Thursday, 12 January 2012

MILD (Mnemonic induced lucid dreaming)

Mnemonic induced lucid dreaming (or ‘MILD technique’ – see my earlier introductory post on this topic) is one of the most simple and common lucid dream induction techniques. Below, I have summarised the MILD technique. 

Mnemonics – relating to the processes of the memory – set you up to realise you are dreaming, and can be successfully combined with other triggers and techniques to assist in inducing lucidity in dreams. The MILD technique works particularly well with RILD and PILD (rewards/punishment inducted lucid dreams); use of lucid dream supplements (LDS); and use of binaural beats – as well as with many ‘reality check’ techniques, which assist in helping to consolidate the memory or ‘mnemonic’ aspect of this technique. 

MILD basically relates to the setting of an intention – the intention to realise that you are dreaming. Intentions are important for lucid dreaming and they prepare your mind for the experience. It is an excellent technique for lucid dream beginners to experiment with, even though more advanced lucid dreamers still use it. It is also a great aid for improving general dream recall, even where the dream in not lucid. You may wish to start using mnemonic techniques to build upon dream recall skills before embarking upon attempts at a full lucid experience.

All that is required for the MILD technique is the formulation and repetition of a simple phrase or mantra, which is used before sleep every night. Repetition enables material in the short-term memory to be stored in the long-term memory (which is why it is an effective study/textual memorisation technique also). It also ensures that intentions become consolidated in the mind. The phrase or mantra you use during the MILD technique is known as the ‘mnemonic’. It should be short, concise and easy to remember – and firm in its intentions (i.e. I ‘will’ as opposed to ‘I want/wish’). Also avoid using the term ‘lucid dreaming’ itself. Personally, the mnemonic I have settled upon is “Tonight I will be aware I am dreaming” – something to this effect will be suitable, but make sure you feel comfortable with the phrase as you will need to ‘meditate’ upon it every night before sleep.

When in bed, before sleep try to become as relaxed as possible. With the MILD technique, you may which to say your mnemonic aloud or repeat it mentally to yourself – until you fall asleep. Do not allow your concentration to lapse, and should this happen, just continue to focus on your mnemonic, blocking out any distracting thoughts. Your mnemonic should be the last thing on your mind before falling asleep. Obviously, do not prevent yourself from naturally falling asleep – as long as you at least focus on your mnemonic and remind yourself of your intentions, there really is no set amount of time to practice this exercise. I find a couple of minutes sufficient.

MILD is also a fabulous visualisation technique, which can really ‘set the mood’ for dreaming. Try to imagine a previous dreamscape/scene and imagine yourself becoming lucid as you repeat the mnemonic. Many beginners are confused as to what ‘lucidity’ feels like, but with practice and perseverance, you will soon experience lucidity and learn what signs to look for and what triggers work best.

Some oneironauts find it most effective to use the MILD technique after a prior period of sleep. Set an alarm after approximately 4 ½ - 6 hours of sleep and then use the MILD technique as you fall back asleep.

Remember to keep pen and paper to hand so that you can record any dreams immediately upon waking. This should also assist in establishing your intentions and memory.
Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory (1931) Oil on canvas (24 x 33cm)
Salvador Dali, The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (1952-1954) Oil on canvas (25.4 x 33cm)

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