Lesson 7 – Becoming Lucid
So how do we become lucid? As outlined previously it’s a combination of the Reality Generator buzzing and our critical function coming online at the same time. The oddness of dreams means the meeting of an experience and expectation that are going to be out of sync is almost inevitable and so long as the mindset is adequately critical in nature, the conscious awareness will be called into action to investigate.
This literally means the mind wakes up while the body stays asleep. We refer to this hybrid state of consciousness as Mind Awake Body Asleep (MABA).
This is somewhat of a mental tightrope act in that if we are over stimulated, the conscious brain activity will wake us up. Conversely, too little stimulation will trigger no response so a lucid dream is a veritable balancing act. Many martial artists will already have some understanding of this through their own training.
On this subject, I would say that this state of mind is also available through another number of avenues. Meditation is a good way of guiding the body into this state and I would encourage anyone to explore this balanced state of mind as an exercise prior to engaging it in dream state. As a means to help stabilise the lucid dream state this is a worth while venture.
To enter this state, I myself use meditation as well as sound technology, which we will explore later. I also recommend trying weekly floatation tank sessions. These are sensory deprivation centres that are becoming increasingly more popular for entering deep states of relaxation. The body is deeply relaxed, while the conscious mind is gently stimulated above the sleep threshold as you simply float in a tank of salt balanced water.
In order to achieve this state of lucidity we need to consider that unlike waking life we do not have our conscious minds to make the connection between our dreaming minds and the dream event to become lucid. Our subconscious minds ultimately make this connection and as we discussed previously we need to create a state of alertness in the dreaming mind so as to stimulate the critical faculties as much as possible to recognise that we are dreaming.
One of the most important requirements for this state is good dream recall. As previously discussed, memory of dreams is seriously limited and as such we need to stimulate our mental faculties to become more aware of dream events and stimulate the subconscious mind to take our dreams seriously and be more alert during dreaming.
The pushing of memory into the dream event stimulates the critical mindset that we need to become lucid. This can be enough of a trigger to stimulate a lucid event for some people, though when combined with specific inductions to really peak the memory process, the chances of achieving lucidity are greatly increased.
No matter how clear your dreams may seem upon waking during the night, you’ll have almost forgotten them completely by the time you again awake in the morning.
A dream diary is the most common way of recording your dreams. A dream diary is a journal, kept beside your bed for recording and analysing your dreams. This is an essential tool so respect it and enjoy it.
By writing in a dream journal/diary, you are literally turning your dreams inside out, dragging them through a waking conscious mind to analyse. This has the effect of cementing the dreams in your memory, thereby familiarising you with your dreams. Furthermore, it has the effect of letting the subconscious mind know that dreams are important.
A final duty of the dream journal is to help identify your own personal dream signs.
When journaling, note anything strange, anything that wouldn’t normally happen in the waking world. If you find these strange events recur in your dreams, then they are your personal dream signs. These can broadly be defined as
Form – this is anything that seems physically odd, for example a purple cow.
Context – this is anything or anyone, that seems out of place. For example, Einstein is in your living room.
Inner Awareness – anything that feels strange. For example emotions can run pretty wild in dreams, so uncontrollable laughing or shouting could be a dream oddity.
Action – any action that seems odd. For example, flying car
To use the journal, it is best to start practicing at night to catch a dream or two and first thing in the morning too. The idea is to learn to catch 2 or 3 dreams a night. Spend some time practicing this, even if it is a bit of a task at first.
In time you can gradually reduce this to one a night and eventually, only the interesting dreams need to be recorded. It really is a very important activity to continue, even for experienced lucid dreamers, as it constantly reminds the subconscious of the relevance of dreams.
Upon waking, don’t allow your mind to drift — immediately attempt to focus on what you had just been dreaming, and write it down in your dream journal. Contemplate what you just experienced and attempt to put events in order. Often reliving the dream backwards will help: after remembering an event, ask yourself, “What was I doing before that?”
Although it is best to record absolutely everything you can, realistically you may not want to reiterate the epic novel that is your dream at 4:00 a.m.; instead, write down key points, such as what you were doing, where you were, and who was around you. This can be fleshed out later. A pen with a built in light on it can be a great asset to make night time notes.
Always write in present tense as this allows the mind to connect with the event more intimately.
I now practice by simply waking up 10 minutes before getting out of bed. After turning off my alarm, reality checking and lying down in the same position again, I recall my dream and recycle it in my mind a few times before getting up.
This activity normally gives me enough recall to get up and write up my dream at a morning break or lunch time.
After writing up the journal, it is a good idea to do a brief analysis of the dream to make some notes. I recommend writing the narrative of the dream on the right hand page and the notes on the left.
Making a title for the dream is a good exercise and can be fun. Date the dream and note whether it was lucid or not. Follow the outline below for some details.
Furthermore, I would recommend making a list of your most frequent dream signs at the back of the journal as well as a list of your ongoing missions, you intend to achieve in Dream World. You can tick these off and date them as you do as an exercise. I personally like to bookend my missions by writing down the mission at the start of the night in a 3 step action, for example
12 th April Mission
Assume meditative position
Form an energy ball in my hands
Fire the energy ball
I then will write up event in my diary afterwards e.g.
When lucid, I assume the meditative position and am forming the energy ball in my hands. It is blue and I can feel it sparking in my fingers. It is glowing brilliant light and making a slight buzzing sound. I fire it and it explodes into a beautiful splash of light.
Dream Diary Design
A list of your dream signs from the narrative is written here. I score them a 0, if I didn’t pay any attention to them and a 1 if I noticed something odd about the event, but did not become lucid. Keeping a score here can be a simple but effective exercise
Apart from your audiovisual memories, record any physical touches, tastes or smells you can recall. These are a little more rare in dreams our awareness is low
Record any thoughts you remember having about events. This exercise can be a great way to stimulate your thinking, critical mind to come on line in dreams
Making a personal comment on your progress and insight is a good exercise
The dream narrative is written here, putting in as much detail as you can recall
Always write in present tense
All dream signs should be marked here with a * symbol and then drawn up on the list, opposite after