Now look away from your computer. Take a second and look back up at the sentence in bold. Are the words the same as before? Can you rearrange the letters on the screen with your mind?
The chance that you can is very slim. That’s because you’re awake.
But what you just engaged in is an exercise that many use to begin making themselves aware of their present surroundings. They do this to increase their chances of instinctively checking their surroundings in a dream.
Let’s take a step back for a second.
Not quite sure how this lucid dreaming thing works? We’ll tell you. Interested in lucid dreaming? We’ll provide you with some very basic methods to start your own journey, as well as some ethnobotanical recommendations to help expedite the process.
A lucid dream is a dream in which you know that you’re dreaming. During your dream, you discover that your present reality is different from your waking state.
There are two levels of lucid dreaming – a high level and a low level. At a high level, you understand that your present reality is a dream and that you’re sleeping. You understand that what you do in this state has no consequences, and so you experience exhilaration and fearlessness. At a low level, you are able to control your actions within a dream, but you may not realize that you are asleep and that your dream experience is completely separate from your present reality.
Lucid dreaming has proven to be beneficial for individuals who:
Those who experience lucid dreams find them to be rejuvenating and exciting. The best part is that almost everyone has access to this skill. All it takes is a little practice.
It takes considerable practice to start having regular lucid dreams. The key is to keep a regular nightly schedule, and stay mindful both of your present reality and dream reality.
Here are some of the best ways to get started:
As you fall asleep, do so with the intent to dream. Think about dreaming. Say to yourself in your mind, “I am drifting off to sleep where I will have vivid dreams. I will wake up and write them down.”
On nights when you are successful and do have a dream, wake up and immediately write the dream down in as much detail as you can. Include specifics of where you were and who you were with, as well as the images and feelings that accompanied your dream. Date the entry and return the book to your bedside for future dreams.
As you begin to fill up this dream log, you’ll begin to notice patterns that will help you. More about this later.
Just as you practiced in the opening lines of this blog post, you’ll want to do regular reality tests during your day. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you every several hours to question whether you’re sleeping or dreaming.
You can do this by looking at words on a page or computer screen, looking away, and then looking back. If you’re dreaming, it is likely the words will have changed. In your waking life, they will remain the same.
The point in this exercise is not to make you paranoid that you’re living in a dreamworld. Instead, it is to make questioning your reality a habit so that you’re more likely to do it when you dream.
At a certain point, these reality tests will be second nature. As you drift off to sleep, instead of willing yourself to dream, take your request of yourself a step further. Say to yourself in your mind, “In my dream I will attempt a reality check. I will note the results in my dream journal.”
Some common reality checks to attempt in dreams include:
In a dream, these activities will be ‘off’ in some way. Flipping the light switch won’t affect whether the lights are on or off. Time may move non-linearly instead of ticking reliably by. Jumping into the air may result in you flying upwards or falling through the floor. The face you see in the mirror may not be your own.
Each of these things alert you to the fact that you may be lucid dreaming. Try to be aware of the unusual occurrences and focus on becoming aware of your new reality, dream reality.
Every few weeks, look back over your dream journal for recurring themes, people, or events in your dreams. These are called ‘dream cues’ and can be used similarly to reality checks. They can help alert you to the fact that you are dreaming, and allow you to begin manipulating your dream reality.
Some individuals report that using ethnobotanicals regularly or before sleep help them have longer, more vivid dreams. This ultimately allows them to practice lucid dreaming more effectively.
Ethnobotanicals that may help accelerate your lucid dreaming practice include:
This is one of the more popular ethnobotanicals used by lucid dreaming enthusiasts. Many report that this is one of the most useful herbs for achieving the vivid dreams necessary to practice lucid dreaming. Buy it in dried leaf or tincture form here: Wormwood
Known by botanists and dream herb enthusiasts as Calea zacatechichi, this herb has been historically used in South American rituals to commune with gods. Your mileage may vary. Buy it in dried leaf form here: Dream Herb
Calm yourself. That’s what this herb does. Native Americans allegedly used this herb for lucid dreaming purposes. We make it available to you, too. Buy it in dried leaf or tincture form here: Wild Lettuce
This plant has been used for centuries to induce deeper, more restful sleep. Buy it in tincture, dried root, or powder form here: Valerian Root
Known in some places as an invasive weed, this green plant has mild sedative properties that some people say helps calm nerves and induce more vivid dreams. Buy it in tincture or dried leaf form here: Mugwort
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Do you have experience lucid dreaming? How did you achieve a lucid dreaming state? Leave your tips and experiences in the comments below.