Dreams and insight

zim zim, modified 11 Years ago.

Dreams and insight

Posts: 13 Join Date: 3/11/10 Recent Posts
I have a question relating to this but can i first explain what has led me to this question.
Last night before i went to sleep at the tail end of my meditation i tried to think of all the people i have disliked in the past for whatever reason.I went through them one by one and with understanding of all the different situations,dropped any feelings of resentment amongst the parties concerned. I then had this dream, which amazingly enough was about the one person i had forgotten to include in my list of peoples. The dream:
I was walking with a friend and the person in question was just ahead of us. I told my friend i didnt much like him and my friend agreed saying he looked nasty. Anyway as we walked on the guy in question fired a gun at us and narrowly missed. I then ran over to him. He had a cup in his hand and so was probably not wanting to fight but i charged on like a raging bull and was about to go for a full on physical attack and thats when i awoke.
My question is do you think this is a shadow side and how can we use dreams in practise? I reaslise this is related to a morality question but i didnt know ehere else to put it. I havent yet considered dreams in my practise yet and i want to know where and how they fit into the puzzle. Thanks
J Adam G, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Dreams and insight

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Well, it depends on what practice you're talking about. In terms of morality, our behavior during dreams can give some information about our "shadow" sides, but it isn't a very reliable indicator of the types of things we would do during waking life. Parts of the mind/brain responsible for evaluating behaviors and controlling emotional responses so that they can be modified by rational thought are not as active during dreams as during waking life. So people generally have more emotionally motivated, irrational behaviors during dreams than in waking life. The fact that you were ready and willing to attack this person in the dream doesn't imply that you would attack them in real life, especially considering how unlikely it is that the person is ever going to draw a gun on you in real life.

Having said all of that, it would be a good idea to go ahead and drop the resentment for this person if you haven't already done so. And look to see if you believe that this person wants to do you harm, and see if that's really true or if it's just a distortion of your thoughts by anger/fear.

As a side note, dreams don't usually mean much for insight practice (as taught in MCTB and by most Theravada and Mahayana practictioners) unless you're meditating in the dreams, or having very unusually vivid dreams, or suddenly having lots of lucid dreams which might include out of body experiences. This is usually an indicator of the A&P event. Though it might happen sometimes in early-to-mid Equanimity. Not likely, but possible. At any rate, if stuff like this happens during your dreams, then expect the dark night to happen some time soon. Make sure you know what adjustments you need to make to your meditation technique and your morality in order to skillfully deal with the dark night. But the dream you described doesn't sound particularly A&P-ish to me.

Note that in some Vajrayana practices, work with dreams and sleep can be a part of insight practices, especially of the nondual type. However, the dream you had was not a part of that type of practice, so I don't know if that information is useful to you. You could have had a dream about anything you thought about during the day, whether related to practice/meditation or not. Or it could be about something you don't recall thinking about.
zim zim, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Dreams and insight

Posts: 13 Join Date: 3/11/10 Recent Posts
Thanks for the reply. The person in the dream is not someone i hold resentment too but had done years before. I just found it rather bizzare that the person i did not include in my thoughts before sleeping actually entered my dream for the first time ever. I was reading some tibetan stuff about not avoiding or unkowingly manipulating situations in normal life but jusy going into them and taking them as they are. Although i try to do this for the most part i have seen myself maybe avoiding certain people in the supermarket or in the passing because i dont particularly want to speak with that person and i am now realising that it is a form of aversion which i have habitually been doing for some time.Maybe the dream is going along with the syncronisity ive been experiencing lately. On 3 occassions however i have dreamed that i have came out of my body at a really,really fast rate and all around me is flickering white light and on the three occassions thats happened i have had this feeling inside me that i cant let go, its a kind of fear and when this fear is encountered i usually wake up. The first time it happened i shot up the way,the second time i went straight down and the third time i went off to the side.
The night before the gun dream i had a dream i was meditating and had the exact same panoramic open view i experienced the night before so maybe i am trying to make connections that are not there and are only events unrelated. I have never considered the part dreams have to play during the times of insight practise so i really just wanted to know if they can be used to your advantage in case i was not using all tools at my disposal.I realise dreams are a very complex arena to get your head around
J Adam G, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Dreams and insight

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Hmm... those other dreams do sound A&P-ish. However, dreams like that can occur outside of the A&P too.

As to recognizing forms of aversion that you didn't realize previously, this sort of thing could be related to insight, but it could also be content. Figuring out what's going on can involve recognizing whether the information you found was more of a "realizing how fundamental dukkha arises as a result of the way experience is related to" or more of a "realizing something you do within the world of content that makes the content of your daily life less fun or more neurotic." It helps to correlating that to other signs of progress on the path of insight, such as the speed of vibrations, the feeling tone produced during the meditation, and the nature of attention.

Not that involvement with content is an indicator that something is unrelated to insight. I noticed content-related ways that aversion created ordinary suffering during Cause and Effect. But the fundamental insight was different, because it had more to do with noticing the way the mind was working in the sense of "this leads to such and such, which in turn leads to the other, which in turn produces this result, which leads to the next thing, which..."
The information about creating ordinary suffering was just a nice side bonus. The fundamental insight could have just as easily been about something pleasant, or something neutral.
zim zim, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Dreams and insight

Posts: 13 Join Date: 3/11/10 Recent Posts
I take your points. Thanks again

Breadcrumb