Electric Dreams

An Excerpt From The Lucid Dream Exchange
Lucy Gillis, Editor

Seven Subtle Factors Influencing Lucid Dreams

Robert Waggoner

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Waggoner, Robert (2005 June). Seven Subtle Factors Influencing Lucid Dreams.
(An Excerpt From The Lucid Dream Exchange, Lucy Gillis, Editor.)
Electric Dreams 12(6).

With over thirty years of lucid dreaming experience, Robert Waggoner has come to recognize several subtle factors that can help to induce lucid dreams. He shares his observations with us below:

Seven Subtle Factors Influencing Lucid Dreams
(c) 2005 Robert Waggoner

Over the past 30 years of lucid dreaming, experience has taught me that occasional subtle factors influence the likelihood of lucid dreaming. Like running downhill with the wind behind your back, these subtle factors seem to influence one's awareness, so that the threshold of conscious awareness or lucidity appears more easily attained in the dream state.

In my early years, the connection between these subtle factors and lucid dreaming seemed scarcely noticeable. But as the years progressed, I began to recognize the pairing of the factors and the lucid dreaming. Over time, I began to meet more and more experienced lucid dreamers, and I found concurrence with our joint observations, and some new subtleties that had escaped me. That subtle factors seem to influence lucid dreaming or one's ability to become consciously aware at all, suggests that the "mechanism" of lucid dreaming involves more than simply an intense desire or memory activation to achieve lucidity. It suggests that lucid dreaming has biological and environmental antecedents supporting it.

When certain conditions appear, a potential lucid dreamer may have an extra boost in reaching the threshold level of conscious awareness. I have selected the following seven subtle factors influencing lucid dreaming for your consideration:

1) Approaching Thunderstorm or Weather Fronts

In my experience here in the Midwest, there seems to be a subtle increase in the number of spontaneous lucid dreams when a thunderstorm or (spring, summer, fall) weather front appears imminent. In fact, I have wakened from a number of lucid dreams by the sound of thunder. As meteorologists discovered, the imminent arrival of thunderstorms or a storm front appears associated with a number of atmospheric changes such as changes in barometric pressure and electrical ionization. Many people report that they "feel" a storm approaching before seeing any outer manifestations. Could these atmospheric changes of stormy weather influence the likelihood of lucid dreaming? Though a subtle factor, it seems possible. From that observation, I have a negative ion air cleaner in my bedroom.

2) Extreme Physical Labor or Exhaustion

While I do my best to avoid too much labor, inevitably during the year, I put in a hard day of gardening or lawn work, or helping a friend move to a new apartment. Afterwards, falling asleep seems welcomed relief. Yet, surprisingly, these nights seem to create a higher likelihood of lucid dreams. Why? Are there chemical changes in the body from the physical labor that promote lucidity? Or does the lucid awareness come into existence as a counterbalance to hours of external, physical focus? As a subtle factor, infrequent lucid dreamers may wish to suggest a lucid dream after a day of serious physical work. That assumes, of course, that they are not too exhausted to care about lucid dreaming after a tough day.

3) Yoga

Perhaps similar to the subtle factor of extreme physical labor on some levels, I have noticed that attending my weekly yoga class seems to increase the likelihood of a lucid dream that night. Though the class lasts for one and a half hours and varies in strenuousness, the compelling subtle factor appears to involve performing the asanas or yoga postures. Though one may claim that the greater probability of lucidity results from the subtle (or not so subtle) energy or chi arising from the yoga postures, my experience suggests that whatever the reason, yoga seems to improve one's chances of lucid awareness.

4) New Sleep Locale

Have you ever noticed this? You go on a trip and sleep in a new bed, and that night you have a lucid dream? Or, you renovate your house and sleep in a different bedroom for a few nights, and the first night you have a lucid dream? I have. I think that the mechanism behind this involves greater vigilance from sleeping in new surroundings. Perhaps some primeval part of our brain/mind feels the need for greater awareness in the strange new surroundings of the different sleep locale, and this greater awareness translates into a greater chance of conscious awareness in the dream. Want to lucid dream? Go sleep in the den, or maybe the kitchen!, some place new.

5) Vacation or the Weekend

While sharing some points with "new sleep locale", I feel that a vacation exists as a subtle factor to improve lucid dreaming in my experience, along with the weekend. How to explain this? Vacations and weekends normally have this in common: the sense of a break from daily-work and its stresses. I have found that I remember more dreams on the weekend. My mind, thoughts and consciousness seem freer and wide-ranging on vacation. The typical, 50 hour a week, get-up-and-work lifestyle doesn't seem naturally conducive to lucid dreaming, except on the weekend or on vacation when "time" becomes freer and returns to one's self. It appears we need "free time" to free our mind, and become lucid.

6) Diet

A number of lucid dreamers have noticed that diet seems to influence the likelihood of lucid dreaming. I have to agree. While the proper diet for lucid dreaming may take decades of research to determine, diet appears as a subtle factor in lucid dreaming. For interested lucid dreamers, they may wish to look back at their diet immediately before a spontaneous lucid dream. If they notice commonalities, they may wish to incorporate that diet into their lucid dream incubation.

7) The Full Moon

Even though I submitted a (short) lucid dream in this LDE that occurs on the night of a full moon, I and some others have noticed that achieving lucidity on or around a full moon seems more difficult than other times of the lunar cycle. While some may suggest that a waxing moon seems the best time for lucid dreaming, I would like to see an actual research study of spontaneous (that is, unplanned) lucid dreaming occurrence and the phases of the moon.

Any graduate students out there needing a research project? Numerous anecdotes and some research on criminal activities suggest that full moons tend to correspond with behavioral changes and "lunacy". But why a full moon seems to impact negatively the occurrence of lucid dreaming, I don't understand, yet it too appears as one of those subtle factors in lucid dreaming success.

So there you have seven subtle factors that seem to influence the likelihood of lucid dreaming. If you feel you have more subtle factors, send Lucy or I an email, and we hope to include them in future issues of the Lucid Dream Exchange.

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