While lucid dreams induced through the DILD technique are certainly the most genuine, a big shortcoming of that method is that it does not allow for the on-demand triggering of lucid dreams. For that, you will have to turn to the Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming (WILD; a term coined by Prof. Stephen LaBerge) technique, which is about keeping the mind awake as the body goes to sleep.
How can you achieve on-demand LDs through WILD?
Considering that – as lucid dreaming goes – WILD is a relatively direct – albeit not all that easy – solution, and that the dreams induced through this method are indeed some of the most vivid you’ll ever have, calling WILD a cool brain-hack makes perfect sense.
As a matter of fact, I would call that its perfect definition.
Unlike DILD – which injects lucidity into an actual dream – WILD triggers a dream from a lucid state, effectively hanging on to lucidity.
Given its links to Tibetan Yoga, the WILD technique lends itself better to those who are used to meditating.
Despite the fact that WILD can indeed be taught, it is considered to be an intuitive LD method, one that people can actually discover on their own.
So, how exactly do you go about achieving a lucid dream through the WILD method?
While different sources may list slightly different steps for WILD, most of them agree on what I’m about to tell you in this regard. I have personally found that this is what works best for me, so this is obviously what I’m going to recommend too.
The first step is setting up the right sleep environment, which in this case means eliminating any and all potential sources of distraction within your bedroom. You will need to achieve complete and perfect relaxation while completely motionless, so you cannot afford to have your thoughts distracted by anything.
Having set up your room, it’s time to assume the “corpse pose.” Lie on your back, completely motionless, and be aware that what’s about to happen is essentially what you go through every night when you go to sleep, with one difference: this time around, only your body will be trusted to the Sandman, your mind will stay awake and lucid.
At this stage, it is important that you do not move. Sort out all your itches and other mobility-linked issues beforehand, and if you happen to make a move during your corpse pose-stage, start over.
Try to break free of all worries and concerns you may have, by pushing them all away in the distance. Think of them as issues you might handle tomorrow, but which carry no significance for the here and now.
The second step is about relaxation. This is where the efforts of the previously detailed stage come to fruition. Relax every part of your body, paying special attention to your face. There’s usually a lot of pent-up tension in the face, tension which goes unnoticed by most people during the day. Focus on ridding your face and your jaw of this tension.
Focusing your attention on your breathing is the third step. What’s important here is to breathe deeply, but by no means in a manner that takes an extra effort, or is uncomfortable in any shape or form.
Do the same with your heartbeat. Try to feel it and try to slowly lower it. Do not worry if your attempts in this regards are not met with success. This part of your journey towards a hypnagogic state is not compulsory.
After you spend some time in the above described relaxed state, you will notice how hypnagogia slowly creeps up on you. At this point, your objective is to simply observe this hypnagogic state. Closing your eyes, try focusing on the cavalcade of phosphorescent patterns and shapes that will commence behind your eyelids, by literally looking into the back of your eyelids.
If you are using some kind of lucid-dream aiding supplement like Huperzine A, this display of light and patterns will be extra vivid.
As you drift deeper and deeper into this hypnagogic state, you will at one point start feeling sensations such as tipping and floating, and you may even begin to hear faint sounds in the distance. All these sensations are products of your hypnagogia and they should therefore not startle you. I personally believe that at this point, the physical part of your mind is asleep. Your consciousness however is not, and you’re going to make sure it stays that way.
Again: do not be startled by any of the tricks your dreaming mind might pull at this point, and believe me, there’s no shortage of such tricks. You may hear voices, clearly uttering intelligible sentences, and yes, you may even experience sleep-paralysis. Your body asleep and your consciousness still awake, this is indeed the perfect setup for this phenomenon to occur.
Use your still-awake consciousness to tell yourself that you are indeed dreaming. While the temptation to let your consciousness “catch up” with your physical shell and fall asleep, is greatest at this point, this is where your actual lucid dream experience begins, so do not give in to that urge.
The 4th step is about slowly beginning to build up your lucid dream scenario. Depending on the depth of your hypnagogic state, you can start off with modest elements such as simple shapes, or you can cut right to the chase and build a complete scenario.
As always, taking things one step at a time is best for beginners. Try to visualize something simple, like a circle, first. Make it go away, then bring it back. Bring up different shapes, such as triangles and squares. Get handy controlling them: move them around and spin them.
Once you’re past this stage, try conjuring up more intricate images. Visualize a beach or a forest. The best technique is this regard is to focus more on actually seeing the environment and not on creating it. Imagine that the whole thing is already there, you’re just not seeing it.
The next step is to insert yourself into the dreamscape. Move around and make the most of the sensations that will surround you. If you’re on a beach, feel the warm sand under your feet. Look down and see if you can make out your feet and your hands. Be amazed by the vividness of your dream, and keep telling yourself that you are in fact in a dream.
Completely let go of your body though, even deny its existence. You are your consciousness at this point, and you are indeed in a lucid dream induced through the WILD technique.
Can WILD be sidetracked and bring about an experience other than a lucid dream?
Yes. Due to its nature, the technique can indeed result in an outcome different from lucid dreaming, namely: an out-of-body experience, and even astral projection.
For most of those looking for a lucid dream experience, this sort of side-tracking can in fact be a pleasant surprise, but that’s not always the case. Unfortunately, there’s not much one can do to avoid such a turn of events…
How exactly does WILD bring about OBE though?
The best theory in this regard states that when slipping deeper into hypnagogia, the body falls asleep before the dreamer has a chance to build up a dream scenario. A peculiarity of these types of OBEs is that they are extremely lifelike.
The fact that there is no noticeable transition when slipping into one of those experiences, has many dreamers confused and believing that they are indeed having an actual, real-life OBE. To make matters scarier still, sleep paralysis often rears its head in such instances too.
How can you stabilize a WILD?
A well-known and used stabilization technique is the one involving reality checks.
Reality checks are always very helpful in this regard, the only problem is that they are quite difficult to perform within a dream. Some people even find the exercise impossible.
Doing reality checks during the day will sort of teach your brain to fall back on them, hopefully within the dream too.
The inability to perform reality checks within a dream may mean that your lucid dreams will be brief and that you will fail to properly build up your dream environment.
How long is a WILD exercise supposed to last?
There is no scientifically set time-period for WILD, but it is generally agreed that it should last from 10 to 30 minutes.
It all depends on one’s level of expertise and experience.
Those skilled can get things going in 10 minutes, while beginners may take as much as half an hour.
The duration of the WILD method can vary for the same person too. Doing it at around 4 AM, with the majority of your night’s sleep behind you, may mean that you’ll achieve LD much quicker than you would otherwise.
It is important though not to stress about this issue…after all, it doesn’t really matter how long it takes you to trigger a lucid dream, as long as you get there.
What about the gag/saliva-swallowing reflex during relaxation?
Relaxation can be a bit tricky for some, in that it may trigger a swallowing reflex, when the muscles of the face and jaw are relaxed.
Completely relaxing the body while keeping the mind active is not the most natural of states, and the body may indeed decide to try to fight it.
Under normal circumstances, swallowing once should not really affect the technique. Those who feel compelled to do it over and over though, will ruin the WILD experiment.
When it comes to the stage that triggers an episode of sleep paralysis, even a single swallowing will ruin it, snapping the dreamer right out of the state.
This reflex can be avoided by lying on your side instead of your back, but that way, you might find the whole relaxation exercise much more difficult. I’ve found that in this regard, the “corpse pose” is rather important.
Other difficulties met while attempting WILD
Falling asleep while doing WILD can be difficult.
After all, what you are trying to accomplish is to send your physical self to sleep, while keeping your consciousness awake. This is obviously an unnatural state, and as such, you might find it difficult to accomplish. Going to sleep while trying to stay awake describes the paradox involved perfectly.
If you find yourself unable to go to sleep, one way to handle it is to just stick to your guns and keep doing WILD over and over, until you succeed.
You can also try to tire yourself out during the day by exercising, or you can attempt WILD early in the morning, when you are still drowsy from your night’s sleep.
A WILD technique to try before going to sleep at night
WILDs are without a doubt the easiest lucid dreams to achieve, since they are essentially waking dreams. This is one of the reasons why a person skilled in WILD is able to bring about such dreams on demand – as already said.
None of this means though that you shall be able to successfully induce a lucid dream through this technique in one go and without any pointers.
Fortunately, over the years I have developed a method which makes it surprisingly easy to attain a WILD, every time you try, and more importantly: without the use of any dream-enhancing supplements at all. That is not to say that you cannot use supplements which promote WILD with this technique, but it works without them, possibly just as well.
Let us cut to the chase though: do this when you normally go to bed. Curl up in a relaxed position on your side, in what could best be described as a very relaxed and open fetal position. The key word at this point is relaxation.
Slow down, deepen your breathing and imagine your body sort of floating towards the ceiling as you let all tension evaporate.
It is very important to not fall asleep and to not move during this stage of the exercise. The temptation to just drift into dreamland will be great, but you will have to fight it. It might take a few tries to master the ability to stave off sleep.
After you’ve been in this relaxed position for more than 10-15 minutes, the time comes to attempt the induction of hypnagogia. Try peering into the back of your closed eyelids, in a fashion similar to the way you would look at something situated at about an arm’s length in front of you.
Soon, you will notice various fluorescent blobs and shapes materialize. This is where some supplements can lend a helping hand, since some of them are indeed known to enhance hypnagogia quite significantly. As said above though, you don’t necessarily need such supplements.
Just enjoy the spectacle of light unfolding in front of your closed eyes, and if a vivid and well defined shape/image pops into view, try to latch on to it. Focus your attention on its details, and before you know it, you will be in a WILD.
A word of caution in this regard: the experience of actually breaking this hypnagogic barrier may be shocking and even scary at first. Do not worry if you’re scared out of the dream though: every time you attempt it, you will get better and better at it, and you’ll wade deeper and deeper into the WILD. Do not be alarmed if you get stuck in a sort of a dark void either. This is a spot which you can use as a starting point to effectively build up any LD you want.
Over time, you will find that this induction-method is a skill just like any other, and as you learn to master it, you will find yourself more and more willing to take it all further and further, into the realm of sleep paralysis and OBEs such as astral projection. I have personally found a slightly modified version of this method extremely useful for AP, but theoretically, it can work just as well in its above-presented form too.
The bottom line
Despite its seemingly quirky nature, WILD is entirely harmless and there’s nothing even remotely scary about it, with the possible exception of sleep paralysis, and some OBE situations.