You already have the ability to effectively set and carry out intentions for the future. You use this form of memory frequently in your daily routines, for example, when you remember to call someone back or drop something in the mailbox. The Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams technique, or MILD, is a prospective memory technique designed to help you set and carry out the intention to remember that you are dreaming. LaBerge developed this method during his dissertation research to increase willful access to the lucid dreaming state.
SETTING INTENTIONS THROUGH THE 3 Rs
Consider for a moment the multitude of ways you set intentions to complete future tasks in your daily life. You might simply tell yourself in words that you’re going to do something later, perhaps even reminding yourself of this intention periodically over the day. Or you might visualize the steps it would take for you to successfully complete the task. You might also write out your plan.
Let’s say that you want to remember to change one of your behaviors, such as forgetting to floss your teeth nightly. When you wake and realize that you didn’t floss last night, you could mentally rehearse your nighttime routine to include remembering to floss, which makes it more likely that you’ll remember the next night.
To strengthen your intentions to lucid dream, the MILD technique guides you through a series of steps to help you plan to notice that you’re dreaming, and to accomplish a productive lucid dreaming goal.
MILD is ideally practiced at nighttime, when you wake from dreams and prior to returning to sleep. When you awaken from a dream, you memorize it and apply the intention-setting skill known as the three Rs: rescript, rehearse, and remind. Repeat these as many times as necessary to feel confident that you can carry out your intention to remember you are dreaming when you return to sleep.
1. RESCRIPT. When you wake from a dream, decide how you would re-sequence your dream’s events to include becoming lucid. Choose a point in the dream during which you recognize a dreamsign and say, “This is a dream.” Next, rescript the rest of the dream as if you remained aware that you were dreaming and carried out a meaningful task.
2. REHEARSE. Imagine yourself back in the dream, except this time, experience the new, rescripted version in which you became lucid. Visualize yourself becoming lucid and what the rest of the lucid dream would have been like. Repeat this visualization as many times as needed to clearly see yourself back in the dream, remembering you are dreaming.
3. REMIND. Set a mental reminder that when you return to sleep and begin dreaming, you will remember that you are dreaming. Tell yourself, “I will become lucid when I am next dreaming. I might encounter a dreamsign similar to those in my previous dreams, or it might be a different type of dreamsign. Next time I’m presented with a dreamsign, I will remember that I’m dreaming.” Focus on this intention right before you fall back asleep.
The MILD technique may also be practiced during daytime hours. Essentially, you continue to remind yourself of your intention to lucid dream tonight. You can practice rescripting your recent nonlucid dreams as though you realized you were dreaming, or you can even rescript a waking experience as though it were a lucid dream instead. You then rehearse the rescripted version in your imagination. Repeat this until you feel that your intention is firmly set.
MILD PRACTICAL TIPS
The essence of MILD is simple, yet it also has intricacies. This section includes a few more tips to help you better understand and apply this practice over the night.
When you are applying the three Rs during brief awakenings in the middle of the night, you might find that you fall back asleep before you are able to complete the exercise. To prevent this, prop yourself up in bed momentarily to practice the three Rs before you return to sleep.
If you are unable to remember a dream when you wake, you can still practice MILD. All you need to do is select one of your other recent dreams that you recall well and practice rescripting and rehearsing that dream as if it were lucid instead.
After rescripting and rehearsing a recent dream, you might mistakenly expect that the next dream you have when returning to sleep is supposed to be the same. However, this is rarely the case and not the purpose of MILD. Rather, MILD uses your own mind’s imagery as a training ground to rehearse what it takes to notice you are dreaming, thereby strengthening your ability to execute on intentions to lucid dream.
Be meticulous during your practice drills of the three Rs. Practice them at least several times in a row. Rehearse becoming lucid in slow motion and at other times practice at a faster pace. Visualize all aspects of the dream as vividly as possible, particularly more subtle aspects such as what you were thinking and feeling. Thoroughly revise the dream, not just by incorporating the view that you know you are dreaming, but also precisely how your thinking will shift to remember you are dreaming in the first place. The more clearly you are able to imagine becoming lucid using your own dream imagery, the more agile and effective you will become in attaining lucidity in all sorts of future dream scenarios.
Instead of visualizing yourself becoming lucid, you can also make use of alternative or complementary methods to help you rehearse what it would be like to become lucid. For example, you can write down the rescripted versions of your dreams in your journal, or verbally describe in detail the new narrative that includes becoming lucid.
Although the aim of practicing the three Rs during nocturnal awakenings is to become lucid in your next dream period, you may not always be successful. However, practicing the three Rs is still valuable because you are putting in the required work to strengthen your mental set for recognizing dreamsigns. Be persistent, because the more you practice MILD, the more skilled you will become at it and the more prepared you will be to lucid dream at your next opportunity.
PRACTICE POINT: Practice MILD Over the Night
Since you have several REM periods per night you can practice the MILD technique multiple times in the same night. This can be especially helpful if you want to choose a single night to focus intently on becoming lucid. However, it’s not necessary to apply MILD every time you wake up from a dream, or even every night. It is acceptable to take a relaxed approach to MILD, applying it only when you feel motivated to focus on your practice.
If you do want to maximize your practice of MILD however, here’s a sequence that outlines what MILD practice looks like when fully implemented from the time you turn out the lights until you rise from bed in the morning.
1. AT LIGHTS OUT
* Set up dream recall: Intend to notice when you wake up during the night, and to remember your dreams.
* Apply the three Rs: Rescript and rehearse one of your recent dreams as if it was lucid. Remind yourself to remember that you’re dreaming tonight, letting this intention be the last thing on your mind as you drift to sleep.
2. DURING NOCTURNAL AWAKENINGS
* Explicitly notice that you have just woken up, then memorize your dream. Record your dream’s details in your journal.
* Apply the three Rs again: Rescript and rehearse the dream you just woke from as if it were lucid. If you don’t recall the dream, use the most recent dream that you do recall instead. Remind yourself to remember that you’re dreaming when you return to sleep.
3. AT RISE TIME
* Recall your dreams and write them down.
* Apply the three Rs once more: Rescript and rehearse the last dream you remember as if it were lucid. Since you’ll be rising to start your day, remind yourself that the next time you go to sleep, you’ll remember that you are dreaming.
There's more to learning MILD and the best ways to induce lucid dreaming. In fact, MILD you can think of MILD as an umbrella that encompasses all the seemingly separate induction variations designed to amplify memory capacities for induction. Check out this workshop clip where I touch on MILD as an integrative, 24-hour practice. You can read more about induction skills in my book, Learn to Lucid Dream. For hands-on assistance with inducing and benefiting from lucid dreams, check out my online course.
From 'Learn to Lucid Dream: Powerful Techniques for Awakening Creativity and Consciousness by Kristen LaMarca, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2019 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved.