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    Thread: Reality Checks - RCs

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      gab
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      Reality Checks - RCs

      REALITY CHECKS

      A reality check is a common tool used by dreamers practicing all techniques, but mostly DILD. They are practiced during the day, either spontaneously, or with help of some reminder.


      Why do I need to do a reality check?

      1. Repetitive action of checking reality will start happening in regular dreams.
      2. Heightened awareness during practice helps gain awareness in regular dream.
      3. Once having awareness, it confirms lucidity.


      How to do a reality check?

      RC starts with an awareness question, something like "Wow, am I dreaming?" (When I ask this, I personally do believe that I'm dreaming. But even if you don't, do not ever think to yourself "Of course I'm definitely awake". If you believe that you are awake, then you will have same thoughts in your dream and you will not get lucid.)

      Examine the nature of your current world. Analyze if you feel strange and if the visual field looks normal. Check your cognitive function. Ask yourself "Do I remember things from earlier in this day?" "Do I actually know what day this is and if I should really be here?" "How did I get here, what was I doing 2 hrs ago?"

      Examine your surroundings and try to compare what you see with how you remember it should look like.

      Do a Reality check and fully expect it to work. Then you say your mantra. I use "Next time I'm dreaming, I realize I'm dreaming".

      Since it's not really the RC that will get you lucid, but the awareness question and questioning of your reality, it's very important that you believe you are dreaming and that your RC will work.

      Important: Even if you come to the conclusion that you are not dreaming, don't acknowledge it. Don't say/think "I'm not dreaming". Instead, say a mantra "Next time I'm dreaming, I realize I'm dreaming", or "Next time I RC, I realize I'm dreaming." Otherwise, you may RC in your dream and out of habit you will acknowledge that you are not dreaming.


      How often should I do a reality check?

      You can RC every time you remember to do so. Or if you hear/see a reminder that you set.
      It can be a few times an hour to few times a day. In general, the more you do it, the better—as long as you don't do them mindlessly or as a routine chore, without paying attention to the real point of doing RCs which is questioning your reality and expecting to be in a dream.


      Different Reality Checks

      It's always best to practice at least 2-3 RCs at the same time.
      Some of the best RCs based on ease of practice in a dream and success rate:

      1. Looking at hands + Counting fingers Or without counting fingers - Very reliable
      2. Nose plug - Very reliable
      3. Thumb/palm - Very reliable
      4. Gravity - Very reliable
      5. Try to change something - Very reliable
      6. Switches - Less reliable
      7. Reading - Less reliable
      8. Make your own


      1. In Waking Life (IWL) Look at your hands, palms up and notice details. Count your fingers. Do they look normal (color, shape, size, can you make your finger longer?) Do you have the right amount? Don't expect to count 10 fingers. Don't expect them to be normal.
      This is a good RC because your hands are always there, IWL and in a dream, and you can practice this discreetly.

      2. IWL - pinch your nose shut with your hand and try to breathe. Fully expect to be able to breathe. If you can breathe, you are in a dream. Also a good RC because your nose is always there, little less discreet to practice.

      3. IWL - Try to gently push your thumb through a palm of your other hand. Pay attention to the sensation. Anticipate that it will go through. In the dream, do the same. If it goes through, you are dreaming. Good RC also because you don't have to go and look for them and quite discreet to practice.

      4. IWL - Say, "If this was a dream, I could levitate" and expect to float up. Gently push off and expect to start rising up. Do the same in a dream. Good RC, you can do it anywhere and totally discreet.

      5. IWL - look at something and try to change it. Say "if this was a dream, that [something] would be [something else]. You can think of an item being some other item, or try to change color, size, movement... It's fun and it transfers into your dream very well. Don't forget to use emotions when doing it - be sure you are in a dream, so the thing will change. If you have a dream goal, like summoning something, you can try to do that, as if you were in a dream.

      6. Try to turn on a light switch. In a dream, flipping a switch may/may not work. But people do report that they can turn on lights in a dream. And if there is no light switch near in a dream, you would have to look for one and waste your time.

      7. Try to read. In a dream, you can read, but when you take a second look, it will say something different, or gibberish. Also time on a clock may have letters instead of numbers. But it can also look correct. And you have to find a clock in a dream before you can do RC.

      8. Make your own. You can make pretty much anything into RC. Just make sure you preceed it with an awareness question and you genuinely believe you are dreaming. For example if you wear glasses, articles of clothing, how far can you throw something, try to summon something or make it walk through the door. If you have something that you only see in your dream, like a dream watch (BrandonBoss's RC), you can keep checking if you have that. The possibilities are endless.

      If you have problems finding some item in a dream that you practiced RCs on in Waking Life, switch to something that doesn't require any external object. For example, if you RC on your bracelet, and you don't see it in your dream, that may stop you from RCing and losing your chance at becoming lucid. This is another reason why practicing 2-3 RCs is recommended. You may pick them from different categories. For example, 1 RC - [item], 2nd RC - your hands, 3rd RC - gravity.


      Tools to remind yourself to RC

      You don't have to limit yourself when and how and why you do RC. It is best to use all possible reasons to better your chance that some of them will work.


      1. Use an activity reminder - something you do often. RC every time you:
      - walk through doors
      - use the restroom
      - notice a specific color
      - get a phone call
      - get a drink
      - and anything else you can think of

      2. Use a physical reminder - audio or visual
      - set your watch to beep every hour
      - set your timer
      - put some sticky notes all over your place, school books, laptop, door frame, wall above you bed, first thing you see in the morning
      - put a rubber band or bracelet on your wrist
      - and whatever else you can

      All these are just to help you get into habit of RCing. Pretty soon you will find that you will start RCing even without them. And that's the best way to do it. Spontaneously. Whenever the feeling "OMG, what if this is a dream" strikes you.

      3. Dream signs - anything that occurs often in your dreams AND in your waking life.
      You RC on these in WL every time you see it, think about it or say it out loud. Then, when they show up in your dream, you are likely to RC there as well.

      Side note: Sometimes you get a dream sign that is not so common in your waking life. For example, a school you used to go to years ago, friends that moved away, deceased family members, or even things from movies, like dragons, actors, or anything similar.

      Obviously, if you don't see these in waking life, you can't RC on them. But, not all is lost. You can RC on photographs, even on pictures you draw or find on the internet. Also, every time when you think of the person/item/place, you can say it out loud and imagine how it looks.

      4. When you notice something strange. It can be strange for real or you just pretend it is. Let's face it, our lives are not that strange, so we have to make up some stuff.
      - a classmate shows up when you know he is at home sick
      - you thought you still had some beer in your fridge but it's all gone
      - it's lunch time, you should be hungry, but you are not
      - boy/girl that has been ignoring you is suddenly talking to you
      - you see or hear anything and you think to yourself "that's strange"

      5. At random
      -every time you get the sinking/exciting/freaky/exhilarating feeling in your stomach, that what if this was a dream and you didn't notice


      Did your RC fail?

      This is one of the most common questions about RCs. Why did my RC fail?

      For example, you are in a dream, you get the urge to RC, or you decide to RC because you get suspicious that you could be in a dream. You RC and it doesn't work. Your thumb won't go through your palm, you can't breathe with pinched nose...

      This can happen if during your waking life practice, you don't believe that your RC will do what it's suppose to do. If you think "I know I'm awake, so I know my thumb will not go through my palm". This thought will also happen in your dream. And since our dreams are ruled by our thoughts, what you say/think/believe, will happen.

      And since we know that it's not really the RC that gets us lucid (although sometimes it may seem so), it is absolutely critical that we believe that we are in a dream, and that our RC will do what it's supposed to when we are practicing during day. If you are not able to believe that you are asleep, then at least be opened to idea, that you are dreaming. Have some doubts, don't be sure that you are awake.

      Then, this thought "I'm dreaming and my RC works" will manifest itself in our dreams and it will get us lucid.


      The truth behind "I never RC in my dream and yet I get lucid. So RCs are not needed."

      You may notice that sometimes you get lucid and you didn't even do an RC. It may seem like you just got lucid out of the blue and RCs are not working, because you didn't even use it and got lucid. Important part of RC is the awareness question, when you ask yourself if you are in a dream and you truly believe that you are. So this belief may happen in your non-lucid dream, and you will suddently believe that you are in a dream. You may or may not follow that up with RC. But this realization didn't come from nothing. It came from your hard work of practicing awareness and RCs.


      Conclusion

      After practicing Reality Checks together with awareness and mantras, pretty soon these actions, and most importantly, feelings, will start to happen in your non-lucid dreams naturally. Awareness question and associated feeling will give you some awareness and possibly even make you lucid, and RC will either help you realize that you are lucid, or it will help you confirm it. Happy dreams.

    2. #2
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      Well put together.
      This must have taken some time.
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    3. #3
      gab
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      Quote Originally Posted by TiredPhil View Post
      Well put together.
      This must have taken some time.
      Thank you, Phil. It took me 6 days. On 7th day, I rested.

      Any questions, folk, here is the place to ask or comment.

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      Nice work, Gab -- I don't think I've ever seen a more thorough review of RC's. Clear, too... Now if you can just make it mandatory reading for all DV members, you'll be all set!
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      gab
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      Nice work, Gab -- I don't think I've ever seen a more thorough review of RC's. Clear, too... Now if you can just make it mandatory reading for all DV members, you'll be all set!
      Thank you Sageous. And thank you Dream Guides BrandonBoss, Scionox, JoannaB, Paigeyemps and mod Sivason for helping with finalizing and spellcheck.

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      Thanks for the write up Gab, it unlocked a key misunderstanding for me about RC's that I totally missed.
      Even if you come to the conclusion that you are not dreaming, don't acknowledge it
      much appreciated. TY
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      This is amazing Gab, nicely explained. Exactly the stuff I need to be doing upon coming back. Wrote a mini version of it on my phone so I can remember exactly what to do.
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      3. Dream signs - anything that occurs often in your dreams AND in your waking life.
      You RC on these in WL every time you see it, think about it or say it out loud. Then, when they show up in your dream, you are likely to RC there as well.

      Side note: Sometimes you get a dream sign that is not so common in your waking life. For example, a school you used to go to years ago, friends that moved away, deceased family members, or even things from movies, like dragons, actors, or anything similar.

      Obviously, if you don't see these in waking life, you can't RC on them. But, not all is lost. You can RC on photographs, even on pictures you draw or find on the internet. Also, every time when you think of the person/item/place, you can say it out loud and imagine how it looks

      Nice work Gab !

      Reality checking is a very stimulating practice and the perfect introduction to LD.

      I would just like to say that a very important DS i am having lately is about high school friends. As i donīt see them often in WL, i RC everytime i think about them, as you suggest, and also, as a way to RC, i try to find them in my surroundings.

      What i am suggesting is that a DS may be not only a reminder to RC, but also the RC itself. For instance, in my nLDs i usually fly, but somewhat misteriously i donīt get lucid. So, i decided to try to fly as one of my RCs. And by now i have found my self flying a couple of times
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      gab
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      Quote Originally Posted by Kactus View Post
      Thanks for the write up Gab, it unlocked a key misunderstanding for me about RC's that I totally missed. much appreciated. TY
      Thank you, Kactus!

      Yes, that's because it's your mindset what counts. Not really the RC itself, but what you think and believe while you doing it.

      Finding yourself doing an RC in a dream and thinking "no, I'm not dreaming", or "yes, I'm dreaming" makes all the difference.

      Quote Originally Posted by VagalTone View Post

      I would just like to say that a very important DS i am having lately is about high school friends. As i donīt see them often in WL, i RC everytime i think about them, as you suggest, and also, as a way to RC, i try to find them in my surroundings.

      What i am suggesting is that a DS may be not only a reminder to RC, but also the RC itself. For instance, in my nLDs i usually fly, but somewhat misteriously i donīt get lucid. So, i decided to try to fly as one of my RCs. And by now i have found my self flying a couple of times
      Trying ot find your high school friends in your present environment could be a great RC! And yes to flying - I use the "levitation" RC, which is just slightly different.

      If you guys have your favorite or unusual RC, post it here. We would love to hear it!

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      my fav is reading coupled with a light switch.
      these always works for me.
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    11. #11
      gab
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      I have discovered, that for me, switching up my RCs helps. I don't know if my mind gets bored with same RCs after a while, or I just get so used to them, I don't really pay attention when RCing. So after a good run with certain RCs, I like to invent a new one. The more exciting and fun it is, better the likelyhood, that my mind will pay attention and "play along" with me.

      Did anybody experience that? RCing more in dreams after switching to new RC?

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      This is great tutorial Gab! There are so many little things that it is easy to forget about. I think it would be helpful for me to read this periodically as a reminder. I also like VagalTone's way of looking at dream signs and RC's!

      As to your question above. My few RC's during dreams were after I already knew I was dreaming...not sure why. But I do realize that they help with my awareness! Duke396 told me about an app (that I didn't find when I was first looking for one) that has truly random alerts along with other features. App is called "Awoken" for android. I quite like it and chose a tone that sounds "dreamlike" to me and so far helps me to invoke that sense of wonder Sageous talks about.

      Quick story. I am walking out of the store IWL and had a close parking spot. I walked right up to my car and my key fob/remote wasn't unlocking my car or flashing the lights...gave me that dreamlike feeling of "this is strange, this should work, the battery can't be dead already!" It was an identical car to mine that was actually a few more cars down. There is no chirp or anything when I unlock.
      Last edited by fogelbise; 10-11-2013 at 10:06 PM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by gab View Post
      I have discovered, that for me, switching up my RCs helps. I don't know if my mind gets bored with same RCs after a while, or I just get so used to them, I don't really pay attention when RCing. So after a good run with certain RCs, I like to invent a new one. The more exciting and fun it is, better the likelyhood, that my mind will pay attention and "play along" with me.

      Did anybody experience that? RCing more in dreams after switching to new RC?
      I agree switching to new RCs helps to keep and rebuild enthusiam, which plays a crucial role in RCs. I am not sure that keeping the same RC is something so desirable, because not only enthusiam may decline but also because it is the awareness habit that, perhaps, is more important and not the kind of RC itself. Indeed many people complain that they never RC in the dream, but that somehow it helps and they get lucid.

      And, keeping the same reasoning in the last post, one can switch to new RCs according to oneīs recent dream signs, as i did with my jump/ flying RC. By doing so, i guess i am telling my subconscious mind that i can only fly in my dreams. So, even if i donīt remember to RC in my next dreams, i may see my DS and recognize Ŧ hey, my RC is working, i am dreamingŧ.

      So, in general, if one is having a recurrent dream sign ( a dream sign is always recurrent ! ) it makes perfect sense to use it to RC and think about IWL.
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      Been RCing about 10 times daily for nearly two weeks now, haven't had an LD yet. I just don't have awareness in my dreams. What am I doing wrong?
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      ^^ RC's are a step in the path to LD'ing, Giantsqu1d, not the whole walk.

      Because she's much better at it, I'll leave it to Gab to fill in the details, but suffice it to say that successful LD'ing comes from a mental preparation soup that includes self-awareness, memory, and expectation as ingredients. RC's are certainly in the soup too, but the are not floating alone.

      You might check out the tutorials here on MILD, DILD, and WILD, if only to get a better feel for what's involved.
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      Gab & VagalTone: switching it up to include floating/flying is definitely a positive for me so far! It simply feels fun to ponder and I feel it will help and may have already! I had been experimenting with noticing gravity's effect on me throughout the day but it is harder to maintain focus on normal gravity in reality versus a random ~hourly check in a more fun way...attempting to defy reality. I may keep the other as a long term goal to become lucid more quickly.(Hukif's idea, not mine).
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      [Edit: I think I have answered my own question, so no need to read all this below unless you want to...basically I know how I should proceed for now ]

      Gab, VagalTone, Sageous, or anyone with input. I am looking for any suggestions to tweak my RC work IWL. The adjustment above translated quickly to at least the semi-lucid part of what became an LD but there are two challenges to work through that came up. Quick background: I use the "Awoken" app on android for a truly random reminder and chose a dreamlike reminder tone. Reminder comes on 14 random times in a 14 hour window between 8am-10pm. It also a separate dream clue setting to have the same sound go off during your sleep, that I have set to 6 times between 5am to 6:55am (I have heard it once during what I assume was a dream state since the sound was magnified and odd but thought I was awake at the time. This was actually the same night and was some time before I had this LD). I also RC in other situations. I am currently using a float RC and then looking at hand/counting fingers. I enjoy doing the float RC, IWL. I look up towards the ceiling or sky and simulate/visualize floating(imagining that the RC will work) and it almost feels like I am getting closer and closer to the ceiling(or zooming in the focus)...it is somewhat fun but nothing like in an LD of course. In my last LD the float RC didn't work so I went back to one I had been using regularly lately - the finger through palm - and it didn't work. This caused me to go to what I would think was semi-lucid before getting back on track by doing a 3rd one - the pinched nose breathing one - and it worked. I even did it two more times just to make sure I was truly holding my nose pinched since the first two RC's not working threw me off in the dream. DJ entry, if interested. Issue #1, RC's not confirming a dream within the dream possibly due to the way I do my RC in waking life - feels somewhat real but I know that I am not actually floating IWL and that may have translated into the dream as well. Issue #2, I always just take off flying but in this dream after confirming with the 3rd RC that I was dreaming, I intended to float and then take off flying but did not float. I rectified this by just taking off flying like I normally do without any doubt. This is the first time I was intending to fly but had trouble(trouble floating to be more accurate), since at least I was a child...though I did start the intent to fly by floating which is different than normal. I am guessing that I started this time with a float because of my float RC IWL or because I wanted to check it again since it didn't work earlier in the dream...I don't recall my thinking at that time except that I wanted to show my son's DC that I could fly.
      Last edited by fogelbise; 10-18-2013 at 12:48 AM. Reason: add the edit at the top
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    18. #18
      gab
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      Quote Originally Posted by fogelbise View Post
      ... I think it would be helpful for me to read this periodically as a reminder.

      ...My few RC's during dreams were after I already knew I was dreaming...not sure why.
      Yes. I strongly believe, that reading and re-reading posts and tutorials is a great way to prime our mind for lucid dreaming. Especially, if while reading, you think to yourself "oh, this is good. I will do the same. It will work for me. I love this idea. I don't get how it works, but I will have leap of faith and I will do it". Even if you don't say it with these words (these were just examples), it's enough that you think it. It counts as setting your intent, even if only subconsciously.

      It happend to me on numerous occasions, that while in transition to a LD, or during LD, I recalled a relevant part of a tutorial, as if I had perfect memory. I'm not sure, I would be able to recall those details in waking life, but while in a dream, I was able to.

      We RC in a dream, because something reminds us to do that. Most of the time, it's awareness. And most of the time this happens, we already kinda know, we are dreaming. But we still go through with RC, because that's what we have practiced.

      If we RC in a dream, but it doesn't get us lucid, that's most likely because we only practiced RCs without awareness. So we just repeat what we did during day, but same as other things we dream about, they don't get us lucid.

      Quote Originally Posted by giantsqu1d View Post
      Been RCing about 10 times daily for nearly two weeks now, haven't had an LD yet. I just don't have awareness in my dreams. What am I doing wrong?
      It's possible, that you are doing it right. You just may need some more time for your practice to show up in your dreams.

      Also, make sure, that you are practicing awareness with your RC. Those should go together, like a hamburger and french fries. "Would you like some awareness with those RCs?"

      Although this tutorial provides enough info to get you started, please check out article that Sageous linked. And also his excellent WILD tutorial, especially the part about mental prep and RCs. http://www.dreamviews.com/wild/
      Good luck

    19. #19
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      Another great guide, Gab. I've been doing the "looking at the hands" RC in waking life for as long as I can remember. Oddly enough I never do this in my dreams though. The idea that I may be dreaming is usually enough for me to spot a distortion in the dream space before I even look at my hands. It works indirectly.

      Being that many of my non lucid dreams involve fighting for someone else with weapons or even fighting dragons (!), there is too much risk in examining my surroundings or doing a normal reality check, so in this case if I find the dream a bit too unbelievable I will usually just block my airway without using my hands; it's sort of like a nose plug but blocking the trachea instead because it seems to take less energy to do so while being physically engaged. It is useful because you can perform it quickly without taking your mind off of what you are doing.
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      this helps alot, thank you. great idea's, i was wondering what to do when a dragon showed up in my dream
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      I check if things are too heavily detailed and "normal" to be in a dream. I find dreams sort of "smoother", and more grandios, so if I see a bunch of clutter somewhere, or a wire poking out of something, etc. that I know would not be important enough for my subconscious to create in a dream, I know I am awake.
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    22. #22
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      Quote Originally Posted by Frightlight View Post
      I check if things are too heavily detailed and "normal" to be in a dream. I find dreams sort of "smoother", and more grandios, so if I see a bunch of clutter somewhere, or a wire poking out of something, etc. that I know would not be important enough for my subconscious to create in a dream, I know I am awake.
      Hrm, great, if that works for you.

      I hope I will not mess up your method here, but I have found, that in my lucids, my vision is much better than in WL. And everything is so much more "real". Colors are more vibrant and more beautiful, details are more "detailed", techtures feel exactly as they should, it's just so darn real, I could not tell just from that if I'm in a dream.

    23. #23
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      Quote Originally Posted by Frightlight View Post
      I check if things are too heavily detailed and "normal" to be in a dream. I find dreams sort of "smoother", and more grandios, so if I see a bunch of clutter somewhere, or a wire poking out of something, etc. that I know would not be important enough for my subconscious to create in a dream, I know I am awake.
      Of course, now you've opened the door for your unconscious to sneak some clutter and loose wires into your dreams, just to better make them more real for you.

      But seriously:

      Like Gab, I've found the details in my dream rival or mirror waking-life as well -- especially if I take a moment to observe (or check) for them.

      Also, trusting your judgement that a room is "waking-life" accurate during the dream is slightly risky, given that you must trust your addled non-lucid memory as well.
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      Oh, and I forgot to say, that every time I'm 100% sure I'm awake, but I check anyway, I become lucid: P

      So if i have relied on my feeling, I would have missed becoming lucid.

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      I normally make objects move or make the light turn on and off (like Matilda ) That seems to work well for me. If I'm thinking "Am I dreaming?" then I definitely am because I've never questioned it when I am in fact awake

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