There are almost infinite descriptions of direct entry techniques offered in literature, stories, on the Internet, and at seminars. Sometimes, one description fundamentally differs from another. In the majority of cases, however, common threads exist that unite almost every description of a particular technique: short lapses in consciousness, memory gaps, and drifting in and out of sleep, all of which are hallmarks of the free-floating state of mind. After any of these phenomena occur, all manner of unusual pre-lucid dreaming or lucid dreaming sensations arise.
Lapses in consciousness may last for seconds, several minutes, or more than an hour. They may range from a simple loss of consciousness to entrance into a full-fledged dream. They may be singular and rare, or may occur several times over the course of a minute. Whatever a lapse entails, the mind attains a mode of operating that is ideal for lucid dreaming experimentation, provided the practitioner is able to refrain from deep sleep and quickly return to a conscious, waking state.
Not every lapse of consciousness leads to lucid dreaming. The lapse must have sufficient depth to be effective. Thus, with every unsuccessful lapse, another deeper lapse should be incurred.
The primary practical drawback of the free-floating state of mind is the possibility of falling completely asleep during lapses instead of only temporarily dipping into sleep. Techniques are definitely necessary to ensure the desired result. Such techniques more or less fulfill an auxiliary function, and thus one need not be strict about them.
It does not matter which direct technique is used; as long as it leads to lapses in consciousness, success is possible.
When performing the variations of the techniques, a practitioner can begin to vacillate between full alertness and complete asleep, coming to, and then nodding off again.
To avoid falling asleep requires a strong desire to return to wakefulness. This is accomplished by a strong resolve on the part of the practitioner, even if, while performing a direct technique, drifting in and out of sleep occurs. The practitioner must firmly assert that at the moment consciousness tapers off, awakening will immediately occur.
On the other hand, if lapses do not occur, and are replaced by complete alertness, the following tricks of the trade may help: full concentration on mental actions or, conversely, musing and daydreaming in parallel with the technique being used. It should be noted that these are only effective at the initial stages of working with direct techniques since such techniques have a strong sleep-inducing effect.
If direct techniques do not lead to light sleep or singular lapses after a long period of regular practice, then it must be assumed that the practitioner is dealing with some appreciable error in technique or in the length of performance.
The number of lapses that occur may be regulated by body position during practice or by changing the variation used while performing techniques.
Entering lucid dreaming with a free-floating state of mind most often occurs as the result of three key factors. First, one technique or another may begin to work well during a lapse. Second, nearness to lucid dreaming may unexpectedly manifest itself through sounds or vibration after a lapse. During this, transitioning to techniques that correspond to the above symptoms (listening in, straining the brain) may be applied. Third, when exiting a lapse, it is sometimes easy to separate or quickly find a working technique by paying attention to initial indicators.
There is a theory that there is no such thing as a direct lucid dreaming entrance method, and that all direct methods are actually a subcategory of the indirect method. The only difference would be that direct techniques involve inducing micro-sleep, which authentically mimics falling asleep, creating a physiological state closer to natural awakening, when it is easy to enter lucid dreaming.
Lapses in consciousness are not bound to occur in 100% of cases. However, striving to achieve lapses plays a very important role since they are not always perceivable, and a lapse occurrence is not always obvious. They can be very short in duration or shallow. Or, they may not occur at all. Nonetheless, properly applied techniques to produce lapses may give entrance to lucid dreaming. This is especially true of the deferred method for direct lucid dreaming entrance. It is also worth noting that lapses in consciousness can be so shallow and brief that a lucid dreamr may simply be unable to recognize them.