Meditation, while not exclusively necessary for dream work, will help with the exercises requiring a greater amount of non-distraction and relaxed concentration.
Meditation cultivates awareness, or the mind’s capacity to know and be lucid and cognizant of the world. In particular, meditation stabilizes awareness, allowing one to leave the mind evenly placed on a particular object or task.
Techniques requiring one to directly enter the dream (WILD methods) benefit most from meditation, but awareness is necessary if one is to realize they are dreaming at all. The following technique is referred to as mindfulness of breathing, and is a relatively simple practice with many benefits.
1. Sit comfortably, but in a position promoting wakefulness. The spine should be straight. If the legs are crossed this is fine, and if you are sitting in a chair, that is fine too. Either way, sit closer to the edge of the seat, and maintain an erect, but relaxed posture. This will probably be uncomfortable at first but this will change over time.
2. Breathe. Take three deep, luxuriant breaths. With each breath, feel the pause at the top, and then relax on the exhale. Feel the breath filling your body with life and energy, and then exiting your body in release.
3. Maintain relaxed attention. Allow the process of breathing to continue naturally, and allow your awareness to rest with the breath, following the breath with each inhale and exhale.
4. Let thoughts go. If thinking happens, this is fine, and natural. When you realize you are caught up and no longer following the breath, take another deep, full breath, and relax more deeply. Return your attention gently to the breath.
5. Let judgments go. It is important to not judge yourself during the process. Be gentle with yourself. When you think, just notice the thinking gently, and return to mindful breathing. If you do judge yourself, notice the judging, and then return to mindful breathing. Continue the practice until you reach the end of your session, and then end the session. You may choose to end the session with a feeling of gratitude, or an inner resolution to be awake in your daily life.
You can practice this for short periods of time (2-5 minutes a session) and then gently increase the amount of time you spend (8-10 minutes, or longer). Eventually, a daily sitting practice of roughly 30-45 minutes is very beneficial for stabilizing the mind. Consistency is the most important thing.