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Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming

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Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/4/19 4:42 AM
I have periodically lost and regained the ability to enter the formless realms, as, at least for me, to get them be truly formless, truly non-bodily, truly stable, and very "pure" often requires giving them attention and repetition in a short space of time. I hadn't given them much attention recently, so I thought it would be fun to go back and revisit them. It is common for me, particularly after doing a lot of color kasina work, which I have done a lot of in April, what with a 15-day fire kasina retreat and all, to have a hard time getting the colors to go entirely away, as they do have an intertia to them.

So, the last three nights I did give them very specific attention for about an hour each night before going to sleep, using gentle intentions and resolutions, really working on a good set up and getting j4 clean and deep, and work on that tricky balance of having the colors fade while keeping attention wide and open. Last night I was successful in gettting to some really nice formless realms with the colors gone, except that boundless consciousness somehow didn't have that really clean, vast, luminous thing as well as it might have, but j7 and j8 were both really clean. After practicing, I fell asleep.

I woke up at 4:30am, not sure why, and so started practicing again, getting j4 really well-developed, then drifting towards formlessness. I again fell asleep, not sure after how long, maybe 30 minutes or so.

I then had a lucid dream in which I was able to fly. I have a few modes of flying in my dreams, which typically progress in sequence. There is the j2 mode, in which by sending attention towards something, I fly towards it easily, and this one is frequent and easy in my dreams. However, I often don't remember to switch to the second mode, the j3 mode, in which I have to switch attention around and push down with my hands and/or feet, and that then makes me fly, and, if I don't remember to switch modes, I start sinking and things typically turn more sinister. In this dream, I remembered to switch modes, and so I kept rising up into the air easily.

I then suddenly started acceleratting rapidly, and shot out above the atmosphere, piercing the edge of the atmosphere like one would go through a membrane of a giant Earth-surrounding membrane, and there, out in space, was Boundless Space in its full glory, and then I notice the sunlight streaming through space, and Boundless Consciousness arose in its full glory, clean, pure, vast, open, bright. I stayed there a bit, then sank back down through the membrane to Earth and form, this time controlling the flying in a very j4 mode, which just involves the most subtle intent to move and the movement occurs.

This is the first time I can recall getting to really good j5 and j6 in a dream.

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/4/19 5:21 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Reminds me of the Tim Leary stuff about the higher circuits being for the purposes of space migration. And stuff from other sources about inner and outer space being the same thing. Or even bits of Barry Long cosmology, which I always wondered where it was cribbed from. Or Groffian birth trauma. or or...

But that all helps me clarify a question which occasionally tugs at me, which is - did Einstein enter into a jhana when daydreaming about light beams ? And does deep thinking about astrophysics also have a jhanic element ? Does science spring from the same source as insight or is it a different track ? Type of thing.
"This fact reminds us of the tale which Le Vayer recounts in his Letters. It appears that an anchorite,
probably a relative of the Desert Fathers of the East, boasted of having been as far as the end of the world, and of having been obliged to stoop his shoulders, on account of the joining of the sky and the earth in that distant place."


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flammarion_engraving

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/4/19 5:23 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I just want to say that I appreciate that you share about your practice. It is inspiring. So thankyou!

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/4/19 6:07 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Yeah, I've thought a lot about this as well and think this is probably the case. It's all mind, after all. I remember getting into formless realm-y experience as a kid when learning mathematical concepts such as infinity, zero, etc. I've sometimes thought about the transcendent God as being kind of like imaginary numbers. Srinivasa Ramanujan, the Indian math prodigy, had no formal training and said that a Goddess gave him equations in dreams. Who are we to doubt him? 

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/4/19 6:50 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
Yeah, I've thought a lot about this as well and think this is probably the case. It's all mind, after all. I remember getting into formless realm-y experience as a kid when learning mathematical concepts such as infinity, zero, etc. I've sometimes thought about the transcendent God as being kind of like imaginary numbers. Srinivasa Ramanujan, the Indian math prodigy, had no formal training and said that a Goddess gave him equations in dreams. Who are we to doubt him? 


Fascinating, and funny you should say that because I just read a book about sleep science and how scientific understanding sometimes pops fully formed out of dreams. More specifically REM sleep, which weaves together experience and memory in creative and irrational ways. Kekule, Mendeleev are other examples. Ha, I did imaginary numbers in maths class. Most people pause long enough to recognise the wierdness of it then move swiftly on before it starts to eat at their sanity, I think.

Arthur Koestler, thinking about maths while in jail, went through a spiritual experience - it seemed to have opened a door for him.

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/4/19 6:52 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Alas, my reading list is already overly long, but that does look fascinating.

I spent awhile working with the practices in Namkhai Norbu's Cycle of Day and Night, plus some fire kasina-y stuff and it was really productive. For awhile I was having the most boring lucid dreams ever, like cooking eggs in my kitchen. But it's fascinating the weird stuff that happens during the hypnagogic and hypnopompic phases.

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/4/19 7:11 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Oh, what was the best benefit about the dzogchen practice ?

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/4/19 8:55 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
I have always wondered what people do in their lucid dreams. I haven’t really got the fantasy to make up something meaningful. I once managed to go to my favourite place, that I can’t afford to go to, but it was like swimming into a cinema screen. It didn’t feel real. Maybe if I manage to improve my visualization skills more it would make a difference. Another time I thought I would just explore what my subconscious had in store for me. I was in a room with what seemed to be a lot of cool artefacts, and I started exploring them, only to find that I couldn’t see them - either because they were subconscious or because I hadn’t invented something more detailed. My vision got blurry or the artefacts sort of faded out. So I decided to make the room dark and explore the touch of the artefacts instead. That worked out fine. There were all sorts of textures there. It was nice. I didn’t get any sense of what kind of artefacts were there, though. And most times I mainly try to wake up to get to a real toilet instead of all the broken ones and all too public ones that tend to appear in my dreams when I’m too tired to wake up but need to go.

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/5/19 5:46 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Stickman2:
Oh, what was the best benefit about the dzogchen practice ?

Well, the highlight for me from Cycle of Day and Night was the practice of the morning and it's been a fascinating evolution over the last 4-5 months since starting with it. I've been waking extra early (sometimes 1am) and just lying in the stillness and clarity for an hour or two before getting up, sometimes drifting in and out of the hypnagogic/hypnapompic phases. Then rising and drinking a quiet cup of coffee, then sitting, then +/- asana, which has been my typical routine for many years anyway but attention to the setup upon waking seems to help me get my groove on. It really sets the stage for off-cushion practice for the rest of the day.

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/5/19 7:23 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Wow, is getting up before 11am an ability you get after stream entry ?

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/6/19 4:33 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
I have no idea if it is because of insight, life stage, other factors, a combination thereof, but I've been getting up earlier and earlier for decades. Practice is the most important thing in my life and the umbrella under which everything else falls, so my life does tend to organize itself around optimizing the conditions that help it to flourish. It was difficult to make the effort in the beginning--I used to be more of a night owl--but it got easier over time.

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/6/19 5:43 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
I just feel sorry for you. Maybe it's a sign of cult abuse and you've got Stockholme syndrome. I think countries that allow their citizens to be made to have breakfast before 11:30 should be sanctioned.

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/6/19 7:31 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Stickman2:
I just feel sorry for you. Maybe it's a sign of cult abuse and you've got Stockholme syndrome. I think countries that allow their citizens to be made to have breakfast before 11:30 should be sanctioned.

Ha! I guess that means I'm a cult of one?

I love it, actually. Early morning is for me the best time to practice. It would have sounded bizarre and horrible to me too when I was living a night owl life, but so it goes. Maybe I'm just getting old...

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/6/19 11:04 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
Stickman2:
I just feel sorry for you. Maybe it's a sign of cult abuse and you've got Stockholme syndrome. I think countries that allow their citizens to be made to have breakfast before 11:30 should be sanctioned.

Ha! I guess that means I'm a cult of one?
Sadly, no. Millions, nay, billions of people are subjected to this abuse on a daily basis.

RE: Formless Realms and Lucid Dreaming
Answer
5/6/19 6:06 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Interesting. I had an experience of lucid dreaming recently, which was in itself really unusual for me since visualization is not my strongest suit. I started on Leigh Brasington style jhanas, which I found more accessible, but I have worked increasingly with visual nimittas and kasina since they seem to give access to different overtones of experience (Although the core jhana pattern seems the same). 

So the other day I woke up very early and was about to go back to sleep when a very clear nimitta appeared. After concentrating on that I must have nodded off. In the dream, I was looking at some kind of book. I realized I was dreaming and focused in on the content. I felt an intense mix of interest and forbidenness as I concentrated on the content. Sections of the text were blurred out and what I could see shifted whenever I blinked or looked away. I focused and was able to read strings of words, but they didn't form anything coherent.

Interesting and weird. I'm not usually able to lucid dream but I think I might try to develop it around a place with books/written material to clue me in when I try to read it. Does it have legitimate practice value? So far I haven't found a use for it, but who knows.