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The methods described in pages are a theoretical discussion ONLY. Methods are discussed in only the broadest terms and I hold no qualifications in the fields discussed.
Because a method is listed here does not indicate that I approve or recommend it. In some cases, I definitely don't!

All right. We've examined numerous techniques that could, in theory, either change you into a horse or an illusion thereof. Let's finish off with a technique that is real, present-day, and best of all, free. And it doesn't even involve a life-commitment.

Virtual Reality, at this point in time, is hampered by the technological limitations of providing an all-sense experience of the virtual world. But think about when you dream: you can experience anything in a dream. Ergo, if we could control our dreams, could we produce our own, natural virtual realities? Could we become a horse while sleeping?

Normally when you dream, you are unaware that you are actually dreaming. Sometimes, however, it is possible to become consciously aware that you are dreaming without waking. This is called Lucid Dreaming, or LD. LD has been well researched and is accepted as a scientific reality. Although difficult to implement deliberately, techniques have been devised which increase the chances of a lucid dream, and some individuals have gained sufficient control to be able to control their dreams, to a greater or lesser extent. It does seem that practice makes perfect in this phenomenon.

There are two aspects to lucid dreaming. First, you must become aware that you are dreaming, without waking. Having achieved that, the next step is to assume control and influence your dream.

Lucid dreaming can and does occur naturally and inadvertently. You might be familiar with what is known as False Awakening, where in essence, you dream that you have awakened. The dream is completely plausible, and you are convinced you have awoken in bed. You may even dream of getting up and dressed, but in actuality, you haven't awakened yet. I can vividly remember, at the age of twelve or so, waking up one morning convinced that my mother had walked into the room, told me she was going to work now, and tossed me some keys onto the bed. Then I really woke up, and spent ten minutes trying to find those keys (And my mother was a bit puzzled as she didn't go out to work)!

There are several ways to encourage a lucid dream. There is much on the internet about them (Wikipedia or Dream Views for example) but some of the more common ways are:

1) Train yourself whilst awake to consciously and deliberately make some sort of reality check whilst awake and active during the day: count your fingers or something like that. It must be a deliberate and concentrated act. The idea is that you make this a habit so that you end up doing it whilst dreaming too. Apparently, it is very common in a dream to have the wrong number of digits: the realisation that this number is wrong, or any other detail you choose is contrary to waking life, is enough to make you realise that you are dreaming.

2) Vary your waking time. First you need to establish a regular waking time. For the sake of argument, let's say seven o'clock. Wake up religiously at seven o'clock for a month or so. Then when your body is used to this, start alternating the pattern: on every other day, set the alarm for eight o'clock. Your mind begins to set its thinking patterns to "awake" at seven o'clock, which should encourage lucid dreaming on those eight o'clock days. I can personally vouch for the principle: my family cross the Atlantic to Disney World as often as we can save up (not nearly as often as we'd like!). There's a five-hour time difference between the UK and Florida. I work shift patterns, so I sleep easily at any time, but for a fortnight whenever we return from Florida I have the most irritating lucid dreams where I am convinced we're back in the hotel room, or in a Disney park (irritating because I haven't learnt how to control such dreams and I habitually go through five minutes of intense confusion because the bedroom at home isn't the same layout as the room at Disney).

3) Buy an artificial LD inducer. These vary, but usually involve some sort of detector which picks up on eye-movement: you may be aware that most dream activity occurs in a phase of our sleep known as REM sleep: Rapid Eye Movement. Having identified this phase, the gadget will do something like flash a light in your face. This will intrude upon your dream and give your consciousness something to key on which is often all you need to reach that "Hey, I'm still dreaming!" awareness. Having achieved awareness, you then need to work on maintaining the LD state: achieving LD can often cause you to wake up. It is important to remain relaxed and not get to excited, or frustrated if your dream is "not what you ordered."

Control is a question of getting used to the lucid state and will take long practice. There's a fine line between insufficient will-power (which won't achieve anything) and too much will-power (which will wake you up). You have to gradually convince yourself that your dream is controllable and that doing impossible things is perfectly acceptable whilst dreaming. You could try influencing your dreams externally: perhaps you could record your own voice making suggestions, or try to obtain a sound-effects track of equine related sound, or a mix of the both. Put the track on an mpeg player on repeat-play. You can get "pillow speakers": a flat, quiet speaker that will quietly play music underneath your pillow (which avoids any possibility of you tangling yourself in earphones whilst sleeping). Read a good descriptive TF story before sleeping. Recall it to yourself once you've turned the light off.

Lucid dreaming is also said to be an excellent springboard for meditation, astral projection, and dream questioning.

As I said, I haven't taken this technique all the way myself, but I know people who have. I have definitely experienced dream awareness, and frequently enough to believe firmly that I could improve my "hit rate" if I chose. This technique has a lot of potential.

Wikipedia Entry on Lucid Dreams.
Dream Views A site dedicated to lucid dreaming, offering techniques and ld accounts.
WikiHow Some practical suggestions for achieving lucid dreaming.
NovaDreamer Promoting a typical lucid dream inducing device.

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