When we arrived in Hawaii,
This is what he taught us about how to lucid dream.
Start a dream journal and sleep log
Set an alarm for the the third interval between REM cycles
Test reality, often
Remember that spinning top Leo carried everywhere in Inception so he could spin it as a dream test? He knew that, in reality, it would have to stop spinning, but in a dream it would keep spinning forever, thus tipping him off that he was asleep.
This is one of the key habits for lucid dream masters: test reality, and test it often. I happen to love this one, as it changed the way I saw the world around me in my waking life, as well—it forces you to pay attention, to notice the glitches in logic or observation we normally brush over, unquestioned. As Dr. LaBerge put it for us from the front of our Ohana, "the human condition is to perceive illusion as reality," and it's our delicious task to start observing this of ourselves.
Come up with a plan
Practice staying in it
If you find something you don't like, face it head-on
Eric*, a fellow Hawaiian-shirt-clad student in our workshop, told us the story of a recurring nightmare he'd had for years. "In it, a burglar would break into my home, come into my room, and point a gun directly at my head, and I would always wake up in a panic just as he was about to shoot." He learned lucid dreaming because he found it cool, but also in part to see if it would help him manage or finally get rid of this nightmare. "Once I learned to lucid dream, the nightmare came back one night but this time I could tell that I was dreaming. I was still scared, it still feels real, but I was in control. I finally let him shoot me, and he did and I stayed alive and suddenly his sinister face became a giant smiley face and grew flowers. I conquered the nightmare!"