Today we're going to explore a brand new (and particularly fun) lucid dreaming technique.
It's a form of dream hacking based on the principles of negative suggestion - or reverse psychology.
(This article is a transcript from the video "Do Not Watch This Video" - Which you can view here)
How Does Reverse Psychology Work?
We live in a world of rules and restrictions. Since childhood, we have been surrounded by the constraints and expectations of society. Our ability to follow these rules (and to understand the consequences of breaking them) is a learnt behaviour that requires the higher functions of the brain.
This often puts us at odds with our innate desires and wishes. As such, the forbidden is often equated to that which is desirable. These forbidden fruits can become an appealing obsession or imbued with a sense of excitement and alluring mystery.
Anyone who has ever been on a diet, given up smoking knows this only too well!
Our first line of defence against the appeal of breaking rules is our logical mind. And we know that when this is compromised (perhaps through an intoxicant such as alcohol) that we are far more likely to act upon otherwise restricted desires.
Dreams are also a prime example of this.
During dreams, many of our higher functions are subdued and we are a more primitive and instinctual version of ourselves. This is in part due to the inactivity of the prefrontal cortex during sleep.
We are far more likely to break rules or act on impulse during our dreams.
Freud took this observation so far that he assumed all dreams were a form of wish-fulfilment. However, a more accurate interpretation of our dreaming mind is that we are simply acting on an impulsive and instinctual level.
So our aim is to hack this aspect of dreaming in order to enhance our chances of becoming lucid. And to do so is very simple.
Firstly we need to create a desire and habit during our waking lives. One that will never be satisfied. Then we'll simply wait for our dreaming mind to give into temptation!
So onto the technique itself.
The Reverse Psychology Lucid Dreaming Technique
You'll first need to find yourself an attractive and durable container, such as a small box or large locket.
Ideally, this should be something portable with enough room inside to contain several items. However, a larger box that can be kept on your bedside table can also be used.
I personally use a vintage metal cigarette case.
Once you have chosen your container, enlist the help of a close and trustworthy friend. Give them the container along with a small sum of cash. Request that they use the money to buy several small and appealing items to store within the container. Something they know you would like - but nothing perishable.
However, it is very important that they must NEVER tell you the items they have chosen.
Once they have the items, they must place them in the container - ideally wrapped in tissue paper to avoid rattling - along with a clearly written note that states "You Are Dreaming".
Finally, they must lightly seal the container. Either with tape or an elastic band, so that it cannot mistakenly fall open - but could be opened quickly if needed. Sellotape is ideal.
Once this has been done, thank your friend and take possession of the container.
(Once again, remind your friend to never - under any circumstances - tell you what has been placed inside)
You are now in possession of a container that will remain unopened for your entire lifetime. One that contains items that will forever remain a mystery!
The point of this should be clear: you have created a desire and a mystery that you can carry with you, but will never satisfy.
From here on the rest of the technique is very simple.
You will either carry the box with you or keep it by your bedside. Knowing that the only time you will ever see its contents are in the dream world.
For those of you who have seen the film Inception, this is similar to the concept of a Totem - only with a logical and effective means to induce lucidity behind it.
During the day, whenever you perform a reality test or think about dreaming, bring out your container and daydream about what may be inside.
Imagine opening the container and - very importantly - realising that, to be opening it would mean that you must be dreaming. Make this clear to yourself, this is a container that will only ever be opened in the dream world. So, if you find yourself opening the container, you must be dreaming!
Do this same visualisation each night before you retire to bed, placing your container on your bedside table while you sleep.
The idea here is to create a desire to open the box, and to equate opening the box with knowing that you must be dreaming. At this point, assuming your curiosity is high, it will only be a matter of time before you start dreaming of your mysterious container. And - with the uninhibited and bizarre nature of dreams - it won't be long until you start to dream of finding the container opened, damaged, mutated or simply of opening it yourself.
In general, this will regularly instigate a lucid dream!
However, on some occasions, your dreaming mind may create a bizarre justification of why it is opened.
When this does happen, it is a reminder to improve the quality and focus of your visualisations when awake. You must be absolutely clear in your understanding that if the container is open, you are definitely dreaming.
As an additional benefit, over the coming months and years, you will find all manner of curious items within your container during your dreams.
Sometimes they will be fascinatingly useful and at other times incredibly strange!
You'll develop a close bond with your "container of dreams" and it is wonderful to grow old with an item that exists only to be used in the dream world.
When considering lucid dreaming techniques, it is useful to understand that there are two approaches: either passive or active.
An active technique (such as the Wake Back To Bed method) is one in which you focus your efforts on achieving lucidity within a specific dream. A suitable analogy would be spear fishing.
While passive techniques (such as the one you are reading about and reality tests) are equivalent to fishing with a net - they focus on your entire dreaming life.
Both are valid and both should be used as a part of your overall lucid dreaming strategy.
So, that's the Reverse Psychology or Negative Suggestion technique!
This is an ideal way to incorporate lucid dream training into your daily life, in a practical and tangible way.
It's an enjoyable passive technique that can greatly enhance your chances of experiencing a Dream Initiated Lucid Dream (otherwise known as a DILD). I've always loved any lucid dreaming method that creates a more dreamlike and mysterious waking life, and this technique is perfect for that.
I hope you find this technique enjoyable and useful.
It's unique and a little bit quirky and certainly worth a try!
Explore further: To explore lucid dreaming further, why not subscribe to our YouTube channel, or pick up a copy of "Are You Dreaming?: Exploring Lucid Dreams, A Comprehensive Guide".