The reality check is a simple way to ascertain whether or not you're dreaming. The answer is obvious when you're awake, but when you're dreaming, it's revelational. But are you using this simple technique to the fullest?
An almost essential step in lucid dreaming, the idea of reality checking is simple but there are some tips you can apply to make it more effective. The following come from my own experience, and after sharing them with some friends I've found that they work well regardless of your experience or skill.
It's important to really make sure you are thorough when doing reality checks. Don't just half heartedly muse to yourself, "Am I dreaming? Maybe. I wonder what's on TV tonight?"' Instead, really ask yourself, and genuinely question the authenticity of your reality.
This is especially important for beginners as it's easy to misunderstand exactly why you're doing reality checks. You have to truly doubt whether you're awake or asleep and look around you as well as looking down at your hands (if that's your chosen check) to work out whether you're dreaming.
You can use other tests at the same time, like asking questions about where you are, where you've come from, and where you were going. Although your brain tends to be a bit illogical when dreaming, even a few basic questions like asking who and where you are can have good results.
It can become ineffective to only do one certain type of check. If you always pinch your nose and try to breathe, sometimes your dreaming mind can start to ignore that reality test. Meanwhile, your questioning mindset can slip into autopilot mode.
By doing a different action every now and again, such as imagining you can float, or pushing your hand through a solid object, or checking your watch, you the reality check retains that novelty value that keeps it authentic.
When you perform a reality check in your dream, make a special note of it in your dream journal. I find that keeping this kind of record helps me recognize, over time, which reality checks work best for me.
We all dream a little differently; it's clear that dreaming is a personal and unique experience. So in doing this you'll gain a better understanding of how your dreaming mind works, and which reality checks are the most effective for you.
There are various levels of lucid dreams, ranging from being mildly aware that you're in a dream... to a godlike control and spiritual awareness. The idea behind accessing these various levels is to activate different parts of your brain.
I find you can achieve this by combining mental reality checks with physical ones. For instance, a physical reality check is trying to push your finger through your palm, whereas a mental one is looking around, identifying where you are and asking yourself "Would I be here in waking life?"
It's about questioning the world around you and actually, with enough practice, you can become lucid only using mental reality checks. This is how advanced lucid dreamers tend to operate. To that end, try to combine your most effective physical check with mental ones like:
When used correctly, reality checks are one of the easiest ways to have lucid dreams. And yet many people only understand half the story of reality testing. I hope these tips give you a better idea of how to harness the reality check principle and give you some good results in your dream world.
Do you have any good tips on reality checks? What has worked best for you in the past? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
About The Guest Author
Stefan Zugor is a personal development blogger and author of How to Lucid. He has been lucid dreaming for several years and wants to share the knowledge with as many people as possible.
Rebecca Turner is a science writer, illustrator, explorer of consciousness - and founder of World of Lucid Dreaming. She is currently studying for a biology degree in Auckland and blogging at her site Science Me.
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