It is possible to simultaneously practice several techniques for becoming conscious in a dream since every technique is directly compatible and complementary to another.
There is a well known and widespread of fallacy that supposes that dreams do not occur for some people. Everyone dreams, but not everyone remembers their dreams. Even those who actively dream remember only a small fraction of these nightly excursions. Hence, one should not think that it is impossible for someone who does not remember dreams to become conscious in one. Such a person should simply try to use the techniques.
At the same time, there is a direct correlation between the number of dreams remembered and the probability of becoming conscious while dreaming. That is why developing the ability to remember dreams is crucial. In essence, the ability to achieve dream consciousness rests with the conscious mind, which is very much interconnected with memory-related processes.
Consciousness is naturally inherent in dreams, but it lacks rapid, operative memory. Dreamers may know who they are, their names, how to walk, and how to talk, but may not know how surrounding events are related, or the nature of their significance.
By increasing the frequency of remembered dreams, short-term dream memory becomes more developed, which enables more realistic dream experiences followed by a higher probability of dream consciousness.
There are three techniques dedicated to increasing the number of remembered dreams.
The first is to simply recall the details of dreams upon awakening. Within the first few minutes of waking up, try to remember as many dreams from the night before as possible. This should be done with a great amount of attention and diligence because this exercise strengthens the memory. If possible, during the day, or, better yet, before going to sleep at night, recalling the previous night's dreams once again is highly beneficial.
Writing dreams down in a special dream journal is much more effective than simple recall. Record dreams in the morning while memories are still fresh. The more details recalled when recording the dream, the better the ultimate results. This is a very attentive approach that demands a higher awareness than simple recollection. Writing dreams in a journal significantly increases awareness of actions and aspirations.
Another way of remembering dreams is to create a map of the dream world. This is called dream cartography and is similar to keeping a journal, though an enhanced level of awareness is developed by connecting dream episodes on a map.
First, record one dream, describing locations and events, which are plotted on the map. This cartographic process is repeated with each subsequent dream, and after several dreams an episode will occur that is somehow related to the location of a dream that has already been recorded. The two dreams that took place near each other are plotted next to each other on the map. Over time, more and more interrelated dreams will occur and the map will become increasingly concentrated rather than disconnected. As a result, the frequency and realistic quality of remembered dreams will increase, and the dreamer will increase the ability to achieve consciousness while dreaming.
It is best to set remembered dreams to memory after temporary awakenings versus waiting until morning. To accomplish this, it helps to have a pen and a piece of paper nearby so that a practitioner may quickly jot down a phase or several key words from the plot of the dream before falling back asleep. Using this information, the majority of dreams are quickly and completely recalled.
The initial result from exercising these techniques is a rapid increase in the number of remembered dreams. When this number becomes significant (anywhere between five and 10 per night), dream consciousness follows on a regular basis.
Intention is crucial to the success of any technique. With regard to dream consciousness, its significance is multiplied. The creation of intention is inextricably linked to the creation of internal aspiration, which has reverberations in both conscious and unconscious states. In reality, an elevated degree of intention operates as a powerful method of mental programming.
This technique is performed before falling asleep by affirming a strong desire to become conscious while dreaming. For best results, alongside a strong, clearly defined intention, think through what actions will be taken when dream consciousness is achieved.
Since dream consciousness is not linked to specific actions that take place within a dream and sensory perception continues to operate in the dream state, it is possible to develop and use an artificially conditioned reflex to achieve consciousness. The essence of this technique is to train the consciousness to uniformly react to certain stimuli that occur while being awake and when dreaming, establishing a habit of specific response every time a certain situation occurs.
For example, while awake, a practitioner may ask, "Am I dreaming?" every time they see an anchor. An anchor is any object that is often encountered while awake and while dreaming. Examples of anchors include a practitioner's own hands, red objects, or running water. When first using this technique, a practitioner will be unable to question whether a dream is in progress every time a pre-established anchor is encountered. However, with training and a strong desire this technique quickly produces results. Over time, subconscious questioning of the practitioner's state becomes habit, happening while awake and dreaming. The end result is dream consciousness.
It is important to note that one needs not only to simply ask this question, but that it is also important to answer it mindfully, trying to isolate oneself from surrounding events in order to be able to answer it in an as objective and unpredetermined way as possible. Failing to answer objectively will always result in a negative response (no), and dream consciousness will not be achieved.
In addition to creating deliberate anchors that induce conscious dreaming, natural anchors should be given focused attention. These are objects and actions that regularly cause dream consciousness, even when consciousness is not desired. Being aware of the existence of natural anchors actually doubles the chances of their appearance.
The following experiences are common natural anchors that are present in dreams: death, sharp pain, intense fear, stress, flying, electric shock, sexual sensations, and dreaming about phase entrance or the phase environment. When attempting dream consciousness, identifying natural anchors produces results nearly 100% of the time.
One may try to start flying each time that one answers the question. This is of course pointless when in waking reality. However, when dreaming, this will most likely lead to flight and once again prove that everything around is just a dream.
Consistent analysis of dreams helps to ascertain reasons for an absence of conscious awareness: these analyses are significant to attaining dream consciousness. Over the course of a lifetime, the mind grows accustomed to the paradoxical nature of dreams and pays less attention to them. This becomes apparent while trying to understand that a red crocodile is unable to talk, cannot be red, nor can it rent an apartment. While dreaming, these impossibilities are never called into question. The essence of self-analysis is remembering dreams and thinking hard about why their paradoxical features had not been adequately recognized in the dream state.
With experience, the everyday analysis of the correspondence of dreams to reality begins to have an effect on a practitioner's reasoning within the dream state. For example, that red crocodile's presence in a rented apartment could cause doubts that give pause for reflection, which could in turn lead to the understanding that everything happening is just a dream.