Autosuggestion is a form of self-hypnosis and is often suggested as a possible means to induce lucid dreaming.
It is a popular "first port-of-call" for many lucid dreamers, however the results reported from within the lucid dream community seem disappointing, and it's likely that autosuggestion techniques do little more than help maintain motivation and focus on one's goal to become lucid.
However, various early lucid dream pioneers report positive results.
Patricia Garfield claims that "using a method of self-suggestion, she obtained a classical learning curve, increasing the frequency of prolonged lucid dreams from a baseline of zero to a high of three per week".
Stephen LaBerge reports similar results. During the first sixteen months of his dissertation study, he used autosuggestion to induce lucid dreams and reported an average of 5.4 lucid dreams per month.
Paul Tholey also reports experimenting with autosuggestion techniques, but provided little detail of his results or specific techniques employed.
However, all three experts were deeply immersed in the topic and familiar with multiple techniques.
All in all, autosuggestion is a useful low-effort lucid dream induction technique, best used in combination with more proactive lucid dreaming methods.
1. Enter a deeply relaxed state.
When in bed, allow yourself to enter a deep and relaxed state. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and allow any tension in your body to simply slip away. Let your worries and concerns also melt away.
Simply enjoy the sensation of relaxation.
Use any relaxation techniques you find appropriate to achieve this state.
If you have recently woken from sleep, you are likely to already be sufficiently relaxed, in which case proceed to step 2.
2. Suggest to yourself that you will have a lucid dream.
In this relaxed state, make statements to yourself that you will achieve a lucid dream. This could be tonight, or some night in the near future.
Avoid firm statements with intentional effort. For example, "I will definitely have a lucid dream tonight", is counterproductive. Such statements set your expectations too high, and if you fail to see corresponding results, you will lose faith in yourself and confidence in the technique.
Instead, use subtle suggestions such as, "Each night I will become more skilled at noticing that I am dreaming while dreaming", or "I am ready to notice when I am dreaming".
Suggestions that focus on prospective memory are ideal. For example, "I will remember to question if I am dreaming".
3. Repeat suggestions.
Continue with your suggestions until you feel they have taken hold or you fall into sleep.
Patricia Garfield/Paul Tholey/Stephen LaBerge
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Sense preference suited:
Hints & Tips:
It is recommended that those wishing to experiment with autosuggestion study self-hypnosis techniques and seek guidance on the most effective language for suggestions.
While the technique is best suited for bed-time practice, many use autosuggestion throughout the day, whenever they find themselves with a quiet moment to reflect. This repetition may help increase effectiveness.
Hypnosis does not deserve the mystical state it has achieved in the public eye. It is certainly not a magical means to control the human mind. It impossible to force the mind into a state, or to achieve any results against the subject's will. This includes self-hypnosis and autosuggestion. Indeed, hypnosis is still considered a highly speculative and experimental concept and has many skeptics.
Therefore, consider autosuggestion as little more than the regular planting of ideas in the soil of the mind. With regular attention and care, some will sprout into more fully formed neural pathways that may help with one's goal.
Also, do not underestimate the power of belief, repetition, and placebo to achieve results. They have all been employed very effectively by various institutions, religions, advertisers, and political groups, throughout history.
The human mind certainly seems to respond to certain forms of suggestion.
That said, reports show that autosuggestion seems to be a very hit-and-miss technique; effective for some, not for others. It is best used as a supplementary practice alongside more proactive techniques, rather than a primary technique.