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How To Lucid Dream

Wake Induced Lucid Dreams
(The WILD Technique)

By Rebecca Turner

 

 

WHAT IS A LUCID DREAM?

A lucid dream involves having full conscious awareness inside the dreamworld. Dream control is a side effect.

The Wake Induced Lucid Dream (aka WILD) is the most powerful lucid dreaming technique known to man for two reasons. First, it enables you to have a conscious dream at the time you choose. Second, it produces the most vivid kind of lucid dream because there is no lapse in consciousness.

Also referred to as the Mind Awake / Body Asleep technique, it enables you to enter a lucid dream directly from a waking state. This is method if often used by out-of-body explorers and, depending on subtle differences in induction, can either lead to lucid dreams or Out of Body Experiences.

The modern WILD technique stems from practices used in Tibetan Buddhism for thousands of years - an art form they call Dream Yoga. In Buddhism this is one pathway to enlightenment. However, irrespective of your religious views, you can use this WILD technique to have fantastic guided dreams. It is a natural, instinctive method of entering the dream body and many children have figured out this technique on their own, as a simple way to falling asleep and entering their chosen dream world.

I have broken the WILD tutorial down into four parts:

  1. Physical & Mental Relaxation
  2. Hypnagogic State
  3. Creating a Dream Scene
  4. Entering The Lucid Dream

The best time to initiate a WILD is after 4-5 hours of deep sleep, when your body is deeply relaxed, your REM cycles at their longest, and your dreams the most vivid. If you are a deep sleeper, set your alarm about 2-3 hours earlier than usual. If you are a light sleeper, simply practice this method when you naturally wake up in the night. Alternatively, you can practice if you are tired and taking an afternoon nap, when your brain will immediately catch up on lost REM sleep.

1. Physical & Mental Relaxation

Think about how you fall asleep every night. We're going to replicate that process with one tiny difference: as your body falls asleep, your mind will stay awake. That may sound like an alien concept to you now, but rest assured it is entirely possible (and becomes easier with practice).

To begin, your body should already be very relaxed and loose. Lie on your back, or whatever position you can lie in for a while without moving. Empty your mind and gaze into the blackness of your closed eyelids. If any thoughts pop up, just observe them - don't interact - then send them on their way. If you don't know how to meditate or can't enter that state of calm meditation, try listening to The Lucid Dreaming MP3 which uses brainwave entrainment to create that state automatically for you.

2. Hypnagogic State

Now lead your mind into the sleepy, half-dream state of hypnagogia. Sometimes you'll wake up in the night and already be in this dreamy state - your body soft and relaxed and your mind drifting back into the dream world without any effort at all. When you catch that cloud - float on it!

(If you are attempting a WILD "from cold" you will need to relax into it, both physically and mentally, with at least 10 minutes of meditation. Soon, the hypnagogia will come.)

Once in the hypnagogic state, you'll see patterns and colors that take over your vision in the darkness. Observe the hypnagogia and go deeper, allowing it to hypnotize you and draw your awareness away from the outside world. The internal dream world will start to evolve now.

Remember to let your body stay soft and sink into the bed, keeping absolutely still and imagining numbness taking over. If you have an itch, scratch it and start over, but otherwise try to stay completely still and relaxed. Silence your inner monologue if it starts to chime in. You may hear hypnagogic sounds - echoes of voices and other sounds in your head. Just relax and enjoy the experience.

Hypnagogic imagery can feel like a fleeting memory impression. Your awareness jumps between the half-dream state and your bedroom.

3. Creating a Dream Scene

At this point you need to make a judgment call. If you don't feel sufficiently relaxed or ready to drop off to sleep, then stay with your hypnagogia for longer. However, if you feel the dreamstate coming on and feel quite detached from the real world, then you're ready to start the launch sequence for your lucid dream. Making the right judgment makes all the difference between an easy, successful WILD and numerous fruitless attempts. But don't worry, once you know the signals (or absence of signals) that precede a WILD, you'll find it easier to recognize every time. Practice makes perfect.

Now, there are two ways to create a dream from here: visualization or OBE exit.

The Visualization Method

Do you have a vivid imagination? If so, begin to visualize a vivid dream scene with as much close-up detail as possible. Explore your surroundings in a calm, peaceful manner and send your visual awareness into the landscape as clearly as possible.

If you are a musician, then you may have a better auditory sense, so instead of visualizing, use your imagination to create the sounds of your dream. Listen to everything and make the sounds and voices realistic. Likewise, if you are good at sports or working with your body, induce a movement sensation such as walking, running or riding a bicycle. Use your strongest sense to fully engage your mind in the desired dream. It may feel like a form of vivid day dreaming but that will soon change...

(For an expansion of this stage, see my article How to Visualize a Lucid Dream.)

Keep reminding yourself "I'm dreaming" (even if you're not there yet - you soon will be, and this will be a helpful reminder to stay lucid and not lapse into a non-lucid dream).

With your mind absorbed the half-dream state, allow your body to fall asleep altogether: lose all awareness of it and place your mind fully into your new dream body. You should sense that you are no longer lying in bed - but now walking in your dream! When you feel it "pop" into place, your sleeping body is but a distant memory. The feeling is unmistakable - you are now lucid dreaming!

The Out-Of-Body Experience

Sometimes you may be so swept up in your hypnagogic meditation that your body falls asleep before you have the chance to create a dream scene. Your awareness has nowhere to go but your own bedroom, except now you are dreaming. It is a dream bedroom, and you are lying in bed in your dream.

The lack of transition is why so many people believe this is an Out of Body Experience. It literally feels like you are still awake, lying in bed, with the ability to float out of your body.

Here are some clues to help you recognize the subtle transition from waking to dreaming (bear in mind these do not happen to everyone, and the transition may be virtually seamless):

  • You may hold on to an awareness of your sleeping body, which is now under REM atonia (sleep paralysis). You may feel like your limbs are going numb, or a lead blanket is moving up your body. Don't fight it. Instead, relax and embrace it because this is the start of your lucid dream!

  • You may also experience vibrations, or a very loud buzzing sound. It feels like electricity, or a fast vibrating in your head, and you may even wonder if your head is going to explode. But it doesn't actually hurt or feel bad; it's just a very noisy distraction that simply means you are on the brink of conscious dreaming.

  • If you become fearful or convince yourself you are having a genuine Out of Body Experience, then you may well accidentally invite other beings into your dream scenario. They can be menacing, or they can be warm and positive. It really depends on your own projected thoughts and beliefs about the experience. Just remember, if they do appear, you are dreaming and you remain in control of all your feelings (and the other dream characters' actions by proxy).

At this point you can embrace the dream and leave your body. The room will look incredibly lifelike, whether it is your usual bedroom or a temporary sleeping environment like a hotel room. The imagery is triggered by your waking memories and the fact that this is the last place you went to sleep.

This can be confusing to say the least. You may feel like you've just opened your eyes and woken up - so be sure to perform a reality check at this point. Otherwise you may just roll over and go to sleep properly and your lucid dream will be wasted.

You can intensify the dream state by visualizing images, sounds and movements that jolt your consciousness into your dream body.

4. Entering The Lucid Dream

The final step is to fully submerge your awareness into the lucid dream - and stabilize the dream to prevent yourself from waking up. If you used the visualization method, keep exploring your dream scene with all your senses. Say to yourself "I'm dreaming" and do a reality check. You will know you're dreaming because the whole scene will be 3D and feel like a world of its own. Like regular dreams, you will have little or no awareness or your physical body, your bed, or the real world.

If you used the OBE exit method, you will need to free your dream body from the distant sense of your physical body which is also lying in bed. This is one of the quirks of OBEs. It's probably caused by the confusion of the conscious brain switching from waking reality to the lucid dream world, while the perceived surroundings remain unchanged.

You may be able to climb out of bed normally - however if the sensation of sleep paralysis is still with you, it will be hard (even impossible) to move your limbs. In this case, try sinking or floating out of your body. Imagine how it feels when you're swinging really high on a swing in the park; that kinetic sensation can free you from your body.

Alternatively, relax and visualize a new dream scene. Use your most powerful sense and engage yourself in the picture. It should be easier to create a dream from here and "teleport" instantly. Or, if you find you have company in your bedroom, you can ask the dream figures for help getting out!

Troubleshooting Wake Induced Lucid Dreams

Learning to WILD usually takes time and considerable awareness of the optimum state. However, once you're in the Mind Awake / Body Asleep state the actual dream creation is deceptively easy. Stick with it, and make it a night-time meditation habit. Even a failed WILD attempt is good meditation practice.

The most common problems I hear are opposite extremes: either people find they can't relax enough, or they can't stay awake long enough to enter the dreamstate.

Relaxing your mind and body is essential. It's just like falling asleep every night - you won't get to sleep tossing and turning, or if your head is full of internal dialogue. To access the relaxed state, begin your guided meditation or listen to brainwave entrainment (this is truly helpful and I have been using it for years in my meditation, lucid dreams and OBEs). This state will help you to consciously relax and prime your mind and body for a lucid dream.

  • Hold on to a passive state of conscious awareness. It takes practice and mental conditioning to stay conscious while your body falls asleep - but it is not as hard as you may think. Practice WILDs when you are relaxed but not completely exhausted. Stay true to the process of visualization and your goal of having a lucid dream. A complete WILD routine need only take a few minutes from start to finish and when used in dream re-entry, can happen in seconds. If you can remain focused for those important seconds or minutes you will succeed.

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