For the sake of ease of understanding I’m going to explain lucid dreaming in my own words. This is to say that I will not do any outside research for this post and will instead focus on the key basics which stand out as prominent in my mind after 5 years of lucid dreaming practice.
The first and most important thing was the subject of my last post: Write down your dreams! Even starting with the most vague memories is useful along your path to lucidity. Pictured above is an example of how an entry I made looked after I could only remember a few hazy facts. As you can tell the sentences are disjointed and oddly placed, in fact I’d be the first to admit that looking back on this story I hardly have an idea of what it was about at the time. The purpose of writing your dreams is not to document them for further use, rather it is to study your memories so that you may become stronger at recollecting them
To this end your notes should be taken in whatever way you feel suitable. Whether it be in drawings, lists and/or full sentences (I often use a combination of the three) just get down whatever you can whenever you can. A disclaimer: don’t allow this to make you lazy in your recollections, the more you remember the more you should write down. It won’t take long for you to realize that oftentimes the little details are the quirkiest in dreams anyway, which is always fun.
Secondly, it is key that you develop a healthy sleeping schedule. I know this will probably be the most painful part for a lot of you (it sure was for me). It takes an hour and a half to complete a full REM cycle. Only about 30 of those minutes are spent in deep, restful sleep and fewer time still is allotted to prime lucid dreaming time. It is my experience that unless I’m getting at least two REM cycles (three hours) I have a very small chance of developing any meaningful dream experience. Three hours alone for a night can be detrimental to your health for obvious reasons, there is however a variety of alternative sleep schedules such as the “Uberman“. I have no experience in that topic, but I do think it will make for an interesting post with some research in the future.
Back to the point, giving yourself ample restful sleep is key. I also recommend using relaxing music, incense or meditation videos to ease your way into sleep. The more at ease you go into dreaming the more likely that you’ll have a pleasant, meaningful dreams as opposed to “stress dreams” (such as falling and delusions of missed assignments). Some ambient chill music that I would recommend are bands like Trentemoller, Royksopp and Air France to start. A youtuber I found recently, lillium, has an array of relaxation videos meant to put you to sleep.
My last bit of advice is the “anchor.” In the popular movie Inception the spinning top was the example of the character’s hook into reality. It is your duty to find an object that is comfortable to you to learn intimately. I feel as though a top may be a little cumbersome to carry around so try something that’s already on your person. A watch, bracelet or ring is often a good choice. Objects that will be around your hands/arms are nice because you’ll see them over the course of the day whether you like it or not.
The reason for this odd practice is to serve as a way for you to know the difference between the sleep world and the real world. To do this you have to habitually analyze your chosen object and learn it’s form. You’ll find that if you successfully develop a habit of checking the object you will also do so in your dreams. When you see the object in your dreams it is your goal to be able to recognize the flawed details in the object. This small logic exercise has the power to give you conscious control during your dreams. The first few times you do this you might wake yourself up in the middle of the night, but it’s worth it! Examples of this dreaming phenomena include: A watch that has the numbers mixed around, a bracelet being made of twine instead of gold or maybe a pair of glasses that has too many frames.
Don’t worry yourself too much about mastering that last part just yet, that’s the part that takes the most practice. For now just try and find an object and stick to it, wear it or carry it everywhere. Personally I’ve managed to lose 3 of my anchor’s so far (my propensity for being a air-head far outweighs my skill with lucid dreaming, clearly), so don’t fret too much over your selection just get it done.
Dream on little dreamers,