TILD – Totem Induced Lucid Dreams

Totem Induced Lucid Dreams, TILD, suddenly became the subject of more inquiry after the excellent, interesting movie Inception was released in theaters. The problem here is that there are a couple of different ways to understand TILD, and they’re really totally different. Here’s what you need to know about TILD.

TILD Inception Style

In Inception, TILD wasn’t really a way to induce lucid dreaming. Instead, it was a way to check if you were in your own dream or in someone else’s dream. In this case, a totem was a special object that had something off about it. Only the owner of the object would know how it felt to handle or was supposed to function.

Some examples of totems from Inception are a weighted dice and a chess bishop that was hollowed out so it was lighter than it looked. Since only the owners of these items ever handled them, only their owners knew how they were supposed to feel or work.

In Inception, when a person found themselves in a dream, they could pull out their totem. In their own dream, the totem would function or feel like it would in real life. For instance, the weighted dice would roll the same number like it would in real life. In someone else’s dream world, though, the totem would function or feel like it was totally normal, which was how the dreamer knew they were actually in someone else’s dream world.

TILD is interesting when used in this way, and it can actually work if you are trying to get into another person’s dream. This is a very advanced technique, though, and you may not want to try it until you’ve been lucid dreaming for a while.

TILD for Reality Checks

Reality checks, as you may have heard elsewhere on this blog or in other lucid dreaming articles, are vital to becoming lucid in dreams. Once you realize that what you’re experiencing can’t be reality, you can become lucid by realizing you’re dreaming. In this case, TILD can use just about any object.

Essentially, with TILD, you want to choose a small object you can keep with you at all times. Throughout the day, whenever you see or touch this object, do a reality check. Then, in your dreams, you’re likely to pull out that item and use it for a reality check, so you can have a TILD.

Another way to do TILDs is to use the totem itself for reality checking. If it’s something you always wear, you could do a reality check when you realize you aren’t wearing it in a dream, which is common. You could also choose a totem for TILD with some sort of writing on it. Chances are likely that in your dream, the totem will have different or strange writing on it rather than what you know is actually there.

With TILD, you can use more advanced techniques like summoning your totem. Some people imbue their totems with the power to change their dreams when they find themselves lucid dreaming. However, this can be a difficult technique. You might not always find that you enter a dream state with your totem on your dream body, and summoning a dream object is an advanced dream control technique that you might have to work on for a while!

I’ve tried TILD before, and it’s an interesting technique that definitely has some advantages. Remembering to do reality checks throughout the day when you encounter your totem is incredibly helpful in learning to become lucid during your dreams.

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"The result of the struggle between the thought and the ability to express it, between dream and reality, is seldom more than a compromise or an approximation." - M. C. Escher