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WILD or Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream

The WILD technique is one of the better and most powerful lucid dream induction methods. In this technique, a person is attempting to remain conscious while crossing over from the wake state to the dream state. In fact, this a step further than the contemplation of the hypnagogic state. The effort may be serious in the beginning, but it can lead to very successful and rich lucid dreams. And like many techniques, practice makes it increasingly easier to cross over to dreamland fully lucid.

Here is a description of the technique close the method originally described by Stephen Laberge:Spinning top

  1. Wake yourself up after 4 to 6 hours of sleep, get out of bed and stay up for anywhere between a few minutes to an hour before going back to bed. It is preferable that you do something related to lucid dreaming during this time, but it is not required. 
  2. Go back to bed and lie absolutely still, as if your body is melting into the mattress and losing all sensation. Silence your inner monologue if it starts to chime in. You may hear hypnagogic sounds, echoes of voices and other sounds in your head.
  3. Once in the half-dream state, you will experience hypnagogia as a mixture of patterns and colors that take over your vision in the darkness. Observe your hypnagogia and stay relaxed, allowing it to hypnotize you and draw your awareness away from the outside world  into the internal dream world that is starting to evolve now.
  4. The next step is often the hardest part of a WILD, but if you are in the right state of mind and body, it can also be deceptively easy. As you have more WILDs, youíll learn to recognize the signals that you are ready to lucid dream.
  5. Since your consciousness is still linked to your physical body, which is now asleep, you may feel the effects of sleep paralysis. This is a natural protection mechanism which stops you from acting out your dreams. It happens every night, but usually by this stage your mind is asleep too. So if you feel like your limbs are going numb, or a lead blanket is moving up your body, donít fight it. Instead, relax and rejoice in the fact that you are about the enter a Wake Induced Lucid Dream!
  6.  The dream scene is usually created out of your memory of your bedroom or wherever you are sleeping. Sometimes you can send your awareness to another dream scene straight away, but generally without any other kind of imagery at work, you are going to find yourself lying in a dream version of your own bed.

There are many variations of this simple scenario. My preferred variations have been published recently by Charlie Morley summarizing years of training people to cross over to lucid dreamland. Charlie calls his technique Falling Asleep Consciously (FAC). FAC combines elements of a WILD with a few of my own methods and a twist of meditative awareness. The aim is to pass through the hypnagogic state and enter REM dreaming sleep without blacking out or losing consciousness. FAC is both incredibly simple and often incredibly elusive, and involves letting your body and brain fall asleep while part of your mind stays aware. Here are three FAC scenarios:

Five steps to hypnagogic drop-in

To enter the dream state lucidly, be like a surfer. Paddle through the hypnagogic imagery and 'drop in' to the wave of the dream lucidly. If you have a good sense of mental balance and awareness then this is the technique for you!

  1. After at least four and a half hours of sleep, wake yourself up and write down your dreams. Then set your intent to gain lucidity, close your eyes and allow yourself to drift back into sleep.
  2. As you enter the hypnagogic state, gently focus your mental awareness on the hypnagogic imagery and simply float through it, allowing it to build, layer upon layer. The key here is to maintain a delicate vigilance without blacking out and being sucked into the dream state unconsciously.
  3. Donít engage the hypnagogic imagery that'll arise, but don't reject it either. Just lie there watching it until the dreamscape has been formed sufficiently for you to drop into it consciously. If you feel yourself blacking out, just keep bringing your focus back to the hypnagogic imagery. It'll continue to build, layer upon layer, until it starts to coalesce into an actual dreamscape. This is a wonderful thing to witness.
  4. As the dreamscape solidifies, you might feel a slight pull or a sensation of being sucked forwards. This is an indication that the wave of the dream is now fully formed. In surfing terms, you're on point break.
  5. If you can just stay conscious for a few more moments, and are ready to take the plunge, you'll find yourself dropping into the wave of the dream with full lucidity.

Five steps to body and breath

If you have good body awareness (perhaps you like to dance, or do body work or yoga), you may find that this version of the FAC technique is the one for you. It involves scanning your awareness through your body as you drift into sleep and enter the dream lucidly.

  1. Some time after at least four and a half hours of sleep, wake yourself up and write down your dreams. Set your intent to gain lucidity, close your eyes and allow yourself to drift back into sleep.
  2. As you enter the hypnagogic, gently focus your mental awareness on the sensations in your body, and the breath flowing through it. The hypnagogic imagery will still arise, but rather than focusing on it, as in the hypnagogic drop-in technique, this time focus on the sensations in your body. If you feel yourself blacking out, just keep bringing your focus back to the sensations of the body and breath.
  3. You might find that systematically scanning your awareness through the body works well for this. Alternatively, you might choose simply to allow bodily sensations to attract your attention as they arise. Becoming aware of the contact points of your body on the bed works well too.
  4. At some point you may actually feel the body paralysis that accompanies REM sleep. There's no need to freak out if this happens, it simply means that you're on the doorway of the dream.
  5. Once you've scanned your body, or allowed your attention to be aware of particular sensations, become aware of your whole body as it lies in space. Hold your entire body within your awareness and allow your mind to remain lucid as the dream forms out of the hypnagogic and you enter it lucidly

Five steps to counting sleep

This version of the technique isn't particularly meditative, and it doesn't call for much body awareness either, but it does require the ability to maintain a sense of reflective awareness as you abseil down into the dream. By combining counting with a repeated question (or reflection) as you go through the transition from wakefulness into dream, you can maintain your awareness fluidly.

  1. Some time after at least four and a half hours of sleep, wake up fully and write down your dreams. Set your intent to gain lucidity, close your eyes and allow yourself to drift back into sleep.
  2. As you enter the hypnagogic, continuously question your state of consciousness as you count yourself into dreaming. For example: One: Am I dreaming? Two: Am I dreaming? and so on. I prefer to use: One: I'm lucid? Two: I'm lucid? for this technique, but use whatever feels right for you.
  3. For the first few minutes the answer to the question will probably be No, I'm still awake!, but once you've counted into the 20s, it'll probably be I'm now in the hypnagogic state.
  4. If you can make it into the thirties or forties, or even fifties, without blacking out, the answer may become Almost! The hypnagogic is starting to solidify! Limit your count to double figures though - once you start getting above 100 you may have overshot your mark and be too awake by then.
  5. The eventual aim is to answer the question Am I dreaming?' with something like Sixty-one: Am I dreaming? Hang on.. yes, I'm dreaming! I'm lucid! as you find yourself fully conscious within the dream.

See also: Bibliography, Booze and dreams, Dream cycles, Dream glossary, Dream hacking, Dream recall, Dreams and brain disorders, Dreams as a source of inspiration, Essential oils, Food and dreams, Herbs for dreaming, Hypnagogic state, Lucid dreaming, Neuroprotective agents, Precognitive dreams, Psychic dreams, Recurring dreams, Shamanic dreaming, Sleeping brain, Sleep deprivation, Weed and dreams, WILD, Yoga Nidra


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