Top 5 Mistakes That Beginner Lucid Dreamers Make
Experienced Lucid Dreaming Teacher Shares Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid Made By Most Of The Students
Having made these beginner mistakes while practicing lucid dreaming since her teen, Rebecca Turner explains how to avoid some common mistakes that she also noticed among her students throughout her teaching journey for years now.
It can be really frustrating when you keep making the mistakes and keep failing again and again over the same issues. Most of the beginners sometimes don’t even realize because neither those pitfalls nor their solutions are obvious says the trainer.
Stop being the victim and you might experience a lucid dream from day 1 on your fresh start. While the first and second ones are particularly helpful for most people, our most favorite is the fifth one.
Please share your experience with us and let us know if you benefit these tips.
Mistake #1 – Failing to Commit
For most people, learning to lucid dream takes commitment.
Just like taking up the piano or martial arts – you have to train regularly to achieve your goals.
The most common question I hear from beginners goes:
“I’ve been trying to have a lucid dream for three nights and still NOTHING. What am I doing wrong? Please help me!!”
A whole three nights and you’re ready to quit?
Ok, it is frustrating to put so much effort into something and appear to get nothing out of it. But actually, all the effort you put in is priming your brain for lucid dreams on an unconscious level. And when you reach that point of critical mass, you’ll snap into a lucid dream. It will happen, eventually.
The first few lucid dreams are the hardest. You’re mastering a brand new skill, one that does not yet come naturally. So those early days and weeks of effort can be the least rewarding.
Remember, you are building up to a lifelong ability. Your time isn’t wasted.
The problem is that we are used to having things now. We have come expect instant gratification. There is no magic pill that will produce instant lucid dreams. There are countless ways to increase your chances of a lucid dream – but the hard work and mental conditioning has to come from you.
How much time work are we talking?
That varies from person to person. One study found that, with extensive daily commitment, students of lucid dreaming were able to have their first lucid dream within 3-21 days.
That does not mean, however, that after 22 days you give up. That’s just an average, a guideline, and your experience may well be very different.
It may take you 2 days or 2 months to have your first lucid dream. Are you prepared to commit to that, knowing that you’ll have one eventually?
What do I mean by commitment?
There are plenty of combinations of lucidity routines to follow. One that worked well for me in the beginning was: recording your dreams, performing reality checks, doing 20-60 minutes of meditation, and performing the MILD or WILD during night-time awakenings. Every day.
Once you attain the mindset of a lucid dreamer, you can scale down the practice. Lucid dreams will simply come more easily. After a few years, I got to the point where I could say “I’ll lucid dream about THIS tonight!” and it would happen. That’s when I realized the power of incubation.
But be careful not to fall into the trap of laziness and forget about lucid dreaming altogether. There are some basic practices here that should stay with you for the rest of your life.
Mistake #2 – Trying Too Hard
Some people load up on every technique in the book just for the sake of ticking them off the list.
Practice lucid dreaming mindfully – or not at all.
Here’s another classic beginner complaint:
“I tried everything last night. I did MILD, WILD, WBTB, FILD, meditation, subliminals, and like a hundred reality checks. I even ate loads of cheese just before bed for good measure. I still can’t lucid dream!!”
So what’s gone wrong here?
He wants it all now – and he’s going crazy applying all the techniques he can think of, just so he can tick them off the list. He rushes through a 40-minute guided meditation in 5 minutes. What’s the point of that?
He’s not applying the techniques mindfully.
Imagine you’re at a shooting range trying to hit a target. The most effective approach is: Ready… Aim… Fire!
The mistake here is forgetting to aim altogether in your excitement and spraying bullets all over the place, hoping to randomly hit your target and claim the win. Ready… Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!
Performing every lucid dreaming technique in the book is not going to work if you don’t perform them with skill and accuracy. It’s far better to focus on a few techniques that you can perform calmly and properly.
Then go to sleep and relax. A lucid dream can never be forced.
Make your lucid dreaming practice a slow, purposeful effort. If you don’t find meaning in your practice then you’re doing it wrong. These are exercises in mindfulness and self awareness that will enhance not only your experience of dreams, but your reality too. It’s not a race to the finish line.
When you’re primed, lucid dreams will come to you.
Mistake #3 – Being Sleep Deprived
My longest lucid dreams take place during morning lie-ins, when dream-filled REM cycles abound.
Early alarm calls can kill the sweetest lucid dream life.
If you can help it at all, try to avoid unnatural awakenings.
But what do I mean by unnatural?
There’s the alarm clock that hurries you off to work. And there’s the screaming infant that pulls you from your slumber. If you don’t have do deal with either of these distractions, consider yourself blessed.
These rude awakenings steal the extra hours of sleep you’d have if you were left undisturbed, making your introduction to the day feel artificial, forced and difficult. Now imagine how those hours add up in a year.
This is bad news for everyone – sleep deprivation has a whole host of negative effects – and it’s just that little bit worse for lucid dreamers, who are deprived of their finest moments of lucidity.
The final sleep cycles lost to the alarm call are rich in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which is when you dream the most. What’s more, the nature of your sleep cycles in the morning means you will remember these long, detailed dreams much more easily.
For many of us trying to fulfill busy modern lives, that makes lucid dreaming a luxury. And if we want to enjoy it, we have to make time to sleep-in as often as possible.
But what if your lifestyle won’t accommodate more lie-ins? Here are some ways you can adapt:
- Go to bed earlier. If you can sleep earlier, do. This enables your brain to plough through the deep sleep earlier on in the night, reaching longer REM periods sooner, before your alarm goes off. Though it may sound terribly boring, hitting the sack an hour earlier could mean the difference between a rich and exciting lucid dream life – or none at all.
- Exploit modern sleep tech. There are loads of new technologies out to improve your sleep. For instance, the Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light simulates the sunrise in your bedroom so that you wake up naturally with red-to-orange-to-white light. This approach helps to reprogram your Circadian rhythms. Light is the most powerful factor involved in this process, so a sunrise simulator can help you sync your internal body clock to an earlier wake-up time.
- Have weekend lie-ins. Weekend lie-ins have always been my most prolific lucid dream time, especially since having a baby where Pete and I take one day each at weekends to lie-in and catch up on essential REM sleep. These extra hours of sleep – when, incidentally, you’d normally be conscious – lend themselves well to jam-packed dream time. See the Cycle Adjustment Technique.
Of course, even sleep deprived people dream. It is essential to healthy brain function. So it is possible to have occasional lucid dreams when you’re sleep deprived, but the quality and length of these lucid dreams are usually poorer, occurring much more sporadically.
Quality sleep leads to quality dream time.
Mistake #4 – Not Stabilizing Your Dream
Most first-timers get so excited,the dream becomes unstable and they accidentally wake up.
Their lucid dreams end prematurely every time.
I often made this mistake in my early lucid dreams.
The first time I ever became lucid, I ran around shouting “I’m dreaming! “I’m dreaming!” and got all excited until I woke up.
It was a cool experience, and that 60 seconds or so in my virtual reality dream land completely blew my mind away. But what a waste. I held lucidity in the palm of my hand… and let it slip away.
This is a common mistake. It is damn exciting to become consciously aware in a dream for the first time ever. Nothing I can say will prepare you for the euphoric rush that accompanies your first moment of lucidity.
And yet, as long as you know it will be overwhelming, and any kind of adrenaline-fueled emotional reaction will wake you up, you’re more likely to keep a lid on your lucid behavior.
Don’t go running around hugging dream characters and shouting in their faces. Don’t try to have sex with everyone there and then. And don’t shout at the top of your lucid lungs “I’M DREAMING!!!!”
Instead, just stay calm. Smile and let yourself enjoy the experience of lucidity in the calmest way possible.
Next, stabilize your dream. This will help immensely, enabling you to explore your dream with a bit more enthusiasm.
I do this by rubbing my hands together, calmly saying “I’m dreaming” and doing a reality check like pushing my fingers through my hand.
If the dream is still blurry or unstable, I demand “clarity now!” and examine it with all my senses. I keep at it until the dream is extremely vivid and clear.
All this only takes a few seconds, and you’ll be rewarded with a much longer and clearer dream. You can repeat those steps if you notice the dream slipping away. Saying “I’m dreaming” every minute or so is advised.
What happens if you don’t stabilize your lucid dream early on?
It can go two ways:
- You’ll wake up after a few seconds – which can be really disappointing, especially in your early days as a lucid dreamer. This is why many beginners complain about having lucid dreams that only last 30 seconds.
- You’ll get stuck in a semi-lucid state – partially able to control yourself, but unable to really take charge of the dream or retain clarity of thought. What’s more, you’ll find the dream just too blurry to appreciate on a conscious level, and you’ll eventually forget you’re dreaming and it will revert into a non-lucid dream.
So, stabilize that dream. Here are some more practical tips on doing so.
Mistake #5 – Poor Dream Recall
If your dream world is forgettable, then even your best lucid dreams will be forgettable too.
Good dream recall is an essential foundation of lucid dreaming.
It’s a rookie mistake to attempt advanced lucid dreaming techniques without having a decent level of dream recall to start with.
Firstly, having good dream recall will increase the intensity of your dreams. This increases your level of self awareness of the dream in progress, making it more likely for lucidity kick in.
Second, keeping a dream journal places greater significance on your dream life, teaching your unconscious that dreams are to be remembered and actively engaged in. It will also help you highlight recurring themes and dream symbols which act as lucidity triggers.
Third, in the unlikely event that you do become spontaneously lucid, your poor ability to recall your dreams means you probably won’t remember it! The experience is lost forever.
Start out by getting a special dream journal or notebook just for this purpose. Try to write down at least one dream every morning.
What if you wake up every day with a blank slate and nothing to write in your journal? This is unusual but there are people who claim it happens every single night. See my article on how to remember your dreams.
Source Rebecca Turner
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