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Lucid dreaming is knowing you are asleep and manipulating your dream world. It is a phenomenon in which anyone can participate.

The trick is becoming aware that all this is possible. Start by becoming more aware of your waking state. Since dreams can be very vivid and real, you might believe you are actually awake, and therefore, inhibited by worldly barriers. This is why you must constantly challenge these barriers by asking yourself, "Am I dreaming?" Look at your surroundings. If something is just not right, explore why it might not be right. For example, your house may look a little different and off. Someone whom you never knew personally might be nearby. Maybe you are back in high school, even though you graduated 10 years ago. Question anything unusual.

Another exercise is to have dream signs. Come up with an object that you do not see often, let's say, a pink teddy bear, and make that your dream sign. Tell yourself that when you see the pink teddy bear, you will be dreaming. Try to look for the pink teddy bear, even while awake, using the exercise to question your state of consciousness. It is best to have more than one dream sign, but not too many that you will see them often in your waking life.

Finally, ask yourself how you got to where you are. What happened leading up to this point? If you can't answer it clearly, you are dreaming.

By making yourself constantly aware of your surroundings while awake, you will automatically do so in your sleep. And once you find that something might not be right, there are several exercises you can do to be positive you are dreaming. Try these:

Look at your hands. Put them in front of your face and turn them. When you do this while dreaming, you will realize it is a dream. The trick is remembering to consciously look at them.

Read a sign, a book, anything with words. Look away and read it again. You are dreaming if it does not read the same way twice. In fact, in a dream, the second read might even just yield random letters or numbers.

Light switches never work in dreams. Try to use one.

Find a mirror and try to step through it. Modern knowledge holds no record of anyone crossing to the other side of a mirror while awake, so if you do so, you are dreaming.

Similarly, try to stick your hand through a wall or a window. What happens next will let you know whether your surroundings are real.

Look at a clock. In dreams, clocks never tell the time right. This can be used like the text as well. Look at the clock, look away, and look again.

Becoming aware that you are in dreamland and then retaining that realization can allow you to uncover mysteries, solve problems, fly or suspend yourself in air, swim breathlessly underwater, and even talk to dead people. Once you are sure you are dreaming, test any limits or barriers you can find. But remember -- that buzzing noise is not your new hummingbird friend -- it's your alarm clock!