Q: What is a reality check? How does it make me lucid?
A: Basically when you see something in a dream that can't be real in some way, you may realize that you are dreaming and become lucid. A reality check is when you are actively checking in your dream (or real life) to see if it is real.
Q: That sounds kind of impractical. If it worked good, I should be realizing I am dreaming whenever the purple elephants come. Why doesn't it work?
A: You have to train yourself. You need to make doing reality checks a regular part of your waking life in order for it to occur to you in your dream to reality check. There is a great variety of different reality checks people have come up with that you can do in real life without looking like a nut. It is also good to make a list of unreal elements that are common in your dreams (you writing that dream journal?) and "keep and eye out for them."
Q: You con! I have been doing a RC every hour for the past 3 weeks and it hasn't given me a single LD yet! -or- I only got a single LD after a few days and never got another one even though I kept doing daily RCs. What is the deal?
A: Both getting one LD right off with no more and never getting an LD are common -- at first. Basically, once you have made daily RCs for about 3 weeks and have had one LD or no LDs it is time to take a break. Just stop all your regular RCs. Many people find that they have an LD in the first couple of days after stopping.
Q: So do I do periods of actively doing RCs followed by "break" periods forever or what?
A: I don't have a super-encompassing answer for that yet. You need to try what is good for you. If your initial break period yields periodic LDs on a reasonably regular basis, you may not need to keep up the pattern. If you "dry up" I suggest actively doing RCs for a while again.
At this point I must also remind you that there are also other things than RCs that increase your chances of LDs that cannot be ignored. Keep up that journal, it helps with dream recall (what good is an LD if you can't remember it?)
Good reality checks:
1. Jump up in the air and see if you can float or fly.
2. See if you can walk through or put your hand through solid objects.
3. Read some print, or the time on a digital watch, and see if it is nonsense or if it changes with subsequent reads. (Does not work for everyone! Print says the same in dreams for some people!)
4. See if the light switches or other electrical devices fail to function properly -- this is often referred to as mechanical failure.
Things to keep an eye out for:
1. If you're in a familiar location, look for discrepancies with reality (furniture in the wrong places etc.)
2. Spontaneously flying or seeing other people/things fly.
3. Seeing things change, either while you look at it or when you are looking away.
4. Your image in the mirror is not accurate or changes.
5. Wearing clothes you don't actually own.
6. Anything that works on a mechanical basis may also fail to work appropriately, like an analog watch, the toaster or even turning on a tap. Sometimes even the pedals and steering wheel of a car don't work.
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