The Role of Intention

In the audio clip below, Andrew takes us through some of the most effective dream induction techniques. The “Reality Probe” he refers to is simply a card with “Is this a dream?” printed on it.

A central teaching in the Pali Canon, which is a foundational text in Buddhism, is the maxim: “The mind leads all things.”

The power of intent leads all accomplishments

The word “intent” comes from roots that mean “to stretch towards”

To Lucid Dream:

  • We stretch the conscious mind towards previously unconscious territory
  • We stretch waking consciousness into dreaming consciousness.
  • We do so with the firm intent to become lucid in our dreams

With Firm Intent, You Will Discover “pop-ups” in Your Non-lucid Dreams

Intention is cultivated during the day, but it stretches deep into the unconscious mind to act like a “pop-up” in your dreams. They will clue you into the fact that you’re dreaming.

Setting a strong intent to wake up in your dreams is as good as setting an internal alarm clock.

It’s that simple. The simplicity is one reason many people don’t believe it can work. Which is why we start everything with the power of belief.

How to Set an Internal Alarm for Lucidity

Say to yourself throughout the day:

  • “Tonight I’m going to have many dreams”
  • “I’m going to remember my dreams”
  • “I’m going to wake up in my dreams”

Even better, write it down and really mean it.

If you have a watch that can be set to beep every hour, you can associate that beep with a recitation of this intention

The more you say it, the more you’re installing these pop-ups into your hard drive, so to speak, and the more likely it will be that they will pop up when you’re dreaming.

What to Do Right Before Bed

When you lie down to go to sleep, reset your resolve, give it a final push.

  • Instead of having rambling thoughts pouring through your mind as you fall asleep, ramp up your intent instead.
  • The last thought we have on our mind before we fall asleep often has a big effect on how we sleep, and how we dream.
  • If you fall asleep in a stressed out state, you tend to have stressed out dreams.
  • The state of our mind just before falling asleep “perfumes” our night.

As you lay down, whisper this intent:

  • “Tonight I’m going to have many dreams; I’m going to remember my dreams; I’m going to wake up in my dreams,” at least seven times.
  • Than recite it over and over mentally as you drift off.
  • Take it from an audible to a mental recitation, gently holding this intent as you fall sleep.

If you wake up during the night, re-set your intention to have lucid dreams before falling back asleep.

If you soak your mind with intent throughout the day and then throughout the night, you WILL start to have lucid dreams.

Lucid Dreaming Will Increase as You Study the Material

When I was writing my book on lucid dreaming, I was drenched in the topic. As a natural consequence of spending so much time with this material, I had lucid dreams all the time. Stephen LaBerge shares a similar story. When he was doing research for his Phd on lucid dreaming, he was also having tons of lucid dreams. It makes sense. We dream at night what we think of during the day.

Make It Heartfelt

Add some octane to your intent by adding emotional charge. Don’t just intend to have lucid dreams, have the intent to do something really cool in your dreams.

“I want to have lucid dreams so I can fly through the air, to feel the wind blowing through my hair, to dive bomb towards the earth and then soar back up to the heavens.”

Don’t leave your intent at a purely intellectual level. Care about it. Add the fuel that can carry your intent deep into the night, and deep into your unconscious mind.

Having a Purpose Helps to Sustain a Lucid Dream

People often have a lucid dream, only to get so excited that they wake up from it quickly. The key is to ask for more. Don’t just ask to become lucid, ask to become lucid so you can do something really exciting in your dreams. This makes it more fun, more energized, more effective. It’s amazing what you can get if you simply ask for it, and if you ask whole-heartedly.


One of my biggest challenges in lucid dreaming practice is that when I build strong intent, it usually comes with moderate to severe insomnia, especially in the middle of the night and increasingly as morning approaches (which is frustrating, since this is when the best dreaming periods are!). I have researched and practiced different different forms of relaxation, and sometimes they help (and sometimes they don’t). What I’ve found that generally works well is blanking my mind. Holding on to a mantra mentally, or a visual image, tends to “keep me locked inside my head” and prevents me drifting off to sleep.

How can I learn to simultaneously hold on to strong intent, repeat affirmations/mantras, yet still fall asleep?

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I have had this same issue. These days I approach it in two ways that each work differently.

I use a version of Tenzin Wangyal’s “Balancing the Prana” technique to fall asleep at night. I breathe in through the two side channels and breathe out through the central channel, imagining my breath flowing out from the lowest chakra and right through to the top of my head and out. I fall asleep very quickly that way…even during the night. No mantras…just breathing. I will count to 21 breaths but I rarely get that far.

But what I have really learned during the night is how to not fight against the insomnia. When the insomnia is strong I just give in to the stream of thoughts and let them come and go, always returning to my breathing. That often leads to a very meditative state that I value just as much as a lucid dream…and can be as restorative as deep sleep.

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@Steve_Gleason I learned also in my self-examination that “fighting it” or “trying to sleep” was a recipe for more insomnia, more upset at wasted dream time, and right into a vicious cycle of sleep/dream performance anxiety (leading to more insomnia, round and round we go!)

I discovered that I was holding a lot of tension in my eyes, trying hard to “look at” the back of my eyelids. Releasing that tension (and focusing on the breath) helps. I sometimes recite to myself a sort of hypnosis for sleep script, “with every exhalation…you’re getting more and more relaxed,” and so on – and this often works.

But I have not been successful integrating holding strong intent and mentally reciting affirmations/mantras while performing these relaxation techniques. I’m hoping to get some insight on day practices and night practices that will allow the fusing of these two to lead to more lucidity in dreams (and falling asleep much faster).

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I have not been here at the Night Club much longer than you Dream_Hacker but i have been fortunate enough to have time to listen to all of the back Webinars. There is lucid gold to be mined in them…especially in Episodes 7, 8 and 9 relative to sleep.

Also…the Podcast interview with Jennifer Dumpert has some fantastic insights on that liminal zone between awake and asleep.

What you said about trying too hard to look at the back of the eyelids resonates with me as something I need to work on. Thanks for that.

I find timing to be everything when setting intention and trying to fall asleep at the same time. I have been working on concentrating on sleep techniques while keeping the intention kind of on a back burner until I feel the onset of sleep…and then really firing up the intention just as that curtain begins to fall.


I have been experiencing the same thing on and off. I find that a certain type or quality of sleep is needed for hypnagogic exploration and lucid dreams. Wake back to bed , and the 4- 6 am time frame seems to be a good time for this. For the insomnia, I have realized that I should not do Wake back to bed more than once or twice a week, as i become adjusted to this and it loses its effectiveness. I focus on good sleep and recall the rest of the time. I focus on the intention to have good sleep :zzz: