The most important prerequisite for learning lucid dreaming is excellent dream recall. There are two likely reasons for this. First, when you remember your dreams well, you can become familiar with their features and patterns. This helps you to recognize them as dreams while they are still happening. Second, it is possible that with poor dream recall, you may actually have lucid dreams that you do not remember!
The core exercise is writing down everything you recall about your dreams in a dream journal immediately after waking from the dream, no matter how fragmentary your recall. Record what you recall immediately upon waking from the dream; if you wait until morning you are likely to forget most, if not all, of the dream. In A Course in Lucid Dreaming we advise that people build their dream recall to at least one dream recalled per night before proceeding with lucid dream induction techniques.
This is a good technique for beginners. Assign yourself several times a day to perform the following exercise. Also do it anytime you think of it, especially when something odd occurs or when you are reminded of dreams. It helps to choose specific occasions like: when you see your face in the mirror, look at your watch, arrive at work or home, The more frequently and thoroughly you practice this technique, the better it will work.
- Do a reality test.
Carry some text with you or wear a digital watch throughout the day. To do a reality test, read the words or the numbers on the watch. Then, look away and look back, observing the letters or numbers to see if they change. Try to make them change while watching them. Research shows that text changes 75% of the time it is re-read once and changes 95% it is re-read twice. If the characters do change, or are not normal, or do not make sense, then you are most probably dreaming. Enjoy! If the characters are normal, stable, and sensible, then you probably aren't dreaming. Go on to step 2.
- Imagine that your surroundings are a dream.
If you are fairly certain you are awake (you can never be 100% sure!), then say to yourself, "I may not be dreaming now, but if I were, what would it be like?" Visualize as vividly as possible that you are dreaming. Intently imagine that what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling is all a dream. Imagine instabilities in your environment, words changing, scenes transforming, perhaps you floating off the ground. Create in yourself the feeling that you are in a dream. Holding that feeling, go on to step 3.
- Visualize yourself enjoying a dream activity.
Decide on something you would like to do in your next lucid dream, perhaps flying, talking to particular dream characters, or just exploring the dream world. Continue to imagine that you are dreaming now, and visualize yourself enjoying your chosen activity.