Updated: Oct 29, 2019
. . . LUCID DREAMING 8 techniques to master your dreams . . .
~ Journey to your inner witness ~
WHAT IS LUCID DREAMING?
A lucid dream is when you wake up to the fact that you’re dreaming but you still remain in the dream. Meaning, you're dreaming and you know it. It is in this magical instant of awakening that everything changes. The conscious mind is winding down and the subconscious mind is activating, creating a bridge, and you're standing in the middle. A moment ago your conscious mind, in control, was aware that it was laying on a soft pillow about to go to sleep. Suddenly, a numinous world of possibilities beyond your conscious understanding presents itself, aka the dream world. Instead of being driven away by the abnormal constructs of a dream, you’re THERE, present and awake, somewhat like your normal day-to-day reality. This is a powerful moment where you can literally take full control of the dream and create anything you want.
DREAMS REVEAL our UNCONSCIOUS MIND
Dreams reveal our deepest unconscious tendencies as any psychoanalyst or dream interpreter can attest. Ongoing symbolism and patterning hold deep truths about the nature of our personality and natural intuitive gifts, providing great insight into our purpose and beyond. When we shift and have the subconscious mind in the forefront, we become what is usually referred to as “the witness.” A term usually referring to a part of our consciousness that neutrally observes the minds’ constructs. This tends to be a highly insightful experience as it accesses deep parts of our psyche.
Tibetan Buddhists and yogis have been adept and aware of lucid dreaming for centuries. It has been classically referred to as “Dream Yoga”. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is believed that the coarsest state of consciousness, the one with the least potential for spiritual development, is our ordinary waking state. The dream state is the one with most potential but, if we fail to recognize the dream state for what it is, we inevitably mistake it for the waking state and proceed through the dream in the state of delusion (as in waking life). Tibetan dream yoga practices, along with other Native American and South American shamanic practices, all integrate similar elements within dreamwork. The common thread is that they see them as platforms of total manifestation, a way to heal oneself, access boundless creativity, and receive highly insightful information “from the Gods” or our highest self.
This sounds amazing right? But here’s the thing.
If one of these techniques works immediately for you, don't get excited! It'll wake you up and out of the dream back into waking life. Remain calm and act as if you've done this a million times. Start projecting ideas and manifestations of any kind right as you remember that you are dreaming.
Below are classic beginner to advanced techniques within the more modern practices of lucid dreaming that naturally integrate more ancient techniques, such as those of dream yoga.
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Top 8 Western LUCID DREAMING Techniques . . .Techniques like the ones below, if practised diligently, will eventually enable you to engage in lucid dreaming frequently or whenever you want. Therefore, to extend or stabilize lucid dreams requires that you 1. keep the dream going and not wake up and 2. maintain lucidity (don’t fall into ordinary, non-lucid dreaming). Once you're able to maintain a lucid dream for a few seconds, you may notice the dream scenario begins to break up. The images lose their sharpness and cohesiveness. There are a number of techniques you can apply via your “dream body” to stimulate your senses and revive the integrity of dream contents. Techniques derived from meditation for creating a vividness of consciousness can also be applied to your dreams to enhance their intensity.
1. THE POWER OF MOTIVATION. Making positive affirmations throughout the day in regards to lucid dreaming can generate significant accomplishment. This not only reminds the mind about your dreams, but this also helps you access your intention with precision. Let’s say your intention is to see an aspect about your future — state in your mind throughout the day “I want to see my future tonight”. Say it out-loud and say it often throughout the day. Some folks at the beginning even set a timer on their phone, every 2-3hrs to do a check-in about that nights’ intention.
2. PROSPECTIVE MEMORY. Planning ahead and imagining an outcome during the day. For example, imagine becoming lucid in the dream. Imagine you’re in the Avatar movie yourself, and the sensorial difference that world would be compared to your current waking life. Try programming your mind on noting the subtle and obvious differences of that sensorial experience in particular. What does that feel like? What does that look like for you? Go into what that feeling might be, and imagine yourself immersed in it, receiving what you intended to receive.
3. NOTING DREAM SIGNS. Set small symbolic moments to become moments where you tap into the dream. A classic one is to look at your hands. For some reason, when you look down in a dream the veil is slim enough that it’s an easy reminder that you're dreaming. A classic tool of having the intention of looking at your hands (or feet) is an instant recall that you're dreaming. It’s helpful to set it in your mind that every time you look at your hands or feet, you’ll repeat “I’m dreaming” or “this is a dream.” Every time you become successful at a dream sign (whether it was a pre-planned or spontaneous one), write it down the next day in your dream journal.
4. PERFORMING STATE CHECKS. Throughout the day, ask yourself “am I dreaming?” This is very helpful as sooner or later you’ll be asking yourself the same question in the dream. If you happen to ask yourself if you're dreaming whilst in your dream, don't double think it, and just go for whatever you'd like to do. For example, try to fly or look at your hands, or jump off a cliff to see what happens (this might be a hard one if you're a true beginner) — this will help you open the lock and just set your intention into immediate play.
5. MILD > MNEMONIC INDUCTION OF LUCID DREAMS. When you become skilled at remembering your dreams, you will begin to easily notice oddities and anomalies — things that are so bizarre, it’s surprising you don't even question them as you dream along. Anomalies ranging from flying elephants or green sunsets to the appearance of deceased relatives, to being inhabited by fantastic creatures, occur in most people’s dreams but, our normal dream state, dominated by dullness, prevents us from questioning them. This helps awaken our critical reflective attitude in dreams and trains your mind to see oddities as a trigger to know you’re dreaming.
6. DILD > DREAM-INITIATED LUCID DREAMS. One variation on this is to use an alarm clock to awaken yourself periodically during the night. This involves setting up an alarm to wake up, and putting yourself back into sleep with an awareness that you're going back into the dream. I recommend folks setting their alarm at 3 or 4 am, as usually the last 2 hours of sleep are the easiest to enter lucid dreaming (This goes for the DILD and WILD techniques).
7. WILD > WAKE-INITIATED LUCID DREAMS. Wakening in the night, reading a bit and falling back asleep and re-entering lucid sleep. Another version of this practice is to follow the hypnagogic imagery that often appears as we fall asleep. These images range from partial dreamlike scenes to elaborate geometric patterns. They are very subtle and require relaxation and sensitivity to perceive but if you can maintain gentle attention on them once you see them, you can fall asleep consciously and experience both dreams and non-REM* (rapid eye movement) lucid sleep.
8. RECONSTRUCTING FADING DREAMS. This technique involves spinning your dream body, vertically or horizontally, and giving yourself an energetic rub-down. This one is a bit more of an advanced practice, yet once you're in the groove, it is excellent to shift gears within the dream — One of my all time favorites. Stay tuned for a more advanced review on how to enter the second level of dreaming!
Approach this practice as a dream laboratory where you're exploring your mind. Enter it without expectations and create the practice around it to program the mind. This practice engages with the most intimate aspect of our own story- to the collective matrix that encompasses everyone’s mind. Lucid dreaming is a remarkable tool to access the deepest constructs of reality that enable powerful healing to mind and body. This practice can allow you to explore your fears, neuroses, psychological obstacles, insecurities, and so forth. Even unfinished business with a deceased relative can be reenacted in a lucid dream because in the dream space you can bring that person (as you conceive of or remember that person) back to life. In the process of such explorations, you can learn new things about yourself (to say the least.) Try practicing this daily, but don’t lose enthusiasm if you don’t see results fast. One day you’ll be pleasantly surprised that the experience arrives when you least expect it.
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