Thought experiments and ideas about realising you are dreaming
(All this pertains to realising you are dreaming once in a dream.)
1) Not myself
I think I am not myself in my dreams. Huge chunks of my memories are missing. Parts of my brain are asleep, therefore I am far from the person I am in waking life. I am not myself.
2) Little of my real life enters my dreams
From my own experience, very little of my real life enters my dreams at night. For example, I spend a lot of time at home, but dreams involving my home are very rare indeed for me. I took up cycling, but cycling rarely featured in my dreams when I took it up, and it rarely does today.
3) Awareness techniques
Some people pursue awareness techniques during the day - they are aware of the input from the senses, they are mindful. Some even manage to stay aware in this way all day. (Some consider it to be a form of all day meditation.) Many find this pursuit increases the number of lucid dreams they have - some even report they become lucid almost every night. Would pursuing such an awareness approach be a waste of time for me? Because of point 2 (little of my real life enters my dreams) the "all day awareness" approach may be a behaviour that is unlikely to carry over into my dreams? Is it better to forget waking life and focus on the "me" that is in my dreams, and the content of my dreams?
4) Hidden dreamsigns
My friend Dan (who I haven't seen for years, incidentally) is a strong dreamsign. Is there more to it than that? More to my "Dan is a dreamsign" assumption? A hidden dreamsign? A second tier of the dreamsign? I think so. When I dream of Dan, we are often planning a visit to the pub. So, "Planning a visit to the pub with Dan" is a valid dreamsign in addition to just "Dan" on his own. But maybe it would be better to think of the "planning a visit to the pub" as being a better dreamsign than just "Dan" because Dan is quite "inert" as a component of a dream (it's just a tangible object, essentially), while the planning involves more dynamic mental processes - the sort of processes that, if I can increase, may make me more likely to become lucid within a dream? Such as: Choosing, Making goals, Thinking, Vocal thinking (self talk), Focusing, Feeling emotions.
Furthermore, when I see Dan in a dream, I often look at the big hooped earring he wears. At this moment, for just a split-second, I am displaying lucid behaviour: I am choosing where I look. If this behaviour had continued into the dream and I had mindfully chosen where I looked - indefinitely - then surely this would be similar to lucidity itself? Maybe I would realise it's a dream? If not, I would have a good degree of control and probably good recall of the dream.
5) The hidden dreamsign of "My interaction with a dreamsign"
So, In addition to the main dreamsign and the components/characteristics of the dreamsign, there is also the hidden dreamsign of how I interact with the dreamsign. How I think, how I feel, where I look, what action I take, etc. The interaction occurs as regularly as the original dreamsign itself, and is just as a valid as the original dreamsign itself, and perhaps more important in the quest for lucidity.
6) The Dream Journal focus
So the idea is, when I remember a dream - or read one in my dream journal - I dig out the hidden dreamsigns and think about them in an active way, and give them much more attention than I give the other dream events. There is a saying: What you focus on expands. So, for example, if I have a dream memory of struggling to get home from London on a bus (a dreamsign for me), I can apply most of my focus on the considerations in my head on how I'll get home from London. When this behaviour occurs in a dream again, there may be a kind of "expansion" in my thoughts - I may think, deliberate, consider more than I did in the previous dream, and as a result I increase my chances of becoming lucid.
7) Everything I need is already present in my dreams?
Maybe everything I need to become a regular lucid dreamer is already in my dreams? It's just a case of recognising the hidden dreamsigns and focusing on them and thinking about them a lot?
8) How to think about them
The idea is to think dynamically about the hidden dreamsigns without doing any kind of "wishful thinking" kinds of visualisation: So instead of just visualising myself boarding a bus and saying, "The bus is a dreamsign! therefore I'm dreaming!", I focus (almost exclusively) on my deliberations that actually occurred in the dream. I need to brainstorm on ways to do that.