You've probably heard the term lucid dreaming before. A lucid dream is one in which you have full, or nearly full, control of what happens in a dream. Basically, you can do whatever you want. From what I've read, the most popular activity seems to be flying. A lucid dream is triggered when you realize that you're dreaming. You'll be walking down the street hand in hand with a famous celebrity when you suddenly realize, "Hey, I don't know any celebrities. This must be a dream." Once you realize that you're dreaming, you'll be able to do whatever you want, such as flying or making out with the celebrity.
If you are being chased by a monster, once you're lucid, you can make the monster be your friend or kill it, according to your liking. Something I like to do is eat. I've rarely experienced the sense of taste in a dream, but it is a truly excellent experience. I know I'm dreaming, and thus don't have to worry about calories or any of that. I just think "cake" and one appears, and it always tastes like the best cake I've ever eaten.
Okay, so now that I've convinced you that lucid dreams are desirable, how do you go about having one? They sometimes occur randomly by accident, but there are techniques you can use to make them happen more frequently. A common suggestion is that you set your wrist watch to beep every hour, and when you hear the beep ask yourself, "Am I dreaming?" Habits of the day get passed over into the night, thus when you hear a beep within a dream, you'll ask yourself if you're dreaming and realize that you are, thereby becoming lucid.
Something I've tried myself is to draw the letter C on the palm of my hand. When I look at my hand and see the C, I ask myself if I'm conscious. The night of the very same day I started doing this, I had a dream in which I glanced casually at my hand and saw the C written on it. I asked myself if I was dreaming, and it turned out I was, so I became lucid and started flying all over the place, having a grand old time. However, this technique only worked once. I left the C on my hand for several weeks later, but never dreamt of the C again. It became a normal part of me, andI've found that dreams generally focus on what's new, so it stopped working. Another suggestion you may want to try is to repeat to yourself over and over again "I will remember my dream. I will remember my dream." This can work sometimes.
A more sure-fire way to have lucid dreams is to start writing your dreams down. Each morning when you wake up, try as hard as you can to remember what you just dreamed. At first, you'll only remember the general gist. Don't worry, just write it down. As time goes on, you'll get better and better at remembering more and more parts of the dream and all its details. I once had a dream that took me several pages to write down. When you get to the point that you remember what happened in your dream as well as you remember things you've done in your everyday life, you'llbe able to instantly recognize the difference between your sleeping and waking life, and hence you'll be able to lucid dream almost every night. This wears out too. Some days, no matter how hard I try, I just can't remember what I dreamt. And what's more annoying, there was a space of a few months when I would wake up right after I became lucid.
I'd still like this space to contain the dreams of readers, since reading other people's dreams can sometimes help you have a lucid dream yourself. Don't be afraid to send whatever you remember of the night before. I'm actively seeking your dreams, just email them to our submissions department, and unless I get a lot of submissions, you'll be able to read it here next issue.
Until then, good night.
Next Issue: Astral Projection and Out of Body Experiences