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    Thread: Stabilization Fundamentals

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      Stabilization Fundamentals

      Foreword:
      Greetings fellow oneironauts. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to read through this guide to dream stabilization; it's been a work in progress for a few months now, but I think it's finally done. Before we begin, however, I would like to add a disclaimer that the conclusions and premises of the guide (namely concerning the formation of dreams) assume that the dreamer incurs no outside interference and are based primarily on my personal experiences and observations. Thanks again. . .


      Introduction
      Stabilization remains a big topic in dream control, for, without stabilization, it'd be difficult to get anything done whilst lucid. This being the case, the field is, admittedly, well-traversed; the numerous methods, developed over the years, to help achieve this feat are proof of that. Still, what's been sorely missing is a plunge into the theory dwelling beneath the turbulent waters of these seemingly random techniques. That's not to say this guide won't have practical applications (I assure you, it will), but to master stabilization it helps to have a strong grasp on how it works, and why.


      The Underlying Mechanic
      To understand stabilization, you must first understand how dreams are formed.

      Associations are the key to unlocking this mystery.

      Specifically, dreams form around the schematic associations we attribute to whatever has our attention.

      Or, put simply, your dream is like a tree. Rooted by the events that occur throughout your waking life, it grows, takes shape, continuously branching out at new junctures. In the context of a dream, those junctures, branches from the trunk, symbolize the paths your dream could follow based on where you're focused. The focus is what lets the branches and offshoots come about, but it's what you're focused on that determines the shape each of them will take.

      Put really simply: What you focus on will determine the path your dream takes.

      The crucial thing is that you recognize the importance your attention has when it comes to forming dreams. Which brings us to our next section.


      What is Dream Stabilization?
      Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, then it shouldn't be too hard for you to come up with a solid definition (that doesn't use the word “stabilize”) right here, right now, yeah?

      Go ahead.

      I'll wait. . .



      Not as easy as it sound, is it?

      The only DV tutorial on the subject defines Dream Stabilization as “attempting to stabilize the lucid dream.”

      But what use is that, to define something with its inherent meaning? The definition above is exactly the same as saying Internet Trolling is “attempting to troll on the Internet.” It tells us nothing we didn't already know, and, so, we cannot learn from it.

      We need to go deeper.

      • Dream: “a series of mental images and emotions occurring during sleep”
      • Stabilization: “the act of stabilizing something or making it more stable”
      • Stabilize: “become stable or more stable”
      • Stable: “maintaining equilibrium”
      • Equilibrium: “balance: equality of distribution”

      I think we've got something workable here.

      Stabilization then, I propose, is the act of becoming balanced or maintaining balance.

      But how does this relate to dreams? What could possibly require balancing in “a series of mental images and emotions occurring during sleep”?

      The easy answer is: “Everything.” The conventional way of thinking about dreams leads most to believe that Dream Stabilization means facilitating those mental images and keeping those pesky emotions in check. But the true answer is more subtle than that.

      Focus and attention, foundations on which dreams, those “mental images and emotions,” are formed, constantly shifting, constantly deciding the flow, the stability, of a dream.

      So, what is Dream Stabilization, really?

      My proposition: Dream Stabilization is the act of balancing attention within a dream.

      The astute among you will ask, “Balancing attention? Between what? You've only given me one side: the dream, images and emotions.” And you're right, there is another side. But it's one that appears almost exclusively during lucid dreams.


      The Other Side
      On one side we have the dream, that's a given, but what's on the other end that's shifting our attention away from the dream?

      First, let me ask you another related question: why is it that normal dreams rarely, if ever, require stabilization?

      To answer this, think about the differences between a lucid dream and a non-lucid one. Realize, in a lucid dream, one is aware the environment around them is a dream, that one is in bed, fast asleep, while in a non-lucid one is not aware of these things.

      The difference between the two, then, is this profound realization and everything that comes with it. And what accompanies it, you ask? The ability to reason, to think logically, internal processes that require a fair bit of attention.

      And there's your answer. Thoughts, rational ideas outside the scope of your current surroundings, all shift the balance of your focus.


      Bringing it all Together
      To stabilize a lucid dream, you must create a proper balance between the dream and your conscious, thinking, self. If you pour too much of yourself into the dream, you'll lose your consciousness, your lucidity. Not enough, and the dream will fade entirely, leaving you with nothing but your thoughts as everything fades to black.

      Luckily, striking that balance is a path well-worn by the onieronauts before us.


      Common Stabilization Methods
      All Stabilization methods have one thing in common: they work to place attention on the dream world. Obviously, like all things concerning LDing, you'll be keen to experiment to see what well works for you, as some methods achieve this balancing feat better than others

      A brief list of the very basics:

      • Hand Rubbing – Good for a quick burst of tactile sensation, puts focus on the dream body.
      • Spinning – Brings your attention not only to the spinning world around you as it blurs about, but to your dream body as well.
      • Shouting for Clarity – Works on multiple levels, from hearing the sound of your own voice, to looking toward your surroundings for a change in vividness.

      And that's just start of it.

      From there comes sensory stimulation, proven time and again to be a reliable, powerful tool in redirecting attention toward the dreamworld.

      • Sight – Studying the detail in an ornate archway, the colorful shops and stalls in the marketplace, or each distinct grain of sand.
      • Sound – Noticing the wind as it blows past your ears mid-flight, the chattering of nearby DCs, or even your own voice.
      • Touch – Focusing on the texture of a nearby wall, the cool grass beneath your bare feet, or the wet water pouring from a fountain.
      • Smell – Taking in the scent of fresh baked bread or cookies, the fresh morning air, or even burning rubber.
      • Taste – Fill your mouth with amazing sensations from anything you can find, be it tasty desserts or a cheap sandal.

      All of these are sure to help placate your thoughts and turn your attentions to the dreamworld. The more of them you can engage, the better. Personally, I like taking big bites out of trees, as eating a tree evokes so many different senses at once. From the rough, intricate, crunchy bark, to the wet, leafy taste, and fresh smell, it all assaults the senses, making it impossible to ignore the dreamworld.


      Uncommon Stabilization Methods
      Beyond the conventional lies the unconventional, or methods that don't follow the standard sensory formula. Most prominent among these are raw shifts of awareness to your surroundings. *There are many ways to go about doing this, but it's something that simply needs to be experienced to be understood at all.

      Those who practice lucid living and all day awareness are more likely to be familiar with pouring attention into their surroundings. In fact, it's likely these people do this automatically whilst lucid, making traditional stabilization almost unnecessary for them. Still, there are ways to actively force focus on your surroundings. Everyone's method will be different depending on their experience with attention shifting, but I'll explain my method below so you'll have something to work with, at the very least.

      I came up with this method in particular after reading a bit of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. The idea comes from the battle/meditation technique the main character is taught early on: to create a flame in his mind's eye and focus on it completely, deflecting all outside thoughts.

      I start by taking in the world around me, but not just what I can see; I use everything I can sense, making it my proverbial flame, making it all important, pouring my focus into it so that everything around me is complete and free from my conscious thoughts.

      And just like that, the dream becomes stable, whilst I retain my lucidity. What's amazing is that this process doesn't take more than a moment and can be used at almost any time; I've lost count of the number of lucids this little trick has kept me from losing.


      Conclusion
      I hope this guide to stabilization fundamentals proved at the very least, interesting to you. If it was helpful, that's even better. =)

      If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or flames, I'll be more than happy to address them.

      Cheers!

      -(T)zzkc

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      I think the way you've put a definition to 'dream stabilization' is excellent, very helpful

      I like the idea of taking a bite of a tree, I've never thought of that!
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      Nice post

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      Very Very helpful, i plan on putting all of these stabilization techniques to good use tonight. Because I'm gonna have a lucid dream.
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      Wow. Excellent work there! I'm proud to call myself a dreamer. ^.^

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      Exactly what I was looking for at the perfect time thanks!

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      Thanks great post, having troubles with stabilising at the moment so will give these a try and neither would i have thought of eating a tree lol ill message you if i still have probs,

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      REALLY helpful, and interesting. I also greatly approve of your taste in books.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Mzzkc View Post
      I came up with this method in particular after reading a bit of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. The idea comes from the battle/meditation technique the main character is taught early on: to create a flame in his mind's eye and focus on it completely, deflecting all outside thoughts.

      I start by taking in the world around me, but not just what I can see; I use everything I can sense, making it my proverbial flame, making it all important, pouring my focus into it so that everything around me is complete and free from my conscious thoughts.

      And just like that, the dream becomes stable, whilst I retain my lucidity. What's amazing is that this process doesn't take more than a moment and can be used at almost any time; I've lost count of the number of lucids this little trick has kept me from losing.[/indent]
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      Excellent tutorial. The idea of 'balance' in the dream really appeals to me.
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      Agreed, your definition of dream stabilization as a balance between rational thoughts and the dream itself makes a lot of sense. I recently saved a lucid dream from fading off by using the spinning technique, but after the dream stabilized, I lost lucidity (though on the bright side, I gained a fedora for some reason). So maybe I put to much attention into the dream.
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      I remember when I looked up what trolling was and all it said was to troll on the internet. Good job breaking to down to the basics, appreciate the logic in all of this.
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      Nice tutorial thnx. Helpfull to me, not only for dreams and dreaming but also for ada and meditations.

      Focus and attention, foundations on which dreams, those “mental images and emotions,” are formed, constantly shifting, constantly deciding the flow, the stability, of a dream.
      Let me ask your opinion about next thing: if dreams are formed by mental images and emotions, what could be method of equilibrious dreamsift that doesn't make you loose your sense of dreaming (I'm not talking about complete lucidity, that may go away)? How to slightly undo stability of given dream without getting sucked into reflections of wants and subconscious needs? I have some insight about this, but would like to hear some other views. I've heard about portal techniques and focus on the door before opening it or even opening it many times till it grants you a way to another dream. For me, these kind of sifting techniques hadn't work that well. Dreams had collapsed and sense of dreaming had been lost. Sometimes I've woken up (which isn't that bad thing, cause if I woke up after going through a door I'll have ada from the beginning of the morning). I'm pretty sure that I'll find those dreams that can handlle portals but so far I haven't been able to remember them,
      Is there allready good guide to dreamsifting that doesn't focus so much on magical techniques? Many dreams I have doesn't allow certain impossibilities. Or then again, maybe they just aren't stable enough

      I start by taking in the world around me, but not just what I can see; I use everything I can sense, making it my proverbial flame, making it all important, pouring my focus into it so that everything around me is complete and free from my conscious thoughts.
      I've practiced same thing with yantra-meditation though nowdays it doesn't resemble the yantra I begin with
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      Don't take this as an attack on the great work you've done here, Mzzkc, I just want to delve deeper into the issue of stabilising dreams.

      You talk about establishing an equilibrium, a balance of attention. But then you do not really state what you are balancing your attention between, you describe focusing on the dream environment but not the other thing that you need to balance your attention on, one side of the coin.

      I think to have a successful dream you need to balance your attention between the dream scene and your cognition. The two ways that people waste a lucid dream is through losing touch with the dream scene (resulting in awakening) or through having low cognition (leading to a loss in lucidity). Any dreamer who does not invest enough attention in the dream risks detaching from the dream entirely while on the flipside, not giving attention to cognition may lead to becoming to engrossed in the content of the dream and losing awareness.

      The majority of literature on stability mentions only engaging the dream environment (spinning and hand rubbing being the staples), while cognition is sorely neglected. How many lucid dreams have you had that resulted in a semi-conscious mess because you didn't think clearly enough to remember some sort of dream goal and instead rushed at the first mundane thing that caught your attention?

      I've found doing simple mental maths is a very effective way of raising cognitive awareness.
      Last edited by Ctharlhie; 12-16-2011 at 07:32 PM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by labyrint View Post
      Nice tutorial thnx. Helpfull to me, not only for dreams and dreaming but also for ada and meditations.



      Let me ask your opinion about next thing: if dreams are formed by mental images and emotions, what could be method of equilibrious dreamsift that doesn't make you loose your sense of dreaming (I'm not talking about complete lucidity, that may go away)? How to slightly undo stability of given dream without getting sucked into reflections of wants and subconscious needs? I have some insight about this, but would like to hear some other views. I've heard about portal techniques and focus on the door before opening it or even opening it many times till it grants you a way to another dream. For me, these kind of sifting techniques hadn't work that well. Dreams had collapsed and sense of dreaming had been lost. Sometimes I've woken up (which isn't that bad thing, cause if I woke up after going through a door I'll have ada from the beginning of the morning). I'm pretty sure that I'll find those dreams that can handlle portals but so far I haven't been able to remember them,
      Is there allready good guide to dreamsifting that doesn't focus so much on magical techniques? Many dreams I have doesn't allow certain impossibilities. Or then again, maybe they just aren't stable enough



      I've practiced same thing with yantra-meditation though nowdays it doesn't resemble the yantra I begin with
      Check out my guide on Archetype Control. It makes use of how the brain forms dreams naturally to give you the results you want.

      Quote Originally Posted by Ctharlhie View Post
      Don't take this as an attack on the great work you've done here, Mzzkc, I just want to delve deeper into the issue of stabilising dreams.

      You talk about establishing an equilibrium, a balance of attention. But then you do not really state what you are balancing your attention between, you describe focusing on the dream environment but not the other thing that you need to balance your attention on, one side of the coin.

      I think to have a successful dream you need to balance your attention between the dream scene and your cognition. The two ways that people waste a lucid dream is through losing touch with the dream scene (resulting in awakening) or through having low cognition (leading to a loss in lucidity). Any dreamer who does not invest enough attention in the dream risks detaching from the dream entirely while on the flipside, not giving attention to cognition may lead to becoming to engrossed in the content of the dream and losing awareness.

      The majority of literature on stability mentions only engaging the dream environment (spinning and hand rubbing being the staples), while cognition is sorely neglected. How many lucid dreams have you had that resulted in a semi-conscious mess because you didn't think clearly enough to remember some sort of dream goal and instead rushed at the first mundane thing that caught your attention?

      I've found doing simple mental maths is a very effective way of raising cognitive awareness.
      I think you should re-read the sections entitled "The Other Side" and "Bringing It All Together".

      You'll see our conclusions are the same. In this guide, I focused more on putting attention on the dreamscape, because the most common issue newbies have once becoming lucid is throwing way too much focus onto their inner thoughts, what they're going to do, how they're going to do it, etc. Which usually ends with a nice awakening.

      But yes, to retain lucidity consciousness/cognition is the thing you're balancing against the attention you give to the dreamscape, as I explained in those sections.

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      Ah, seems I jumped the gun there
      My Lucid Dreaming Articles/Tutorials:
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      That is I think I disagree

      -John Lennon


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      No, it's good you came to that conclusion on your own. ^.^

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      This is a very helpful post/tut. It really cleared up alot of things for me. My next LD is going to be crystal clear!
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      Thank you, just this morning I lost my Lucid Dream in just a couple of seconds due to lack of stability. It was a dry-spell breaker though, so at least I got that.
      I will keep this in mind for my next lucid.
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      I was to write a thread about stabilization tonight since I'm sick on newyears, but now I see there's no need!

      Since dream stabilization is so strongly tied to first becoming lucid, it's safe to assume it's good for everyone to use a stable 3D environment. It's a how we interact with the real world all day every day, so the rules are very stable and take care of themselves.

      Reference points.
      To create a 3D game environment, you would need at least 4 major reference points. The player, and the X,Y,Z axis. Dream stabilization should involve setting anchor points in the dream for your attention that emulate the PlayerXYZ model. Hand rubbing takes care of the player or dreamer variable, but does nothing for the XYZ anchor points. Moving briskly will force you to interact with the ground will force an X and Y axis, and further interacting with an increasingly 3D environment will eventually bring in the Z axis.

      A dream body isn't strictly necessary, just a point of perspective, again much like different views in 3D game. 1st person, 3rd person, disembodied observer. But a body offers super stability, and does come in handy, so that's probably a good thing to start with if you're looking for stability.

      Great thread. Occupy the Lucid!
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      I literally loled when I read the tree biting suggestion. That's a brilliant, elegant and hilarious solution that I'm definitely going to utilise. I'd love to know the thought process that lead to you biting your first tree...

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      It was a spur of the moment kind of thing. The lucid was destabilizing quite quickly, and nothing I did seemed to help, so in an act of desperation I ran over to a nearby tree--the only 'edible' thing in the area besides grass and my own dream-flesh--and took a big bite out of it. Immediately my senses were bombarded with the taste of the bark, the moistness of the viscous sap, and so many other sensations. Just like that, I had extended my dream-time by a good couple minutes. Some upkeep was required afterwards, but it saved me from waking where everything else had failed me.

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      How likely is putting yourself too much in the dream going to not only make you lose lucidity but the whole dream collapse? The past 10 or so lucid dreams have collapse on themselves despite my attempts to stabilise. My attempts included rubbing hands while looking at them and summoning a flower to smell (in the last attempt, both of these were tried).

      Any questions about lucid dreaming? Drop me a PM here!

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      If you pay too much attention to one little element in the dream then you may lose track of the scene as a whole. Sometimes I find the 'focus on tiny sensory details' can be unhelpful as it's almost like ignoring the dream in favour of some random object you've found lying around. Again as Mzzkc has said, dream control seems to work through careful manipulation of attention.
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      Quote Originally Posted by fOrceez View Post
      How likely is putting yourself too much in the dream going to not only make you lose lucidity but the whole dream collapse? The past 10 or so lucid dreams have collapse on themselves despite my attempts to stabilise. My attempts included rubbing hands while looking at them and summoning a flower to smell (in the last attempt, both of these were tried).
      It's not likely both will happen.

      In this cases you described there's really nothing extraordinary about losing the dream after using those techniques, since both are fairly ineffectual to begin with. As Ctharlhie mentioned, small bits of sensory input here and there aren't going to do you much good. In the end, you need to be spreading around your attention as evenly as possible.

      Yes, huge bursts of sensory input are often useful for prolonging the dream a bit longer, but small things, like handrubbing, aren't going to help you much unless you're simultaneously distributing attention elsewhere.

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