Part III: Learning Lucid Dreaming
Learning lucid dreaming is work, and it requires a certain amount of discipline at first, but it becomes easier – even effortless – with practice.
Before giving the technique the author (LaBerge) uses, here are some examples o technique that has been used in the past:
Paul Tholey, a German psychologist, states that the most effective method for achieving lucidity is to develop “a critical-reflective attitude” toward your state of consciousness, by asking yourself whether or not you are dreaming while you are awake. He stresses the importance of asking the critical question (“Am I dreaming or not?”) as frequently as possible, at least five to ten times a day, and in every situation that seems dreamlike. Asking the question at bedtime and while falling asleep is also favorable.
Oliver Fox regarded a critical frame of mind as the key to lucid dreaming, and it is easy to see why asking the question “Am I dreaming or not?” ought to favor the occurrence of lucid dreams. We most often dream about familiar activities from our waking life, and if we never ask whether we are dreaming or not while awake, why should we do so while dreaming? Or, to put it more positively, the more often we critically question our state of consciousness while awake, the more likely we are to do so while dreaming.
One method of inducing lucid dreaming is to enter the state from waking. A simple technique for maintaining conscious awareness during the transition from waking to sleep: count to yourself (“one, I’m dreaming; two, I’m dreaming,” and so on) while drifting off to sleep, maintaining a certain level of vigilance as you do so. The result is that at some point–say, “forty-eight, I’m dreaming”–you will find that you are dreaming! The “I’m dreaming!” phrase helps to remind you of what you intend to do, but it is not strictly necessary. Simply focusing your attention on counting probably allows you to retain sufficient alertness to recognize dream images for what they are when they appear. This and similar techniques apparently work best for people who tend to fall asleep rapidly, and frequently experience sleep-onset (hypnagogic) dreaming.
Another method, and for most people far easier, way to become lucid in a dream is to become very familiar with your dreams, get to know what is dreamlike about them, and simply intend to recognize that they are dreams while they are happening. Evidently, simply intending to recognize that one is dreaming is enough to increase the frequency of occurrence of lucid dreams.