Entering the twilight zone ~ recognising when you are lucid dreaming

Have you ever become aware that you are dreaming, while you are in the middle of the dream?

As lucid dreams rarely occur accidentally, the way to boost your chances of experiencing one is through a combination of simple exercises, motivation and persistence. Acknowledging your intention to have such a dream also increases its likelihood. A high level of physical or emotional activity during the day has been found to correlate with lucidity at night, although both factors may not always be easy to control.

The best place to begin is to try remembering your dreams. Keep a dream journal on your bedside table and if possible write down all dreams ( with a title and date) as a morning ritual, no matter how short or fragmented they are. If you can’t remember any concrete details, attempt to convey feelings, shapes, colours or sounds.  some people suggest remaining the the same position for a while after waking in the morning will facilitate recollection of a dream from the night before. Whether or not that is effective, going over dreams in your mind before being distracted by the day’s activities will greatly increase the amount retrieved.

A further question is what do do with dreams that are remembered in the middle of the night. Most of us can’t afford to lose substantial amounts of sleep by writing out long dream accounts int he wee small hours. In this case, the best approach is to write down the dream’s key elements plus all remembered dialogue; such exchangs are very unlikely to be remembered in the morning. To avoid waking a sleeping partner, have a torch handy instead of turning on the light.

Maintaining such a dream journal is likely to increase in both the number of remembered dreams and the level of detail recollected. Developing a greater waking familiarity with your recurring dream themes facilitates a jolt of recognition while dreams are in progress, and reading through the journal at bedtime enhances dream awareness just before sleep.

Despite its seemingly bizarre quality, reality testing is another helpful lucid dreaming aid. This involves asking yourself several times a day the question “Am I dreaming?” and testing the answer through reality tests. If this is done habitually, it will eventually be carried over into your dreams and can provide an effective dream self-awareness trigger. The main challenge is to find a way of remembering to do this when getting sidetracked by other tasks.

Reality checks are also useful as means of identifying false awakenings, occasions when the dreamer intially thinks they have woken up but are actually inside a further dream. Sometimes, disconcertingly, several of these can occur in succession, as if the dreams were arranged in layers like a set of Russian dolls.

In case an initial reality check fails to work, it’s useful to have one or two backup tests, for example:

  • Reading some text, taking note of a few words, looking away, then looking back again to see if they have changed at all. If you are dreaming, they will probably have altered, sometimes into symbols instead of letters. Alternatively, try to make them change while looking at them.
  • Look at a clock, take note of the time and look back again. In a dream the time will have changed.
  • Look at your hands. Do they look fuzzy or strange?
  • Look into a mirror. If you can’t recognise the reflection, or if it looks odd, you are obviously dreaming.

Being alert to dreamlike events in waking life enhances the skill of  spotting dream signs – anomalous events or objects in a dream that can be used as a springboard to dream awareness – as does mindful awareness of everyday events. Instead of going through life on autopilot, the challenge is to try to become conscious of every action.

About Michelle

A Soul Coach and healer, Michelle is a sought-after speaker and consultant.

She is passionate about her Soul Coaching® practice where she helps burnt-out executives who have lost themselves to rediscover their passion for their lives.

Michelle serves as a mentor for Denise Linn's current on-line professional training courses, "Gateway Dreaming," and "Soul Coaching® Oracle Card Certification" program with Hay House.

Michelle was a contributing author in the award-winning spiritual anthology, Soul Whispers II (Soul Wings Press, Sydney), which was published in October 2010.

With a rich and varied background in the healing arts, marketing, public speaking and writing, Michelle is also a Chakradance™ practitioner (a dynamic, moving meditation to balance and harmonise the chakras.

Michelle runs a successful private practice using these tools to help people "rediscover the sacredness of their lives."

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