--Photo by (nz)dave
There’s a million and one ways to train and improve our creative capabilities- most of them things we can do throughout our day- but let’s look at a slightly bizarre one here.
Most of the time we don’t remember our dreams- we wake up and forget the majority of what happened in them. We’ll have very vivid dreams every once in a while, but even those details tend to fade soon after we wake up.
Lucid dreaming is an entirely different dreaming experience. If you’re in a lucid state, not only is everything you see vividly clear, but you’re able to control everything. Literally everything. What you see, where you are, what you do, and the people and things that show up in your dream are entirely under your control. You create your own worlds and give yourself superhuman powers- flying, for example, is a popular one.
You’ll need a little training to make it happen. Some people will give you long lists of things to do, and they do indeed help. But you can achieve lucid dreaming with just these two steps. The key is that you really get in the habit of doing each of them.
1. Keep a Dream Log
By and far the most important thing to do. Keep a notebook and a pen by your bedside, somewhere you can reach without having to get up from bed. When you wake up in the morning, immediately write down anything you remember from your dreams. It’s a race against the clock here because you’ve only got a few minutes before you’re fully awake and forget everything. You don’t have to write full sentences, just jot down words that’ll help you recall the images and situations later. As you get in the habit of writing a log, you’ll find it becomes easier and easier to remember your dreams.
2. Reality Checks
Reality checks are little habits you need to develop that help you distinguish reality from dreams. If you create habits during your waking hours, these can carry over into your dreams. For example, if you get in the habit of checking your watch, until you do it almost unconsciously, you’ll begin to do the same thing in your dreams. However, when you perform the habit in your dreams, something’s going to be different. The numbers might be off, the whole thing might look like a blur, or it could be 12:30 one minute, and 4:14 the next. When you notice this difference, it should send an alarm that something is up. It should tell you that you’re dreaming.
There are a number of reality checks that can be performed, but things like checking your watch, using a computer, reading and writing I find the most useful. They're all habitual things you can and probably already do during the day. Plus, numbers and letters have a tendency of being a little wack when you're dreaming, so it's easy to notice the difference.
Being able to recognize that you’re in a dream is the key to lucid dreaming. If you can realize you’re dreaming without waking up, you’ve pretty much got it. The more you can make this 'realization', the easier it will become to lucid dream, and the more you'll be able to control.
If you can get in the habit of doing these two things, but still don’t feel that you’re getting closer to lucid dreaming, there are other steps you can take. Check out this list of articles- there is extensive information about lucid dreaming.
Even if lucid dreaming isn’t for you, the ability to remember your dreams is a huge plus for creative inspiration. Our unconscious brain is enormously active, and our dreams give us a glimpse of what it’s capable of. Images and situations you would never think of in your waking hours show up in your dreams. It seems it'd be a waste to forget them all.