Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (The MILD Technique)

I am going to show you how to perform Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (aka MILD) which was first created by Dr Stephen LaBerge of The Lucidity Institute. Dr LaBerge created this technique while studying at university in order to produce lucid dreams on demand. It is a very effective technique and ideally suited for those just learning about Lucid Dreaming.

The MILD technique will help you to increase your self awareness, this makes it easier for you to be able to recognize when you are dreaming. It also involves cultivating a lucid dream with certain affirmations. This programs your next dream to contain pre-determined triggers to help induce lucidity.

A mnemonic is any learning technique that helps to boost your memory. For our use, you are placing a cue within your unconscious mind. This will help you to remember your prior intention to lucid dream before you went to bed and it will help you to recognize when you’re dreaming.

The following Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams tutorial is focused towards beginners. You don’t need any special skills or knowledge. It’s broken down into four parts:

Dream Recall
Reality Checks
Lucid Affirmations
Visualize Your Dream
How to Have a Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dream

You can perform the first two steps of the MILD technique right now. The two latter steps are to be performed just before you go to bed. The last two involve meditation and visualization, these work best when you are both physically and mentally relaxed and ready for sleep.

Step #1 – Dream Recall

What’s important to note is that its really important to have a good percentage dream recall rate. This means that you are able to not only remember but also write down at least one dream every morning.

If you wake up and are struggling to remember your dreams, then they are probably not very vivid. If they aren’t vivid enough then the likelihood of you becoming lucid within them is pretty poor. What’s more, even if you are able to spontaneously become lucid within a dream then you will not even be able to remember it!

There are some quick and simple ways to improve your dream recall already posted on this blog, so have a search and you will easily find the articles in question.

Step #2 – Reality Checks

Throughout your day you should be constantly asking yourself “Am I dreaming?” and trying to distinguish whether you’re awake or dreaming with a simple action,  called a Reality Check.

The best way to do this is to set an alarm on your phone every hour. When it rings I try to push my hand through a solid surface while asking myself “Is this real?” If I’m awake then obviously nothing happens. But if I’m dreaming, my hand goes right through the surface!

This causes me to become lucid within my dream and everything begins to move into focus. I become self-aware and conscious within my dream and I’m able to control it.

Reality Checking is a simple way to trigger this moment of introspection. It also helps to switch checks as well, for instance; sometimes I try to float, sometimes I just simply look at the palms of my hand (within a dream paying close attention to detail can also prompt lucidity). Sometimes I just look at my phone as numbers and letters are often jumbled in non-lucid dreams.

You can choose any reality check you like, just ensure that the waking result will differ from the result within your dream. By constantly checking your reality, you are priming yourself for greater self-awareness in dreams. I usually perform at least 10 reality checks every day, sometimes more.

Step #3 – Lucid Affirmations

Begin by lying in bed and just before you go to sleep go through some lucid affirmations in your mind. This really is where the term Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams comes from as you are going to program commands into your memory ready to be recalled later on in your dreams.

Repeat one or more of the following affirmations in your head:


Next time I’m dreaming, I will remember I’m dreaming
The next scene will be a dream
I will have a lucid dream tonight
I’m dreaming now

When you say these words in your mind you should really feel the words as you say them. If at any time your mind begins to wander just draw it back to the topic of lucid dreaming. You need to stay focused and repeat the affirmations until you’re just about ready to drop off to sleep (how long this takes depends on you personally; it may be 2 minutes or 10 minutes). Then proceed to the final step.

Step #4 – Visualize Your Dream

Once your mind is ready for sleep we can begin the visualizations; personally this is my favourite part of Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dreams. You should only perform this step once you are deeply relaxed and feel you could drop off to sleep quite easily.

Try to imagine that you are back within a recent dream but this time you are going to mentally act out the ending differently. You must visualize the dream in as much detail as possible, then look for a dream sign. A dream sign is usually some unusual character, location or object which reveals the dream to be fantasy and not fact; something or someone you wouldn’t expect to see in real life. Once you see the sign say to yourself: “I’m dreaming!”

Even though you are just day dreaming and not lucid dreaming continue to experience an imagined lucid dream fantasy. Do whatever you would do if this was in fact a real lucid dream. You might decide to fly and explore the landscape, or go in search of a fantasy dream character.

It’s during this process that you will likely fall asleep, and that’s ok. The main purpose of Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams is to ensure that your very last thought before you drift off to sleep is about lucid dreaming. Later the same night you will have a much higher chance of becoming spontaneously lucid.

Occasionally, something brilliant will happen. The imaginary dream world that you are fantasising about will suddenly merge into a real lucid dream. Your body has fallen asleep but your brain is so preoccupied by the imagined dream world that you actually remain conscious. You’ll find yourself within the landscape and can experience the dream with full intensity. When this happens, your MILD attempt has become what’s called a WILD (Wake Induced Lucid Dream).

Tips on Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams

During the 1970s, when Dr Stephen LaBerge was developing the MILD technique, he found that certain interruptions of regular sleep patterns can improved success rates. These interruptions included waking up to have sex, vomit or meditate. This led him to conclude that: wakefulness, interjected during sleep, increases your chances of becoming lucid.

So, if you wish to have more lucid dreams by using the MILD technique then you may want to wake yourself up in the night and bring yourself to full consciousness for just a few minutes. It can be something as simple as spending 20 or so minutes reading about lucid dreaming. As you return to sleep, perform the MILD technique again.

Another way to use this example is to practice MILD during afternoon naps. I find this most effective when I am a little sleep deprived from the night before. This makes it easier to fall asleep during the afternoon. However I am not suggesting that you endure forced sleep deprivation; simply make use of this principle if you just so happen to be particularly sleepy during the day.

How to interpret dreams

Someone once said that dreams are just the answers to questions we’ve not yet learned how to ask. This is why I believe that dream interpretation may be one way of identifying our unconscious fears and desires. Each and every night, we have direct free sessions with our very own personal psychotherapist. After all who understands our subconscious mind better than our subconscious mind!

We can interpret the meaning of our dreams to change our core beliefs, relationships, hopes and fears. The more importance we place on our dreams, the more we will remember them and the easier it will be to interpret the meaning of our dreams.

Why are Dreams so Weird?

When you dream, your unconscious mind begins to take over. The unconscious is almost like our inner child. Removing all forms of logic and with an inability to plan ahead it indulges in rather basic feelings and urges.

That’s why dreams are so weird.

Strange connections are spun by our unconscious mind, disregarding all forms of logic nothing within them seems to make any since. But if we can interpret these strange connections we can apply their resulting insights to everyday waking life…

To start dream interpretation you must first look for any dream symbols. Use a dream journal as explained in a previous post.

In your dream journal, underline or highlight anything think you think could be a dream symbol – for example; an elephant wearing a hat or a phone that runs away from you. These are illogical symbols but may carry a much deeper meaning within the unconscious mind.

How to Interpret Dream Symbols

The foundation of good dream interpretation is much like cracking a secrete code. You need to identify important symbols and then translate their true meaning.

Again like code breaking, keep an eye out for recurring symbols. Breaking a promise is a concept. Running away from something is a concept. These ideas and symbols are all based on experiences you have had previously throughout your life and all interactions with the world around you.

Every single life experience you have had has gone on to create a “rule” or “concept” understood by your unconscious mind. You programed everything within your unconscious mind.

Dreams are the perception of the world around you in a conseptual form and renderd by yuour uncouncious mind, its basically showing you how it sees the world around you. From fears to desires, it shows all, the problem however is that it never shows you as you would expect to see them! Let’s look at the common example of flying dreams.

What do Flying Dreams Mean?

Flying dreams usually represent your own personal feeling of power over yourself and/or a situation.

This is how your unconscious takes a concept (power), and shows it to you coded as a dream symbol. If you are soaring up high and are able to look down and enjoying all the scenery that’s below you then it is likely that you are in control of your life.

However, if you are struggling to keep up or are falling then your unconscious is telling you that you lack control or are feeling vulnerable in a situation. Trees, power lines, buildings or gravity are obstacles that are preventing you from flying within the dream. Do you see the concept showing through?

If you have recurring flying dreams like this, try to identify who or what is at the root of your fears. Ask yourself some simple questions; what are you afraid of? What are you struggling to control in life? Is someone or something making you feel vulnerable?

If you answer yes to any of the questions then take charge of the situation! You will soon start to soar high above the trees and other obstacles in your dreams…

Are Dream Dictionaries Worthwhile?

All dream symbols are different for each person, this is because we all see the world around us differently. As we grow up, our unconscious learned about friendship, love, loneliness and betrayal very differently to someone else. It wrote rules about every human emotion and how we should feel about life. These “rules” are what’s reflected in our dreams.

So when it comes to dream dictionaries please don’t rely heavily on them, because there it’s impossible for your mind to conform to the same “dream rules” written by the author.

However, dream dictionaries written by an author from your own country and of a similar age can provide some value. This is based on the fact that you may have grown up in the same culture, the same era, and after all we are all human. So it wouldn’t be a coincidence if we can make similar unconscious conclusions about life. A dream dictionary makes a good starting point for the translation.

Dream interpretation is not an essential lucid dreaming tool but the two concepts do tend to go hand-in-hand. Getting to know your own unconscious mind better is also a key element of lucid dreaming. By doing so it will help you master trickier aspects of dream control in the sometimes bizarre universe of your mind.