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How to recognize dreamsigns
Excellent work. All 6 steps that we have previously studied have all led to this final stage of the WBTB technique. Let's keep focussed.
Recognize dreams and turn lucid
We have used up about 30 minutes of our time awake to recall, journal and analyze dreams that you have recalled upon awakening. You motivated yourself. Once you feel wakeful and alert enough, you return to bed.
Generally speaking, 30 minutes are sufficient for most to become fully awake. Others need longer. Experiment with different times to find a time that suits you best. Also be aware of becoming too awake. Drinking coffee for example would wake you up quickly, but would also make it hard to return to sleep later (for most). This requires experimentation. It will take a few WBTB tries to get it right.
Once you are in bed, you relax and set your intention to remember to recognize that you will be dreaming soon. To recognize that first dreamsign when it appears in your dreams!
Since we have cut off our regular sleep rhythm through this 30 minute sleep interruption, our dreaming mind knows that we still need a full second half of sleep to get fully rested. Studies show that this second part of sleep will mostly consist of REM sleep, which is great: lots of dreams, lots of dreamsigns, and potentially lots of time to lucid dream. And since you have been awake for some time to refocus and get motivated, you have tripled your chances of becoming lucid.
While falling asleep, you visualize your rescripted dream from step 6 of the WBTB technique: rehearsing lucid dream success. Try not to "tell yourself" about the dream, but really try to imagine as if you were there, in the dream, dreaming it for real. Try to act spontaneously and in the moment. This means present tense! Once you have walked through the rescripted dream in your imagination, do it all over again. And again. And again. Soon you will notice that you are in fact dreaming! Mission success.
In this video I will show you how to get to bed, relax and get comfortable while visualizing yourself recognizing a dreamsign.
Make sure that you will not be disturbed by anyone or anything. Wear earplugs if necessary. Darken your room.
Step 7. Recognize dream
The underlying cognitive function that you rely on to recognize future dreamsigns in your dreams, is called prospective memory. It is the exact opposite of retrospective memory, the kind of remembering that we think we do most of the time: remembering things from the past. Prospective memory is the ability to remember to do something in the future. A "To-do list" kind of memory. In context of learning lucid dreaming: remembering to recognize a future dreamsign once it appears.
Unfortunately, not many of us are quite skilled in applying prospective memory successfully in everyday life. After all, we have mobile phones and agendas that remind us of future tasks. In dreams we cannot bring along such devices. We need to be able to remind ourselves!
This is why it is very useful to practice prospective memory tasks during the day. Train that particular brain muscle by day and you will be able to use it much more effectively during the night. Obviously, when you cannot succeed doing prospective remembering by daytime then how would you ever succeed in your dreams? All that is needed is to firmly and clearly set your intention to recognize that you are dreaming soon. Key to this is visualization. See yourself becoming lucid. See yourself recognizing a dreamsign.
In this video I demonstrate how one would turn lucid by recognizing a dreamsign. Additionally I will tell about some useful dream control techniques.
In the Expert's course we will go into much more detail of how to regulate and control lucid dreams.
Step 8. Get into bed
Return to bed. Your job is to relax the body completely while keeping your mind focussed on recognizing the first signs of dreaming. The most paradoxical thing here is to strike a balance between the two.
On the one hand you feel urged (not pressed!) to recognize upcoming dreams, while on the other you like to fall asleep. Something that works quite well in this respect is to primarily focus on falling asleep while using any emerging dream imagery to visualize on that you turn lucid. Almost like allowing dreams to happen, rather than forcing them to appear. Feel relaxed. Allow your dreaming mind to do the work.
Step 9. Visualize
While gradually getting more and more relaxed while mentally getting more and more alert, almost like in a meditative state, it is time to start visualizing on your rehearsed lucid dream as vividly as possible.
This visualization exercise is not about concentration, it is more about integration. Go with the flow of any emerging dream imagery or feelings and try to implement your rescripted dream in there. Do not try to reset the whole imagery or fight any unwanted thoughts. That will only keep you awake.
Go through the visualization again, and again and again. Never stop visualizing on recognizing that dreamsign, turning lucid and acting out on your desired lucid dream experience. If you notice that after 30 minutes you are still awake, make sure that you are not forcing your mind to dream. You are secondary to this. Sail with it. Chances are that you will remember to notice that you are dreaming and turn lucid. Time to have lots of fun!
That completes the full WBTB technique. To summarize: interrupting morning sleep with 30 minutes of wakefulness to get focussed on having lucid dreams. With successful experience, you will be able to induce lucid dreams without doing WBTB.