If you're interested in learning how to lucid dream, you've likely asked yourself the question, "What is the best lucid dreaming technique?", and while this may seem like a very reasonable question, you may be surprised to discover that it is one of the biggest mistakes that lucid dreaming beginners can make.
Lucid dreaming techniques may seem like an easy way to experience a lucid dream, and this is often true (in a limited sense), but unlike other subjects, lucid dreaming is not quite as straightforward as it may seem.
In many areas of life we expect certain formulas to yield guaranteed results. If you carefully follow a recipe for lasagne, you are right to believe that the end result will be a tasty plate of the Italian dish.
The same is true for many subjects, from maths to music, programming to fitness. In many ways we live in a formulaic world.
However there are some aspects of life that simply do not follow such a well-trodden and predictable path. Lucid dreaming is one of these.
Lucid Dreaming is Complex
At its heart lucid dreaming is an exploration into the nature of psychology and consciousness, and these are still poorly understood fields of immense complexity and variability.
Learning how to lucid dream is less like preparing a lasagne, and more like attempting to understand and explain WHY you prefer a certain food over another; the answer is different for everyone, and the reasons behind your preference can be incredibly varied and complex.
Perhaps your favourite meal reminds you of someone you love, maybe it is tied to happy memories, it is likely also that genetics plays a role. If you were to try to explain or transfer this preference with another, it would be close to impossible to do so; the variables at play are simply too complex.
Attempting to create a lucid dreaming technique that works for every would-be lucid dreamer, is as difficult as trying to convert someone else to your personal culinary preferences. Why?
Because your personal psychological landscape is perfectly unique.
So why use lucid dreaming techniques when the solution is so personal?
Well, lucid dreaming techniques should be considered as tactical generalizations. They take the most fundamental and simple approach to induce lucid dreaming, in the hope that these will be broadly effective to as many people as possible.
The cost of this approach is, that while techniques will bring occasional results to the widest range of people, they are never perfectly targeted to the individual's needs. In short they are a very blunt tool for what is, at heart, a process that requires surgical precision.
To return to the food analogy, lucid dreaming techniques are like serving everyone rice and expecting everyone to find it delicious.
The Perfect Lucid Dreaming Technique
Many would-be lucid dreamers attempt to seek out the "best" lucid dreaming technique. But as we can see, this is the wrong mindset.
At best, lucid dreaming techniques should be considered as a first baby-step in the exploration of the dreaming mind.
They offer a very low-resolution answer to a high-resolution problem. It is because of this that there simply cannot be one perfect lucid dreaming technique for all dreamers in all circumstances.
Instead, as a lucid dreamer you will need to forge your own hand-crafted lucid dream strategy. A combination of many tailored techniques and practices, a tool-kit if you will, designed to perfectly fit your psychology.
Furthermore, you are not the only variable in this equation. Each night you will experience a unique set of variables beyond your control, namely the conditions that present themselves on any given night.
The perfect lucid dreaming technique is the technique that suits your individual psychology AND the immediate circumstances that occur on each attempt at lucidity.
This is a complex process that can take many years to understand.
And of course, with each passing year you change and grow, and therefore your psychology and conditions also change -- be that changes in sleep cycle that occur with aging, in your diet and health, in your interests and personality, the nature of your sleeping environment, the variables are extensive and almost fractal in nature.
Lucid Dreaming is a Journey
The path of lucid dreaming is a long journey over an ever-changing terrain. So rather than assume that there is one simple solution to inducing a lucid dream, in the form of a single technique, it is wise to remind yourself that you are exploring one of the most complex subjects on planet Earth, namely the nature of consciousness itself.
Do not fall into the common trap that many newbie lucid dreamers fall for, the search for the "Holy Grail" of lucid dreaming techniques. It's an impossible challenge without an answer.
Instead, use lucid dreaming as a chance to marvel at the uniqueness of your own mind and the variability of each night's sleeping landscape.
By all means experiment with the many techniques and practices available to you, as they will certainly give insights into how your dreaming mind operates. But remember, these are only a very incomplete and generalized map. It is down to you to be a cartographer of your own world of lucid dreaming.
If there is one perfect technique for lucid dreamers, it can be condensed to a single word: adaptation.