To lucid dream, you must be knowledgeable in skills for recognizing the signs you are dreaming--commonly known as dreamsigns. These are the features of your dreams that make them distinguishable from waking reality. In essence, you cultivate the intention to remember you are dreaming in the presence of these cues, which can be developed through variations of memory training.
As is most often the case, your dreamsigns do not become obvious to you until you wake up. But those moments after waking from a dream are the optimal time to exercise your mental focus for lucid dreaming. Unfortunately, most oneironauts-in-training simply move on and forget about their dreamsigns after waking. Or worse, some struggle with frustration or being hard on themselves for not remembering to become lucid. If either of these scenarios apply to you, here are a few tips to refine your induction practices to be more helpful:
After remembering and/or recording your dream, identify all of the dreamsigns that were present.
Choose a specific dreamsign to work with from your dream. It could be one that stood out to you, or one that tends to recur in various forms in your other dreams.
Imagine yourself back in the dream, except rescript the outcome so that you do remember to recognize the dreamsign. Imagine saying aloud in the dream, "This is a dreamsign. I am dreaming right now." Also, envision how the rest of your response would be different fully knowing that you are dreaming.
Lastly, set a mental reminder that when you encounter a dreamsign next, you will remember to recognize it and be fully lucid. Focus--even just briefly--on this intention at various times of the day, and before sleep.
Rehearsing lucidity using your personal imagery is necessary for building a strong intention to lucid dream, and your ability to execute on it. Otherwise, the lucidity you are hoping for is more of a shot in the dark. There are ample reasons why strengthening dreamsign recognition skills is more effective than the cliché reality testing techniques for inducing lucid dreams. Moreover, dreamsigns can weave with your waking imagery, enhancing opportunities for personal growth and increasing lucidity in everyday life while awake.
Get to know the ins and outs of recognizing dreamsigns in my upcoming online course.