When I was ten years old, I had a nightmare that someone was chasing me with a knife. I ran around corners, and behind fences, into this dark alley, and the murderer was slowly closing in on me. But suddenly, I realized something. “Hey, I’m dreaming!” I thought, and so I tried to control the dream. I ran up to the knife wielding man around the corner, and took his knife away. He ran away crying, and I put the knife in my pocket. It was one of the most awesome experiences of my life.
The thing that was so amazing was that it was so real. I could look at my hand and see the fine details and fingerprints that my hand had. I felt a brick wall, and sure enough, it felt exactly like brick. I could smell, taste, feel, hurt, and hear. I could even pinch myself, and it would hurt! Everything in my dream looked so real that it was hard to believe that I was really dreaming. It was like the best virtual reality simulator ever created. People talked just like they would talk, and they tried to convince me that I wasn’t dreaming. That it was just real life. Eventually it was so real that they did convince me, and I fell back ‘asleep’.
For weeks and months afterwards, I tried to do it again. Finally I stumbled upon an article about “Lucid Dreaming”, the phenomenon where you are awake in your dreams. Most people have about one or two in their entire lifetime. Some people have a lucid dream every night. I’ve had about 20 in my life.
But I want to have more, not only because they’re fun, but because they could help me. I could practice a skill for a job. Talking in front of millions of people. I could practice asking a girl out for a date. Or flying. I might even get inspiration for a new song. The possibilities are endless.
So how can I lucid dream again? Well it turns out there’s a trick. Whenever you’re awake, you need to just keep checking to see if you’re dreaming. Keep doing it until you get in the habit of doing these “reality checks” all the time. If you do it every day, then eventually, you’ll do a “reality check” in your dream, and you’ll realize your lucid dreaming.
What are some good reality checks? Well here are 7:
– Try to fly. Actually jump! If you can fly, or float, then you’re dreaming.
– Open a book and read. It’s very difficult to read books in dreams, so if the letters are shifting around or garbled, then you’re dreaming.
– Look around, then close your eyes, then open them again. If you’re in a different place, then you’re probably dreaming.
– Machines often fail in dreams. So if you pull a lever, and a machine breaks, you might be dreaming.
– Look in a mirror. If you look different, you’re dreaming.
– Hold your nose and mouth shut. If you can still breathe, you’re dreaming.
– If you can push your right hand through your left hand, you’re dreaming.
According to one study, lucid dreams give you the same amount of rest needed as regular dreams. So if you had a lucid dream every night for the rest of your life, you could potentially double your lifespan. All that wasted time dreaming could be put to good use. Now you could have that romantic relationship with your perfect partner every night. You could see what it was like to be the president. Or you could get stuck in your dream (as so often happens with me), and desperately try to wake up, stuck forever.