Getting More Lucid Dreams

This is a short report on the More Lucid Dreams project. During five weeks, starting at July 26th 2003, an online group worked at getting more lucid dreams. Members felt emotionally safe, which helped to make this a unique dream sharing experience. We also witnessed many interesting psi dreams in the group. However, here I will only report about the main aim of the group: getting more lucid dreams.

Background

Sometimes it seems there is more interest in lucid dreaming than in for example dream interpretation. Ever since the invention of the World Wide Web, there have been web pages about lucid dreaming. The Usenet discussion group alt.dreams had so many topics about lucid dreaming, that the alt.dreams.lucid group had to be created. After Usenet, email and web discussion groups became popular. Again, lucid dreaming showed up amazingly often.

What always surprised me is that although interest is high, many complain that it is hard to get lucid dreams. As I didn't mind getting more lucid dreams myself, I decided to I organize an online group aimed at getting more lucid dreams.

Small steps approach

The approach I used is based on several ideas.

The first one is that people generally have little time, need their sleep, and prefer simple exercises above difficult ones. For these reasons I used Castaneda's hand gazing as the basic exercise. Other suggested exercises also needed minimal time, and could be easily integrated into the daily routine.

The second idea is that it always helps to break a difficult task up into various smaller objectives. There are many definitions of lucid dreaming. I used the most basic one, being that one is aware of the dream. Everything else I presented as separate indications of special dreams. Additionally, I also offered two types of pre lucid dreams. As a result, the chance of being able to score a dream as special in some way or another, was fairly high. After five weeks of dreams, this also gave some insight into whether indications of special dreams are related to awareness of the dream.

The third idea is that it helps to combine lucid dreaming with more awareness during the day.  It makes no sense to strive for more awareness during dreams, while still running on automatic pilot during the day. This fits nicely together with the first point of integrating lucid dreaming with the usual day routine in a way that doesn't require extra time.

For various reasons I asked potential participants to incubate a dream. One thing I hoped to discover was if there could be certain resistances against lucid dreaming. That didn't seem to be the case, so I didn't pay much attention to it during the project.

The group

I wanted 20-25 members for the group. There were 22. However, two never showed up, two others dropped out early. The project ran in the middle of summer, so it happened that some members disappeared for a week or so due to vacation.

Almost all of the incubated dreams showed an optimistic view of the project. Quite a few had an incubated dream that was lucid. I have to add that many members of the first group were experienced with lucid dreaming. The group was supposed to be for both novice lucid dreamers and somewhat experienced lucid dreamers, but absolute novices turned out to be in a small minority.

As part of the program, I encouraged to submit dreams, lucid or not. The group knew how to take a hint, and submitted some 365 dreams in five weeks time. Including comments on the dreams and other discussions, this means that keeping up with the group must have been challenging. I've considered slowing the group down at some moment, but got the impression that most members had made the decision that they wanted to do this.

Conclusions

As I'm going to host a second group, I only want to give a few general conclusions. Besides, the group is too small to discover anything about for example the effectiveness of particular exercises.

At the end of the five weeks I asked group members to fill in an evaluation form. A large majority of the participants spent a lot of time on the project. Looking at this large sub group, there were a few who were already having lucid dreams often. They didn't see any improvement in frequency, but appreciated how they learnt to do more with their lucid dreams. The not so frequent lucid dreamers did almost all report an increase in the number of lucid dreams. The member who was less satisfied about the number of lucid dreams during the project, really did quite well on her own. It just happened that this first group attracted many people who had had lucid dreams before.

Quite a few members remarked that the group did wonders for their dream recall. That may be true, but I also noted that not everyone seem to have that luck. Which is why I will continue to advise potential members of the second group to work on their dream recall.

After this first group I wonder whether there is a correlation between dream recall and lucid dreams. Dreamers who submitted more or longer dreams, seem to have a higher percentage of lucid dreams. There were a few exceptions to that rule, and with the group being small, it's hard to say whether this means anything.

As a last observation, I was impressed by the stability of the dream environment of some of the dreamers, especially the dreamers who submitted many lucid dreams. I've read authors who say one starts with awareness, then works on stability. Somehow I got the idea that awareness and stability may be two sides of the same coin.

I'm looking forward to do a second group, and compare the results.


Harry Bosma

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