Improving your LDing mindset

Meow ^^

Apparently I need to make 5 posts just to view profiles so I figured why not start by contributing something.

I’d like to talk about something thats very general, and then how it can be applied by an aspiring lucid dreamer - the tao of learning as i see it :razz:. I realise some of it may be a bit controversial, so feel free to argue, because I still need to write 4 more posts.

Whatever skill you look at, there will be people who have been doing it their whole life, and yet stay mediocre. I have seen old guys in the park who have been playing chess for 60 years that can be easily beaten by a skilled 9 year old. Clearly, it is not the amount of time nor effort they dedicated to learning that determines their skill. Similarly, there are people who spend lots of time trying to lucid dream, and yet its still a crapshoot for them.

There is a particular mindset that takes a huge part of the blame. It is so popular, that it can be seen in one of the dumbest proverbs the humanity has produced to date - “practice makes perfect”. People keep saying they suck so they need to practice more. It’s like a cult, the Church of the Holy Practice. Practice doesn’t make you perfect, it reinforces the habits, makes them persistent. I have seen this pitfall when I tried to coach (chess) a very intelligent person past a level that he got stuck on (way below his intellectual potential). He would blame his errors on not solving enough problems, when it was clear he is just missing the big picture. It is a bit like someone who only learned to run backwards and insisted that he can be a 100 meter sprint champion - if he just practiced enough.

(or a lucid dreamer who would LD a lot - if he made more reality checks)

Therefore, just the motivation to put some effort might only be helpful in short term. If you want to improve in the long-term, beyond the legions of mediocre people, you have to be critical towards yourself, analyse where you go wrong and yes, reevaluate your entire approach when you feel you got stuck. If you cannot lucid dream at will, and you have been trying for a few months, you are doing something wrong, and no, its not the amount of reality checks.

The motivation that you need to have is the one to be proven wrong, to change the way you think about certain ideas completely. The motivation to find a way around a wall instead of the motivation to keep banging your head against it trying to break it.

When you fail, look for the cause, and let this cause be one that you can do something about. If you miss a dream sign, that’s a perfect opportunity to learn! Replay the dream in your mind. Remember what you thought then. Now edit the dream, think to yourself what you should have - “this makes no sense, so it’s a dream”. Now play the edited version in your mind, where you become lucid and even go on doing something you wanted to. That’s how you create new habits. That’s how you learn.

Just don’t go “I missed my dream sign, because I’m not making enough reality checks”.

The next big point I’d like to talk about is what I call the ABC mentality. It is often a good idea to have it when you start learning something from the very beginning. It’s following simple idiot-proof step by step instructions to get your feet wet and get some experience before moving to deeper waters. This is what you get when you look at LD tutorials, like the one on website. WBTB, MILD, RCs, dream recall, just follow the instructions, add a bit of intent and you will get some lucid dreams. Hard to go wrong.

There are a couple of issues that may not be obvious at first. ABC is nothing more than training wheels, something that is there to grow out of. Once you get a first-hand experience of how the techniques work, you can and should develop your own style based on the patterns you have noticed, of what tends to work for you. Don’t be afraid of experimenting and of making up your own hypotheses, but also remember the value of common sense.

The other issue is that beginners are often flooded with all sorts of -ILDs, which often causes confusion and distracts them from the ABC they need. Don’t focus on details until you master the basics.

Once you graduate from ABC, you may want to look back at the popular techniques and reevaluate them. For example, these are my thoughts about some of them:

MILD - Works, but very unreliable. Similar to repeating to yourself 100 times “I will remember to buy toilet paper” before going shopping. I stopped doing it altogether with no decrease in LDs.

RCs - Works, but not for the reason most people think it does. The idea is that you train yourself to regularly check if you’re dreaming, which may be intuitive, but it assumes you’re thinking rationally in the dream while you’re doing it. Countless stories about failed RCs show it’s not so easy. This technique got popular because it makes so much sense to people, and because people like Laberge have written about it, but in my opinion, its not the check itself that works (in fact, I found it to be counterproductive), but the thought that you may be dreaming.

Stopped doing them completely, and the frequency of LDs increased slightly, because instead of programming myself to perform reality checks (which may fail), I programmed myself to get lucid straightaway.

WBTB - Works very well, almost necessary for WILD unless you’re able to maintain awareness in deep sleep.

WILD - Very reliable and easy, you just need to do 2 things at the same time - fall asleep and stay aware, which is about 20 points shorter than an average WILD tutorial I’ve seen. Lots of people seem to have problems with it and so would I if I had read one of these. Fortunately the only thing I knew when I tried it for the first time was to just fall asleep and observe.

I’d like to finish this wall of text by giving some examples of what I considered to be common sense when learning to LD. I wasn’t a natural lucid dreamer, so I had to learn it from scratch.

  • I used to have a recurring nightmare, so I decided next time I get it, I will realise it’s a dream. That’s how I got my first LD.

  • I wanted to get lucid often. Because dreams reflect waking life, I decided I have to become lucid in waking life often as well - feel the same shift in awareness, to the point of pretending I’m in a dream and I’m realising it. After getting into habit of doing that, I started getting lucid dreams spontaneously.

  • When I had a nonlucid dream, I would review it before sleep the next night, pretending I got lucid at some point and making up the rest of it. I never had a dream journal, I just used to write tag words for each dream on a random piece of paper. It’s usually enough to make me remember the rest of the dream clearly for the reviewing process the next night.

  • Dream recall is important, but again not for the reason most people think. It’s not so that you won’t forget your lucid dream! The main reason is that you only remember that which you experienced consciously, and the more you train yourself to remember dreams, the more your consciousness will take part in them, which means higher chance of getting lucid. The nice side effect is that good dream recall often means you start waking up naturally in 1.5h cycles, which means many WBTBs with no side effects.

Comments/thoughts/ideas appreciated.


Truly a stellar post, drow. :clap: And your first one, at that! You are very welcome to LD4all, I’m sure your addiction to the community will be invaluable. :happy:

I find myself agreeing to everything you said - there’s some things not even I had the courage of pointing out, like the role of practice.
I absolutely loved the whole post - and I invite people to stop and ponder their ways in the light of this piece. :smile: It will do you a whole lot of good!

Welcome! You might want to re-title your thread so that people know they’re in for a good article, which this is.

There was a recent thread asking how many RC’s make regular LD’s, and I was tempted to reply “One. Eventually. Maybe.” But thought that would’ve been kind of annoying, since it completely disregards the platform of practice that the OP wanted to make :tongue: True, though, quality matters more than quantity when it comes to practice. I’ll definitely take that re-visualization tip. Thanks!

Also thought: Drizzt.

Brilliant post. Only part I disagree with is the not needing a DJ part. I have come across so many who get very vague LDs or know they had one but forgot it due to not bothering with keeping a regular dream journal. Plus having a past record of LDs and near LDs gives you a bigger source to use in your visualisation ‘method’ before going to sleep at night.

Woof woof woof!

Álfur! :happy: It’s so good to see you on the forum!

And on the other hand, talent alone doesn’t go a long way, in spite of what people might think. :yes:

I like where this is heading to: aimless practice is simply not enough. That’s medicine to something I’ve been saying myself in this forum for five years now: patience, practice, persistance. That’s not enough, you’re right, there should be a right mindset, a learner’s tao.


This post is quickly becoming candidate for a handout I’d very much like some people to read — and not just about lucid dreaming. What you’re talking about here, it’s a hard-learnt lesson in Life.

I beg to disagree o this one. When you’re learning something entirely new, you don’t know what matters and what doesn’t, what to expect, and how to induce it. The ABC approach to teaching is then very useful actually. The dangerous ABC mentality is in the learner, but then it’s merely an extension of the “practice makes perfect” mentality. The ABC approach to teaching, on the other hand, has nothing wrong in itself: anything presented in an ABC manner to a reasonably intelligent learner should not hinder their learning.

The importance of recall is much misunderstood. Of course if you don’t have a good recall you won’t remember your dreams, and you might actually miss a couple lucids in the process (or, what’s more frustrating, you’ll miss a couple half lucid dreams).

But indeed, the most benefitial thing about having a healthy dream life is that you exercise your dream body and your dream conscience. (I for a while wanted to make an article on “exercising your astral muscle” with a couple visualisations and games for increasing awareness and control of your putative body but then I kinda dropped it).

He’s been a part of the chat community for years now. :tongue: But surely he’s very welcome to the forum, you’re right. :yes:

Well, moogle, (s)he just said (s)he doesn’t need one; there’s people who can recall dreams very visually without keeping any journal, and people who have more difficulties in remembering; so a journal is not necessarily a need, as it is an instrument for improving recall; if someone already has a very good recall, then keeping a DJ can be optional. Besides, (s)he didn’t pose that as an advice, as it was just stated that (s)he did that as a personal habit, nothing more.

EDIT: Why being cut off from the chat robs me of the best things? :tongue:

I have always realized this (the fact that you need to go beyond the obvious when learning). But it’s always been sort of subconscious and I tend to conveniently forget this kind of lesson when it matters the most (i.e. when I’m stuck in a “rut” and not improving despite practice).

This is true for many of my hobbies. Ironically, lucid dreaming suffers the least because I’ve never really practiced any technique much (except for WILD, with which I’ve had a few isolated successes, as well as three times as many failures). It makes sense that the more I get involved in Dream Recall, the more lucid dreams I have, and the more vivid my memory of my dreams becomes.

I almost automatically get the occasional lucid dream even if I do nothing except journal about my dreams (this happened a lot in 2008 and 2009). I think I’ve had around 65-70 lucid dreams or so and most of those (the VAST majority) were unintentional.

I specifically love the part on the WILD tutorial (about there being 2 points, but the guides containing upwards of 20). The few times that I did succeed, it required very little effort on my part. I just happened to be in the right place, at the right time, and in the right state of mind (i.e. I was mentally prepared for it).

When I journal about my dreams I do, in fact, wake up several times a night (naturally).

So a lot of things in drow’s post are familiar to me. The problem is, and this is also what he hints at (correct me if I’m wrong), is that many people tend to forget to keep this critical attitude (of self reflection and thinking about WHY things went wrong and then improving those specific issues). Heck, I do it all the time. I’ve been “stuck” at my guitar level for years now, because I don’t practice properly.

Thinking about it now, I know exactly why. The same goes for my learning languages and basically every hobby I’ve ever failed at.

This post is wonderful. Even if there are a few statements that people may disagree with, the general message is clear. And it serves as a great wake-up call. Because when I read the post, I thought to myself: “of course… uh-huh… yeah that’s true… ah, familiar… yes, I agree with this…”

But basically, this knowledge lay dormant.

So, my suggestion is - and I realize I’m rambling here, sorry about that - that we create a new FAQ or “guide” that informs people about the importance of this mindset.

I mean, if this is structured, cleaned up a bit, and formatted like an FAQ, it could easily be stickied and serve as a very important reminder to people.

In any case, I’m off to do some critical assessment of my progress as a lucid dreamer, and I’m going to get out of my stale habits and really think about what they mean.

Thank you Drow for this very “down to business” post.
I agree with basically everything, but I think you left out personality characteristics/nature. There are some things I would like to have control over, but don’t seem to. For instance: WILD was something I really wanted to master, but for some reason my body/mind had a different idea about that. I found myself not being able to fall asleep while observing, as a matter of fact it made me not able to fall asleep at all. I tried this (falling asleep while observing) for a week, figuring I would get so tired I would be able to fall asleep out of pure exhaustion! This unfortunately was not true either. I decided to stop doing WILD for a while so I could get some good sleep again. I needed it, I was messing up my work in real life.
Guess what! I was unable to stop observing now, and to make a long story short, it took almost a month for me to fall asleep naturally again.
I would like to know/find out, why WILD has this effect on me, because I know I can do this, but don’t know how to overcome the side effect.

Any suggestions on how to find out why I stay awake?

I am always fascinated when people mention this technique, becoming lucid in waking life. I often find myself thinking during the day, what would I do if I were dreaming now. It’s always the same answer, jump up and fly away. I have never ever managed this “shift in awareness” however. Reality feels too real to me somehow. Even when I am able to recall the feeling I get when realizing that I am in a dream, it does not feel anywhere near as intense or real in waking life. I am just not able to pretend that I am in a dream, even though I believe as the Bon Buddhists, that life is a dream. It’s a paradox. LOL!

Yes, this is something I really want to do. The thing is remembering it during the day :tongue:

I agree completely. :smile: I’ve seen so many people say they’ve been trying for years to lucid dream and have tried every single technique and still haven’t been… well, I say they should really read this post! :happy: Together with that lucidipedia on meditation :wink: He also talks about the whole technique thing.

anyway, welcome to the forum and great post!

I think that “practice makes perfect” is true (well of course perfection doesn’t exist) yet I still agree with what you say…I think what it is is that some people have a poor foundation. it’s hard to change habits. I’ve heard this before with golfers…when they first begin they swing a certain way, for whatever reason, and so they get used to that and then it’s impossible to learn how to swing the proper way

and about the DJ comment: I guess it depends on the person, but for me the most valuable part of the my DJ is the DATA. you can learn more about yourself from dreams than anywhere else. I’m sure you have good dream recall, I do too…but can you honestly say you can remember thousands of dreams you’ve had?

I must say, his post makes a lot of sense, and can much of it can be applied many places in life. I’ve tried being critical and seeing what went wrong many times, and it helps a lot.

Welcome drow, and thank you for an amazing post, first or not.

KauaiDreamer wrote
I am always fascinated when people mention this technique, becoming lucid in waking life. I often find myself thinking during the day, what would I do if I were dreaming now. It’s always the same answer, jump up and fly away. I have never ever managed this “shift in awareness” however. Reality feels too real to me somehow. Even when I am able to recall the feeling I get when realizing that I am in a dream, it does not feel anywhere near as intense or real in waking life.

I know a way that might help… Imagination mixed with the present moment… held by focus… until it’s felt inside… the shift is huge when u do it. you become fearless!

I think wild should be tried if ur having a nap or else it could screw ur with ur sleep.

By the way great post drow:)

? Hi happy, can you give an example? Not sure what you mean with your suggestion

Naps? What are those, how does one find the time to take one? LOL.
There are drawbacks to being an adult and the income earner for the family :sad:
I try sometimes on the weekend to lay down and take a nap. Can’t do it, can’t sleep. I just lay there.

Naps? what are those lol… Yeah i try not to take em so i can have a good nights sleep. But i had a similar problem as you when i tried to wild at night and ended up being an insomniac for a while.

As for the formulae i wrote here is a RL example. I was sitting at subway one day and i focused all my attention on the now. THen i imagined cameras around me and imagined that i was an actor being filmed at this moment. In the now. I held that moment untill i felt it was actually happening, then after a few minutes i let it go. A week later i got an offer to be in a music video as the lead male actor and i did it.

If u wanna know more just PM me and i will give you some incredible sources of information. Imagination is more important than knowledge- my boy Einstein

I really love this article, thanks for making it! I especially agree with you on reality checks. I have rationalized many weird things. When I discover that I am lucid dreaming, it is not because something is weird. Sometimes I will think, “This is so cool, it would be an awesome lucid dream” and I’ll realize I’m dreaming. But what I say and think about the situation does not necessarily have anything to do with whether I become lucid.

The main reason I never kept a DJ was because it would have quickly become a chore. As I said in my previous post, I found dream recall to be extremely important for lucid dreaming. However, it’s not necessary to have a diary to practice that ability.

I’m a bit confused - what are you disagreeing on :razz:? I didn’t say ABC approach is useless, just that it’s there to be recognised as such (edit: as ABC) and eventually outgrown. In fact, trying unconventional things before understanding the conventional ones will often be more problematic than following the book.

The only things that are obvious for you are the ones that you have understood. Those you don’t need to learn. The real learning takes place on the boundary of your comfort zone.

In that case I apologise for not being clear enough. Your nature is something to work with, not against. If you feel that doing WILD or even lucid dreaming in general goes against what your body wants, your personality or nature, it would be wise to look for the reason.

I’m not sure it’s the right topic to respond in, but I’ll throw a few ideas of what you might be doing wrong:

  • trying to WILD without WBTB or nap
  • trying to WILD when not sleepy
  • being too excited by expecting things to happen
  • being forceful instead of falling asleep naturally with gentle awareness

Dreams usually feel too real while they’re happening too. This is a conundrum that you need to solve :smile:

I’m not sure what the point is, why would I need to remember thousands of dreams? If you want to make a statistical analysis of your dreams, sure, but if you just want to learn to LD reliably, remembering the dreams from previous night is enough.

=== meow ===

Thanks for all the feedback :smile:

I find it interesting that people agreed with the general message, but disputed my take on specific techniques. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough, but the second half of my post where I discussed the techniques was meant as a personal example of implementing the philosophy that I advocated. It was put there to show that the results you may get can fly in the face of common wisdom. I didn’t want to be misunderstood as saying that the key to lucid dreaming is to stop doing reality checks and dream journaling, or anything like that.


Main reason I havn’t had a LD yet Is probably my motivation…And things like a bad sleeping pattern, stupid building works every morning and Not being positive enough? I also really enjoyed my ND at 1 point, but I just want to have an LD now…

I agree with this post, and I will try it. I just need to build up my confidence and motivation for lucid dreaming again for the 4th time now…

Thanks for the post, you may have given me a spark of motivation, And I hope this spark turns Into a huge glowing sun.