Another Lucid Dream

Last night before bedtime, I saw a tiny bug of some sort crawling through the carpet. I’ve been exhausted lately, and after work today I took a nap. I had tried to keep up the “I am dreaming” view all day, but I was more slack today than yesterday because work is nuts right now and I need an excuse.

This was a strange nap. I immediately saw that bug crawling through the carpet fibers again. Then I thought, “Wait – am I back in time? Because I already experienced this.” That is when I knew I was dreaming! Excited, I opened my eyes, but I had a Mindfold on and quickly fell back asleep. 

I continued to sleep but with full awareness that I was in my bed in my bedroom and that I was sleeping. The seamlessness between sleep experience and waking reality was reminiscent of the several weeks of lucid sleeping I had after last year’s Mahamudra awakening. Unfortunately, that part of the attainment faded away, but ever since then, I’ve been fascinated with dreams and the possibilities for all-night dharma practice that sleep offers.

Dreamstuff

Last night, after reading the nighttime preparations for lucid dreaming from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s book, The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, I couldn’t resist following the guru yoga instructions and prayers to the teacher to help me progress in my sleep practice. I modified the practice a bit from Wangyal’s instructions by ending with the sphere of light dropping into the crown and slowly through each of the seven chakras. The prayers generate strong intent and faith to remain lucid.

I did some other visual practices. Then, after I crawled in bed and turned out the light, I visualized at my throat chakra an open red lotus bloom with an “A” in its center, and I rolled on my left side to sleep. This was the first of a series of positions and visualizations that Wangyal instructs one to follow every two hours throughout the night. Amazingly, I woke right on time throughout the night and remembered to do the practices.

After I rolled onto my left side and finished the first visualization, I opened my eyes in the dark. I could see black and gray images flowing in the dark. Then I was in a hypnagogic state in which I saw gigantic colorful tigle, from which I roused myself several times. After I sank back under the last time, I thought, “Am I dreaming?” (Wangyal’s daytime instructions are to continually take the view that my dream ego is moving through a dream environment, which is actually a very good rigpa practice even apart from sleep, and I did this all day.) There were five gigantic tigle in front of me, like the five wisdom lights I saw in another recent lucid dream. The answer was  “Yes.” I knew I was dreaming! I continued gazing on the dream tigle, and I had profound insight that visionary experiences, dreams, and waking reality are all of a seamless piece and will increasingly appear to be so.

Closer toward morning I had a dream that my boss needed me at work but that I begged off going into the office to work from home. The temperature was below zero outside, and it was New Year’s Day. Everything was icy white. I had a deep but narrow hottub on my front porch. I kept filling it with hot water, but it lacked a bottom, so the water ran straight out. I thought that the hot water was like the comfy embrace of the Mother, and the white ice everywhere was my vajra clarity.

Dream Recall Breakthrough

So many mornings I’ve woken up to realize I had dreamed, but the dream was just beyond my memory retrieval. Books on lucid dreaming advise one to lie perfectly still upon awakening and to keep eyes closed while trying to trace back the dream. This pretty much doesn’t work for me.

This morning, though, I woke, realized I had just had a dream that I couldn’t remember, remembered the advice about lying still and trying to retrace the dream, and tried to do so. Again, it didn’t work, but I did notice something: I noticed that I was trying too hard. There is not trying, there is trying too hard, and then there is the Middle Path. It occurred to me that I should meditate, lie in the natural state, instead of trying to make recall happen. So on the inhale, the felt sense of the body; on the exhale, gravity and expansiveness. I rested rhythmically this way, giving myself into the energy, and after just a few breaths, the whole dream flooded back up to my mind’s eye.

Ah, the wondrous wholeness transposing night and day. . . . 

Dream of White Chalk Caves

During one of my bouts of sleepiness today, I took a nap. Shortly before I woke up, I dreamed I was standing facing my son in bright daylight, before some white chalk caves. I sort of knew I was in dreamspace, because I knew those white caves were not part of the scenery anywhere near where I reside. I was about to go into a cave with my son to teach him meditation on retreat. He looked at me, his white tee-shirt nearly blinding me with glare, and said, “Yes, I’m ready.”

I’m wanting to actually teach him during his summer break from college. I could test material for a future meditation manual, and he could gain stream entry.

Formless Realms

Tonight I lighted my candles and  I called on my protectors, in case I’m under some kind of attack on my energy, which may be the case since one of the chief effects of the fatigue is that I blow off meditation and therefore calling for protectors’ help. After chatting with DreamWalker a bit, I agreed that I needed to resolve to sit and call them in, so I did. After calling in the retinue and doing some heart-opening guru yoga with Guru Rinpoche, I spent an hour gently going up the jhanas. 

Ordinarily I don’t notice j3 much, but tonight I did. It was wide but all in front, joyous with a trace of rapture wobbling in here and there. Then it suddenly bloomed into j4, which was oh-so-nice. By the time I’m past j2, I drop the breath as an object to labor over. The jhanas are self-guided at that point; all I have to do is not overapply effort. Nice and gentle–and they unfold. 

I made it to j7 for the first time in so long that I have lost track of how long. So I’m simply out of practice. It is weird to have that turning-away that j7, Nothingness, requires when mother-rigpa is flaring so. But it is possible.

During jhana, I have fragments of forgotten dreams float up. So jhana does indeed seem to prime dreamtime and dream recall.

I will continue to revive my jhana practice, taking more time to let each jhana bloom and transition on its own. It seems that hands-off is the best approach now.

I need to be willing to follow my intuition, so long as by doing so I feel pull and direction, not increased scatter. I’ve started to feel too dependent on pointing-out instructions, so now comes a drive to return to directing my own meditation sessions and experimenting.

Also, I’m wanting to go deep into dream and sleep practices, which means samatha jhanas are in order.

I’m rusty, as I’ve also mentioned. I can just sit with eyes open and nothing particularly on the agenda, and find ground-rigpa-tsal gives quite a show. Something is subtly bothering me about how “lazy” this has made me. So I want to start intuiting and doing again, as in the old days in the Dharma Underground, my little tree fort. 

Tonight I had quite a time getting thought to calm down. I reverted back to my old standby techniques from Ajaan Lee–breathing the energy in and down through different parts of the body, in a prescribed series. J1 is often hard for me–so much effort. But to get to J2 I normally just need to tune into the pleasure of the breath, as if it were a warm sensuous bath. This is normally enough to bring on raptures and automaticity.

However, I started noticing that two-tracked mind: thoughts on one rail and the jhanas developing on another. So I decided to experiment becoming more one pointed by really, really intensifying on the breath. To do so, I started doing something weird. I started taking audible, exaggeratedly deep slow breaths.I also imagined vaporizing upward on inhale, and dropping heavily into the ground on exhale. This, tonight, was actually depth and slowness I needed, and pleasure lifted me to J2. 

I never made it past a few moments of J5 (Boundless Space), but I have quite an afterglow going on

It is odd when I suddenly change the course of my practice, but I have done so often enough, and my intuition has always been right. I’m not sure why I’m sort of shelving third chakra and chod, but something is strongly calling me now into awakened sleep.