Power-Trips: Controlling Your Dreams

Release Date: Thursday, 19 March 1987

  A number of techniques facilitate lucid dreaming.  One of the simplest
  is asking yourself many times during the day whether you are dreaming.
  Each time you ask  the question, you should look  for evidence proving
  you are not  dreaming.  The most reliable test:   Read something, look
  away for a moment, and then read it  again.  If it reads the same  way
  twice, it is unlikely that you are dreaming.  After you have proved to
  yourself that you are not presently dreaming, visualize yourself doing
  what it is you'd like.  Also, tell yourself that you want to recognize
  a nighttime dream the next time it occurs.  The mechanism at work here
  is simple; it's much  the same as picking up milk at the grocery store
  after reminding yourself to do so an hour before. 

  At night people usually realize they are dreaming when they experience
  unusual  or bizarre occurrences.   For instance, if  you find yourself
  flying  without visible means of support, you should realize that this
  happens only in dreams and that you must therefore be dreaming.

  If you  awaken from a  dream in the  middle of the  night, it  is very
  helpful to return to the dream immediately, in your imagination.   Now
  envision yourself recognizing the  dream as such.  Tell  yoursel, "The
  next time  I am dreaming,  I want to remember  to recognize that  I am
  dreaming."  If your intention is strong and clear enough, you may find
  yourself in a lucid dream when you return to sleep.

  Even if you're a  frequent lucid dreamer, you may not be  able to stop
  yourself from  waking up in  mid-dream.   And even if  your dreams  do
  reach  a satisfying end, you may not be  able to focus them exactly as
  you please.  

  During our years  of research,  however, we have  found that  spinning
  your dream body  can sustain the period of sleep  and give you greater
  dream control.   In fact,  many subjects at  Stanford University  have
  used the  spinning technique  as an  effective means  of staying  in a
  lucid dream.  The task outlined below  will help you use spinning as a
  means of staying asleep and, more exciting, as a means of traveling to
  whatever dream world you desire.  


  Before retiring, decide on a person, time, and place you would like to
  visit in your lucid  dream.  The target person and place can be either
  real or  imaginary, past, present, or future.  Write down and memorize
  your target  person and place,  then visualize yourself  visiting your
  target and firmly resolve to do so in a dream that night. 

  To gain lucidity,  repeat the  phrase describing your  target in  your
  dream, and spin your whole dream body in a standing position with your
  arms outstretched.   You can pirouette or spin like a  top, as long as
  you vividly feel your body in motion. 

  The same spinning  technique will help when, in the  middle of a lucid
  dream, you  feel the dream imagery beginning to fade.  To avoid waking
  up,  spin as  you repeat  your target  phrase again  and again.   With
  practice, you'll return to your target person, time, and place.

  When spinning, try to notice  whether you're moving in a clockwise  or
  counter-clockwise direction.

 - Stephen LaBerge and Jayne Gackenbach

  Stephen  LaBerge, Ph.D.,  of  the Stanford  University Sleep  Research
  Center,  is also the author  of LUCID DREAMING,  Ballantine Books, New
  York,  (C) 1985.  LUCID DREAMING is  a 305 page book which costs $3.95
  and  is available in the  "Psychiatry" or "Self-Help"  section of most
  major bookstores.