Have you ever had a dream in which you were aware that you were awake? These are called Lucid Dreams. Most people begin having Lucid Dreams when something unusual or extraordinary happens in their dream that makes them question their reality, and they realise that they must be asleep. Though they may feel bizarre, confusing or even frightening at first, Lucid Dreams can actually be very fun and are also really useful if you learn how to take control of your subconscious and make your dreams work for you.
Learning how to Lucid Dream takes a little time and patience, but there are a number of benefits. Once you are able to fully control your subconscious, there are countless options open to you; you can control where you go, what you do, and who you speak to. You could live out fantasies such as meeting your favourite celebrities or doing impossible things, such as flying. Or you could use the time to work on conquering your fears or doing something you’ve always wanted to do in real life but have always been too scared to try.
We all dream on average around four to six times each night, which is around two hours of eight. With so much of our time spent dreaming, who wouldn’t want to be able to control what they experience during that time? Read on to find out how you can learn to Lucid Dream, and make your time asleep work for you.
Keep a dream diary
The first thing to do when preparing to learn how to Lucid Dream is to keep a record of all of your dreams. Try to write down your dreams as soon as you wake up, otherwise, you will forget most of the content as time goes on. Keeping a dream diary will help you spot patterns or themes within your dreams, and you will soon be able to identify the recurring things that happen when you are sleeping. Do you always dream about the same places? Or do the same people appear in your dreams night after night?
Our dreams can give us vital clues about what is happening in our everyday lives. For example, if you’re having a particularly busy or stressful time at work, you will more likely dream about your job or your place of work. Writing down your dreams will show you exactly what is on your mind, even if you didn’t realise it before.
Meditate on the recurring themes
Once you have a record of your dreams from over the period of a few weeks, you should be able to easily spot recurring patterns or themes that appear. Perhaps your dreams are always set in the same place, such as your childhood home or school. Or maybe the same people are always popping up, such as favourite teachers or friends from when you were younger.
Once you’ve spotted these recurring themes, spend some time before you go to sleep focusing your thoughts on them, so that they are more prominent in your mind before you drift off. The best way to do this is to meditate; close your eyes and block out the world around you, and focus on these places and faces that frequent your dreams.
Next, go to sleep as usual. Lie down with your eyes closed, and try to keep your thoughts focused on these themes. Once you’re asleep, one or more of these things should appear in your dream. Doing this every night will manipulate your subconscious into dreaming about these things, and this will make it easier for you to spot that you are dreaming when you are asleep.
Perform reality checks
A good way to differentiate between your conscious and subconscious mind is to perform reality checks to see if you are awake or asleep. Every few hours during your day, perform a quick check, and ask yourself, “Am I awake?” A quick way to check is to pinch yourself; if it hurts, you’re awake. Another way is to look at the clock, look away, and then quickly look again; if you’re dreaming, the time will most likely have changed when you look back.
Once you get into the habit of performing these reality checks, you will begin to do them subconsciously, without having to remind yourself. The checks will eventually spill into your sleep and should give you a hint that what you are experiencing isn’t real. Once you realise you are dreaming, you can begin to manipulate your surroundings and experiences, and this is how you Lucid Dream.
Make your dreams work for you
Once you are able to distinguish when you are dreaming, you can begin to make your subconscious experiences work for you. It may be tricky to manipulate your dreams at first; the shock of realising you are dreaming may actually result in you waking yourself up. If this happens, try to lie perfectly still and focus on what you were dreaming about; with any luck, you will be able to drift straight back into the dream and do what you wish.
Once you’ve got a handle on staying within asleep whilst knowing you’re dreaming, you can begin to practice manipulating your dreams. Start small, by consciously performing actions or speaking to people you see in the dream. With more practice, you can begin to do things that are impossible in real life, such as flying without wings, or teleporting to another city or country, or meeting your favourite celebrities. You could also use the dream to conquer your fears; though it would be scary, knowing it’s not real would help you overcome the fear in a safe environment you can leave, by simply waking up!