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Techniques

"Always dream to wake up to the heart that is one with everything" - Miron Neghabian

Clearly, to master any discipline we require learning techniques and then practicing them. So to start having lucid dreams, the first step is to remember our dreams daily, in this way if we have a lucid dream we will have the ability to recall it. To reach this goal, we have to keep a dream journal. It is best to put this journal under our pillow and each time we wake up, we have to write down everything we can remember, giving a title to the dream and writing the date. After a few months we will have a record that we can see what we are dreaming, what actions we are doing, and the people we are meeting. This allows us to focus on the current context we are dreaming about and then the key is to realize if we're dreaming in this moment or not.

During the day you have to develop a "critical faculty", wondering if you are awake or asleep, in this sense the Buddhist  Maya Yoga meditations are appropriate to develop this capability in which the “witness” appears. These teachings were introduced into Tibet in the eighth century by Padmasambhava, and were pass down from generation to generation until it was compiled in a manuscript  in the sixteenth century. In “Meditation” section of this website, I have transcribed and translated in English some of these Buddhist meditations so if you are interested can use them. In "dream yoga" section, I detail this Buddhist practice, which is useful to induce lucid dreams, but its finality is something higher, it is liberation. In the Buddhist practices, also exist the "Sleep yoga", practice more advanced, because it requires the practitioner has developed previously an stability in non-dual awareness to reach pure light dreams. This stability can be developed by dream yoga.

At night before going to sleep, relax completely in your bed and firmly think that you want to understand the dream state and you will notice this dream is not real. In order to do this, you have to call your "higher self" and ask he/she to guide you in this understanding. With this in mind, enter into the sleep state. You can also close your eyes and form mental images of a dream and then recognize  this. Another action you can take is to set your alarm clock for 4:00-5:00 AM (this is when REM are more frequent  and lasts longer). Once awake, you have to stay in this state for at least half an hour, while you begin to self-induce and enter into a lucid dream using the same the same procedure as describe above.

Stephen Laberge developed a method to increase the chances of remembering the intention to be lucid, the so-called "MILD" Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams procedure. To successfully induce lucid dreams with MILD, first you have to develop the prospective memory. For this, you can perform the following exercise:

Make a list of 4 goals for each day during a week, for example:

1. The next time I hear a dog bark,

 2. The next time I go under a door,

 3. The next time I turn on a light,

4. The next time I look at my face in a mirror.

So begins a day memorizing the list , your goal is to notice the next occurrence of each event, at which time you will perform a state test: “Am I dreaming?” So, if your target is, “The next time I hear a dog bark, “ when you hear this next, note it and do a state test. At the end of the day, write down how many of the four targets you succeeded in noticing. If you realize during the day that you missed your first chance to notice one of your targets, then you have failed to hit that target, even though you may notice its occurrence later in the day. If you are certain that one or more of the targets did not occur at all during the day, say so with a note in your dream journal. Practice the exercise until you have tried all of the daily targets given below. If at the end of the week, you are still missing most of the targets, continue until you can hit most of them. Make up your own list of targets, keep track of your success rate, and observe how your memory develops.

After developed the prospective memory, follow the MILD technique which is detailed below:

  1. Set up dream recall: Before going to bed resolve to wake up and recall dreams during  each dream period throughout the night (or the first dream period after dawn, or after 6 a. m. or whenever you find convenient).
  2. Recall your dream: When you awaken from a dream period, no matter what time it is, try to recall as many details as possible from your dream. If you find yourself so drowsy that you are drifting back to sleep, do something to arouse yourself.
  3. Focus your intent: While returning to sleep, concentrate singlemindedly on your intention to remember to recognize that you’re dreaming. Tell yourself: “Next time I’m dreaming, I want to remember I’m dreaming.” Really try to feel that you mean it. Narrow your thoughts to this idea alone. If you find yourself thinking about anything else, just let go of these thoughts and bring your mind back to your intention to remember.
  4. See yourself becoming lucid: At the same time, imagine that you are back in the dream from which you have just awakened, but this time you recognize that it is a dream. Find a dreamsign in the experience; when you see it say to yourself: “I’m dreaming!”and continue your fantasy. 
  5. Repeat: Steps 3 and 4 until your intention is set, then let yourself fall asleep. If, while falling asleep, you find yourself thinking of anything else, repeat the procedure so that the last thing in your mind before falling asleep is your intention to remember to recognize the next time you are dreaming.

Laberge also developed in his laboratory at Stanford University, a portable device called the DreamLight, which sends a beam of light during sleep in REM, together with the MILD technique generate a significant increase in lucid dreams. 

Once in a lucid dream, being aware of our dream reality often this tends to fade and we wake up. Several techniques have been used to stabilize the dream, including that described by Carlos Castaneda in his books, which is looking at our hands. According to G. Scott Sparrow, clinical psychologist and author of "Lucid dreaming: Dawning of Clear Light" the dreamer's body is one of the most stable elements in the dream, but not the only one. It can also be the ground under the feet of the dreamer, then focusing the attention on these elements we can prevent awakening. However, Laberge technique of "spinning" is one which I like the most, not just because it has helped me to stay lucid, but because it is useful to change the context when I want to transform it. Once, I was traveling by train in a dream, then I decided get out and I started to spin. Suddenly I couldn´t see anything, but I could feel my body on the bed.  I focused my mind in  "I am", then I woke up in another, different dream but fully conscience and ready to continue my search. When performing this technique, we can observe ourselves, because this is the turn of the Sufi, one of most ancient techniques in meditation, which is used to raise and focus the vital energy or prana.



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