Electric Dreams

The Lucid Bird's Words
The Six Basic Steps to Lucid Dreaming Step 2 : Increasing Dream Recall

Marc Vandekeere

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  Vandekeere, Marc (2000 May). The Lucid Bird's Words -- The Six Basic Steps to Lucid Dreaming -- Step 2 : Increasing dream recall. Electric Dreams 7(5). Retrieved July 14, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams

Step 2 : Increasing dream recall

The Six Basic Steps by Marc Vandekeere

The following is an excerpt from my manual, The Ultimate Lucid Dreaming Manual Basics and Beyond. I hope it can be used to maximize your lucid dreaming progress. If you find this information helpful you may want to check out my lucid dreaming website for further info, tips, resources and more. The URL of my site is http://how.to/luciddream and if you have any questions, feedback or comments, feel free to send me an email. I'm always happy to hear from other dreamers and love to help out. if and when I can, thelucidbird@mediaone.net . Stay lucid.

So now we've come to the payoff. In order to make this material more user-friendly, the information has been divided into four categories, and there will also be an summarized outline at the end of the manual. By getting an overview at a glance, it may be easier for you to thoroughly learn, absorb and internalize all the information. Hopefully, it will help tighten all the concepts into one working whole.

The Process
Section One - The Six Basic Steps
Section Two - Other methods
Section Three - General tips
Section Four - Tools and Tactics

All these sections have one objective - teaching you how to become lucid in your dreams. After you've learned the process, methods, tips, tools, and tactics, we'll cover the more advanced techniques that you will need to know once you become lucid.

The Process

There are many techniques and methods that you can use for inducing lucid dreams, but there are basically two different ways of becoming lucid. You can either have dream-induced or wake-induced lucid dreams. Stephen LaBerge coined the term D.I.L.D. (Dream Induced Lucid Dream) for dreams in which you become lucid while within a dream. By training your awareness, you will somehow realize that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. This is by far the most common way of having a lucid dream, but it is also possible to directly enter a lucid dream from a waking state. These Wake Induced Lucid Dreams, or W.I.L.D.s, are far more rare, but as LaBerge so aptly labeled them, they are quite an experience. While covering the basics we will be dealing primarily with dream induced lucid dreams. When we move beyond the basics, we will be dealing with the more

advanced techniques that will include inducing W.I.L.D.s. There are many methods to induce lucid dreams, but there is an underlying process behind most if not all of them. I've broken this underlying process down into six basic steps that will serve as our beginning regime. Once you absorb these steps and start following them, it is only a matter of time before you have your first lucid dream. In case you are wondering how long it will take for you to have you first one, just follow through with the steps and have faith that you will have one.

According to statistics, the time it takes for someone to have their first lucid dream averages from three weeks to two months, but yours may be tonight so don't be discouraged if you try for a while and don't succeed. There seems to be an obsession in our society for instant results. If you are one of these people, realize that this is one of your first obstacles to overcome. Only one thing is certain - If you never stop trying, you are guaranteed to succeed.

The Six Basic Steps

1) Doing the Mental Prep-Work - see Electric Dreams 7(4) April 2000
2) Increasing dream recall -FOCUS THIS MONTH
3) Keeping a dream journal
4) Becoming familiar with your Dreams
5) Adding Awareness to your Waking Consciousness
6) Linking your Awareness to your Dreams

Step Two) Increasing Dream Recall

As mentioned earlier, if you can't remember your dreams it makes it that much harder to have lucid ones so this step focuses on increasing your dream recall. You may be one of the fortunate ones who remember a lot of dreams, but if you are not, don't be discouraged. There are many tried and tested methods for developing your dream recall. There are so many effective tips for increasing dream recall that you can count on remembering more and more of your dreams within a few weeks of disciplined practice.

For starters, do you really want to remember your dreams? Why? Could you be subconsciously blocking your own recall because you may be afraid of what you see? These are legitimate questions to be asking yourself. Be honest with yourself. You must make the commitment to yourself to increase your dream recall because it is important to you and it is something that you want to develop. You need to make it a conscious priority. After taking this step, it is just a matter of incorporating these techniques into your morning schedule.

Here is a list of tips and techniques that will help increase your dream recall:

1.) Wake Motionlessly. Upon awakening, don't open your eyes. Don't move. Lie completely still. Stay in the exact position you are in upon awakening and attempt to remember your dreams without moving a muscle.

2.) Wake Slowly. Allow yourself time to naturally remember your dreams. Don't start thinking about what you are going to do for the day. Don't allow your mind to be flooded by your waking thoughts or your dreams will start fading or may even disappear entirely like bursting dream bubbles. Let your mind be focused on whatever you were just dreaming.

3.) Let your mind drift. Allow your thoughts to meander through whatever mental imagery you may have. Once you remember one part of a dream. Relax and allow the rest of the pieces to fall into place.

4.) Drift through your dream checklist. If you have absolutely no initial recall then you should start running through a dream checklist in your mind. This list should include people you know, activities, places, foods, smells, music, anything that may trigger a dream fragment to surface. Allow your mind to drift through this list and ask yourself if this person or this place was in your dream. Movement is very common in dreams so try to think about action. Were you walking or running or climbing or flying? Emotions are also very prevalent so try to think about your moods. Were you happy or afraid or surprised or confused? The more familiar you become with your dreams the better you will know which questions will most likely trigger your memory, but in the beginning you can use any list as long as it is a big one.

4.) Think and question backwards. Try to work your memory backwards from what you can remember. You will usually remember the most current dream scenario first so for maximum retrieval it is helpful to think backwards, or think in terms of effect and cause instead of cause and effect. If you can remember one part of the dream, ask yourself how you got there? Or where did a certain dream object come from? Did you find it? Was it given to you? One dream fragment will usually lead to another until the whole dream starts to take shape. You can increase your dream recall by questioning yourself about what you already remember.

5.) Try different sleeping positions. After awakening and remaining motionless for long enough to remember all that you can of your dreams, try all of your common sleeping positions before getting out of bed to maximize your recall. You will have the best recall when you are lying in the same position that you were in while you were dreaming. If you wake up on your right side don't move until you recall all you possibly can, and then repeat this process on your left side, then your back, and then on your front. This may jar loose some memories and it certainly will speeds up your recall.

6.) Keep Trying. Sometimes, you may have no morning recall but flashes of dream memories will surface during your day. Be prepared to remember or write down any time-released memories. They may unlock your access to even more memories.

7.) Ask yourself to remember your dreams. This may sound silly or too simple to be effective, but it is a very powerful tool. Before going to bed, set up a desire to remember your dreams, and simply ask yourself to remember your dreams. Whenever I have foggy recall for a few days in a row, I use this technique and it usually produces great results.

If you are still having trouble recalling your dreams, here is a sure-fire method that will have your remembering your dreams in no time. We know that most of our dreams occur in the last hours of our sleep so we can safely assume that this is the target time to be exercising our recall. We also know that we have a much greater likelihood of remembering a dream if we awaken directly from it, and this leads us to the ultimate method for maximizing your dream recall, the Alarm Clock Method.

The Alarm Clock Method: Using an alarm clock is one of the quickest and easiest ways to start increasing your dream recall especially if you rarely remember your dreams. The idea is to set your alarm for a time when you will be dreaming and awaken yourself directly from a dream while fresh memories are still in your head. The earlier morning hours are the best time to use this method since this is when you are most likely to be dreaming. Your alarm clock will become a valuable tool for increasing your dream recall, and in a later section I will mention how it can be used to induce lucid dreams. Here are a few ways to take full advantage of your alarm clock. Try them all to see what works best for you.

"The Early Morning Technique" Set your alarm for two hours before you normally would awaken. When it goes off, reset it to go off in a half an hour. Do this each time it goes off and you will have instant and plentiful recall. This is one of the most effective techniques because it takes full advantage of your natural dreaming cycle and it creates a daily target time when you habitually practice your dreaming skills. These few hours before you normally would awaken are going to become your new training grounds. This target time zone will be described in much greater detail when we cover lucid dream induction methods and again when we take a look at the lucid dream terrain.

Depending on how poor your recall is you may want to immediately write down your dreams each time the alarm awakens you. If you don't, you may experience what I refer to as "dream superimposition." It happens when you wake up during the night and have vivid recall of your dreams. Your memories are so vivid that you are sure you will remember them later; however, when you go back to bed you have even more dreams and upon reawakening the most recent dream memories have replaced the previous ones. As a result, those once vivid details are now foggy or even completely erased. As you exercise your dream recall your memory will become better and consequently less dream superimposition will take place, but even after years of training it still happens to me sporadically.

"The Waking at Odd Hours Technique" This technique is pretty self-explanatory. Set your alarm to go off at any random times throughout the night. The major advantage of this technique is that if you are extremely eager to develop your dreaming skills you may not want to settle for only two hours of practice a day. You can use this technique along with the previous one to maximize your exercise. If you are someone who needs a good night of uninterrupted sleep than this technique may not be for you, but if you can bear the intermittent buzzing the results will be well worth the effort.

"The Snooze Button Method" Set your alarm for a time before you would normally wake up and then continually hit the snooze button until you have to get out of bed. This is probably the most common technique, and the odds are that you have already had some experience with this one unless your alarm does not have a snooze button. By hitting the snooze button you are constantly coming in and out of dreams so you dramatically increase your recall, and it is very helpful for inducing lucid dreams as well, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. We need to increase our dream recall before we can start focusing on inducing lucid dreams, and this leads us to one of the most significant steps of all, keeping a dream journal.

Next Month : Keeping a dream journal

For more information about lucid dreaming, brainwave entrainment and if you would like to get involved in some group lucid dreaming research, please surf your way over to my lucid dreaming website at http://how.to/luciddream

Check the link to The Dream Initiative website for info on getting involved. We are always on the lookout for a few good dreamers, and even if you're not so good at it yet, it certainly helps to have the support and input from others who are interested.