Why Can’t I Control My Lucid Dreams? Here’s Why.


Woman frustrated with lack of control in lucid dream

By far the most difficult part of learning how to lucid dream is learning to recognise that you are dreaming. The realization that you are dreaming is often more than enough for most people to become fully lucid and take control over the dream. However, there are some people who realise that they are dreaming yet they are unable to take control. Why is this?

If you become lucid in a dream but cannot control it you are likely having a uncontrolled lucid dream. There are 2 types of lucid dreams; controlled and uncontrolled. In an uncontrolled lucid dream you only have control over yourself and nothing else. However, you can change an uncontrolled lucid dream into a controlled one by practising specific advanced dream-control techniques.

The problem with uncontrolled lucid dreaming

This article is not intended for people who have never had a lucid dream. I have an article titled why can’t I control my dreams which is better suited to non-lucid-dreamers. This article is for people who know when they are dreaming, and thus are lucid within the dream, but who find that they cannot control the dream.

Throughout this website I have constantly mentioned that lucid dreams are a byproduct of, or the direct result of, becoming consciously aware that your are in a dream. The very act of realising that you are dreaming is all that is usually needed to enter the state of lucidity where total dream control becomes available. However for some people this realization is not enough in itself to give them full dream control.

I have discussed the many reasons why lucid dreaming occurs, especially in this article, from the unique brain functions that are triggered during sleep to the mental state of the dreamer prior to sleep. But, this can all be reduced to the simple statement that becoming conscious of the fact that you are dreaming is usually all it takes to give you full control over the dream.

Realizing that you are dreaming is usually all that is needed to become lucid and take control over the dreamworld.

So, why do some people realise that they are dreaming yet they are unable to take control of the dream?

Let’s look at this unique problem that occurs among only a small number of lucid dreamers.

Why you can’t control your lucid dreams

Lucid dreams, according to the original definition coined by the Dutch psychiatrist Frederik Willem van Eeden are vivid dreams in which the dreamer has a heightened sense of clarity. If we strictly follow the definition given by van Eden a lucid dream is a dream in which we know we are dreaming but in which we do not necessarily have control.

Based on the traditional understanding of lucid dreaming, not all lucid dreams are controlled dreams.

In our more modern times the term lucid dreaming is popularly used to represent controlled dreaming only and therefore many people are unaware that you can have a lucid dream without having any control over it. It is possible to have full conscious awareness within a dream, and hence technically be experiencing a lucid dream, but yet have no control over the dreamworld.

In such dreams it is usually possible to exert the same type of control over your body and your own actions in the same way you would in the waking world. However the omnipotent power that  controlled-dreamers exert over the dreamworld is missing. This is actually normal and does not mean that there is something wrong with your lucid dreaming or that you are doing anything wrong.

It is totally possible to experience a lucid dream without having any more control over the experience than you have over real life.

To put it simply there are two types of lucid dreams. In both the dreamer is consciously aware that they are dreaming but the experience within the dream is very different.

The 2 types of lucid dreams:

  1. Vivid lucid dreaming in which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming but they have no more control than they do in the waking world. These are uncontrolled lucid dreams.
  2. Vivid lifelike dreaming in which the dreamer has total control, or a heightened degree of control, over everything and everyone in the dream and can steer the narrative of the dream in any direction they desire. These are controlled lucid dreams.

It is perfectly normal, even for experienced lucid dreamers, to have the first type of uncontrolled lucid dream – where the only control available to the dreamer is over their own dream body. Although this type of lucid dream is not talked about as much as the controlled type of dream is, it is still a lucid dream, and just as common as a controlled lucid dream. It is uncommon for a lucid dreamer to have only uncontrolled lucid dreams though.

Now, all this talk of uncontrolled lucid dreaming being natural may well be all and good as far as defining the term lucid dreaming goes but it is not much help to those of you who regularly experience uncontrolled lucid lucid dreams and want to avail of the many benefits that controlled lucid dreaming offers.

It is possible to change an uncontrolled lucid dream into a controlled lucid dream?

You bet it is!

Why you should change your uncontrolled lucid dreams to controlled ones

Let’s face it, uncontrolled lucid dreaming may be exciting and wondrous at first but it soon gets old and becomes frustrating when it keeps happening. This is especially true when you understand the potential that exists within each and every lucid dream.

Simple truth: without gaining the ability to control the dreamworld, and all the characters in it, you cannot get the type of benefits that lucid dreaming has to offer you.

As I have already mentioned multiple times on this website there are a multitude of things you can use lucid dreaming for, from helping you study better or even become smarter to actually affecting reality in some really cool ways. And of course. the fantasy fulfilment aspect of lucid dreaming, and having superpowers like the ability to fly, also makes controlled lucid dreaming a very attractive skill to have.

The hardest part of learning lucid dreaming, and when I say lucid dreaming I am referring to controlled dreaming, is becoming consciously aware within the dream. You have already passed that hurdle. The next step of gaining control over the dreamworld is a much easier hurdle to get over.

How to control your lucid dreams

There are several things you can do to take control over a lucid dream. You do not need to stay in the uncontrolled dream state. By applying some simple techniques you can quickly change an uncontrolled lucid dream into a controlled lucid dream.

By far the most powerful technique you can employ to gain control over a lucid dream is to make the dream more vivid. Although an uncontrolled lucid dream will feel real at the time, and everything will seem to appear to be very solid and real, if you look back at some of those dreams you will realise that they were not quite as vivid as real life.

By making your lucid dream more vivid you will actually “waken up” a little more within the dream and everything will take on a completely lifelike quality. In fact, for most lucid dreamers many of their controlled dreams are more colorful and more vibrant than the waking world. When you get to the stage that your lucid dreams are bursting with color and feel totally alive and vibrant you will likely be in total, and supreme, control over everything in the dream and everything that happens in it.

So how do you do that?

Making your lucid dream more vivid can be as simple as merely intending it to become more vivid. You can just expect it to become more vivid.

If that doesn’t work you can call out aloud to the dream itself to become vivid – you are actually sending a command to your subconscious mind to do this as it is this part of your mind that is creating the dreamworld.

You can also enlist the help of dream herbs before you go to sleep. Certain herbs can have a profound effect on the vividness of your dreams and even induce lucidity. In this article I highlight the best herbs for creating vivid dream can helping you gain control over those dreams.

Making your lucid dream more vivid is not the only thing you can do to take control. Everything in the dreamworld reacts to the dreamer’s intention/will. It cannot be any other way because it is the subconscious mind of the dreamer that is creating the dream. So, through an act of will, or intention, you can alter the dream. It is as simple as having a thought or desire that you want to be manifested.

be aware though that trying too hard will negate your efforts. A simple, soft and calm thought that you want something to appear or something to change is all that is needed. You can also ask aloud that the dream conform to your intention or manifest your desire.

When you begin to take control over your lucid dreams in this way be sure to start small. Imagine that something fairly small in the environment changes i.e. a couch changes to a table. Or you can ask for something to appear i.e. a glass of water appears beside you.

When you do this it may be helpful to turn your head away from the spot where you want the changes/manifestation to occur and then turning your head back after you have made the intention. This removes the “magically appearing” phenomenon – something that can stop your intention from happening because you may consider this to be impossible in the real world.

As you get used to making small changes you should go bigger. Soon you will be confident enough to make changes without needing to turn away. As you experience the magic of lucid dreaming you become less conditioned about what is possible and what is not.

As you progress in your practises try spinning around on the spot while you make the intention that the dream scene will have changed when you stop spinning. If you are indoors intend to be outdoors. If you are in the city intend to be on a beautiful sunny beach or in the countryside.

As you gain more experience in making these small changes in your lucid dreams you will start to become more confident in your own abilities to take greater and greater control. You will also be training your brain to give you that conscious control every time you become lucid.

The last, and arguably most important, step you can take to gain control over your lucid dreams is to take some lucid dreaming training.

The techniques I mention here are great for helping you gain control over your lucid dreams but following a proven system laid down in a good lucid dreaming course can really accelerate your results.

I recommend the lucid dreaming bootcamp for people who have no experience with lucid dreaming and have never been able to control their dreams.

For those who have had lucid dreams but who find lucid dreaming more challenging, and even regular lucid dreamers who want to improve their dream skills, I recommend this lucid dreaming course that also offers access to an online community of lucid dreamers. Being able to discuss your unique lucid dreaming problems with other lucid dreamers who have experienced the same challenges is the fastest way to overcome them. No matter what challenges you face someone else has faced them to and overcome them and they can help you to overcome them as well.

Below is a quick review of the 7 simple steps you can take to turn an uncontrolled lucid dream into a controlled lucid dream and gain the skill of regular controlled-dreaming.

7 steps to take control over your lucid dream as covered above:

  • Make the dream scene more vivid.
  • Consider using herbs to help make your dreams more vibrant.
  • Will or intend something small to happen.
  • Build up your control by making bigger and bigger things happen.
  • Call out to the dream your intention for something to happen or for something to change in the dream.
  • Spin your dream body around and intend that when you stop spinning you will be in a different environment.
  • Each time you lucid dream push past your boundaries by practising controlling things in the dream through your intention.
  • Consider enrolling in lucid dreaming bootcamp training and/or engage with a community of lucid dreamers.

I really urge everyone who is regularly experiencing uncontrolled lucid dreaming to join a community of other lucid dreamers. Trust me, you are not the first person to experience challenges with controlled dreaming and you can bet that at least one or two people in such a community will have experienced the same setbacks, problems and challenges and come out on top. Their experience and advice can help you reach your goal of controlled dreaming much quicker.

Joining a good lucid dreaming community will also give you access to advanced lucid dreaming training with the techniques you need to make sure all your lucid dreams are under your control.

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