Dream Yoga

In August, when I visited the Shambhala Center in Davis, I picked up the book of Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light .  I don’t usually read popular literature, but it was laid out for free and lucid dreaming has been something I had some limited interest in and thought I might pursue.  I had some limited experience with lucid dreaming and wanted to learn if this might be a tool to clear some of the trauma residues that I still carried in my subconscious and that seemed to manifest in my dreams.

This was my first contact with the author, Namkhai Norbu, but I was pleased to find that he was a recognized Tibetan lama with an excellent Dzogchen teacher.   Both his teacher and paternal uncle achieved rainbow body.  His awareness of ultimate reality and the path to enlightenment came through in the book.  For instance, he clearly understands that dream interpretation or focusing on the content of the dream are not useful activities for one aspiring to liberation.  In fact, pursuing lucid dreaming was not a goal at all.  He says:

dzogchen symbol Ah

White symbol of the Tibetan letter A. (Pronounced Ah) Copyright Paul GNU free

In the Dzogchen system, it is not necessary that one commit oneself to working on dreams.  That will arise naturally out of the practice of the natural light.  The most important thing for this practice, as I have described, is to do the particular visualization of the white “A” before sleeping.  In doing this visualization we use the working of the mind in order eventually go beyond the mind.

I started doing the practice on December 11, 2014 with the idea that I would commit to it for a month and then reevaluate.  His instructions are quite simple, as many effective spiritual teachings are.  The key part is to practice.

I appreciated Namkhai Norbu’s presentation of the nature and classes of dreams. In it he demonstrates a good understanding of dreams.  First, he divides dreams into two broad classes:  Those arising from karmic seeds or traces and those arising from the clarity of the mind.  Those arising from karma can be due to the current state of the persons body, energy and speech or tensions in their mind or they can be due to karmic traces from an earlier time or from the recent past.  Clarity dreams provide insight that allows the practitioner to progress towards liberation.

I highly recommend the book.  You can borrow my copy or your purchase using the link below support TESLI.  Thanks!

Pray Unceasingly

For many years I recorded the time I spend doing meditation and internal energy cultivation.  I found that having to keep a record motivated me to do more practice.  In the past, external records tended to motivate me.  As time progressed I noticed that some of my spiritual practices, such as clearing negativity with ThetaHealing and simply being present would be pushed aside since they were not recorded.  I decided to let go of my recording, although I had some trepidation that I would neglect my formal practice and become a slough.

Early this year (beginning of 2014) I decided to shift to a practice that was 24/7.  I still retained formal sitting and internal arts practice, but I devoted myself to practicing the art of just being while being aware of myself, my feelings, my surroundings and my reactions.  I used, as has been my habit these last few years, ho’oponopono to keep my mind clear when it tended to become preoccupied with garbage thoughts.

Rejoice always,

Pray without ceasing,

Give thanks in all circumstances

Thessalonians 5:16-18

Recently I realized that my practice was not 24/7.  Sure, I was practicing during my waking hours, but I did not have a night time practice.  I am pleased that I am able to keep good mindfulness up during the time I am awake, but I would like better awareness while I am sleeping.  This is especially important to me since I have many karmic traces that play out during the night that shift me from a pleasant state of mind to one that is less pleasant.  My post from yesterday (We are not our emotions) illustrates such a shift.

I am beginning to explore practices that are done at night and look forward to reporting my discoveries in later posts.