People have begun to view Lucid dreaming as a mean to unleash the power of the subconscious mind. Humans have achieved what the conscious mind can achieve utilizing its fullest potentials. That is why there is an endless effort regarding the exploration of new methods to utilize the power of the unconscious mind. Dream Yoga or sleep meditation is the most powerful tool to unlock the power of our subconscious mind.
Now, ask this question – what is lucid dreaming? In our previous article, we delved into the topic of dream interpretation and described the topic of lucid dreaming. To reiterate the same topic, lucid dreaming is being aware of at the time of dreaming. We control the storyline of our dreams. We do not have to fear a snakebite, a roaring tiger, a band of robbers, or an unruly crowd. In lucid dreaming, we can evade all dangers at our own will. In dreams, we can fly, penetrate through a wall or just stop bad dreaming!
In the same article, we also discussed at length mindfulness meditation in general and its role in preventing nightmare. Mindfulness meditation is very effective to develop a healthy mind. A healthy mind is a shield against bad dreams. It also induces sound sleep. In this article, I will give an idea about lucid dreaming meditation or Dream Yoga. It is a special meditation for sleep and lucid dreaming. It’s a gradient version of mindfulness meditation.
To put it simply, If mindfulness meditation is ‘awareness only’ meditation with relaxation as an end result, Dream Yoga is a relaxation meditation, of course, awareness is very vital in this kind of meditation too.
Dream Yoga considers sleep as an intermediary between life and death. Every night, when we go to bed, we want to fully experience the joy of the intermediary state of life and death which is sleep. Sleep meditation prepares us to face death with dignity. When we learn to face death with dignity, we also learn to live life with dignity. So, there is nothing wrong to consider death seriously if it helps us achieve sound mental health.
In the work-only work ethics, there is a danger of sleep being considered as an unnecessary thing. I have heard many workaholics saying that sleep is a waste of time, that people waste twenty five to thirty years of their life just sleeping. But this is a very wrong notion. We reside in our realm of the unconscious during our sleep, thereby empowering and refreshing our subconscious mind which is the behind-the-door instigator of our daily activities.
Sleep is indispensable not only from the point of view of mind-body relaxation but also important to unlock the hidden powerhouse of our subconscious mind. Therefore, sleep meditation is very essential for leading a meaningful life.
In sleep, we venture into the deep core of our consciousness. Sometimes, we find answers to complicated questions in our dreams. This happens as a result of tickling our deep psyche of the unconscious. This is called waking up of the Buddha in the tradition of the Tibetan system of sleep meditation. According to this tradition, every mortal soul has Buddhahood or awakening. It might also mean awakening from the deep slumbers of the unconscious state of mind.
Thus, we can say that sleep can be used for personal development. That is why we have to learn sleep meditation techniques. Unlike western analytical psychology, dream Yoga helps us understand the true nature of the mind. It helps us to enlighten our mind without looking up to a psychiatrist or a psychoanalyst.
The simplest key to lucid dreaming is awareness. Awareness of the present moment can trigger lucid dreaming. In the daytime also, we should be aware of the present moment, aware of the situations we might be in, accept and appreciate all that is beautiful, noble, and which has dignity and honour.
In a dream, the minute things that have a high chance of escaping our conscious attention play a major role. The difficulty is that such unnoticed things and objects may turn up in our dreams in a horrible way to transform into a nightmare. This may happen to an untrained mind that has no or least control over the subconscious mind.
As a part of sleep meditation practice, if we just pause and be aware of our mind, namely, our feelings, emotions, desires, our surroundings and our relation to these then this can be the beginning of Dream Yoga or sleep meditation. This general awareness can be fostered in our active daytime.
Please mind that this daytime awareness is not daydreaming. One might confuse Dream Yoga with daydreaming as we are talking about awareness which is the pillar of Dream Yoga. Then you might ask how awareness can be the pillar of Dream Yoga because we are talking about sleep meditation! In fact, the world is considered a dream in the Dream Yoga philosophy.
We understand or see the world how we look at it. In the ultimate analysis, the world is not as we see it. Suppose you are living in another person’s mansion for free. It’s a wonderful mansion as long as do not own it. The moment you own it by buying it, you begin to feel uncomfortable with the crack in the wall, fault in the electrical welding, leakage in the water tank etc. etc. The sense of Me begins to create uneasiness in our minds.
Likewise, a very good romantic relationship is filled with bitterness as one becomes possessive over the other. One is disillusioned after the break up. We become awakened after disillusionment. What we previously thought as real happiness turns out to be sadness and despair! Isn’t it like a dream?
We get disillusionment after waking up seeing a very good dream. More awareness, real awareness create more disillusionment. The continuum goes on and on until we finally realize non-essence in everything, whether pleasant or unpleasant! This is non-attachment, this realization of non-attachment is happiness. Every perception depends on how we look at things.
We cannot say what is ultimately real. So, our existence is like a dream. We live in a dream-like state. We are not fully aware of what we are. Our increased level of awareness will tell us again and again that this and that are not real. Another closer look gives us another affirmation that this or that appearance were not real! Ultimately everything dissolves into emptiness. It seems that only the mind is real.
We are more aware in the waking state and less awake in a dreaming state or in the state of lucid dreaming! Therefore, we talked about awareness while talking about sleeping meditation. In lucid dreaming, we are aware that we are dreaming yet enjoy dreaming without hampering the quality of sleep. Our cultivation of subtle awareness in the dreaming state improves our mind!
That daydreaming is not a lucid dream, daydreaming only cause suffering because it is not characterized by awareness. Awareness reduces suffering even in a state of lucid dreaming (saves us from a nightmare or depressing vision). Awareness of the present moment percolates down from the conscious mind to the subconscious mind! Awareness gives value to our existence as a living being.
In daydreaming, we suffer more leading to our decision-making process. To break the deadlock, Dream Yoga brings the light of awareness to the darkness of sadness. Unlike mindfulness meditation, this meditation practise allows us to breathe completely. It’s the expression of joy by breathing completely. As said above, meaningful sleep is a preparation for death. So we express joy by breathing completely allowing consciousness to follow through our sleep consciousness.
How do I trigger a lucid dream
To begin with, there are a few exercises of lucid dreaming techniques before going deep into the method of Dream Yoga to induce lucid dreaming. It’s a preliminary lucid dreaming guide. First, we should look at everything we perceive as a dream. It’s somewhat like mindfulness meditation. We just observe things without any reaction in the process. But here, we retain the important ones, the happiness agents in our brain (like saving important files but deleting the unnecessary ones).
Secondly, we should perceive a challenging situation from an utterly different angle (even though it was a scary situation, it’s a temporary dream so I don’t have to worry about it).
Thirdly, It’s necessary to calm down the mind before retiring for the night by emptying the mind and look back into the events of the day.
Lastly, we should evaluate the state of our dream after waking up. It’s like a flashback of what had happened in the dream.
So then, this is the preparatory course of lucid dreaming. Now, let’s get down to the actual method of lucid dreaming. It’s the real Dream Yoga.
Dream Yoga or Sleep Meditation
Inhale the breath and hold it. Inhale as long as you can. Hold the breath as long as you can but don’t pressurise yourself because meditation should be as effortless as possible. If you cannot hold your breath for long then it’s absolutely OK. Then slowly release your breath. This process should be repeated five to six times.
After this exercise, feel every sensation of the body from the feet to the throat. Feel the awareness of the silence. Then bring attention to the heart again. Imagine that your heart is like a clear deep blue sky. Feel the awareness of boundlessness, openness, the spaciousness of your heart. Please be mindful that you are aware of the openness of your heart. There is a difference between your heart being open and being aware that your heart is open. So, be aware of that sacred space, namely, your heart.
As you become aware of the sacred space, your suffering, pain, and all kinds of self-degrading conflicts will fade away. You just allow them to fade away. Let your mind be rested in the sacred space of your heart as you are slowly going to follow sleep. It’s clear light sleep, that is to say, it’s a non-dreaming sleep. It’s noteworthy to mention that your subtle awareness is active even in your non-dreaming state. There is a possibility of that awareness to initiate lucid dreaming.
In clear light sleep, clear means sacred space of your heart and light means the light of awareness. In other words, throwing the light of awareness on the darkness of sadness! When you are able to set up a connection with that space, you are ready to gradually send yourself to sleep.
Experience of the silence and openness of your clear heart should be practised in day time also so that you can avoid daydreaming, and can live in the abode of your heart with full awareness.
This in brief is a lucid dreaming guide.
For meditation before sleep benefits, the confidence level in lucid dreaming should be high. In the lucid dream state, you should be able to move your body as you wish. For example, you should be able to fly in the sky or jump from a tenth storey building to evade your enemy. That confidence will come as a result of the regular practice of Dream Yoga.
Dream Yoga or sleep meditation is essential for the emotional wellness of people. In our present century, those people will thrive in the struggle for survival who are able to unlock their potential of the subconscious mind. All our creativity, emotional intelligence, contemplation, motivated move towards goal depend upon our subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is most active in our dream state. Sleeping is the best time to manipulate our subconscious mind. Dream Yoga is the best practice to direct lucid dreaming in the most healthy manner. So, we can surmise in which direction lucid dream meditation is heading in a few years.
Is lucid dreaming a type of meditation?
Lucid dreaming itself is not a type of meditation. It’s true that we can control the storyline or dream sequences in a lucid dream but still, it’s not meditation. The reason is the level of awareness is very limited in a dream state, whether lucid dream or clear light dream. Meditation means complete awareness. Dream Yoga is a type of meditation that induces lucid dreaming.
Is there a possibility of consciousness in a non-dreaming state of sleep?
Some scientists say that there is an absolute possibility of consciousness in a non-dreaming state of sleep. Being conscious in the non-dreaming state does not mean you are dreaming. For example, the sleep-walkers might have such kind of dream consciousness. There maybe some lucidity in the non-dreaming state of sleep also which can induce mild lucid dreaming.
Why dreams reappear?
Dreams reappear because of not attending to things with enough consciousness. To speak in a lighter vein, dreams reappear because we become bad listeners to reality. Remove negative attachment before bad dreams becomes a reality.
What are the other things that can be changed through Dream Yoga practice?
We can change our collective unconscious by practising Dream Yoga. Take the example of Hiter. His appearance in history is the result of the collective unconsciousness of the people as pointed out by Karl Jung. Many people unconsciously but collectively wanted his rise to power and prominence. Even in our era too, we can prevent the rise of autocrats with the power of collective unconsciousness by practising dream Yoga.
Is it recommended to write down dream memories?
Dream writing can be handy in dream recall. You can write down your dreams if you can find any significance in your dreams, or if you are searching for meaning in life through dream interpretation.
What is the better position for sleep meditation?
It is recommended for you to meditate in an upward position. But if are extremely sleepy or tired then meditating with a lying posture is proper for you.
What can I do if I fall out of a lucid dream?
You should bring your mind to a positive state by positive thinking. Remember that positivity is the key to counter bad dream. Also, positivity can induce a pleasant lucid dream.
What about you are tired before you go to sleep?
In that case, just think that no matter how much tired you are, you have sufficient energy before going to sleep. You do small household chores, like preparing your bed etc. If you can manage to do such things before going to sleep, then you can manage at least ten or five minutes to practice sleep meditation.
Should we analyze dreams?
It’s better not to analyze dreams on your own terms because different culture has a different interpretation of dreams. Some cultures interpret the vision of a white elephant as a good omen. Other cultures might interpret it differently. It all depends. But the main thing is that you are the creator of your dreams. Your positive outlook towards life situations and your attachments have much to do with your mental hygiene, your subconscious mind, and your dreams.
What are the dangers of lucid dreaming?
Lucid dreaming is clear and vivid so it might be difficult to get back to sleep when you wake up from sleep. If you are too much attached to lucid dreaming, you may not be able to engage in deep sleep. In certain mental conditions, a patient might not demarcate between reality and lucid dreaming. We should be mindful of such conditions.