This is going to be a weird post especially for those who don’t believe in it. I have been lucid dreaming since young. I can’t remember when I first experienced a lucid dream or what the dream was about, but I have had lucid dreams for more than 15 years.
I was motivated to write this post after reading online about the many “guides to lucid dream” and products that promise to give lucid dreams. They just sound ridiculous to me.
However, dreams are really very personal. It’s an experience that you can’t fully convey. You can’t have another person to understand the experience you’ve been through. So, the things I write in this post applies to me, but I am not sure how it applies to the others. However, from what I read, many lucid dreamers described a similar experience as I do and I believe my experience applies for the majority.
Let’s address the myths first.
I am going to get the explanation for some of the terms that I see for the first time in this subreddit.
MILD – Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dream
Explanation: In short, MILD is telling yourself as you are in bed ready to sleep that you are going to become lucid when you dream, then visualizing yourself in a dream becoming lucid. Repeat until you fall asleep.
Telling yourself and being determined to have lucid dreams don’t work. This sounds more like how I get insomnia and a final desperate attempt to fall asleep.
WILD – Wake-Induced Lucid Dream
Explanation: A technique in which you maintain consciousness while your body falls asleep. Not for the squeamish.
Never once experience it before. It always always happen from a normal dream and then transition into a lucid dream. WILD just sounds scary. Don’t do that.
FILD – Finger-Induced Lucid Dream
Explanation: A technique using subtle finger movements as you fall asleep.
I think this is how I wake up, not lucid dream.
SSILD – Sense-Induced Lucid Dream
Explanation: A technique where you use awareness of your various senses as you cycle through them while falling asleep.
This actually sounds more possible. But nope, this is not how I get lucid dreams.
Explanation: False Awakening is in essence just dreaming that you woke up, only to usually immediately after either actually wakes or have another dream of waking up from the previous dreams. Those can often happen multiple times in sequence. It can be a bit jarring but also fun. If those happen often use it to do a reality check every time you wake up (or think you do).
This actually happens to me quite frequently. Though, it is usually unintentional. The reality check isn’t true for me. In fact, when trying to lucid dream, there is no need for a reality check.
What is NOT a lucid dream
In many forums and reddits, many claimed to have lucid dreams when in fact all they had was a dream. Dreaming vividly and remembering every detail is NOT a lucid dream. It’s just a normal dream.
Flying, teleporting, superpowers etc does not equate to lucid dreams. I have normal dreams where I fly too but I wasn’t lucid.
Knowing you dreamt immediately after you wake up is not lucid dreaming. It is called waking up.
How I get lucid dreams
My lucid dreams always start off from normal dreams. Then, there is a transition to lucid dream. Many claimed that reality check helps in this transition -> realizing you are dreaming. Let me explain that reality check definitely does not work.
Personally, I love lucid dreaming. The feeling is great, you basically live in a utopia where you are playing a semi-god. So, one day, I read about this reality check. It is to check your watch or clock on the time. If the time is moving illogically or does not look right, then it gives you a clue you are dreaming. Thus, helping you to transit into lucid dreaming.
After reading that, I wanted to try it out. I kept on picturing how it would look like to do a reality check.
What happened was that I was in my dream and checking the time, the clock hands were wobbly and foggy, nothing seems rational. However, I did not realize it was a dream until I transitioned into a lucid after that and immediately realized that checking the time did not work.
Here’s the problem – If checking the time and realizing that something is wrong, you are already lucid. How else can you control what you do and process what is happening? It is precisely because you aren’t conscious of your dream and rationality and that is what makes it not a lucid dream. You can’t understand the reality check is irrational when you are not lucid. So, because of this paradox, reality check never ever works.
However, reality checks can sometimes “work” as a transition to lucid dream. Especially when you tie a certain memory or emotion to that specific act of reality checking.
The transition to lucid dream happens when I feel a certain emotion and got reminded of something I dreamt before. If you ever had recurring dreams, after a few times you will realize that you always have the same emotion/feeling everytime you have that dream. It is a feeling unique to that dream.
For me, this unique feeling is tied to a place or an action I have in the dream. And if this feeling is tied to a “reality check”, then it might work for you as well.
I have a handful of this feeling. And sometimes I encounter new unique feeling. Let me give you a few examples.
There is this narrow path that is slightly flooded with flowing water with a background in a small burning village. It is always stressful and depressing walking along that path. I feel lost and lonely. I also realize it looks a lot like a game setting in an old Sega Super Sonic game. Every time I pass by this narrow path, I get this feeling. And this feeling makes me aware that I am dreaming. Hence the transition.
Another location I have a unique feeling about is on a tiny hill near my residential area. I was playing catch with my friends as a kid. This feeling of freedom, yet loneliness (being always unable to catch up to the other kids) reminds me that I am dreaming.
There are times that certain someone wants to kill me and finding me around a build. It feels scary and when they are catching up to me, and when I am caught between that killer and a window escape, I will be forced to fly. I will naturally ask myself “Can I fly?”. That question makes me think and realize I am dreaming. Thus, the answer is yes, I can fly. And there I go.
There are many more unique feelings I have doing certain things or going to different places. These feelings are developed mostly from recurring dreams.
Lucid dreams are also not realistic for me. It is realistic in the sense that I convinced myself it is a world. But it is not realistic in how fast some people in my dreams run and the powers I have. From hindsight, it is always foggier than the waking reality.
How to remain in the lucid state
I also read people having “3 seconds of lucidity”. Ridiculous.
As if you can count how long you have a dream. First, do not be scared at all. Lucid dreams are fun. There are absolutely no downsides to it at all (or at least from my experience). Sure, sometimes I might wake up tired. But on those days I am more perked up by how great of a dream I had. I only go through the day excitedly looking forward to the next lucid dream.
So, don’t be afraid to move in your lucid dream. Basically, don’t be afraid to do anything in the lucid dreams. I even tried committing suicide to see if the superstition of “don’t die in your dream” is true. I died and respawned. I tried several times across different dreams to make sure too.
What keeps me in the lucid state and increases the chance to have lucid dreams for me is to have desires. Strong desires.
It could be anything.
There was a period I kept on wondering how it would feel like to play in a game as the character. I kept on imagining and fantasizing. “How I wish I can go into the game and experience it for myself”. And you guessed it, I had a lucid dream in a game setting.
In the time I marathon animes and got emotionally involved in the storyline, I had lucid dreams of me having superpowers like the characters in the anime do. For example, controlling sand.
During puberty, I had a lot of sexual urges and sure enough, I have sexual lucid dreams.
What I am trying to say is that desires really drive your thoughts. In a dream, you can’t think rationally and systematically. You will only be able to “think” after you become lucid, not before you become lucid. Therefore, if your desire is strong enough and a certain scenario keeps playing in your head. Guess what, you will have the same feeling you had in the day fantasizing. You will realize how familiar this feeling is and realize you are already dreaming.
Many people have also reported that they have seconds of lucid dreams or they don’t have enough time to go deep into sleep to get into the lucid state.
I had many 15 mins naps that give me lucid dreams. Those felt like many hours long. So, the duration is not the limiting factor. Really, the desire matters most.
It is weird and slightly shocking to read people trying to get into sleep paralysis. I have had lucid dreams for many years before experiencing sleep paralysis.
The first time I had sleep paralysis I was terrified. I know that I had a lucid dream. Sometimes, it happened after a normal dream as well. When I try to wake up, and I know I am awake, I can’t move. I can’t open my eye. I try extremely hard to open and it just doesn’t move. It felt like I had glue sticking my eyes closed. It lasted for a short minute or two before I could wake up.
In short, sleep paralysis is scary to me. I don’t have it as frequently as I lucid dream. The first time was scary. The subsequent times were still scary but less so because I know what is going on.
Finally, it is definitely not necessary to have sleep paralysis to get lucid dreams.
Don’t matter at all.
I had lucid dreams with my back flat on the bed.
I had lucid dreams on my stomach with one arm under the pillow.
I had lucid dreams after I fell out of my bed.
I had lucid dreams even without pillows.
I even had lucid dreams in a camp sleeping on a hard ground and using a backpack as a pillow and having no blanket.
I also had lucid dreams while sitting down and lying my head on the table.
Sleeping positions do NOT matter at all.
My motivation in this post is driven by the many “guides”, “techniques”, and “products” that claim to induce lucid dreams. I have been having lucid dreams for so long and none of those apply to me. Even if my “techniques” do not work for you, at least know that those commonly accepted “techniques” don’t apply to some people too, including myself.