Steps Toward Dream Control
Do you want to know how to have lucid dreams? Have you ever wanted to intensify your dream experiences? If so, you need to understand what lucid dreaming is and what you can control to eventually get lucid dreams to happen naturally.
Lucid dream: A lucid dream is a dream in which the dreamer realizes they are dreaming. Basically, the dreamer acknowledges that the current state that they are in is a dream state. Lucid dreams are often very memorable, at least in the short-term.
Lucid dreaming: A dream state in which the dreamer realizes and acknowledges they are dreaming. After achieving this recognition they move within the dream state and exert influence over their dream reality.
The first thing any person seeking lucid dreams must realize is that lucid dreaming is possible. Many times lucid dreams happen naturally, but also can be induced. In his paper; Lucid Dreaming: Psychophysiological Studies of Consciousness during REM sleep, Stephen LaBerge Ph.D. applied scientific (objective) methods and verified that lucid dreams in fact do occur. He also went on to document that many times the dream account retold (subjective) by the dreamer matched certain physiological (objective) recordings. For instance; a sequence of left and right dream-fist clenches resulted in a corresponding sequence of left and right forearm twitches measured through electromyography (EMG). (source: http://www.lucidity.com/SleepAndCognition.html).
The second thing a lucid dream seeker looking for a lucid dream state must also realize is that there is a certain level of conscious effort and training that they can enlist to encourage lucid dreams. The athletic concept of 'smoothing the channel' can be adopted by lucid dream seekers. This concept is often used by athletes in terms of athletic technique, but it also has mental merit and applications as well. Ever heard of visualization? Tiger Woods certainly has.
'Smoothing the channel' refers to linking all the required muscle groups for the desired action together into a technique. The technique then gets repeated so that the body becomes familiarized with the sequence over time (the channel for the action smooths) and recall becomes easier, or even reflexive.
How to Start Training Yourself to Get lucid Dreams?
A good start to obtaining lucid dreams is initiating a good sleep regimen. A good night sleep will not only set the platform upon which dreaming can occur, but it alleviates tension and stress. Good sleep habits are things such as consistently going to sleep and waking up at consistent times. Also be sure you’re setting enough time aside to sleep.
Another good sleep habit is to make sure there are no negative stimuli that interfere. Eating too close to bedtime is a good example of negative stimuli that can interrupt the sleep cycle. Alcohol (depressant) consumption close to, or to encourage sleep, is also a negative stimulus that can have detrimental impact upon the sleep cycle. Alcohol can actually help a person fall asleep quicker, but it also hampers the depth of sleep. Remember, the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep state is what those seeking lucid dreams are after. A deep sleep cycle is necessary for lucid dreams.
What if you aren’t able to get into a good sleep state which is conducive to lucid dreams? Well, many times stress and tension are the causes of bad sleep. No doubt, a vicious cycle can be the cause of poor sleep. A person isn’t sleeping well because they’re stressed. Their stress increases due to lack of sleep. The key here is to break the cycle. Try to find the source of stress and eliminate it from your life. Many times this isn’t possible because the stressors are necessary. Job stress is a prime example of this. If elimination of the stressors isn’t possible, explore different relaxation techniques such as self-hypnosis or transcendental meditation (TM). Through practicing relaxation techniques, one can slowly and methodically rid themselves of stress. Many times simply quieting yourself in a dark room and concentrating on breathing can be effective. Whatever it is, remember that less stress means lucid dreams are closer.
Smooth the Channel between the Conscious and the Unconscious Mind
The process of 'smoothing the channel' also needs to be applied in order to link the critical mind states of consciousness and unconsciousness together. How does one go about this? Remember, lucid dreams entail recognition and acknowledgement of the dream state. A good first step and the easiest way to start linking these two mind states together to achieve lucid dreams is to simply take a moment each day and acknowledge your reality. What? Simply put, take a time-out. When the day’s activities get hectic, take a moment or two (when possible and it’s safe to do so) and simply absorb your surroundings without interacting. Become a sponge of perception. Get in tune with what you are seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling. Then, acknowledge that they are happening and that you are awake. Training yourself in conscious perception becomes important when you move to anchoring in your lucid dreams.
The next thing a person looking to make lucid dreams happen is to start and maintain a dream diary or dream journal. Linking your unconscious mind and conscious mind can also be accomplished by keeping a dream diary or dream journal. Document your dream details over time and your recall ability will increase. Keeping a dream journal or dream diary current will help pinpoint dream specifics and decrease friction between the conscious thought process and unconscious dream state.
Let it Happen Naturally
Lastly, don’t impede the process of lucid dreaming by pushing yourself too much. Lucid dreams and lucid dreaming should be approached from a place of relaxation. Increasing the pressure or “wanting to have” will only cause stress which, as already mentioned, discourages the healthy sleep cycle.
Lucid dreams do indeed happen and you can train yourself how to have lucid dreams, but it’s a process that takes the correct mindset. Preparation for how to have lucid dreams and dream control starts in the conscious world first, then through training links with the unconscious. Try some of these techniques and explore the world of lucid dreaming and discover how to have lucid dreams.