(Psst… Check out my latest post about “Lucid Dreaming Without Trying“!)
Now that I’ve given you some tips on how to remember your dreams and how to know if you’re dreaming, you’re starting to get a grasp of the basic skills needed for lucid dreaming. In fact, if you were to start to apply those two techniques right now, you are practically guaranteed to have at least one spontaneous lucid dream. Congratulations!
What happens for the majority of people during their first lucid dream? Upon becoming lucid, they start to think something like this:
“Oh my God, I’m DOING IT! I’m DREAMING! Wow, I bet I could….” And they wake up from the excitement. This is an inevitable experience for most people. So, if this happens to you, don’t worry about it. Be grateful that you were able to have the experience of your first lucid dream. Refer to myreport of my first lucid dream to get an idea of what to expect.
The key to staying in the dream for a longer period of time is to control your excitement level. The most basic advice one can give for this is “Don’t get so excited.”
There are a few techniques that are useful for staying in the dream as long as possible:
- Spinning (like a tornado)
- Yelling out loud in the dream (works for me)
- Anchoring (my personal FAVORITE)
Spinning is just that, in the dream, spin around really fast like you are a super tornado from hell. This serves to keep you conscious. Most of the time, this technique tends to take me (and many others) into entirely new dream settings. I don’t find it useful as much as next 2 methods if I want to stay in the current setting.
Yelling out loud is a highly effective method. I have no idea why it works, unless it’s just serving to focus yourself on the act of yelling. This method might not be nice to your significant other if you tend to talk in your sleep. I’ve never really played with that aspect of it. Might be interesting.
The next method is Anchoring, which I like to use most often, because it’s just way cool. This basically borrows from the research of people like Pavlov, of dog fame. It is basically taking one stimulus and tying or anchoring it to an expected result, outcome or response.
Here’s how I came to use the anchoring technique I use to stay in the dream as long as possible.
In Summer of 2004, I was very heavy into lucid dreaming research at the time, and I still had the problem of exciting myself awake. I had been getting interested in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (or NLP) a lot, because of the potential it has to develop excellence in skills very rapidly. One day, I came across a technique used by Ross Jeffries to develop unwavering confidence while dealing with women. I studied his technique for a few minutes, and wondered to myself “What can I do with this technique? Improving my confidence sounds like a useful task.” And that is when it hit me, I could slightly modify his technique to learn to control my excitement levels in the lucid dreaming state!
So, I did it, and wouldn’t ya know it? I had a Lucid Dream that felt like it lasted for about 45 minutes. Here’s the technique I used (after modification).
Close your eyes, and think back to a time when you did something you felt something very confident and proud of something you accomplished. Get as far back into that memory as you can. Remember how things smell, feel and look right then. Let that feeling of confidence you felt then come back into your consciousness. Once you are fully entrenched in that feeling of confidence, touch the index finger of each hand to it’s respective thumb. Notice how the sensation of the tips of thumbs and fingers touching feels to you, while at the same time, holding that feeling of confidence. You may notice that the memory itself fades, while the feeling of confidence remains. This is what you want.
Do this three to five times, each time using a different memory from your past, each time touching the fingers and thumbs together only when you get the full feeling of proud confidence.
Now, think back to your most recent lucid dream from which you excited yourself awake. Start at the beginning, and relive the dream in memory from start to finish, up to the point that you woke up, and remember frustrated you might have felt.
Now, rewind the dream and start it over, and this time, as you come up to the point that caused you to wake up, push through the experience while using the finger/thumb exercise to bring up the feeling of confidence.
Say, for example, that in the original dream, you were walking and became lucid and decided to fly, and once you got in the air, you got so excited that you woke up in mid-flight. Relive that dream once, so you remember the feelings of frustration you’re about to poo-poo away forever.
Start the dream over, and as you start to fly, fire off the anchor of fingers/thumbs and think to yourself “I am flying in a lucid dream, and I am as calm as I have ever been. I can stay here as long as I wish.”
This last exercise may sound cheesy, but I guarantee it works. At least for me.
And THAT is how I am able to stay in a lucid dream longer than I ever used to be able to.
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