Techniques for Longer Lucid Dreams [by Robert Waggoner]

Techniques for Longer Lucid Dreams
©2009 by Robert Waggoner - , posted with permission.

When the first spark of lucid realization illuminates your mind and you gleefully announce, “Hey, this is a dream!”, what happens next?

For many beginning lucid dreamers, their success depends on how they respond in the first 30 seconds. In those initial crucial moments, taking four important steps can set you on the path to an exciting and lengthy lucid dream.

I call them the MEME steps:1. Modulate your emotions,

  1. Elevate your awareness,
  2. Maintain your focus, and finally
  3. Establish your intent or goal.

The joy or euphoria that often accompanies your realization of being in a dream will lead to its quick demise, unless you rein in the emotional intensity. Lucid dreaming newbies quickly learn to modulate their emotions, since intense emotions lead to the collapse of lucid dreams.

Lucid dreamers change their emotions in a number of ways. Some visually focus on something boring, like their hands or the floor, since neutral visual stimuli serves to decrease any emotional upsurge. Others mentally tell themselves to “Calm down,” before their emotions get too high. Some begin to concentrate their energies on a task, which naturally reduces the level of sensed emotion.

Once the emotional level has stabilized, you will want to elevate or clarify your awareness. You can do this by performing a ‘reality check’ (you levitate, put your hand through a wall, etc.) to re-confirm that you exist in the dream state. Some lucid dreamers engage in a solidifying ritual, such as rubbing their dream hands together to ground themselves and spark the kinesthetic senses. You can take this further by shouting out a suggestion to the dream, such as “Greater clarity now!” or “More lucid awareness!” These vocalized intents normally show immediate results.

An elevated awareness makes the next goal of maintaining your focus much easier. Newbies frequently discover that their focus can wander, and suddenly they will get interested in some aspect of the dream. If not careful, this new aspect can become so interesting (or en-trancing) that your lucid awareness vanishes, and you slip back into regular, unaware dreaming. Maintaining your focus requires an ‘active’ realization of lucid dreaming. Some lucid dreamers perform repetitive actions to remind themselves that they are dreaming. They may repeatedly announce, “This is a lucid dream” or perform reality checks at certain intervals.
One caution about focus involves staring at objects in a lucid dream.

For some reason, lucid dreamers find that staring fixedly at something for more than a few seconds often causes the dream to feel shaky and then collapse. Some lucid dreamers notice the shaky feeling and immediately look back at their hands or the ground to stabilize the dream state. Others have discovered ways to create a new dream scene (by closing their eyes for a second or spinning around); however, for inexperienced lucid dreamers a new dream environment may feel bewildering.

In my book, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, I suggest that the easiest way to maintain your focus involves establishing an intent or goal to accomplish, and then establishing a new intent or goal immediately after the initial accomplishment. You can think of this as the ‘focus & re-focus’ technique. By re-focusing on a new goal, you maintain an active state of awareness. Without an active focus on a goal, new elements will spontaneously enter the dream and capture your attention. Within seconds, your focus will likely become en-tranced by these new elements and you will lose lucidity, as you slip back into unaware dreaming. By habitually establishing goal after goal, you keep your awareness active.

Of course, a lucid dreaming goal may be a very simple thing, such as “I wonder what is behind this door?” or “Should I ask that dream figure what it represents?” Each goal focuses your awareness and keeps your conscious activity illuminated. By stringing these simple goals together, a beginner can maintain lucid awareness, and have a surprisingly long lucid dream.

Each of these four MEME steps to successful lucid dreaming – 1) modulate your emotions, 2) elevate your awareness, 3) maintain your focus and finally 4) establish your intent – requires you to focus on them for a moment in your lucid dream.

Feel free to memorize the MEME – modulate emotions, elevate awareness, maintain focus and establish intent. With practice, these steps become second nature and create a strong foundation for your lucid dreaming. Enjoy your journeys into the larger dimensions of the Self and its incredible creativity.

Thank you for posting this article PasQuale, it’s easy to forget this at times.
Stringing goals really works, I have done it a couple of times, not having a goal really makes the lucid dream collapse faster. Sometimes though even having one or more goals doesn’t keep me lucid. I have found that repeatedly saying in the dream that I am lucid and that I need to focus on staying so, really helps too. :pharaoh:

I really enjoyed reading this article. Thanks :razz: * Fist Bump :yes:

Hey Q, thanks a lot for this article ! :smile:

Yesterday I read it and remembered that in some of my LDs I lost lucidity at some points of them. I realized, after reading this article, that I did so because I got distracted by the storyline - I lost focus, like Rober Waggoner said here. So this MEME got into my mind.

Well, yesterday night I had 2 LDs. I said two because at one point I had a RC “error” and woke up (I’m not sure) and then continued the LD in the next DILD.

The dream, if you want to hear it :smile:

I was with my family at the seaside. It was getting dark and they decided to leave. It wasn’t much of a beach actually, but a mountain lake with sand on its shores. I recall it as a beach though… :meh:. Anyways, my family decided to leave when a crocodile came out of the lake. They all ran away, but I somehow managed to get rid of it. I wasn’t afraid of it. As the crocodile was entering back the lake, I jumped in the water (for no reason actually). I was then trying to swim away from it - I couldn’t see it as it was under water. Then I realized it was dream. I thought “OK, this is a dream ! But if it is, why am I still afraid of this crocodile ?”. Then I thought “OK, I’ll get to shore and then I’ll make myself more aware.”, but I remembered what I read here: lucidity depends mostly on the actions the lucid dreamer takes in the first 30 seconds. I thought I might be distracted meanwhile so as I was swimming (at a very fast speed) I nose RC’d. Immediately I got even more aware. With one hand I was swimming and with the other I did more nose RC’s until I had the wanted lucidity level.

Here I believe I had that error. I remembered breathing and it automatically switched to “manual breathing”. I took too deep breaths and woke myself up - or at least I nearly woke myself up - I don’t recall anymore. The point is that I continued the LD after that.

I was walking on the shore (after I got out of water, ofcourse). I was thinking that I need to keep lucidity and to keep my PFC firing (like Mars pointed out in one of his posts I read some time ago). I remembered the word MEME. I didn’t remember what each letter stands for, but I did remember that it meant to keep awareness by continuously knowing it’s a dream - through RC’s for example.[/spoiler]
These LDs also really surprised me, as I haven’t had any DILDs since last year (no time for DJ writing and stuff - too busy :sad:).
I know I did things in my LD, but I don’t recall them now. The important thing is that I attained a very high lucidity level in this LD and remembers to keep it high.

So thanks again pasQ (and Rober Waggoner :content:) !

Mr. Waggoner’s book was sitting right in front of me when I stumbled across this article. I might be his biggest fan…

Great article and thanks for posting it, I’ll try and remember it when I LD :smile:

was wondering which techniques work best for people…

also…if you’ve mastered this…let’s say you’re in a LD and u want to fly do u have enough control to do it? i tried doing something similar to this in a hypnagogix hallucinatio but it didnt work

thank you, i will have to keep this in mind since having longer lucid dreams is something i have been trying to do this article really helped a lot thanks for sharing it.

I’ve read this many times but I’m not sure I have done the four steps in a LD before, one after the other. Last night I remembered but it didn’t really work and I woke up soon after like usual. One of the times I forgot about the last step. The last time I tried this I did all four steps, did my objective, did the steps again, choosing another objective, but I woke up too. Maybe I’m not doing them right? or maybe a little too quickly? Anyone know if it takes some time for this to start giving results?

Many thanks pasQuale for the very insightful article. Lately, I struggle to stabilise my LDs, and their duration is limited because of this. I believe that these techniques will prove useful.

This is very interesting Don. I have had similar experiences, where doing something in a dream (like breathing or rubbing the hands together) is somehow transferred to the physical body, causing me to wake up.

Has anyone else had similar experiences?

I wonder if this is somehow related to the quality of sleep. It might be worth investigating the use of herbs like Valerian or Passionflower that promote sound sleep.

The plugged nose RC relies on you feeling air freely passing through your real nose, which you can’t plug when dreaming. So you can be aware of your waking body while in a lucid dream and it can distract you enough to wake up, if you are not used to it. This RC hasn’t caused me to wake up though, neither has rubbing hands together.

Lucid dreaming generally happens in very light sleep, just like REM dreams do. That’s why it is easy to suddenly awaken from it, or fall to a deeper non-lucid sleep if you are still sufficiently tired. Brain chemistry and melatonin levels affect these things a lot. If some herbs actually affect brain chemistry, it might help or hinder lucid dreaming. I haven’t tested any myself, because I would like to not mess with my brain. It’s working fine as is.

I agree with you that some “dream herbs”, like Calea or Silene, can be quite potent and have strong effects on brain chemistry (I have no personal experience with them), and should only be taken with due caution.

On the other hands, herbs like Valerian or Passionflower won’t mess up your brain chemistry any more than alcohol, coffee or tabacco do. Plenty of scientific studies (+ thousands of years of folk medicine) indicate that they can be safely taken over long periods of time with little no adverse side effects (unless you are pregnant, have a rare specific allergy or other medical conditions). Some herbs, like Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) have long been used with the purpose of enhancing dreaming. So if the fear of messing up your brain chemistry is what prevents you from experimenting with herbs, perhaps you shouldn’t let this influence you so much!

If you wish to research this topic further, I’d be happy to provide you with relevant material.

Thanks for the offer. I’ll still pass. Mugwort would not be good for my damaged kidneys or IBD. Even garlic causes me pain.