The Partner Assisted Lucidity Technique (PAL) is a method for lucid dreaming that uses another person to “kickstart” the prefrontal cortex to "wake it up" while still dreaming. This technique is a powerful social technique that can help induce lucid dreams using the help of someone around you, such as family, or a fellow dream lover. Lucid dreaming is often a lonely pursuit between the dreamer and their dreams, but this method, adds a community element to lucid dream exploration.
There is a good scientific basis behind the principles of this technique. The pre-frontal cortex, which is active during lucid dreaming, is also involved in the moderation of social interactions. When placed in situations involving social interactions, we are more likely to engage this area of the brain, which can help with lucid dreaming.
Steps of the PAL technique are as follows:
- First find a dream exploration partner. Ideally someone you are comfortable with, can sleep near them, and share a common interest in dreams.
- During waking life, agree on a phrase for the PAL technique that you will both use. During the normal time spent together, try to slip the phrase into the conversation. Both people will try to say the phrase without the other noticing, and also try to pick up on the other person using the phrase. The longer you do this, the more effective it will be, so try to do it for days or weeks at a time.
- A good phrase to use would be something dream related such as “are you dreaming?”. When one of you notices the phrase, immediately perform a reality check.
- The point of this is to keep both minds focused and attentive, and also to have a reality check accountability partner. It is also a little workout for the pre-frontal cortex.
- If your dream partner is your romantic partner, you may already share a bed. If not, try to arrange a day out of the week to sleep in the same space.
- Go to sleep as usual. Set an alarm to wake up 2-3 hours before your normal wake-up time.
- When you wake up, take about 5-10 minutes to refresh the technique plan with your partner, or maybe think of a plan for your next lucid dream. One of you will return to bed, and one of you will be the observer. You can take turns on different days, or swap roles later in the morning.
- If your role is to sleep, return to bed in a position that will allow your dream partner to observe your eyes as you dream. Prepare your mind to be lucid, and even incorporate any of your favorite lucid dreaming mental affirmations if you chose to. Be ready to notice and react to the phrase “you are dreaming”.
- The observer will carefully watch the eyes of the sleeper as they fall asleep. They will soon notice when the sleeper is in REM sleep by the eyes moving rapidly behind the eyelids. This is when dreaming is likely happening.
- The observer will occasionally and softly repeat the agreed-upon phrase out loud. Experiment with the volume and regularity of the phrase while also being careful not to wake the dreamer.
- Notice any signs of recognition from the dreamer. You can also try to agree upon certain eye movements that will act as signals from the dreamer. This is a common technique when studying lucid dreams in the lab. There is a lot of room for experimentation and communicating across the consciousness border!
- When the sleeper wakes up, be sure to record any dreams in your dream journal.
With the daytime training of the phrase, your mind will be trained to recognize the phrase and do a reality check. Interestingly enough, our senses are still fully functional while asleep, so we can still hear things from the external world, and the sounds will even seep into the dreamscape. You may notice your partner’s voice incorporate into the car radio in your dream or come out of the sky like a God-like narrator. When you hear the phrase while dreaming, you will notice you are dreaming, and become lucid. This technique becomes easier the more it is practiced with your dream induction partner.