Struggling with mentality

Hi dream folks,

To begin with, I am a 17-year-old male and have been trying to lucid dream on and off for about 2 years now. It is something that I desire to accomplish; despite this, I always end up sabotaging my own attempts at dreaming.

I’ve been lurking here for a while, and I know that a lot of people are in the same boat as me when I say this, but I’m finding it incredibly difficult to make any sort of progress. I’m aware of the importance of journaling, and the times where I have been journaling I have noticed an increase - albeit only slight - but the process of writing paragraphs worth of stuff about your dreams is exhausting, especially in the morning. Not to mention how I have to share a room with my brother, so recording my voice isn’t an option either. Aside from journaling, being aware of reality is also daunting: I can’t wrap my head around the possibility of the stuff around me not being real, and even if I were convinced it was not real, proving this fact seems impossible. Time and time again I have reality checked in a dream to no avail.

I know I sound whiney and impatient, but I understand lucid dreaming is hard work. I know you just kinda have to force yourself to do these things, but 100% of the time I have nothing has happened. I’m in a vicious cycle of horrible mindsets wherein I desperately try and lucid dream, but the more I want it the further it fleets from me.

I know the #1 thing about lucid dreaming is to not get discouraged. But how am I supposed to feel? Lucid dreaming is this alien concept that - in my life - only I am interested in.

I attempt to do WBTB, but am wholely unsuccessful. As mentioned, I share a room. It is incredibly difficult for me to sleep when my brother is on his phone because it - even on minimum brightness - illuminates the room. We have a bunk bed, making matters even worst in this regard.

I’m off to uni in September. I hope to pursue LDing further there, but fear that even when I have my own space to do WBTB undisturbed, record my dreams with my voice, and move freely around the room at night, I will still be in the same boat.

Failing at something I am interested in is usually rare in my case. Once I commit to something I am usually at least somewhat competent in the subject. I have no mentors to guide me in this process but myself: my life makes it easy to forget about lucid dreaming entirely, so sometimes I feel like I am barely hanging on to the idea of ever wanting to lucid dream. Thus, seeing no progress despite my efforts is demoralizing.

I don’t really know what I was trying to accomplish in writing this post. It is clear that I have to just be consistent in my efforts, but ■■■■ is it difficult.

Hello @joebuchan :wave:

What you are describing sounds quite familiar. I can perfectly understand your frustration. I hope venting it off has helped a little :content:

If that is the case, then you can try to not write everything out in full details. Take notes of the most important things and do the mental exercise of memorizing the dream as deeply as possible. Then write it out in more detail later. I for myself type a lot faster on a keyboard than I can write with a pen, so for the second record I’d use a digital medium actually. Writing by hand is better for connecting with your dream though, so preferably do that.

This can indeed be a great struggle until you taste lucidity for the first time. I recommend the following exercise: Revisit the biggest dream of the night during some daydreaming. Inspect the dream scene and dream plot for features that could have only appeared because it was a dream. Also imagine yourself inside the dream like you were aware it was a dream. This will give you a different perspective of the dream. You will find that you will make different choices than without this awareness. Then do a similar exercise in waking life every now and then. If this was a dream right now, what would you be doing instead? After you contemplated this, back it up with a RC.

I think this paragraph of yours is the most important. Lucid dreaming is a lot about mindset. Forcing yourself to do anything is generally not helpful. Try to stay relaxed and seek motivation. Lucid dreaming is not like homework: you don’t have to do anything and if you don’t succeed, nothing bad will ever happen. So consequently it’s neither hard work nor do you have to force yourself to do anything!

When you go to bed, I don’t want you to be stressed out about doing techniques and recall. I want you to go to bed with a big smile thinking “Finally another chance of having an LD! I’ve waited the whole day for this! And even if I don’t LD, then I will still visit some cool and exciting dream world!“

If you find it hard to keep focused or motivated for any length of time, then I recommend you prepare a small poster or picture in a frame. It should only do one thing: concisely state your goal. Something like “I want to become a lucid dreamer“. Put it up next to your bed so you see it each time you wake up. Human beings are very visual. Seeing your goal regularly will help you realize it. If the place next to your bed gets stale after a couple of weeks then move it to a new place and maybe refresh the design.

Try a smart watch with vibration alarm to only wake you up but not your brother. I haven’t tried it myself, I think it was @Joe_Canada who suggested this before.

If you are very sensitive to light during sleep, just get a sleeping mask. They make you look a bit strange and maybe you think they are for old people only, but that would be silly ignorance. It could also potentially make your overall sleep more healthy and restoring. They are very affordable.

There are a lot of people online just like you. All you have to do is to reach out and connect. Just like you did with your post here :slight_smile:

2 Likes

@Marvin with great insight as always!


I think this is rather revealing about why you might be experiencing a motivation and mental block with lucid dreaming. You’re usually good at the things you try, or I assume you see some kind of tangible progress with commitment, so to not experience that with ludic dreaming is especially frustrating for you.

Sometimes in situations like this, to avoid feeling frustrated with lack of progression, I find it beneficial to focus on effort or time spent instead of “progress made.” Happens to me with my art all the time. I will draw part of a face, be unhappy with it, erase it, try again, and end up with a black canvas hours later following this pattern. It’s frustrating to feel like you’ve not done anything after putting in time and effort, but when I try to see that time as practice that contributes to my overall progress it’s easier to feel ok that sometimes I don’t always have something to show at the end of practice.
In short, I’d recommend reframing what you consider success or progress. Writing your journal for a ND? Successful lucid dreaming practice! Taking time to question reality? Success! It all contributes to experiencing lucid dreams.

Motivation is tricky and it’s not something that anyone else can want for you, you have to want it yourself. When I go through dry periods I find it helpful to remind myself of why I like lucid dreaming and what it means to me.
Why do you want to have a lucid dream?
If you find your motivation for wanting to lucid dream, it can be easier to enjoy the other aspects that go with it ( the journal, the RCs, the techniques you use, etc.). If you can tie your motivation for lucid dreaming to some positive emotions, it’ll make it more likely to happen, especially if you use MILD as a technique. It sounds like your emotions are largely tied to frustration right now.

This is a great suggestion. Your journal doesn’t have to be long and complex. It can be bullet points if you find typing out paragraphs exhausting.

Reading your posts I was remind of the podcastLucid or Bust. It’s about someone who buckles down to have a lucid dream after trying on and off for 40 years. I see a lot of similarities in your experience and the one discussed in the podcast. You might find insight in the perspective of the podcast host!

We’re cheering for you! You can do this. Honor the process. Sometimes it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself, slow and steady. It’s easy to get burned out by cramming and flooding yourself with LD info, like sprinting in a long race. As @marvin said, there are many people who have been in a situation like this and there are people who can encourage and help you too!

hello @Marvin

Firstly, thank you for your response. I didn’t think I would actually get a useful reply, so thanks for proving me wrong :slight_smile:

If that is the case, then you can try to not write everything out in full detail.

I remember one rare instance where my WBTB alarm went off, I propped myself up on one elbow and scribbled (blindly) the synopsis of my dream. When I woke up foggy-headed, my sprawling notes helped me remember; I believe I recounted 4-5 dreams (though it’s hard to tell where one dream ends and another begins as, from my experience, I have one long dream with lots of different parts to it, I count the different parts as sperate dreams.) I remember being glad I did that but I didn’t do it again the next day. It’s just so easy to just say ‘screw it’ and don’t do it, which has been a big flaw of mine. What I’m trying to say is that this point is great, as the less amount of effort the task takes, then the more appealing it seems. Writing something to remind me of what the dream entailed causes ‘dream flashbacks’, wherein I can write about my dream at a free point in the day where I’m more likely not to be half-awake.

I recommend the following exercise: Revisit the biggest dream of the night during some daydreaming. Inspect the dream scene and dream plot for features that could have only appeared because it was a dream. Also imagine yourself inside the dream like you were aware it was a dream

Isn’t this kind of like MILD? Reimagining a dream world with the exception that you are aware
Either way, this sounds like a very effective tool. I guess it’s kinda remolding your brain to make this more likely in a dream scenario.

I think this paragraph of yours is the most important. Lucid dreaming is a lot about mindset. Forcing yourself to do anything is generally not helpful. Try to stay relaxed and seek motivation. Lucid dreaming is not like homework: you don’t have to do anything and if you don’t succeed, nothing bad will ever happen. So consequently it’s neither hard work nor do you have to force yourself to do anything.
When you go to bed, I don’t want you to be stressed out about doing techniques and recall. I want you to go to bed with a big smile thinking “Finally another chance of having an LD! I’ve waited the whole day for this! And even if I don’t LD, then I will still visit some cool and exciting dream world!“

This really resonates with me. I feel that when it clicks it will be a lot easier to maintain a routine of journaling and techniques. I understand I should strive to enjoy the process of attempting to lucid dream, and in a better environment, I believe I would be able to. I don’t get to go to bed when I want - I would go to sleep earlier if I could. As a result, I usually asleep at around half past midnight, only giving me 6 hours of sleep, meaning I have less than 1 hour to do WBTB. So some of the time I say ‘screw it I’ll do it tomorrow night’ because there isn’t enough time to attempt any techniques. Not only that, but I remember my dreams mostly around the 5 hour mark, so evening trying to journal on weekdays is frustrating.

Environmental obstacles aside, trying to be excited about LDing is a strange concept. I understand why I should be excited, and on paper, I should be excited, but there’s something in the way. The level of uncertainty built over the years has just lead to every train of thought about lucid dreaming becoming derailed with pessimism. The thought of dreaming is exciting, but having a somewhat decent dream means I have to dream journal, fall asleep pretty much instantly every night, and try and claw at the back of a memory that my brain is actively trying to forget.

Try a smart watch with vibration alarm to only wake you up but not your brother. I haven’t tried it myself, I think it was @Joe_Canada who suggested this before.

Innovatively, I have cut the end off of a sock so it’s like a fabric sleeve. I put that over my arm and sleep with my phone in the sleeve so that when it vibrates it wakes me up. I tried this on my leg but it didn’t always wake me up.

If you are very sensitive to light during sleep, just get a sleeping mask. They make you look a bit strange and maybe you think they are for old people only, but that would be silly ignorance. It could also potentially make your overall sleep more healthy and restoring. They are very affordable.

I have blankets tucked into the frame of the bed to try and keep the light out. I’ll look into buying one of these

I remember my first ever instance of being somewhat ‘lucid’. I woke up in my bed and instantly knew that I was in a dream. It felt like I had been placed here, or that the world was just this moment constructed. I clambered out of bed (which is pretty much on the floor so it’s more effort to stand up) and felt my muscles flex with the effort. My room had nothing in apart from my desk. Within 5 seconds I was awake, but that moment taught me that lucid dreaming is in my reach. It sorta felt like time travel - as in, having this special ability that allowed me to impossibly travel between dimensions that became accessible only through certain actions – not that exactly but something similar. I woke up in my bed soon after and confused it, initially, with real memory. It felt like I had fallen through a wormhole, there was a very clear image in my mind of what traveling to this place felt like. It was indescribable really. I believe this experience, while motivational, has led me further towards frustration. I woke up today with a blank head: no dreams whatsoever. But I will try and reality check throughout the day.

Thank you sincerely for your comment.

It’s very normal that dreams melt into each other and you have difficulty to tell them apart. In my opinion it doesn’t matter. Getting fragmented sleep in the morning sometimes gives me a shower of dreams that seems impossible in that amount of sleep. I think that’s exactly what you have described.

Yes, you’re right. You’ve clearly done your homework. According to my understanding there are essentially two types of LDs. There is WILD which are dreams that have consciousness carried over from waking life and there is DILD which is about regaining consciousness within the dream. Pretty much every technique falls into either category. MILD is the most prominent member of the DILDs and somewhat a superclass by itself. So even though there’s a specific technique described as MILD by Steven LaBerge, the actual underlying working principle can be applied in many different ways.

What exactly is the reason for this?

The sleeping situation as you describe it doesn’t sound like the best sleep hygiene. If you are already down to six hours of sleep but wish you had more, then you probably shouldn’t squeeze in a WBTB session on top of that, taking even more sleeping time away. Opinions may vary but I’d consider it a hollow victory if I could achieve LDs but only at the cost of my health and possibly general sanity.

That description reeks of lucidity. Especially the otherworldliness that you experienced. It makes sense that you struggle to describe it because your brain just entered a mixed state of sleep and consciousness that it never spent any significant amount of time in. For me, most lucid dreams come with this strange abstract feeling of supernormality. And I love it :yay:

When did you have that experience? Did you do any technique at that point? Anything unusual about your sleeping pattern that night/morning? Was it weekday or weekend?

I understand what you are saying. I’m the same with my art (art was the main thing I was referencing when I said I’m good at the things I commit to), so I know what it’s like to learn a skill. The frame of mind is a key component to sticking with a skill, when I posted this I hadn’t really tried to improve for a while because of my mental state, so viewing smaller things as victories will definitely help.
So I should try and attach positive emotions to my view of lucid dreaming? That sounds like it would work. My reason for attempting to lucid dream is because I feel it can be like a life with no consequences. It’s sad, but if I can dream of interacting with my old friends, it won’t matter as much that I’m not friends with them anymore. Lucid dreaming is a physical space where I can truly be without judgment as the only people near me are imaginary. Social stuff aside, I wanna widen my view of the universe, humanity; enhance my interpretation of life, etc. What i’m trying to say is that my desire to lucid dream is weird, it can be hard to motivate myself because the whole reason I wanna lucid dream is a bit depressing sometimes.

Thank you for your support. I’ll try and view my process differently. There are times where I have felt similar to how I do now, and I just give in to laziness. I mean, I’m a pretty lazy person, so trying to master sleep of all things is like the ultimate obstacle. I can’t just improvise my way through like I can do in some areas of my life. This is an internal battle. And I’m only 17. I suppose I should view that as a positive too, that I’m trying at a young age.

Thanks again for replying

You’ve clearly done your homework

Yeah, I’ve spent quite a bit of time deviating between methods and because I tend to overthink things, I looked at multiple resources to see how they differ. I was trying SSILD for a while and that became quite effective at giving me some vivid dreams. That’s the best method as of yet, though that’s because it is ‘fool-proof’.

What exactly is the reason for this?

Well because I share a room, I and my brother basically have to go to bed at the same time. I can hardly sleep when my brother has his phone on, I definitely can’t sleep with the light on. My parents go to bed at the same time as us too. It’s a small flat. I know most people’s parents let their kids sleep when they want, but it’s different for us because of our living arrangement (and my stepdad is a dick). As said, it’s lights out for all 4 of us at the same time every night, and I can’t sleep with the lights on. Also, I probably should have said 7ish hours as half midnight is a bad night. Most of the time I’m asleep by midnight.

That lucid dream was in Wed. 12th September 2020. I don’t recall doing any methods that day really. I suppose it was one of the first days back at school after covid. I met a classmate who I had only seen in dreams from March until September, so that was probably what caused it.
There wasn’t really anything special about that night in particular. I slipped off into another dream afterwards.

Frame of mind is so critical with anything, but especially so with lucid dreaming. Celebrate small victories. Be kind to yourself. A lot of dreamers will tell you lucid dreaming is easy because expectations carry a lot of weight when it comes to dreaming and believing in that can be helpful for both beginners and those more experienced.

However, I do think it can be somewhat problematic to always say lucid dreaming is easy, because that’s not everyone’s experience, and those who find it challenging can feel let down, get discouraged, remove their voices from the community, and quit the endeavor entirely.
I honestly wish there were more voices in the community acknowledging that sometimes lucidity is elusive and challenging. I think it’s something we’re afraid to say, because of expectations carrying so much weight, but do know that you’re not the only one that struggles with the mentality behind lucid dreaming. Even experienced dreamers face it from time to time. Acknowledge that you’ve had challenges, but don’t let them define your experience and know that you can take actionable steps to make progress.

If lucid dreaming hasn’t felt easy, that’s ok, but there’s no reason to make it harder by focusing on frustration and disappointment. If your experience so far has you associating negative emotions with lucid dreaming, then I am not surprised that you’re feeling down about it.

I think seeking a more constructive and positive mindset will make your journey much more enjoyable.

When I first started lucid dreaming my motivation was often escapism. I think a lot of us have used it to fuel our lucid dreaming passion. I found it to work, for a while, but I would be wary about sourcing your motivation from a place of discontent with WL, as you said, I think it can be a little disheartening for the self and possibly problematic in the long run.

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