What It Is Like To Lucid Dream And Why You Should Be Doing It

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Original Image Courtesy of Louis Dyer

 Ever wanted to fly or control your environment? Well, you should try lucid dreaming. Here, Jack tells you why it’s amazing and how you can get started.

I awake in a tropical bay with the water shallow enough to kneel in. I feel the water brush against my ankles as I scan the horizon for memorable landmarks. The skyline is orange with large apartment blocks staggering the warm rays of sunshine. As I walk closer towards the shore I start to see details in the buildings and realise that these apartment blocks are bizarrely entirely made of recycled televisions, some of which are actually still broadcasting old news reports. A loud grumble booms across the bay, one of the giant buildings starts to tip. It’s collapsing right in front of me. I dash to the side and narrowly dodge the massive structure of recycled televisions as it crashes down into the bay next to me. The hundred-story building is lying on its side surprisingly in tact, so I investigate.

I walk through the balcony window and pass through a bedroom and out into the corridor of the building where panic has set in. The residents scarper and scramble as they flee the building climbing awkwardly across the walls of the building. I walk down the corridor and find myself eventually making my way to an open door. But two bouncers guard it. Why are they guarding what appears to be the exit? This doesn’t make any sense, this building has just collapsed and a thousand people are trying to escape, but nobody is just walking through this door? I try to myself but find an invisible barrier blocking my path. I start to contemplate the strange reality of the situation, which spurs me to realise that this is far from reality. None of this makes sense it can’t be real. I must be dreaming. I AM dreaming. If this is a dream then there is nothing to stop me walking through this door, so again I endeavour to make my way through the door and this time the barrier is gone. I walk right through and the bouncers try to stop me, I send them flying with a bat of my arm. I continue on my way. I am in control now…

–       Extract from Jack’s dream journal, [date]

Lucid dreaming is when the dreamer becomes fully aware that they are in a dream state, and takes full control of the dream. Very similar to being in ‘The Matrix’, the more you believe that anything is possible, the better you are at manipulating your dreams.

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Source: Flickr

I am a massive fan of ‘The Matrix’, and have often fantasied about a world in which I could be Neo and do all the awesome things he does. So when someone told me that lucid dreaming was like being in ‘The Matrix’, I had to explore it more.

What good is having an omnipotent dream if the next day you cannot remember it? Can you remember what dream you had three days ago? Can you even remember in detail the dream you had last night? Probably not…

Step 1: Remembering Your Dream

The first step, as stated by many other sources to fully master the art of lucid dreaming, is to master the art of remembering our dreams. When we wake up our brain quickly starts to realise that everything it’s just been experiencing for the last ~8 hours hasn’t been real, so quickly starts deleting all of that information. So the first step on the path to lucid dreaming euphoria is to train your brain to no longer dump that information and the best way of doing that is with a dream journal.

Every night when you go to sleep, make sure your dream journal is either under your pillow with a pen or next to your bed within reach so that you do not need to leave the bed to reach it. Then, every morning when you wake up, write each and every little detail about the dream you’ve just woken up from. The more detail you use the better because training your brain to acknowledge the small details will make your dreams more vivid.

You will probably notice an effect within as little as 10-14 days of keeping your dream journal, possibly even fewer. Then quite naturally you will find yourself starting to be more conscious in your dreams. No longer a passenger in the events that unfold you start to have more direction in your dreams and will start to become more aware that you are dreaming whilst asleep.

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Source: Pixabay

Step 2: How To Take Control

Sadly the first time you realise you’re dreaming and start to take control of your dream, it’ll be so exciting you will most likely wake up. This happened to me the first couple of times just as I started to take control and it was infuriating, but I endeavoured. After my first time lucid dreaming I started to realise the glaringly obvious signs to help me realise I was in the dream world. Clocks are incredibly hard to read, and so are written words; they tend to look like a mash up of letters that don’t make sense. Look for invisible barriers and stay sceptical, it’s the best way of defining what is real and what is not, and once you master that perception, you possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

If you’re semi-lucid, vaguely aware that you might be dreaming but not really focused enough to do anything about it, you can quite simply rub your hands together to stimulate kinetic sensation. This awakens your senses and the conscious part of your brain, thereby heightening your lucidity immediately.

Once you’ve taken control, there are things you have to do to remain in control, it’s not like a switch that turns on and off, it’s a belief and focus that needs to be maintained. When I was first learning to fly in my dreams it took so much concentration to just get me off the ground, and then once I was flying I found myself suddenly falling again as I relaxed too much. I then had to quickly put all of my focus into remembering that I’m dreaming and I am the one who decides what happens, and then as quickly as I thought it, I was flying again.

The best way to keep track of this is to get into a reality check habit, the best and easiest one is to wear a watch when awake and when dreaming. That way when you fall asleep if you check your watch in the dream, it’ll be a completely obscure time like 43:96 (if digital) or the hands on the clock will be spinning or wonky (if analogue). It’s as easy as that.

The idea of messing with your sleep can seem a bit daunting especially if you don’t like dreaming or you suffer from nightmares. However becoming a master in manipulating your dreams is empowering. If you’re having a nightmare about being chased by a pack of wolves, with a quick thought you can turn them into a bundle of puppies that only want to lick you to death.

I’ve never experienced anything like lucid dreaming. It is the closest experience you can get to being in the matrix, and all you need is some paper, a pen, your bed and some determination. So go on get some sleep and see where your mind takes you.

We’d love to hear about how weird and wonderful your dreams are, lucid or not. Let us know at @Rifemag or on Facebook

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Hacking Your Sleep by Jack Edwards

Go Places When You’re Asleep With Lucid Dreaming by Katie Antoniou

Lucid Dreaming: Rise Of A Nocturnal Hobby – BBC

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