I’m on the boardwalk. I look up at the sun and realize that not only am I looking directly into it, but that it is far too large. I realize that I’m dreaming and become lucid. The first thing I do is adjust the size of the sun with my hands. I make it super big and everything becomes very hot and then I make it very small. Finally, I adjust it to normal size. In another part of the sky, I see storm clouds rolling in. I use my hand as an eraser to dissipate the clouds, and then I enhance the blueness of the sky. After this I take off from the ground and begin to fly out over the water. In the process I meet another guy who asks me if I want to learn some new flying techniques. I agree and he proceeds to teach me 3 different flying postures. The first is a pigeon like posture which works quite well for speed. The second is a position that allows us to float slowly to the ground. We sink into the water and he teaches me the “C” posture, which gives a quick boost upwards and jettisons us out of the water. I thank my instructor and leave. I decide that I want to try to go into space which I have never done before in a dream. I assume a superman flying posture and zoom upwards. After a long time, I breach the atmosphere and enter space. I fly past the moon and all of a sudden I’m in front of Saturn. It is indescribably beautiful. Glowing purple and blue. I assume a meditative posture and sink down onto one of the rings. I close my eyes to meditate but wake up.
~Terence Stone, Lucid Dream, Jan. 17, 2010
Have you ever experienced a dream in which you ‘woke up,’ meaning, you realized that you were dreaming? If so, then you have brushed shoulders with the world of lucid dreaming.
Many people will experience at least one lucid dream in their lives. Some are born with a natural aptitude for it. The rest of us are fully capable, but must first put effort into achieving this state. So why learn how to consciously dream, you may ask?
Beside the fact that lucid dreaming is incredibly exhilarating and fun, there is potential for overcoming nightmares/fears, spiritual development, and overall increase in well-being. In fact, lucid dreaming has been practiced for at least a thousand years in the form of Dream Yoga. The most widely practiced dream yoga is in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. It is a way of continuing spiritual practice and the path to enlightenment even while asleep.
Even if you are not looking for a specifically spiritual experience, lucid dreaming can provide an enormous sense of positivity and empowerment. Just think, the world inside of your head is one completely of your making. As such, the possibilities are endless. You can fly, breathe underwater, talk to animals, become an animal, travel through the universe, teleport, find your spirit guide…you get the picture.
Furthermore, lucid dreams can be practical. I’ve often used them to recite a monologue or sing an aria that I’m nervous about or that I have coming up for an audition or performance. I’ve also practiced meditation while dreaming. You may be asking, why would one do mundane things when we have a whole fantasy world at our disposal? All I’ll say is don’t knock it until you try it. Practicing in dreams is a completely different experience than in real life. If you’re thinking, OK so how do I do it!?, then read on.
There are many different ways to induce lucid dreams, but below I will provide what I believe to be the easiest and most effective. It is a step-by-step guide to achieving lucidity in dreams called the MILD (mnemonic induction of lucid dreams) technique. Stephen LaBerge, who is arguably the most prominent authority on lucid dreaming in the western world today, created this technique.
Understand that there are some pre-requisites here. Before you attempt lucid dreaming, you should have solid dream recall, which means keeping a dream journal. Every morning you wake up, lie completely still in your bed. Focus on what you were just experiencing. Anything you remember is valid even if it is only an emotion. Once you’ve established that in your mind, then quickly write it in your journal. As you form a consistent habit, you will find it easier and easier to remember your dreams. Do this for a month before attempting MILD.
The steps below are taken directly from LaBerge’s book, Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. It goes into incredible depth on the subject and many different techniques. If you’re very interested, I highly recommend it.
- Set up dream recall: Before going to bed resolve to wake up and recall dreams during each dream period (REM cycle) throughout the night (or the first dream after dawn, or whatever you find convenient)
- Recall your dream: When you awaken from a dream period, no matter what time it is, try to recall as many details as possible. If you find yourself so drowsy that you are drifting back to sleep, do something to rouse yourself.
- Focus your intent: While returning to sleep, concentrate on your intention to recognize that you’re dreaming. Tell yourself “Next time I’m dreaming, I want to remember I’m dreaming.” Focus single-mindedly on this thought.
- Visualize: At the same time, imagine you are back in the dream from which you just awakened, but this time see yourself recognizing that it is a dream. Find a dream-sign (i.e. flying, breathing underwater, distorted words, etc.) in the experience and picture yourself saying “I’m dreaming.” Then, visualize what you will do next. For instance, if you want to fly, picture yourself taking off as soon as you realize you’re dreaming
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 until intention is set, then let yourself fall asleep with the intention and visualization being the last things in your mind.
Enjoy! Wishing you a beautifully lucid Monday.
By Terence Stone
Chief Editor and Founder of Urban Spiritual, I’m a classically trained singer and actor living in New York City, who has performed in the U.S. and Europe. I’m also a writer, traveller, meditator, arts-lover, and well-being enthusiast.