The easiest way to get started with lucid dreaming is by using something called the Dream Initiated Lucid Dream technique, which is generally called DILD for short. That name doesn’t really explain much by itself, so here’s a better explanation:

The idea is that you create a situation where something in the dream itself tells you that you’re dreaming.

This approach takes some practice, but it’s generally seen as the most reliable and beginner-friendly option. In fact, if you look at all of the lucid dreaming techniques recommended out there, this is the one that people get the most success out of.

However, DILD lucid dreaming in itself isn’t exactly one technique. Instead, it’s a style of approach that can give you a lot of different specific techniques as a result. Additionally, most natural lucid dreamers are really people who just figured this type of thing out by chance. We think that following the path of people who can do this naturally isn’t a bad way to go, and we think you’ll agree.

In what follows, we’ll look at a few different ways you can use the DILD lucid dream technique to get yourself started.

Focus on a yellow flower being held between two hands while everything else is blurry and unstable.

The Most Common Lucid Dreaming Approach: The Hands Technique

Because of the way our brains have to generate so much information during a dream, changes can happen if you focus on one object, look away and then focus on them again. The Hands Technique of lucid dreaming tries to take advantage of this in a simple, accessible way. If you don’t have hands for some reason, you can actually use any other part of your body, but hands are what are most accessible to most people, most of the time.

Here’s how this approach works:

  1. If you think that you might be in a dream, hold your hands up in front of you, and look down at them for a moment.
  2. Once you’re focused on your hands, look back up at the room around you. If things changed quite a bit, then you are probably in a dream.
  3. From there, you can test to see if you can make things happen in the dream to confirm that you’re dreaming.

This process sounds really simple because it is. However, it’s also something that you should get in the habit of doing when you’re awake so that you’ll be more likely to think about doing it when you’re in a dream. This is the most common lucid dream DILD approach out there because it works so well and is so easy to learn to do. With that said, you’ll still need to practice it a bit for it to become second nature.

A visualization of the door trigger in lucid dreaming made with multiple doorways leading into each other.

A Trigger-based Lucid Dreaming Technique: Doorway Triggers

The major shortcoming of the Hands Technique is that it’s easy to forget to do it. Because of that, people like to incorporate different triggers to essentially remind them to test the environment to see if they’re dreaming. Our recommendation for a DILD lucid dreaming trigger is when you walk through a doorway.

This type of trigger has a few key advantages:

  • You walk through doorways pretty often in dreams if you’re like most people, so it’s a useful trigger in a practical sense.
  • To get the most from this trigger, you don’t actually have to do it every time you walk through a doorway. Instead it’ll just be there to remind you that you might be in a dream, which can help with other dream initiated lucid dream techniques.
  • Natural lucid dreamers can add this trigger to their repertoire to get even better at sensing and taking control of their dreams.

The idea here is that you can apply the Hands Technique each time you walk through a doorway. Additionally, this is a sneaky thing that you can do with yourself to test if you’re in a dream without other people realizing what you’re doing. In this sense, it also has a degree of built-in privacy included.

A plain, sanitized all-white setting with black glasses on a white book on a white bedsheet.

Text Change Recognition (TCR): Dream Initiated Lucid Dream Detection

Our final recommendation under the DILD banner is a slightly different approach. As you’ve noticed, this overall approach is about detecting that you’re in a dream in the first place. The Text Change Recognition technique, known as TCR lucid dreaming sometimes for short, is another way to detect this. Much like the Hands Technique, it can be used on its own or in cooperation with a trigger like the doorways approach above.

When you look at specific text in a dream and then look away, when you look back at the text, it will have often changed. You can look away and look back multiple times to confirm. This has the advantage of not needing to use your hands to check if you’re in a dream, and it has the additional advantage of privacy since no one can really tell what you’re doing. However, it’s one of the strongest DILD lucid dream detection techniques out there.

In both the TCT technique in the Hands Technique, you’re relying on the same premise: Your brain has trouble keeping up with all of the information that it generates during a dream. It’s like dealing with someone who is a good liar. If they’re telling a short story, then they can keep everything together really easily. However, once their story gets longer and longer, it becomes easier to tell what’s going on.

How to Use DILD Lucid Dreaming Techniques Now

In an ideal situation, you need three things to make DILD-style lucid dreams happen for you. The first thing you need is a technique that you’re going to use. The Hands Technique and the Text Change Recognition Technique are the two easiest to get started with, so we recommend that you pick one of them to start with. This is especially the case if you’re trying to dream of your father or some other specific person.

From there, you also need a triggering mechanism. This will be what reminds you to use your chosen technique to check to see if you’re in a dream. The Doorway Trigger is probably the best for new lucid dreamers to start with because it’s so easy to learn.

Once you have your technique and your trigger, the third thing to do is practice. When you walk through a doorway, look around for text you can check with the TCR technique sometimes, or look down at your hands for that technique instead. As long as you practice somewhat regularly, it’s very likely that you’ll think to check in a dream and find yourself in one at some point sooner rather than later.

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