My lucid dreaming journey

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My lucid dreaming journey

Postby Kal » 22 Aug 2012 21:37

Hello :) I am new to this forum and a relative beginner with lucid dreaming. If it's okay with everyone, I'm going to log my lucid dreaming progress here in this thread. I think posting my experiences publicly will help me to stick at it - and maybe some parts along the way will be useful to others.

Dreaming background
I am in my mid twenties. At the time of writing, my rate of dream recall varies from not remembering a thing to vividly recalling several lengthy dreams from one night. Usually, if I remember my dreams at all, they are very dull and random. However, every now and then I have a very vivid, emotional or symbolic dream.

My most incredible dream happened last year on Friday 11th of March 2011. The entire dream was unusually atmospheric and "mystical" feeling (this was a real rarity for me, as my dreams were usually quite dull) - then at the end of the dream, a giant wave washed over me and my boyfriend, and we died. My alarm woke me up at 6:00. I was stunned to find out later that day about the terrible earthquake and tsunami that had hit Japan at around 5:45. I would not like to jump to any conclusions about whether or not that was a coincidence or a feat of intuition - especially considering the amount of lives that were lost that day - but this dream had a profound effect on me and it sparked a deeper interest in my dreams.

As for lucid dreams, I have only ever had one: when I was 10-12 years old, I dreamed I was visiting my relatives. I remember looking around and just realizing it was a dream. This may have been triggered by my relatives being in the house of someone they actually never visit in real life. When I realized, I smugly told my auntie: "This is just a dream, and you're not really here!" She just looked at me as if I was talking nonsense, the way adults do tend to look at children who are making something up. Except of course, I was right this time, because I woke up afterwards! Take that, dismissive auntie!

Aside from that, I have had two dreams recently where, on reflection, I think I might have been on the verge of becoming lucid. I was just starting to recall my real everyday life - things like realizing where I really lived or what my job really was. Just like that "hang on a minute..." feeling you get when you realize someone's playing a trick on you. These realizations happened just before I woke up with my alarm, so I currently have no way to tell if it was the familiarity of the alarm that triggered it, or if I just realized it all by myself.

Current aims
Right now I'm taking small steps, so my aims are very basic:
  • To improve dream recall by keeping a daily dream log
  • To get into the habit of frequent reality checks
  • To consistently think about lucid dreaming before I fall asleep
  • To have a lucid dream, of course!

I hope that one day in the not too distant future I can tick off this list and move on to some more exciting goals, like learning to fly or asking my dream some deep questions!

Thank you for reading! I will update with today's log next. The logs may be fairly lengthy in the beginning, while I am trying to think more deeply about the whole process, but I expect they will get more concise once I fall into a regular pattern of dream recall.
Last edited by Kal on 22 Aug 2012 22:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Night 1

Postby Kal » 22 Aug 2012 22:19

Initial preparations
To begin with, I considered reality checks. I thought carefully about which reality checks would work for me, and in the end, I decided that during each day I will ask myself any or all of the following questions:

  • What am I doing right now? What was I doing before this, and before that?
  • Can I float or fly? Can I push my fingers through my hand?
  • Are locations connected together the way they normally are?
  • Are people cropping up that don't usually appear in my life?
  • Am I in an unusual situation?
  • Is time passing at a normal rate?

I chose these checks based on what tends to happen in my dreams. For example, I am often doing something silly in my dreams, or in an unusual situation - so some of the points are intended to make me more aware about anything strange going on in the dream, and to question it instead of just going with it.

The locations in my dreams are often messed up; for example, I might be in my grandmother's house, but the house will be on my own street. I might dream about work, but my workplace is in the shape of my old school. So I will try to consider my location more often.

People from the distant past often pop up in my dreams, and the occasional celebrity. The appearance of any of these people should be a major signal that I'm dreaming! I'm trying to think to myself, "Who have I been with today?" and ask myself if it's normal.

Night 1
As I was drifting off last night, I did these reality checks a few times. I also tried to repeat to myself in my head that "The next scene will be a dream" (I think that's a great phrase). Unfortunately, I got disturbed by outside interruptions a couple of times as I was falling asleep, so I wasn't able to fully concentrate. Also, I fall asleep very quickly once I lie down, and I felt like last night I didn't have enough time to cement this little mantra in my mind before drifting off. I'm sure it will come with practice. Really I guess it's a form of meditation.

This morning, I woke up a few times. The first time, I knew I had just dreamed, but it was hazy. There was something about posting two similarly-coloured nature images on my scenery blog - both red. I have been spending too much time on my scenery blog lately so I am not surprised at the topic. I fell back asleep without making a written note of what I could remember, and this was probably a mistake, as I now can't remember anything else.

For the next hour or so, I drifted in and out of sleep, and dreamed that I was already up and out of bed. It felt like those half-dreams you have, where you are snoozing and not fully asleep. When I woke up, I wrote down everything that had happened.

Overall, I am disappointed about my lack of dream recall, but I am pleased with my effort. I know that if I keep it up it will all become habit.

Today I have done a lot of reality checks. It's very interesting and unsettling to be constantly questioning your reality. Trying to push my fingers through my palm is pretty addictive for some reason! I'm convinced that one day, it will work! :)

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Night 2

Postby Kal » 23 Aug 2012 22:54

Reality Checks
I did a lot of reality checking throughout the day, and I tried to really question myself deeply about whether or not I was in waking reality.

Falling asleep
I kept telling myself that the next scene would be a dream. I also reminded myself that I was in bed. Again, I think I drifted off very quickly, perhaps too quickly. Perhaps it would be a good idea to go to bed a little earlier, so I have time to focus on this part before I fall asleep.

I forgot to mention in my introduction post that I occasionally wake up suddenly in the night and have hallucinations. Usually they are negative ones, for example:

  • A spider walks over my pillow or into the duvet
  • Insects are crawling over the bed
  • I've lost something near the bed and have to find it
  • I've dropped something onto the bed and have to pick it up
  • People I know are in the room, watching me sleep or waiting for me to wake up
However, I've had a couple of positive hallucinations too in recent years, for example:

  • Seeing a cool pattern of lights around the room
  • Seeing a rainbow or flowers above the bed
The hallucinations are utterly convincing and don't feel like a dream at all. I see them with my own eyes. They are usually detailed. It takes between ten seconds and a minute to realize that they aren't real.

My night time hallucinations have always been annoying, mainly because of the fear they bring and the fact that they wake up my partner. However, I'm thinking that they could at least be a positive sign of my ability to have lucid dreams. Firstly, it shows me that I can imagine something in high visual detail - something that doesn't yet happen in my dreams. Secondly, if I can latch on to that moment of realization, where I remember that I tend to hallucinate at night and that what I just saw probably never happened, then I may be able to practise it so I can realize when I'm dreaming.

Interestingly, when I'm having a positive hallucination, I think I realize it much, much more quickly than when I'm having a negative one. Perhaps it's because the positive ones are more surreal. I can believe a spider has walked across the room, but I can't believe for long that my entire wardrobe is lit up like a rainbow! :)

Anyway, last night I woke up and suddenly started groping around for my phone. I believed that I was fully awake, that my phone had been missing for a day or two, and that it was on the floor next to the bed (not sure if I 'saw' it or if I just thought I'd put it there). My partner as usual tried to tell me that I was dreaming, and as usual I got cross with him. Don't ever tell a sleepwalker / sleeptalker that they're talking nonsense and are asleep - in my experience, it doesn't work. The best thing is to reassure them that whatever the problem was has been solved: "It's okay, I've got your phone here, go back to sleep." :)

My dream recall was good this morning! I had at least two lengthy dreams. As usual, they weren't very vivid (no smell, taste or close up detail), but I remembered the layout, the people and the plot. They were both pretty interesting dreams, too. I kept a notebook under my pillow so I could write them down straight away.

Most interestingly, there were a couple of new features that don't usually occur in my dreams.

The first new feature was that I assumed the role of someone else - a male, Poirot-esque detective. This is quite unusual for me - I don't think I have ever dreamed of being a different person. Usually I'm still me, but in a different situation of some kind. In this dream, my gender, age and partly my personality were different - very exciting!

I know what the character was inspired by - I read one of Agatha Christie's Poirot mysteries recently, and last night I heard the Pink Panther theme tune (in Pink Panther there is a Poirot-inspired detective)!

The other new feature was that there were new characters in my dreams. I had two new bosses in my workplace, and neither of them were based on people I know or people I have seen in films etc. I have tried hard to think about it and I can't recognise their faces at all. Their personalities don't really match anyone I know either. I've had hybrid characters in my dreams before - people who are a blend of two or more people I know - but not unique characters till now.

I read once that we don't make up new faces in our dreams; that we always recall them from memory. I guess, following this theory, that they could just be people I've seen in the street. But I'm not too sure. My secondary job involves a lot of creativity and analyzing faces, so I don't think it's too far fetched to think that I could have created new faces myself.

I'm excited that my dreams seem to be moving forward in complexity already. Also, I find that I look forward to sleep and what the night will bring. Earlier I was tired on the bus, and instead of trying to stay awake, I actually tried to have a little snooze in case it brought about a dream! :)

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Re: My lucid dreaming journey

Postby Peter » 23 Aug 2012 23:23

Keep at it and with your approach you are bound to get success soon.
Who are you I asked, the reply "dont be silly, we are your daughers" many years before they were born

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Re: My lucid dreaming journey

Postby Lavendula » 24 Aug 2012 06:31

Good luck! :)
If you fall for your reflection you will drown in a dream

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Night 3

Postby Kal » 24 Aug 2012 18:34

Thank you both! :) Here's how Night 3 went.

Reality checks
I did reality checks as often as I could remember yesterday. I think they were a little too brief during the day when I was busy and had other stuff on my mind. At home in the evening, I tried to think about them more deeply: Who have I seen today? Is my house in the right place? etc.

I had been trying to push my fingers through my palm, but now I have decided that this might not be the right approach for me. I'm going to start looking at my hands close up instead. Here's why: I realized today that the main difference between my dreams and reality is a lack of detail, not a lack of realism. My dreams very rarely feature flying, floating, walking through walls, or anything like that. They usually follow the laws of physics, more or less. What they miss is detail - scents, temperatures, reflections of light, feelings of different textures... I think my dreams are more psychological and emotional than sensual. Odd, because in waking reality I consider myself to be a person who is very influenced by their physical senses.

I decided that whenever I experience a strong feeling - be it joy, sorrow, fear or confusion - I will look closely at my palms. I think that if I can get into the habit of doing this, I may associate strong feelings with the urge to look at my palms, and end up doing it in my dreams. In my dreams, I tend to respond the same way to events as I do in reality, so I hope this will work.

I also think that forcing myself to stop and look at my palms during times of high emotion will help to calm me if I'm feeling anything negative. It might be my version of "counting to 10". A way to step back from the situation.

Falling asleep
I was ill yesterday, and when I fell asleep I was not as focused as I would like to have been. I can't quite remember what I was thinking of when falling asleep. I know I started off by trying to meditate, but I think my drifting thoughts took over before long and I just didn't bother to resist them. I must have really needed to just rest my mind and sleep fast, because I slept for a very long time.

I had several lengthy dreams again, and I think I woke up after each one. Although I had my book by my bed, I didn't write my dreams down in it straight away. It sounds extremely lazy, but each time, as I woke up and lay there thinking about the dream I'd just had, it felt like far too much effort to reach over and grab my book and start writing. I am not usually this lazy, I promise! I think I was just so tired from being ill that I didn't want to move. After I had my 3rd or 4th dream and woke up for good, I wrote down everything I could remember about all of them. Of course, the most recent dream was the clearest in my mind; I remembered the long and winding plot, the characters that appeared, some approximate dialogue, the layout, some of the scenes, and my feelings and actions throughout. However, the dreams I'd had earlier on in the night were almost gone from my memory completely. I only remembered the basic theme - for example, the first one was about kung fu.

One thing I am pleased about is that I seem to be instinctively placing more importance on my dreams. I've always consciously taken my dreams seriously, but now I am doing it automatically, without thinking. Each time I woke up last night, the first thing I thought was my dream and that I must remember it. I know I didn't write the dreams down till later, but I still lay there trying to go over them in my head.

Another thing I'm pleased about is that I think in my final dream, I may have come close to inspecting something in detail. My colleague had some enormous flowers in her garden. They were like some flowers I have in my real garden, except that whereas mine are about an inch wide, hers were more like a foot wide. They were incredible. I asked her where she got them from or what kind of flower they were, and I know I looked straight at them for a couple of seconds, marvelling at them. If I had just stepped a little closer or looked at them for longer, maybe I would have realized they weren't real and become lucid.

In the past year or so, I have gotten into the habit of gazing at things closely for a long time. I am an artist and I love visual detail. I hope that this habit will pass over into my dreams soon.

Later on in the day, I had a couple of quick flashbacks to other dreams I must have had during the night. They are just small glimpses of what I think were longer dreams. First of all, when I looked at my engagement ring today, I realized I'd had a dream about buying my partner an engagement ring and him not liking it (I think I picked a very girly one for him, oops). Secondly, when I looked at one of my new houseplants today, I realized I'd dreamed about turning it upside down and checking its roots or repotting it or something. Told you my dreams were boring sometimes! ;)

I still feel very ill today and I don't know what effect this will have on my lucid dreaming journey. On the one hand, it's hard to focus on reality checks and meditation when your mind is all fuzzy. On the other hand, I am needing to sleep a lot, and this means more time to dream!

I think as soon as I'm better, I will sketch out some of my dream scenes in my journal.

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Re: My lucid dreaming journey

Postby blazing » 25 Aug 2012 02:39

Nice Story I'm Testing this tonight

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Night 4

Postby Kal » 25 Aug 2012 12:22

Good luck! :)

Reality checks
I looked at my palms a lot throughout yesterday. The only strong emotion I felt yesterday was when I was upset for a moment in the morning, as my illness was causing me a lot of pain. Unfortunately, I didn't remember to look at my hand - but the pain was actually in my hand so I ended up looking at it anyway! I'm not sure that counts, because I wasn't checking my reality at the time - just thinking "Argh, this hurts!" :)

I had a little go at meditation in the evening, before I got tired. I couldn't get comfortable (again because I was ill) and I had a few interruptions, so I didn't get very far. But I quite liked doing it, and I noticed that I am better than I realize at becoming still. So when I find the right moment to meditate, hopefully it will go well.

Falling asleep
Last night I practised remaining still and tried to think through some dream scenarios, but my mind was foggy again and I couldn't stick to one idea. I think I will decide on a dream scenario today while I am awake, for me to use tonight. That way I don't have to make any decisions in my sleepy state, I can just imagine it and let go.

I had at least three dreams, all with a lot of feeling in them. I woke up after Dream 1, but was not awake long enough to write it down. When I woke up after Dream 2, I wrote it in my book immediately. And when I woke up for good after Dream 3, I wrote that down immediately too, and drew a picture.

My dream recall is definitely getting better. This time I remembered quite a bit about Dream 1: I remembered at least two characters, how I felt, and roughly what the room looked like and what I was doing. That's pretty good compared to the previous night, where all I could remember of Dream 1 was the topic. It must have been easier this time because I wasn't trying to remember so many other dreams at once.

Recollection of Dreams 2 and 3 was excellent. For both of them I remembered the plot, and the plots still make a loose kind of sense to me now. I also remembered pretty much every dream character, the layout, the approximate time, some objects in the rooms, my feelings and motivations, and how others were feeling too.

Another change of role
It happened again - in Dream 2, I changed into a different person near the end. There was still a part of me in there, but now I was a young male writer. I quite like this new feature of my dreams! It makes them feel less ego-based and more like a creative exercise.

Dream signs
There were several things in my dreams that were different from reality and should have signalled to me that I was dreaming:

  • In Dream 1, I was with people that I haven't seen for about two months.
  • In Dream 2, some of my family had different jobs and were different ages.
  • In Dream 3, the locations were connected together strangely, and there was a famous musician in the house.
Close ups
There were a couple of incidences last night where I looked more closely at objects, and I might have come close to realising I was dreaming:

  • In Dream 2, my family and I were all staying in a hotel. I was reading a page on Wikipedia about my young niece. I remember wondering why a page would exist about her on Wikipedia - she is just a 5 year old girl. When I looked again, it turned into a hotel wiki, and the page was telling the hotel staff about how to look after my niece and any special behavioural / medical needs and so on. This incident makes me laugh, because I think I could have become lucid here, but my brain changed the page at the last second to make it appear logical. Sneaky brain! One day I will catch you out :)
  • Also in Dream 2, when I had become the young male writer, I was locking myself in an old, dark bathroom. I had to get close to the lock to bolt it shut. It was a long, thin, silver lock, and I realized this morning that it was just a vertical version of one of the locks on my real-life front door. Perhaps if I hadn't been in such a hurry, I would have noticed?
  • In Dream 3, I was looking at a bedroom wall which was covered in posters of a certain band. I was looking at these posters close up, and they were definitely, definitely not quite right - they were blurry and contorted. I think my brain was conjuring up the loose idea of the band's pose for each photo, rather than the minute detail. Now here's the thing: I don't know if I realized in the dream that the posters weren't quite right, or if I realized it upon reflection afterwards, as I wrote it down. Something tells me that I noticed in the dream, but it didn't matter to me. It didn't signal to me that I was dreaming. I wonder why that is?
I guess noticing these little things is a good first step. I'm sure one of them will trigger lucidity eventually.

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Night 4

Postby Kal » 26 Aug 2012 10:44

Reality checks
I kept looking at my hands and occasionally questioning reality, but overall I think I didn't try as hard with my reality checks yesterday. Before bed, I watched a film which happened to be quite heavily based around the blurry line between dream and reality, so at least that got me thinking a little bit. :)

Falling asleep
My surroundings were fairly noisy last night, so it was difficult to concentrate on lucid dreaming. I can fall asleep easily in a noisy environment, but I find it hard to focus in one. I think I will have to make the most of the quiet times I have during the day.

I had four interesting dreams. Again, Dream 1 mostly eluded me, because I didn't write it down straight away. Still, I managed to retain a few details about it - two characters, one scene, and one important plot object.

Dream 2 was the longest and I remembered a lot about it. At first I thought it was a few separate dreams, but on reflection afterwards I remember that it all seemed to flow together, in its own illogical way. Dreams 3 and 4 were a little shorter, but had quite a bit of detail.

New dream features
I think there were one or two new scenes in my dreams. Usually the layouts of my dream scenes are borrowed from reality, but there were two places that I can't recognise yet. One was outdoors, among some pillars or bridges. The other was in a small, dark room, possibly with a stage in the corner.

Dream signs
There were a heck of a lot of dream signs that should have told me I was dreaming.
  • The famous musician from last night's dream was here again. Maybe he's visiting so regularly that I just feel his presence is normal! ;)
  • I dreamed that I had known the musician in secondary school - but I was also wondering why I didn't have any memories of him and why I couldn't remember if I ever spoke to him much or not. I definitely got close to realizing, there!
  • An English man changed into a Chinese lady. I don't even know when it happened.
  • There was an enormous flood outside my home and I wasn't bothered. I had complete faith that it would be fixed.
  • My home was on the wrong street. Everything looked completely different when I walked outside.
  • I am quite sure that a couple of people changed into a tiger and a panda.
  • I randomly ate a thin strip of meat just to see how my vegetarian sister would react. In real life I don't eat meat either.

Close ups
Again there were a couple of times when some messed-up details nearly gave themselves away.
  • I dreamed that the above-mentioned musician's email address was his name, followed by [email protected] The email address suggested that he was born in '77, whereas everyone in my real school year was born in '85 or '86. This could have opened my eyes.
  • I was looking at a postbox which said that its last post was collected at 9.25pm. This was surprisingly late (in my country the last collection time is usually around 6pm) so I pointed it out to my boyfriend, because it might be useful. When he came to look with me, the postbox now said 5.45pm. Sneaky brain trying to cover its tracks again!

I'm pleased that my dream recall is improving fast. I just hope for an increase in vividness soon. Perhaps sketching more pictures will help with this. Also, I must get more disciplined about writing down that elusive first dream every night.

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Night 5

Postby Kal » 27 Aug 2012 13:29

Reality checks
Yesterday was a really fun but tiring day, with several unusual moments - so it was a good day to do reality checks. I did them as often as I could remember - about 7 to 10 of them. I have been getting into the habit of rubbing my hands together in the hope that I will remember to do it when I have a lucid dream. If nothing else, it makes me look like I'm always hatching a dastardly plan.

Falling asleep
Since yesterday was so physically exhausting, I fell asleep even faster than usual last night. I tried an exercise that Lavendula mentioned to quiet my mind - counting backwards from 99. I think at around 50, my random sleepy thoughts started to take over, and I had one of those mini-dreams you get while you're still falling asleep. Then I realized it wasn't real and became alert again. I hesitate to call it a lucid dream, because I wasn't quite asleep. Also, I don't know what happened first - me waking up or me realizing I was imagining/dreaming. Regardless, I at least know that this is a method I can use in the future. :)

I had 4 to 5 dreams last night (one of them may have been part of another dream, but I'm not sure). I was so tired that I didn't wake up once during the night. This meant that I had to write all my dreams down in one go this morning, so my dream recall didn't feel quite as clear as previous nights. In fact, when I first woke up I thought I hadn't dreamed at all - then they all came flooding back to me.

New dream features
It's a little hard for me to remember but I will try my best.
  • New places. In one dream there was a corridor I don't recognise at all. In another dream there was an entire house which I don't recognise either. I was in at least three rooms of the house and not one part of the building is familiar to me. This is a good sign, I think.
  • Several new characters. I only remember them vaguely but there were at least five.
  • Change of role. In my final dream, I was a murderer, working for the government in some way. I am quite sure I was a middle aged male. I seem to enjoy being male lately!
Dream signs
There were a few things that could have given away the dreams. Unfortunately I don't think I ever got up close to look at any details of scenes etc.
  • Several pop stars made an appearance.
  • My friend lived in a huge, lavish home. His bathroom was adorned with gold fixtures and marble.
  • I saw a couple of people I haven't seen for about 10 years.
  • I had murdered an Indian diplomat, a well known wrestler, and maybe Phil Collins. In reality, these people are still alive (or were made up, in the case of the diplomat). I don't know if I was awake when I realized this. I remember it gradually dawning on me and feeling a huge sense of relief. I wish I could remember if I was awake at this point, but I just don't know. I will remember the feeling. It was like a kind of enlightenment.

So there we have it. Not the best night for dream recall as I was absolutely shattered, but the important thing is that I'm getting into the right habits. Before, I would have just let all these dreams fade from my mind upon waking. Now, I'm writing them down and analyzing them, which can only lead to more dreams.

I have to admit, I'm itching to have a lucid dream already. But I will try to just enjoy the process. Normal dreams can be interesting and illuminating too - I must remember that.

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