One of the most important steps you can take in succeeding to have a lucid dream is to start keeping and writing in a dream journal nightly/daily. It’s as if your subconscious starts to take your intentions seriously and will begin to help you along the way. But you have to show that you’re interested in hearing what it has to say. Start writing down even the smallest snippets of dreams. Even if you think you don’t dream, you do. And the first step is writing your dreams down.
Meditation is equally important to dream journaling. Taking the time to reconnect with your deeper/inner self is of utmost importance.
Find ways to meditate every day, whether it be some form of creativity, exercise, or silent meditation. Research and find the best meditation techniques for you. There are hundreds of ways to meditate. The important part is that you are going within and connecting to the deeper self that is connected to all-that-is.
Meditation also helps you go deeper into the hypnagogic/hynopompic periods before and after sleep. Its these time frames that have the most capability for leading into an OBE, or wake-induced lucid dream.
What is dream incubation? Basically it's putting your conscious intent towards that which you want to accomplish.
The way you do that is, before bed, write down your intentions. For example: "I intend to have a lucid dream tonight." or "I intend to speak to my dream characters tonight and ask them how I can heal myself."
You can also picture in your mind what you want to accomplish. By doing this, you are solidifying your intent. Putting your intention into your desires makes them more likely to come to fruition.
These are perhaps the two most important pieces to lucid dreaming and having OBEs. Holding both the intention, while having the expectation of your success, is hugely powerful!
Believing that you can have a lucid dream or out-of-body experience makes all the difference in how quickly you will have one. And holding the expectation, makes it that much more possible. When you believe not only that you CAN do it, but that you are now only waiting for it to happen, assures that it will be only a matter of time.
Something you can do to assist in this, is to imagine yourself having these experiences. The more you can imagine it, the more you set the framework for it. Visualize yourself becoming lucid, or leaving your body. Imagine what you'd like to do when you are lucid.
The mind is a powerful manifestor ......
First and worth repeating, make sure you follow the first three steps listed above of journaling, meditation, and incubation. They have profound results towards your lucid dreaming. Plus you have to have the intention to lucid dream, as well as the expectation of success.
Make sure that you are writing in your dream journal nightly/daily for best results. Consistency is the key. Even if you just write one snippet of a dream, it still helps.
Here are some other tips and tools:
1. PRACTICE REALITY CHECKS
Throughout your day practice reality checks like turning on and off your lights. Apparently changing the lighting is near impossible in your dream. If you can't turn the light on/off, you must be dreaming. Use these reality checks to help you become lucid in your dreams. There are many other ones you can try. For example, oftentimes reading the numbers on your clock can be difficult. If you're having trouble reading letters or numbers, you must be dreaming. There are many other techniques you can use, which you can find in books and online.
2. IDENTIFY DREAM SIGNS
There are many signs in the dream itself that can trigger lucidity. Why is there an elephant in your house? Is that possible? Then you must be dreaming. Try to pay attention to the things in your dreams that aren’t possible in waking life and use them as a trigger to go lucid.
3. WAKE BACK TO BED (WBTB) METHOD
I don’t use this method myself but many people I know find it very helpful. You want to basically wake yourself up in the wee hours of the morning, after you’ve had your deep restorative sleep. Then stay up for a little while before trying to go back to sleep. Apparently this helps you to be more alert in your dreams after you fall back asleep. If this appeals to you, research the method in books and online.
4. USE FALSE AWAKENINGS
There are many times in the morning that you have false awakenings. How many times have you thought you woke up for work or school, got dressed etc, then woke to realize you’re still in bed. That was a false awakening. You were still in your astral body, but you were acting as if you were awake. Learning how to notice the difference between a false awakening and actually being awake, can help you to use that time to your benefit. Start doing reality checks every morning when you wake up. That way you will remember to do a reality check during your false awakenin. Once you’re aware that you’re still dreaming, the world is your oyster. You can do anything!
5. LET GO OF YOUR FEAR
Fear can make it near impossible to have a lucid dream or OBE. Lucidity of your dream state is a powerful tool for exploring your subconscious and superconscious, as well as learning about the collective unconscious. Trust that this is a natural part of your development. Everyone can lucid dream. It‘s safe and more than that, actually betters your life, teaching you more about yourself and the universe around you. Let go and trust.
6. ASSUME YOU’RE DREAMING
Asking yourself throughout the day whether you’re dreaming is helpful. When you’re awake, it’s generally obvious that you are. You generally don’t question whether it’s a dream. But when you’re dreaming you will often question whether you are awake or asleep. This is often when people will do reality testing to see if they’re indeed in a dream. Like trying to read, or putting your hand through a wall, etc. However I like to simplify this process. To me it’s clear, if I question my reality at all....I MUST be dreaming. Because when I’m awake I never question it. So if you find yourself questioning whether you’re awake or dreaming, just assume you are dreaming.
7. BECOME MORE LUCID IN YOUR WAKING LIFE
In order to increase the likelihood of lucid dreaming, learn to be more lucid in your waking life. Learn to be the observer of yourself during your waking state. Pay attention to your environment, and your interactions with it. Notice everything around you as best you can. Become hyper-aware of each moment, as if you're lucid dreaming right then. The more you practice this, the more likely you will become lucid in your dream state.
8. BETTER DREAM RECALL
It also helps to up your dream recall skills. The more you can remember from your lucid dreaming experience, the more information you can bring back into your waking state. Be diligent about writing in your dream journal nightly. Even if it's just the smallest of dream fragments. It's the habit that counts.
Oftentimes when you've just become lucid in your dream, you may find it hard to see, or you may feel like you're going to easily slip back into your body or waking consciousness. When this happens, you'll want to try some stabilization techniques.
1. FOCUS ON YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Look at the detail around you. Pay attention to the detail of the ground or the objects around you. Really look closely at everything. Touch things. You're wanting to put your attention on your environment rather than your self.
2. RUB YOUR HANDS TOGETHER
Rubbing your hands together helps you to focus on the present moment. You're focusing on the sensation and feeling of your hands touching. Even though your rubbing your hands, which you'd think makes you focus on your body, somehow it has the same effect as focusing on your environment.
3. SPINNING AROUND
I find this works better for changing your environment than for stabilizing it, but it works for some people, so I've listed it here.