The Master Key

The Master Key

The Locked Door

I’ve made this topic to deal with a sad truth. The sad truth is: a lot of lucid dreams suck. Have you ever had this experience? You wander around your house, thinking that everything looks a bit grey. You realize you’re dreaming, but it all seems so fragile and unreal. You try to call people you know, you try to escape to another realm, but you feel somehow trapped, confined, unable. Is your voice even making a sound? You lose the dream.

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Or how about this one: You become lucid. It’s so exciting! You have to stabilize. You spin, try to look at your hands. It’s going, it’s going…it’s coming back. You’re at your cousin’s house, but for some reason a famous actor is here. You try talking to them but now you’re somehow at a zoo and for some reason you have to save the President of the USA and now you’re no longer lucid.

There are lots of variations on the theme. Here’s the rub. You came to lucid dreaming because you had nightmares that you wanted to master, or because you had an amazing, beautiful, heartbreaking dream once that you wished you could go back to, or because you saw Inception and wished its vision of adventure without limits could be real. And frankly, the lucid dreams you’re having don’t add up to that. They’re a constant battle for control and stability. You’re always on the edge of losing them and the ones you don’t lose are elongated out of mere frustration and thinness of material. Lucid dreams were meant to be a thousand times better than films, a thousand times better than virtual reality. So where are the planets with their untold billions of lifelong stories; where are the spires and the stars more ancient than stone? Where are the lost loves and old thrills and the ache of waking up from beautiful things? Why am I wandering aimlessly around my old school yet again?

If this is what you sometimes feel, or often feel, then I’m writing this for you. The full possibilities of your dreams, the reasons you became a lucid dreamer, seemed to be locked behind a door you can’t open. I’ve written this topic for the sake of the happy truth that this door has a key, and you already own it.

Why the Door is Locked

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The short answer is, you locked it. Before you first typed “how to control your dreams” into Google, your idea of a dream was what you remembered from that dream, the special one you woke up from one morning and just…lay there, wishing it hadn’t ended. You know the one. Maybe she, maybe he was in it. Maybe you married her and lived a hundred years. That’s the one you wanted to control.

Then you read lots of articles about the topic. You learned how you’re not supposed to get overexcited. You learned how light switches don’t work and text can’t be read. You learned how flying can be really, really difficult and summoning needs all these tricks to get it working. You read dream diaries and saw how many were set in schools and houses. Most importantly, you learned how lucid dreams are usually extra short. And when you first had a dream you could control, it wasn’t the sweeping epic of secret love and loss that you’d set out for; it was a monster checklist of “don’t get excited”, “oh I’m getting excited!”, “wow it’s difficult to fly”, “oh the light switch doesn’t work”, “hmm it’s one of those school dreams”. And it was short.

Now, dreams are made from expectations. I bet there’s a monster behind this door. Oh look, there’s a monster behind this door! We have to understand that that process doesn’t apply only to dream events, but also to the whole dreaming experience, its parameters and its internal logic. Through everything you read, your mind became saturated with a vague but strongly atmospheric picture of what a lucid dream is: heady, hectic, untameable, confusing, short. Read the first of C.S.Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, the one with the British Museum. You’ll see how important atmospheres are. They make our souls, since an atmosphere is only a habit turned inside out.

I’m going to try to explain how you can fix these expectations. There are two big parts of the problem which this method attacks. First, the inconsistency of dreams. You had a blast running around, flying and shooting energy at people, trying to find that pretty girl and kiss her, but when you wake up, where was the narrative? Where were the deep, fleshed-out characters who feel like more than sock puppets? Second, the difficulty of controlling dreams. Why can it seem even harder to do what you want in a lucid dream than in a normal one? Why is it so fragile and unconvincing?

How to Unlock the Door - putting the key in the door

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My “master key” is not a trick. There are lots of tricks. Spin. Look at your hands. Shout, “maximum lucidity”. These tricks are not your friend. They were created by well-meaning people who found that they worked in a particular situation; that once upon a time they saved a dream from an ignominious disintegration. But they planted a seed in your mind with a fruit more bitter than any other of your expectations. Lucid dreams became a video game, a slot machine. You have to pull the lever at the right time, or it won’t work. The tricks that were meant to help you out in a bind became the all-important ritual without which full enjoyment would forever elude you. Oh no, forgot to spin! Quick, I’m losing it: yell “clarity”!

And because this just isn’t true, chasing after the tricks will never get you where you want to go. You’ll just spend your whole time, the time you should be spending on utterly absorbing adventures, shouting and spinning like a lunatic. You’ll be playing a bad virtual-reality game where the system interrupts you to recalibrate every ten seconds. The good intention behind these tricks is to replace your negative expectations with positive ones. What I want to do is to liberate you entirely from your expectations, from your enslavement to them: to reach a level of lucidity where you are as critically aware of your expectations as you are now, reading this; and therefore able to, transform, adapt and transcend them at will.

The fact that there is no trick may seem like bad news. But it’s actually wonderful news. A trick is something you have to remember and execute in the heat of the moment - something you have to desperately scramble for after you become lucid. What if you don’t even get lucid tonight? The master key is a slow, methodical process which may seem boring. But like all the other slow, methodical processes - writing down your dreams, remembering to do reality checks - it actually works without having to rely on your in-dream reflexes. That’s the great advantage: like keeping a journal and incubating a dream, the master key is something you can do while awake, in full possession of your faculties, without any fear that you’ll forget how to do it, or that you won’t be lucid enough or any of the other uncertainties that come with trying to do things that only work when you’re ***** asleep. If you just stick to it day after day, year after year, it’ll work day after day, year after year. And every time, it’ll make your dreams a little bit better, even when you’ve already doing it for a decade. It’s not sexy like shouting and spinning lucidly while hurriedly grabbing onto sensations and popping lucid pills. It’s unsexy, like sitting in your chair and thinking quietly. But hot damn, it’ll work!

Now, if you’ve ever read my Dream Journal, you know I read a lot of text in my dreams. This is because, even before I was interested in LDs, I spontaneously remembered large chunks of books and letters from my NDs. So when the internet told me you couldn’t read in dreams, the suggestion never sank in. I also intuitively rejected the guff about light switches. Now, I passed through a phase when my LDs were as unsatisfying as I describe above. I was by no means a natural. Looking for help all over these forums and in other places, I saw how many people were in trouble, and I formed the ever more concrete expectation that it was going to be difficult. But one day, during a lucid dream, I said to myself: “Hang on. If it isn’t true that text is unreadable, and if it isn’t true that light switches don’t work, why should it be true that you have to scream for control, or spin, or any of the rest of it?” And what happened? The dream started working. I could control it just as the creator of an entire universe should do - right down to the atoms. I could close my eyes for minutes on end without losing any awareness. And I said to myself, “What if it isn’t true that dreams are inconsistent and confusing, either?” And after many times meditating on those two questions, I now find I can sit down in a dream chair, read a dream book with a glass of dream lemonade and the ceiling fan turning, and when I’ve finished the chapter, I’ll look up and the glass will still be as full as it was before, and the fan will still be turning at the same speed. My two memories of what proper dreams were actually like, before I started reading other people’s opinions, had saved me from a whole slew of damaging indoctrination - but only by a whisker.

How to Unlock the Door - turning the key

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Now, this didn’t come instantly. Despite my sudden realization, I still had dreams that sucked and continued to suck for some time. And even now, when I let the work go, they come back. But I had made the breakthrough, and understood that in a universe I had created, there were to be no limitations except the ones I gave myself. Did you ever find diving into water scary? People told you it would be ok. You didn’t really believe them, but it was enough to give it a go. For a long time, you kept trying, and you still found it scary. And now, somehow, you don’t believe it’s scary anymore. Dreams are the same. You won’t really believe it can be this easy. Not to begin with. But each time you trust yourself a little bit more, you move towards the time when you won’t even remember why you were worried.

“All you have to do is believe”. It’s one of the few instances in life where this is actually true, because it’s one of the few instances in life where your mind has no objective constraints. But as we know if we’ve tried to use door portals or summon DCs, thinking really hard and believing are not the same thing. So, how do you actually come to believe? You can’t do it by screwing up your little fists and wishing really hard. The fact that you can’t do it this way should relieve you. That’s a really annoying way to have to do anything, since it’s self defeating. “Why would I be telling myself I believe this, if I actually believed it?”

You improve this the same way you improve everything else to do with lucid dreams. While you’re awake. When you wake up in the morning, think about why that lucid dream went off the rails. Think about why it was unsatisfying; why you lost control or lost your sense of logic. In the cold light of day, was there a good, logical reason why that dream was less than it could have been? Was that reason anything other than your expectations and fears? Then, when you prepare to dream in the night, put yourself back where you were when it went wrong. Don’t think, “Aha, I’ll just spin this time.” Actually run through in your mind, while you’re awake, the thought process that would have rejected that faulty expectation. Analyze and correct.Then the next night: analyze and correct. Just as you would analyze for dream signs: it’s exactly the same technique, and in the end, as that man LaBerge knew, it’s the technique that always works. Not everyone can WILD (I pretty much can’t, except by accident). Not everyone can create a CALD character. But everyone can read a diary and note down a sign; just as everyone can read a diary and note down a faulty thought. If you like, write down a paragraph on how you went wrong in your mind and how you would correct that train of thought next time. Sexy? No. Quick fix? No. Effective? Yes.

(EDIT: See the exercise below, next post! )

The moment where you got overexcited and lost control. Think: my normal dreams don’t end when I get emotional. Lucid dreams are better, not worse. I created this universe. I don’t need to beg. I can feel whatever I want. The moment when you ended up in your house or your school yet again, and couldn’t escape to the beautiful place you wanted to visit. Think: my normal dreams have taken me to planets and kingdoms so vivid and real that when I was a child, I dreaded the fearful ones, even when I was awake. Lucid dreams are better. I created this universe. I don’t need to beg. I can go wherever I want. The moment you met your hero, and he was made of cardboard. Think: my normal dreams have made me fall in love with people so captivating, so full of profundity, wisdom and tragedy that I seemed to know them, every contour and line of their personality, better than I knew myself; so real to me that if, even now - yes, years later - I heard the trail of her dress…Lucid dreams are better. I don’t need to beg; beg you or my dream guide or my subconscious. I can see whomever I want. My normal dreams have told stories that swept me off my feet. Maybe not all of them, but I’ll bet they have, and more than once. Why can’t my lucid dreams do the same? There’s no reason. Don’t beg. Please, don’t sell out for less- don’t beg for what is rightfully yours. It breaks my heart.

Lucid dreams are supposed to be better, not worse. Perhaps a friend has asked you, “in your wildest dreams, where would you go, whom would you meet”? When you were asked that, did you look for the answer in your lucid dreams or in your normal dreams? If you don’t think of your lucid dreams as your wildest dreams, then they’re not good enough yet!

Now, if you faithfully practise these thought processes every time you have a lucid dream - after you’ve had one, before you expect to have one - you will find that you start to shake off your expectations. Maybe it’s gradual at first, but, as with diving, it can only get better. Eventually you find that you despise those expectations. A dream character seems wooden - you laugh in their face and send them away. Dream is inconsistent? Run that bit again. Dream is ending? Not so fast, mister. No longer will you fear your subconscious, its power and its caprice. No longer will you beg.Try again, dreamworld. I made you; you are mine and you obey me. No one else sustains you. Without me you are nothing. You are dismissed when I say you are, and not before. All you have to do is ask yourself, “why is this not better?”, and then remember the answer: “no reason!”.

As for when you’re in the dream itself, try to remember what you were planning while you were awake; same as doing reality checks, same as incubation. This is not a new technique - it’s been proven by hundreds of people. It’s just applied to a different goal. Remembering is the limit of in-dream mental effort, and the more you send yourself little packages from waking life and pick them up in-dream, the more continuous, aware and lifelike your dream consciousness will become. The more your waking and dreaming selves will knit together. And the great news is that all the work comes at the waking end, not the dreaming end - which means it’s work even the worst dreamer can do.

What’s Behind the Door?

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When I joined this forum in 2011, I read WritersCube’s diaries and thought, “Oh gosh, I’ll never be able to do that.” Now, I read his diaires and think, “Hey, maybe I’ll do that tonight!”. I wasn’t a natural. You can probably find early posts of mine which demonstrate abundantly how flawed my approach was. But, after years of analyzing and correcting, identifying, interrogating and eradicating limiting beliefs and prejudices - just as carefully and methodically as I would hunt down my prejudices in academic writing and research - I can see that a level of comfort is possible, where, if you awoke from a lucid dream, you wouldn’t even feel that you’d “woken up” or changed state. You’d feel as if you’d teleported from the dream world to the real world with no change in your level of awareness, mental acuity, memory. And you won’t remember your dream as something exciting but weird, broken up and, in the light of day, a bit cheap. You’ll remember it as something you were doing just a second ago, same as I remember walking the dog before writing this post. All those dreams in your diary, even though some may be from years ago, you’ll remember in the same way you remember your schooldays or your family holidays. Even if it took place in ancient Rome or across the galaxy, in the orbit of a black hole. That memory will become part of you; as much as a book published in your name, as much as the childhood books which made you who you are. Lucid dreams can be strong, rich and powerful enough to take their place alongside your real memories, not flit about in shadows like unworthy ghosts.

In my dreams, I sometimes like to carry a master key in my right pocket and a padlock in the left. It’s not trick - it’s a symbol. A symbol of what I’ve learned over the years, and a reminder that connects me to everything I’ve come to understand in real life. At the beginning of a lucid dream, I can take the key (which could have certain other uses besides, like opening doors and portals) and put it in the lock. When I turn it, the lock clicks twice. The first click locks my dreamworld. It reminds me that the world will be as consistent and stable as reality. The second click unlocks my control. It reminds me that I sub-created this universe and command its every detail from sand to galaxies to human beings. You don’t need to use this symbol, you just need the knowledge behind it. But the totem is nice to carry, and that’s why I’ve named this topic after it.

You can write a story. Your mind creates it. It doesn’t shift or distort or get weirded out when you remember it. It comes back just the way it was. Your mind is capable of fixing problem one: consistency. When your mind writes a story, it shapes it exactly the way you want. Characters in your novel don’t fight back or resist. The world doesn’t disintegrate or fade when you change it. Your mind is capable of fixing problem two: control. Anyone who’s ever made a painting, programmed a game, told a tale or any other creative endeavour should know that this is the case. You need to stop thinking of dreams as different. They should be as consistent, controllable and compelling as the novel you could write if you wanted. Knit your dream and waking selves together, and novelist you will become dream-master you. They’re products of the same mind. Expectations are all that are stopping you. Kill them - not by screwing up your willpower and wishing really hard. Kill them with work and dedication. You have the knowledge. Now make it a belief.

Don’t beg. Lucid dreams are supposed better, not worse.

De Ruyter out. :toilet:


If you’ve read the above, I have an exercise that you can do. As I’ve said, there are no tricks, no arcane or esoteric methodologies for obtaining the master key: only intelligent self-criticism and mental dedication. At the same time, some people learn best by having something to do, so here is a very concrete set of instructions for you to run through, if you find that helpful.

A Dream about Control

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1.) Choose a spot that’s easy to get to from your bedroom. Make it somewhere outside your bedroom, though, so that it requires conscious effort to get there. Perhaps it’s through a door. If you’re still at the stage of dream control where you’re often placed in your house and find it hard to leave, this exercise should still be very easy. I chose a part of my garden.

2.) While awake, go to the place you’ve chosen. Quiet your mind, and explore it thoroughly with your senses, all five of them. Unlike the grounding exercises you’ve probably learned, I don’t need you to devote your attention to particular impressions such as a vivid colour or a strong smell, though you’re free to do so if you wish. Instead, I want you to think about how real the scene is, and, more importantly, how it continues to exist second after second, minute after minute, with effortless ease, without any anxiety from yourself. Really notice your innate sense of confidence, even of trust and gratitude, that reality will keep being there for you, without any action from yourself.It just…carries on, in all its glory. Just see how that flower is still there, amazing! See how a car drives past in the street. Notice how it’s the same colour when it enters your view and when it leaves at the other end. Take a book with you and read a page - marvel at how clear and lucid the text is. Wonder at how the scene is still there when you look up again. Of course it’s still there, it’s real life, that’s what you’d expect. You’re beginning to learn to expect that in your dreams, too.

3.) Next, think about control. Pick an easy task, like walking. See how responsive and eager the world is to accept your commands! You barely have to think, and your legs are moving freely. You can jump with no problem. Anything you want to touch, taste, pick up, you can. If someone else is in the house, call them over and have a conversation. See how easy that was, too! Summoning, checked off. If you have a day free, try doing this every hour throughout the day, always paying attention to how stable and enduring the scene is. It was there in the morning and it’s still there now. How could it ever be otherwise?

Now, you’ll have noticed that what we’re doing here is incubating a lucid dream, the very subject matter of which is how easy it is to lucid dream!. For a beginner, this is the best possible subject.

4.) When you next become lucid while asleep, go to the spot you chose in waking life. All you have to do is establish that connexion - your mind will do the rest for you. You don’t have to imagine: imagining is effortful and can cause anxiety if you think you’re not “doing it well enough”, if the images aren’t becoming real. The whole point of this method is that all you have to do is remember, which is the easiest thing in the world. All your sensations and thoughts about how easy, how solid, how consistent your experience was will flood back, creating a dream that already begins to erode your expectations about the difficulty of lucid control and consistency. Stay there a while. Close your eyes, read a book, lie down - the dream is still there, just as it was in reality. That little chink in the armour, that first bit of erosion, presented incontrovertibly to your senses - the whispering assurance “this is easy!” - is all you need. The lucid dream monster will never look as fierce again.

What we’ve started to do is to take the “Lucid Dream Mindset”, a fictional collection of rules and challenges you’ve imposed on yourself, the fundamental effect of which is to make you think lucid dreams are different from and less fulfilling than waking life, and to replace it with a “Reality Mindset”, where everything happens easily and naturally without effort, because that’s how real life works. Importing your expectations and critical faculties from real life into the dream is the whole object of this exercise. Eventually, that old, cramped, cheap “Lucid Universe” that you keep getting stuck in will be obliterated by a “Reality Universe”, where everything exists freely of its own accord, with infinite detail, and your control of your actions is instinctive. As you advance, you can start to add things on top of that. Try driving out and visiting somewhere less familiar. Go there in the dream, too. Very soon, your expectations of ease will transfer even to the most complex scenes and tasks.

Before very long, you’ll completely replace your belief in the fickleness of lucid dreams with an expectation that they have a right to be nothing less than real - accept no substitutes. At that point, you will possess the master key. In fact, you already do.

De Ruyter has a maxim for you. Lucid dreaming is either impossible or easy. The process by which it moves from being impossible to being easy is known as “practice”. This process is infallible. The one thing lucid dreaming never is, is difficult. If it’s difficult, you’re doing it wrong! :rc:


This is all very interesting ,thank you for working it out and for sharing with us, De Ruyter!

I will try and work with it and report my findings
(This may take a while because of a temporary dry spell :tongue: )

My approach to stop the negative mindset (of frustration, disappointment, stress and self-fulfilling prophecy :bored: ): I decided to appreciate every lucid moment. I no longer distinguish between a succesfull and a ‘failed’ ld. I mark every (semi-)lucid experience as valuable, some steps are tiny, some are huge, all steps are contributing to the practice.
Another thing is, I try to work on confidence in waking life.
Because of the different attitude I experience less stress when it comes to ld

I hope it helps you, Majah. Let us know how it goes! I think the approach you already have will serve you well. Becoming lucid is simply making the connexion between your waking and sleeping experience. Increasing your groundedness, awareness and alertness in waking life will naturally increase the value of that connexion once you’re dreaming.

Here’s an example of how I “analyze and correct”. When I first started lucid dreaming, I had a real problem with seeing the people I wanted to meet. I developed a phobia about it. Through sheer willpower I could get them to become present: but they would be invisible! I could touch them and hear what they said, but, whatever I did, I saw straight through them.

The analysis I did in waking life proved the cure. I thought to myself how strange it would be if I went to lunch with a friend, and he were to nibble on amuse-bouche and order wine and make witty remarks while being transparent the whole time. Or how I might go to a play and watch the props hover around the stage, guided by inscrutable forces, while lines of dialogue issued from the ether. The next time I became lucid, I met yet another invisible character. But I remembered the work I’d done during the day, and I remembered how ridiculous the whole situation ought to seem, from a waking perspective. I began to laugh heartily in her face. After a few moments, the character materialized in front of me and said, “Well, I don’t think you ought to mock me; it’s a very serious condition!” I never had a problem with see-through people again.

Laughter is a great cure for frustration. If, inside your dream, you can remember how stupid your problem would seem to an onlooker in real life, you’re a long way towards emancipating yourself from your crazier lucid tics and phobias. We all had them once.

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This is a brilliant idea. I’ve had some great success for myself when it comes to my lucid dreams. However, this new way of thought should really take things to the next level. I can truly relate to what you’ve so elaborately laid out. It’s a different way of thinking but it makes so much sense. Why do the two (dream world and reality) worlds have to be separate? Why can’t they be treated as the same? This post spoke volumes to me. Cheers for this enlightenment. I’ll surely be implementing this way of thinking moving forward. :ok:

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Is the writer of this post still active?

It looks like DeRuyter hasn’t logged on for a little over 2 months

I’m still here! Can I help?

By the way, I’m very glad my ideas helped you Bazanikins. Have you made any progress with the technique?

So inspiring… Thank you for taking trouble to write such an elegant revelation. I mean, there really is so much being written in the internet about how hard it is to do this, and this, and that in LDs, that one might get disheartened and demotivated. I guess those who have any troubles in LDs (like myself) have to get rid of this garbage and start over.

My thoughts exactly. This is a great post.

My ramblings on the topic:

I’ve been trying to get my personal goal done so many times and so many ways, but no trick will work if I don’t believe I can get there myself, right? I struggle with doubt and fear in my lucid dreams. That’s the thing I need to analyze and correct. Sometimes fear appears in my dream without a source, sometimes I just fear the dream ending. The latter I can change, but the first one I don’t know how to eradicate yet. Doubt I think stems from not fully realizing that any event in the lucid dream is caused by me. If I fail to teleport, I expected it and made that a reality in the dream. It doesn’t have to be. Actually, why do I even need to teleport? There is no real motion in a dream, my surroundings will just change with a thought, when I believe it should. In my next lucid. I will just sit down and make the dream change into the place I want to see.

Well if you are still around, do you have discord or skype? If so can you PM the one you are most active in or both of them to me?

This is one of the most interesting things ive read lately, thank you so much! i will for sure try this :colgate:

Hormoz, I’m not very good at using either of those, but try PMing me and perhaps we can work something out?

I like this tutorial :slight_smile:

This is easily my favourite post across all lucid dreaming forums. On top of such beautiful and powerful writing, you made me realise so much. You made me feel what it is like to not only say words but to believe in them.
If they happen, I will be looking forward to more of your posts about absolute control and what it’s like to be truly limitless. We should stop building ourselves obstacles from fear and doubt.
Thank you so much for this.


This is what i was looking for.The best post in my whole life.

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Rebecaa, AzorArt, Emperor_Thanatos: thank you for your kind words and appreciation! I am so glad to have been able to help people a little bit. Please use those dreams for good and beautiful things - and tell us about them - and you’ll make me very happy.

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Thank you. I think you really got the point.
Working on one’s thoughts about “dreaming” itself it’s what changes the experience.
The mirror reflects the idea.

I agree,this master key is exactly my lucid method itself,ahaha!

The tips and tricks were fun from so many perspectives (even when I disagreed, such as “you’re not really reading in dreams because that’s impossible”, but I definitely did prefer and am glad to find it happening lately, that the path to lucidity becomes far more simplified. Even though I understand that something like emotional modulation can still be one of the keys, and that it can take a while to explain, and that it’s very simple to enact once the complicated explanation has been understood.

Bu the best short tip that I’ve enjoyed reading was “Instead of a reality-check asking ‘Am I Dreaming?’ change the question to habitually asking ‘Am I Lucid?’” and I liked that shift to simplicity.

try to remember what you were planning while you were awake; same as doing reality checks, same as incubation. This is not a new technique - it’s been proven by hundreds of people. It’s just applied to a different goal. Remembering is the limit of in-dream mental effort, and the more you send yourself little packages from waking life and pick them up in-dream, the more continuous, aware and lifelike your dream consciousness will become. The more your waking and dreaming selves will knit together. And the great news is that all the work comes at the waking end, not the dreaming end - which means it’s work even the worst dreamer can do.

That one strikes me as similarly streamlined, and that’s why I like it.