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How to discover dreamsigns
The next thing is what lucid dreaming is all about: understanding the difference between waking reality and dream reality.
After all, that is what makes you lucid! Lucid dreamers are dream recognizers. We know very well the difference between being awake and being in a dream. Most people do not and mistake their dreams for waking reality, every night.
To have a lucid dream, is to be able to recognize the dream-like features of dreams. What makes dreams "dreams"? If you know that, it is easy to recognize them as such ... and turn lucid.
So building upon your practice in the previous section of dream recall, we are going to revisit your dream records to track down recurrent dreamsigns that are focal and distinctive.
A dreamsign could be anything dream-like. It could be some weird person that occasionally pops up in your dreams, or some weird situation that you keep dreaming about. Anything dream-like that should have told you at that moment that you were actually dreaming and not awake. An example:
"...while I am having a conversation with the bear, it suddenly haunts me that I have never talked to a bear before. This is odd. How odd? I turn lucid. A burst of excitement rushes through my body as I elevate my lucidity. I shout out 'This is a dream!' and hug the bear. No time to waste, I immediately remind myself to be Superman and take-off ..."
How to journal a dream
In this video I demonstrate how to journal dreams and what to look for when doing so. Don't worry. It is easy and fun!
For the sake of filming, I decided to show this journaling process on paper this time. Journaling dreams online has many advantages: accessible, safe backups, protected, automated statistics, sharing on Facebook and Twitter.
Step 4. Write & analyze.
Journaling dreams will form a very important part of your lucid dreaming practice. The most important thing is to take the task seriously. Some students do not. They give up on dream journaling simply because it demands extra time. Others stop journaling because for them it does not seem to directly relate to turning lucid. The result? I think you know.
Obviously, ordinary non-lucid dreams are essential starting points for turning lucid. Almost all lucid dreams start during or from a non-lucid dream: you suddenly recognize a dream-like feature and there you are, lucid. So how could you ever aspire to recognize a dream if you do not know what you dream about lately? Get to know YOUR dreams.
The ones who focus on dreams will turn lucid easily. Those who only think about having lucid dreams, will not. Dreams are the things that lucid dreams are made of.
Step 4 of the WBTB technique requires you to identify dreamsigns from your recently recalled dreams. So you wake up from your set alarm clock (after 4.5 hours of sleep), you recall as many dreams as you can and go out of bed (step 1 to 3), to write down your dreams and to discover dreamsigns. What dreamsigns did you miss out on? Mark them down. Underline them. Make them bold. These are your portals to lucidity!
Make it your mission to recognize those dreamsigns as soon as you return to sleep. Be serious about it. State your intention aloud and with feeling: "Soon I WILL remember to recognize that I am dreaming!"
Next up is getting motivated. Bringing emotion into your practice is everything. Connect to your most inner longings to have a lucid dream.
What is in it for you? What is your true drive? Activate it and allow it to help you recognize those dreamsigns that are waiting for you.
Step 5. Motivate
Setting your intention in step 4, based on your discovered dreamsigns, flows right into step 5 to truly motivate and inspire yourself to get as goal-driven as possible.
This is done by using all kinds of media that inspire you of the lucid dream experience that you have set yourself to engage in soon. Start collecting materials like YouTube movies, music or pictures that do the job. Any time you do the WBTB-technique you can rely on that material to get yourself motivated quickly.
Keep connected to your feelings. Do you really feel motivated? Do not fake it. Get interested. Get real. Lucid dreaming is not just a mind game. It is about using your feelings too.
Step 6. Plan lucid dream
The last thing you do before you return to bed (after the 30 minutes are over) is planning and rehearsing your desired lucid dream. The idea is to rewrite the ending of your most vividly recalled dream, in which you now fake that you actually DID recognize a dreamsign and turned lucid.
From that, you make up the ending of the fake "lucid" dream by scripting your desired lucid dream experience (e.g. flying, making love to someone, overcoming fears, etc.). Be very specific. Really make yourself relive the dream while rewriting it.
This exercise has tremendous power. Also great to do aside from doing the WBTB. We will make use of your rescripted dream in step 9 when you return to bed and start to revisualize that rescripted dream while falling asleep: hoping to incorporate that intention into your very first dream imagery.
That concludes the second stage of the WBTB technique. You are doing great! Let's continue and learn how to recognize dreamsigns while you are dreaming. The final stage of the WBTB technique.