Something we hammer home over and over again is the link between lucid dreaming and mindfulness. All of the individual sub-skills required for LD become easier the better you are at being mindful and making your mind still.
However, the thing to understand is that this also benefits the rest of your life in a variety of ways. This is why we think it’s really important for everyone to learn a basic mindfulness practice. Not only does it help you to get better at lucid dreaming, which has its own benefits, but it also helps you to be a better performer at virtually anything you do.
How Mindfulness Empowers Us: Awake or Asleep
To become empowered, you have to gain more control over your place in the world than you had before. Ultimately, this is why mindfulness is a superpower to most people who practice it. Simply put, it empowers you at anything that requires you to use your mind and focus. Since that’s most of what you do, it’s easy to see how this could be very valuable if you put a little bit of work in.
But how does that actually work?
What is Mindfulness and Why is It Important?
Oxford gives the following definition of mindfulness:
the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something
Put another way, it’s when you consciously focus your awareness at something. You can think of it like a flash light, and you want to be able to point your flash light at the time you want to focus on without that focus being dragged away by something else.
When you have a regular mindful practice, your mind simply gets better at doing this from practice. It’s like anything else: When you regularly practice something, you get better at it, and it eventually can run on auto-pilot.
Consider a small child learning to walk for the first time. Every movement is choppy because they’re having to think about every little thing they’re doing. However, it doesn’t take very long until those movements smooth themselves out from simple practice. That’s how we want to think about mindfulness in general but especially in the context of lucid dreaming.
Developing a Lucid Dreaming Mindfulness Practice
Ideally, you want your practice to be split into two parts. One part should happen when you’re actively checking your DILD triggers. The other should happen away from your lucid dreaming work. The reason for this is that your work away from LD will support your LD work itself, and it can achieve a compounding effect that improves your dreaming results more quickly.
For example, we’re a big fan of people using doorways as triggers for checking to see if you’re in a lucid dream. However, you don’t necessarily want to do something that brings a lot of attention to yourself each time you go through a doorway. Instead, if you do something subtle while staying mindful of what you’re doing, it stays a personal practice without other people knowing what you’re doing.
When you pass through a doorway, you can simply look down at your hands for a slight moment before looking away to see if the room changed. Taking a long, slow, deep breath as you do this is one of our favorite lucid dreaming exercises as well, especially since it can help to keep you from being “jolted” awake if you happen to find yourself in a dream.
How This Practice Spreads Into Other Areas
In any discussion of how mindfulness empowers us, we have to consider that our mind is made up of a lot of different systems. Those systems are constantly trying to distract us with different things they think are important. However, we’re constantly trying to use our executive function to prioritize things and stay focused on what we’re consciously trying to accomplish.
When we work on mindfulness, regardless of the specific area we focus on with it, it improves our ability to maintain this focus in all aspects of our life. This is at the core of why mindfulness is a superpower and why it seems like such a huge percentage of highly effective people practice it.
The Bottom Line
Any trigger you want to use can become a mindful practice for lucid dreaming if you simply apply it over and over again. Staying calm and relaxed while you do it is the key, however, because that’s how you keep from becoming too reactive and just being all over the place mentally.
Jesse G. is a long-time fan of the esoteric in all of its forms and its effects on performance, happiness and stress in a variety of people. His work centers primarily around allowing people to use a variety of areas to figure out what works best for them as individuals.