Could my fundamentals be the reason I'm not lucid dreaming yet?

Hello all, this is my first post after lurking in this community for a couple years now. Without further delay, let me explain to you guys what’s been making me want to rip my hair out for the past month or two!

So, I’ve been finally seriously practicing lucid dreaming for the past two months, and things have been interesting to say the least. I’ve experimented with different LD techniques (started with WILD because it intrigued me most, recently found a form of WBTB that works best for me, and have been lately trying out MILD). Needless to say, I have yet to achieve a lucid dream, and a someone who already doesn’t have too much confidence, it’s caused me to take inventory…

But after a lot of thinking and researching, it’s come to my attention that some of you more experienced dreamers started with heavily building your dream recall and reality checks? I do everywhere from 5-10 a day and (try to) write every dream down I remember if I’m not tired enough (I’ve averaged about 2-4 dream journal entries a week) and it’s got me wondering, is that enough? I’m more than happy to continue trying techniques, especially MILD since it’s so low effort for me (compared to wild, anyways!) but this doubt as well as new information has got me wondering:

Could I be trying to throw a punch, when my foot work has been wrong this entire time?

Without the use of a metaphor; could it be that these techniques simply won’t help me until I have strong enough fundamentals?

I’d love to hear what you all have to say about this, and I’m happy to answer any questions you guys may have for me. I want a lucid dream and I want it now!!! lol

It’s all about awareness. Reality checks are great, but they don’t matter at all if you’re not processing them. I’ve had reality checks in dreams that passed because I expected them to pass.

You are spot on about needing to go to fundamentals. Working on dream recall and journaling is great for two reasons. One, it suuuucks to have an LD and then forget about it. I’ve got a few like that. I remember them being awesome and then literally nothing else. Two, it makes you think about dreams more. The more you’re thinking about it, the more you’re likely to be questioning if you’re in a dream.

Awareness and expectations are next. I have a couple of articles I wrote years ago I’m going to share. They sum it up better than I can do in a single post. Make sure you read the discussion threads too; lots of good feedback from long-silent accounts.


I still have the most success after having already slept some. I’ve never done the full WBTB where you get up for an hour. I can’t fall asleep after that. Just long enough to shut off my alarm or maybe go to the restroom. Lately I get the best results if I take a nap in my early afternoon. Very vivid dreams which makes it much easier to realize I’m dreaming (and they’re a lot more fun).

Finally, learn to enjoy your ND’s. I can’t think of anything less productive than going “ah man, I didn’t get lucid.” For me that change of mind really helped. Every night I had unique experiences instead of every night feeling like a failure.

Good luck, and stick with it.

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Great post by Rhewin, I can definitely second what he has written.

I want to discuss the dream recall (DR) a little. In general, DR is a great way of increasing your chance of having an LD because I think it’s a fair approximaion to say that the amount of dreams you can recall is proportional to the amount of LDs you can possibly have. More dreams remembered also means more LDs remembered when you are having them, as Rhewin pointed out.

So the more DR the better, that is definitely true. But how much is enough? That question is quite tough to answer and will vary depending on who you’re asking. As a rule of thumb I would say 1 dream per night on average is a good base line. So if you’re having 2-4 per week, then you are already half-way there. In the end, you need to figure out the trade-off between the effort spent on journaling and how much you can get out of it by doing it more intensively.

And then there is the other major benefit that Rhewin mentioned: You will also gain proportionally increased access to normal dreams, which can be fabulously amazing, too, to say the least. If I was to make a top 10 ranking of my favorite dreams, I think it would only contain maybe 2-3 lucid ones and the rest are all NDs.


Next I want to briefly touch on RCs. If you are doing 5-10 per day, I think that’s good enough. If you increase the frequency then I am afraid that you may decrease the quality. When I was young and eager to have LDs I also did them all the time and tried various reminder tools. I wasn’t very successful. Nowadays I am doing less RCs than back then, but I am having more success because I am doing them better. See Rhewin’s linked post on awareness.

I like to say that RCs are a tool for people new to lucid dreaming. To the more experienced lucid dreamers, they rather are a metaphor. Making the transition requires practice and at least in my personal case, above anything else, it requires consistency. I have more lucid dreams recently than ever in the 15 years before. It is thanks to having grown up and taking things slowly but steadily, instead of following bursts of motivation.

Take your time to learn and explore the world of dreaming, of which lucidity is only one part. You will also discover many things about yourself. I like your approach of looking at the fundamentals. Those are really all you need to get started.

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Thanks for the read! Though I’m curious, I obviously need to improve in my dream recall, but I’m a bit nervous about how that may effect my sleep. I’m generally a groggy sleeper perpetually, so I usually need to be a solid 10-15 minutes awake to remember a dream. I also (similarly to you) suck a bit at going back to bad after waking from a dream, which leaves me nervous that if I were to do such, the benefit of dream recall would be at the cost of sleep. Not to mention since it’s suggestion, if I were to practice auto-suggesting myself awake after each dream, it’d be hard to just turn that off, in case I need an uninterrupted 7-9 hours because of an event of mine.

Interested to hear what you may think!

Building a solid foundation with the basic steps of RCs and journaling is key. Sure, lucidity can be obtained without them but the quality is what will always lack.

Start with whatever you can. I don’t wake up after every dream, and most people don’t. What eventually worked for me was writing down just a few key words for the most impactful parts of a dream. Later once I woke up, the key words were enough to jog my memory.

I am fond of setting a gentle-sounding alarm for about 5 hours after I have gone to bed. I silence the alarm (I can do this with my eyes closed) and then scribble the key words. Again, I am not opening my eyes for any of this. I’ve even fallen asleep pen in hand.

If you’re very nervous about losing sleep, don’t be. You’ll be surprised how easily you drift back if you don’t disturb yourself too much. It may take a week or two to get used to the new schedule. And that’s the last part: stick to a schedule. Your body will adjust if you give it the time.

Hope you don’t mind me continuing this thread ^^’

So, I have noticed a great increase in my dream recall and vividness in my dreams as of late. I can usually recall solid minutes of dreams (at least when I wake up to write them) every night and I’m beginning to feel confident again in continuing my lucid dreaming progress. That being said, I have not yet had a DILD just from recalling my dreams. I’ve been using a mantra as a way to heighten my chance of remembering to remember dreams (basically MILD but for dream recall), but I fear that in my extra effort to remember my dreams, I may be skipping out on actually becoming aware that I am dreaming.

So in short, could my dedication to dream recall be inhibiting my lucidity? Should I wait for an unintentional DILD before proceeding?

I’m not above overcomplicating things for myself but I’m a very meticulous person who wants to get things as right as I possibly can, and I’m passionate about forming lucid dreaming as a hobby of mine, despite my difficulty (Still no Lucid dream after all this progress, not even accidentally :frowning_face:). But I’m not giving up, and the advice you’ve given me has already been amazing, i could use some extra, though. :smile:

Congratulations on the recall progress :clap:

Uhm, I never heard anybody report that you could focus so much on dream recall that your lucidity will suffer and it doesn’t seem very plausible to me either, so don’t worry.

That sounds very familiar. I think in the same way. Lucid dreaming is going to be a very useful lesson for you then, because it is really not about accuracy of techniques or something like that. Rather, it is something fuzzy I would say and often there is no sharp distinction between what’s right and what’s wrong. So it’s quite the opposite of your usual style of operations. There are no guarantees that following a certain process to the letter will yield a predetermined result. (Unfortunately a lot of advice is written as if that was the case. Doesn’t mean those are not worth a try, but they often seed false hopes.)

I like the metaphor “evolution has given us these amazing brains, but unfortunately it doesn’t come with an operating manual“. Next to neuroscience and psychology I see communities like this as an attempt to figure out how this cool device works and what it’s capable of. To make things more difficult though, it is also a custom made gadget and each one is different :joy: So take all advice with a little bit of doubt.

From what I understand of your already achieved progress and yet unfulfilled progress, I’d formulate two more specific pieces of advice:

  1. Keep your recall efforts if you can, sounds like your recall is great and maintaining that is a boon.
  2. Assume a more relaxed attitude towards lucid dreaming. Keep your awareness and do RCs properly when you remember them, but don’t go to bed worried about doing all the little things correctly. Also, vary a little bit (e.g. your mantra if your doing MILD) in your attempts every few days or weeks.

Your story sounds similar to my own. If that is the case, then the most beneficial ingredient for you is time.

I don’t think I can give a much better answer than Marvin! Recall is important. The more you remember your dreams, the more you’ll get an idea of what dreams “feel” like. I cannot put this into words, you have to experience it. Once you know that feeling, becoming lucid is much easier. I rarely have to RC after I notice the feeling.

The only thing you need to be meticulous about is awareness. Do you know where you are? How did you get here? Does this situation make sense? That’s the real reality check and the secret of most frequent lucid dreamers. Mantras, sleep paralysis, RC’s, and all the other things don’t matter one bit without awareness.

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Ah man, when I first read your post a couldn’t help but laugh! You’re right, I do think that part of what makes this all so difficult for me is that it’s so different from how I normally think.

Right now, I’m frustrated because I can’t really tell if I’m doing anything right or wrong, just that I’ve been having decently vivid dreams each night. Don’t get me wrong, they certainly could be more. Currently each dream I’ve been having pumps out 1-2 paragraphs each, even on nights I sleep the whole night through. But I’ve read that more experienced people than me can end up writing quite a lot for their dreams, so maybe I still need to build on my dream recall more.

Overall I’m not frustrated enough to throw in the towel, and I’m usually good at chasing away the frustration when it arrives, but I admit, holding onto patience as one of my few main motivations is tough. Maybe Im a little sour because 2 days ago I had a nightmare too, which one of the reasons I wanted to learn lucid dreaming in the first place was to lessen my nightmares.

I’ve been at this practice for almost 3 months and I’ve yet to have a lucid dream. I’m still somewhat motivated…but to be honest, my flame is flickering.

Any advice? Motivation? Both, lol?