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?
The future's lucid
In a recent article hosted on TWOLD, Daniel Love posits an interesting question as to how the future of VR will impact the study and practice of lucid dreaming:
"Are we, perhaps, the last generation to whom lucid dreaming will maintain an appeal? Will our descendants forgo the challenges faced in attaining lucidity in favour of effortless virtual worlds?" 
On the contrary, as VR inevitably becomes an integral part of daily life, I have a strong feeling that interest in lucid dreaming will skyrocket. First and foremost, VR technology will undoubtedly whet the appetite for exploring virtual worlds. Dreams will forever be the original and unparalleled virtual experience. For those seeking to immerse themselves to levels which modern technology can only dream of, the next step in exploration is from cybernaut to oneironaut.
Another important possibility, is that the use of VR may actually facilitate lucid dreaming.
In the last couple of years, numerous reports have hinted at an intriguing 'side effect' of diving into the virtual world: many users report experiencing lucid dreams, some of whom for the first time, after gaming with VR devices, such as the Oculus Rift.
Insight into VR induced lucidity might be gained by looking into the relationship between video games and lucid dreaming. Studies by researcher Jayne Gackenbach demonstrate that playing video games has a positive effect on lucidity in dreams. Not only do gamers experience lucidity more frequently, they also express higher levels of control over their dreams, increased problem solving abilities and positive overall dream experience. 
VR Induced Lucid Dreams
Unintentional lucidity experienced by VR users demonstrates that the technology may provide a useful tool in aiding lucid dream induction. At present, few people have access to a VR headset. If you're one of them, I've posted below a proposed method for intentionally inducing VRILDs. For this technique, I've defined VRILD as follows:
The term "Virtual Reality Induced Lucid Dream" (VRILD) describes a dream in which the setting resembles a digital/artificial world explored in Virtual Reality, and the dreamer retains the waking knowledge that the reality being experienced is in fact virtual.
The basis of the VRILD technique is to engage in a VR activity during waking, then attempt to recreate the virtual world in a dream. This technique is a variation of the Visually Induced Lucid Dream (VILD) technique, and combines VR-aided visualisation with Autosuggestion.
Step 1 - Engage in VR
At some point during the day or evening, play a VR game/application which allows you to explore an environment. The more engaging the activity, the better.
Optional: Perform a WBTB, or continue with Step 2 before bed.
Step 2 - Incubate dream & Autosuggestion
Whilst you're falling asleep, actively visualise yourself exploring the virtual world from earlier. Try to picture yourself in the midst of the dream, as vividly as possible. Recreate any actions and scenes that you can recall from the experience. Whilst continuing to incubate the dream, repeat the phrase "This is a dream" silently to yourself.
"This is a dream... This is a dream... This is a dream..."
Step 3 - Repeat
Repeat Step 2 until you fall asleep. You want the practice to be the last thing on your mind before you drift off. If all goes well, you should later find yourself in the scene which you incubated before sleep, with the knowledge that you're dreaming, and the opportunity to experience much more VR could hope to offer.
1. Love, D. (2016) 'Will Virtual Reality Trump Lucid Dreams?', World-of-lucid-dreaming.com
2. Gackenbach, J., Hunt, H. (2014) 'A Deeper Inquiry into the Association between Lucid Dreams and Video Game Play", in Hurd, R. and Bulkeley, K. (2014) Lucid dreaming. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger.