Posts filed under Dream Yoga

Dream Yoga Journal: Day 2

Okay, so my dream yoga process is going slow and steady.  I'm following Rinpoche Wangyal Tenzin's suggestions in The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep to the best of my ability.


What this entails:

1) Practicing, during my waking hours, becoming aware that my waking life is itself a dream. Because the whole point of Tibetan dream yoga, as I gather, is to become fully lucid - i.e., a Buddha - not just lucid in one's night time dreams.

2) Practicing zinhe, or calm-abiding meditation. Which is really hard for me. I get super-antsy when I'm told to just "follow my breath." I could do brahma-vihara practice for hours... but breath-watching... yeesh.  This is how I know I'm getting serious about the whole bodhisattva trip ("meditative concentration" is one of the 6 perfections that bodhisattvas need to cultivate in order to fulfill their mission), because I could never be persuaded to do this sheerly for my own benefit.  It's sooooo boring.

3) Doing a breathing exercise before bed designed to gather the awareness in the central channel of the body, which I'm pretty sure is known as the sushumna in sanskrit.  I totally forget the Tibetan word for it.

4) Doing my rather half-assed version of guru yoga. It's a meditation that involves imagining that one is receiving blesings from one's guru and mind-heart-melding with her.  I don't yet have an official guru to yoga with, but I'm very fond of Lama Thubten Yeshe because of his fantastic Introduction to Tantra which blew my mind, so I'm working with imagining him in the mean time. I think he's cool with it.

5) Imagining that I'm surrounded by protective dakinis as a fall asleep.  Dakinis are enlightened tantric lady-beings.  Actually, I've been imagining that I'm surrounded by whatever the male version of dakinis is.  Dakas, or something like that? I find it a bit more reassuring. Not that ladies aren't tough, but I'm trying to work with my deep-seated conditioning here.

6) Imagining that there's a glowing four-petaled red lotus on my throat chakra, with a radiant Tibetan letter A in the center.

7) Telling myself that I intend to remember my dreams and be lucid.

Dream Yoga Progress

So far, I haven't gotten close to becoming lucid - but it's only Day 2, so that seems fine. And my dreams have been a little on the side of ho-hum.

Like, last night I dreamt that all these dudes were hitting on me and trying to woo me with kale-flavored ice cream.  Lately, a bunch of dudes have indeed been hitting on me (note to dudes: I'm celibate this year and only interested in being friends, it's truly nothing personal), and I've been eating a ton of kale, so I think that qualifies as what the dream yoga tradition calls a "samsaric" dream - a dream that's just made up of karmic traces playing themselves out in the free-wheeling realm of sleep.

Samsaric dreams can be useful in that they reflect to us pretty explicitly what we're thinking and feeling.  They do this at a more intense level than we may be able to allow ourselves to see in waking life.  They make it hard to deny the forces of desire or aversion in ourselves, for example.  But they don't contain any super-profound truths or revelations.

Truths and revelations are the realm of what the dream yoga tradition calls "clear light" dreams.  Clear light dreams come from a deeper place than just our own personal karmic residues.  They come out of a place that includes the collective unconscious and the teachings of nonphysical beings.  Which is, you know, rad. They often involve clairvoyant perception of some sort.

We all experience clear light dreams randomly at times in our lives.  As I gather, the point of the first stage of dream yoga is to increase the frequency with which we enter into clear light dreams, decrease the samsaric dreams, and gradually become lucid within the clear light dreams.

So I'll keep you posted.  In the mean time, got any lucid dreaming tips for me?


image: [Wonderlane]

Posted on January 26, 2013 and filed under Dream Yoga.

Dream Yoga: I'm Starting Out

Dream yoga is a process of gaining lucidity in one's night-time dreams in order to gain lucidity in all of life - to realize at a deep level that our waking life is a dream, too.

I've decided to start doing it because recently I've gotten way serious about awakening.

I finally admitted to myself that more than money, more than fame, more than romance, more than kids or accolades or whatever - I want to be enlightened.

Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk

A deep desire for enlightenment is a pretty heavy thing to have to admit to oneself.

Especially when oneself intimately knows one's own fondness for cigarettes and erotic fiction and silken beds and a mega-hot, wildly brilliant man who reminds one of a young David Bowie crossed with William Blake crossed with Lord Byron and who is just about as utterly irresistible and fully crazy-making as that chimera sounds.

Knowing all that makes one kind of feel like maybe one is way too damn lazy and selfish and lustful to ever get enlightened.


But then there it is - again and again, the longing that never goes away.  The longing to wake up and be free. And also, as I learn more about Vajrayana Buddhism - I realize more fully that my essential approach to life and all of my interests have always been groping in the direction of that philosophy.

Which, internet friends, I have to tell you is kind of something majorly intense to realize.  I mean, it's starting to gradually feel like my whole life and all of my various fascinations all make sense and fit together.

Of Nag Champa and Wall-to-Wall Carpet

Indeed, my life-long fascinations can all be summed up by one beautiful word that I'm kind of embarrassed even to use because it conjures naughty and pretentious pseudo-Kama Sutra images in everyone's mind: tantra.

Just saying it makes me twitch a little bit as I think of David Deida's voice echoing in new age retreat center auditoriums with wall-to-wall carpet and a bunch of dudes eager to learn how to fuck better.  And I love David Deida and I also love guys interested in learning how to fuck better. But you know what I mean. There's just more to life.

Yet the Very Important Thing I've grokked recently which makes the otherwise-cloying word tantra so very beautiful to me now is that "tantra" doesn't just connote "slow sex with Nag Champa wafting from the dresser and kirtan on the stereo" (as nice as that may be!) - rather, it signifies the full use of the human imaginal capacity to generate awakening and love in a way that's rapid, direct and all-embracing.

And that's like, whoah.

So crucial for - just freaking everything.  That's even better than the most Nag-Champa-redolent, bone-shaking orgasm in the world.

Getting Over Myself

So.  I'll try to get over my embarrassment and just keep saying the word until it's okay with me and with you and until it no longer makes us think of musky French ticklers and jasmine-scented lube bubbling on David Deida's thighs.  Tantra, tantra, tantra.  I love tantra.

Dream yoga happens to be a really cool aspect of tantra. So I'm getting serious about it as part of my over-all "serious about awakening" thing which also includes my brahma-vihara practice and my year of celibacy (2013, baby) and my moving towards full time veganism via the kale diet.

I'm basing my work off of this wonderful book: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep.

As with all habits, I do a better job of maintaining them if I blog about them. So I'll be letting you know just how my progress with retaining memory of my dreams and gaining lucidity is going.  And I'll be the first one to tell you when I manage to dream-travel to ancient Tibet and have a nice long talk with Shantideva.


image: [wonderlane]

Posted on January 24, 2013 and filed under Dream Yoga.