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    Thread: FryingMan's Unified Theory of Lucid Dreaming: Pay Attention, Reflect, Recall -- Both Day and Night

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      FryingMan's Unified Theory of Lucid Dreaming: Pay Attention, Reflect, Recall -- Both Day and Night

      I've been converging on a succinct statement of what I believe is at the heart of lucid dreaming practice for a while. A few people have encouraged me to get it into writing in a thread, so here it is...

      (I notice in the "similar threads" that Redrivertears focuses on attention as well ).

      This is based on what I've learned from many others and my own experiences, and participating in countless discussion threads. I find myself now giving the same set of advice over and over again to everybody who asks about improving in any aspect of lucid dreaming practice. Without further ado, here it is:
      • Pay attention to and reflect upon your present experience, with the goal of recognizing your state
      • Recall and reflect upon your past experiences

      (Note that you can think of these as a "how to" approach to implementing Sageous's LD fundamentals: self-awareness and memory)

      Attention: we remember that to which we pay attention. Pay attention, on purpose. "Be aware of your awareness" (Marc Vandekeere). This is the key to vivid dreams, "present" dreams, and dream recall in general. Being present in the experience of the dream is required for lucidity (if "you" are not there, you can't get lucid!). Our dreaming selves are basically our waking selves, with a layer of mental dullness & fog overlaid on top and impaired access to memory. So in order to pay attention to our dreams, to be present and have vivid memory of them, we must consistently pay attention in waking life to our experiences.

      Reflection: awareness without reflection is simple observation, it does not in itself lead to lucidity. Ask "Is this dream-like?", "How odd is this?" "Why do I think I'm awake?" "Is this a waking location?". Realize the truth that any conscious moment could be in the dream state. Bring your "self" into the questioning. This brings intent into the picture: consider, why are you doing this at all? In order to recognize the dream state and thus become lucid in dreams (and in waking life, of course...lucidity is its own reward!).

      Recall: access to memory and self-awareness are interrelated. Practicing recall builds and strengthens neural pathways related to memory. If we could only remember the goal to get lucid in dreams while in the dream state, lucidity would be easy! Opening a crack into the dream state's impairment of access to memory is challenging, but a very powerful way to get lucid a lot more. Once lucid, accessing memory can raise minimal lucidity into maximal lucidity. Additionally, recalling dreams in detail and at length is just fun! Non-lucid recall keeps me going in between the lucids.

      Unified: do the same thing during waking and sleeping!
      Waking: pay attention to and reflect upon your experiences in the now, and at night before bed, recall and reflect upon them further.
      Sleeping/Dreaming: pay attention to and reflect upon your experiences in the now, and in the morning after waking, recall and reflect upon them further.

      In particular, think of the night also as a time to pay attention to your experiences, not as a time to black out until morning. Plan for active nights! Restful, but not lax to the point of dullness.

      For a while now I've had consistent strong day work, but my night work has been lacking, which is why my lucid results are still not as frequent as I'd like. I believe it's because I haven't been doing the same (at least, not consistently) thing during the night/in dreams. This unity of approach I think is very strong. Treating waking-time and dreaming-time as somehow fundamentally different can stall progress. Treat all conscious experiences as fundamentally the same (something to experience brightly and vividly in the now, and to remember later), and progress should flow and build consistently.
      Last edited by FryingMan; 10-30-2015 at 07:37 AM. Reason: grammar
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      FryingMan's Unified Theory of Lucid Dreaming: Pay Attention, Reflect, Recall -- Both Day and Night[link]
      FryingMan's Dream Recall Tips -- Awesome Links
      “No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.”
      "...develop stability in awareness and your dreams will change in extraordinary ways" -- TYoDaS

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      I like the recall thing. I feel like if I was to make a "redo" of my mantra it would be "Remember, I'm Dreaming." I think that the whole memory thing kind of escaped me from back then, not that I didn't do the right things, but I didn't do "exactly" the right thing, I was close to it, but not quite. Thinking about revising my mantra, I just don't know.

      I remember when I first started LDing I wanted to only work in the night and be two different people in night and day. I didn't realize that every hobby requires changing who you are in order to accomplish it, LDing more than any of them.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
      I like the recall thing. I feel like if I was to make a "redo" of my mantra it would be "Remember, I'm Dreaming." I think that the whole memory thing kind of escaped me from back then, not that I didn't do the right things, but I didn't do "exactly" the right thing, I was close to it, but not quite. Thinking about revising my mantra, I just don't know.

      I remember when I first started LDing I wanted to only work in the night and be two different people in night and day. I didn't realize that every hobby requires changing who you are in order to accomplish it, LDing more than any of them.
      Exactly! And I only wanted to work in the day. In LD practice, we must change the way we "be." If we are different people night and day, that is a conflict which prevents harmony and stalls progress because we're never sure how we should "be." The night strengthens and supports the day, and the day strengthens and supports the night. There is no need to push your mind into "oh, yeah, *this* time, I want to behave one way, different from those other times." Lucid is lucid, the now is the now, experiences become memories, night and day.

      p.s. "Remember, I'm dreaming" -- me too! I bop back and forth between this and "I'm dreaming."
      Last edited by FryingMan; 10-30-2015 at 07:40 AM.
      FryingMan's Unified Theory of Lucid Dreaming: Pay Attention, Reflect, Recall -- Both Day and Night[link]
      FryingMan's Dream Recall Tips -- Awesome Links
      “No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.”
      "...develop stability in awareness and your dreams will change in extraordinary ways" -- TYoDaS

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      FryingMan, i hope i am not going terribly Off topic here

      if i am correct you have practiced a lot about location awareness, right ? Can you give me some details on what you have done, and how ? I am contemplating a try

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      Quote Originally Posted by VagalTone View Post
      FryingMan, i hope i am not going terribly Off topic here

      if i am correct you have practiced a lot about location awareness, right ? Can you give me some details on what you have done, and how ? I am contemplating a try
      (Answer in PM, so as not to derail the thread).
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      FryingMan's Unified Theory of Lucid Dreaming: Pay Attention, Reflect, Recall -- Both Day and Night[link]
      FryingMan's Dream Recall Tips -- Awesome Links
      “No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.”
      "...develop stability in awareness and your dreams will change in extraordinary ways" -- TYoDaS

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      Great post, thanks!

      Honestly, I have seldom (maybe never) talked to practiced lucid dreamers who did not take a more general and holistic approach to awareness, dreaming, and lucid dreaming. In sharp contrast, most people seem to start out very 'goal-oriented', with the goal being 'having lucid dreams'. I believe strongly that for most people, switching from the goal-oriented to the broader view is a necessity if they want to have lucid dreams with greater frequency.

      Or like you and Sensei mention, we have to change the way we are, both asleep and awake.

      Quote Originally Posted by FryingMan View Post
      The night strengthens and supports the day, and the day strengthens and supports the night.
      Sometimes I compare lucid dreaming with how other people look at taking a vacation. Each night is a little adventurous vacation into the unknown for me, and each day I wake with my battery refreshed and ready to prepare for my next nightly vacation

      -Redrivertears-
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      ^^ Exactly! It's a catch-22: in order to have more LDs, you have to (to some extent) not care so much about having "more LDs" (at least, not as a primary goal).

      A while back somebody (memm?) posted a video snippet of a ST:NG episode where the episode ends with Picard saying, with wonder and excitement, "Let's see what's out there!" I like to think of each night like that.
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      FryingMan's Unified Theory of Lucid Dreaming: Pay Attention, Reflect, Recall -- Both Day and Night[link]
      FryingMan's Dream Recall Tips -- Awesome Links
      “No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.”
      "...develop stability in awareness and your dreams will change in extraordinary ways" -- TYoDaS

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      Thanks for bringing your ideas together - very interesting and right on imo -other members posts are great too

      Can u tell me about your location based day awarenes/work practice ? :
      Last edited by Patience108; 11-01-2015 at 10:18 PM.
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      Excited ramblings of a noob:
      Love the holistic approach...Yeah "waking state" and "dream state" I find difficulty seeing a fundamental difference...maybe because i'm such a day dreamer

      According to kabbalah and other sources there are supposed to be I think 10 layers (a few anyway), each one having less limitations/rules than the previous one (such as gravity, time and space),
      (layer 1 being Absolute consciousness, formless consciousness, free of concepts, no-thingness).
      But all layers are supposed to be like parallel dimensions (I would say existing at the same time, but of course time does not exist in higher layers).
      Makes me think that in "waking state" there is a lot more going on than all of us (myself) realises...but with greater lucidity maybe we (I) can start to change our (my) perceptions and perceive ever more of it.

      Also if ever greater lucidity is obtained in the "waking state"...what sense of self will you (I) uncover...
      hmm just thought id throw that in there...yes fantastic resources there.
      Last edited by MeohMyoh; 11-01-2015 at 10:47 PM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by MeohMyoh View Post
      Excited ramblings of a noob:
      Love the holistic approach...Yeah "waking state" and "dream state" I find difficulty seeing a fundamental difference...maybe because i'm such a day dreamer
      I think "being" the same way at all times fosters stronger and faster progress. Being different between daytime and nighttime creates a conflict that leads to subconscious confusion. There really isn't much difference between dream state and waking state experience (I don't mean the situations we experience, I mean the acts of perception and participation). We experience something, we reflect and react, and the experience becomes memory.
      FryingMan's Unified Theory of Lucid Dreaming: Pay Attention, Reflect, Recall -- Both Day and Night[link]
      FryingMan's Dream Recall Tips -- Awesome Links
      “No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.”
      "...develop stability in awareness and your dreams will change in extraordinary ways" -- TYoDaS

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      Great thread FryingMan! I have to get back to exploring the forums more lest I miss out on these gems. I agree also that high level lucid dreams affect our daytime awareness (even meta-awareness) and vice versa! I had never come across Marc Vandekeere until you mentioned him here.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
      I like the recall thing. I feel like if I was to make a "redo" of my mantra it would be "Remember, I'm Dreaming." I think that the whole memory thing kind of escaped me from back then, not that I didn't do the right things, but I didn't do "exactly" the right thing, I was close to it, but not quite. Thinking about revising my mantra, I just don't know.

      I remember when I first started LDing I wanted to only work in the night and be two different people in night and day. I didn't realize that every hobby requires changing who you are in order to accomplish it, LDing more than any of them.
      Sensei is no longer afraid of change. My mantra is now "remember, I'm dreaming" I must move forward with lding. New mantra, silent alarms, more visualization, y'all should see me hitting the stars soon.

      Sorry if this is off topic. Haha. In my mind this new addition is making me reflect and recall much better while using similar techniques to the past.
      Last edited by Sensei; 11-02-2015 at 09:54 PM.

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      I think that mindfulness can be the medium to unify waking and dream awareness. For instance, we can aim in the long run to keep some feedback or reflexive awareness throughout every moment. That is, we would always know consciously something about our present moment, either our breathing, or feelings, or location, you name it.
      Right now I am aware that I am typing this post I hope within a few hours I am aware that I am dreaming
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
      Sensei is no longer afraid of change. My mantra is now "remember, I'm dreaming" I must move forward with lding. New mantra, silent alarms, more visualization, y'all should see me hitting the stars soon.

      Sorry if this is off topic. Haha. In my mind this new addition is making me reflect and recall much better while using similar techniques to the past.
      Awesome! As it says in my sig, "If you do as you have always done, you will be as you have always been.". Keep that pathway to memory always open at least a bit, exercising it, in order to grow it strong enough to survive the impairment of the dream state. Make it so that the way you "be" is to continually have that connection (in addition to attention and reflection).

      I'll see you in my Lucid Lab soon . We can take turns selecting destinations through the portals.
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      FryingMan's Unified Theory of Lucid Dreaming: Pay Attention, Reflect, Recall -- Both Day and Night[link]
      FryingMan's Dream Recall Tips -- Awesome Links
      “No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.”
      "...develop stability in awareness and your dreams will change in extraordinary ways" -- TYoDaS

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      Quote Originally Posted by VagalTone View Post
      I think that mindfulness can be the medium to unify waking and dream awareness. For instance, we can aim in the long run to keep some feedback or reflexive awareness throughout every moment. That is, we would always know consciously something about our present moment, either our breathing, or feelings, or location, you name it.
      Right now I am aware that I am typing this post I hope within a few hours I am aware that I am dreaming
      So, what your saying is that we should always be aware of something, but not necessarily be aware of everything? I had a dream a while back in which I was punching a zombie in the face in my driveway. The day before this dream, I had been just repeating to my self "because (insert reason for doing current action)". So, this habit actually transferred over to the dream and when I punched the zombie, even though I was pretty alarmed, I had the composure to say in my head,"because I don't want it to eat me." and still went on to not be lucid. I was aware of what I was doing and why I was doing it. But, even after doing that mental RC, I still didn't become lucid. Can someone tell me why that is?

      I'd love to know.
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      If you were to wake up right now, what would you write in your Dream Journal?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Ajanime22 View Post
      So, what your saying is that we should always be aware of something, but not necessarily be aware of everything? I had a dream a while back in which I was punching a zombie in the face in my driveway. The day before this dream, I had been just repeating to my self "because (insert reason for doing current action)". So, this habit actually transferred over to the dream and when I punched the zombie, even though I was pretty alarmed, I had the composure to say in my head,"because I don't want it to eat me." and still went on to not be lucid. I was aware of what I was doing and why I was doing it. But, even after doing that mental RC, I still didn't become lucid. Can someone tell me why that is?

      I'd love to know.
      What i can tell from my experience is that if you are not just in your head, but can keep some awareness on your senses, on what is happening in the moment instead of just only what you are thinking, you lay the conditions for ultravivid and lucid dreams. You will remember them much better becaus they will be so much more vivid. But yeah, you need something more to become lucid. And i dont know exactly what is best- of course you have RC, contemplations of every kind, WILD techniques and so on. But the first condition is a must, you need to learn to be aware of what you are experiencing in the moment besides your thinking sense. Within one or two days you will notice the difference in your dreams. Then you can work much more effectively with dream journaling, and MILD, for instance.

      So i think that explains your question. Simple awareness is not enough, theres some critical or memory habit to cultivate and become automatic while the critical memory function is mainly shut off in sleep
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      Quote Originally Posted by VagalTone View Post
      What i can tell from my experience is that if you are not just in your head, but can keep some awareness on your senses, on what is happening in the moment instead of just only what you are thinking, you lay the conditions for ultravivid and lucid dreams. You will remember them much better becaus they will be so much more vivid. But yeah, you need something more to become lucid. And i dont know exactly what is best- of course you have RC, contemplations of every kind, WILD techniques and so on. But the first condition is a must, you need to learn to be aware of what you are experiencing in the moment besides your thinking sense. Within one or two days you will notice the difference in your dreams. Then you can work much more effectively with dream journaling, and MILD, for instance.

      So i think that explains your question. Simple awareness is not enough, theres some critical or memory habit to cultivate and become automatic while the critical memory function is mainly shut off in sleep
      Hmm. I never really thought to experience while questioning. I always put all of my energy into doing one or the other. Are you able to do them at the same time or do you alternate?
      If you were to wake up right now, what would you write in your Dream Journal?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Ajanime22 View Post
      Hmm. I never really thought to experience while questioning. I always put all of my energy into doing one or the other. Are you able to do them at the same time or do you alternate?
      Idk if i full understand you here. Its difficult to experience daydreaming and other senses at the same time, but not while you are deliberately and voluntarily thinking (like you do when RCing). It is also helpful to diffuse yoir awareness through all your available senses, so as not to overfocus and strain your attention.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Ajanime22
      So, what your saying is that we should always be aware of something, but not necessarily be aware of everything?
      Don't overthink the specifics too much, but generally, yes. The key is "always be aware", with reflection, and with frequent references/connections to memory. Precisely what you should be aware of, is up to you. Everyone must find their own path and discover what works best for them. In this thread I'm describing the general approach, emphasizing attention, without recommending particular attention targets.

      Quote Originally Posted by VagalTone
      What i can tell from my experience is that if you are not just in your head, but can keep some awareness on your senses, on what is happening in the moment instead of just only what you are thinking, you lay the conditions for ultravivid and lucid dreams.
      The exact subject of one's ideal awareness target for lucidity in dreams is highly personal. For some, noticing thoughts may in fact be the primary trigger for lucidity. I know that I myself think a lot in dreams in a particular way that is typically distinct from waking thought patterns. To become aware of these patterns consistently, and to reflect on them, would lead to frequent lucidity in dreams.

      Though, I think it's fair to say many dreamers (most?) have very visual experiences with dreams. So making a habit of paying primary attention to visuals will lay the foundation for excellent visual recall, of either the waking or dreaming states. That's not to say that it is universally true for everyone.
      Last edited by FryingMan; 11-20-2015 at 09:13 AM. Reason: dangling edit weirdness corrected
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      In other words if we are not fully conscious at night in our dreams it's because we are not fully conscious during the day. Our night-time state is a reflection of our day-time state, a nightly report card on our day practice. I'm currently averaging a C-
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      This is an excellent thread, and it makes a lot of sense. Thank you for writing this!
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      Quote Originally Posted by Daniele View Post
      In other words if we are not fully conscious at night in our dreams it's because we are not fully conscious during the day. Our night-time state is a reflection of our day-time state, a nightly report card on our day practice. I'm currently averaging a C-
      Yes, exactly. The night should not be an exceptional time, it should just be a natural continuation of our (lucid) approach to life. Our lives are a stream of experiences, day and night, waking and dreaming. We should approach waking and dreaming the same way (pay attention, reflect, recall). This frees us from having to worry about "technique" and "getting lucid at night". We should strive to pay attention, reflect, recall, 24x7.

      edit: I should add there are secondary considerations which are still very important. Mainly, that of training our minds to be focused for extended periods of time. Everyone who's had LDs knows how easy it is to become distracted, to lose lucidity once you attain it. Striving to pay attention for extended periods of time while awake helps to make our lucid dreaming experiences better by being able to maintain peak lucidity for longer periods of time in the dream state.
      Last edited by FryingMan; 11-30-2015 at 12:03 PM.
      AstralMango likes this.
      FryingMan's Unified Theory of Lucid Dreaming: Pay Attention, Reflect, Recall -- Both Day and Night[link]
      FryingMan's Dream Recall Tips -- Awesome Links
      “No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.”
      "...develop stability in awareness and your dreams will change in extraordinary ways" -- TYoDaS

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      Thanks for this. Months ago I read Sageous guides for full awareness, and some other posts, but I end up forgetting about it. I work at an office, as a developer, so it's easy to continue with my stuff for hours and not remember about dreaming. I usually (or sometimes) think about it when in the bathroom, while driving back home, or while having lunch, but that's not enough, as I again get completely zombie when meeting people, going to the mall, etc...

      Anyway, after reading this, once again I'll try to focus more. While reading the replies here about focusing on senses too, I felt my fingertips on the table, my weight on the chair... but well, didn't RC, as the surroundings, things on the screen, etc. look pretty real and normal

      That day/night work made me thing that maybe I need to add a little meditation. Maybe sit just 10-15 mins on the couch, eyes closed, and remember myself about dreams, lucids, awareness, dream signs, etc...

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      Quote Originally Posted by Daniele View Post
      In other words if we are not fully conscious at night in our dreams it's because we are not fully conscious during the day. -
      It's not as easy as that. There is the small matter of brain chemistry that dulls the conscious mind when we are dreaming.

      I do still have a nagging doubt about the link between daytime awareness and dream awareness. I wonder if intention is a more powerful force in improving awareness in the dream?
      Is it possible to "get tired" of heightened awareness during the day, so that we are less aware at night? Just a thought.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Goldenspark View Post
      It's not as easy as that. There is the small matter of brain chemistry that dulls the conscious mind when we are dreaming.

      I do still have a nagging doubt about the link between daytime awareness and dream awareness. I wonder if intention is a more powerful force in improving awareness in the dream?
      Is it possible to "get tired" of heightened awareness during the day, so that we are less aware at night? Just a thought.
      It is precisely the fog and dullness laid upon our minds in the dream state that requires us to build an awareness strong enough to withstand it. Personally, I have no doubt, as beginning mindfulness practice during the day began a streak, over time, of progressively more and more vivid and present dreams, to the point where now as long as my sleep isn't busted, I can practically rely on near-epic level non-lucids on any given night.

      I think intention is very "muscle-like" and is possible to wear it out. Awareness however, shouldn't be tiring if done right, not I think like intention. Still, there is a "muscle-y" aspect to it, and it takes time to build up to longer and longer periods of on-purpose attention.
      FryingMan's Unified Theory of Lucid Dreaming: Pay Attention, Reflect, Recall -- Both Day and Night[link]
      FryingMan's Dream Recall Tips -- Awesome Links
      “No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.”
      "...develop stability in awareness and your dreams will change in extraordinary ways" -- TYoDaS

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