The main tenant that lucid dreaming is going to revolve around is increased self-awareness through self control. This can be achieved through meditation; specifically, mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness is meditation centered on focus. Generally speaking mindfulness focuses on breathing techniques, visual cues or anything right in front of you as a means to self-realization. By continuously honing on this presence, we’re more aptly able to control our presence (our “self”) and, thus, clutter. Resulting in freedom of thought, a triggered vivaciousness and general “airiness” – akin to the “enlightenment” others so fondly speak of – to thought which results in a vastly superior way of life. By the way, we’re not advocating you’ll achieve enlightenment through mindfulness, but it may be a by-product.
Through this first step we gain better control of our senses, more awareness of our surroundings, etc. This then gets us primed and ready for more techniques. This is the “work” involved in achieving lucid dreaming, and it’s an everyday task that requires diligence. Besides mindfulness here are some basic techniques:
- Keeping a dream journal
- Lucid anchoring
Through the increased cognitive control gained through mindfulness you’ll also be keeping a dream journal. The dream journal seems a mundane task but it’s actually very pertinent. You will be doing daily “checks” to discern whether you are dreaming or in reality. Do it enough times and it becomes a habit – a habit you’ll then perform in your dreams. Keeping a dream journal is as easy as waking up and jotting your memories down from your night’s sleep as soon as you can. If you get up to walk you’ll actually be firing up your motor neurons which may clear the residual clarity from the previous night, so be sure to do it as soon as you can remember.
- Jot down your notes present tense, this will help you in re-inserting yourself amidst the dreams allowing for better memorization.
- Do this as though you are making any mental notes as you would, say, for school; gathering important details so you can link them together; for instance, breaking down “was FLYING through the air after we RAIDED a DUNGEON”. FLYING + RAIDED + DUNGEON
- Draw any images you can muster from the dream. This will help reinforce your dream.
- Then make a list of any life issues or any emotional issues going in your life. This may help you connect the symbolism or motifs with real life issues
- Give them a title.
- Write down an L if you became lucid and try to identify why you became lucid.
Lucid anchoring is a result of the creation of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), which in short, can program our brains to do anything that we want (well, within our limits). This fascinating branch of psychology has many branches that resulted off of it. Our experiences are going to vastly come down to the language which we use. You can take any single event and have a negative or a positive interpretation of it, and depending on the language used, not only will it discern the experience itself, but it will decide your ensuing behavior after the fact.
Let’s say you failed a test. You can either attach yourself to the failure, use negative language to reinforce the behavior “man, I stink; I’m no good; I’m not good at anything” or positive language “I need to do better next time; this is but a small snippet on my experience, I’ll use this to do better”. In one instance you’re reinforcing your inferiority, and in the other, while you may have performed poorly, it is used as encouragement to do better.
So, we see how we can “program” our brains in such a way that language can amalgamate into a well oiled machine. Lucid anchoring is going to be picking an object right before you dream.
This can be any object, but let’s say you have a picture in your room right in front of your bed on your wall. Pick this picture as an anchor and state “I will remember my dreams”.
Similar to how what we read right before we sleep affects our subconscious before we sleep, the anchor will act as a tool to tell our subconscious to remember we should remember our dreams.