Are you dreaming?

Really… Are you?

How do you know? Because you can see? Because you can feel and interact with the world around you? Because you are aware?

Hmm, these also sound a lot like symptoms of a dream. Luckily, there are a few ways that we can truly distinguish which reality we are in, and we call these handy tools “reality checks;” they are important for two reasons:

To realize when you are dreaming

The ability to truly know the difference between waking reality and dreams is vital to becoming lucid within your dreams; in order to become lucid, you must really know that you are dreaming. Your habits transfer over from your daily life to your dream worlds. So, if you can form a habit of checking your reality every day, and you will soon begin to do so while in a dream.

The best way to increase your chances of lucidity is to create the habit of first bringing awareness into the present moment, and then to perform a reality check.

Reality Check

Bringing Awareness:

The best way to attain awareness is to ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” When doing this, do not just quickly answer yes or no, but take the time and really look at everything around you. Look at your hand- does it look normal? Could you really be dreaming?

It is important to make a habit of this; perhaps ask yourself 10 times a day. Many people remind themselves by writing “Am I dreaming?” on their hand or on a mirror.

Checking Your Reality:

Once your awareness is on the present moment, perform a reality check (or two). This will let you know for sure if you are dreaming. The most highly recommended technique is to try and poke your finger through your palm, and be willing to experience the weirdness of it actually going through. Within dream world, your finger will actually penetrate, and you will then know that you are dreaming.
Some other options for reality checks are:

  • Hold your nose and mouth shut at the same time. Can you breathe?
  • Look at the palms of your hand close up. Do they look normal?
  • Read the time on a clock. Is the time changing sporadically?
  • Jump up and down. Does gravity feel normal?
  • Read the same sentence over twice. Does it change?
  • Try and push your hand through a solid object. Does it go through?
  • Look in the mirror. Does your reflection look abnormal?
  • Try to fly. Can you?

If you are able to perform any of these tasks and answer “yes,” then you are most certainly dreaming, and you can thus let your lucid adventures begin!

To realize when you are awake

The second purpose of reality checks is to tell when you are awake, since a common problem for a lucid dreamer is false awakenings.

They tend to happen like this: You wake up, look around, and you think to yourself that you are actually awake. However, then, you find yourself waking up again. And sometimes, again. It can be very frustrating, confusing, and mentally draining.

Since no one likes getting ready for work 3 different times within the same morning, performing one of these reality checks once you wake up, to know that you are actually awake, can be very beneficial.