In order to learn how to lucid dream, you must be able to differentiate between what is “reality” and what is a dream. You must develop a questioning awareness. While awake you should be regularly doing “reality checks”. There are two parts to a reality check. The first part is asking yourself if you are dreaming or not, and the second part is testing your surroundings to verify if in fact you are dreaming or not.
These reality checks should be done frequently throughout the day. The idea is to ingrain this habit into your daily routine so that it will spill over into your dreams. If you practice this consistently, it is just a matter of time until you perform a reality check while dreaming, and if you test your surroundings carefully enough you will realize you are dreaming.
Here is a list of the most effective reality checks:
1. The common sense test
Examine your surroundings for anything that logically should not be there. Ask if this could happen in your normal life. Look for inconsistencies.
2. The reading check
Look around and find something to read, then look away and re-read it again. Do this several times. If you are dreaming, the test or numbers will usually change after several glances.
3. The levitation check
See if you are able to fly or levitate. However, at times you are unable to fly, yet you still may be dreaming so conduct this check in combination other forms of reality checks.
4. The light switch check
Find a light switch and turn it on and off repeatedly. If it malfunctions, it is highly likely you are dreaming.
5. The mirror check
Find a mirror and while gazing at yourself, ask if you are dreaming. You may become startled by your reflection. You may be younger or older or have different hairstyle and hair color or you may even be someone different entirely.
6. The penetration of matter check
Simply try to push your finger through something solid like a wall or a door or a glass. Believe that you can do it and you eventually will be able to pass your finger right through any solid when dreaming.