometimes you'll wake up in the
night and already be in this dreamy state - your body is soft and relaxed and your mind is drifting back into
the dream world without any effort at all. When you catch that cloud - float on it.
(If you are attempting a WILD "from cold" you will need to relax into it, both physically and mentally,
with at least 10 minutes of meditation. Soon, the hypnagogia will come.)
Once in the hypnagogic state, you'll see patterns and colors that take over your vision in the darkness.
Observe the hypnagogia and go deeper, allowing it to hypnotize you and draw your awareness away
from the outside world. It may also produce sounds like music and voices, or physical sensations like floating or tipping. The internal dream world will start to evolve now and you should fully embrace it.
Remember to let your body stay soft and sink into the bed, keeping absolutely still and imagining
numbness taking over. If you have an itch, scratch it and start over, but otherwise try to stay completely
still and relaxed. Silence your inner monologue if it starts to chime in at this point. Accept any strange happenings as best you can. It is all internally generated so take it on in the manner of an intrepid mental explorer.
Hypnagogic imagery can feel like a fleeting memory impression.
Your awareness jumps between the half-dream state and your bedroom.
Step 3. Creating a Dream Scene
At this point you need to make a judgment call. If you don't feel sufficiently relaxed or ready to drop
off to sleep, then stay with your hypnagogia for longer. However, if you feel the dreamstate coming on
and feel quite detached from the real world, then you're ready to start the launch sequence for your
Making the right judgment makes all the difference between an easy, successful WILD
and numerous fruitless attempts. But don't worry, once you know the signals (or absence of signals)
that precede a WILD, you'll find it easier to recognize.
There are two ways to create a dream from here: visualization or the OBE exit.
The Visualization Method
Do you have a vivid imagination? If so, begin to visualize a vivid dream scene with
as much close-up detail as possible. Either program it into your moving visual hypnagogia or recall the imagery from beyond your field of vision. As the scene intensifies, put yourself right in the middle of the action and explore your surroundings in a calm, peaceful manner. Send
your awareness into the dreamscape as fully as possible.
If you are a musician, then you may have a better auditory sense, so instead of visualizing, use your
imagination to create the sounds of your dream. Listen to everything and make the sounds and voices
realistic. Likewise, if you are good at sports or working with your body, induce a movement sensation such
as walking, running or riding a bicycle. Use your strongest sense to fully engage your mind
in the desired dream. It may feel like a form of vivid day dreaming but that will soon change. (For an expansion of this stage, see my article How to Visualize.)
Keep reminding yourself "I'm dreaming", even if you're not there yet - you soon will be, and this will be a helpful reminder to stay lucid and not lapse into a regular dream.
With your mind absorbed the half-dream state, allow your body to fall asleep altogether: lose all
awareness of it and place your mind fully into your new dream body. Soon, you will sense that you are no
longer lying in bed - but now inside your dream! When you feel it "pop" into place, your sleeping
body will be a distant memory.
The feeling is unmistakable - you are now lucid dreaming!
The OBE Exit
Sometimes you may be so swept up in your hypnagogic meditation that your body falls asleep before
you have the chance to create a dream scene. Your awareness has nowhere to go but your own bedroom,
except now you are dreaming. It is a dream bedroom, and you are lying in bed in your dream.
The realism can be startling and the lack of any clear transition is why so many people believe they have had genuine out of body experiences. It literally feels
like you are still awake, lying in bed, with the ability to float out of your body. Don't be fooled, however. All scientific explanations and similarities with lucid dreaming suggest this is a very vivid lucid dream (in particular, a false awakening, often with sleep paralysis).
Here are some clues to help you recognize the subtle transition from waking to dreaming (bear in
mind these do not happen to everyone, and the transition may be virtually seamless):
- You may hold on to an awareness of your sleeping body, which is now under REM atonia (sleep
paralysis). You may feel like your limbs are going numb, or a lead blanket is moving up your body.
Don't fight it. Instead, relax and embrace it because this is the start of your lucid dream!
- You may also experience vibrations, or a very loud buzzing sound, quite probably stemming from the hypnagogic state. It feels like electricity, or a fast
vibrating in your head, and you may even wonder if your head is going to explode! But it doesn't
actually hurt; it's just a very noisy (and often startling) distraction that simply means you are on the brink of conscious dreaming.
- If you become fearful or convince yourself you are having a genuine out of body experience, then you may well accidentally invite others dream characters into your false awakening.
They can be menacing, or they can be warm and positive. It really depends on your own projected
thoughts and beliefs about the experience. Just remember, if they do appear, you are dreaming and you remain in control of all your feelings. You control the actions of these dream characters by proxy.
At this point you can embrace your lucid dream and leave your body. The room will look incredibly lifelike,
whether it is your usual bedroom or a temporary sleeping environment like a hotel room. The imagery
is triggered by your waking memories and the fact that this is the last place you went to sleep.
This can be confusing to say the least. You may feel like you've just opened your eyes and woken up
- so be sure to perform a reality check at this point. Otherwise you may just roll over and go to sleep
properly and your lucid dream will be wasted.
You can intensify the dream state by visualizing images, sounds
and movements that jolt your consciousness into your dream body.
Step 4. Entering The Lucid Dream
The final step is to fully submerge your awareness into the lucid dream - and stabilize the dream to
prevent yourself from waking up.
If you used the visualization method, keep exploring the dream
scene with all your senses. Say to yourself "I'm dreaming" and do a reality check. You will know you're
dreaming because the whole scene will be 3D and feel like a world of its own. Like regular dreams, you will have little or no
awareness or your physical body, your bed, or the real world.
If you used the OBE exit method, you may need to free your dream body from the distant sense of your
physical body which is also lying in bed. This is one of the quirks of OBEs. It's probably caused by the
confusion of the conscious brain switching from waking reality to the lucid dream world, while the perceived
surroundings remain unchanged.
You may be able to climb out of bed normally - however if the sensation of sleep paralysis is with
you, it can be hard (even impossible) to move your limbs. In this case, try sinking or floating out of
your body. Imagine how it feels when you're swinging really high on a swing in the park; that kinetic
sensation can free you from your body.
Alternatively, relax and visualize a new dream scene. Use your most powerful sense and engage yourself
in the picture. It should be easier to create a dream from here and "teleport" instantly. Or, if
you find you have company in your bedroom, you can ask the dream figures for help getting out. However they appear to you, embrace them. As dream characters they are ultimately projections of yourself.
When your conscious bodily awareness switches from the external physical
to the internal dreamworld - you are lucid dreaming.
Troubleshooting Wake Induced Lucid Dreams
Learning to WILD takes time and considerable awareness of the optimum state. However, once
you're in the Mind Awake / Body Asleep state, the actual dream creation is deceptively easy. Stick with
it, and make it a night-time meditation habit. Even a failed WILD attempt is good practice.
The most common problems I hear are opposite extremes: either people find they can't relax enough,
or they can't stay awake long enough to enter the dreamstate. Here are some final troubleshooting points:
- Relaxing your mind and body is essential. It's just like falling asleep every night - you won't get
to sleep tossing and turning, or if your head is full of internal dialogue. To access the relaxed
state, begin your guided meditation or listen to brainwave entrainment (this is truly helpful). This state will help you
to consciously relax and prime your mind and body for a lucid dream.
- Hold on to a passive state of conscious awareness. It takes practice and mental conditioning to
stay conscious while your body falls asleep - but it is not as hard as you may think. Practice WILDs
when you are relaxed but not completely exhausted. Stay true to the process of visualization and
your goal of having a lucid dream. A complete WILD routine need only take a few minutes from
start to finish and when used in dream re-entry, can happen in seconds. If you can remain focused
for those important transition seconds, you will succeed.