This was originally published on Huffington Post… However, in updating my links I’ve found that Huffpost were redirecting straight to their main page instead of letting people actually read my article! Not being pleased at being used like clickbait, I have deleted the links to Huffpost and instead reproduce the original article here.
Many of the questions I get about Lucid Dreaming come from complete beginners to the subject, and by far the most popular is, simply: “How do I do it?”
In my experience, there is a five step process to becoming an intentional lucid dreamer. First, you have to be able to remember your dreams: you can do this by, e.g., keeping a regular dream diary. .
Secondly, you should learn how to control what you want to dream about. One method would be to decide, before going to sleep, the topic of your dream that night, and then, as you drift off to sleep, silently repeat to yourself at least twenty times: “I will dream about…” (inserting the topic of your dream). This, incidentally, is essentially Couéism, a form of self-hypnosis, so named after Emile Coué, 1857 – 1926, who created the affirmation “Every day in every way I am getting better and better.” By deliberately impressing a Suggestion upon your unconscious mind before going to sleep, your unconscious, which is the source of all dreams, responds by shaping the character of your nocturnal visions accordingly.
There are other ways you can use to program your unconscious to show you the dreams you want. For example:
The Picture or Symbol Method. Obtain a picture of your desired dream topic, or a symbol which represents your wish. Gaze at it intently for one to two minutes before you go to sleep, and leave it propped up on your night-stand. This appeals to the right-brain, and hence stimulates other parts of the mind that the preceding method cannot reach, since being primarily verbal this would be more left-brain.
The Visualisation Method. As you are lying in bed, about to go to sleep, close your eyes and visualise what you would like to dream about not as a static picture but as a movie – i.e. a live scene which you experience in the first person. Think about not just what you are seeing, but what emotions you would be feeling as well – e.g. joy, excitement, sexual desire, etc. After running through this visualisation, relax and allow your mind to drift. This is potentially very powerful, as not only does it reinforce your desire to dream about a given topic, you may find that you slip into an actual lucid dream whilst in the middle of your visualisation – without any consciousness of having fallen asleep.
The Sexual Method. Prudes look away now. Whereas the preceding methods take advantage of the natural Suggestibility of the mind at the point of drifting off into sleep, there is another method of impressing a desire on the unconscious, which is through a sudden burst of spontaneous emotion. To use a metaphor: if your desire is a nail, you can either hammer it home with a series of gentle taps (the preceding methods), or with one well-aimed almighty BANG. Now technically there are other ways of creating such bursts of emotion, but as we are talking about lucid dreaming here – an activity that takes place in bed – it makes sense to focus on the resources which come most readily. Simply put: before starting, reduce the subject of your dream to a single word, or a single symbol. Do not attempt to think about this before becoming becoming aroused; but concentrate on it only after you have started, so that at the moment of orgasm it dominates your mind completely. The discerning will notice that here are sown the seeds of the basic of Sexual Magic as well.
This – the ability to control the subject of your dreams – is probably the most important lesson to learn. The third, fourth and fifth steps to becoming a Lucid Dreamer – becoming lucid, taking control of your dreams, and using them for advanced dream-work – are essentially extensions of being able to decide the nature of your dream before you go to sleep at night. In other words, once you are confident in determining the content of your dreams, you can use the same methods to give you more control in the dreams themselves.