Lucid dreaming is being mentioned in more and more circles lately, with more collective questions than answers from others, "How do you lucid dream?" I pulled out my detailed notes from a talk a couple of years ago, which became my path to lucid dreaming. It starts with getting to know the territory of your sleep and your dreams.
Pre-Lucid - you are in the dream questioning the validity of the dream and moving towards lucidity.
Semi-Lucid - low-level lucid. Flickering between lucid and non-lucid.
Fully Lucid - "I'm in a dream. I choose to...in the dream." You can still interact in the dream.
Super Lucid - aware of lucidity, time/space continuum is out the window, you just arrive. No aspect of duality.
Road Map of Sleep
Hypnagogic State - imagery, flashes, fades, still feel the body, transitional state, groggy
Light Sleep - black out, no longer feel body or hear sounds
Deep Sleep / Delta Wave Sleep - standby mode, HGH released, body/brain restored
REM Dream Sleep - explore and engage in dreams, rapid eye movement
The first 3 cycles (approximately 90 min cycles) consist mainly of deep sleep, little dreams, can last 3-4.5 hours. Then it is showtime!
Hypnagogic Affirmation Technique: When entering the hypnagogic state, recite one of these affirmation:
"Next time I am dreaming, I know that I am dreaming."
"I lucid dream for the benefit of all beings."
"I love lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is fun."
Learning Dream Signs
Anomalous - one-off crazy dreams, doesn't happen in waking life
Thematic - theme is strange
Recurring - dream signs twice or more regular
Setting a Dream Sign Trigger
"The next time I dream about ____, I know I am dreaming." Spot the dream sign, that creates a trigger, you move into lucid dreaming.
Anomalous example: Standing in the middle of a crowd naked."The next time I am dreaming about something that does not happen in the waking state, I know I am dreaming." I recognize I would not be naked in a crowd and I am dreaming, so no need for embarrassment within the dream.
Thematic example: I'll have a dream about moving into a new home/apartment/condo. I am disappointed in the dream because I like where I live now, but then I discover some hidden bonus room or wing of the house. My twin sister is often my roommate in these dreams, more of a college era, and my children don't exist."The next time I am dreaming about moving into a new home, I know I am dreaming." The trigger is created and I recognize in the dream that I am not moving into a new home and begin to explore what it means to find this bonus space.
Recurring example: A recurring dream I experience regularly is needing to go to the bathroom, but I can't find a toilet that is not overflowing or the toilet has no privacy. "The next time I dream about an overflowing toilet, I know I am dreaming." The trigger is created and I am able to recognize that I don't need to use the restroom in the first place and can walk away without the panic setting in.
Sometimes this is fleeting redirection and it causes me to wake up immediately when recognizing it is a dream. Other times, I am able to redirect the whole scene and continue the dream- exploring why I was in that situation to see if there is more information available to me.
Mnemonic Induction Lucid Dream. In this technique, you are setting the intention to do something later. When you awaken from the vivid dream, immediately bring the dream back to memory. This your opportunity to not only recall/replay the dream, but also rescript any part of the dream as lucid dreaming. Then, fall back into the hypnogogic state with the affirmation "Next time I am dreaming, I remember to recognize I am dreaming." Rehearse your lucid dream as you drift back to the dream state. Repeat as you awaken.
M - Memorize the dream.
I - Set the Intent to have a lucid dream.
L - Visualize Lucidity.
D - Dream again.
I use this technique when I want to continue a dream I wasn't ready to wake up from quite yet. After recalling the dream, I set the intention, "When I fall back asleep, I will continue this dream," and *poof* I'm back in the same dream. I can do this several times in a row to stretch out an enjoyable dream.
The more you set the intentions with affirmations, and the more you practice, the easier it is to reach the state of ludic dreaming. It's quite fun, actually. I have been in the middle of a dream, recognized in the dream that it is a dream and then prompted myself to do something I would not ordinarily do in the waking state. It was like the character of me in the dream was telepathically letting me, as the dreamer, know, "I can do this because it's a dream."