Why is it so difficult to become lucid?

I used to be quite the avid dreamer. For about a year and a half (since July of 2019) I’ve been trying MILD, CRAM, FILD, even some WBTB. I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing wrong. I used to do RCs too, but I kind of lost that habit today, so I’m starting it back up again. I really wonder if I’m ever going to experience a lucid dream at this point :sweat_smile:

Lucidity can be elusive. It can take a while to find the methods that work for you, but please don’t give up. I can tell from your posts here that you want this.

My “best practices” advice in the order I think will be most helpful:

  1. Keep that dream journal well. When you wake up in the morning don’t immediately turn to the phone, stay still, keep your eyes closed and check if you have any recall. Take notes on your recall before you do anything else, you can write down the full length dream later, just give yourself some notes, even if you only recall some fragments.

  2. Sleep hygiene. Getting good quality sleep is important to lucid dreaming. Can’t dream if you don’t sleep. Set a bedtime and wake up time, be consistent. I would advise against disrupting your sleep for a WILD or WBTB every night, maybe only once a week intentionally. (I happen to wake up in the middle of the night often, so doing a WBTB occurs naturally for me, but I wouldn’t set my alarm for it more than once or twice a week.

  3. Choose one method and stick to it for a few weeks. Sounds like you might be trying to cycle through a lot of techniques (I don’t think I’ve even ever heard of CRAM? What is that???), which I think is good, but I’d suggest to choose one method that you find has appealed to you the most and stick with it for a while, especially if that technique is MILD, because it can take a little while for things to sink into your mind and carry over into dreams.

I don’t think you’re alone in your experience; a lot of people struggle to get a first LD, but if you keep trying it will happen. Give yourself time to grow, but don’t overwater yourself. Sometimes immersing oneself in this too fully can be exhausting and over stimulating. Let it soak in slowly.

This advice is based on my experience and what has worked for me. Others on this forum have (and will hopefully share?) a different perspective.
Reading your posts I wonder if you might enjoy this podcast, Lucid or Bust , in which the host has attempted lucid dreaming off and on for YEARS without success. She shares her journey to finally get a lucid dream.

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Thanks for the info!

It was in a lucid dreaming book I read, it’s pretty much using a dream sign and saying it repeatedly before you fall asleep.

You are definitely not alone with your experience. You get promised all these incredible wonders that lucid dreams can bring so you get all excited. You study the theory, learn and apply the techniques, discuss the topic with other people and ultimately await the first lucid dream. But it doesn’t come. And you start to run out of patience and start lacking in your efforts. Many with these experiences give up. But many also come back and try again because they believe the effort is worth it. But since lucidity remains elusive, you start to develop self doubt if you can actually do it.

This is the story of many, and it is also my own personal story. I don’t remember how long after I first discovered the art of lucid dreaming I had to endure until my mind first figured it out inside a dream. But I think it was more than two years. This was more than a decade ago. From my own experience as well as many who came before and after me with similar fate, I am convinced now: Short of any severe mental illness, everyone is capable of lucid dreaming. We are not born with this ability, but with the potential for it.


I let you post first because I wanted to see if you bring up the podcast. :mrgreen: After you recommended it several times I also listened to it because the story sounded like it would be very close to my heart. I enjoyed every episode that I cold find (I think only like 6). It’s an honest take on life in search for a lucid dream and I could totally relate to it.


Now how about some advice on what to do in this situation? @Splash gave some very practical tips that are definitely worth following, no matter the circumstances. I would like to add a few more situational pieces of advice that may or may not apply to you.

Stay positive about lucid dreaming. Remember why you got interested in LDs in the first place. Remember how excited you were (and hopefully still are) about the prospect of controlling your dreams and all the cool things you will be able to do. You spend time and energy on it because it’s awesome. As soon as you start to get negative feelings about it, it’s time for a break. These could be doubt, stress, sleep deprivation, despair, and so on.

Please make sure the topic of lucid dreaming always has a positive connotation for you. You’re not doing a hobby that’s not fun for you.

The good news is, taking a break supports progress. It may be very counter intuitive, but taking a break from performing techniques, constant reality checking and pushing yourself on is not admitting defeat to yourself. It’s replenishing your energy and focus and letting your mind process everything you’ve been working on so hard. As Splash said, letting it sink in slowly is a better approach than rushing it, for most people at least.

Personal anecdote again: Like so many I also had my first LD without any technique or giving lucid dreaming any thought in that period of my life.
Nevertheless, I recommend to keep a dream journal as constantly as you can even if you don’t do anything else. Any LD you may have is worthless if it seeps through the sieve of memory. And dream journaling is an easy habit to keep constant decent recall.

If you want more advice or opinion on the matter, you are very welcome on the forums. I’m cheering for you! :good:

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All your words and advice weren’t even meant for me but I feel all warmhearted reading your post @Marvin . That’s some heartfelt stuff.

I’ve listened to the podcast in it’s entirety twice. I wish there were more episodes because the host is such a great storyteller and speaks for an experience that I think is often (as she discusses) self-edited out of the LD community. Some people have been lucid dreamers their whole life naturally, other people pick it up quickly, but then there’s the group that takes longer. With all the talk about lucid dreaming being down to how much you want it or how much you believe it or how much you work for it, there’s rarely discussion on how much those things can vary from person to person. Dreamers who have a longer or slower path to lucidity can want it and work for it just as much as someone who it comes easy to. It can be tempting to look at everyone else and feel out of place or get discouraged when it feels like you’re doing everything you can.

The reality (haha) of lucid dreaming is that it’s different for everyone and it can take some time to figure out what works for you @milkyism. Be patient with yourself.

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I am so proud of you that after all this time you are still determined! Thats a rough, unfair outcome and not how it was for me at all.

Try DEILD . Prepare your mind with some intense medidation until you nail that before you try. And go out to experience something unique, put yourself in a situation you usually are not in.

Wait… are you keeping a disciplined DJ ?