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Lucid dreaming? why it's good for you

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  • Lucid dreaming? why it's good for you

    Yes I know, a lot of reading, but worth it and very insightful!

    A lucid dream is a dream in which you know you are dreaming. Typically this happens when the dreamer experiences something strange, and when they stop to question their reality, they realize they are in a dream. Lucid dreams happen naturally on occasion, although some people may have them naturally more often than others. The definition of lucid dreaming may be simple, but there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding it.


    The definition of lucid dreaming may be simple, but just like many other things which are relatively unknown by the public, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding it.

    A dream isn't lucid unless you control it

    There is some confusion about the difference between lucidity and dream control. The two are related, but one can happen without the other. For example, many lucid dreamers experience little or no control in some dreams. On the other hand, it is possible to exercise some dream control without being aware that it is a dream. Typically the dream plot will explain this by making the dreamer believe that they have some sort of god-like power over everything. Dream control, by our definition, can be either conscious or unconscious.

    Lucid dreaming is new age

    Because almost everyone has lucid dreams naturally every once in a while, we know that lucid dreaming is not limited by any one viewpoint. There are historical records which speak of lucid dreaming going back thousands of years--so it is hardly a new phenomenon. There is no need to have any spiritual beliefs to enjoy lucid dreams.

    Lucid dreaming advocates escapism

    Lucid dreaming occurs while you are sleeping; it is not meant at all to infringe upon your involvement in the real world. While many lucid dreamers enjoy writing down their dreams, talking about their dreams, and planning fun lucid dreams, this is generally no different from any other hobby. In fact, playing a video game or watching a movie will take you out of the “real world” more than lucid dreaming will.

    Lucid dreaming is unnatural, involves "dark arts," or is occult related

    Many religious or spiritual sects lump lucid dreaming in with occult practices and activities. Lucid dreams often occur naturally and there is nothing occult about them. On the contrary, many great religious epiphanies and messages came in the form of dreams; sometimes lucid dreams. Our dreams are what we make them; whether we wish to give them spiritual significance or not is up to us.

    Dreams contain messages that are lost with lucid dreaming

    As of this writing, there are many theories about why dreams exist and what purpose they serve, but so far none of these theories has been proven. One theory is that our dreams contain important or useful messages about our lives. Considering that many people do not even remember their dreams, let alone pay them any attention, changing the dream plot in a fraction of one's dreams is in comparison not nearly as problematic for any message-sending done through dreams. Lucid dreaming also requires very good dream recall, so even if a fraction of these messages are lost in lucid dreams, you are likely remembering many more regular dreams than you ever did before, and on top of that, giving them more attention than ever. Lastly, if we consider that it is our mind that gives us the message through dreams, even if lucid, there is high chances that the message will show regardless.

    Levels of Lucidity & Dream Control

    Lucid dreaming was defined as becoming aware you are dreaming; the actual level of awareness varies, however. When the level of lucidity is high you are well aware that nothing you experience is real, and you realize that you have nothing to fear—you cannot be harmed by any situations that may seem precarious. With low-level lucidity, although partially aware you are dreaming, you are not aware enough to have a great impact on your dream—you may accept some aspects of your dream that you would not normally accept in the ordinary world (you may not find it at all strange that your dog flies around the living room, etc.) With low-level lucidity your realization may also quickly fade and you may accept the whole dream as reality.

    A lucid dream is a completely natural and healthy experience. It is just like any other dream except for the small difference of your knowledge that it is a dream. It has nothing to do with new age, the occult, or escapism, nor can it harm you any more than a regular dream could.

    In a lucid dream, anything you can imagine is possible. Even knowing this, many people still ask, what is the point of lucid dreaming? What makes it worth doing? Sometimes this question is connected to the idea that dreams are not as realistic as waking life. The quality of dreams can vary, but generally lucid dreams are much more vivid than normal dreams. A dream can seem as real as any waking experience. This is what separates a lucid dream from a mere daydream: a lucid dream is more closely described as a virtual reality, where everything seems very real, but at the end of the day (or night), you are in a completely safe and private environment.

    Here are some of the most common reasons to lucid dream:

    Adventure and Excitement
    Artistic Inspiration
    Social Practice
    Stopping Nightmares
    Problem Solving
    Personal and Spiritual Exploration

    Adventure and Excitement

    Dreams offer possibilities for adventures. Every time you dream, you enter into a world where anything you imagine is possible; a place where the rules of your waking reality do not exist. You are often only limited by our own uncertainties, and with some practice, you can master dream control. If you have ever wanted to visit a place from a book, movie, or video game, you can do so in a dream. Even if you have no place in mind, you will never run out of new and exciting places to explore within your dreams.

    Artistic and Creative Inspiration

    Dreams have been the inspiration for many of the world's greatest paintings, musical compositions, sculptures, stories, and even scientific discoveries for thousands of years. Although the modern world often dismisses dreams as useless, they can be a limitless source of creativity. With the intent to dream of something inspirational and good dream recall, a lucid dreamer can put an end to creative dry spells and artistic blocks.

    Social Practice

    Have you ever wished to have a moment back so that you could change it because at the time you weren’t sure what to do? Lucid dreaming clearly cannot do that for you, and dreaming of that moment isn’t very beneficial since it will simply instill a greater longing to have that moment back. You can, however, try out new behaviours and test yourself under different situations and scenarios, and learn from the results. In this respect you can perhaps prepare yourself for moments that have not yet happened, and perhaps prevent yourself from making otherwise inescapable mistakes. Remember, we all make mistakes because we all have things we need to learn. Some things are perhaps best learned without having to do so at the expense of others. Some examples of using lucid dreaming for rehearsal are for social events, public speaking, difficult or awkward confrontations (such as firing someone, or even proposing marriage), etc.

    Of course, everything is controlled by your own mind, so in whatever situations you find yourself dreaming about you’re essentially guessing how others will react. Clearly this is not that exact because it’s not all that often that we are lucky enough to have the opportunity to know someone well enough that we can fill in all the “blanks”; thus, a lot of guessing will be done on your part to determine how others will react in your dreams. In some situations responses are relatively easy to predict, especially when you factor in your own experiences and insight into who people are. Be careful not to convince yourself that you know someone well enough that you’re sure how he or she will react, however—just because we acted one way in one situation doesn’t mean we’ll at all act similarly in another. Regardless, you of course have the ability to create similar moments indefinitely, which allows you to better prepare yourself for a wide range of outcomes.

    Stopping Nightmares

    Most of us look forward to sleep because it is a very peaceful time and allows us to unwind and forget, for a short while, the endless unrest of our waking lives. Some people, however, dread falling asleep because they are plagued by nightmares. If you are having nightmares and you want them to stop, lucid dreaming can help you overcome them. Once you are fully lucid in a nightmare, you'll realize that your fears cannot harm you and you will be able to confront the nightmare. Most people choose to destroy or change the nightmare; others sometimes open a dialogue with it in order to get some insight about why they are having this nightmare. Even if full dream control isn’t achieved, being consciously aware you are dreaming will lessen the devastating effects nightmares can have on you: knowing a situation isn’t real drastically attenuates the fear or intimidation that would normally be associated with that situation. Lucid dreaming may also rid one of nightmares permanently, and may actually be psychologically beneficial because it provides one with the opportunity to face up to his or her fears on his or her own terms, which is usually not that possible in the waking world. Lucid dreaming can provide you with the opportunity to realize that your fears are perhaps unfounded and help you find the confidence to overcome them in the real world.

    Problem Solving

    This is a very interesting aspect of REM sleep. Sleep is seen as a time of rest; it may seem strange that the brain is highly active during REM sleep, comparable to when awake. Some studies even suggest the brain is most creative during the period between waking and REM sleep, although those studies are beyond the scope of this site. A possible explanation to the heightened mental abilities of the brain during sleep is the lack of sensory input—the brain is not focused on our senses, such as sight, hearing, etc. Thus, the brain can focus more readily on creative problem solving. Problem solving while dreaming obviously can be quite difficult since one would really have to focus on one’s intent and prevent extraneous interference from distracting him or her. I’m sure we all appreciate how easy it is to become distracted in our dreams, losing sight of something that happened moments before as something completely new happens.
    Having said that, if you are looking for a creative solution to a problem, thinking about this problem in a lucid dream may help you approach the problem in a different way.

    Personal and Spiritual Exploration

    The above reasons for lucid dreaming are all well-established, practical, and things anyone can do whether or not they have any personal or spiritual beliefs. As has been said before, dreaming is only what you want it to be.
    One of these uses for lucid dreams is called dreamscaping. Dreamscaping seems to encompass a number of things, one of which is sharing a dream with someone else—not simply having an identical dream, but rather, actually joining someone in a dream; it is sometimes also known as collective dreaming or dreamsharing. No one can say whether this is possible or not, but there are those who swear it is. The idea itself is fascinating—to actually be able to find someone else while dreaming—but whether or not it is a real phenomenon yet to be proven.

    Another use that falls under this category is called astral projection, which is the projection of your soul or astral body into different dimensions. Because it is an unproven phenomena, discussion of astral projection is limited to the Beyond Dreaming subforum.

    A final use to place in this category might hit a little closer to home to most people than the others. Some of us explore our dreams simply looking for answers to questions that we otherwise cannot answer. That previous sentence speaks volumes, so I’ll leave it at that.


    Sleep may seem like one long state of unconsciousness, but sleep is actually made up of several distinct stages. These stages are split up into to general categories: REM or Rapid Eye Movement, and NREM, or Non Rapid Eye Movement. One sleep cycle including all stages is about 90 minutes. It usually happens in the order of NREM1, NREM2, NREM3, NREM2, and REM.

    NREM Sleep

    N1 is the first stage of sleep, normally lasting only a few minutes. You experience N1 as you are just drifting off to sleep. During this stage, you may experience strange noises, lights, or sensations, which are known as hypnogagic hallucinations. You may also experience random twitches in your skeletal muscles. These are called hypnic jerks. They can wake you as you fall asleep. Both hypogagic hallucination and hypnic jerks are completely harmless, although they can be startling sometimes.
    N2 is the second stage of sleep, and is characterized by a total loss of consciousness. You cease to be aware of any of your surroundings as you fall into a deep, restorative sleep.
    N3, also known as slow-wave sleep, was previously broken up into N3 and N4. Recently, it was discovered that there was no discernible difference between stages N3 and N4, so they were combined into N3. It is the deepest sleep out of all of the stages, so it is very difficult to wake someone in the N3 stage. Parasomnias like sleepwalking and night terrors typically occur in this stage. Typically you will experience another period of N2 before moving on to the REM sleep.

    REM Sleep

    REM is probably the most important sleep stage for those who are interested in dreams, because this is when we experience dreams. While there have been recordings of dreams during the other sleep stages, generally REM is considered the stage in which we experience our dreams. In the first few sleep cycles of the night, REM is extremely short--only a few minutes. But as the night goes on, you spend longer periods of time in REM, up to 30 minutes or more. Babies and children spend most of their sleep time in this stage, but as we grow older we spend less time in REM. If you are an adult, REM comprises about 20-25% of your total sleep time. During REM sleep, your body causes the atonia, or paralysis, of the skeletal muscles. This is a very good thing, because you would not want to be acting out your dreams in real life! It is still unknown exactly how the body triggers this and has been the subject of much study. Sometimes, you may become conscious while your muscles are still paralyzed. This is known as an episode of sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is an episode in which a person is usually transitioning from wake to sleep or sleep to wake and they find that they cannot move. Sleep paralysis is commonly characterized by hallucinations, vibrations, loud ringing or roaring noises in the ears, pressure on the chest or choking sensations, and often fear of impending doom or terror if the person is has no prior knowledge or experience of sleep paralysis.

    Physiologically speaking sleep paralysis is caused by atonia of the voluntary muscles due to the REM cycle. An episode of sleep paralysis occurs because you are either entering or exiting REM sleep and you have become conscious during this transition.

    Lucid dreamers are most interested in REM sleep because it is known as the stage in which most dreams occur. Some lucid dreamers take advantage of sleep paralysis, or even induce it, in order to enter directly into a lucid dream. This is known as a WILD (Wake Initiated Lucid Dream).

    Other lucid dreamers use their knowledge of sleep stages to set alarms for themselves in the later half of the night, so that they can induce a lucid dream more easily and at a time when REM is longest.

    Dream recall

    Even though not everyone remembers their dreams, we all dream at night. On the other hand, many of us always remember our dreams, even though we may or may not write them down or give them much attention. The biggest culprit of bad recall is often too much stress. Even if you are actively trying to remember your dreams, being under a lot of stress and not getting restful sleep can impact your ability to recall anything.
    Developing dream recall is the first step towards having lucid dreams. After all, what is the use of having a great lucid dream if you don't remember it after you wake up? It's very likely that you've already had lucid dreams in the past but didn't remember them. Other than that, learning to lucid dream often requires you to know your dreams well enough to find any differences between your dreams and your waking life. For example, if you dream about a certain person, place or thing that you never see in your waking life, you can use that as a cue to aid you in becoming lucid. This is called a dream-sign or dream-cue, which is covered in more detail in the next section.

    Getting enough sleep at night is essential to improving your ability to recall your dreams. As long as you’re well rested you’ll find it easier to focus your intent on recalling your dreams and your ambition won’t be clouded by fatigue. It's beneficial to sleep when feeling mildly tired at night and not when on the verge of crashing out of exhaustion. Also, if you’re able to get plenty of sleep during the night it'll be easier to wake up repeatedly to record your dreams, which is exactly what you’ll have to do. Finally, as discussed in the section on stages of sleep, the REM periods get longer during the latter hours of sleep; thus sleeping for longer periods will give you more of an opportunity to waken from your dreams and remember them, and will also give you more information to record.

    A dependable dream recall will help in many ways, so it’s important that you don’t develop it in a half-hearted manner. Simply waking up in the morning and trying to recall the dreams you had throughout the course of the night is not enough. During the night you will have many different dreams—at least one per REM period of sleep. The brain tends to erase memories of the previous dream during the intermediate stages between REM sleep. Thus, to salvage the memories of your dreams you’ll need to wake during or immediately after the REM periods, while the dreams are still fresh in your mind. To become proficient with dream recall you’ll need to be able to recall a few dreams per night. Losing a night here and there to stress or anxiety is understandable, but be careful not to fall into a rut. Waking during or shortly after REM periods is tricky, but there are a couple methods to aid in this. The first method simply involves attempting to time your awakening via an alarm clock so that you’ll wake up during a REM period. As discussed in the section on stages of sleep, the REM periods occur roughly every 90 minutes. Aiming for the latter REM periods (about 4.5, 6, or 7.5 hours into sleep) is best because those are the longest dream periods. The second method is similar but not as easy to regulate: drink a lot of water before going to bed.

    To be able to eventually control your dreams you’re going to have to focus your intent on doing so. Therefore a better method of recalling your dreams is to focus your intent on remembering them before falling asleep, since this will prepare you for eventually attempting to control your dreams. You must be determined in your resolve and you should attempt to prevent extraneous thoughts from attenuating your intent. Verbally stating your desire to remember your dreams while falling asleep is the best way to accomplish this. It may sound silly but all you really need to do is talk yourself into remembering your dreams. Our minds are powerful instruments and even though it may seem that we lose control of them when we enter sleep, that's not entirely the case. Focus your intent to wake from your dreams and remember them just before you lie down, and continue to repeat your intent to yourself as you approach sleep. Repeat to yourself over and over, “I will wake from my dreams and completely remember them.” If you find your thoughts wandering as you slip into sleep, reaffirm your intent. You want your last thought before drifting off to sleep to be of your intent to awaken from your dreams and remember them.

    Keeping a Dream Journal

    When you wake up, try to make it a habit to think back on your dreams. If you wake up and immediately start thinking about the day ahead, the memories of your dreams will often be gone forever by the time you think to try remembering them. For most lucid dreamers, keeping a dream journal is the best and easiest way to help recall.

    No matter how clear your dreams may seem upon waking during the night, you’ll have almost completely forgotten the previous ones when you again wake in the morning. A dream journal is the most common way of recording one's dreams. A dream journal is simply a writing pad that should be kept within reach of your bed (although other methods exist, such as using a tape recorder or personal computer). Upon waking, don’t allow your mind to drift—immediately attempt to focus on what you had just been dreaming, and write it down in the journal. Contemplate what you just experienced and attempt to put events in order. Often reliving the dream backwards will help: after remembering an event, ask yourself, “What was I doing before that?” Although it’s best to record as much as you can, realistically you may not want to reiterate the epic novel that is your dream at 4:00 a.m.; instead write down key points, such as what you were doing, where you were, and who was around you. Also, note anything strange—anything that wouldn’t normally happen in the waking world. If you find these strange events recur in your dreams, then they are your personal dream signs—you may be able to use these to help you induce lucid dreaming eventually. From here you should read the section on dream signs.

    Have you ever noticed that you often dream about a certain situation, or a place, person or object? To a lucid dreamer, these things are known as dream signs, and they can be used to induce lucid dreams. Normally to be able to recognize your own personal dream signs, you need to keep a dream journal.

    More often than not dream signs take the form of things or events that would be considered impossible or highly improbable in the waking world. Some examples of dream signs are breathing under water, flying or taking unusually long jumps, oversized/undersized objects or people, and of course purple skies and green cats. Dream signs are also sometimes more subtle: light switches that don’t work (device failure, which is very usual), suddenly returning to work at an old job, being late (also very common), losing the ability to scream, the speech patterns of friends being unusual, having trouble running or walking fast, and of course arriving somewhere naked. Another very common dream sign is having your teeth or hair fall out.

    If we are not intently looking for dream signs during sleep, we will accept everything—no matter how strange—as we would during the waking hours. Quite obviously if you were allowed to think analytically in your dreams, the absurdness of some of the above situations would be quite apparent to you. Even if you stop to question something in a dream you’ll usually become quickly distracted by something else and lose your transient rational-train-of-thought. For instance, it may occur to you that you shouldn’t be able to leap over the entire parking lot, but then it may suddenly dawn on you that you’re 5 minutes late for work and you’ll rush into the office, completely forgetting about your parking lot adventure. Within our dreams we generally accept whatever happens—we usually just go along for the ride. It takes training to spot and fully-realize the obscurities inherent within our dreams. You have to instill the idea within your head that if a blue dog should happen upon your path, it’s very likely that you’re in fact dreaming.

    Locations can provide a profound hint that you’re dreaming. For instance, if you’ve lived in New York all of your life but you suddenly find yourself in Japan tasting the local cuisine and speaking to locals in their native tongue, alarms should be going off and that little voice in your head should be asking, “How did I end up here?” If that little voice of yours cannot come up with a relatively feasible answer, you’re dreaming. Behavior can be a strong indication that you’re dreaming as well: if your friend, who is usually venerably ethical and moral, spontaneously decides one day to go out and start robbing banks with you as his or her driver, you just might be dreaming. Perhaps at the time you’ll come up with a reasonable explanation for holding people at gunpoint while you steal their money, but in the morning you’ll be kicking yourself. Thus, it is extremely important that you train your mind to recognize these abnormalities and nonsensical situations, so that you can take advantage of them. Instead of casually noticing 8 feet tall pigeons strolling by the wayside, you should stop and say, “8 foot pigeons? Wait a minute, that can’t be right…I must be dreaming!”

    Personal Dream Signs

    Personal dream signs are dream signs that frequent your own dreams. You may find you often “wake up” without any hair, when the day before it was down to your shoulders; or, you often run out of gas on your way to write a final exam. To determine some of your personal dream signs, you need to actively keep a dream journal. After a number of entries have been entered you should go through and examine your dreams and look for recurring elements (situations, environments, people, objects, etc.) Keep in mind that what you’re looking for doesn’t necessarily have to be out of the ordinary—your dream signs may in fact be very ordinary. Of course, it helps if your dream signs are unusual with respect to the real world, for then it will be easier to trigger the analytical part of your brain upon encountering your dream signs. Regardless, you are simply looking for things that are common within your dreams. Become familiar with your personal dream signs and review your dreams over and over that include them. Essentially you should be trying to train yourself to spot your dream signs, which will aid you in your quest to induce lucid dreams.

    Staying lucid

    At first it will be difficult to continue a dream immediately after becoming lucid. The reason for this is that upon realizing you are dreaming for the first time you will likely become really excited. If you still aren’t convinced about how amazing it is to have a lucid dream, you won’t understand until you have experienced it. The realization that you are dreaming is usually accompanied by a profound appreciation for just how real everything seems in the dream— it feels like part of the real world. This appreciation is followed by the excitement of the prospect of actually being able to control something that seems so real. It is extremely common among first time lucid dreamers to wake up due to the sheer excitement alone, so don't be discourage if your first experienced isn't as lengthy as you'd expected.

    To both prevent yourself from waking up and remain lucid, you’ll need to stay calm and focus on the dream itself. As soon as you become lucid, remind yourself to stay calm. Pause for a moment to collect yourself and take some time to explore the dream world around you. Upon becoming lucid you’ll of course immediately want to try exerting control in your dream, but for your first few lucid dreams you should focus more on training yourself to remain lucid. You can certainly try experimenting with a few things—such as seeing how high you can jump, and perhaps seeking out a particular person—but again in the beginning you should simply try to become comfortable with this new found skill.

    Dream Spinning

    As mentioned, at first you’ll likely find it difficult to remain in your dream upon becoming lucid. If the world around you suddenly starts to fade, or you inexplicably sense that your dream is ending, or you even feel that your dream consciousness is thinning, there is a technique you can try to salvage your dream: dream spinning. Dream spinning is extremely simple and consists of you spinning on the spot like you would have as a child. That may sound very silly, but the technique is extremely reliable. When you stop spinning you’ll likely find that the dream clarity has returned, and perhaps your surroundings will have changed as well. In fact, if you focus on changing the setting into something else while spinning, it is very likely you will find yourself in your desired environment after you stop spinning. Note that since it is likely your dream will completely change upon completion of dream spinning, you may lose lucidity. Thus, it may be wise to also remind yourself that you are dreaming while spinning. Also, verbal commands can be beneficial when trying to prevent your dream from ending. Of course dream spinning and verbal commands are tools for controlling your dreams, which we’ll get into next.

    Rubbing Your Hands

    Another common way to stabilize a dream is simply rubbing your hands together or something physical in the dream. The idea here is to keep your senses focused on the dream instead of thinking of waking. If you are dreaming that you are indoors, you can put your hands on the walls or furniture. If you are dreaming that you're outside, you can try putting your hands on the ground. Any of these things will help you keep the dream going.

    False Awakenings

    While lucid, be wary of false awakenings—waking up within a dream. This is quite common and we’ve likely all experienced it before. This can occur at any time during your dream: you’ll just suddenly dream yourself waking up in your bed. It is very easy to accept this as waking up in the real world since it will seem that you have left the dream world. It is always a good idea to perform another reality check upon waking up to be sure you aren’t still dreaming. From here, let’s finally move on to dream control!

    Dream control

    Dream control and lucid dreaming are closely related, but remember that you can always have one without the other. Some lucid dreams have little to no control, while other non-lucid dreams seem to offer a great amount of control in the context of the dream plot. Much of what you may wish to do in lucid dreams will require some form of dream control. Be it teleporting to a new place, flying, having adventures, creating scenarios for practice or problem solving, or banishing nightmares. In order to become successful at controlling your dreams, it will take a lot of practice and experience on your part.

    A common misconception about dream control is that is it instantaneous and will always work the way you expect it to. This is just not so--the mind is far too complex for things to work that way. While it is a good general rule to have confidence in yourself and believe you can accomplish your goals, sometimes you still may need to practice certain kinds of dream control. In the beginning you may be able to exert some control in your dreams, such as changing the scene or situation, or controlling your own actions, but it will likely take you awhile to gain complete control of your dreams. This is due to the fact that it can be difficult to determine how much force to put into trying to change something. Sometimes the changes will occur easily; other times you may get frustrated if what you want to happen doesn’t. It is essential that you don’t allow yourself to become too aggressive or frustrated with your attempts at dream control because if you do you’ll likely wake yourself up.

    In order to be successful at changing your dreams you have to believe it is possible. If you’re trying to do something in your dream that you don’t really believe is possible, then chances are you will be unsuccessful. You must convince yourself that you are in control and anything you want is possible. Since too much force will simply cause you to awaken, begin by calmly trying to change aspects of your dream—just think about what you want to change, and try to picture it happening. For instance, you could imagine a bolt of electricity flying out of your hand, or even something much simpler like a giant sundae materializing before you. Keep in mind that you should build up to trying more adventurous things, such as the ever-popular flying. If your attempts don’t work, try changing something else. If still your efforts at dream control are futile, try instead to simply go along with the dream and practice controlling your own actions instead.

    Deam spinning and verbal commands can aid in dream control. Again, dream spinning will allow you to change your dream setting. If your dream begins to wildly careen out of your control, try spinning and picturing your desired dream as you do so. Verbal commands are generally the best way to exert control in your dreams. If you want something to happen, say it out loud: if you want to be 12 feet tall, just say it. Repeat your desire over and over, and picture it in your head.

    Sometimes—and you’ll figure this out as you go along—you have to become a little creative when trying to exert your will in your dream. For instance, are you trying to find someone in your dream but not having any luck? Try picking up the phone and calling him or her…he or she may just appear right in front of you. Actually wishing for someone or something to magically appear right in front of you can be difficult. Instead, either try closing your eyes and envisioning him or her appearing, or tell yourself that he or she will appear as soon as you go around a corner.

    Remember that you are in complete control once you become lucid, but again it will take a while to be able to wield this power properly. Don’t allow yourself to become overcome with emotion if you find yourself in a distressing situation: always remember that dream spinning can quickly bail you out of anything. Also, remind yourself constantly that you are in control—if you are able to maintain this attitude, you will likely be able to free yourself from precarious situations and change your dreams completely.

    Comment on Skill

    Finally, keep in mind that controlling dreams is like any other skill: practice is essential. Furthermore, there are those who possess an innate talent for lucid dreaming and will achieve faster success than others, as well as those who will be more adept at dream control right from the start. Of course there will also be those who simply will always have trouble at dream control, for various reasons that make us individuals and set us apart from others. Don’t become too frustrated or hard on yourself if that is the case—and make sure you don’t sleep away your life with your lucid dreaming endeavors. Regardless of your ability, you can still have fun with gaining consciousness in your dreams which will certainly provide you with the opportunity to at least control your own actions.

    Cause and effect applies to us all, consider therefore your thoughts, words and actions carefully.