The importance of Awareness
Techniques are wonderful tools, but that is all they are. WILD, MILD, DILD, VILD and all the others do not make you lucid. Yes, that’s right, techniques do not make you lucid. They are an aid to help you make yourself lucid. One other tool that can help these more than anything is is your awareness. Do you go through life without questioning your surroundings, asking where you’ve been or what you’re doing, and if any of it makes sense? Do you never bother to question the logic of what you’re doing? If so, LD’s may not be so easy for you.
In my own experience with LD’s I’ve had my shares of highs where I have very frequent LD’s and lows where I’ve spent a month or two without having any. Every time I’ve been in my prime there is a direct correlation between the time I’ve spent paying attention in real life and the times I realize I am dreaming. When I first noticed this I had a very clear realization: every technique is made possible by your awareness.
If you find yourself lacking in LD’s, you will really want to take this to heart. Dreams are a reflection of RL, and what you concentrate on in RL will usually transfer over into dreams. By constantly questioning the world around you, making sure that it and the things in it are logical, you will vastly improve your chances of having an LD. And, as my experience has shown me, heightened awareness can also increase the quality of your LD’s when you do have them.
To further cement this idea, I have listed out several common techniques below and shown how awareness affects each of them. Further down I have some tips on increasing awareness.
Awareness factors in this technique more than any other. The point of DILD is to notice dream signs, odd events or even just the spontaneous knowledge that you are dreaming. While it sounds simple, many people find it difficult to be able to achieve. Without being aware of one’s surroundings, how would you know that you are supposed to know that driving a car made entirely of jelly is unusual?
The key here is to remain vigilant throughout your day, even if you’re sure that you are not dreaming. Look around, is everything as it should be? Is this normally a place where you would be? Do you know how you got there? Do these things all make sense?
This is a great way to become lucid since it starts in an already stable dream and it is all about awareness. It may take some time to transfer into your dreams, but it’s certainly worth the effort.
If you don’t believe me, check out this article by Robert Waggoner: The Secret of Frequent Lucid Dreamers
This, in a way, is a variation on DILD. To be able to do this technique frequently, it requires frequent use during the day. As you’re checking to make sure everything makes sense, do an RC. If you see something strange, do an RC. If you’re 100% certain you’re awake, do an RC.
This may sound like it’s all based on repetition, but in my experience repetition has never been enough. Every time you do an RC, think about it. Think about what is making you RC, ask yourself if you are dreaming and use the RC as an answer; whatever you do, don’t just go through the motions.
Without this added awareness, you may do an RC in the dream and not even be mildly aware of the result. For it to mean anything at all, you need to be thinking about why you are doing it and you have to pay attention to the results. Sadly, I have lost several potential LD’s because I either didn’t notice the result or I didn’t believe it and just assumed I was mistaken.
MILD is based on setting the intention to do something later in a dream (usually to remember you are dreaming). If the intention is set correctly, you remember what your intention was later during the dream. This technique can be greatly helped by the same things that make DILD work. Let’s say you notice that something is a little out of place. You begin to wonder why, and then suddenly you remember “oh yeah, I’m supposed to be dreaming right now.”
It can also be hurt by a lack of awareness. You might remember that you are dreaming, but then dismiss that as a stupid passing thought. Everything feels real so you can’t be dreaming, right?
Awareness is a little more subtle here. Many people think that WILD is keeping the mind awake while the body goes to sleep. It is not. That is sleep paralysis. You have to be asleep to dream! The trick is keeping your mind active and aware as you fall asleep. As HI begins to form, you need to stay aware of what it is and what is happening, and you also have to be aware enough to know when you are dreaming. It’s far too easy to fall asleep into an ND if you’re not paying attention to what is happening in your mind.
And the rest
Many of the other techniques out there branch off of these, and awareness applies the same. So how do you become aware? Here are a few tips.
1. Look around and make sure everything is normal. Is everything as it should be? Was that book there a few minutes ago? Has that picture on the wall moved? Perhaps you should do an RC to be certain…
2. Ask yourself what you are doing. Is it normal for you to be doing whatever it is you are doing? Why are you in a dark cave? Is it normal for you to dress that way for work? Where are you driving to? Have you always been Batman? If so, can I have your autograph?
3. Ask yourself where you are. Where, exactly are you? Is this place really your home? Do you normally attend class this time every day? Do you still live here or have you moved? Have you ever been here before?
4. Ask yourself where you have been. How did you get to where you are? Can you remember the exact path you took to get here? What were you doing before you got here? Why did you decide to come here?
If you answered no to all of these questions, do an RC because you are probably dreaming. If you answered no to some, do an RC because there is a chance you might be dreaming. If you answered yes to all, do an RC because your mind is false and tricksy and you’re probably dreaming anyway.
I sincerely hope this helps any of you out there who have been struggling with lucid dreaming. Be sure to take a good look at the other articles here, and if you have any other questions remember you have a community of dreamers to help