What is lucid dreaming?
Only the coolest thing ever. It’s when you’re sleeping and realize that you’re in a dream, allowing you to become conscious and take full control. You can fly around, make things appear or disappear, shoot laser beams out your eyes and pretty much anything else you can imagine. It’s like a highly advanced virtual reality helmet that you have access to every single night.
Lucid Dreaming has been practiced for thousands of years by many different civilizations like the Egyptians and Tibetan Monks.
I first heard about lucid dreaming when I was around 12 or 13. I’ve always been fascinated by dreams so I was just google searching dream-related queries and I ended up finding an article on lucid dreaming. As a child, I remember having very vivid dreams, many that were lucid.
But as I got older and my mind started focusing on other things like school, social life, or the SAT’s. My imagination weakened, mind fogged and I stopped having dreams. I just assumed dreams go away as you get older. Turns out that’s not the case, it’s just a side effect of the modern way of life.
Imagine my excitement when I learned that lucid dreaming is an actual phenomenon people experience that can be developed and practiced and has been by various civilizations for thousands of years.
But, I don’t have dreams…
Every single person has dreams. You don’t always remember them, but you do have dreams. You may have had a lucid dream when you were younger by accident. Kids are more creative and imaginative. Their minds haven’t been fogged up by stress, bills, jobs, math, etc. so their dreams are more vivid and magical. When you’re dreaming, whatever you think of manifests physically.
If you’re a very pessimistic person, constantly thinking negative thoughts, your dreams will reflect that. Perhaps that’s why you don’t remember your dreams. Because you’re being chased by a scary monster all night so your brain suppresses the memory. That’s why so many people nowadays wake up exhausted and tired. People are not sleeping properly. They’re stressing even while they’re asleep.
If you’re over-stimulated and constantly consuming media, like so many of us today are, you’ll have all these different thoughts floating around. Whatever you see on television or on your Facebook feed leaves an imprint on your mind. You can browse Instagram for 10 minutes and be exposed to hundreds of photos of all types of things from all around the world. It’s hard to control your thoughts when there’s so much to organize. That’s another reason many people don’t remember their dreams; there’s too much extra noise. Their dreams are more like a bunch of a random, unorganized snippets rather than a complete story. It’s hard to remember a dream when there’s no flow to it.
How To Begin Lucid Dreaming
There are 3 main skills you should develop for lucid dreaming:
1) Dream Recall
In order to lucid dream, you need to be able to remember your dreams. Keeping a dream journal next to your bed is the best way to improve dream recall. When you wake up, grab the pen and try to write down anything you remember. Even if its just a couple words or a name of someone you saw in your dream or a location, whatever. If you wake up and can’t remember anything, grab the pen, open your book and just wait. Many times I’ll lay there for a few seconds and suddenly I’ll begin to remember more and more of my dream.
Something pretty amazing happens when you start doing this. Your brain begins to realize that this is something important to you, and so it’ll put in more of an effort to remember your dreams and they will be more vivid
After some time, when you have a bunch of dream journal entries, you can begin looking for reoccurring patterns in your dreams. Symbols, people or locations that consistently show up in your dreams. This’ll make it much easier to identifying and remembering your dreams as well as going lucid. These reoccurring patterns can also teach you a lot about yourself.
2) Reality Checks
The issue most people have with lucid dreaming is realizing that they’re dreaming because it can feel so real at times. Throughout the day, check to see if you’re dreaming or not. There’s a bunch of different methods.
What I do is stare at my hands, look away and then look back at them. If you’re awake, your hands will look normal. If you’re asleep, they’ll look distorted and you may have more or less fingers. Another method is to look at the time, look away and look at it again. If the time warps, you’re probably dreaming.
You can also attempt to float away or fly throughout the day. Just imagine there’s no gravity and you’re drifting off. Make these into a habit and they’ll transfer over to your dreams. One day while dreaming, you may notice your hand is abnormally large or you may start floating and you’ll know that you’re in a dream allowing you take control and fly around.
3) Controlling Your Dream
Being able to control your mind is key to controlling your dreams. If you have no mental control you’ll get too excited and wake up once you realize you’re dreaming. Or, you may not have enough control to perform a reality check so you never get the chance to go lucid. You should practice mental strength not just for your dreams but also to be a better, stronger person and achieve your real life goals.
Be mindful of what you consume physically AND mentally. If your mind is filled with noise, it’s not going to perform optimally. Pick up a creative hobby and make a habit of meditating daily so that your mental strength and imagination improves.
Patience is very important when it comes to lucid dreaming. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up but keep at it. Keep writing down your dreams, doing reality checks and learning to control your mind and you’ll get it. Some people may have a lucid dream tonight, now that they know they can. Others may take a little longer.
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