Learning How To Reality Check
One of the most powerful tools for inducing lucid dreams is the reality check. It is also the one method that requires the most commitment. This method often seems futile to those who have never experienced a lucid dream but a certain amount of faith has to be put in the advice offered by those who have more experience.
Where ever you are at this very moment as you are reading this book, just stop for a moment and ask yourself ‘Is this real or am I dreaming’.
Now, this may seem silly to a lot of people but I can assure you that I have failed to achieve many a lucid dream because I was convinced that my dream was real life and I chose not to bother doing a reality check.
Merely asking ‘is this real?’ is not enough to test your reality. You need to perform a test. The following paragraphs describe some ways of testing our reality.
The clock test
It’s a little known fact that when we dream, our short term memory becomes very poor indeed. A good example is the clock test.
Take a look at a clock or wristwatch now, either an analogue or digital clock will do. Now, look at the time on the clock and remember it. Look away from the clock for a couple of seconds and then check the time again.
You will notice that the time is exactly the same (except for a few seconds). In our dreams, when we check the clock for the second time, the time will be totally different! This then tells us that we are dreaming and hey presto we enter a lucid dream.
My own mother once asked me to have a look at her alarm clock for her because when she woke up during the night it would sometimes read a later time than when she woke in the morning.
What in fact was happening was during the night she was having what is known as a false awakening.
A false awakening is when we wake up in during the night but we are in fact still asleep and just dreaming we are awake. This happens a lot more than people realize.
I have several false awakenings per week. Usually I perform reality checks that can alert me to this false awakening and cause the onset of a lucid dream.
As it turns out, the alarm clock was perfectly o.k. but my mothers dream alarm clock was reading strange times.
When I pointed this out to her (she didn’t believe me at first) the next time it happened she looked away from the clock and then re-checked the time. The second time she checked, the time had changed. This immediately told her that she was dreaming, and so began the first of my mothers’ lucid dreams.
That method has worked several times for her.
An extension of this check is reading text. In our dreams just as with the clock, if you read something it often changes when you read it again.
You’d better read that sentence again just in case. Who knows, you may be dreaming!
Light switch test
Another way to check your reality is to test the light switches. In our dreams, light switches do not seem to work properly. In fact most gadgets seem to do odd things.
Phones don’t seem to work very well either. To test a light switch just go over and press the switch a few times. If the lights fail to operate properly, either your dreaming or somebody forgot to change the bulbs.
Pinched nose test
In my opinion this is by far the best reality check. If you consider that you will be checking you reality through the day it is the most convenient and the most reliable.
Simply pinch your nose and then try and breathe in with your mouth closed. As you’d expect, you can’t. In our dreams we can! If you can breathe in easily through a pinched nose then you must be dreaming.
How to use reality checks
The most effective way to use reality checks is to periodically throughout the day perform at least one reality check. Some people find it easier to set their watch to bleep on the hour and then perform the clock check for example.
Others find it easier to look for weirdness during the day like a flickering light, or a door jamming shut. As soon as you encounter one of these situations, ask yourself Is this real? and do a reality check.
The commitment involved with this method is actually doing the reality checks and also not just saying the words ‘Am I dreaming’ but actually meaning what you are asking yourself.
If you perform ten reality checks per day, eventually that habit will start to enter your dream world and this is when things really start happening. You will find yourself questioning your reality whilst you are dreaming and that is why reality checking is the single most powerful tool to assist you with lucid dreaming.
Choosing the right time
Believe it or not, choosing the right time when attempting to induce a lucid dream, can have an impact on your success rate. I have found that my ability to lucid dream goes down significantly if there is a lot of stress in my waking life at the time.
Ideally, choosing a stress free time will give optimum results. The other major cause of failure is to worry about not having a lucid dream too much. Many people become so preoccupied and wrapped up in their efforts to have a lucid dream that their situation becomes counter productive.
They worry more, which leads to less lucid dreaming and so a vicious circle forms. Lucid dreaming is a fun experience and some people loose sight of this. If you are constantly worrying about why you cannot have a lucid dream then you are trying too hard.
Usually when somebody says’ I’ve had enough, I’m not trying any more!’ they have a lucid dream a few nights later. The very action of choosing not to worry about it and letting go can cause one to happen.
Another powerful way to help things along is to discuss lucid dreaming with friends and people you know. It seems that the very action of talking about lucid dreaming will bring it to the fore in your mind and cause spontaneous lucid dreams.
You should have plenty to talk about with your new found expertise on the subject!
Before we move onto the next chapter, review the last few steps over on the left menu. Over the next few weeks, start your dream journal and begin a daily routine of reality checking throughout your day. When you’re confident that your dream recall has improved and your reality checking is becoming second nature, move onto the next stage.
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