Mastering Techniques and Methods
If you ever questioned, “How can you control your dreams,” or if dreaming lucid was possible, then you’re certainly interested in dream control methods and techniques. In regards to whether or not lucid dreaming is real, it has been well documented through both scientific and medical research that it is real. Dreaming lucidly entails acknowledgement of the fact that one is experiencing a dream. In other words, if a person experiences a lucid dream, they are aware that they are indeed in a dream. There is a level of metacognition at play in this event. So, in effect, the sleeping and dreaming person acknowledges their unconscious mind state to themselves while in lucid dreaming.
Interesting indeed, but if a lucid dream happens naturally, is controlling it possible? Is dream control even possible? And, if so, what are the proper methods and techniques for dream control? All are good questions and must be tackled methodically.
Dream Control, Lucid Dreams are Necessary
As already stated, lucid dreams do occur. In regards to dream control, yes dream control is possible and that would be through lucid dreaming. So, to control your dreams, you must get a lucid dream. Lucid dreams occur during the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage. Since stress in our lives is one of the biggest blockers to lucid dreaming, proper stress management skills must be learned. Relaxation and stress management are critical to attaining lucid dreams. There are multiple techniques and methods of controlling stress and helping with relaxation. Meditation is a great example of an effective stress reliever and relaxation technique. The Mayo Clinic provides good resources on stress management and an insightful overview on the different types of meditation. Links to that information are provided at the bottom of this article.
Once a person gets lucid dreams, increasing their frequency is the next goal. The more frequent lucid dreams are, the better. Here is where a consistent and healthy sleep cycle comes into play. Ideally, the sleep cycle should be clean and the lucid dream should happen naturally. Good sleep habits coupled with proper stress management should encourage a solid sleep cycle. Again, meditation techniques or self-hypnosis techniques are a good way to start calming the conscious mind and controlling stress levels.
Let’s assume lucid dreaming on a frequent and even consistent basis is achieved. What fun is simply acknowledging that you’re dreaming while still dreaming? Granted, lucid dreaming is a magnificent thing, but now your want to control your dream-self will often become a goal. Ultimately manipulating the dream itself becomes a great motivation, à la Inception. After all, who wouldn’t want to fly or be a billionaire even if only in a dream?
Dream Control Method:
Once the dreamer has gotten to the stage where lucid dreams happen naturally, dream control methods and manipulation become the next area of interest. An essential dream control method or technique that needs mastering is anchoring. Anchoring is also often called grounding (although one might argue that there is a nuanced, thus more than a semantic difference).
Anchoring involves the use of an anchor while in the dream state. What is an anchor in the lucid dream? An anchor is anything that the dreamer uses within the lucid dream that helps them move past the mere acknowledgement of the dream itself. Acknowledgement starts turning into action.
Lucid dreaming is the mere acknowledgement that one is in a dream. In other words the dreamer becomes conscious on some level that they are in fact dreaming. This acknowledgement is made, then the dream unfolds. Often times this simple acknowledgement, lucid dream identification, is enough to relax the dreamer and settle fears which encourages more intense and longer dreams. The dreamer lets the dream wash over them. When anchors are added, the dreamer takes a critical first step towards starting to manipulate their dream world by moving past mere dream acknowledgement and towards becoming an actor and participant within the dream.
Lucid Dream Anchor
All these minute, yet critical distinctions are nice, but what is a lucid dream anchor? A lucid dream anchor is anything within the dream that the dreamer uses to move past mere dream state acknowledgement (lucid dream realization) and into action within the dream itself. The classic example that is often cited is identifying with your dream-self in some way. This takes a practical example in looking down at your dream-self’s feet and noting what type of shoes you're wearing.
Perhaps, the dream-self is situated in front of a mirror; then the anchor could be moving your dream-self into place to see a reflection in the mirror. Then, once the reflection is noted, touch the face as the dream-self watches it in the mirror. Many anchors are possible. Often a lucid dream situation calls for a different or unique anchor from what the dreamer has used in the past. This is where employing conscious relaxation techniques are handy.
Conscious self-visualization techniques not only help with relaxation (thus increasing lucid dream potential), but also act as lucid dream method exercises. Many athletes use self-visualization to step their game up. They relax and try to put themselves (visualize) in some place or situation in which they want to excel. This is the classic “be the ball” example. Golf pros such as Tiger Woods acknowledge using extensive visualization and concentration techniques in achieving real, physical results.
Anchor Your Conscious Self to the Dream-Self
Many physical, conscious things can help a person achieve lucid dreams. Elimination of the negatives that contribute to stress is critical. Investigate and explore different things such as meditation, prayer chanting, hypnosis and relaxation techniques. Maintain a dream diary or dream journal. Once lucid dreams become achievable for the person, anchoring is then the next area of concentration. Through anchoring dream control is possible. Develop several anchors through various relaxation and visualization methods. Even if a specific anchor doesn’t present itself immediately, lucid dreams often present multiple anchoring opportunities.
Mastering dream control certainly takes more effort than simply dreaming about it. But, if a person can get lucid dreams, then using anchors and anchoring is a critical next step to dream control mastery. Dream control is possible and utilizing anchoring in lucid dreams is a critical technique to master in order to eventually manipulate the entire dream reality.
Mayo Clinic on stress management: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/relaxation-technique/SR00007
Mayo Clinic on meditation: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/meditation/HQ01070
Lucid dream clinical proof: http://www.lucidity.com/SleepAndCognition.html