How Much Insight, teaching, or relevance should we pull from Dreams?

Silas Day, modified 3 Years ago at 5/19/19 10:02 AM
Created 3 Years ago at 5/19/19 10:02 AM

How Much Insight, teaching, or relevance should we pull from Dreams?

Posts: 23 Join Date: 4/4/19 Recent Posts
Hello all, my dreams for the past three night have been wholloping me over the head with Dharma based messages or themes. I describe them briefly below

1. I had a conversation with a young man who was slowly withering away into an old man, in an old style sawmill in the woods, who told me how he was a meditator and had gotten pretty far, but not far enough and was assertively urging me to keep practicing because we only ever "think we have more time".

2. I was in a pure white room with red and yellow bookshelves, that contained red and yellow books, behind me, and I knew one of my friends who is also into meditation and sometimes sponsors us to go on retreat together was nearby and I was trying to describe the three characteristics to her(even though I was the only one in the room). While i describe impermanence the whole reality of the dream slowly faded away, when i described dukka the red and yellow bookshelves flashed away, but when i started taking about no-self everything came to a slamming halt and i woke up.

3. I was wandering around Thailand jumping from building to building in orange monk robes, feeling like i was on cloud nine but mid jump came crashing down and the whole world was being absorbed into me, it was heavy and murky, incredibly sad, and when i woke up i found i had been crying in my sleep. 

Now, I have a history of Hypnagogia and have pretty weird dream, and my brain turning off in a weird order even form when i was a yound child. As well, I generally don't give much creedance to dream but these have been 1. Incredibly vivid 2. on my mind constantly since I have had them and 3. I can remember them clearly even days later. 

How much insight, teaching, or relevance should I give these dreams? I am currently engaged in a very intense practice of Vipassana meditation, several hours a day, so I don't know if they just come from that being the activity i am engaged in so its what my brain engaged with at night or if there is something deeper. Thanks! Always really appreciate this community and there thoughts.

Best Wishes
Pål R, modified 3 Years ago at 5/21/19 4:23 AM
Created 3 Years ago at 5/21/19 4:23 AM

RE: How Much Insight, teaching, or relevance should we pull from Dreams?

Posts: 115 Join Date: 8/3/16 Recent Posts
Some traditions work with dreams, not so much in theravadin schools however. In tibetan buddhism there are some schools that work with lucid dreaming as a spiritual tool. In western esotericism (the western equivalent of tantric traditions) it’s all over the place.
I’d ask who’s talking to me in the dreams, but take it all with a grain of salt, especially if you don’t have a teacher profficient in the subject.
Ben V, modified 3 Years ago at 5/21/19 6:48 AM
Created 3 Years ago at 5/21/19 6:48 AM

RE: How Much Insight, teaching, or relevance should we pull from Dreams?

Posts: 395 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
When I do retreats, my dreams tend to be very vivid and at times dramatic. Since you're in a period of doing intense practice I would tend to think your dreams relate to that, especially that the images themselves are meditation related. Loking at your three dreams in sequence, I'm thinking, they might be expressing A&P moving into dukkha nana. 

I see dreams as unprocessed emotionally significant material trying to process themselves via metaphorical imagery. Your mind is going through intensive stuff during the day (more intense meditation than usual) so as you sleep your mind continues to process the material.

As for your question, during a retreat I wouldn't spend too much time analysing dreams (easier said than done for me since psychoanalysis/analytical psychology is my second biggest interest in life next to vipassana meditation!) , as this may distract from the process of simply observing experience and their 3cs. At best take note of them and think about them later after the retreat.

There may be exceptions to that rule, such as dreams that indicate an impending mental breakdown, in which case they may be message to slow down, stop the retreat, rest, get help, etc. This does not seem to be your case though. A classic dream of possible impending mental breakdown is being flooded and drowned in water. But if in the dream you succeed to survive or navigate the flood, it can mean dealing with intense emotions but being able to navigate them. Of course, this is just an example and every dream needs to be looked at in their individual context.

All the best,

omnia, modified 3 Years ago at 5/26/19 3:02 PM
Created 3 Years ago at 5/26/19 3:02 PM

RE: How Much Insight, teaching, or relevance should we pull from Dreams?

Posts: 3 Join Date: 5/24/19 Recent Posts

From my experience, I have never had any mystical dream experiences so can't comment on drawing any meaning from them. And 99% time no recall of dreams at all. Only people in familiar situations with whom there was some unresolved karma. After realization, dreams haven't occured.