Dreaming. All of us do it (seriously, we all do) but most of us either don’t recall our dreams or just remember fragments of our dreams when we first wake up only to have those fragments quickly disappear like smoke in the mist. A rare number of us not only remember our dreams but also have the ability to wake up *in* our dreams and control our dreams. This, my friends, is lucid dreaming and it is the gateway to unlocking our non-local consciousness which is fancy talk for higher mind not tied to time and space. Since dreams look real, feel real – waking up in them with the power to control them gives us access to an incredible tool for learning and growth as well as healing. In fact, there are many ancient cultures who believe both the waking world and the dream world are a dream and that thru our experiences in both worlds we are on a path to the great awakening where we become the alchemists of our own existence able not only to control the dream but to create it. A few other juicy reasons to lean into lucid dreaming? It GREATLY increases your psychic ability, your manifestation powers and your feeling of profound confidence and connection. It’s a shaman’s tool for those who like a little unicorn glitter in their metaphoric coffee and its super-duper fun. So, let’s get crackin, folks! Below are 7 tips for waking up in dreamtime.
1. Remember This
The first step to waking up in your dreams is to actually wake up to the fact that you are having dreams! When you have the mindset of – I don’t dream or I don’t remember my dreams or I only remember some of my dreams – then not only are you creating that experience for yourself but with each repetition of the thought(s), you are reinforcing this experience. If that sounds like a big bag of woo-woo then welcome to this big bag of woo-woo. You’re welcome (you’ll thank me later!). Mindset is what we are expanding on the path to lucid dreaming. In truth, everything is in your mind and dreaming is no different. Try opening yourself up to a new set of thoughts – I do dream and I remember my dreams more and more or I dream every night and remember my dreams every morning or I love dreaming and I love waking up in my dreams. When do you rotate this new set of thoughts? As often as you can in the paused moments of your day – in the shower, while you are driving, while you are waiting for someone to answer your call, while you are cooking dinner – you get the idea. To become an expert dreamer – you have to expand your mindset.
For the next week, take advantage of all the paused moments in your day to focus on the expanded thought that not only do you dream every night but you also remember all of your dreams. If you feel resistance to this new thought – take a few deep breaths and preface the thought with the idea that anything is possible and then focus on your new dream perspective. And, of course, note when you do begin remembering your dreams. Exciting stuff!
2. Is It Real?
I remember when I was a kid, there was this urban legend rolling thru my elementary school that if you died in a dream it either meant you had actually died or that you were going to die. Talk about terrifying. Of course, movies like A Nightmare On Elm Street didn’t help. So, this begs the question – is it real? The short answer? No…and yes. Confused? Lemme ‘splain. In a dream you can experience anything – annnnything. The *thing* to understand is that there are different types of dreams – some are caching out experiences from your day, some are messages from higher self/guides/deceased loved ones, etc., some can be premonitions and some are learning experiences – all of them seem real (look real, feel real) – as real as real can be. And yet, as many times as I have “died” in a dream (been shot, stabbed, burned, launched from a cannon, thrown off a cliff, etc), I am still very much alive. So, what’s my point? The very *real* texture of dreams is the reason waking up in them and controlling them is such a powerful experience. Additionally, the very nature of questioning whether a dream is “real” is exactly where you need to be standing in a dream to wake up to the fact that it is not real and as a result – you can control it. Wowzer. Even more? Member when I said some cultures think dreaming and waking are both dreams – when you start asking the question – am I dreaming - in your waking world – that “dream” also begins to shift allowing you more power to control it. Double wowzer. Is it real? Yes…and no. Excited to wake up?!
This is a fun one! For the next week – when you are dreaming - ask the question (in your dream) – Am I dreaming? Not at the level where you are remembering your dreams? No problemo. During the day – whenever you think about it – survey the moment you are in from the standpoint of sensations (sight, sound, taste, touch, feel) and ask the question in your mind – Am I dreaming? Keep posing this question to yourself throughout your day/week and watch what happens not only to your waking perspective but also to your dreamtime.
3. Midnight Rendezvous
Ever wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or get a glass of water or because your dog (or cat) jumped on your head (I’m not the only one, right? LOL)? What you’ll typically notice is that when you go back to sleep you usually have a dream (or two) and these dreams seem to stay in your conscious memory so that when you wake you can usually recall a bit or all of the dream(s). This is a clever (and popular) recall method for remembering your dreams. Rather than wait for your dog (or cat) to pounce on your head or drink a bucket-load of water before you go to bed, set your alarm for a midnight wake up call. I know it seems crazy (absurd?) but it’s actually crazy awesome in how great it works.
This exercise is a bit of a no-brainer in response to the dream recall tip I just shared. Grab yer smart phone and set up an alarm for 1am or 2am and for the next week allow this early am interruption to your sleep pattern and see how your dream recall jumps! When you do remember your dream(s) – be sure to write them down!
4. Return to the Scene
Have a dream (or nightmare) that seems to be on a constant rotation? Or ever get woken up in the middle of an awesome dream right before it’s about to get awesome-er? This technique is focused on getting you back to that dream (or nightmare). I’m sure you get why returning to that rockin dream would be amazing but why would you want to return to a nightmare?? Well because if that nightmare is on constant rotation, it’s calling on you to overcome something. And remember – what you do in dream time can directly impact your frame of reference in the waking world. Overcome your nightmare fears and you become more fearless in your waking world! So how do you return to the scene? You use a technique called prospective memory which has you set an intention to do something later. You can use the technique to remember your dreams or (as I prefer) to return to a dream (or nightmare). You can do this if you get woken up and want to go right back to sleep and keep going or if you want to return the next night to a dream (or the next week or month or – you get the picture). Before you fall asleep (or fall back asleep) imagine the scene in your dream you’d like to return to and then say in your mind, I am returning to this dream. Continue this thought pattern while you image the scene as you fall asleep.
Time to try out the Return to the Scene technique! Pick a dream or nightmare you’d like to revisit and fall asleep imagining a scene from the dream or nightmare while you call out in your mind that you are returning to the dream. Don’t have a dream or nightmare you’d like to return to? Create a scene in your imagination (could be from a movie or TV show or something you come up with) and focus on experiencing that in your Return scenario! Do this exercise every night for a week and write down what you remember when you wake up!
5. Capture the Moment
One of the best methods for waking up in your dream is writing down your dreams. Not only does writing down your dreams help with dream recall (how can you wake up in something you don’t even remember?!) – it also helps you crack the dream code your higher consciousness is using to communicate. Dream code is fancy talk for dream symbols. All that focus on your dream time makes it easier to recognize dream signs putting you that much closer to waking up in the dream. Want some help decoding your dreams? Step one is writing down your dream(s). Journal as soon as you wake up from a dream so you don’t lose any of the symbols. Step two - buy a dream symbol book! Then go thru the dream with your symbol book in hand and note the insights in your dream journal! Then lather, rinse and repeat each morning.
For this exercise you’ll need a dream journal and a dream symbol book. My favorite dream symbol book is called: The Dream Book by Betty Bethards. Hands down one of best dream symbol books ever! Focus the next week on journaling whatever you can remember from your dream time when you first wake up and then use your symbol book to decode! Want more help decoding your dream(s)? Use a dream interpreter! It’s a special psychic gift some of us rock and I have just the person for you! Check it out!
6. Testing Testing
So, let’s assume you’ve made it to the step where you not only recall your dream(s) but now you’re in your dream trying to determine if it is a dream or reality (exciting place to be, actually!). How do you test that something is or is not a dream? There are a number of reality-checks you can try. A few of my favorites include seeing if your hand or body will go thru a solid object, try flying or floating, look at your hands or feet and see if they look normal, and breathing – if you hold your nose closed with your fingers and you are still able to breath you’re dreaming! To make these reality checks second nature – pick one or two and do them periodically throughout the day in your waking time and then it will become second nature in dream time as well. What a clever mind we have!
Pick one or two reality checks from the list above or choose one of your own and incorporate these reality checks into your daily waking life for at least a week. Then wait and see if these checks make an appearance in your dream time. Once they do – note the results of your test. Now you’re ready to Fall Awake!
7. Falling Awake
Waking up in dream time is one of the most amazing and incredible experiences you can have as your dreams are not bound by the laws of gravity, matter, time or any sense of reality and yet everything feels just as “real” in that world - which makes lucid dreaming the ultimate adventure park (sorry, Disneyland!). Once you’ve woken up in your dream (you did your dream test and Yup - you’re dreaming!) it’s time to have some fun. I usually tell people to try flying not only cuz it feels awesome but also because it helps stretch your imagination. That said there are a bazillion things you can do in your lucid dream to stretch your imagination like time travel, become an animal, change your physical appearance, become a super hero, visit another location or planet and the list goes on and on and on. What you can do/experience in your lucid dream is only limited by your imagination!
Once you notice that you are noticing that you are dreaming (say that 10 times fast!) it’s time to get busy exploring this world of unlimited possibility. Decide what ultimate adventure you’d like to explore in dream time so that when you do have a lucid dream you can jump into that experience lickety split. Now – sometimes our mind likes to try and make things harder in dream time than they have to be (trying to impose the limitations of reality in our dream time). Remember – your thoughts are the control stick in dream time. Where your thoughts go – you go. Expand your thought – expand your experience. And here is where lucid dreaming becomes training ground for a more powerful mind in your waking world! Have fun.