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Meditation and Lucid Dreaming

meditation and lucid dreaming

Can meditation enhance your lucid dreaming practice? Let’s face it, meditation is a hot topic right now. It seems to be a common morning routine among top-performing CEOs and hot celebrities.

Meditation reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, improves brain function, helps the immune system…the list goes on and on. Most of us know of it’s numerous health benefits, so it kind of seems like a no-brainer. Is there a correlation between the practices of lucid dreaming and meditation? Let’s take a look.

Ways that meditation helps with lucid dreaming:

Improves your awareness – beneficial for dream recall
Strengthens visualization skills – excellent for visualizing becoming lucid after a reality check
Calms the mind – allows you to focus
Promotes reflective thinking – important for reality checks
Improves memory – a vital skill for lucid dreaming.

No doubt, there are many more benefits. Headspace, an app for meditation; has more information about the benefits and science of meditation.

So we’ve decided that Meditation appears to be a great complementary practice to lucid dreaming. Let’s take a closer look at what it is.

So what exactly is meditation?

Meditation is defined as a state of awareness, often referred to as ‘thoughtless” awareness.

Meditation is often associated with Spiritual practices such as Buddhism, Hinduism or other religions. Having said that, there is no need of religion for anyone to do or reap the benefits of it. In fact, many top performers (business, entertainment or otherwise) incorporate some kind of meditation practice into their daily routine.

4 simple steps to get started with Meditation

  • Sit comfortably and tall.
    Sit in a position so that your back, neck and head point straight up towards the ceiling.
  • Relax your body.
    Close your eyes and mentally relax each body part one at a time. I like to begin with my head and move down toward my feet.
  • Breathe.
    Pay attention to your breath. Breath naturally and mentally follow your breathe through your nostrils and into your lungs. Don’t force your breathing or try to take really deep breaths. Some like to count “one” as they breathe in and “two” as they breathe out.
  • Calm your mind.
    As thoughts arise, acknowledge them but allow them to float away like how a cloud might drift away in the sky. Your mind will wander. When it does, bring your focus back to your breath.  Mind chatter is common and to be completely honest, this is way easier said than done. 🙂

It doesn’t really need to be any more complicated than what is outlined above.

Do some short sessions (2-5 minutes) and gradually work your way up to longer sessions. Practice often. Daily if possible. Don’t worry that you’re doing it wrong. Everyone tends to over-complicate the simplicity of the practice when they start. Start small. Create a tiny habit.

“The whole of meditation practice can be essentialized into these 3 crucial points: Bring your mind home. Release. And relax!” – Sogyal Rinpoche

Need help with Meditation?

Guess what – there’s an app for that. A few actually.

Personally, I like to use calm. There is both a website and iOS application that you can download. On the website you can pick different session lengths such as 2, 5,10,15 and 20 minutes. This app offers both guided (where a narrator walks you through the process) or timed options. There are different nature scenes you can pick from that add to the peacefulness of the meditation.

An alternative to the calm app is headspace.

Guided Meditations

I was recently introduced the the guided meditations of Tara Brach. She is an author and teacher of meditation and has an extensive online library of guided meditations and talks: https://www.tarabrach.com/guided-meditations/

Meditation and lucid dreaming are complementary practices.

Once you have meditation down, you can then look at the practice of meditation while in your lucid dream….but that’s for another post.

Use Momentum to remind yourself to do reality checks

Use Momentum to remind yourself to do reality checks

As an aspiring Lucid Dreamer, you know you need to do reality checks on a consistent basis. You also know that you’ll have a better chance if you integrate these into your current daily routine.

If you’re in front of a computer like many people these days, I’ve found a tool that you can use to remind yourself to do reality checks that integrates right into your browser. It’s a free Google Chrome extension called “Momentum.” It’s marketed as a productivity tool, but you can also use it as an opportunity to remind yourself to do a reality check.

Every time you open a new browser tab, you’re inspired with a new beautiful photo that greets you by name. You can type in whatever you want to focus on for the day and it will show this item each time you open your browser. As an example of a trigger for a reality check you might focus on something like “Am I awake?”, “Am I dreaming?” or more simply “Time for a Reality Check”.

This extension shows the time, weather, an inspirational quote and contains a simple todo list application as well.

Did I mention that the interface is laid over some of the most inspiring photographs of nature? A recent study suggests that just looking at nature can help your brain work better. Give it a shot and let us know if it helps your lucid dreaming endeavors.

Download and use Momentum to remind yourself to do reality checks. Available on the Google Chrome Store.

Dream Journal

The Dream Journal is one of most important tools for the lucid dreaming. It’s your personal log of the the dream world. Keep it close (within reach) of your bed and make an effort to write in it immediately after you wake up.

I saw a tweet that said a your dream journal should be the first and last thing you see every day. I completely agree with this. A dream journal reinforces the fact that you want to have a lucid dream. I go to sleep with the intention that I will record that night’s dream when I awake. The process of using a journal will help you to naturally remember your dreams.

Experts say that people typically forget more than 50 percent of their dreams within 5 minutes of waking up. Within ten minutes, 90 percent is lost. This is why it’s important not only for you to write down your dreams, but also to do so as soon as you wake up. “
–From the book A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming. Buy it on Amazon.

Here are the things I typically note in my dream journal:

1. Date of the dream
2. Was the dream lucid?
3. Dream Signs
4. Emotion of the dream
5. Description of the dream
6. Dream Title – This is something new I’m trying to help me search through my journal and label my dreams.

Q: How descriptive should the dream journal be?
A: A good idea is to capture keywords…especially when you are first starting out. This isn’t about creative writing, it’s about capturing the essence of the dream. Over time your entries will become more descriptive.

Q: What are Dream Signs?
Dream signs are recurring dream elements that show up in your dreams. Soon you’ll recognize these signs that they will become triggers that alert you that you are dreaming.

Q: Should I use a regular journal or a computer or tablet?
Do what works for you, but my preference is to use pen and paper.

What tips do you have when using a dream journal?


 

References in this post:
Book: A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming.

How to Control Your Dreams Infographic

Awesome “How to Control your Dreams” Infographic with some great information on it.

How to control your dreams infographic.

Lucid Dreaming Documentary – Conscious Dreaming

Description: Lucid Dreaming Documentary – Conscious Dreaming – follows the journey of three beginners as they immerse themselves in the world of lucid dreaming. With the help of experts, they will use a unique method designed to help achieve lucidity, such as practices done in the waking state, meditation, and mobile apps. The ideas and practise behind lucid dreaming and consciousness are dissected by leading experts in the UK, such as Dr. Keith Hearne, Charlie Morley, Caroline McCready and Susan Blackmore. This documentary stands as a well rounded introduction to anyone new to lucid dreaming, and can inspire people to explore the potential of experiencing their own conscious dream.

Some prominent figures of the lucid dreaming community interviewed in this film:

  • Dr Susan Blackmore – Author of Consciousness: an Introduction
  • Dr Keith Hearne – Lucid Dreaming Researcher
  • Dr Rory Mac Sweeney – Creator of The Mutual Dream Experiment
  • Caroline McCready BA – Lucid Dreaming Teacher
  • Charlie Morley – Lucid Dreaming Teacher
  • Lorraine Murray – director Feel Good Therapies Ltd
  • Olga Richterova MSc – Transpersonal Psychologist
  • Stevie Williams RPSGT – Sleep Services Manager
  • Prof. Richard Wiseman – Creator of Dream:ON app
5 must read books for lucid dreamers

5 must read books for lucid dreamers

Below is a list of what we think are 5 must read books for lucid dreamers. There are plenty of resources online, but these books are packed with academic research, techniques, and real world examples of lucid dreaming.  I haven’t read every book on lucid dreaming, but I think this is a good start.

What are dream signs?

What are dream signs?

Dream signs are recurring dream elements or cues that show up in your dreams. Soon you’ll recognize these signs that they will become triggers that alert you that you are dreaming.

Dream signs can be anything: People, places, things, or reoccurring themes. Again this is training for your subconscious to recognize that you are dreaming.

Dream signs are elements from your dreams that you should note in your dream journal. As you go through your dream journal, highlight or make a note on each dream sign. I typically write “DS” with a circle around it so I can find them easily.

I then have a page called “Dream Signs” at the back of my journal. I write all the dream signs I’ve noted with the number of times I’ve come across that dream sign. Here is an example:

White Wolf……..10

Owl……………12

Clock with 11:11 as time..2

By reviewing your list of dream signs you are training your subconscious to look for them.

Dr. Stephen Laberge covers these in his book Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming

He identifies 4 categories of dream signs.

  1. Inner Awareness
  2. Action
  3. Form
  4. Context

As a personal note, context is the type of signal that tips me off that I’m dreaming. I’ll often find myself in a situation that just doesn’t make sense where I question what is going on and tell myself “Wait a minute, I must be dreaming.”  One time I remember I was flying around an ancient city and I didn’t realize I was dreaming until I was “mid-flight”.


Lucid Dreaming References found in this article:
Book: Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming

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