Before I throw myself into LD I want to know if anyone has actually succeeded with LD to the point where they can reliably control their dreams and experience LD regularly.
I decided to come up with an answer to that. Here it is.
I lucid dream pretty much each and every night. Someone asked me today how I achieved this. Beyond getting a lot of sleep, I think that a pattern of lifelong critical thinking and analysis helps. If your mind is "turned on" to the degree that you regularly notice anything out of place while you are awake, you are probably going to have the same thought process while you are asleep. The dreaming cues become so obvious that you can instantly kick into exploration mode (instead of wasting all your dreamtime on a fool's errand to deliver pies made out of shoes to your dead grandmother).
Your question about "mastery" leads me to something that I'd like to address with those getting interested in lucid dreaming: Is the goal to be able to control the dream scenario freely as a 3-D playpen, with the assumption that you are "alone in your head"? Or rather, to treat the dreaming world as a potential source of information and a gateway to perceiving a bigger external reality than the one you see now?
Since I can already imagine things all by my lonesome while I'm awake (on pencil and paper)... I pursue the communication angle. If you want to read some of the stories, my journal is online:
As you see I haven't sought to master dream "control", in the sense of turning it into a puppet show. In fact, I'm working on the opposite! I choose specific tactics to screen against cases where a question is answered by my own preconceptions about what the answer will be. It takes work in the waking world to do this too--certainly you know people who hear what they want to hear, despite what you said! Becoming a good listener requires clearing your mind a bit and really focusing on the words coming at you.
Am I wasting my time by not seeking dream control as an avenue for fantasy fulfillment? I dunno, my fantasy fulfillment rarely involves me controlling everything. I remind people that we still don't know what the internal breakthrough was that enabled Helen Keller to comprehend the sign for Water, and that opened a channel for her to express her desires to an entire outside world. That world could sense for her and better react to her needs...though it might have been a bummer to find out a whole planet had senses she had gone without for so long.
Flatland, which is a cool little book, has inspired a lot of people to think about gaining new perceptual abilities. It's about the shift that a 2D creature might have understanding 3D. Several videos have been made in that vein:
I'm sure there are many other shifts to study, and perhaps a whole cascade of possibilities... so many that one can never master them all.
Good luck on your dream pursuits...
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