Timing awareness for a better life & lucid dreams

Written by: emerald

Hello! I'm someone who loves to transform into a dragon in my lucid dreams, and when I'm not exploring dream worlds, I have a passion for art, planes, and all things tech-related. I'm excited to share my interests and knowledge with you here on my blog.

March 11, 2023

Ever needed to open find that specific email, only to be distracted by a newsletter? Did you manage to talk to your friends online only to stick around for something entirely different? Then this post if for you, and you might get better lucid dreams in the process!

For the past 3 years I’ve been moving away from practice during the night, and focusing on the day instead (although if I do wake up at night, I do practice traditional lucid dreaming techniques).

Practicing lucid dreaming techniques during the day is nothing new, and you might even be familiar with a few of them. Reality checks are a common example of lucid dreaming techniques one practices during the day, with the intent it becomes a habit, and is also practiced during dreams.

Not so far-fetched, I have had experienced with those as well. For example, pinching yourself, as we have seen characters do in cartoons when they want to know they are dreaming are common in pop-culture.

My “reality checks” that happened based on 2 triggers: seeing a red car or water (a river, or a glass of water)

My “reality checks” that happened based on 2 triggers: seeing a red car or water (a river, or a glass of water)

While these nightly ventures have been successful for me, there’s something that was lurking underneath – they worked at most only once! My brain, as crazy as it is, “patches” imperfections as soon as I used them to become aware in a dream. As a child, this hardly was a problem, I simply picked something new to focus on. Oh, suddenly I feel pain when I pinch myself in a dream? Let’s focus on text becoming blurry or unreadable! Oh, suddenly text is accurate? Well let’s focus on the time on the clock, it should shift back and forth in dreams! Oh, suddenly time is linear! But wait, I notice that when I look back, the houses I just passed during a walk are different! Darn it! Next dream (and all that followed) had accurate housing!

You see where this is going, right? Every time I picked a new trigger, my brain fixed it for me, and never seized to let it go.

Becoming partners

It was clear something needed to change, and thus I did what I always do with internal struggles: Meditate. The answer came in a simple sentence: stop fighting your subconscious, but team up with it instead.

People holding hands in a dream

The first thing I decided to get rid of is the idea I had to “hack” my way around to get towards consciousness in dreams, this wasn’t a glitch in my brain that I abused anymore, but a practice shared by both the conscious and subconscious parts of my brain. My hypotheses were that if I could master this one thing, then no matter the circumstances, I’d be able to lucid dream.

Rather than using triggers in real life, I started to be aware at any random point in time. No limits, no quota, just whenever I felt like it.

Since physical reality checks such as pinching myself, or any of the others you can think of started to become ineffective as my dreams got more realistic, I had to tune the intent.

I noticed how reality checks often stem from common stigmas of an already conscious mind. While “are you dreaming”, is the banner of Reddit’s lucid dreaming community, for me, even in dreams, it was too easy for me to say “no” without thinking much about it.

“How did I get here?”, was my new mantra.

  • I could do it in public, as it is just a question I ask myself in my mind (It just looks silly to pinch yourself in public).
  • It forces me to think almost every time, as the answer is never “yes” or “no”, but different depending on when you ask yourself this question.
  • It brings lucid dreaming to mindfulness, and therefore, even if you fail to lucid dream, you still can use this during the day to become more aware.
Randomly being aware, and asking myself “how did I get here?”

Randomly being aware, and asking myself “how did I get here?”

After about 3 months, I noticed my dreams becoming lucid from this practice alone. No waking up at night, no constant practice, just randomly being aware, looking around and focussing on things on the horizon, the “How did I get here?” and some dream journaling.

The limits of our partnership

While the technique itself worked out great, after about 3 years, the limits of this newly forged partnership between the subconscious and conscious became apparent, and improvement stagnated. While I had lucid dreams, and most of them were good, some lacked a proper plan of action, and ultimately ended up in chaos.

When you’ve seen it all…

Since the techniques clearly trickled through my dreams (and improved my real life and even work life), it was clear that I should focus on fine-tuning, and building on top of the foundation I have today. And so, after 3 years, I meditated again on this subject.

Coming to terms

I found out that it’s not how I execute the techniques, but when. You see, when someone has trouble lucid dreaming, or having a good night in general (depending on what your goal is), it’s often our own mental state that we overlook. We think: “I need to fix my sleep”, but never really think what caused it to be broken in the first place. When you get more experienced, these difficulties become more subtle, but can still become an annoyance.

The new method, asking “What am I going to do?” at the start of a certain task, in addition to “How did I get here?” at random.

Just like with more prominent things like being unable to sleep or have dreams, my own difficulty was also paired to a similar difficulty in real life: focus. I’m someone who’s easily distracted. When I open Discord and talk to a friend, and see a ping in a server for a new science paper, I immediately download the PDF and start reading! Only later I come back to the task I wanted to do.

For the past week (at the time of writing this post), I began focussing on asking myself another question “What am I going to do” at the end of a current or the start of a new task:

The new method, asking “What am I going to do?” at the start of a certain task, in addition to “How did I get here?” at random.

The new method, asking “What am I going to do?” at the start of a certain task, in addition to “How did I get here?” at random.

A few interesting things happened:

  • I became more aware of what I was going to do
  • Not only that, but also why I did it, and what or who I did it for
  • This increased the overall motivation and fun at a task
  • Even when working and presented with distracting stimuli like a interesting newsletter or PDF, I can still focus on my own task first

While it certainly is too soon to tell if this will trickle through in my dreams, I certainly hope that this will make me more aware of my plan of action when the time comes to dive in the dream world.

As with most mindfulness practices related to lucid dreaming, the benefits of the practice should already be noticeable in real life from day one, meaning that even if it doesn’t do anything at night, it should – at the minimum – make you a better person during the day!

Of course, I’ll be keeping my research up to date, so any results that do come from this method I will let you know on my blog. It typically takes about 3 months for my mind to trickle things into my dreams.

Love to all!