Breaking the Circle
Breaking the Circle is a lucid dreaming technique which aims both to help you build your muscles of mental awareness, and to train yourself to stay clear-minded for as long as possible. It was created by Daniel Love.
Breaking the Circle consists of a daytime practice and a nighttime practice. These are equally important, so make sure you practice them both!
Breaking the Circle is designed to anchor a specific state of mind with a physical action in order to "piggy-back" on the vast neural architecture designated for tactile processing (More than ten percent of the cerebral cortex is involved in processing information about our sense of touch).
The concept is similar to the traditional concept of "Mudra" (Sanskrit: मुद्रा, Tibetan: ཕྱག་རྒྱ་) employed by various spiritual systems around the world, such as Hatha Yoga and Buddhism.
Unlike traditional mudras, the hand position employed for Breaking the Circle is somewhat aribtrary, choosen for convinience, consistency, and due to the large neural-architecture dedicated to the sensory processing of the hands.
Breaking the Circle is not linked to any particular cultural iconography although those familar with Yoga may recognise it as the same position used in the "Gyan mudra" -- one of the most famous of all the mudras, often refered to as "the Mudra of Knowledge".
During the day, whenever you feel clear-minded and lucid, you will create a circle with your index finger and your thumb. You will keep your fingers in this position for as long as you feel clear-minded and aware. However, the moment you notice that you drift into a daydream, or any other thought, you must let go (and thereby break the circle). Simply put: The circle you create with your index finger and your thumb will represent a clear and lucid state of mind.
What you should discover when performing this technique is that, while this practice may sound easy, the fact is that staying aware for long periods at a time can be quite exhausting. Breaking the Circle will not only help you build the muscles of your mental awareness -- you will also learn what amount of awareness you actually have at your disposal to distribute, how often you daydream, etc. All of this is of course incredibly useful for your lucid dreaming practice as a whole.
The nighttime practice of Breaking the Circle is very similar to the dropping technique: When you wake up during the night, or when you perform Wake Back to Bed, you place your index finger and your thumb together to create the circle (which now represents a clear and lucid state of mind). Then, you allow yourself to fall asleep while your fingers are still touching. Importantly, the same principle applies here as for the daytime practice: If you notice that your mind drifts, you must break the circle by moving your fingers apart from one another -- only letting them touch again when you're back to feeling clear-minded.
Due to the fact that muscle tone relaxes as you fall asleep, your fingers will eventually start drifting apart automatically. Because the circle represents a clear and lucid mind, once your fingers are no longer touching, you should snap back into conscious awareness when you notice that your fingers are no longer forming a circle.
Lucid Dream Type:
Regained & Maintained (DILD & WILD)
(anecdotal & community reported)
Sense preference suited:
Hints & Tips:
Consistency is key - only ever perform the Breaking the Circle "mudra" when in a clear and lucid state of mind.
If you find your hands forming the "mudra" unconsciously and by habit, this should cue you into a moment of mindful lucidity.
Breaking the Circle is an ongoing practice, and should become part of your lucid lifestyle.
While Breaking the Circle appears deceptively simple, in practice it is incredibly difficult to maintain. This is very important to note, as it demostrates how rarely we maintain lucid awareness during ouir waking hours.
Tactile/sensor practices tend to transfer more readily into the dreamstate, therefore Breaking the Circle essentially acts as means to anchor a complex psychological state to an easily transferable physical state.