In the previous post (An Overview of Lucid Dreaming Techniques), we looked at several reliable techniques for inducing lucidity in the dream state. Once we’ve determined what technique would work best for us, there is often a period of time in which we spend writing our dreams, practicing the technique, and not seeing many results.
This is absolutely normal, and should not be viewed as a real problem.
The only problem is when we start to think, “Oh, this is a real problem. I’m not making any progress. I’m just wasting my time.” Much of our practice, whether we are using the MILD technique, or the SSILD method, or whatever else–is taking place below the surface. The mind is teasing all of this out and trying to figure out how best to do what we want it to do.
And we may need to give it some time to do this. The key is consistency.
This is the “percolation” effect of mental practice. Whatever we are doing at the conscious level of the mind is really quite superficial and easily dumped in the course of the day. For example, can you recall every thought you had yesterday? It’s not likely. On the other hand, if we continuously apply thought in a focused and consistent manner, something will eventually begin to grow below the surface.
One interesting way this takes place is in the quality and content of dreams. For instance, we may begin dream practice and realize that most of our dreams are boring or mundane. If we continue to read interesting dream literature, however, watch dream movies, and keep a positive attitude, we will definitely see some changes.
For one, all dream content is mental, so the content will change based on your attitude and the raw material you give to your mind. If we watch American Horror Story before bed, we may be surprised to find ourselves in the Murder House. On the other hand, if we are watching something like All Dogs Go to Heaven, we might find ourselves in an animated dream.
The effects are not one-to-one, so we may not be as sensitive to waking life stimuli as some other dreamer–that is, we can keep watching re-runs of Game of Thrones and still never find ourselves in Westeros. But eventually, through continuing to persevere, we can definitely see some effects.
One of the most helpful ways this has manifested for me personally is that, after reading and thinking about lucid dreaming a lot, I find myself discussing lucidity in a dream. On several occasions I have shown dream characters how to do a reality check, only to realize I was actually dreaming. Not a bad way to start the morning!
Consistency will be your constant ally in the beginning, and continue to aid and assist you in the middle and end. This does not mean you have to be rigid or tight with your practice, but it does mean spending some time on it every day (practicing meditation for a few minutes daily, practicing MILD on the weekends, or reading a lucid dreaming book on your lunch break).
Please feel free to comment and offer your ideas and opinions. If you are a lucid dreamer, what has been the single most helpful tool in the course of your journey?