I’m writing this guide as a way to give back to the community who was more than kind and generous in helping me in my quest for lucidity. It was an interesting journey, and I would like to thank everyone who’s topics I read, and especially the guys and gals on IRC who kept me going (you know who you are).
But now to the fun stuff!
How to Lucid Dream for Beginners.
What is lucid dreaming? Since most of us know this, I’ll keep it short. It is the ability to become aware that you are dreaming, giving you the ability to manipulate and control the dream in any way you want.
There are many, many types of methods to achieve lucidity. MILD, WILD, DEILD, VILD, __ILD… the list goes on. There are so many methods out there, it is not uncommon for a beginner to get caught up in all the fine details. I find more often than not that when a beginner comes into the LD4All chat room , they have more knowledge than me on all the types of foods and methods they can use to achieve lucidity, and have been practicing longer than me. The one common trait of all these knowledgeable beginners is this: they all have not had a single lucid dream.
Sound familiar? If this describes you, then this guide will definitely help.
Back to the Basics:
Before we can begin our quest to become lucid, we must first understand what exactly makes us lucid. Some may say reality checks, some may say WBTB WILD with hot cocoa while running binaural beats and tracking their REM sleep with their ipod/iphone/computer. While these are not entirely wrong, they are not the reason why we become lucid. The one, true reason we become lucid is:
The single, most important part to becoming lucid is by making your dreams more vivid. To achieve lucidity, your dreams need to be close to 100% clear and sharp. Many people forget this small quality for lucid dreaming.
Now were all asking the same question,
How do I make my dreams more vivid?
Did you just cringe? Are you going to scroll past this part because keeping a dream journal is [enter some excuse]. If you’re going to, go ahead, but don’t ask me for help. Many guides stress the importance of a dream journal, but I find many don’t explain why they work.
A Dream Journal is a personal journal in which you record as much detail as you can about dreams you have. This can be done with a notebook, computer, or any sort of medium you prefer. I like my dream journals to be written on the computer in a text file (some people use voice recorders. I have no comment on this as I have no personal experience).
Keeping a dream journal is important for many reasons, but the main reason it is important is:
Exercising your Brain!
But how does this exercise your brain? Let me explain,
A good example to compare this to is writing an essay. While you may think that you know exactly how to write it in your head, when you get to the actual writing part, it takes 3 or 4 times as long as expected. Why? In your head, your thoughts are just a mash of ideas. When you actually write it down, you’re putting order to your thoughts. Without much practice, this can be extremely difficult. You know what you want to say, but you can’t get it out clearly.
This is exactly what keeping a dream journal does!
By keeping a dream journal and constantly writing in it, your brain is being trained not only to better remember your dreams, but to also put some logical order to them. If you haven’t caught on yet, this is exactly what you need to become lucid.
How to use a Dream Journal to increase Vividness
Another analogy I like to use to help explain this part is a bodybuilder working out. A bodybuilder who doesn’t go to the gym is going to have little to no muscle. A bodybuilder who goes to the gym but never increases his weight will have some muscle, but not lots. A bodybuilder who goes to the gym, trains his hardest, while increasing the weight every time he goes to the gym, will have massive amounts of muscle.
This is exactly the same with keeping your dream journal. Think of you as the body builder, your dream journal as your exercise, and your dream vividness as your muscle. Those who keep no dream journal will have little to no vividness, those who do have a dream journal, but still don’t care about it, will have some vividness, but someone who is dedicated to their dream journal will have massive amounts of vividness.
Have I convinced you to keep a dream journal yet? I hope so.
How to use your Dream Journal as an Exercise
First of all, we will need a measure for vividness. Why waste your time if you have no basis for comparison? To measure vividness, we will use dream recall.
Dream Recall is the ability to remember your dreams. We will measure it with two variables: Number of dreams and amount of content per dream.
This is where you are when you have almost no dream recall. You barely remember any of your dreams and the ones you do are no more than a few moments.
At this stage, the most important thing to work on is to remember anything you dreamed about. Go to bed with the intention of just remembering your dreams. This will greatly increase your chance to remember something about your dream.
If you remembered a dream, congratulations! You have taken a huge step towards lucidity. Within 20 minutes of awakening (the sooner the better), start writing down your dreams. Try your best to put them in some chronological order. Also, try your best to write down every detail you took note of. The more detail you remember, the more vivid your dreams will become.
Also, make sure you are trying to make sense (in comparison to waking-life) of your dream. Since we are trying to activate the logic section of our brain while we are sleeping, we need to stress that section. We can do this by asking questions such as ‘Why did I only have 4 fingers in my dream, how could of this happened? Was there something earlier in the dream that made me lose a finger?’. Questions like these (which sometimes have no answer) will still stress your brain, specifically the logic section, to try its hardest to find a logical answer.
After enough exercise of this, your brain will start asking questions like these while you are dreaming. This gives you a perfect opportunity to notice something out of place in your dream, which will lead to lucidity.
One thing you will start to notice are what I like to call “OH YEAH!” moments. These are moments where while you are writing your dream down, you remember something about the dream you previously forgot about. For example, you may be describing the interior of a car, when all of a sudden you remember there was someone in the back seat! These moments are great! They are a perfect show that you are making progress (and clearly show the importance of a dream journal).
I would say this is the stage where the majority of nights you remember a dream. Here, you need to start focusing more on the details of the dream. Every dream journal entry you write, try to include more detail than the previous one. Make sure you are including as many senses (taste, touch, smell, sight and sound) in your details. Each sense will further enhance vividness and awareness. As I mentioned before with the bodybuilder analogy, the bodybuilder needs to keep increasing weight to build even more muscle. Here, we need to keep adding more detail to gain even more vividness.
You will find your first few entries will be short, maybe no longer than a paragraph. Eventually, you should be able to be see so many details of your dream, you are writing multiple paragraphs, or almost a whole page. Personally, my first few entries were a paragraph, but over time they grew to be almost 1/2 to 3/4 of a page long! (Size: 12 font on the computer).
If you have made it this far, you will start to reap the rewards. This is the stage where my lucid dreams started coming in. In this stage, you will start to have multiple entries a day. Why? Because you are remembering at least 1 dream a night!
Continue as before, making note of as many of the details as you can. The main difference in this stage is to distinguish the differences and details between separate dreams. Your time spent writing entries in your dream journals is going to greatly increase, but now is not the time to get lazy. The bodybuilder didn’t stop adding weight to his exercises once he started noticing a change in his body shape.
As I mentioned just before, keep trying to add more and more details to your entries than your previous ones. You need to keep exercising your brain and building up its ability to recall dreams.
Welcome to the final stage. Here, you will have multiple dreams a night in which you can remember almost as clear as day. But do not stop here! The bodybuilder is massive, but if he stops working out, he’ll lose it all! Keep making your dream journal entries while focusing on more and more detail. At this stage, you shouldn’t be surprised to find that a lot of your entries are actually lucid dreams. Working on the details of your lucid dreams will continue to make those even more vivid!
From here on out, you should be well accustomed to your dream journal, and will most likely have your own way in which you record your dreams.
You only told me how to keep a Dream Journal?
Yes, I did. You may be asking yourself, I still don’t know how to have a lucid dream. You don’t need to! If you have increased your vividness enough, you will automatically become lucid.
My very first lucid dream came from a night where I only had the intention to remember my dream and just went to sleep normal. That night I had an hour long lucid dream (which felt like forever).
The only thing you need to do every night is go to bed with the intention of remembering your dreams in as much detail as you possibly can!
Notes for Dream Journals:
Here are a few things that helped me with my dream journal:
- Write it how you want! Its your dream journal, its not being handed into your boss / teacher. Format it for you!
- Date your dreams! While you don’t have to, its a nice way to look at your progress (but so is looking at the endless pages of entries!)
- If you have multiple dreams, write them in order you had them. This will work your brain harder.
- Use a medium you prefer. I found I’m a sloppy, slow hand writer, so I started typing mine on the computer, which saved me a ton of time.
I will end this guide here for now. When I have more free time and information, I will also post more information on foods / drugs (legal) / methods that will help increase vividness.
IMPORTANT: The methods, foods and drugs (such as B6) are NOT substitutes for keeping a dream journal. They will help increase vividness, but if you have no core ability yourself to have vivid dreams, you will see no gain.
0 (Vividness = little to nothing) * Anything (methods / drugs (legal) / foods) = still ZERO.
Feel free to post comments, questions or ideas. This guide is always subject to change and I would love to hear your input!