Lucid dreaming vs shifting: What they are and why they’re different

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Lucid dreaming and reality shifting might, at first glance, seem to be very much alike.

However, even though they share similarities, they’re in fact remarkably different. Let’s talk about what each one is, and the reasons why they aren’t the same thing at all.

What is lucid dreaming?

Most of the time, once we fall into slumber, we slip into unconsciousness as our bodies produce melatonin and we cycle through the various stages of NREM and REM.

This process of falling asleep is automatic, very similar to the way breathing is automatic. It doesn’t take conscious thought or effort to do it successfully.

However, in the same way, that we can override the automatic process of breathing, and learn to control it in various ways — whether for meditation, relaxation, or energy control — we can do the same with dreams.

It’s possible to stay completely conscious while the body falls asleep and our mind begins cycling through the stages of REM.

And what’s the result?

Well, lucid dreaming. Being fully aware that you’re dreaming, in a dream state, and able to control your environment in its entirety. Being awake while you dream means you can do, be, and experience whatever you wish—you’re only limited by your imagination.

Lucid dreams are extremely vivid and feel exactly like real life.

There are various ways to achieve lucidity while dreaming; a wide array of techniques can be employed, practiced, and mastered to achieve waking dreams.

Some people lucid dream best by entering after they’ve fallen asleep, some people use various techniques to stay conscious while their mind and body fall into their natural sleep cycles.

Let’s talk about a few of these different techniques.

The biggest concept behind most of these disciplines involves training your mind to be aware of your own consciousness, and then maintain it once you fall asleep.

Reality checking

This technique is quite important because lucid dreams can feel so real. It can be hard to tell the difference, even.

Therefore, testing your environment and consciousness will help you build metacognition. There are various ways to do that, whether pinching yourself, asking yourself “Am I dreaming?”, or observing the things around you. Do this throughout the day at random times.

It may seem a bit silly at first, but the more aware of your own consciousness you are, the more aware you’ll be when you’re sleeping. This awareness increases your chances of “waking up” in your dream, which means you’ll have reached lucidity.

Glance at mirrors: how does your reflection look? Test objects around you that are supposed to be solid. What’s the time? Is it moving normally? Tailor these reality checks to what resonates with you, it will be more effective that way.

Keep a dream journal

The importance of this technique can’t be overlooked. At the beginning of my lucid dream journey, I was told to always journal my dreams — and I didn’t. However, one of my mentors asked me this:

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“What’s the point of lucid dreaming if you can’t remember it in the morning? How can you know if you lucid dreamed or not, if you already forgot?”

His point really helped me see the importance of keeping a dream journal. If you have no problems remembering and recounting your dreams, no matter how long ago they were, this point may be a little less important for you.

But if you’re like me, my dreams fade faster than morning mist.

Set an intention

A great way to increase the chances of lucid dreaming is by setting an intention. Recall a recent dream, and pull a dreamsign from it—something out of place, something of note, and keep it in mind as you fall asleep.

As you fall asleep, repeat to yourself:

“I will lucid dream tonight,” or something similar that feels good to you. “As I sleep, I wish to realize that I am dreaming.” The key is to prime your conscious (and unconscious) brain for the journey ahead.

Setting this intention, as well as having an explicit cue, will increase your chances of “waking up” while you’re dreaming.

This technique is often known as the “mnemonic induction of lucid dreams” (MILD). The MILD technique was pioneered by lucid dream pioneer Stephen LaBerge.

Once you’re awake and aware, you can explore a dreamscape of your wildest imagination. You can talk to anyone, see anything, go anywhere. Like an endless sandbox, you can create worlds, travel vast distances, go through time, see space, or sit on the beach drinking Mai Tais.

WILD & WBTB techniques

These two techniques — both pioneered by LaBerge, can be great ways to induce lucid dreaming.

The WILD (wake-initiated lucid dreaming) technique involves never allowing your conscious mind to slip into the unconscious, the normal process that happens when you fall asleep.

It involves keeping yourself “awake” while your body and mind fall into sleep. Once you lay down and relax, allow your body to give in to its natural process.

You’re likely to experience hypnagogic hallucinations, very similar to sleep paralysis, as well as OBE’s and astral projections. Eventually you’ll feel yourself drop into a dream state, and you’ll be lucid.

This technique is simple, however, it’s difficult. I personally haven’t had very much success doing it. Your chances of success are better after practicing other induction techniques.

The WBTB (wake back to bed) technique has any number of variations. However, it involves a simple framework: wake up just before your REM cycle (about 5 hours after you fall asleep), and engage your mind in something stimulating. Of course, not too stimulating, because you’ll have to go back to bed.

Once you fall back asleep, you’re far more likely to lucid dream, as you’ve engaged your consciousness again, and will be more aware of your dreaming.

The level of alertness affects the chances of lucid dreaming, according to this study, rather than the activity itself.

So choose something that’s enjoyable for you. I like reading, it engages me quite well. I also really like writing, as it gets me creative, engages both sides of my brain, and sparks my creativity and imagination.

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My only word of caution would be to avoid looking at a screen. That about sums up lucid dreaming. But what’s reality shifting?

What is reality shifting?

As we talk about reality shifting you’ll realize just how starkly different it is compared to lucid dreaming.

So what is it?

Essentially, reality shifting is one of the latest Tik Tok ftrends, but it finds its basis in older techniques.

The methods are based on the theory that we live in a multiverse, that reality is a simulation, and we all have the ability to shift into any reality that we could desire. (Yes, even realities like “Harry Potter,” or anime.)

It’s immediately clear that reality shifting is less based on science and confirmed experience than lucid dreaming, however, that’s not to say that it doesn’t have merit.

Much like lucid dreaming, there are various techniques that you can use to shift realities. Let’s go through them.

Set an intention

Many people describe writing out a “script” for what exactly they want to have happened. They make their intentions clear before they begin to shift.

Describe the reality you wish to transition into, what exactly you want to have happened, and so on. This will make the reality become more vivid, lifelike, and tangible

The Raven and Alice in Wonderland methods

The raven method involves laying on the floor in a starfish-type shape, arms and legs outstretched. The key here is to be and feel open. Slowly count backward from 100 and imagine the reality you’ve outlined. Allow yourself to transfer over to it, make it come to life.

Once you’re done counting down, you’ll have shifted (if you did it right). People report feeling weightless and numb, light shifting, sparkling, and flickering, though it’s different for everyone.

The Alice in Wonderland method is very similar to lucid dreaming, though the intention and actual phenomenon are entirely different from it.

The key is to lie down and fully relax, similar to the WILD method of lucid dreaming—minus the sleep. Then visualize a person, object, or artifact from your desired reality in front of you.

Next, this person will give chase, and you should follow. As you run after them, they’ll take you down the rabbit hole, just like Alice. They’re leading you into your new reality.

Vivid visualization

One of the biggest keys in reality shifting is using vivid visualization.

The more vividly you can visualize the reality you’re hoping for, the more successful you’ll be at manifesting it in your life.

Whether you’re looking to only temporarily shift and have your favorite characters speak to you in a hyper-realistic fugue state, or if you want to manifest a reality where you’re rich, famous, and successful, the key is in visualization.

The phenomenon of shifting is different from lucid dreaming because it involves being awake. A lot of these techniques lend to what would be described as a transliminal experience.

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The teaching of visionaries like Neville Goddard link our imagination with awareness, what we know as everything around us. Therefore, whatever we imagine will become real, manifested outward. His techniques have a big influence on the new trend of reality shifting.

In a similar way, these reality shifting trends find ultimate origins in the ideas laid out by the New Thought movement, a sort of religion that traces all problems and powers back to the mind: an able and unfettered mind has a correlatable and tangible effect on the body and the universe around it.

Reality shifting takes a concerted effort of will and intense visualization. In many ways, then, reality shifting is more like manifesting than it is lucid dreaming.

But let’s talk more in-depth about why they’re different.

Why they’re different

Lucid dreaming — Lucid dreaming has a solid basis in science. In other words, it’s well-established that lucid dreaming exists, and anyone is capable of doing it.

Reality shifting, on the other hand, is more of a pseudoscience: it’s something that’s more subjective, experience-based, and varies from person to person.

In fact, over half of the population has experienced lucid dreaming in their lifetime. Many people consider themselves experts and have lucid dreams every night.

The intent of lucid dreaming is different, as well. More of a sandbox, your reality is infinitely transmutable. You can do whatever you’d like, with the utmost reality. When you have a lucid dream, you have full control over your dreamscape.

In this way, then, it differs, too. Lucid dreaming is all about the dream world, whereas reality shifting is about affecting the real world that you live in (or want to leave).

Reality shifting — Reality shifting has a solid basis in the New Thought movement and has been advocated and studied by various parapsychologists and visionaries for around the past century.

Unlike lucid dreaming, reality shifting is all about the life you live while awake. In fact, all techniques and processes used to achieve shifting revolve around being awake.

This is, obviously, starkly different from lucid dreaming, which is all about being asleep.

Further, reality shifting has a more purposeful intent. While yes, lucid dreaming can help you understand your subconscious, work through trauma, and heal, reality shifting has a very specific purpose.

The purpose of reality shifting is to manifest, change your environs, and manipulate your reality (or perception of your reality) with a specific intention and goal in mind.

With lucid dreaming, however, you don’t have to have an intention, the point is that you can do whatever you like — whether it has a specific intention or not.

Conclusion

Lucid dreaming and reality shifting are, at first glance, very similar things. They even share some pretty identical traits.

However, they’re intrinsically different — in purpose, method, and application. They both have their uses, which means one isn’t “better” than the other.

They’re both fascinating techniques that can add a lot of enrichment to your day-to-day life and your sleep. Don’t be afraid to experiment with these techniques and try them both out!

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