Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Clare R. Johnson, PhD, author of the new Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming.

Lucid dreams are dreams where we know that we’re dreaming, while we’re dreaming. In a lucid dream, we activate our waking awareness in a dream, without waking up.

Once lucid, we can fly, face up to nightmare images, heal ourselves from trauma and grief, rehearse skills we need in our waking life, overcome phobias, experience dreamscapes of astonishing beauty…and have an enormous amount of fun! Here’s how to get lucid:

  1. Keep a Dream Journal.
    This is a wonderful way of communicating with your dreaming mind. Non-lucid dreams are the path to lucid dreams! Write down your dreams every morning, even if all you recall at first is a color or an emotion. Pay attention to your dream symbols and see which ones come up frequently. Then link these symbols to a strong intention to get lucid: “The next time I see a kangaroo, I”ll know I’m dreaming!”
  2. Carry Out “Reality Checks.”
    As you go about your day, whenever you see something a little strange, or beautiful, or ugly, or random, ask yourself: “Am I dreaming this?” Focus hard on what you see and feel. The more you question your state of consciousness while awake, the more likely you are to do the same while you are dreaming and so realize: “Aha—I am dreaming this!”
  3. Observe Your Pre-Sleep Imagery.
    Before you fall asleep, instead of rolling over and sinking into oblivion, make a point of watching out for the bizarre images that appear behind your closed eyelids as you are dropping off to sleep. Known as “hypnagogic images,” these are a gateway to lucid dreaming. If you stay focused as the images morph into 3D moving scenes, you will enter a lucid dream directly from the waking state.
  4. Cultivate Body Awareness.
    Notice your body right now. How does it feel? Any aches and pains? Any restlessness, itchiness, muscle tension? Is your body hot, cold, tired, hungry? The more you pay attention to your solid, physical body, the easier it will be to identify when you are in your floaty, light, pain-free dream body. The difference between the physical body and the dream body acts as an amazingly reliable lucidity cue.
  5. Visualize Yourself Becoming Lucid.
    Visualization is a powerful way of communicating with your unconscious mind. Before you sleep, pick any recent dream and vividly imagine yourself becoming lucid in it and doing whatever you would most love to do. Then fall asleep, repeating over and over: “I am dreaming, I am dreaming…” At some point in the night, with a flash of joy, you may understand that you really are dreaming right now—you are lucid in your dream!

Want more tips on becoming lucid? Check out my short video!

Our thanks to Clare for her guest post! For more from Clare R. Johnson, PhD, read her article, “5 Ways Lucid Dreaming Can Improve Your Life.”

Written by Anna
Anna is the editor of Llewellyn's New Worlds of Body, Mind & Spirit, the Llewellyn Journal, and Llewellyn's monthly newsletters. She also blogs, tweets, and helps maintain Llewellyn's Facebook page. In her free time, Anna enjoys crossword puzzles, Jeopardy!, being a grammar geek, and spending time ...