Geo Bell 5/4/2017
I received a question not long ago, for which, through fear of sparking an unnecessary debate among my personal friends, I was hesitant to commit a definitive response. The question was whether lucid dreaming is a spiritual practice, the short answer to which I give, is "if you like".
While a study by Stumbrys et al (2014) suggests that the majority of oneironauts prefer to spend their conscious dream time flying and fornicating, a great many dreamers swear by lucidity as a powerful tool for spiritual exploration. However, despite what many practitioners will have you believe, lucid dreaming itself isn't inherently spiritual.
A parallel with which I find it useful to draw, is the near-ubiquitous association between spirituality and meditation. For many, simply hearing the word 'meditation' elicits the mental image of a bald headed monk, sat cross-legged and detached from worldly distractions. This is a rather stereotypical and out-dated schema. In reality, many who meditate do not consider themselves to be spiritual individuals. In much the same way, the practice of lucid dreaming can, and most often is, detached from any kind of spiritual endeavour.
Let's imagine the 'typical' aspiring oneironaut. Most of the time this person has, by chance, stumbled across lucid dreaming (usually on the internet), Google'd it, and thought "You know what? I'd like to fly around and go on adventures. I want to control my dreams!"
For a lucky few, lucid dreaming rapidly becomes an integral part of daily life. A much greater majority of prospective oneironauts are met with initial frustration, which many face with patience and perseverance. These motivated individuals earn their sweet dream nectar, while for those who lose interest, this is usually where the journey ends.
Of those fortunate enough to enjoy lucidity, few choose to seek much else but fun and entertainment. Some, as stated previously, steer towards spiritual exploration. Others still, seek to use this opportunity for self-improvement, skill development or to overcome nightmares. Who of these dreamers has the right idea? The answer is, in my view, all of them.
Sara would love to experience life as a Na'vi on the jungle moon of Pandora. Wouldn't we all?
Thomas can't wait to explore the mysteries of Dream Yoga. That sounds wonderful!
Ellen's just witnessed the perfect ending to her newest novel. Way to go, Ellen!
Josef has lost count of the celebrities he's dated. Whatever makes you happy, my friend.
The point which I'm getting at here, is that lucid dreaming doesn't have to be spiritual. It doesn't have to be adventurous, liberating or practical. Lucid dreaming can be none of these things, or it can be all of them. Most importantly, it can be what you want it to be, what you choose make of it.
As individuals, each with our own unique drives and ambitions, nobody should feel like they have to follow a certain path, or that there's a right or wrong way to enjoy our precious dream time. At the end of the day, much like life, lucid dreaming really is what you make of it.
If you're eager to explore spirituality and lucid dreaming, the following websites offer a great place to learn more:
Stumbrys, T., Erlacher D., Schädlich, M., Schredl, M. (2014) The phenomenology of lucid dreaming: an online survey. Conscious Cogn. Vol, 21. No. 3. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2012.07.003
Geo Bell 8/10/2016
Geo Bell 25/9/2016
New Kid on the Block
Earlier this week, the latest lucid dreaming device to hit Kickstarter knocked its initial funding goal of €50,000 out the park. The new kid on the block, which has been getting a lot of attention since its announcement, is the iBand+ developed by Dutch company Arenar. You can view the project’s Kickstarter here, but to give a quick overview:
The iBand+ is a wireless EEG headband with built-in LEDs and sensors which measure body movement, heart rate and body temperature. The device connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone, and also comes with a pair of ‘pillow speakers’ which are designed to slip conveniently into, you guessed it, your pillow.
While the promise of aiding lucid dreaming forms a large part of its campaign (and I don’t doubt that the overwhelming majority of backers came for exactly this), developers have also placed a great deal of emphasis on the iBand+’s ability to 'improve sleep'.
Arenar CEO Samir Raut says that the iBand+ "is not a passive tracker. It is an active sleep and dreams inducer that monitors and analyzes information on your brain and body throughout the sleep cycle and accurately generates audio-visual sensory stimuli to help you sleep and dream. We truly believe that iBand+ will help enhance people’s quality of life.”
Do I Smell a Little Competition?
Please note that I have no affiliation with or preferences toward either iWinks or their upcoming competitor Arenar. This is my unbiased commentary.
Upon iBand+’s announcement, my initial thoughts were;
a) This looks a little similar to another Kickstarter from 2013. Come on, you know the one. And,
b) Given that we’re still waiting for the Aurora Dreamband to be released (latest estimate: Q1/2 2017), are people really going to part with their cash this time around?
Well, apparently so! Having raised over €70,000 with 31 days left of its campaign, support for this wearable is showing no signs of slowing down.
As of right now, I have mixed feelings about the whole situation. On one hand, I’m hopeful that a competent team of professionals could develop and make widely available, an electronic device helpful in aiding lucid dream induction. (This said, I’ve based my assumptions on (now ancient) trials conducted by The Lucidity Institute, into the efficacy of the NovaDreamer device, which is conceptually similar to the Aurora Dreamband and the iBand+, minus EEG technology and some other things.)
Secondly, the team behind the project appear to be both experts in their respective fields, and also pretty nice people, which is always reassuring.
On the other hand, my deep dark fear is that oneironauts may once again be let down by yet another crowdfunder. This, I feel, is not completely unjustified, given the mass disappointment over Remee, the state of the comments section on the Aurora Dreamband Kickstarter, and I won’t even get into the whole ‘LUCI’ fiasco.
If I’m coming across as too critical towards the Aurora Dreamband, this is not my intention. I was actually quite excited when I first heard about it. I did not preorder a device simply because I’ve never needed anything other than good dream recall and technique to regularly enjoy lucid dreams. Still, if iWinks do deliver an effective, high quality device in the near-future, it will be fantastic news for the lucid dreaming community, and I hope this is the case.
However, it’s no lie that the team at iWinks have received some less than supportive feedback since their Kickstarter was first released in December 2013. While I can’t criticise the time and effort which iWinks must be putting into developing their product, it has been a long time, so I don’t blame backers for getting cold feet. I’m also not $300 out of pocket, else my opinion would, no doubt, be very different.
I asked the founders of Arenar how backers could be sure that they would not also be faced with such a delay, to which they replied;
"We have carefully planned our roadmap taking into consideration inputs from our entire team and aim to deliver iBand+ as planned."
Arenar have set an expected release date for the iBand+ of Summer 2017. Interestingly, this is in line with the latest release date given by iWinks for the Aurora Dreamband.
Here’s to ‘friendly' competition...
Interview with Samir and Purva Raut, Creators of iBand+
Q. The lucid dreaming community has seen several Kickstarters for lucid dreaming and sleep aids come and go, what is it that makes iBand+ special?
iBand+ is a EEG brain sensing and health tracking headband that tracks and analyzes the information about your brain and body to accurately recognize various sleep phases. iBand+ also uses natural audio-visual stimuli to induce lucid dreams.
Dreams occur when you are in the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, and REM phases are prominent towards the end of our sleep cycle. In fact, your REM sleep increases when you get a better overall sleep! If you do not get enough deep sleep, then your body will try to make that up first at the expense of REM sleep. Thus DEEP SLEEP is in the first place most important factor to invoke dreams. The better you sleep, the easier you can lucid dream!
Having said that, unlike other lucid dreaming products out there, iBand+ is much more than just a lucid dream inducer. It is an active SLEEP IMPROVEMENT product that helps you SLEEP BETTER with music that intelligently adjusts to your sleep cycle. We employ a scientific approach of actively improving sleep first so as to effectively induce lucid dreams!
Q. Could you tell us more about the Health Tracking feature, and how that works?
The more you know about your body, the better you can take care of it! iBand+ is also your personal health tracker that enables you to monitor your health even while asleep! iBand+ conceals special health tracking sensors to measure body movement, heart rate and body temperature. This information about the body together with EEG information about the brain provides a glimpse into your physical and mental state that could disclose potential health and sleep problems.
Q. What kind of testing have you performed with prototypes thus far, and how promising are the results?
We have been testing iBand+ for past 5 months on 8 different subjects varying in gender, social status, mental/physical health conditions. We have received incredible reports from the users. The data collected from these tests have played a very important role in shaping the iBand+ algorithm until now to give the best possible outcome. We will also extend our testing and will release this product only after extensive tests of more than 8000 hours are satisfactorily completed. We are a team of people who are experts in their respective fields (electronics, software, manufacturing, etc.) and who have earlier worked on consumer electronic products that are used by people all around the world. With iBand+, we want to deliver you a world class product that will help you elevate your health and happiness through improved sleep and dreams!
Q. One thing which I found very interesting is the external pillow speakers. What’s the deal with that?
iBand+ helps you sleep easily in a natural way with sounds and music that calm your mind and trigger sleep. While the visual stimuli are generated via the LEDs on the headband the pillow speakers are used for audio signals. Use of any other speakers including that of a smartphone will not provide you as discreet sound as iBand+ pillow speakers. That could inadvertently wake you and your partner. Moreover, iBand+ pillow speakers are designed with a purpose to provide you superior, lifelike auditory experience while in bed. With the advanced auto-learning algorithm, iBand+ intelligently adjusts the music and the volume as you fall asleep. Once asleep, iBand+ turns off the music. It then gently introduces white noise that masks distractions and ensures a sound sleep.
Q. Ok so I’ve spoken about this before; as a community I feel that lucid dreamers have been somewhat let down in recent years, with various lucid dreaming devices not living up to expectations and so on.
Lucid dreaming is the most authentic Virtual Reality experience. It’s a process that you can learn effectively and enjoy, especially if you have a right technology to help you. As mentioned earlier iBand+ is an active sleep improvement product that helps you sleep better first so as to effectively induce lucid dreams! We are confident that it will do its job perfectly. It will help you to become lucid in a dream but the dreamer also has to put efforts in learning this art to stay lucid. iBand+ will work wonders with the people who can make the best out of it!
Q. Your Kickstarter states that we can expect a shipped product by July 2017. How can we be sure that the iBand will reach our pillows by next summer?
We have carefully planned our roadmap taking into consideration inputs from our entire team and aim to deliver iBand+ as planned.
Thanks to Samir and Purva for taking the time to answer my questions!
Geo Bell 18/9/2016
A special announcement from Geo:
At midnight tonight (BST) we’re celebrating the launch of TeamLucidDream, a new collaborative YouTube project for which I am the Lead Writer and Friday Q&A presenter.
The project aims to expand the YouTube lucid dreaming community, providing informative advice for beginners, a weekly Podcast hosted by Giz Edwards and Milan Cools, dream vlogs, a weekly Q&A hosted by yours truly, and much more!
I’m excited to see where this takes the YouTube dreaming community, and I hope you can join us!
Geo Bell 5/8/2016
“I open my eyes and sit up in bed. I look around to see my old bedroom. Everything is exactly how I remember it, except for one thing. I don’t recognise the big white poster on the wall to my right. I’ve never seen that poster before. Why am I in my old bedroom? I take a glance at the red LED alarm clock by the bedside. The red numbers are dim and continually shifting. I’m still dreaming.”
Lucid dreaming is a fascinating state of consciousness, which in its simplest definition requires one critical element: the knowledge that one is dreaming. How can one check the state of their reality? How do you, the reader of this article, know with certainty that you’re not in fact, dreaming right now?
Read the full article at LiveLifeLucid.com
Interview with Jordan Bell: Artificial Dreaming, Childhood Nightmares and his Debut Novel 'DreamWake'
Geo Bell 14/7/2016
DreamWake: a device designed to induce and network dreams.
After recently finishing (and loving) the newly released dream-themed novel 'DreamWake', I pinched author Jordan Bell to discuss his debut novel, experience with lucid dreaming and more...
Geo Bell 17/4/2016
There's nothing quite as frustrating as waking up too soon. A few years ago, following a brief dream encounter with some lime flavoured doritos, I devised a tasty method of stabilising lucidity.
Geo Bell 24/3/2016
In another world
If you weren't even a little fascinated at the idea of losing yourself in an immersive, alternate reality, you probably wouldn't be browsing lucidsource.net. In a lucid dream, you find yourself taking the front seat in a virtual world of your minds fabrication. With Virtual Reality (VR) you once again step into another dimension, except the sights and sounds are digitally created, and the immersion isn't exactly comparable.
With its promise of submersing users into an interactive virtual world, VR may just be the future of entertainment. The implications for digital entertainment are huge, but could VR have an impact on the innate human phenomenon of lucid dreaming?
Geo Bell 3/3/2016
Noah knows something's not right. From Season 1 of Anamnesis - an original sci-fi series on Lucid Dreaming
Geo Bell 2/3/2016
At the forefront of the YouTube lucid dreaming community, Giz Edwards has been pumping out informative and entertaining videos since 2007.
When he's not keeping oneironauts entertained on YouTube, he's private tutoring in lucid dreaming or working on other goodies for his fans. A long-time fan myself, I pinched Giz for a quick interview for Lucid Source readers.
Geo Bell 26/2/2016
Lucid Source interviews Luciding co-founder Michael Skrychevsky on their next generation Dream Aid: LucidCatcher
LucidCatcher is a long-awaited Dream Aid which administers 40 Hz neurostimulation to facilitate lucidity in dreams. Echoing Voss' pioneering 2014 study, is LucidCatcher the future of lucid dreaming technology?
I pinched 15 minutes of Michael Skrychevsky's time to find out more about the device...
Geo Bell 13/2/2016
There's nothing quite as frustrating as waking up too soon, losing lucidity, or falling into a false awakening (unless you use them to your advantage). There are a number of reasons why a dream might end prematurely:
Fortunately, there are a number of techniques which oneironauts can employ to prolong their dreams, increase the general stability of the dream, and ultimately improve their lucid experience. Stabilisation techniques should be performed as soon as one becomes lucid; at regular intervals to maintain the stability of the dream; and when the dream begins to fade.
"Mobile phones and computers have long-researched negative effects on sleep; but with a few simple tweaks, you can effectively use electronic dream journals, while minimising the impact which electronic screens have on your dreamlife"
Keeping a dream journal is the foundation for lucid dreaming practice, aiding with dream recall, motivation and overall success with lucid dream induction. Traditionally, dream journals take the form of dedicated notebooks or journals, kept at ones bedside ready for recording dreams upon waking.
Check out Dream Journalling 101
However, in an age where every aspect of our lives has a digital chaperone, it's not surprising that many lucid dreamers have opted for mobile phones, tablets or computers as their chosen platform for dream journalling. There are a few issues that arise when swapping out good old fashioned pen and paper with its digital successor.
Geo Bell 8/2/2016
A night's sleep consists of a number of cycles. Each cycle is approximately 90 minutes long, starting with non-REM stages of sleep (including deep restorative sleep) followed by a bout of Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep. 
REM sleep is associated with vivid dreaming, and as the night proceeds the time spent in REM sleep increases. By waking up after 5-6 hours of sleep, you're likely to enter REM sleep soon after returning to bed.
How-to: Wake Back To Bed
You need to wake yourself up after 5-6 hours. Any sooner than this and you're likely to feel groggy, which doesn't help if you want to become lucid. The easiest way to do this is to set an alarm before bed. Another method is to drink a large glass of water directly before bed, so that you have to wake up to pee half way through the night.
The term "Wee-Back To Bed" was coined by YouTuber Reece Jones in 2013.
Geo Bell 4/2/2016
Dream Spinning (aka The Spinning Technique) is a reliable method of prolonging destabilising dreams; this method, discovered by lucid dreaming pioneer Stephen LaBerge, can also be used to induce a change of scenery.  Arguably the most effective technique for postponing premature awakening, Dream Spinning is an important tool used by both beginners and experienced oneironauts.
How to: Dream Spinning
Performing the spinning technique involves simply spinning around as fast as you can. Whilst spinning, you can either focus on the details you can remember for the current setting, or imagine a new, different dreamscape which you'd like to end up at. Focus your intention and tell yourself a few times that when you stop spinning this is where you shall arrive. Expectation is everything.
The new scene will be quite stable thanks to the spinning technique, but it doesn't harm to perform a stabilisation technique such as rubbing your hands, just to be safe.
Read the original: Prolonging Lucid Dreams
1. LaBerge, S. (1995) 'Prolonging Lucid Dreams', NightLight, vol. 7, no. 3-4
Geo Bell 18/1/2016
In this tutorial you will learn how to perform, fine-tune and effectively apply the Dream Exit Induced Lucid Dream (DEILD) technique. This technique is considered by many to be a reliable method of inducing lucid dreams; and one which can be mastered relatively easily.
Part 1: Preparation And Conditioning
The DEILD technique involves consciously re-entering a dream following a short period of waking, meaning that it is a subtype of Wake Initiated Lucid Dream.
In order to recognise that you've just awoken from a dream, a good level of dream recall is needed. Dream recall can be easily improved by keeping a dream journal.
DEILD relies upon conditioning oneself to remain completely still upon waking. This is harder than it sounds, especially when most people are used to tossing/turning during the night, or flipping over to the cool side of the pillow.
What's more, DEILD relies on the dreamer's ability to remember the pre-sleep intention to remain still. In this sense, DEILD is similar to Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams, which heavily relies on prospective memory. Like with practising MILD, prospective memory improves with time, and you'll gradually find it easier, with time, to remember to keep still upon waking.
Geo Bell 27/12/2015
The Galantamine vs Huperzine A debate is a long-standing disagreement over which supplement is the best option for facilitating lucid dreams. Both are sold over the internet as individual supplements, or form the basis of popular Lucid Dreaming Supplements. This article explores the pros and cons of both compounds, so you can decide for yourself which one reigns supreme.
Both Huperzine A and Galantamine are commonly used 'short-cuts' for novice oneironauts, however the use of either supplement is generally met with more success by the intermediate/advanced lucid dreamer. The use of these dream aids greatly enhances dream recall, awareness, and general likelihood of achieving lucidity whilst dreaming. Neither supplement guarantees lucidity, and should be used sensibly to compliment good technique!
Geo Bell 27/12/2015
In a nutshell, dream journalling is like keeping a diary of your dream life. It is the corner-stone of lucid dreaming practice, and one of the most enjoyable parts of an oneironaut's daily routine. Keeping a dream journal involves writing your dreams down upon waking, for later analysis and enjoyment.
Dream Journalling 101. Click for full image.
Memorable entries in your dream journal are like trophies or records of your oneironautic achievements, which you can look back on as you would a treasured photo album. An up to date dream journal will help to motivate you, keep track of your progress and most importantly, increase your dream recall.
Dream recall is the ability to remember your dreams, and is essential for lucid dreaming. Studies show that individuals with better dream recall experience a higher frequency of lucid dreams, meaning the more dedicated you are to your journal, the more amazing dreams you will experience to write in it.
Geo Bell 26/12/2015
Glitches In The Matrix
You're stood in a familiar room. It's dark in here, and you reach over to the light switch by the doorway. You flick the switch expecting the room to light up, but instead, there you stand in the still dark room, wondering if the bulb's seen better days. The reality is that you're dreaming, and attempting to flick a light switch is one of the most reliable reality checks going.
At this point I should hope you'd become lucid, and then gone about your business with the knowledge that everything you were experiencing was a dream, and the wonderful benefits that come with lucidity.
But why exactly does the bulb not turn on?
The reason behind this lies in the nature of the dreamworld. Lucid dreamers discover early on that a number of seemingly simple tasks produce unexpected results in dreams. Research by LaBerge has proven a number of phenomena which oneironauts have been using to become lucid for years...
Geo Bell 26/12/2015
What are reality checks?
Reality checks, also known as state-tests, are actions which a dreamer can perform to test whether he or she is currently dreaming. In this respect they are a method of inducing lucid dreams, in that once performed in a dream may produce a Dream Induced Lucid Dream (DILD).
Forming a daily habit of regularly reality checking in waking life is a simple way of increasing the chances of inducing spontaneous lucid dreams at night. The idea is that this learned behaviour will, sooner or later, creep its way into one of your dreams, where you will perform a reality check and then realise that you're in a dream. This method produces less frequent lucid dreams than other cognitive techniques such as MILD, or even Spotting Dreamsigns, and so should be used in combination with other techniques such as these.
There are a number of reality checks which you can use, some of which work for different reasons. To find out why reality checks work, read Why Reality Checks Work In Dreams
Geo Bell 26/12/2015
In my rookie days, following a lucid dream I would often experience a false awakening, start writing my dreams down on paper – only to wake up for real. The experience of writing words and sentences, in some cases, was very fluent, convincing and accurate. As many oneironauts will attest, writing and reading in dreams is very difficult, but not strictly impossible.
The reason for this lies in the parts of the brain which are most active at the time. In non-lucid dreams, the centres of the brain which are deeply involved in processing detailed information are least active. This is what makes reading text so difficult. These areas of the brain aren't always so inactive whilst you're dreaming. For example, in Wake Initiated Lucid Dreams, the level of cognition is generally much higher than in Dream Induced Lucid Dreams. This is because the parts of the brain involved in language processing, linear logical thinking and other things (often loosely referred to as the “left-brain”) are less active in DILDs, after a period of inactivity during Non-REM sleep, and non-lucid REM sleep.
The take-home message is this – whilst reading a short piece of text in your dreams isn't impossible, it's very difficult to coherently read words more than once, as text is incredibly unstable. Whilst it would be nice to read whole pieces of literature in your lucid dreams, you'll have to leave your reading for your waking time.
Geo Bell 26/12/2015
Dreams of waking
I soon learnt to start reality checking whenever I thought that I had woken up. As it turns out, this was a very simple yet effective way of inducing countless Dream Induced Lucid Dreams.
Geo Bell 26/12/2015
The term “lucid dream” was first coined by Dutch psychiatrist and writer Frederick van Eeden in 1913. At the time, van Eeden was describing the 'clear state of mind' which he experienced during a state of consciousness which is now widely known as lucid dreaming. 
The fascinating wonder of consciousness in dreams has been evident in human culture for thousands of years. Despite this, and the fact that most people have experienced lucid dreams, the authenticity of this paradoxical phenomena was met with fierce doubt by the scientific community for many years.  This was until 1981, when Stephen LaBerge's PhD research on lucid dreaming was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Perceptual and Motor Skills, and the interest of lucid dreaming started to spread like wild-fire. 
How did LaBerge prove the existence of lucid dreaming?
During REM sleep, the voluntary muscles are effectively paralysed to avoid the sleeper acting out his or her dreams – a phenomena known as muscle atonia. The eye musculature however is highly active during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. LaBerge realised that a trained oneironaut could exploit this freedom of eye movement to signal to the 'outside' waking world.
Geo Bell 26/12/2015
Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD) is a technique created in the 80s by lucid dreaming pioneer and researcher Stephen LaBerge. LaBerge formulated this technique as part of his PhD studies on lucid dreaming at Stanford University, California.  Since then, it has been refined, shared and mastered by many oneironauts worldwide, and is arguably the most effective cognitive technique for inducing dream induced lucid dreams (DILDs).
Mnemonic stands for memory aid. The basis of the MILD technique is for the dreamer to remember his or her pre-dream intention to remember to realise that he or she is dreaming. This technique therefore relies on the dreamer's prospective memory, which strengthens with practice.
Remembering to do something in the near future is much easier than remembering later on. DILDs occur during periods of REM sleep; which increase in length and proportion of sleep later in the night.  Performing a Wake Back To Bed is therefore extremely benefitial, as the time spent between practicing the MILD technique and entering a dream will be much shorter than if used at the start of the night.
Geo Bell 13/11/2015
If becoming lucid within a dream wasn't cool enough, it's possible to consciously enter a dream directly from the waking state.  These are called Wake Initiated Lucid Dreams (WILDs).
Compared with spontaneous lucid dreams, WILDs are easier to recall and generally more vivid, as the dreamer carries the same level of awareness, and with it mental clarity from the waking state into the dream. As well as being hyperrealistic dreams, WILDs are generally quite stable and long in duration. 
A quick Google search lands pages of different WILD techniques. Whilst many of these appear unique, fundamentally these techniques only differ in the method of maintaining awareness whilst allowing the body to enter sleep.
Here's our no-nonsense WILD technique...