Once you have written at least a dozen dreams you can
pinpoint what are the most recurrent dream signs in your dream world. Sometimes
a dream sign alone can trigger a state of lucidity but it is often the case
where what appears to be an obvious dream sign ends up being “rationalized” or
explained by our dream mind as something completely normal. This is when
reality checks or reality testing becomes an essential tool to prove yourself
that you are actually dreaming or awake. If dream signs are like a glitch in the matrix then realty checks will be like your totem from the movie Inception.
A reality check is just that, a way to test and prove yourself whether you are dreaming or you are awake. Even though the answer might seem obvious do not be fooled. Scientists have concluded through brain scans that our neurological activity is almost identical whether we are dreaming or awake. We cannot simply assume that because what we are experiencing at any given moment feels or looks very “real” or “vivid” we are not dreaming. Once you achieve a state of lucidity you will be surprised to find out that the dream world can appear as “real” as the physical world.
Reality checks are the only way we can be certain that we are dreaming or not. Before we explain the best types of reality checks we must first address the key pre-requisite for any reality check, the question “AM I DREAMING?” Anyone who is serious about achieving lucidity in the dream state must often ask him/herself this question on average of 10 times per the day, especially when something occurs that might appear as if you were in a dream. We are creatures of habit and what we think about the most during our daily lives will soon enough filter through our dream world. This is our main intent, to ask ourselves this question while we are awake and eventually when we are dreaming so that we can prove to ourselves in what state we are in. After you ask the question “Am I dreaming?” then you can perform one of the following reality checks.
1) Morphing text test: you will notice that in our dreams any kind of written text will tend to not be stable or permanent. Often when we are dreaming if we read something, for example a STOP sign, then look away and finally look again to where the text was it will have either changed or completely disappeared. The reality check is simple, read something, look away and read it again. If the text stayed the same then you are more than likely not dreaming. If the text changed then you are in a dream!
2) Digital watches: for some unknown reason digital watches don’t work as they are supposed to. Numbers often change and sometimes don’t even appear to be numbers at all. You can buy yourself a digital watch or if you have a phone with a large digital time display this works well too. During the day ask yourself if you are dreaming and then look at your digital watch, look away and look at it again, did the time change? If the time continues to be the same then odds are you are not dreaming.
3) The nose pinch test: if you are dreaming then there is no reason why you would need to breath right? Some people dream of being underwater for extended periods of time, although you might sense the element of air in your dreams you surely don’t need to breathe. The nose pinch reality check consists of pinching your nose and trying to breathe, if after you have pinched your nose you can breathe, then you are most certainly dreaming. The sensation is so bizarre that for that reason alone this is my favorite reality check.
A great tip is to combine two or all three of these reality checks in a sequential order. This will guaranteed that you will gain lucidity if for some reason your dream mind comes up with a weird explanation as to why a text or digital watch time changed. You might have heard of other reality checks like trying to fly or turning lights on or off. The challenge with trying to fly is that is not that practical to do throughout your day and electrical malfunctioning tends to be more of a dreamsign than a reality check. Plus you run the risk of your dream mind coming up with an excuse like “the light bulb simply blew up.”