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Dreaming in Full Color

I had my first lucid dream at the beginning of this month. Did my mind April fool me? Was it a rebirth? Well, it was certainly impressive, and I’m excited to share the experience.

What is a lucid dream? Mainly, it’s that you’re aware you’re dreaming. Ideally, it also means you can shape the content of the dream. You may not want to dream lucidly all the time. However, you might want to access your dreaming, creative mind while asleep, which is why you might want to have lucid dreams.

I’ve been trying to have a lucid dream for a while, and now that I’ve had one, I can report the experience better. It was similar to noticing clear memories apart from vague ones. It had a feeling of dual forces between a semi-conscious mind and a subconscious creative one. I had to start at the moment I realized I was dreaming and then I used commands to change the shape of the dream. It might be like using the force. I had to let myself stay open while coaxing things in a new direction. My subconscious still created images, but I shaped them into something I wanted.

So how do you have one? Well, practice, practice, practice. And here are some things to try.

Make sure you will fall asleep

If you’re having trouble sleeping, you won’t likely end up dreaming at all. If this has been going for a long time, you might need to research ways to help you get to sleep.

Practice remembering your dreams and writing them down

If you’re one of those people who “don’t dream”, you may need to practice waking up and remembering them first. When you go to bed, tell yourself that you will remember your dreams. It seems too simple, but it works. And you have to tell yourself like you need to hear it, just like you would tell a good friend with that “I’m being serious” tone. I tried this just to get better at becoming aware of my dreams. I woke up a lot and wrote a lot. However, I got tired after a few days of this, so I stopped. Nevertheless, it proved to me the power of self-suggestion.

Tell yourself to have a lucid dream

This is just like the practice phase, but now all you are doing is attempting to trigger a lucid dream that you’ll remember. You don’t have to write it down, and you’ll likely only wake up once, maybe twice. This is what I did after reading about this technique just a few days prior and that is how I had the dream. I knew what I wanted to dream about, but it took this long to finally train my brain to deliver.

Reality testing

Some people use a technique that lets them test whether or not they are dreaming or living in reality. Usually, it involves writing, where you read a word or phrase over and over again and ask yourself, “is this real?” You do this while you are awake in the hope that you train yourself to notice that words (or whatever else) isn’t right when you’re dreaming. I didn’t try this. Self-suggestion worked well enough for me.

Openness, fear and dreamwork

My experience of lucid dreaming used a cooperative effort between what my mind offered and my ability to request something. It was similar to an improvisation technique called the “yes, and” approach. In this approach, you reject nothing. You simply build on what there is by acknowledging what there is and adding something to it. This ability to stay open and work with what your dreams offer may also be key to having a lucid dream.

If you have nightmares or dreams where you reject or shove aside the images, you may need to work that out first. Imagery may be confusing, but sometimes, just by allowing yourself to explore scary or unpleasant dreams, you may be able to understand yourself and your dreams better. Sometimes, I’ve woken up knowing exactly what a dream means. It’s as if my subconscious mind effectively communicated to me something I needed to remember about myself. It may help to work with a therapist to explore dream imagery until you find you have more interesting dreams instead of frightening ones.

Talk and listen to your deeper self

Affirmations and creative visualization, both forms of self-suggestion, are conscious ways we try to get in touch with that deeper subconscious. However, we must also listen to what our subconscious tells us.

I have had dreams with animals and insects doing bizarre things. I’ve realized that this might be my subconscious trying to let me know something that is going on with my body. It tries to show me something in a way it hopes my conscious mind will understand. At these times, I pay attention to my body more than usual and note any other signs something might be going wrong or if anything feels different in a good way. When it comes to people and characters, I see them as parts of my social self. Although the people in a dream may not represent actual people I talk to in life, they may reveal more general parts of my social self that I may need to acknowledge.

More about lucid dreaming

Lucid Dreaming and Self-realization – read more on Psychology Today

Reality testing and the mnemonic induction of lucid dreams – read more on Research Gate

Lucid Dreams in 30 Days – see the book on Amazon

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