For a large span of our lives we have considered dreams to be nothing more than uncontrollable and often forgotten experiences that are shaped depending on things like: our current mood, what we ate prior to sleeping, and other real world experiences. While to an extent this is true, we may also achieve lucidity in our dreams by sheer willpower alone; and with the achievement of lucidity within our dreams, we are able to remember and control our dreams at will. If we do not possess the ability to lucidly dream, our dreams will often be forgotten, and completely uncontrollable. The challenge therein is of course: achieving lucidity. Over the course of several weeks, I will attempt to achieve lucidity by keeping a constantly updated dream journal, and by performing several techniques that are known to hasten the achievement of lucidity.
By using techniques that have been documented and developed over time, we may dramatically reduce the amount of energy required to achieve lucidity within our dreams. One of the most basic techniques being this: keep a dream journal. A dream journal is simply a log of what we experience within our dreams. If we're just beginning, it will most likely be counter-intuitive for us to think about a dream, since we've spent the whole night focusing on it subconsciously. Something that I had to keep in mind was that by doing something as simple as moving after waking up, our brains have already begun to stray away from wanting to focus on a recent dream and have instead shifted focus to figuring out what needs to be done to get the day started; to counteract this, we need only to stay motionless after we wake. By successfully keeping a dream journal we begin to remember more of our dreams; and as we remember more of our dreams, we are able to identify any distinctions from reality that may occur within our dreams.
Certain things in the dream world are slightly, or even drastically different than what they are like in real life; some common differences are: sprouting additional fingers or additional toes, looking into a mirror and seeing a reflection based on our mood rather than our physical being, and being able to breathe even while we hold our breath. When we're able to identify reoccurring distinctions from reality that occur within our dreams, we gain access to a new technique: reality checks. Reality checks are real world actions that are performed multiple times a day in order to condition the mind to automatically perform them while dreaming. A reality check may be something as simple as counting our fingers, counting our toes, looking at our reflection, or holding our breath. Though they are very customizable, the function of a reality check goes beyond the simple action of repeating them; in order to fully utilize a reality check, we need to question that we might be within a dream at the moment it's performed; that way, while dreaming, we begin to use them as frequently as we do in real life. If a reality check succeeds while in a dream, we immediately achieve lucidity within that dream. Before I had begun to write down any of my dreams, the only way I had remembered them was to see an object, or scene involved in the dream. For instance, if I dreamt about walking alongside a lake on a rainy night while the full moon pierced through a distant parting in the clouds, I would begin to recall small parts of the dream if I saw the full moon in real life. Reality checks have not helped me in achieving full blown lucidity yet, however, they have helped me to achieve a kind of in-between state; it's a state where I'm aware that I'm dreaming, yet unable to control my actions without waking up.
With my achievement of pseudo lucidity, I felt better prepared to master a more advanced technique: WILD. W.I.L.D stands for Wake Induced Lucid Dream, and is a technique in which we seamlessly enter the lucid dream state from a waking state. In order to perform a WILD, we need to lay down, in a comfortable sleeping position, and close our eyes for as long as it takes our bodies to think we are asleep. There are two ways we can perform WILD, during the middle of the night(right after dreaming), or right before a nap. I chose to do the former. To WILD efficiently, I had to wake up just before my REM (Rapid eye movement) cycle occurred. In order to do that, I had to first find out when my REM cycles occurred.
Before I had begun to attempt to achieve lucidity I was very sleep deprived, at most getting 5 hours of sleep each night. People who are sleep deprived often enter the REM cycle of sleep quicker than those who aren’t, as the REM cycle of sleep is when our bodies are getting the most rest. REM cycles usually occur from one to three and a half hours after falling asleep if our sleep schedule is normal(8-9 hours~) so I set my first alarm clock to wake me up twenty minutes after I went to bed; that way it would wake me up just before my hastened REM cycle occurred. I lay down, and went to sleep immediately. Exactly twenty minutes later I was awoken by the shrill ringing of my alarm clock. I got up, turned off the alarm, and went back to bed. This time, with my eyes closed, I didn't move a single muscle in my body. After about thirty minutes of resisting the urge to move, I began to feel a very peculiar wave motion. It was a feeling comparable to flying through a nebula at a very high speed. My eyes also started moving extremely rapidly, as if I were painting a vivid image with them. I realized that I was entering the REM cycle sooner than I expected. I also realized that I could not move my body, and had entered sleep paralysis. I was transitioning, it was happening. I knew I could enter the lucid dream state if I wanted, but I also wanted to experience sleep paralysis.
I had heard about it on several forums while browsing how to efficiently WILD. For most people sleep paralysis is an incredible experience. Sleep paralysis naturally occurs when we are asleep. Our mind freezes our body in order to not incur bodily harm during sleep cycles. During this moment, our mind and body both believe that we are asleep, and vivid, dreamlike images begin to form in our mind's eye. Opening our eyes during sleep paralysis is often a horrifying ordeal, as reality will be distorted, and several hypnagogic hallucinations will be visual. I eagerly opened my eyes, and was displeased to discover my blanket was covering my eyes. Then I felt an extremely ominous presence just a few feet away from me. It shambled closer and closer to me, all with a disgustingly malevolent intent that grew and grew with each terrifying step. I tried to move, I tried to blink, I tried to do anything to leave my paralytic state. Nothing worked. Within eight seconds the towering psychic horror was right next to me, looming over my bed, taunting me with its presence. My eyes widened with the most primordial and colossal feeling of fear I have ever experienced. Then, when the horror was but mere inches from my face, I could move again. The state had ended. I removed the blanket from my face. There was nothing there. I smiled. I didn’t regret straying from my path at all. The next day I attempted WILD again, and although I was tempted to, did not open my eyes again. The feeling of drifting through a nebula intensified; I teetered on the edge of consciousness, and I struggled not to fall asleep. I focused deeply, and stabilized my mind. After what felt like hours of internal struggle, the feeling of drifting through a nebula coalesced, and I began my first lucid dream.
I appeared in the middle of a desert. And after wondering for ages how I got there, I remembered that I was inside of a dream. Then I realized that I was aware I was within a dream. I began to get excited at my success, and felt myself going back to reality. I recalled from my research that often times during our first lucid dream, excitement can cause the state to end prematurely; and a quick fix this issue, was to spin in circles. I began to twist clockwise, and the desert around me turned into a blob of colors. It was reminiscent of a splatter painting. Seconds later, the colors blended back together into an image my brain understood, and that image was of a massive field that seemed to span on forever. At the center of the field was a hill, and on top of that hill was an extraordinarily large tree.
I recognized this scene. I ran to the tree, and after what felt like days, finally reached it. I looked to the branches of the gargantuan tree, and saw billions of infinitesimal, green eyes looking back at me. I flung my arms around the tree, and was enveloped in a cascade of shadows. Not long after, I woke up.
- Lets us know what lucid dreaming is.
- A film about lucid dreaming.
- An in depth guide on how to lucid dream. Covers all techniques.
A deep explanation of lucid dreaming. Statistics on lucid dreams, multiple guides on how to prolong our dreams,
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