Once you are able to dream lucidly, you may find that it is difficult to stay in the dream; for example, you may wake instantly or the dream may start “fading” which is characterized by loss or degradation of any of the senses, especially vision. Alternatively, a new lucid dreamer could easily forget that they are in a dream, as a result of the shock of the sensation.
Don't worry if you wake immediately after becoming lucid. As you gain more experience of becoming lucid, it will come as less of a shock and you’ll be less likely to wake up. Make sure you do a reality check to be sure you’re not still dreaming. As you gain more experience, you will have an easier time identifying when and remembering that you are dreaming.
You can avoid more gradual fadings by stimulating your senses. This means listening for sounds, feeling around with your hands, and paying attention to what you see and smell. The idea here is to load your senses with stimulation from the dream so that your senses cannot shift to the real world. If you close your eyes, you are removing a great deal of sensory information and might wake up. Staring at a single point can cause effectively the same problem if you stop seeing everything else in your peripheral vision, or don't see enough movement. If you hear something loud in real life and are hearing nothing in the dream, your senses may shift to the real world, causing you to wake up.
Ideally you should be able to use the techniques below to stabilize your dream before it starts to fade (or “black out”). As always, prevention is better than treatment - and the more stable and vivid your dreams are, the more enjoyable they will be. However, if that doesn't work you may be able to use stabilization techniques to stop the fading; the spinning technique is probably the most effective in this case.
If you still can’t stabilize your dream, you may decide to try and wake up with the aim of remembering your dream as accurately as possible while its still fresh in your mind.
Rub your hands together and concentrate on the rubbing. You should feel the friction and the heat of your hands. If you can concentrate on the feelings that this action generates, your dream is likely to stabilize and become more vivid and detailed. You can also keep one hand on your arm while exploring the dream for a constant sense of stimulation. This technique is most effective when used in conjunction with the “Slowing it down” technique, by staring at your hands while rubbing them together.
You spin around in your dream much as you would if you suddenly want to feel dizzy in real life. The sensation of movement is the key here to stabilizing the dream. Many people report success with this technique, but it also tends to cause a complete change of your dream scene (see Changing the dream environment below). If the dream scene disappears completely (e.g., becomes black), it is necessary to visualize the dreamscape to return to the dream.
Slowing it down
Some people like to stabilize the dream by “stopping to smell the roses” and slowly staring at a dream object until it becomes clear. The dreamer would then look around elsewhere, noticing how detailed everything is, thereby stimulating the visual portion of the dream. However, others find this can cause their lucid dream to end. If you focus on one object for too long to the exclusion of everything else, you will likely wake up or lose the dream. It works best to pay attention to everything in your vision, including your peripheral vision, not just the center of the object you're staring at. If staring at a single object doesn't work for you, try to let your eyes wander around instead.
Touching your dream
If you feel that your dream is too abstract and fear that it might be fading, you can prevent this by grabbing hold of a solid object in your dream and focus on how real the sensation is. A good tip is to find something you know is stuck, for instance a table nailed to the ground, and pull it with all your muscular power (no supernatural powers!), and you should feel how solid it is. The idea is that you convince yourself that the dream is solid and real — through tactile stimulation — and nothing abstract.
Regaining waking memory or skills
This is also likely to enhance your degree of lucidity. Try to remember facts from your waking life, such as your phone number, address, etc., or do some simple math. Or, start reciting the lyrics to your favorite song. Or perhaps try some sports practice you know well — this all depends on which senses / methods of thought process you tend to rely on most in your waking life.
A couple of the users on the ld4all.com forums have had success with creating a false awakening to stabilize a dream. If the above techniques are failing and you find your dream still fading, and you really want to continue your lucid dream, do the following:
- Expect to have a false awakening.
- When you think you wake up, perform a reality check.
You will either have a false awakening, reality check, and then end up with an even more vivid lucid dream, or will really wake up, perform a reality check, and realize that you just woke up (bad luck!).
The most important part of this is the reality check. This is what will continue your lucid dream. You should be performing reality checks when you wake up. If you plan to induce false awakenings in order to stabilize a dream, the reality check that you perform as you wake up is as important as the one that got you lucid, if not more.
Perform every check in the book until you are positively, absolutely, and completely sure that you aren’t dreaming. A series of 10 reality checks is more likely to produce dream results in a dream, especially if you are expecting dream results. This technique is for those who are desperate!
If you have had a good experience with this technique, please go to the talk page and post your experiences, as there have not been many anecdotes of it working yet.
Recovering from lost visuals
There are a few things you can try to do if you lose your vision. Most of these are less likely to help prolong your dream than the above techniques.
You can also try these if you have just woken up and are lying in your bed. You may be able to return to your dream.
You can repeat over and over a phrase similar to “I can see my dream,” or otherwise enforce in your mind that you can see a dreamscape. (See Autosuggestion)
You can visualise the scene as it would be if you could see it. You could take this as an opportunity to change the dreamscape by visualising a different environment from the previous one in the dream. This can be made easier by spinning as you visualize. (See Changing the dream environment below)
Altering the dream
Changing the dream environment
You can change the dreamscape by simply visualizing a different environment. Stephen LaBerge, author of Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming, suggests closing your eyes, spinning around, and visualizing a new location. Alan Worsley, a famous lucid dreamer, describes another technique of summoning a television and remote to switched dreamscapes. By simply “changing the channel” on the remote, imagine your surroundings switching to your desired location, as though you were switching through various television programs.
In both of these methods, details are key. The more details you provide for your next dreamscape, the easier it will be to get there. For example, if you wanted go to the Superbowl in your dreams, you might simply state:
- “I want to be at the Superbowl.”
But this statement could be improved by adding details:
- "I want be in the endzone seats, drinking a Coke, and wearing my favorite player's jersey at the Super Bowl."
Summoning objects into your dream
At some point in your lucid dreaming experience, you'll probably want to handle various objects, or talk with certain people. Both of these needs can be fulfilled by using your mind, and the power of suggestion. There is no set way to "make" things in the dream world; in fact, many lucid dreamers devise their own methods through experimentation. However, here are some of the more common "summoning" techniques:
- Try reaching for objects that are not within your field of vision. For example, think to yourself: “When I reach into my pocket, there will be a green box of mints.” Then, attempt to actually take a green box of mints out of your pocket. Other variations of this include reaching behind you for an object, or reaching through a mirror in hopes of getting a hold of what you want.
- To summon a person, you might say to yourself: “When I turn around, [person's name] will be standing in front of me,” or “When I walk through this mirror, I will see [person's name],” or “In a few moments, [person's name] will walk through that door (or around that corner).”
- More experienced lucid dreamers can try making the object materialize right before their eyes. This will require a fair amount of concentration. Here is an example of this process:
- “I am lucid dreaming in my backyard, and it's currently night. Now, I don't like the dark in my lucid dreams because I'm more likely to wake up, and I fear there are monsters lurking around every corner. So, I want to make the sun appear so that it'll be daytime. Focusing on the horizon, I visualize the sun rising above it.
- At first nothing happens, but I continue focusing and...yes! There's some light filtering over the horizon! And now the sun is rising to the sky and it settles there; so far, so good. But wait...the sky is still black. Peering at bit closer at the sun, I can just make out a faint ring of blue sky encircling it. Lifting my hand towards it I shout, "Blue!". The blue ring quickly spreads across the sky, creating the full daytime effect.”
- Some dreamers may have success by closing their eyes and imagining the desired object in front of them once when they open their eyes .
- Try using mechanical devices within the dream, such as a nearby lightswitch or button, to summon objects or people. (i.e. "When I flip this switch/press this button, X will appear.")
Remember, in the dream world, your expectations shape your surroundings. If you think a big, scary monster is going to step out of the shadows and attack you...well, a big, scary monster probably is going to step out of the shadows and attack you. So, don't be a victim; take control of your thoughts and use them to your advantage.
What you can do
This final section should see you off with a few ideas of what to do in a dream.
It is advised to have a clear purpose for your lucid dreams whenever you go to sleep. In other words, every night you consider what you want to do when you have a lucid dream, and select one thing, or perhaps two or three if you are skilled. Avoid this:
- "What am I gonna do what am I gonna do? I wanna fly, walk through walls, eat until my stomach explodes, spy on my neighbours, drive in a car real fast, woooeeey I'm gonna . . ."
You will either end up doing none of these things in your dream or getting overexcited and waking up.
Now that that’s clear, here’s a list of possible things you could do, ordered in difficulty. Remember that you might find some things unusually hard (or easy) compared to most lucid dreamers, this is perfectly normal! This is a very rough guide — if you’ve managed something in the Easy section, don't be scared to try for something from the Medium section.
- Most people enjoy flying around in dreams. There are different styles of flight that people use, each with a varied level of success for each individual. Methods such as “swimming through the air”, “Superman style” (one arm outstretched), “Neo style” (both arms at your side), and “Airplane style” (both arms out) ,"eagle style" (gliding through the air currents, using your fingered wings to navigate altitudes) are often used. There are a few methods of getting up into the air, such as simply jumping (you can jump really high in dreams if you believe it) or imagining a great force pushing you from your feet or walking up on air as though it is a staircase. Some people summon jetpacks and slip them on to fly. Be creative and dream up your own methods.
- Explore your dream world
- Be warned, you are quite likely to forget you are dreaming when exploring! Doing reality checks often and muttering to yourself about how real everything seems can help to avoid this. You can also ask a dream character to tag along with you and remind you when you forget that you’re dreaming.
- Walk through a mirror or wall
- You can pass through dream objects such as walls, glass, trees, and everything else. Confidence is really the key here. Some variations on going through stuff can be going in slowly, wiggling your finger in first, or running quickly into the object and telling yourself you would go through it. Some people particularly like to go through mirrors because of the unpredictable effects this action produces. However, if you tell yourself you will end up at a certain location before passing through a mirror, you can change the dream scene quickly. Be warned, some people experience nothing and wake up after passing through. You may want to hold your arm to keep yourself in the dream.
- Look at the sky
- People often report amazing skies in lucid dreams. You can also shout colors at it and paint some sunrises.
- Show off to your friends (“Hey guys; I can go through this wall!”)
- Do plenty of sports (trampolining, skiing, swimming, dancing, etc.)
- Use various power such as Telekinesis and magic (a shortcut if you are having problems would be to summon a magic wand/staff or other device)
- Try to read a book that you have never read and remember the content
- Try to browse the Internet and visit sites that you've never visited
- Use things that you have never used
- Last but not least: Edit Wikipedia/Wikibooks articles (see question 105 of the Wikipediholic Test) and see if the changes remain when you awake!
- Eat until you’re near bursting!
- Create some dream characters (possibly from a book or film)
- Try to find your spirit guide
- Experiments (in fact, researchers will often want people of various skills)
- Body swapping/possession (where you enter a different body)
- Take some drugs (this is more realistic if you’ve done so in real life)
- Many people have also experienced realistic effects when trying drugs in dreams that they have never taken in real life.
- Drive a vehicle (This is especially fun if you haven't ever driven in real life)
- Nobody can tell you what you should and should not do in your dreams; the choice remains up to you.
- Use weapons
- It is usually more interesting to use melee weapons (knives, swords, brass knuckles) than projectile weapons. Machine guns and pistols often run out of ammo and summoning it can be difficult. Misfires and jamming is also common. (Your subconscious expectations will shape your dreamscape in all manner of ways, If you believe it is hard to accomplish, if you believe it will jam or misfire, it will. I have had no issues with weaponry such as firearms in my dreams what-so-ever, take this "advice" lightly.) However this can be overcome by using Directed Energy Weapons (Lasers, Plasma/pulse rifles), or weapons that can't jam (bows, simple firearms like muskets and so on).
- "Beat up" your enemies
- Have sex
- The excitement, or closing your eyes, can cause you to wake up. An additional reason for waking up may be fixing your eyes on your partner, as holding a gaze for long is also known to cause waking up. Also your dream partner has a strange way of transforming in the midst of ecstasy. Finding a sex partner isn't very hard, it's keeping them that is difficult. That is why it is best to not panic when they are transforming and accept them for what your subconscious brings you.
- More morphing like 360 degree vision, sonar vision, etc.
- Create false memories, etc. False memories can be made by having a lucid dream, but scripting it so you will think it is real, e.g. you think what happened in your dream happened in real life. This is hard because you will have to forget it is a dream while staying lucid (knowing it is a dream).
- Compose music or poems (or request them from your subconscious)
- Build a fantasy dream world! (some people build a dream world naturally)
- Have precognition (your subconscious can be very good at predicting the future with relationships and career)
- Experience death. This could be a very harsh experience, and depending on your religious or philosophical beliefs may summon you into a different world or nothingness.
- Ask the dream to show you your worst fears/deepest traumas/etc. (be prepared for some bad stuff to surface)
- Build/use impossible objects, such as hypercubes, Klein bottles, etc.
- Rewind time
With all the techniques in this book, you may feel overwhelmed and uncertain of what to do next. Don't worry — just choose a few techniques to “map your way to lucidity”, decide on a few things you will want to do from this page, and start!
If you are still unsure of what to do, don’t worry — you might happen to have a lucid dream tonight!
If you are beginning to feel a compulsive thirst for more information about dreams, head over to the Further Reading section for the sites to satisfy your cravings. Remember to come back occasionally and help make the wikibook grow!