POWER TRIPS: CONTROLLING YOUR DREAMS
A number of techniques facilitate lucid dreaming.
One of the simplest is asking yourself many times during the day whether
you are dreaming. Each time you ask the question, you should look for evidence
proving you are not dreaming. The most reliable test: Read something, look
away for a moment, and then read it again. If it reads the same way twice,
it is unlikely that you are dreaming. After you have proved to yourself
that you are not presently dreaming, visualize yourself doing what it is
you'd like. Also, tell yourself that you want to recognize a nighttime
dream the next time it occurs. The mechanism at work here is simple; it's
much the same as picking up milk at the grocery store after reminding yourself
to do so an hour before.
At night people usually realize they are dreaming
when they experience unusual or bizarre occurrences. For instance, if you
find yourself flying without visible means of support, you should realize
that this happens only in dreams and that you must therefore be dreaming.
If you awaken from a dream in the middle of
the night, it is very helpful to return to the dream immediately, in your
imagination. Now envision yourself recognizing the dream as such. Tell
yourself, "The next time I am dreaming, I want to remember to recognize
that I am dreaming." If your intention is strong and clear enough, you
may find yourself in a lucid dream when you return to sleep.
Even if you're a frequent lucid dreamer, you
may not be able to stop yourself from waking up in mid-dream. And even
if your dreams do reach a satisfying end, you may not be able to focus
them exactly as you please.
During our years of research, however, we have
found that spinning your dream body can sustain the period of sleep and
give you greater dream control. In fact, many subjects at Stanford University
have used the spinning technique as an effective means of staying in a
lucid dream. The task outlined below will help you use spinning as a means
of staying asleep and, more exciting, as a means of traveling to whatever
dream world you desire.
Before retiring, decide on a person, time,
and place you would like to visit in your lucid dream. The target person
and place can be either real or imaginary, past, present, or future. Write
down and memorize your target person and place, then visualize yourself
visiting your target and firmly resolve to do so in a dream that night.
To gain lucidity, repeat the phrase describing
your target in your dream, and spin your whole dream body in a standing
position with your arms outstretched. You can pirouette or spin like a
top, as long as you vividly feel your body in motion.
The same spinning technique will help when,
in the middle of a lucid dream, you feel the dream imagery beginning to
fade. To avoid waking up, spin as you repeat your target phrase again and
again. With practice, you'll return to your target person, time, and place.
When spinning, try to notice whether you're moving in a clockwise or counter-clockwise
- Stephen LaBerge and Jayne Gackenbach