MILD Lucid Dreaming
Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams
I recently have been taking a class from Ryan Hurd who is a dream researcher and runs dreamstudies.org. From what I have experienced from his class is that it has allowed me to get back to the basics in some of my dream practices and has surprisingly allowed me to have lucid dreams at a higher rate than I did previously.
Most of my lucid dreams have been out of body experiences where I will wake up and notice that I am dreaming because I am physically separated from my body. I can’t tell you the last “lucid dream” I had as its been so long since I just become aware I am dreaming in the dream without being outside my body. In the last week that all changed thanks to Ryans class: Lucid Ignition. Here is my recent lucid dream:
“I was taking some college classes and having a hard time passing one of the courses. I typically have these dreams as I am currently in school taking some classes that are a bit out of my comfort zone. At one point I know I am dreaming and at that moment my whole body starts to float, and I am flying in the dream. I soon lose my attention, and the dream continues on.”
Though I wasn’t lucid for a long time it’s still a small amount of progress and for me. That’s a big deal as I wasn’t trying very hard with some of the techniques I had learned from the lucid dreaming class. What that does mean to me is that some of these basic lucid dreaming techniques are very powerful if used in the right way, especially Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams.
Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams
If you have never heard of Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (often called MILD Lucid Dreaming) its essential to know that this technique, though basic, is one of the most powerful lucid dreaming techniques that we have available. The reason that I say this is because Dr. Stephen LaBerge showed its power in peer-reviewed research that he performed. In his research he revealed that not only does it induce lucid dreams effectively, but it also improved his ability to lucid dream by as much as double in most cases, making it possible for him to have a lucid dream almost every night on command. That is pretty astounding results. You could say that its the holy grail for lucid dreaming without the use of any lucid dreaming supplements.
If you also don’t know who Stephen LaBerge is and you are into lucid dreaming, well you better get reading. Stephen LaBerge is a well-known researcher and the reason that lucid dreaming, in general, is taken seriously as he was the first person to show that lucid dreaming does occur and can occur in a laboratory setting. In order to do this, he had to create a way for his test subjects to lucid dream on demand each night. How did he do that? By using the MILD lucid dreaming technique.
What is the Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD lucid dreaming) technique?
What is the MILD technique? Lets first look at what mnemonic means. Mnemonic is a memory recall technique used by many people to easily remember key elements or words. Often people will use a series of words together as a type of saying in order to remember the first letters of those words and then be able to recall those letters. Here is an example of a mnemonic phrase that is often used to remember the order of operations in mathematics and something you may recognize:
Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally
(Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, and Subtract)
For some reason its easier for our brains to refer to something that is common in order to jolt our memory of something that is a bit more uncommon or complex. In the past, I have called these memory bridges and have used these same concepts to recall dreams at a later time by remembering a specific feeling, sound, or event, that related to the dream event that I could not remember. These references in my memory allowed me to bridge the gap between the event and the dream and recall the events inside the dream. If that confused you, no worries, as this isn’t as complex as I have made it sound, I promise.
Here is a video on mnemonic memory which explains this a bit more clearly:
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What Stephen LaBerge did was take this commonly used memory technique and apply it to lucid dreaming. He used the concept of the dream to do so by having his subjects wake up during the night, recall the dream as it happened in their memories and imagine the dream they just had and what would have happened if they had been lucid. While focusing on that idea, the subject will then go back to bed with the intention of having a lucid dream while simultaneously thinking about the past dream as if they just had a lucid dream. This is truly an imagination game, but it does create the mnemonic connection that our brains so much desire in order to remember to become lucid in the next dream.
Most people it seems when I read about their take on MILD forget the most important factor of this process. The most important factor for MILD is to imagine the previous dream as if you were lucid. Most people when you hear about MILD they will discuss repeating the idea of having a lucid dream over and over again before going to sleep or after waking up and before going back to bed (WBTB). This is, however, missing the whole point of what MILD is. Having the connection to the dream which you already had, imagining it to be lucid, and since we imagined it and built a connection that lucidity is possible in the dream, our brains can relate to the idea of making the next dream a real lucid dream.
Here is the MILD technique in an easy to understand format:
The MILD Lucid Dreaming Technique
- Go to sleep while having the intention of having a lucid dream
- Wake up from the dream
- Imagine the dream you just had as if you had a lucid dream and what you would have done if it was a lucid dream
- go back to sleep while thinking about the previous dream as if it was as a lucid dream and with the intention of having a lucid dream in the next dream
Whats Happening Under the Hood
When we look at what is happening for the MILD lucid dreaming technique to work, we can easily understand why this works so well. The brain just had a dream which we were not lucid in, and we imagine ourselves having the lucid dream which puts the mind in a creative mode to desire to have the experience. We also are creating a fake memory or imagining ourselves having the experience itself and letting our brains see that it’s not that hard to have this experience. We create a relationship with our brains and the experience. Once we establish the relationship, we are permitting our minds to create the experience in the next round of dreams and simultaneously giving it the blueprint to have the experience.
Though I have only been using this technique myself for a number of days, I can attest to the power of this experience, and there are many others lucid dreamers on the internet that will agree to its effectiveness. It truly is a powerful lucid dreaming technique.
Combinations of Lucid Dreaming Techniques
Even with the tremendous power of the MILD lucid dreaming technique, there are additional ways to combine it with tools to make it even more useful in training yourself to have a lucid dream. Using a WBTB method with this method would ensure that you have enough training sessions each night to fully allow your brain to grasp what you are trying to achieve. You could also combine these lucid dreaming techniques with supplements which would increase your ability to have more dreams or to improve your dream memory. All of these things will surely help you to become lucid. It’s important to remember that we should try to get good at one technique before we move on to another, that way we can build on our skills rather than overwhelm ourselves. As my Buddhist teacher always told me, K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid). MILD is simple and effective.
As I continue with my lucid dreaming, I will keep refining my ability to use the MILD lucid dreaming technique as I know it will show excellent results the more I use it. It’s a wonderful tool and something that I think many people (including myself) have overlooked throughout the years. Let me know how it works for you.
Lee Adams is a Ph.D. candidate in Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute and host of Cosmic Echo, a lucid dreaming podcast, and creator of taileaters.com, an online community of lucid dreamers and psychonauts. Lee has been actively researching, practicing, and teaching lucid dreaming for over twenty years.
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