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    Thread: Totems for Stabilization

    1. #1
      ZAD
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      Totems for Stabilization

      One of the things I've been struggling with in my LD's is enhancing my senses. I've found that although I sometimes remember to stabilize my dream, the only sense that gets enhanced is usually vision. Because of this, I've been interested in finding a method to reliably enhance touch and sound.
      Enter the totem.
      I've seen a lot of talk about TILD, but I'm more interested in using a totem for stabilization. For example, I have a unique coin (James K. Polk dollar) that I've been keeping around in my pocket since yesterday. My plan is to associate it strongly with my awareness of touch and sound by rubbing it between my fingers during reality checks.

      For reference, here is my usual reality check routine:
      1. Something triggers me to RC
      2. Nose plug and really try to breathe through, expecting it to work
      3. Look around with vision enhanced at crisp details around me, aware of my breathing (make sure to make a Keanu-esque "woah" face)
      3.5 Reach in left pocket and feel coin, focusing on the sensation of my whole body and all sounds in my environment
      4. Ask the critical question; for 30 seconds to a minute try to present a strong argument for why I'm not dreaming, with the default assumption/belief that I am dreaming
      5. Finish with a finger-through-the-palm and remind myself that although it doesn't seem like I'm dreaming right now, I'm going to realize I'm dreaming tonight

      I usually do this routine while taking my dog for a walk or just doing things around the house or at work, basically whenever I remember to (probably ~10 times a day). Although my actions don't usually translate literally into my dreams (9/10 times I just look at my hands and say "I'm dreaming!" aloud), I'm hoping that I can remember to reach in my left pocket and stabilize with my totem.

      Any thoughts or advice? How do you approach the process of engaging your senses?
      LD Count: 94 (March 29)

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    2. #2
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      This reality check routine is too unnecessarily long, in my opinion. The purpose of doing RCs during the day is to rehearse what you want to happen during the dream. There is no need to be uncertain you are dreaming during the dream, so there is no need to rehearse this during the day.

      I think a routine like this would be better:

      1. Something triggers me to RC.
      2. Nose plug and it works.
      3. Reach in left pocket and feel coin, focusing on the sensation of my whole body and all sounds in my environment.
      4. Remember my dream goal.

      If you do have dreams where a reality check fails and doesn't make you lucid, try to learn from those dreams. Think about what you should have done during those dreams and tell yourself you will do this next time.

      The most important part of this routine is the part where something triggers you to RC. This involves noticing a difference between being awake and dreaming while being self-aware enough to notice you are noticing this difference.

      I'm still not very good at stabilizing. I have stabilized dreams before though. The most dramatic of these dreams is where I am blacked out, I focus on the feeling of something, and I can see again in my dreams. One time, while blacked out, I simply said out loud "I want to see" and was able to see again.

      I think motivation and schema play big roles in stabilization. For example, I think the motivation to feel something allows us to mindfully feel it, which subconsciously reminds us of something, which causes us to imagine it, which causes it to appear in the dream (the content of dreams are imagined.) If we are motivated to mindfully notice this something, the cycle starts again etc.

      I think just engaging the senses and motivating ourselves to continue dreaming is all that needs to be done as far as stabilization is concerned. I have had dreams where I have made dreams last longer due to my will to continue them.
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    3. #3
      ZAD
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      Interesting. This conflicts with almost everything I've read stating that during reality checks, you should truly question whether or not you're dreaming. However the principles of expectation make it seem like what you're saying could have merit -- merely rehearsing and expecting, instead of truly evaluating. Also, shortening the list could help, but I think I'll keep the awareness exercise. Thanks for the advice!
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      ZAD
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      I also want to try to put into practice what you've said about stabilization via motivation. Can you elaborate a little more on what you mean by "motivating yourself to continue dreaming"?
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    5. #5
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      I believe I got my idea from reading part of Stephen Laberge's Reflection-Intention technique (I must have glazed over steps 1 and 2.) Stephen Laberge got his idea for his technique from Paul Tholey's Combined Technique. I admit it is unorthodox of me to not emphasize the reflection part of the technique. However, in my defense, both Laberge and Tholey say to imagine being in a dream in their techniques. Also, Laberge says couple of pages before his technique, "This is the last word in state testing: Anytime you find yourself seriously suspecting that you just might be dreaming, you probably are!", Meanwhile, in step 3 of his Reflection-Intention technique, he says " After having satisfied yourself that you’re awake, tell yourself, “Okay, I’m not dreaming, now. But if I were, what would it be like?”

      Stephen Laberge's Reflection-Intention technique (p36-37)
      http://users.telenet.be/sterf/texts/...d_dreaming.pdf

      Paul Tholey's Combined technique (p80-81)
      https://eurekamag.com/pdf/006/006582799.pdf

      As far as stabilization via motivation, I mean to try to keep in mind what you are going to do next after you do what you're doing the dream. For example, I guilty of not being very motivated to continue the dream. I'm not ambitious enough as far as staying in the dream is concerned. I tend to plan on doing one thing during the dream and I after I do that one thing the dream ends. Plan to do two things, three things, four things, ect. Be ambitious.
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    6. #6
      ZAD
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      I'm actually reading through LaBerge's ETWOLD right now and I'm glad you posted those excerpts! I can definitely understand where you're coming from now. Also, I'll readily admit that most of my knowledge of lucid dreams up untilthe last few weeks came only from forum posts and articles online rather than original sources such as Alan Worsley, Paul Tholey, LaBerge, etc. As such, most of those articles/posts seem to strongly warn against rehearsing instead of evaluating, since in what they say, if you rehearse in real life, you may just rehearse in the dream and go on your merry way.

      But to your (and Stephen's) point, my reality checks almost never translate directly into the dream (I rarely ever put my finger through my palm, and I've only noseplugged once). 99% of the time, as you've said, some peripheral in-dream observation or thought just triggers my awareness and I look at my hand and realize it's all in my head. So I think both methods work, as they achieve the same goal of making a habit to bring the waking life idea and awareness, or "lucidity schema", to the surface of your dreaming mind.

      Also, I love the advice to be ambitious -- definitely going to put that into practice. I started to memorize a list of dream goals/tasks so that I can have more stuff planned to do than I may actually have time to do before losing lucidity. The idea being, my expectation will be to be in the dream longer because I'm motivated by my plan to accomplish those tasks. Oh god, I'm really starting to sound like a self-help guru...but from what I've seen so far this expectation stuff really does work. Anyway thanks for your in-depth responses!
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    7. #7
      ZAD
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      Not 100% on-topic, but I figured it would be better to post in this stabilization-related thread than start a new one.

      Has anyone tried the method called "Anchoring" discussed here?
      I'm still struggling with lengthening my lucids so I think I'll give it a shot. Essentially you focus on a strong memory of a time you felt calm and confident, and achieved something, and then focus on some anchor (here, the feeling of putting your finger and thumb together), and strongly associate the two (visualize all details of the memory until only the feeling of confidence remains). He suggests you do it for 5 or more strong memories.

      Anyway, thought I would share and see if anyone has similar experiences or techniques.
      LD Count: 94 (March 29)

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