November 23rd, 2010

How to Turn Inception-Style False Awakenings (Dreams within dreams) into Lucid Dreams

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A false awakening is a vivid dream about awakening from sleep. It usually occurs after a normal dream. The dreamer believes they have woken up, when in reality, they are still dreaming. This is the same as the concept of a “dream within a dream” in the movie Inception (2010).

During my experiences, false awakenings have been extremely realistic. Often, I will wake up in my realistic-looking apartment, with all the details I would see when waking up. My bed, dream journal, apartment furniture, television, and all of my books are situated where they are in reality.

How to Turn A False Awakening into a Lucid Dream: Maintain a Dream Journal When You Wake Up

I maintain a daily dream journal to help me remember my dreams. Every time I wake up from a dream, I grab my dream journal and write about it. I usually remember 3-4 dreams per night. So how has this habit helped me to initiate lucid dreams?

Often, when I have a false awakening dream, I will remember my last normal dream, and reach for my dream journal to record it. This gets my attention focused on dreaming, and helps me notice a glitch in the dream reality. Here is an example from my dream journal:

I wake up in my bed in my apartment. Everything looks as it does in reality. I take a sip of water and remember to write about my last dream in my dream journal. As I pick up the journal and open it, I notice some strange pen ink scribblings and realize I am dreaming! At this point I become lucid.

How to Turn A False Awakening into a Lucid Dream: Perform a Reality Check When you Wake Up

Every time I wake up and look at my alarm clock, I try to remember to ask myself “Am I dreaming?” Again, this helps me reveal a glitch in the dream reality. The numbers on my digital clock (this works with a traditional clock as well) will appear blurry, change rapidly, or wiggle if I am in a dream.

When I wake up, I also have a note on the bathroom mirror to ask “Am I Dreaming?” This reminds me to perform a reality check when looking at my reflection. If the reflection is normal, I am not in a dream. Here is an example from my dream journal where it was not normal:

Woke up, walked to bathroom. Things didn’t seem exactly right. I looked closely at myself in the mirror… And I didn’t have any eyes, just empty sockets! This really freaked me out for a few seconds, then I realized I was dreaming. I became lucid at this point and decided to fly out of my apartment.

Other tips for Turning False Awakenings into Lucid Dreams

  • Leave a note for yourself in your bathroom, asking “Am I dreaming?” This reminds you to perform a reality check.
  • Perform a reality check when you eat breakfast. False awakenings sometimes involve eating breakfast, so this is a good time for a reality check.

To learn more about lucid dreaming, sign up for your Free Lucid Dreaming Starter Handbook.

This post is part of the Dream Evolver Series

Creative Commons License photo credit: Saucef

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