Starting your Dream Journey
The practice is so powerful because your brain can't tell the difference between something it's living or something it's dreaming. An experience that's terrifying in waking life becomes safe to explore in a dream state.
How does one get in on this?
The first step to lucid dreaming is writing it down. Keep a dream journal by your bed and log every dream you remember immediately upon waking '- even if it's the middle of the night. This way, you will familiarize yourself with your own dream imagery.
Set your intention to remember these images and patterns. And make sure you go to bed thinking about them. Your mind will recognize these recurring images and let you know that you are in a dream state.
Once you're asleep, the gateway to lucidity is to realize that what you're experiencing is a dream. That usually happens when you notice something that isn't possible in waking life. "Let's say you were having a dream and some wild circus came through your workspace you say, 'Whoa, this is unusual,'" Keelin said. "In a non-lucid dream, you would say, 'Oh yeah, today we were planning to have a circus in our office.'"
When you practice becoming familiar enough with the anomalies that cue dreaming '-without waking up from excitement because you've finally done it '- you're on your way to controlling your dreams. You can use your dreams to practice that big speech due tomorrow, ask your deceased grandmother for advice, and yes, by all means, get busy over and over again.
Video: Gail Saltz: What Do Dream Images Mean?