A guide to Lucid Dreams by Isabelle Gannon
For most of us, dreams are something we experience passively, completely oblivious the fact that we are dreaming. A lucid dream is a dream in which you are fully conscious and aware that you are dreaming, from this place of awareness the possibilities of exploring the dream world and other dimensions are endless.
There are different stages of lucid dreaming and most people will have at least one lucid dreaming experience during a lifetime. Lucid dreaming is a powerful tool that can be used in a multitude of ways to enrich ones experience both in the dream state and in waking life. Becoming lucid within a dream gives you full control in the dream. Things like flying, telepathy and 360° viewpoint are all possible; whatever you desire, if you can think of it then you can do it. The only limit is your imagination…
How to have a lucid dream
The first step in lucid dreaming is to draw awareness into the dreaming aspect of your life through dream recall. Here are some tips to aid dream recall and increase awareness within dreams:
- First thing in the morning when you wake up, keep your eyes closed and spend five to ten minutes relaxing and trying to remember any dreams or dream images. Keeping the eyes closed helps to maintain the connection with your subconscious/unconscious mind.
- Keep a dream journal. The most efficient way to do this is to keep a notepad beside your bed to note down your dreams first thing in the morning or during the night when you wake up, a few key events or words is all that is needed. Later in the day when you have more time, sit down and write about your dream in a journal. It may seem tedious but it’s worth it, write down anything and everything you can remember, the more details the better as here we are training our conscious mind to pay attention and become more focused in the dream state. This is a great practice, I also really love to look back and decipher dream meanings and look up any significant symbolism.
- Before you go to sleep read a book or article on lucid dreaming. Whatever focus our attention is on before drifting off to sleep, we often carry with us into the dream space. For this reason it is good to be aware of what images or information you expose yourself to as it all sinks in…
- Empty the mind. Clear out the mind of all the useless chatter and to do lists to create space for dreams related to something other than your daily life (if you want to). Do this by journaling or free writing for 15 minutes before you go to sleep, alternatively you can meditate, I also find meditating in the mornings is also extremely useful for dream recall.
- Before going to sleep repeat out load or in silence “I will remember my dreams, tonight I will wake up in my dream” set the intention, say the mantra.
- Focus exercises. Light a candle and gently stare at the flame, holding your gaze without blinking for as long as possible, close the eyes and focus on the point of light where the candle was until it fades away, then repeat (trataka).
- Write down all dream triggers and cues in your dream journal each night, a dream cue is an activity or event that is only possible in dreamland and can be used as a trigger to become lucid. For example, I once had a vivid dream where I was standing on the beach and watching the moon, it was nighttime and it was a beautiful full moon. This full moon was a trigger for me to become lucid, as I knew in waking life it was a new moon. A typical cue is flying, by consciously noting all dream cues you increase the chances of it triggering lucidity within the dream.
- Reality checks. Throughout the day consistently check in with yourself and your surroundings, really feel into your body and observe your surroundings, are you dreaming? Why not? Look for dream cues, notice if your feet are on the ground (in a dream you will hover) check the time (time space reality is different in dreams) or take a really good hard look at the palm of your hand…they look quite different in a dream, and the list goes on! Get into the habit of questioning your reality!
- Put “Am I dreaming?” notes and reminders around the house or on your phone so that you can get into the habit of reality checks. Most people say that constant daily reality checks are the most helpful tool when practicing lucid dreaming.
Waking up in a dream
The dream cues worked and you are lucid, completely aware in the middle of a dream, now what do you do?
- The most important thing is to stay calm, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve become lucid and started to fly in a dream when I get so excited that I wake myself up. It’s probably going to happen a few times but always try to remember to remain calm and chill, too much excitement or fear will bring you back to waking life in a flash.
- Do literally anything you want
- If you are having trouble staying where you are in a dream then focus on one point to keep you anchored there.
- To return back to bed in your body just think about it.
- If you wake up with sleep paralysis this is a great opportunity to lucid dream, just think of a far away place or dream scene and stay focused on it until you get there
- If you are someone like me that feels overwhelmed by too many choices and don’t know what to do once you’re lucid in a dream, I recommend flying, fly until something grabs your attention and then go check it out!
Lucid dreaming is a pretty amazing phenomenon; it has the potential to expand your consciousness, question reality and push the boundaries of your mind’s understanding of time and space. It is a valuable tool that can be used in many beneficial ways. Everyone is different and some practices may be more helpful than others when learning how to lucid dream. Personally I find that my meditation practice has a huge effect on my dreaming, doing things to clear my mind and cleanse my energy field before I go to sleep such as yoga, chakra clearing and exercises, journaling or a nice long bath make a big difference for me. Try the suggested tips and exercises and find what works best for you, it is not necessary to do all of the listed practices in order to have a lucid dream.
In my experience lucid dreaming is not something that can be forced, it happens when you are ready and open to it, for most people this is a gradual process so I encourage you to take an interest in your dreams, do the exercises, research any tips and tricks and be patient with the process. It will be worth the wait!
***A few extra tips…
Mugwort is an amazing herb to increase dream lucidity; I personally find that when I use mugwort my dreams have a different visual quality to them (which I enjoy). I like to smoke it in a herbal mix of yerba santa, mullein, mugwort, chamomile, rose and lavender. If you prefer you can make a tea or even put some in a pouch under your pillow. Check the Cosmic Pineapple mugwort feature here.
Vitamin B6- also aids in dream recall and lucidity, you can take a B6 or multi B vitamin supplement.
A good website to help you to decode your dreams is: http://www.dreammoods.com/
This post was written by Isabelle Gannon