I wrote about the basics of lucid dreaming in my first post here. If you've yet to read it I'd say to start from there. If you already possess knowledge about lucid dreaming feel free to skip or skim it.
In this article I'll be continuing from where I left off − that is, more "advanced" techniques. I'll also add some general tips I forgot to include in the first post!
Before I get to it (Bear with me, this is important!) I'd like to talk about something.
Where are my lucids!?
Lucid dreaming can be hard to achieve. You might feel infuriated after trying several methods, ruining your sleep schedule and dedicating your waking life to researching dreams and complex lucid techniques without any payoff. It takes time.
How much time you ask? Now, I don't want to discourage you but it could take weeks, I've heard it's taken some people months. If you're healthily committed to it it shouldn't take too long. Try new techniques. Give them your own twist. Keep doing reality checks! Habit is key with lucid dreaming (and many other things, habits are another topic I'd like to write about later).
Habits make things easier and less bothersome. In it's simplest form it works as follows;
- you have the cue; e.g. going to the bathroom in the morning
- you have the routine; in this case, brushing your teeth
- you have the reward; clean teeth and a sparkling smile!
What you want to do is add a reality check to step 2. You're building on top of an existing routine. I used brushing your teeth as an example because it's likely a very strong habit for you (It damn well should be!). You could also completely replace 2. with another routine in case it's a more negative habit.
After some work, you go brush your teeth and you do a reality check without having to remind yourself of it!
A wild what?
WILD, DEILD, FILD, CANWILD
Ring a bell? Maybe not so let's spell them out for everyone just in case:
- WILD = Wake Induced Lucid Dream
- DEILD = Dream Exit Induced Lucid Dream
- FILD = Finger Induced Lucid Dream
- CANWILD = Custom Alarm Noise Wake Initiated Lucid Dream
For the sake of your brain I'll keep referring to them with their abbreviations. If you're inexperienced and can't afford potentially losing some sleep try these on weekends!
This is what the other similar sounding techniques are mostly based on. WILD can be very demotivating when done wrong.
As the name suggests, you drift into the lucid dream from a waking state. Instead of losing awareness as usual you hop right in on the action! Now, there's a lot of twists people add to this. For a reason.
If you try the bare-bones version before bed it very likely won't work. You'll be lying on your bed for an hour, sweating, trying to keep your eyes closed, feeling profound hate towards me for fooling you into this. (No, I'm not writing these for a laff' off people desperately pinching their noses red at the office and ruining their sleep for a false promise. I'm not, really!) In short, you'll be in for a bad time. I'm not saying it can't work, all I'm saying is that it... probably won't.
Meditation experience comes extremely helpful:
- Lie down on your back with your arms to your side (you can try other positions). Make sure that you're already tired and relaxed (ironically, sweating over this part causes you to feel as tense as possible). Not near-passing-out fatigued though, you'd just drift off immediately. If you're tense get up from bed and read or engage on some other relaxing activity.
- Close your eyes (I'd recommend a sleeping mask) and stop moving. On your journey to a successful WILD your body will No scratching feet or picking nails.
- Keep yourself still. Observe the darkness behind your eyelids. Let your mind wander at first. Don't ruminate but don't try to furiously swipe out thoughts either. Ignore them and let them go their own way.
- Don't lose awareness! WILD takes practice and patience. You should slowly now be getting into a hypnagogic state (pre-dream!). You'll start seeing random imagery typical to pre-REM sleep. Familiarize yourself with it.
- By now you should be floating in a trance-like state with no (normal) bodily sensations left. You've reached REM or stage 3-4 NREM. There's two possibilities here.
The first is to visualize a more complex scene (or wait till one forms) and simply move into it. Imagine yourself being consumed by it. Imagine yourself in there, whatever works for you. You'll feel a sweeping, rippling motion and what do you know, you're now in a lucid dream!
The second one is an OBE (Out of Body Experience) or a false awakening. What happens is that you phase out and find yourself "waking up" like usual in your room (false awakening), in a weird state on your bed (yay, sleep paralysis) or floating somewhere near your body. Calm yourself done if needed. With the power of your imagination and willpower you can move yourself and gain control. It might feel like your body weights more than a car at first.
- You should be in a dream now with your awareness intact! Enjoy your lucid!
Quick tips for recognizing an OBE: odd noise, potential sense of dread.
What you want to do is try the above steps after you've already slept. Set an alarm for 3-6 hours (needs some experimentation to work). This is when your REM-sleep should be at it's longest. I'd recommend a smooth alarm that won't make you jump through your roof.
DEILD is kind of a type of WILD. You first wake up and then go back to sleep, slipping into a lucid dream like I instructed above. It happens easier than a normal WILD. If the conditions don't seem optimal when you wake up use snooze until they do! Keeping focus might be harder when doing DEILD so try out counting, visualizing or "anchoring" your awareness to something.
Just in case you forgot, I'll spare you the scroll-up; this is the "What do fingers have to do with this?" one.
FILD is essentially DEILD. When you wake up, stay on your bed and visualize the dream. Here's where your fingers come to play; move your index and middle fingers as if you were playing the piano or making small waves!
Some have had great success with this.
I have never personally tried this one. Here is an informative post about it on Dreamviews (which is a fantastic forum!).
You should have a hang of these methods after a while, with experience and experimentation you'll be able to come up with your own fancy techniques!
(Above is a (slightly edited) painting by Nicola Samori. The similar piece in the previous post was also by him!)
Tips n' tricks
Meditation and relaxation
As mentioned by @shax in my previous post. If you read about the aforementioned techniques you already know why. You learn to keep yourself still. To let go of your body. To focus better. To stop your monkey brain from bullying you into drinking coffee and juggling balls while watching Netflix and talking on the phone.
It's a fantastic habit to have! Apart from easier lucid dreaming, meditation has a long list of proven health benefits. Reduced anxiety, more stable mood, the list goes on.
Meditation is essentially just mindfulness. When you do WILD you meditate yourself into a dream.
Instead of coffee, try drinking tea! I find it very relaxing and comfy. I'm not a hardcore tea aficionado but try loose leaf instead of Lipton's bags! My favorite is green tea and 'that one sencha blend with cute petals or something my local shop offers'.
Once lucid you'll likely feel tempted to try out the sickest stunts. A popular activity is having dream sex. Why not, I guess? Try to ease into things as excitement will wake you up. Cool yourself down and refrain from overheating your lucid mind.
Yell magic words! Stabilize! Lucidify! Don't underestimate the power you have in your dream world.
Explore but slowly. Think of it as a wickedly awesome picnic.
Examine things very closely. Engage with the vivid surroundings.
Instead of trying to make a fresh Koenigsegg appear in front of your eyes expect it to be in your carage! I.e. expect the wanted object somewhere yet out of sight or reach.
Taking a nap during the day might increase your chances of a lucid! Worth a try.
End your dream in time
The longer you are in a dream the more likely it becomes that you might drift off and lose lucidity. When this happens you will not remember much when you eventually wake up. What would be the point of lucids if you couldn't remember them?
Melatonin. It can make your dreams more vivid however I'd recommend to use it sparingly. I don't have enough knowledge about its use as a supplement so I won't mislead you any more than this.
A WILD can result in some wild dreams (pun intended). My worst one was a hellish false-awakening loop. In short, I woke up at least half a dozen times to my bedroom that was filled with dread and horror. I was lucid the entire time and experienced some messed up things. It was fun at first but got feverish after a while. I actually thought I'd be stuck in there for eternity. (Real fever dreams are truly freaky, I actually wanted to induce a fever when I was younger to get them).
Preventing sleep paralysis
Sleep paralysis is when you're (asleep) in your bed, unable to move. It's accompanied by a sense of horror and often a not-so-pleasant visitor. It's important to remember that it's not real. It's as much of a fabrication of your mind as your dreams.
When in sleep paralysis, do not try to move (not that you could anyways). It will just make it possibly worse. Focus on your breathing and calm down. Learn to recognize a sleep paralysis and approach it with a calm mind.
Good luck Steemers!
(You might never be as rad as this guy here but you can have dope lucid dreams!)
What? Here's two great animated movies about dreams! I won't say much about either but I linked their IMDb pages for your convenience.
(I don't really like trailers and plot summaries, it's more interesting to watch movies when you know little to nothing about them. They often give out way too much.)
- Paprika (more action and mystery, a-m-a-z-i-n-g OST)
- Waking Life (more philosophic, artsy, a movie for when you want to think)
(GIF is from Paprika. That is actually something you can try to switch between dream scenes!)
Hope you liked this! :)
PS: Looks like part 1 blew up (in a positive way!) :D I feel very lucky (and also very pressured to retain quality, hopefully I didn't disappoint you!