5 Tips to Get Started with Lucid Dreaming
By Luigi Sciambarella
1 Be well rested and physically relaxed - if you're sleep deprived, the first thing your brain/body will focus on is clawing back sleep debt. You'll plunge to sleep far too quickly to control your awareness and you're unlikely to remember any dreaming. Ideally, you should be getting at least 7 1/2 hours sleep per night. Try to sleep in multiples of 90 minutes as this is the length of a standard sleep cycle. It can be useful to go to bed a little earlier than normal to set the intention to have a lucid dream. Returning to bed after waking up in the morning works incredibly well too. Experiment to discover the time that works best for you.
2 Improve your dream recall - there is nothing more frustrating than having a feeling that you’ve had a lucid dream but not being able to recall important details. Lucid dreams are remarkable and often life-changing experiences, but the brain treats them like any other dream. This means that without conscious effort to remember the content, it's likely you'll forget significant parts of the experience. Start by keeping a dream journal next to your bed at night and writing your dreams down in the morning as soon as you wake up.
3 Be more present in the daytime and think ahead - meditation practices, such as breath awareness, can help to keep you in the present during the daytime. This will start to carry through into your dreaming. Keeping a dream journal develops retrospective memory. For successful lucid dreaming, it’s also very important to develop your prospective memory. This is accomplished by setting your intention to do something in the future, and then remembering to do it. For example, you could set the intention that every time you open a door, you will ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?”
4 Set a strong intention – apathy is no friend of lucid dreaming practice. It’s important to keep an eye on your motivational levels. Think about why you want to lucid dream and what you are going to accomplish on your next exploration. The more you think about having a lucid dream in your day, the more likely it is to occur. Even reading this article will increase your chances of having one! Read whatever you can about the subject in the daytime, and think about what you'd like to do when you're lucid in the dream. Try to imagine using all of your senses (see, smell, taste, hear and touch the scene). Try saying this before going to sleep, "I am aware of my dream state and I remember my dreams easily and clearly" or words to that effect. Having clarity in your intentions will significantly increase your ability to become lucid.
5 Have fun! – Many people have seen the film ‘The Matrix’ and liken lucid dreaming to taking the red pill. In a lot of ways, it is. In awakening to the dream state, you awaken to a larger reality… one of limitless potential and opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. This is your playground; a fertile soil where you can cultivate new patterns and weed out those that no longer serve you. It is most productive to approach the task of self-exploration in an open, light-hearted manner. Too much intense effort is often counter-productive and being too critical of yourself over unsuccessful attempts can quickly lead to anger, frustration and then apathy. Noticing how you react to yourself is an interesting exercise in itself!
About Luigi Sciambarella
Luigi is an Off-Campus, Residential and Outreach trainer for The Monroe Institute.
He says, "My journey into the exploration of consciousness began at an early age. This wasn’t deliberate, answers to some of life’s biggest questions arrived before I had a chance to ask them! My early non-physical and lucid dreaming experiences left me with the knowledge that there is much more going on than what we can perceive through our physical senses."
Find out more about Luigi here