MILD stands for Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams or "Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dream". This technique makes use of your ability to recall your intentions in the future (prospective memory), making you more likely to remember to question the dream or your intent of becoming lucid, or making a reality check. This can be done in several ways:
- By the use of mantras and reality checks
- Exercises that improve your prospective memory.
Because some people have an easier time remembering their intention than others, the time it takes to obtain a lucid dream may vary, which is why MILD tends to be such a reliable technique for some. Over time, as your prospective memory improves, you'll notice more consistent results, not only in achieving lucidity, but also in remembering actions and plans you have for your dream adventures, and even having an easier time remembering to wake up in the middle of the night if you're trying to WILD.
Dr. Steven LaBerge created this technique and wrote about it in his book, "Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming." Since he first wrote about this technique lucid dreamers have developed several variations.
Should you try to increase your chances to MILD by performing a WBTB, you want a decent recall in order to remember your last dream. The reason for this is because it's common among MILD users to visualize the last dream they had, but introducing a new element on it: lucidity. You'll want to take some time to recall your dream and imagining it with you lucid. And of course, you want to be able to remember your successful MILD!
Because the goal of a MILD might be to remember to RC in a dream, you need to be familiar with them. They are meant to help you develop the habit to do them, which will eventually make you "remember" to do one in a dream. Doing the reality check is not enough though: you want to include in it the intention of doing one while dreaming, or in the nearby future (this way, regardless of you thinking you are asleep or not, your brain will remember to do it, which is effective even if you are tricking into thinking you aren't in a dream).
Using a Mantra for your Intention
A mantra is any word, phrase, or sentence that you repeat to yourself to help you focus on and remember your intent of becoming lucid. There are many good mantras for MILD. You should choose one that you think will work for you. You can always create your own or change one of these suggestions. Some ideas for MILD mantras include:
- I will realize I am dreaming.
- I am aware/I am lucid.
- I question my reality.
- Lucidity is my goal.
Ultimately, it's not the specific wording that will make you lucid, but it's the connection you establish with your mantra. This means that even a simple mantra like "I am aware", if clearly expressing and reminding you that you want to be "aware in a dream", can give you great results. Remember, it's all about focusing on your intention!
Making use of Visualization.
Visualization is another powerful tool to help you achieving a MILD. By recreating a scenario where you can visualize yourself while lucid and carrying on your intent of doing reality checks, questioning if you are dreaming, or even repeating your mantra, you're increasing your chances of incorporating these thoughts in your dreams. Your visualizations don't need to be at a perfect level, because just the fact that you're thinking about your intent is enough to provide results, since your brain will make use of this "memory" to remind himself later.
Choosing a Dream Scene for Visualization
If you're practicing MILD by visualizing a past dream or a dream scenario, you should choose a dream that you remember vividly. Imagine what would have happened if you had noticed a dream sign or had wondered it was a dream and did reality checks. Another option is to imagine a dream scenario that includes you doing reality checks or a dream character telling you to perform them. Imagine what it will be like to realize you are dreaming. If you happen to wake up in the night while trying to MILD and remember a dream you just had you can use it instead. Just imagine that you are back in that dream and doing a reality check, like described above.
Improving your prospective memory
As you may have realized by now, the way of becoming lucid through MILD is by remembering to question your reality, do a reality check, among other things (some people use MILD to aid them remembering things they want to do in a dream!). This particular type of memory that allows you to remember something in the future is called prospective memory, and it's a very important aspect for every lucid dreamer, because it helps us in several techniques (not just MILD). So how can you improve it in order to increase your chances of remembering your intention of becoming lucid?
LaBerge itself mentioned a type of exercise that is not only very simple, but also provides great results by making you more focused on your task to remember something later on. We'll take a quick look at how you can perform it:
- Each morning, pick 3 elements. You want them to be some what common during your usual routine, since the goal will be spotting them every time they show up, but they can range from a simple object (Example:"red car", "your watch" and "text message in your cellphone"), to an action ("drinking water", "sneezing" or even "opening a door", or a person ("your sister, your cat, your best friend"), or even a specific location ("whenever you leaving a building" or "whenever you arrive at home or school/work"). You got pretty much an infinite number of options, which will be useful later, because you want to use 3 different elements every day!
- Now that you picked your 3 elements, try to focus on them for a moment. You want to really state your intention of reminding yourself to questioning your reality and doing a reality check every time you see one of them. Be confident that you will remember to perform these actions whenever you spot one of your elements during the day!
- When you reach the end of the day, try to recall what happened: did you do a reality check every time you spotted them? Did you forgot? How many times did you remember them? Next day, pick another 3 elements and repeat the exercise.
- At first, you may spot one of them and forget to question reality or do a reality check, but it's okay. As you practice and your prospective memory improves, you'll realize that you're able to remember your intention much easily whenever you spot one of your chosen elements. This is a great thing, because you will have more chances of remembering your goal to becoming lucid. In the same way you train yourself to remember to do a reality check or question reality during the day with this exercise, your intention of doing it in a dream will also be more easily recalled, just state it firmly and watch the result of your daily practice.
How to MILD at night.
- Relax. Use whatever relaxation technique you have found works for you. Do it for 5-10 minutes, or longer if you need it.
- Once you are relaxed repeat the mantra you have chosen for your intention over and over to yourself in your head. Keep your mind focused on your goal while you do this. You should repeat this mantra as long as you can, but you don't want it to keep you awake. Try to make your last thought before falling asleep be about lucid dreaming.
- If you wake up during the night lay still and try to remember any dreams you have had. Write down some notes about them immediately. If you haven't had a lucid dream yet you may repeat the MILD technique if you wish.
- If you sleep through the night try to remember any dreams you had before you get out of bed. Hopefully you had a MILD during the night and will remember it now.
- You can still make use of your mantra, but at some point before falling asleep, you want to move on to the visualization step.
- Call up the dream memory or imagined dream scenario you have chosen. Add to it you doing a reality check and becoming lucid. Imagine it vividly. What emotions would you feel? Although it is important to visualize vividly you don't want it to keep you awake. If you can't fall asleep as you do this, visualize for a few minutes and then go back to the intention mantra. Try to make sure your last thought before falling asleep is about lucid dreaming.
- If you wake up during the night lay still and try to remember any dreams you have had. Write down some notes about them immediately. If you haven't had a lucid dream yet you may repeat the MILD technique if you wish. Then visualize yourself in those dreams while being lucid, questioning your state or doing a reality check.
- For even better chances that you will have a lucid dream you can also repeat mantra during the day when you have a chance, or even schedule a few occasions to perform visualization. The prospective memory exercise mentioned above will also help you taking notice of your improvements and be overall more focused on your intention of becoming lucid.
- If the visualization always makes you too awake to fall asleep do it first, then do your mantra as you fall asleep.
- If your mind starts to drift as you fall asleep and keeping up the mantra or visualization wakes you up it is okay. You just want your last thought to be about lucid dreaming.
Other Useful Links.
◦MILD - Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams
Trying out MILD? This is how you become skilled at it.