Have you ever wanted to be a superhero ? A god even ? To build entire cities in the matter of seconds ? Just have an adventure of a lifetime ? Then Lucid Dreaming is for you !
What is Lucid Dreaming (LD) ?
Lucid Dreaming is the process of dreaming, but being aware of it. This gives you an infinite new world to play in/with. You can choose to observe and see what your mind has to tell you or you can do whatever you want.
learning about yourself
seeing your dream destinations
trying new things
expressing your creativity
And many more...
While LD can't cause you any harm, it has a few things you need to know about.
lucid nightmares - you can still experience nightmares, but the good part is, you know it's a dream and therefore can face your fears in a safe environment, the key is to not get overwhelmed
sleep paralysis - you can wake up in the middle of your sleep and still be in a state of sleep paralysis, this means you are unable to move, but you can see and hear your surroundings, your senses aren't fully awake though, so you'll have a chance of seeing creatures or hearing horrible sounds, sleep paralysis usually wears off really quickly and most people don't experience it at all, so you shouldn't be worried :)
pain - you can still feel real pain in dreams, but it is important to know that you can't get hurt in any way, don't worry about your body falling off the bed or things like that neither, that's why sleep paralysis exists
losing interest in the real world - this one is pretty self explanatory, why would you want to live your boring day to day life when you have your own world to shape at your will ? Thankfully (or sadly ?) most people aren't able to LD very often and it happens very unpredictably, so you can't just get a "quick fix" of dreams. LD should be used to help with your personal growth - improving physical and mental skills / learning about yourself etc. It can also be used to have fun, but nothing is good in excess.
not resting - Shaping worlds and acting out elaborate plots doesn't exactly provide the rest your brain needs, if you feel tired, give LD a rest. (haha get it ?)
How to start Lucid Dreaming ?
You need to develop a couple of skills to LD. First skill you need is dream retaining - you need to remember your dreams, what is a LD good for when you don't remember any of it ?
Second skill you need is reality awareness - you need to be able to tell if you're dreaming or if you're awake.
Third skill is calmness - ok that might not be a skill per se, but this is my post, ok ? You need calmness, because if you get too excited in a lucid dream, you usually wake up. This brings me to another skill...
The fourth skill is dream anchoring - this basically means being able to stay in a dream for as long as possible, this skill develops with LD experience, there are techniques you can do in a dream to make it stay, but don't expect long LDs when beginning.
My advice for developing this skill is very simple - start a dream journal and keep it right next to your bed. Every time you wake up pick it up immediately and write your dreams down and try to remember as many details as you can. We forget a lot of our dreams in the first 10 minutes after waking up, so do this first thing in the morning.
There are things called reality checks you can do many times every day that will help you tell if you're awake or dreaming. Things like looking at a clock (clocks behave oddly in dreams), looking at the palms of your hands(in dreams, your palms can get wavy etc.), touching your palms (in dreams your finger might go straight through) etc.
Generally just checking if laws of nature work. Also try thinking about where you are and how you got there.
Do this a lot and you will start doing it in your dreams as well and when you see someone riding a T-rex, you'll tell that it's a dream. (except if you're me, my brain thinks it's totally real...)
If you get too excited about finally achieving a LD or enjoy it for a long time, you'll start feeling your dream fading away. There are things you can do to prolong your experience. Look at your palms, start spinning, sit down on the ground and feel it, stop changing things so drastically - go with the flow bro, calm yourself etc. These things might help, but not always, don't be sad - you've managed to get a LD !
Always remember that LDs don't last for very long unless you're really skilled or unless you just observe. Dream time is different than real time though, you can have weeks in a dream and only 30 minutes in real life.
There is a lot of information about Lucid Dreaming out there - this was just the bare minimum you need to know, there are a lot of different techniques of achieving it (WILD, MILD, WBTB, Hypnosis etc.). My advice is to try out different things and see what works best for you.