Reality Checks

If you looked online for lucid dreaming techniques, you probably heard of Reality Checks. It’s one of the most famous techniques for lucid dreaming, mostly because it’s easy to do and well suited for beginners. It’s the second step in the lucid dreaming world; the first one, which you might have already done, is keeping a dream journal.

Reality checks are based on one simple yet powerful idea: to become lucid in a dream, you need to realize you’re dreaming. And to achieve that, you need two things:

1. The reality check

You may be thinking, “I CAN tell the difference between reality and dreams! In reality I’m conscious, in dreams I’m not. Dreams are just so weird”. But the fact is, we only realize we were dreaming when we wake up. When we are immersed in a dream, things seem normal. You don’t question the nature of your reality. In a dream, you can feel, touch, hear, exist like in reality. Or at least you think you can. It’s only when you wake up that you understand you were tricked by your brain.

For this we need a strong test: something that will always tell us if we’re dreaming or not. And now the game begins. While your brain is building a dream world and trying to fool you, you will try to find the mistakes in this “fake world”. Your brain is not perfect and neither is the world it’s creating. Your job now is to find the sloppy copies of reality in your dream which will hint you that you’re dreaming. Here are a few that are known to be quite successful:

The Palm Press

With two fingers, press on the palm of your other hand. In reality, you will feel a constant resistance, the normal consequence of two objects pressing against one another. But in a dream, your brain often forgets to implement that, and your fingers will go through your hand — that should hint something’s wrong, shouldn’t it? Related to this method, just look at your hands and count your fingers. You might have a few more or less than usual. Standard things in a dream…

Interact with objects

In a dream, the objects around you probably won’t work as they do in reality. Look at a clock/watch several times, the time might not make sense at all. Turn a switch on and off: it is likely nothing will happen. As a general rule of thumb, just look around you and try to spot things that don’t behave as usual.

Perfect. So now you can tell if you’re dreaming or not. Did you try it? Are you dreaming right now? No? Then we can continue.

2. Remember, remember

Being able to distinguish reality and dreams is useless if you don’t actually check for it. You might be thinking right now, “I don’t need to test my reality, I just KNOW that I’m not dreaming”. But remember, dreams feel like reality when we’re inside. So you need to remember to check your reality when you’re in a dream, and this is the hardest part. There are basically two options for remembering: either you are really lucky and the idea of doing a reality check just pops in your mind, or you need to make a habit of it.

There comes the amusing paradox: you need to check if you’re dreaming several times in your daily reality. By making the reality checks a habit, you increase the chances of remembering to do one in your dreams. And if you do it well, doing a reality check in your dreams will always lead to lucidity.

And Capture in all of that?

This is where we come into play with Capture. We can remind you regularly to test your reality, to help you make it a habit. We recommend doing a check about 8-10 times a day, once every 90 minutes or so. When you get the reminder, perform the checks described above — the palm press and finger count should be enough.

But do not lose sight of the goal here. After a while you should be able to remember to check your reality without need of Capture. Because in a dream, you won’t get the reminders!

There are a lot of different checks, and a lot of discussion online on which one is the best or how to do them. We presented the most popular ones, which work almost every time. But feel free to do some research and find what suits you the best. Just choose something simple and quick, because you’re going to do it a lot.

We hope this presentation of reality checks is clear enough and please don’t hesitate to give us your feedback! Good luck exploring your dreams, and remember…

…are you dreaming right now?

~ Capture team