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Lucid dreaming 101

HOW TO TELL WHEN YOU ARE DREAMING


Story by Bea Conrad


The world of dreams is a truly fascinating one, and the realm of lucid dreaming is even more so. Lucid dreaming gives sleepers a chance to explore altered states of consciousness, all without the use of drugs or the danger of addiction.

What sets a lucid dream apart from a standard one is the knowledge that you are dreaming. When you enter a lucid dream state, you recognize the unreality of the situation, and with practice you can use that knowledge to embark on a new adventure every time you shut your eyes.

Since awareness of the dream state is the cornerstone of lucid dreaming, the ability to recognize that state is key to success. Lucid dreaming comes easier to some than others, but moving from standard dream state to the self-awareness of a lucid dream may be less intimidating than you think.

Dreams may be mysterious, but they have an internal logic. You can use those consistencies to recognize the dream state and increase the odds of a lucid dream. Here are some things to look for when asking yourself if you are moving within the dream landscape.

Time for dreaming

Time takes on unique properties in the dream world, and the behavior of time tends to be much less distinct than in waking life. If you want to know if you are dreaming, read the numbers on your bedside clock. If you are awake, the time will be clear and easy to determine. When dreaming, the time on the clock may appear blurry, and the time may change sharply from one look to the next.

The reading test

Reading also takes on a different tenor in the world of dreams. Reading a page of text or an entry from the dream journal near your bed is one of the best ways to tell if you are dreaming. If you are awake, the text should be clear, precise and easy to understand. In the dream world that same text may be indistinct, blurry or nonsensical.

Take a look at yourself

Your body image can be completely different in the dream state and the waking world. If you want to distinguish one from the other, start by looking at your hands and feet. In the dream world these extremities will often look fuzzy or distorted. If you can see your hands, feet and other parts of your body clearly, chances are you are fully awake.

Mastering your dreams

Learning how to recognize the unique characteristics of the dream state can make lucid dreaming a lot easier and a lot more productive. Once you know how to recognize when you are dreaming, it will become increasingly easier for you to drop into that lucid dreaming state, a place where you are in control of the action. Once you master the gateway into lucid dreaming, you can not only watch a different internal movie every night, but you also can write and rewrite the script. LL