I've been seeing quite a few comments about lucid dreaming recently, something of which I hold a great interest in. What worries me is that many FJers are wrongly advising others on how to lucid dream, which actually leads to sleep paralysis.
Allow me to tell you how to lucid dream properly.
I will warn you, to do this properly, it will take time and effort.
First off, I'll describe sleep paralysis.
To enter into sleep paralysis, you lie in bed, very still, frozen like a board, and you do not move, not even to scratch or get more comfortable. After half an hour or so, you will not be able to voluntarily move your limbs. This is often a frightening experience and has often led to the individual experiencing hallucinations. Sleep paralysis can occur naturally, and it is not pleasant. Do not attempt this.
On to lucid dreaming
Firstly, you need to know the feeling of lucid dreaming. It's basically a dream which is vivid, realistic, and memorable. You may feel as though you have a degree of control. Perhaps you've woken up in the middle of a dream, wanted to continue it, gone back to sleep and you have? That's a lucid dream. You're aware you're dreaming.
Once you know how it feels to lucid dream, it will make them easier to control if you do experience one.
To experience a lucid dream without waiting for it to occur naturally, the best way I found was to follow these steps:
Set your alarm for an hour or two earlier, preferably on a day when you're not pressed for time. As soon as your alarm starts, shut it off and go back to sleep. Hopefully you'll maintain a level of awareness when you sleep again.
When you dream, it should feel more realistic and vivid. You can do some exercises to build up your experience in this state. First off, try to imagine yourself in a wide open space, and gently nudge your dream self to walk so far one way, to bend down, to look up and see something, etc. Gentle, non-taxing exercises. Then start a gentle run. Once at a comfortable pace, start to jump-run, little ones at first, then higher and higher until you're flying. Your exercises and experiences will develop and get better as you go along.
One thing to remember about this is to do it all slowly and gently. If you force it or get frustrated, it won't work, and you'll probably wake up. If you're in a lucid dreaming state, be** calm and relaxed**, and take everything slowly. It will all be worth it.
See comment #1 for more.