"The degree of awareness one is able to achieve while in a dream is in direct proportion to the degree of awareness one experiences in waking life."
Tenizin Rinpoche | Author of The Tibetan Yogas of Dream Sleep
Before we continue, are you dreaming right now? How can you know for certain if you are awake or dreaming?
The best way to know for sure is to perform a reality check.
Anyone who has experienced even one lucid dream before, will understand this idea intuitively. Those who have yet to experience one, might find that a little confusing. Usually in a dream, we accept the dream as waking life - it's only when you wake up, that you realize it was a dream.
So what exactly are reality checks?
Reality checks are certain movements and observations you do to determine whether you are awake or dreaming. The logic of doing reality checks is that there are certain things that can happen in a dream that cannot happen in waking life.
Why perform reality checks?
As adults we become so accustomed to our reality, that we forget to question it. This applies in the dream world too.
Reality checks need to become a habit. If you make it a habit to question your reality on a regular basis, this habit will also carry on to your dreams. Once you're questioning your reality in your dreams, it will become a lot more likely for you to notice something strange in your dreams. Once you notice something (or a dreamsign), the chance of you becoming lucid will significantly increase.
A common mistake we notice is that beginners forget to do consistent reality checks.
Next time you observe one of your dreamsigns, or another strange event, person, place, or thing, make sure to perform one of the following 5 reality checks (you can use these to start with).
Here Are 5 Effective Reality Checks To Perform
1 - Push Your Hands Together
Try interlocking your fingers and pushing your hands together - in a dream they are likely to go through each other.
Or you can try to push your right pointer finger through your left palm. When awake you will not be able to do this, but in a dream state your right pointer finger will go right through your left hand.
2 - Pinch Your Nose
Close your mouth and pinch your nostrils. Then try to breath. When you're awake you will not be able to breathe since your mouth and nostrils are blocked. However, in a dream state you will still be able to breathe.
3 - Try Reading
Look carefully at any writing you see. Look away from it for a second and then go back to it. In a waking state the text will not change, but in a dream state the text will appear different.
4 - Pay Attention To Mirrors
Does your reflection in the mirror look normal? If your face or body looks distorted, you might be dreaming!
5 - Notice Details
Pay attention to details on bricks and tiles. In dreams they often change when you look away and then look back at them. This can also be applied to looking at the time - a favorite of a lot of people. When you look back at the clock, the time is different!
"For often, when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream."
Keep In Mind:
- Just to be safe it is always a good idea to perform 2 reality checks in case one of them doesn't work. I usually do the push hands and breathing reality checks.
- Pick the 2 reality checks you like the most and perform them at regular intervals.
- Some usually put a reminder on their phone to do a reality check every hour or two.
- You should perform 5-10 reality checks per day.
- Make sure you do the reality checks with full awareness. Don't just mindlessly do them or they won't work.
- Look around you and really question: "Am I dreaming?"
- Most students begin experiencing random lucid dreams, just through the process of keeping a dream journal and doing reality checks