When reality checks like asking yourself: ‘Am I dreaming?’ are carried out in a spirit of adventure and curiosity, they can be a great lucid dream induction technique, and a great lucid living practice. When reality checks are carried out with a sense of bored duty, they are useless. What you don’t want is that nagging feeling of ‘I’m supposed to do 10 reality checks a day, what a drag this is!’ Boredom is the least useful emotion for inducing lucid dreams.
One of the many benefits of lucid dreaming is that it wakes us up so brightly that boredom has no place to grow.
This is why lucid dreaming is excellent for creative thinking and skill rehearsal. So rather than setting your watch to the hourly beep function and going for mechanically prompted reality tests, why not try something more natural?
The best, most effective reality checks will arise spontaneously in response to things you encounter as you go about your day.
Look for the strange, the ugly, the surprising and the beautiful, and let them be your triggers for asking yourself: ‘Am I dreaming this?’ This way, you are connecting consciously with the world around you and becoming more lucid as a result. When the next strange thing happens, you may well discover that you are in fact dreaming, as in this recent lucid dream of mine:
I’m jumping astonishingly high and feel the very air pulling me up like a force field. I must be dreaming.
It’s useful to add a ‘test action’ to reality checks, like trying to put your finger through the palm of your hand, holding your nose and seeing whether you can still breathe through your nostrils (in a dream, you can).
Once an enquiring, noticing state of awareness becomes part of your everyday life, getting lucid in a dream becomes so much easier.
Top tips for getting lucid
- Identify your state of consciousness at random moments during the day and you’ll see how complex and interesting consciousness is. You’ll also get into the excellent habit of questioning your reality.
- Am I wide awake and alert? Am I day-dreaming? Are my thoughts scattered and unfocused? Am I in a creative trance? Am I on the verge of falling asleep? Soon enough this questioning and identifying becomes a habit that will carry over into your dreams. You’ll find yourself asking, ‘Am I dreaming?’ and realising that the answer is: Yes, I am!
- The other benefit of this practice is that you will become more awake and aware in your daily life, more attuned to the here and now, more aware of beauty and the surreal or synchronistic moments in life.
- Keep a dream diary
- Learn to recognise your personal dream symbols
- Focus on hypnagogic (pre-sleep) imagery
- Visualise yourself becoming lucid
- Set a firm intention to get lucid and think up a ‘dream goal’
- How to stay lucid
- How to improve skills in lucid dreams
- How to solve problems
- From nightmares to healing
- Creative blocks