Lucid Dreaming: A Beginner's Guide

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John Smith making another title look like child’s play (no audio)

From 1994-1995 I had the great pleasure of training with wrestling legend John Smith, 2-time gold medalist and 4-time world champion (domestic freestyle record of 80-0; international freestyle record of 100-5).

He was famous for his low leg attacks that made even Olympic finals look like textbook demonstrations.

The problem was, of course, that I was in New Hampshire at boarding school and had never met John Smith. I only trained with him 45-60 minutes per night while I was lucid dreaming. I went on to have my best career season, which culminated with a more than 20-0 record before the national championships…

I’ve since used lucid dreaming to:

– Accelerate skill acquisition (example: yabusame)
Reactivate “forgotten” languages in less time
– Cultivate zen-like present-state awareness and decrease needless stress

Lucid Dreaming 101

I applied to Stanford University because I wanted to refine my clinical understanding of lucid dreaming: the ability to become conscious during dreams and affect their content.

This isn’t new-age nonsense, either. It’s been tested in the strictest of lab settings.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge of Stanford was considered the world’s foremost researchers in the science and practice of lucid dreaming, and he had pioneered proving its existence. How? It turns out that eye movement, unlike the rest of the skeletal muscular system, is not inhibited by REM sleep. Subjects could memorize horizontal eye patterns (e.g. left-left-right-right-left-right-left) and repeat the patterns upon becoming lucid, which researchers could observe, all while recording brain activity with an EEG to confirm that the subjects where, in fact, in a dream state. Tibetan monks have been practicing lucid dreaming for thousands of years, but it was considered fringe speculation until it was captured in a controlled environment.

There are now dozens of studies that explore the incredibly cool world of lucid dreaming and hint at applications (search “lucid dreaming” here on PubMed).

I recently had dinner with former PayPal employee Mark Goldenson, who was a researcher in both Stephen LaBerge’s lab and Phil Zimbardo’s psychophysiology lab at Stanford, and the conversation convinced me that sharing the basics was worth a post.

For those interested in experiencing lucid dreaming, here are a few simple training methods, including:

Step 1) Develop dream recall –

Have you ever thought that you didn’t dream on given nights, or perhaps not at all? If I were to track your REM sleep, as I have mine on even “dreamless” nights, you quickly realize that this isn’t the case. Undeveloped recall is to blame.

Put a pad of paper next to your bed and record your dream immediately upon waking. Immediately means immediately. If you get dressed first, or even stare at the ceiling for a minute, dream recollection will be nil. Expect that you might not get more than a few lines for the first week or so, but also expect to get to multi-page recall ability within 2-3 weeks. This alone will make you look forward to going to bed.

Step 2) Identify dream cues and/or do reality checks –

Some people, like Mark, can use their dream log to identify common dream elements that recur from night to night. Water seems to be particularly common. These elements are then used for “reality checks”: asking yourself if you’re dreaming when you see these cues during waking hours, and then testing.

Testing entails doing something like trying to fly (not recommended) or looking at your environment for clear indications of dream state. The latter is my preference, and I typically skip the dream log and default to a few simple tests at set action (every time I check the time or walk through a door, for example).

Since working memory can only hold around 7 +/- 2 bits of information, and you are constantly creating your dreamscape in real-time, there are a few things that change if you look away and then look back at them:

a. Text (e.g., written signs)
b. Digital clocks/watches. Fascinatingly, analog clocks appear to keep accurate dream time, which, in my case, also corresponds to real time passing.
c. Complex patterns

For the last category, I like to look at wall brickwork or floor patterns, look away, and look back to see if their orientation (e.g. horizontal vs. vertical) or tile/block size has changed, asking “am I dreaming?” If there are changes, guess what? You are either on some strong hallucinogens or you are dreaming. If you’re dreaming and answer in the affirmative, it is at this point that you will become lucid.

Step 3) Induce lucidity —

MILD

There are a number of techniques that help induce lucidity. One such technique tested by LaBerge, referred to as Mnemonic-Induction of Lucid Dreaming (MILD), involved — in my case — waking up in the middle of the night, setting the intention to lucid dream for 10-15 minutes, then going back to bed. I have found this to work best when I wake 5 hours or so after going to sleep (not just to bed). Here is a longer description from LaBerge’s FAQ.

I have also found duration of sleep to be an important variable. It will often be easiest for novices to achieve lucidity if they sleep to excess — more than 9 hours (think Saturday or Sunday mornings) — and then use the snooze button to wake every 10-15 minutes for another hour. This juxtaposition of waking and sleep blurs the lines and seems to make the lucid state easier to achieve.

Ancillary Drugs

Three drugs, in my experience, also seems to assist with induction: huperzine-A (200-400 mcg), melatonin (3 mg), and nicotine (standard patch). I don’t suggest combining them.

Huperzine-A is an acetyl-cholinesterase inhibitor, tested in Chinese clinical trials for treating Alzheimer’s, and will increase the half-life of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine at the synapse. This is my preferred tool if I’m using chemical assistance. Melatonin is involved with setting circadian rhythm and its release is controlled by the pineal gland and suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN). Dreams on melatonin tend to be more colorful and more chaotic, as is also the case with nicotine. Nicotine is my last choice, as it is addictive and can cause total insomnia if you don’t time it properly. If you happen to be quitting smoking and will be using the patch regardless, be sure to put it on immediately prior to bed so the blood nicotine levels (and stimulant effects) peak well after you’ve fallen asleep. Mistime it and you’ll be one grumpy bastard the next morning.

Step 4) Extend lucidity duration

This is where things get a little strange, or even cooler.

The first few times you achieve lucidity, you will likely be so excited that you will wake yourself up. Two effective techniques for extending lucidity are spinning (a la a piroutte in place) and looking at your hands. Both techniques, I believe, originated with Carlos Castaneda, but LaBerge was the first to test them and quantify the effectiveness of spinning vs. hand rubbing:

…the odds in favor of continuing the lucid dream were about 22 to 1 after spinning, 13 to 1 after hand rubbing (another technique designed to prevent awakening), and 1 to 2 after “going with the flow” (a “control” task). That makes the relative odds favoring spinning over going with the flow 48 to 1, and for rubbing over going with the flow, 27 to 1.

Source: Lucidity Institute

Step 5) Once you’ve flown all over and had sex with every hottie you can think of…

Try to explore memory and performance. Indulge in the flying and sex binge, as all newbies do — no reason to rush that phase, of course — but then expand your carnal horizons in other directions.

Have fun and sweet dreams…

Posted on: September 21, 2009.

Please check out Tools of Titans, my latest book, which shares the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers. It was distilled from more than 10,000 pages of notes, and everything has been vetted and tested in my own life in some fashion. The tips and tricks in Tools of Titans changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for sample chapters, full details, and a Foreword from Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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444 comments on “Lucid Dreaming: A Beginner's Guide

  1. Tim,
    Interesting article. Have you ever watched the film Waking Life? It is about this kid who keeps waking up from one dream and going to the next. He has trouble figuring out whether he is dreaming or awake, but he keeps having these interesting conversations.

    I have been becoming more interested in dreaming. For the longest time, I thought I didn’t dream. But as you stated in your article, I never took the time to remember them. I would immediately get up and forget it. For the last few months I have been remembering my dreams and I have been getting some interesting stuff. Now I will have to add lucid dreaming to it.

    Like

  2. Tim, do you think that while in a LD you can tap into a “universal knowledge bank” and learn things that you can bring into your *conscious* life? (that you didn’t already know.) So an extreme example would be, could you learn a language without being taught it in your conscious life?

    I believe we, theoretically, should be able to tap in to this knowledge bank *while conscious* and/or through meditation; but i can’t prove it.

    I also often wonder to myself whether i could turn myself into a doctor while LD and “heal” my current body from cancer or acne or warts or….

    OMG, can humans evolve to live our lives *in between* lucid dreams and consciousness? Something in the middle so that we don’t have to go back and forth between the two? Is this the 4th dimension?

    I think too much….

    P.S. I never realized what I sometimes did had a name! Wow, i’m not the only one! (@ BDom, ESPECIALLY you!!)

    Like

  3. Tim,

    Sweet post and it came at a really cool time for me. The past week (before reading this post) I was noticing myself having more vivid dreams (not lucid). I attributed it to some mental imagery practices I was doing right before bed.

    Basically, the practice was 30 minutes of using my creative imagination to picture myself interacting in real life experiences as I would like myself to act, looking how I would like to look, being how I would like to be. It truly works amazingly.

    But what I found was when I would do the exercise right before bed and fall asleep while i was doing it. I would have these extremely vivid dreams. They were almost never related to the mental practice I was doing (that I could tell). But they were powerful man. I woke up out of breath scared shitless several times because of some creepy, vivid dream I was having.

    Lucid dreams sound like what I was doing only more fun. I’m gonna take this post to heart and see if I can make my dreams a bit more productive.

    One last note on the mental imaging. In my opinion it is sort of like lucid dreaming while you are awake. But the mental pictures are a lot less clear and distraction is a lot more prevalent. So lucid would definitely be the way to go. I have never, to my knowledge, reached a level of consciousness in a dream. I’m excited to see how this works.

    Thanks for a sweet post dude,

    Jordan

    Like

  4. Kia Ora Tim,

    Just wondering if you had been to Steve Pavlina’s website and read his post on polyphasic sleep and its effect of increasing the occurance of lucid dreams. Anyway keep up the good work!

    James

    Like

  5. @sleepwarrior: Thanks for that tip. This was one of the issues I had: I tried to write down every detail but had trouble doing so in the drowsy, just-after-waking-up state I was in. I’ll try just jotting down keywords and see if that helps me.

    Like

  6. I’m interested to know how frequent (or even attempts at) lucid dreaming can affect your mental state during waking hours. My understanding was that the unconscious part of sleep was necessary to recharge and stay focused during day to day life.

    Like

  7. Buenos Dias 🙂

    I dig this holistic approach. Good old Melatonin…

    Interesting how REM is helpful for psychotherapy techniques as well. For example, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Process- Therapy) is used to relieve emotional distress.

    Anyway, live it up. Thanks for the post.

    Like

  8. So, this is interesting, but two questions came pretty quickly to mind while I was reading this.

    First: If working memory can only hold 7 +/- 2 bits of information, and you are constantly creating your dreamscape in real-time, how are you able to remember that things changed when you looked away and looked back? If you see some text in a dream, then look back and it’s different, how do you know it’s different? If your brain is creating new patterns on the fly, won’t you just think the new pattern is the same as the old pattern, given that you’d have no working memory of the old pattern?

    Second: It would seem to be that there’s a difference between *knowing* that you’re dreaming, and being able to *control* the flow of events within the dream. I’d like to hear more from those experienced in LD if they were able to control their environment right away, or if that’s a learned skill, like LD itself.

    Thanks.

    Like

    • In my experience I never really controlled the environments but I could hit rewind/reset if something wasn’t going in the direction I wanted it to.

      Buildings are there but not consciously thought of. Unexpected people still show up from time to time. People also tend to do that thing where they were someone now they are someone else thing that happens in normal dreams. It is however under your power.

      For example. Let’s say that I want to go back to a particularly memorable Hawaiian sunrise and change up the way a date ended. Bam! I’m there in my LD. Same girl, same sunrise. We’re walking back towards the hotel along the surf and what… Epcot center? Now, I need to reset to a second ago and allow the LD to continue.

      That’s the main difference I see. Maybe someone more practiced can better control the environment to avoid odd surprises. But hey. I like the unknown thrown in there. What good is the dream if you control all aspects? I don’t want to control what my date tells me. I want to experience the LD as I do life. With a hint of chaos.

      Like

  9. I’ve always been interested in Lucid dreams and exploring what I could do with them. Mostly, I like to use them to connect with my higher self and answer life questions that have me stumped. You can get some great insights from thinking about a question before bed with the intent of having it answered in a lucid dream.

    I also find the MILD technique works the best for me.

    Tim, I’ve always thought you were a cool guy, but I’m finding you even cooler now!

    Like

  10. Tim,

    It’s interesting that you mentioned using LD to achieve a zen-like state of mind. My initial thought when reading this is that this flies in the face of the “live in the moment” aspect of zen. If you think to yourself “am I dreaming?” every time you walk through a door or check your watch, isn’t that kind of a mental burden? During your waking life you will be constantly second-guessing and questioning the world around you. That doesn’t sound like a peaceful mind to me.

    That being said, I think that LD is super interesting and I plan to try out your method. =)

    Like

  11. I feel like a doofus saying this but I always assumed my lucid dreams were just regular dreams made more surreal due to being in a deep sleep.

    While reading the post, I did remember some dreams where I could control what happened to a certain extent, and some of these dreams did take place in similar locations.

    So I’m going to take your advice / tips and try to induce these lucid dreams because they can be pretty entertaining. That is as long as it doesn’t crossover into Dreamscape territory, that is. If I happen to see Dennis Quaid, then I know I’ve gone too far!

    Like

  12. Crazy that you would post this just a few days after the concept came onto my radar and I determined I should investigate a little more. But I am curious what suggestions you have for someone who “doesn’t dream”. I know, I know.. I’ve been told that everyone does, but I never recall anything. Its not just that I can’t remember them, I can’t even recall the sensation of having dreamed.

    Like

    • Everybody dreams! We just forget we do.
      Things that stops us from dreaming:
      1) Alcohol or any type of strong medication or drugs before bed.
      2) too much TV, being in front of the PC too long, or even reading or talking.

      All these activities belong to the Mental Body and Lucid Dreaming happen first into the 2 Body the Etheric Body.

      Try instead to take long walks, hot baths, or massages. these activities instead are deeply connect with our Etheric Body and will help you to remember dreams.

      Taking fish oil or reishi, someone also mentioned Krill oil (haven’t tried yet) will help you to remember dreams.
      For me Melatonin and 5HTP do the opposite and make me forget them, but others might find useful too.

      I hope this could help

      Like

  13. hmm… would lucid dreaming be as beneficial as visualization? I know that visualization actually helps you in pretty much any field. How does LD compare?
    Do you transfer your real life skills in lucid dreams? e.g. if you don’t know how to play golf, would you also be a bad player in your lucid dream?

    Like

  14. I’ve used this technique successfully, except I’ve never referred to it as lucid dreaming. To me it was creative visualization.

    I meditated to a state where I could feel my body, but I knew I wasn’t awake and I knew I wasn’t sleeping. I was able to dream for longer and longer periods as I became comfortable with remaining in this suspended state.

    I found the most success before I went to sleep because I felt there would be an additional positive affect on me at a subconscious level when I later went to sleep.

    However, I only used this technique to help solve big “brick wall” issues that I didn’t know how to get around. I never thought of using this as a technique to train with a mentor. For me it really opens up the possibilities of what this technique can be used for.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Like

  15. a few things i have found usefully for dream recall, ludcid dreaming and just sleep in general.

    1. when dreaming anything is possible so you can hold your nose, look at your hands, try reading a book i will talk about each one.

    a. in the dream world as far as i know you dont have a pyhsical body so stop breath can only happen if you think it.

    b. for some reason looking at your hands is almost impossible i think that because your natural form is a ball of energy. which is kind of odd it seems must ghost sighting are balls of energy.

    c. reading a book same deal since the dream world is a different form than from the real world you can not read most things those that you can read seem to stem from your memory.

    as for dream recall and a journal for me it seems best to keep it short. something like if the dream is you running through the city being chased by a dragon i would put down dragon, chased, city. now if i need more information to improve dream recall i would add more.

    as for what i have done in dreams so far is flying, sex, confronting anything that im afraid of.

    what im working on is more control for longer time, improve workout etc, accelerate skills and improve myself through dreams.

    Like

  16. I have won 3 Stanley cups in my dreams that I made happen. One time I owed someone a lot of money. I had a dream that I pay him back it seemed so real, I was happy. Then when I woke up, and realize it was just a dream. But then, I got some unexpected money a couple of days later and pay him back. Was that my dream telling me this was going to happen?

    Like

  17. @steve

    That i-dose site is pretty funny. It’s an affiliate program for a site that advertises their bi-neural beats as “Digital Drugs” in addition to offering “The highest quality exotic bud, mood enhancement pills, and legal hashish”.

    Like

  18. Hey Tim,

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now and this is my first post. I tinkered with lucid dreaming during my teens. My recall skyrocketed after keeping a journal, but upon discovering the MILD method and thinking that it was the only way to achieve lucidity (by waking up in the middle of the night), I got discouraged.

    This post has really piqued my curiosity again, especially after reading about using the MILD technique on lazy weekend… never thought to do that. Thanks for the inspiration! -Jon

    Like

  19. A note about staying Lucid:

    I and a lot of others in lucid dreaming online communities have experienced limitations with both the hand rubbing technique and spinning. In my experience (and a number of others’) a FAR SUPERIOR WAY to remain lucid is to immediately drop to the ground once you feel the dream begin to fade, and start to crawl and feel your surroundings i.e. the carpet, or grass etc. Focus intently on the tactile sensation, even if your vision of the dream has faded completely, you should still be able to do this. After doing this for some time once you feel stable again, if you have lost your visuals you can “open” your eyes back into the dream world.

    Hope this helps someone trying!

    Like

    • Very interesting, Justin! I agree with you watching your hands, rubbing them or spinning are inferior ways of regaining your control. I do a similar thing as you do by dropping backwards but as soon as I do that I keep on falling down and I wake up into another deeper level of my lucid dream. If I am really tired and have lost a lot of Mana (as I call it- awareness) then sometimes it doesn’t work and the dream is over or I enter a normal dream. But if I have used just half of my “Mana” container then I can drop and replenish it all and become more aware. Why that happens I don’t know. The crawling technique sounds interesting too I would love to hear more about it in details.

      Like

  20. Hay Tim.

    Find I am able to wake myself up from nightmares at will (which is useful !) but not dreams. I work with leaders in business and privately using shamanic healing, NLP, coaching and my own energy techniques, but lucid dreaming alludes me so far. Why does it work for me only when I am in danger in dreams? I have some pretty wild and powerful energy techniques that I would love to share with you. I will try your media email address tomorrow.

    Clare x

    Like

  21. An AMAZING story on dream recall:

    You actually store vivid memories of MANY/MOST/ALL dreams that you have, without knowing it!

    I don’t remember many of my dreams – perhaps one every week or two, but one morning, about 15 years ago, I woke up and was able to remember the dream that I had just had. It was about being at the beach and I was able to recall great detail. As I was lying in bed thinking about the dream I suddenly remembered ANOTHER dream that I had about water, again in great detail – (skin diving off some rocks). Thinking about that dream triggered memory of YET ANOTHER water dream (running in a race along some cliffs at the beach, waves crashing on the sand), and then another (swimming under a huge wharf and to some boats) and another, and so on!

    I had never known about these dreams before. Being so weird (I was hyper exitced at the occurance) I grabbed a pen and paper and started writing them down (note that I’ve never kept a dream diary).

    In total I was able to recall SIXTEEN !!! separate water dreams, all in GREAT DETAIL, over a 20 minute period. Whilst I couldn’t tell exactly when I’d dreamed them I knew they were separate dreams, over a long period of time. It has never happened to me again but I would love to find out how to trigger it.

    Since that experience of recalling all the dreams in detail and writing them down I still, 15 years later, have absolutely vivid recall of them – better than most events that have occured in my life. I’m sitting here now picturing the exact scenes, feelings, events of some of them. I could draw these better than just about any memory that I try to picture in my head. It’s like they are permanently burned in my brain now.

    So some how, some where, you’re storing dreams away in your memory, in more detail than events that occur in your waking hours, without realising it. The key is finding out how to recall them!

    Cheers,
    Alf

    Like

  22. This is a really great tool. People talk about visualisation being important if you want to achieve goals… well this enables you to literally live your dreams. There is no better method of visualisation. It is also a lot of fun and after some time when you can do it while sleeping, it doesn’t take any time out of your day.

    Its good some more mainstream people are finally talking about this, not just crazy new agers.

    Like

  23. Tim – hey bruddah, great Blog, wish it was around back when I was in high school 🙂

    I coulda used these tips to get my head straight as a wrestler, b/c no matter how hard I trained, mentally I had a very tough time envisioning my success or pulling out of road bumps.

    Ironically, I trained w/John twice at his intensive camp of 7 days. The summer of 1990 and the summer of 1992.

    Also, I have been working w/The Blair Academy Wrestling team lately, NEVER have I seen such a thing: a full room,, every single kid with 100% dedication, intensity, commitment and amazing listening skills and eye contact.

    It’s amazing what it does for a young kid when he is surrounded by other highly motivated and highly successful peers, just like people like us engage in masterminding for business, I just witnessed the wrestling mastermind.

    Thanks for all you do bro!

    BTW, a waaaaay back you posted a few quotes which I hung up in my office:

    “Is it a life or death situation?No”

    “Be Creative. Start Scaring Yourself”

    “Explore the Unthinkable”

    “Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.”

    Well, I’ve been rdng them a lot, and engraining them in my head got me feeling pretty damn good and were a part of what helped me leave my full time job behind and pursue my business full time.

    Thank you bruddah!

    Peace!

    –Z–

    Like

  24. Haven’t achieved lucidity yet, but my dream recall went from lines to half a page in one day. This IS fun. Especially since my morning scrawlings are so funny to look at later.

    Like

  25. Hey Tim –

    You mind sharing with my where you ordered the Calea zacatechichi from that was recommended by the poster above? Googling brings up a number of sources, but I thought you might have known about/been able to find a legitimate seller.

    Thanks!

    Like

  26. What an awesome post out of left field. I usually have crazy dreams. More often then not I’m some kind of super hero who can shoot lightning from my knuckles or fly or become invisible. The rest of the time I’m saving people from sharks and volcanoes (with regular human powers). What would the dreaming world do without me? I don’t know.

    I think I’ll start documenting my dreams just in case I ever decide to get into the comic book field.

    Thanks for the tips.

    Like

  27. I talked with a friend about it, and he’s had lucid dreams and we agreed to a “meeting place” if we ever go lucid and we were going to experiment and see if we can send each other messages in the dream world to see if the other person actually is aware of it. (string theory, universal consciouness, entanglement theories and other stuff interests us and we want to see if we can “share” dreams)

    Another thought I had…
    Everything in the dream world represents something, usually entirely different in the waking world. My theory is, to do “reverse dream analysis” and then to dream about something that represents success and acheivement in a certain area, and then go lucid and create that dream.

    For example, dreammoods.com says that
    “To dream that you receive a bouquet of damask rose foretells that you will find a faithful and true lover. ”
    If that’s what you want, make it a dream, and set an alarm every 10 minutes, and continue to dream that dream over and over again…
    I’m curious as if anyone has tried this, I have been having a few lucid dream but havn’t been able to stay lucid long enough.

    Like

  28. also, a warning to those trying to lucid dream to manifest something, a dream can actually bring you something else entirely. If you dream about gambling and winning, it might just signal to your subconscious that you are taking too many risks, and you will actually be more hesistant in risk taking, rather than actually winning something in real life. A dream about money might instead result in increasing power rather than wealth.

    I do think there are certain experiences that are good, such as muscle memory from dreaming about competeting and winning certain events, but be aware of what you are lucidly choosing to signal to your mind. Also, the feelings you associate with that dream are equally important. If you dream about success while still holding the feeling of lack of success, your success will feel bittersweet, and you will win, but not enjoy it. I used to dream of winning state championship in football when I was not in the right mindstate. As a result when I actually saw our team win, all I could think of how football was over and how I was sad about the loss and it felt very similar. The results in life aren’t usually what you’re really after, it’s the feelings that you THINK those results will give you. Work on the feeling and emotion of success as much as you focus on the visualizations and dreaming of success, and I imagine it will help

    Like

  29. dream recall is something that I actually just started experiencing the last couple days. I went to bed earlier. I think it has everything to do with the cycle of sleep and the natural rythems of sleep. I use an alarm at the same time. I think if you try alternating your sleep and going to bed 30 minutes later or earlier every night until you remember will also help. Good practice anyways to monitor how alert and awake you feel throughout the day…
    I read that sleep deprivation is also likely to eventually induce more vivid dreams when you finally do get sleep.

    polyphasic sleep is another interesting subject and is basically training the body to go into REM sleep instantly and sleeping for 30 minute segments throughout the day, this will probably result in more memorable dreams as 90% of the sleep will be in dream state, and you have less to remember at a single time.

    Like

  30. Tim,

    One again…great stuff! I have been a huge fan of Carlos Castaneda and have practiced lucid dreaming and seeing my hands in my dreams for a long time now. I had gotten out of practice but am glad to get a reminder and will get back at it.

    Thanks for the info and keep up the good work!

    Like

  31. For the last 10 years (random tip from a hippie friend of mine) I’ve used clary sage oil to help increase lucidity. Put half a drop in each nostril, and for some reason it improves the quality of my REM. You can find the essential oil for 10$ or less, and I’ve had the same bottle for about It might be the scent that lightens the sleep a bit.

    Like

  32. Still finding what could work consistently to Me on step 4… anyway

    Wow
    what a great post and comments

    Thank too much Tim, Ladies & Guys, comrades of “waking life club” haha, for the many Tips about summarize the LD report, related drugs, sleep hours etc etc

    Like

  33. The best technique to prolonge lucidity is depending on what type of person you are;

    *Visual person: the looking at hands technique works best.
    *Auditory person: talking to yourself works best.
    *Tactile person: the piroutte or crawling on the ground technique work best.

    Like

  34. Another thing i found usefull is to do a reality check upon awakening. I usually try to look at my hand. If i can’t see it, or if i have 8 fingers i know what’s up. Especially when you start getting lucid now and then people start having more “false awakenings”, where they “wake up” in a dream.

    Sadly i stopped my lucid adventures due to sleep problems/back pain.
    Now it’s been a week since i restarted my efforts to become lucid, but no success so far…

    @Coop
    That sounds familiar , the first time i was having “dreamsex” i actually woke myself up because i thought my housemates would hear me. Maybe you can tell your sister-in-law in your dream that you have to make love quietly because your wife is sleeping next to you in real life haha. (Or you can got to a hotelroom where you can commit “dream-adultery”.

    My gf once woke me up because i was laughing so hard, it was scaring her.

    Like

  35. My wife and I both had drank a cup of Sleepy Time Tea with valerian to assist with sleep. Amazingly the we both woke the next morning after a night of what we called “wild dreams” but lucid is a good term for it.

    Also, I was wondering how you find Huperzine-A. Melatonin is readily available but the other I’m not sure.

    Like

  36. I used to lucid dream naturally frequently. The looking at numbers and clocks trick did it for me once I learn how to make it happen more often.

    I also frequently went into “astral projection”. I didn’t call it that at the time. I didn’t know what it was. But it is intense and related to lucid dreaming. I don’t believe I am actually out-of-body as some people do, but it does appear as though I can see the environment around me even though I’m asleep. And it also seems like I am going to die. I learned to not be as scared during it and go with it, but it is very, very intense.

    And, no, none of it was drug induce for the record. All of this is very real and definitely worth exploring.

    Like

  37. I think the descriptions of the methods — not just in your article, but in many articles about lucid dreaming — create a chicken and the egg feeling for not-yet-lucid-dreamers i.e., “How am I supposed to control my dream so I can perform a technique that triggers the dream-controlling state if I’m not already in control of my dream in the first place?”

    I thought about it for a while and I think I get it — keep a dream journal so you can start to see patterns of anomalies (weird hands, digital clock craziness, flying) that frequently occur in your dreams. Then when you’re dreaming, it’s not that you’re initiating say, a look at your hands, but instead sometimes you’ll happen to see your hands, notice they’re weird, and then grab control of your dream.

    If so, this resolves some of my further questions like, “Well why don’t these people lucid dream EVERY night and without drug assistance if it’s as easy as looking at your hands or a clock in a dream?” It’s because sometimes the recognizable anomalies just don’t happen in the dream.

    Am I totally off-base or is this one of those things where it just has to happen before I completely understand it?

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  38. I used to lucid dream when I had apnea. After an attack, I’d try to move, but I as aware that I could only move my (closed) eyes. I would struggle to wake up, and then, after waking up, find myself actually still dreaming. I found that I could flip a light switch to tell if I was awake or not – in a dream, the switch didn’t work.

    This was years ago – time to try again.

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  39. Tim, thanks for the interesting resources. My library on the topic of lucid dreams is skewed toward metaphysical and occultist authors (with the exception of CG Jung, who has the uncommon ability to straddle worlds and come off as credible from both perspectives), and I hadn’t yet found a good starting point for a modern empirical view on the topic. It’s nice to know I can come back here when I start that little adventure.

    Like

  40. Tim,

    How long do your lucid dreams go for? I had my first one the other night after reading some stuff online. Pretty cool. Turned a nightmare around in my favour! Of course I got excited so it only lasted about 20 seconds.

    Pete.

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  41. Great post Tim. I was recently in San Jose, CA sleeping on a friends couch. At approx 8am there were jackhammers drilling into the street 30 ft away. I just accepted this sound and was able to go right back to sleep – It then became machine guns in a weird dream. very strange – wish I could do this all the time.

    Like

  42. If you’re still in China, mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) is supposed to promote lucid dreaming, and it’s easy to find there. It should be the same herb they use for moxibustion… the TCM clinics around me use it, and my understanding is it’s the same herb. I tried it, but it had no noticeable effect on me (well it’s a good source of vitamin C at least). I’m interested in finding out how well melatonin works.

    Like

  43. I have always had lucid dreams, at least as far back as 5(oddly it was something to do with Micheal Jackson’s thriller video), then again I guess it would have something to do with my personality flaws where I tend to overanalyze and like having control. I mostly used it when I was really young to stop having nightmares whenever they would come up. Through most of middle and highschool my dreams were really boring and mostly would be a normal day which the first few times was a bit hard to seperate from reality, then finally one day I had a dream about being a guide in some mounatinous warzone and then woke myself up diving off my bed and landing stacked up on top of myself holding my entire body up via my arms and forehead. That kind of made me realize without having to guess when I was dreaming.

    My only problem is that Ive been doing this unintentionally for as long as I can remember.

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  44. I sometimes remember my dreams, and rarely am able to control things to some degree. Unlike a lot of posters I don’t think I am going to put any effort into lucid dreaming; my conscious works hard enough while I am awake so it seems like my unconscious self ought to get a shot at night time since I trust it to do fine 😉 I would be open to hearing more about concrete results that Tim or others have experienced.

    Flying and sex with strangers/acquaintances … meh. (off topic I don’t personally know of any lover that would be turned-on about conscious-unconscious sex with a third part LOL. An interesting post topic might be 10th dan monogamy and drugs to enhance same ;->)

    I definitely agree that your unconscious is very useful and intriguing. Thomas Jefferson apparently said “Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.” Being able to visualize a skill is critical to being able to perform it eventually.

    This brings to mind ironically an early season of ultimate fighting that I checked out from the video store. There was one set of pre-fight interviews where this guy said he was a big fan of visualization had been hypnotized and visualized winning the whole fight like 17 times. As I remember in like the first round this fat bstrd penned the hypnosis guy into the corner between the ground and the chain link – using his giant beer belly – and beat the stuffing out of him until the ref called it. Anywho… I actually don’t watch that stuff very often these days as it is a challenge to find enough yin in my life to balance that out 😉

    Question: I am very interested in people’s experiences of weird looking hands, grotesque reflections and the sense of evil in the room. Are there any theories about why this occurs and how common it is? I happen to believe in a parallel spiritual world, maybe some people tie that in?

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  45. Tim – I read lots of LaBerge in ’94 also. I had just graduated college and was back living with my parents while job hunting for the summer . After practicing some of techniques I learned I managed to quickly fill a 100 + page journal within a few weeks of my first lucid dream (slept late on lots of mornings which rally helped). It came so naturally after a short time that I had to actually wean myself off the experience which became a nightly occurrence. Don’t under estimate he addictive quality of this state – a side effect in my opinion. Love your blog. Top quality stuff with few disappointing posts. – Jay

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  46. I’ve been doing this for quite some time now, what is strange though is that I seem to have some sort of ESP in my dreams.. as in, I will have a dream and write down immense details, from meeting strangers and exact conversations.. and then later on, I will meet those strangers in real life and already know all about them.. it’s pretty freaky at times.

    – paul

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  47. I have found that “looking at your hands”, is a great way to show yourself that you are lucid dreaming. I’ve been lucid dreaming consciously for 20 years and this has been the easiest trigger to awareness. Just think about this before you go to sleep and it will usually work.

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  48. Hey, Tim.

    Great task. We can generate so much good and creative energy out of lucid dreams.
    Not so sure now where the borderline to meditation is.
    Had my lessons on sleepscience in the early 90ies.

    I am a musicagent and also an energy runner.
    No,not running fast …. running energy.
    That also can take me into a state of lucid dream or altered awareness.
    And no drugs at all.

    Am living in Jamaica – still no drugs at all.
    Presently in Germany – need more sun….

    Would love to understand how I sometimes ‘work’ in my dreams, all kind of missions, simply more real than ‘normal’ dreams.
    These are so real and catching that I even have physical pains or other effects.
    But then have no impact on their contents.

    My longest experience of altered awareness switching to lucid dreams and back was on a relaxed Sunday morning and it really lasted 6 (!) hours.
    On and off, but never back to ‘normal’.

    Tim, am glad you are there and ignite so many people.
    Good energy always comes around.

    Thank you.

    Claudia

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  49. Nice article.

    I used to do this a lot when I was a kid and in my teens, though did not know it had a name. Never had a need to journal, but see there is value in it. So going to have to try.

    Yeah the flying always got me, sometimes fell off buildings, shake the bed, hehe. Freaked my wife out once.

    I found that room temperature affected this also. For me if I am tired but ever so uncomfortable I affect my ability to be lucid.

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  50. Tim,

    cool post, I had some knowledge of Lucid dreaming before, but using it for cognitive and memory purposes is a great idea. Since reading your post I have been subconsciously more observant (and better able to remember) my dreams and am better able to achieve the lucid dream (I don’t even try or care, its just happening now).

    However, I get put off by lucid dreams for the reason that more time spent in REM sleep (when we dream) is less time spent in slow wave (delta) sleep, which is where we do the most restoration.

    [Note: I am not experienced in this, someone please confirm]

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  51. Hey Tim,

    I have lucid dreaming all the time. Yet when it comes to teaching myself stuff, I’m not sure if I’m getting it all right. For example: sometimes I’ll wake up and know exactly what time it is, and sometimes I’m off by hours.

    How do you teach yourself right?

    Thanks, Lev

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  52. After viewing all comments i am compelled to share my “dreaming experiences ” and am anxious for any replies..advice. I am seeing a DR tomorrow as it is getting worse. Since 70’s ..been a fan of Carlos Castaneda..grapped Art of Dreaming when my experiences started….on a regular basis 1 yr ago then I got cancer in Feb..they stopped..they’re back. In my dreams I consciously DON’T WANT TO WAKE UP..i almost have 2 lives…the dream one is more desirable and I fear they’ll find me one day drooling in a coma but i’ll be LIVIN THE GOOD LIFE on the other side!! I always sleep in the buff,,,when I wake up i am completely dressed in the clothes i had on in the other side…..I am conscious of the fact that i’m dreaming and can wake up then go back to same dream. Any words of wisdom??? P/S. They’re not “”FLASHBACKS”

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  53. I used to have this dream in which I knew I was dreaming but couldn’t wake up. I would wake up in a bed in some room, but it was’t exactly MY room. So I would try again and again. Very frustrating.

    another time I had a dream in which I knew I was dreaming. So what I did was I got down on the ground and closed my eyes (in my dream) and tried to wake up. And this time it worked.

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  54. Even though this is a good introductory post to lucid dreaming and it creates “awareness” of the phenomen to your readers. But for those that already heard of it there isn’t much new stuff i feel, besides the supplements (and i’d prefer to learn the skill without them).

    I’d be interested if you tried other techniques/hacks (like WILD) or what you think of them, or if you have any personal preferences. (Besides the supplements.)
    I’ve had LD’s in the past. Now i’ve been trying to get them for two weeks or so to no avail, which is getting a bit frustrating. But i’m in it for the long haul, so no biggy, but still it would be nice to see progress.

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  55. What interesting comments. Tim, you’ve created a place where people reveal a lot about themselves.

    If you want to go on an interesting tangent, I know a trick you might find useful. You might have heard of a ‘dream garden,’ which is a stable place you create in your mind and reinforce through visualization. Stable here means it is essentially the same whenever you ‘visit’ through meditation or lucid dreaming.

    Now you might ask, what’s the use of a ‘place’ that isn’t physical. One use is that you can combine the technique with the method of loci, which was used by the Greeks to remember speeches and such while walking down the same path many times and touching the same objects while they talked. You’re capitalizing on the mind’s visual associative capacity to recall words, emotions, emphases, or anything else.

    Take that one step further. Walk through a ‘garden’ and talk to an imaginary person. Hold onto your sanity here 😉 Tell the person about a set of insights you’ve had that you don’t want to forget. Perhaps you realized for the 3rd time that you made a relationship mistake that you said you would never make again, and this time you want the principals you learned to stick. Or whatever. Tell your imaginary person about it while walking the same path, and let them respond (you made ‘them’ up, but you might find they have surprising insights because they’re not inhibited by being ‘you’).

    Now, the next time, walk a little further. Ask your imaginary person to explain the insight instead of the other way around. Discuss how it might apply to seemingly unrelated situations – a business relationship rather than a love relationship, perhaps. In this way you can build threads of insight that are persistent, and are (at least for some people) less taxing than just churning the problem over in your mind. You might find that you arrive at more advanced insights in shorter time, and are able to continue their development in a structured way. If it helps you find ‘the meaning of life,’ (Tim, I hope you crack a smile at that phrase), more’s the better.

    Incidentally, I have a note to Matthew a few posts up, since at one time I had dreams similar to his description. I think they were exam-related anxiety, as they tended to pop up around college exam time, but no matter. Here’s my thought: If a spirit world or alternate dimension is parallel to our own, and it happens to be filled with ‘evil,’ there’s good news. Parallel lines are those which never cross, no matter how far they travel in any direction.

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  56. Great intro to lucid dreaming. I’ve been using it for about 8 or 9 years now. For me, one of the keys to lucid dreaming is to be very relaxed before falling asleep. Things like eating my evening meal early and taking some light yoga-like exercise before bed also help a lot.

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  57. Maybe i was complaining too soon. Yesterday (after a bit less than two weeks) i had a LD again (flying, shooting fireballs), it was a MILD where i realised the string of spinach which was stuck between my teeth couldn’t be a meter long.

    I’m also reading Laberge’s book (Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming) which has a lot of techniques. Thanks for the tip robert. I’ll try the “dream garden” approach in the future for sure once i improve a bit.

    To the guy who asked wether the RC was the chicken or the egg: It can be both. Chicken case: If you practice your RC during the day a lot, it will “transfer” to your dreams. Meaning you will do the RC during the dream, then you will see that you’re dreaming. Egg case: if you have the sneaky suspicion that your dog shouldn’t be having a conversation in spanish with your mother, you can do a RC to make sure for 100% you’re dreaming.

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  58. Fascinating Tim! I think MT had the best comment in using this to solve very complex problems and using the subconscious to answer them spot on. I will definitely be investing some time for that (and the other, less productive benefits, too).

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  59. Okay, here are the results from my experiement. Last week I drank a couple of beers every week night, drank heavily Saturday night, then stopped drinking altogether from Sunday until this Thursday night. I took 3 mg melatonin every night, which I have been doing for years for insomnia.

    Dream recall was low Friday night and virtually nil Saturday night. It was about back to normal Sunday night (probably still had some of the byproducts of alcohol breakdown in my system). Monday night dream recall was far higher than is normal for me, and I had a brief flash of lucidity but couldn’t hold onto it. Tuesday dream recall went down a bit, but was still a bit higher than normal. I was back to baseline levels on Wednesday, and stopped the experiment on Thursday.

    So, alcohol does inhibit dream recall, and quitting int does give you a rebound effect for 2-3 days. “But John” you ask, “How is this useful if it means we have to go through cycles of heavy drinking?” Well, there is another popular cyclical diet out there, and it happens to be totally compatible with this technique. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…the Cyclical Alcoholic Diet! (TM)

    Sunday afternoon through Friday morning are spent on a super-low-carb diet, allowing you to burn fat and slim down. Friday night through Saturday night (and possibly Sunday morning if you are hung over) are your carb-up phase. In this phase, drink a ton of beer, and eat just enough food to let you drink more beer.

    After you stop drinking on Sunday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights are spend reaping the rewards of all your hard work, having sex with your favorite Spice Girl and asking advice from Mister T. Alternatively, Saturday night can be spent in jail, reflecting on what you’ve learned, staying awake all night to facilitate dreaming on Sunday night, and networking with other “entepreneurs.” The carb-up phase is also highly conducive to telling yuor boss to take this job and shove it, instantly reducing your Lifestyle Quotient to somewhere around zero.

    Incidentally, I was at a charity fundraiser Friday night and won a dreamcatcher in the raffle. Coincidence? Well yeah, probably, but it’s pretty cool. Hanging that up today, and my huperzine should be here tomorrow. Happy dreaming!

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  60. Tim,

    While you’re experimenting with that one plant from Oaxaca (suggested in comments above), you should also check out Salvia Divinorum (sp?). Also not a controlled substance, but I’ve read all of Castaneda’s books, and am convinced that this particular plant is an integral part of Castaneda’s experiences. 😉

    Like

  61. I read Martha Beck’s writings and she gave an interesting view regarding dreams. She also believed that dreams can show us our current state of life that we are having.

    In her book Steering by Starlight, she also advised us to record our dreams. And all the things that we see are symbolisms of things that are of great importance in our life. And a way to decipher those symbols is to actually put ourselves in the position of those symbols.

    Let’s say you dreamt of a bear, and don’t know what it means. Then, take a quiet time and really imagine that you ARE the bear, looking at yourself in your dream. She even advised us to act like the symbols itself, in this case, possibly growling and stand in all fours. Eventually you will know what it represents in your life. It always works for me.

    What’s interesting is that the same symbols can mean differently to everyone. A bear can represent a scary situation or anxiety, or it might represent a person in the dreamer’s life, or it can symbolyze inner strength; it differs from person to person. That’s why I believe only you can interpret your own dream.

    Once I had a dream about my friend who I wasn’t really close to. I didn’t even think about her all the time, but here I am dreaming about her. So I imagined myself as her in my dream and realized that she represented my mom (whom I’ve been missing at that time) since they both have the same traits.

    I hope this helps you guys.

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  62. Tim,
    Quick question. After reading the post I started writing my dreams down and it worked right away: I do remember my dreams and have 5-7 dreams a night, but I noticed that I sleep a lot worse and sometimes can’t sleep for a while after writing down my dream. Is that normal and is it initial or permanent reaction, because if it is it boils down to the choice of better sleep vs. remembering my dreams. Anything I can do to improve my sleep while still remembering my dreams?
    Thank you in advance,
    Ildar

    Like

  63. I used to be able to do this but only when I did my “power nap” of 20-25 mins in the afternoon Time would pass by so slowly though. Things would happen that would fill up two days while I slept only 20mins. It took me a long time not to get too excited when I realized I was dreaming to prevent waking up. But it was worth it, it was incredibly realistic no matter what I did and flying was a lot of fun.

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  64. Tim, I’ve been facinated by lucidity since childhood. I have lucid dreams often. My research led me to Valerian Root. Not sure if you’ve tried it, but it produces INTENSE lucidity. It’s what witches from the days of the druids took and that’s where the idea of flying witches came from. Also, it’s funny you bring this up now, because during this time of year is when I have more than normal. Close to and right after Halloween. A word of caution, if you decide to take it, be prepared for a mild nightmare. Not the kind that scares you. It’s strange, they are vivid but then the nightmare part goes away and your left with just the lucid dream. You may or may not have a nightmare but you will become lucid and you will be able to fly easier than normal.

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  65. As an older guy (50) who most often has dreamless nights. I recall a few years ago when I had back surgery. I spent one night in the hospital attached to a morphine drip. It was a very minor patient controlled dosage. I administered the minimum and for the next 3 nights had VERY lucid dreams.
    Just FYI.
    Kids, don’t try this at home.

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  66. Tim,

    I started logging my dreams a couple of weeks ago. The remembering part has always been easy for me, so I finally gained control of a few dreams this week. However, I was far too conscious that I was dreaming to really enjoy it. hehe 🙂 Does this go away after you get better at lucid dreaming or is it just part of the fact that it is still only a dream?

    Melissa McCune

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  67. Hey Tim, another great post!

    I’ve found pretty good success with lucid dreaming when combining it with self hypnosis. I do a self hypnosis session before sleep to instruct my mind to dream vivid and lucid dreams (sometimes with suggestions on a specific topic, sometimes not) and also instruct it to remember the dreams. I find that the notebook by my bed is still helpful…I get more out of it that way.

    May be I’ll get some free business consulting out of you in a dream…”mastermind principle” so to speak!

    BTW, I tried “the Dreaming Herb” in tea form…wow, it tasted horrible and didn’t notice any effect on dreaming. It was a fun experiment though.

    Any way thanks again and keep bringing the cool!

    Chris

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  68. Feeling a bit left out with all these LC success stories. I’d previously heard interesting things about LC and wanted to experiment with it a few years ago. While I could tell myself to remember my dreams OK doing so effed up my circadian rhythms so much I had to give up trying. Maybe I’m missing an important step in the pre-talk, self programming stage.

    Perhaps someone else has tried other methods of self-hypnosis (since that’s basically what we’re discussing)? I’ve been using binaural beats and the Mindspa machine to achieve, what I take to be, deep relaxation/meditative states. I’ve also started to experiment with autogenic training. Anyone do something similar?

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  69. Tim, nice to see you turn your sights towards LDing! as a lucid dream researcher, I have gotten used to sub-par intro articles in the press — but am happy to say yours is right on.

    You nailed it — lucid dreaming is learnable, can be tuned towards whatever your passion in life may be, and can also be a gateway into transcendental states of consciousness. kudos!

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  70. I found that raised Lucidity in dreams follow closely raised lucidity in waking life. The best examples are when I travel somewhere I’ve never been before. I need to be conscious most of the time, because I don’t want to be hit by a car etc. I tend to have a lot of LDs in first week of being someplace new.

    I incorporated it into normal life in such a way that I was trying to everyday go to work, and especially from work by a different route. I was tumbling a coin on a fork in the road. This way I had to be conscious and not routine driven.

    There’s also a walking technique I incorporated into those walks – on safe portions of the passage I delicately unfocused my eyes to get separate vision from each eye, and even slowly rotated my head from left to right and back – sweeping the path before me and flooding my mind with the unfocused, changing vision.

    I also made an instrument I called waking castet, which consist of a pair of three fingersize bamboo sticks connected by a soft wire put through a hole drilled close to one of the stick’s ends ( like this: |_|_| |_|_| ). You put the sticks between four fingers (the small to pointing one), and close hand into a fist – wired part inside, free ends sticking out like a castet. Closing fist harder causes you to feel pain in your fingers. This pain has a strange ability to shut down your thoughts.

    Wearing walking castet, together with flooding my vision while walking is an extraordinary experience. I stopped unfocusing when I had to cross the street or where the terrain was rough. I noticed that I started to find insane amounts of coins, sometimes even paper money on this walks – they were just “popping” into my eyes in places where I had to stop unfocusing my eyes (like stopping before a street and waiting for lights to change). I was sometimes finding 5 zlotys (Polish money) in various coins during a walk. Also I found myself extremely fluid and focused at the same time in my work and back at home. I was “flying” through assignments, finishing them in a lightning fast way – it is the best tool against procrastination I ever found 🙂

    And of course I was having a lot of LDs – I found myself in dream, walking the paths I walked that day.

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  71. Tim, It was great meeting you today at the conference.
    So, we’ve discussed photo reading techniques and I understand that you are skeptical about it. Well, I am still a believer… i juyst need to find the one that works 🙂 From everything I’ve searched this one looks the most credible (see videos):
    http://ideamamaadnetwork.com/blog/2009/09/30/how-to-board-directors-meeting-management-press-conference-investor-technology-mind-mastery/
    As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been practicing some technique that I’ve came up with, but I definitely thing that I am missing something. I want to find out what Richard’s methodology is about as he claims that it works.

    Also would be interested in your thoughts on this one:
    http://ideamamaadnetwork.com/blog/2009/08/16/corporate-world-marketers-future-nanotech-nanotechnology-digital-products-business-strategy-compute/

    Cheers!

    Like

  72. dude,

    Well, I tried to implement things from Carlos Castaneda books. Like finding my hands in a dream – it’s my standard procedure in Lucid Dreams – every time I look at my hands my dream solidifies, becomes real.

    As for the castet – somewhere in the books it was mentioned to use fingersized quartz crystals as the best, but that any hard, fingersized objects will do – so I used bamboo sticks as extremely cheap and easy to cut and drill.

    And right way to walk comes from Castaneda as well – as a matter of fact in one of books he claims that according to Don Juan this was the most important technique he was given to practice. As explained, this walking with unfocused eyes overfloods our mind with the number of details and – overwhelmed – it has to stop to name the things that surrounds us. Naming the things is a process through which our mind insulates us from the world – each time you see something new, the brain has got to name it. Then next time you see something similar, brain fires up past visions of that thing, virtually cutting you off from directly experiencing it – you look through “maya” – a courtain on which brain displays you movies from the past. That’s what Jesus meant when he spoke about being like a child – being like a child that sees everything for the first time and doesn’t have any associations with the past that could cloud his vision.

    I cannot overemphasize the right walking enough. When you see the world as it is instead as your brain displays it for you, you know that the world is a mystery.

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  73. I forgot to mention I’ve been practising Tai-Chi movements in my LDs 🙂

    dude,

    Well, I tried to implement things from Carlos Castaneda books. Like finding my hands in a dream – it’s my standard procedure in Lucid Dreams – every time I look at my hands my dream solidifies, becomes real.

    As for the castet – somewhere in the books it was mentioned to use fingersized quartz crystals as the best, but that any hard, fingersized objects will do – so I used bamboo sticks as extremely cheap and easy to cut and drill.

    And right way to walk comes from Castaneda as well – as a matter of fact in one of books he claims that according to Don Juan this was the most important technique he was given to practice. As explained, this walking with unfocused eyes overfloods our mind with the number of details and – overwhelmed – it has to stop to name the things that surrounds us. Naming the things is a process through which our mind insulates us from the world – each time you see something new, the brain has got to name it. Then next time you see something similar, brain fires up past visions of that thing, virtually cutting you off from directly experiencing it – you look through “maya” – a courtain on which brain displays you movies from the past. That’s what Jesus meant when he spoke about being like a child – being like a child that sees everything for the first time and doesn’t have any associations with the past that could cloud his vision.

    I cannot overemphasize the right walking enough. When you see the world as it is instead as your brain displays it for you, you know that the world is a mystery.

    Like

  74. When I was 18 I used to do something similar, but for writing poetry. I had tried for a few months to write, but I was failing and impatient. So I realized that I wrote my best stuff right after awakening. I read about brain waves and about some American genius holding a rock over a tin bucket to fall asleep but promptly awake (by dropping the rock), to reap the benefits of original ideas.

    So I lied in my bed, closing my eyes and emptying my mind. Sooner or later, I would notice that my body was paralyzed, and usually I would panick. But sometimes I didn’t, and then I very carefully “stepped” out of my body. I took a big risk and opened the window and jumped out. Soon I was flying to London 🙂

    I have tried to recapture these experiments but it is more difficult now, although I am only 21.

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  75. That’s a cool tip, leszek.

    The last weeks i had some success. This morning i had a string of lucid dreams where i had pretty good control and lucidity using wake-back to bed.

    @Ewan: I have the same problem. That’s why on weekdays i just focus on dream recall in the morning. Before going to sleep, imprint in your mind to recall your dream and to remember that you are lucid during your dream.
    If you wake up during the night just return to sleep immediately, only in the morning write in your dream journal.

    On free days where i want to practise more, i wake up at 4 o clock, write in my dream journal. Then i imprint in my mind to get lucid, and eg this morning i had a string of dreams where i got lucid (mostly false awakenings). A couple of times i woke up, jotted my dream down, and then tried to get a lucid dream again.

    It is however a process which takes time and energy to get good at it.

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  76. Its a wonderful thing when science can confirm under controlled conditions something which many claim exists. Even better when such knowledge, can lead to an erotic encounter while flying through the grand canyon without the use of a plane. lol

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  77. I’ve experienced lucid dreams for quite some time, not realizing what it was, that I could induce them, and that I could actually control what was going on within them.

    One memory of mine that really stands out and made me realize as I was reading this article that I have, in fact, had lucid dreams before was one morning, (just before I woke up) I realized that anything I thought about, I dreamt about. Whatever came to my mind simply came true. No matter how outrageous or impossible it is in real-life. I began to think all sorts of crazy things in my dream, and no matter what it was, it just happened. It came true. I’ve had no explanation for it until now.

    That said, that was the best night of sleep in my entire life, but thanks to this article I hope to recreate that very very soon.

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  78. Leszek,
    Great tips: thank you! Which book by Castaneda should I concentrate on? He has quite a few 🙂 Although your tips give me something to practice with already.
    Thanks again

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