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Witnessing consciousness while sleeping

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I have been listening to a lot of the Buddha at the Gas Pump Interviews (after finding out about it through Daniel's interview), and a lot of people report that after becoming enlightened they never really fall asleep, that the witnessing consciousness always just continues. 

Does anybody else have this experience? Is it associated with any of the Progress of Insight paths? If not, are we missing something or what?

RE: Witnessing consciousness while sleeping
Answer
8/12/14 7:18 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:
I have been listening to a lot of the Buddha at the Gas Pump Interviews (after finding out about it through Daniel's interview), and a lot of people report that after becoming enlightened they never really fall asleep, that the witnessing consciousness always just continues. 

Does anybody else have this experience?


That was my experience for much of the latter half of 2006. I had been studying the teachings of Atmananda (Krishna Menon). One of the practices was to treat deep, dreamless sleep not as unconsciousness but as pure consciousness sans object, or pure consciousness with only itself as object. Meditating on the qualities of dreamless sleep -- and sleeping knowingly, as it were -- gave me my first reliable access to a durable peace beyond the mind. Sleep was pure, untroubled, deeply refreshing... consciousness sans object, but most importantly I came to recognise it as the substrate of all experience, waking, dreaming or not.

The practices of the Direct Path[1] (Advaita as taught by Krishna Menon) were really effective for me on a physiological and emotional level. Unfortunately they never made enough sense intellectually for me to submit to it entirely... but the above is something I've never completely lost access to.

Is it associated with any of the Progress of Insight paths? If not, are we missing something or what?

Dunno.


[1] Brilliantly succinct original exposition: http://www.brahma-jnana.com/biblioteka/Atmananda.pdf
Extensive commentaries: http://www.heartofnow.com/files/Notes_Spiritual_Discourses.pdf
Useful practice guide: http://holybooks.lichtenbergpress.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/Teachings-Atmananda-Krishna-Menon.pdf

RE: Witnessing consciousness while sleeping
Answer
8/12/14 9:20 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Howdy Jason,
i have experienced this for long periods.  at first i assumed that i simply wasn't sleeping.  later, simply as a coping mechanism, i decided each morning to make affirmations that i had slept well.  this helped me to a much greater degree than a simple affirmation would warrant.  the result was that i began really trying to notice the periods during the night when i had absolutely no memory of my thoughts and feelings.

my takeaway from this investigation was simply that I was much more aware of what my mind was doing during my sleep hours.  the parts of my sleep which i would call "light sleep" were, in fact, sleep, but because i was holding my awareness in the foreground, i did not recognize them as such.

there is a pretty good pdf ou there about "yoga of dreaming and sleeping" which is really interesting and has some really fascinating descriptions of remaining aware during sleep. here's the link if you're interested.

https://archive.org/details/TheTibetianYogasOfDreamAndSleep


tom

RE: Witnessing consciousness while sleeping
Answer
8/12/14 8:57 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:


Does anybody else have this experience? Is it associated with any of the Progress of Insight paths? If not, are we missing something or what?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turiya

It is not associated with the Progress of Insight paths.

The witnessing as a state is not really ascribed with a lot of meaning, as there is no non-witnessing consiousness.

There is a practice of abiding in Rigpa 24/7. And I think some versions of Turiya might be something similar with different words.

RE: Witnessing consciousness while sleeping
Answer
8/12/14 8:52 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:
I have been listening to a lot of the Buddha at the Gas Pump Interviews (after finding out about it through Daniel's interview), and a lot of people report that after becoming enlightened they never really fall asleep, that the witnessing consciousness always just continues. 

Does anybody else have this experience? Is it associated with any of the Progress of Insight paths? If not, are we missing something or what?

These people are at the I AM realization phase, but Daniel's path does not go through that phase but goes straight to anatta. See: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

I used to experience witnessing in sleep a few times when I went through I AM and found that it disturbs sleep. Thusness have also told me that it is very problematic and caused a decade of insomnia for him. Fortunately, due to advice from Thusness, I did not try to sustain that witnessing, instead focused on refining my experience and insights.

Thusness in 2006:

(12:03 PM) John:    certain experiences should is considered quite dangerous and can cause a lot of harm.
(12:04 PM) John:    only very qualified masters can teach these methods.
(12:04 PM) John:    because the experience is considered a form of altered state of consciousness, it can be dangerous....
(12:04 PM) AEN:    oic...
(12:05 PM) AEN:    like wat kind of experience
(12:05 PM) John:    i think experiencing presence in dreamless and dream stage should not be taught....rather only emptiness nature of manifestation...
(12:06 PM) John:    and then should only focus on compassion, wisdom, equanimity, patience
(12:06 PM) John:    just these...don't long for experiences...it will come naturally...when the time is right.
(12:06 PM) AEN:    icic
(12:06 PM) John:    wisdom is not the stages of meditation...
(12:08 PM) John:    when our attachments diminishes and wisdom (the bond of the symbols dissolve) grows, we will experience our radiance presence naturally and propel to all relevant phases of the dream and dreamless state.


(12:12 PM) AEN:    about the dream stage one yesterday i ask nai min (the friend who wrote the essay) whether he knows of which book which my master wrote about the 'shi shui fei shui'... he say yes its in one of the kai shi lu, but i cant find it.. but anyway he sent me his own.. i tink experience written down in computer?
(12:12 PM) AEN:    hold on
(12:13 PM) AEN:    ???????????? (I know 'like-sleeping-but-not-sleeping' is not something one can rush into)

??????????????????????,??????????? (First we must be able to maintain Awareness of our thoughts in our everyday life in every moment, in ordinary life never leaving the illumination of Awareness)

???????????????? (The power of Awareness's illumination will increase until when entering into sleep one does not lose that Awareness)

???????? (In sleep one will then have that illumination of Awareness)

?????????????,?????? (But having achieved this level, is that the 'like-sleeping-but-not-sleeping', I am not too sure)

??????,???????,?????????????? (What I can say for certain is that to achieve 'like-sleeping-but-not-sleeping', we need to practice in everyday life with both feet on the ground)
(12:14 PM) John:    who wrote this?
(12:14 PM) AEN:    the friend who wrote the essay
(12:14 PM) John:    what did ur teachers say?
(12:14 PM) AEN:    never say anything i tink?
(12:14 PM) AEN:    cos he say ?????????????,??????
(12:14 PM) AEN:    lol
(12:14 PM) John:    that is not the way...
(12:14 PM) AEN:    icic
(12:15 PM) John:    because he cannot cope with his experience of consciousness, unable to let go of that experience that created this illusion...it is no good for his health
(12:15 PM) John:    and ur teacher too...
(12:15 PM) AEN:    oic
(12:15 PM) AEN:    but my teacher say she is very awake leh
(12:15 PM) AEN:    lol
(12:15 PM) John:    yeah....i am too... but she must dare to die
(12:16 PM) John:    totally subsides
(12:16 PM) John:    nothing at all
(12:16 PM) John:    it is a problem
(12:16 PM) AEN:    oic
(12:16 PM) John:    she must not misunderstand
(12:16 PM) AEN:    n...it is no good for his health --> i mean she doesnt feel tired
(12:16 PM) AEN:    even though she 'shi shui fei shui'
(12:16 PM) AEN:    tats wat i remember her saying
(12:16 PM) John:    coz she is not attached to the tiredness
(12:16 PM) AEN:    isit
(12:17 PM) AEN:    haha
(12:17 PM) John:    the Presence experience requires one to know how to feel the great death then one can understand emptiness
(12:18 PM) AEN:    oic
(12:18 PM) John:    and the subsiding of presence in deep sleep is important because it revitalizes
(12:18 PM) John:    it is not that nothing is known
(12:18 PM) John:    it is just it is another form of manifestation
(12:18 PM) AEN:    icic
(12:19 PM) John:    when one say that someone drinks in new york, the one is singapore get drunk
(12:19 PM) John:    it is non local...
(12:19 PM) John:    not letting one completely dissolved, one will not experience that.
(12:20 PM) John:    and the understanding is always centered.
(12:20 PM) AEN:    oic..
(12:20 PM) John:    i told u that i have gone through 10 years of insomnia right?
(12:20 PM) AEN:    yea

(12:21 PM) John:    i do not treat that as a stage, i treat that as a problem
(12:21 PM) John:    i am totally clear
(12:21 PM) AEN:    oic
(12:21 PM) John:    throughout

RE: Witnessing consciousness while sleeping
Answer
8/12/14 9:56 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
Jason Snyder:
I have been listening to a lot of the Buddha at the Gas Pump Interviews (after finding out about it through Daniel's interview), and a lot of people report that after becoming enlightened they never really fall asleep, that the witnessing consciousness always just continues. 

Does anybody else have this experience?


That was my experience for much of the latter half of 2006. I had been studying the teachings of Atmananda (Krishna Menon). One of the practices was to treat deep, dreamless sleep not as unconsciousness but as pure consciousness sans object, or pure consciousness with only itself as object. Meditating on the qualities of dreamless sleep -- and sleeping knowingly, as it were -- gave me my first reliable access to a durable peace beyond the mind. Sleep was pure, untroubled, deeply refreshing... consciousness sans object, but most importantly I came to recognise it as the substrate of all experience, waking, dreaming or not.

The practices of the Direct Path[1] (Advaita as taught by Krishna Menon) were really effective for me on a physiological and emotional level. Unfortunately they never made enough sense intellectually for me to submit to it entirely... but the above is something I've never completely lost access to.

Is it associated with any of the Progress of Insight paths? If not, are we missing something or what?

Dunno.


[1] Brilliantly succinct original exposition: http://www.brahma-jnana.com/biblioteka/Atmananda.pdf
Extensive commentaries: http://www.heartofnow.com/files/Notes_Spiritual_Discourses.pdf
Useful practice guide: http://holybooks.lichtenbergpress.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/Teachings-Atmananda-Krishna-Menon.pdf


Greg Goode personally clarified with me that Atmananda's objectless consciousness is not about sustaining Witnessing in sleep.
  • Greg GoodeSoh, this description, according to Advaita, is not about deep sleep, but about a subtle dream,

    "I
    have experienced Clear Light in a dreamless sleep before many times. It
    was pure presence/beingness and bliss without consciousness of any sort
    of object (or subject), and no other sensory or mental experiences
    whatsoever."

    Note
    the emphasis on "no other .. experiences." So this was itself an
    experience. Therefore it is classified by Advaita a a dream. It may
    seem too uneventful to be a dream, so we like to think of it as deep
    sleep. Even Ken Wilber has misinterpreted the deep sleep teachings by
    saying that he had developed a witness that was able to witness deep
    sleep. But in the Direct Path, deep sleep itself is the witness. It is
    awareness with no objects whatsoever. So the appearance of clear
    light, according to those teachings, is sufficient to make it a dream. A
    helpful one to be sure, but a dream.

    From
    the perspective of the Advaita teachings on deep sleep, not even clear
    light or I AM or any imputation or phenomenon appears, no matter how
    impressive or subtle.

    What
    is instructive about deep sleep is that there is no arising whatsoever,
    yet awareness ... IS. When we try to look back on deep sleep, (we
    can't literally look back on it - this is a provisional teaching only),
    but when we look back at it, we are led to several significant insights:

    1. There was no evidence of mind, body or world.
    2. Yes I was not absent. That is, I didn't disappear, only to reappear when I woke up.
    3. I slept happily.

    It is taught in the direct path as an alternative to the need to develop nirvikalpa samadhi. Faster and more direct.....February 15 at 12:09am · Edited · Unlike · 1
  • Greg GoodeSoh, what post are you answering here? Deep sleep?

    "But to see it as changeless Self throughout all states is an imputation and precisely is self-view. "

    It
    is not at all like this in Advaita. The states are themselves are not
    retained, but seen to be nothing other than awareness. In direct
    experience one finds nothing other than awareness. And even that is not
    found like we find a penny on the floor. Not objectively, but in a
    mystical combination of knowing and being.

    Of course anatta is going to differ from this!!!!! No surprise. It differs from anatta too. February 15 at 12:21am · Edited · Unlike · 1

RE: Witnessing consciousness while sleeping
Answer
8/12/14 10:01 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Experiencing/actualizing nondual and anatta in sleep is a whole different thing, something I wrote and explained in http://dharmaconnectiongroup.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/lucid-dreaming-dreams-of-clarity-more.html from my experience.

And it is incredibly rare to some people talking about this. Most are merely talking about sustaining witnessing, which is dualistic.

RE: Witnessing consciousness while sleeping
Answer
8/13/14 4:05 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:

Greg Goode personally clarified with me that Atmananda's objectless consciousness is not about sustaining Witnessing in sleep.



That's right.

As Greg says: "...in the Direct Path, deep sleep itself is the witness."

It's not about sustaining any state; it's about recognising that in which all states arise and subside. In the Direct Path, deep sleep serves as a very accessible pointer to pure consciousness sans object (or consciousness shining by itself)... and recognising this allows you to recognise it as the ever-present substrate of waking / dreaming experience also. (And this does affect the quality of sleep -- in my case, making it more deeply restful and soothing -- but that isn't really the point either).

RE: Witnessing consciousness while sleeping
Answer
8/13/14 10:59 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Thanks folks, I appreciate all of the responses!

RE: Witnessing consciousness while sleeping
Answer
8/17/14 11:52 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
More by Greg Goode on deep sleep from a week ago:

In the DP, it's not like this:

"Deep sleep is known, not by the sleeper, but by the knower of the sleeper, awareness."

That's
just the point of deep sleep. It is objectless awareness. From the
perspective of deep sleep, to know it is to be it. It's not known by
anything apart from itself. It is not an objectified, propositional,
inferential or conceptual knowledge. It's 100% direct.

It
one tries to recall deep sleep or use it in some kind of inference,
then that happens in the so-called waking state. In the DP, that is
called awareness with objects, from the perspective of witnessing. In
that perspective, there is memory and inference and other conceptual
tools that come into play. They are useful from certain perspectives.
But in the DP, perspectives themselves are examined and seen through.

Again,
this is the DP. I am not arguing "DP vs traditional Vedanta." If
anyone wishes to do so, feel free to set up a separate forum for it.

..............

In
the DP, there is no such notion as "wakeful sleep." I have had many
conversations over the years on nondual and Vedanta forums with people
who propose such an ability. They actually describe the most subtle
kinds of experiences that they feel happen during these times.

But
in the DP, this would be considered a "dream," not deep sleep. It's a
dream with very subtle objects coming and going. It's not active like
dreaming we're in Paris. But because there is even the slightest
phenomenon, including the most subtle objective sense of knowingness
"of" something, this disqualifies it from being deep sleep, according to
the DP.

People
have gotten angry with me for saying this. I wasn't really disagreeing
with them. It's just, by the lights of the DP, there is no such thing
as they propose. Therefore, according to the DP, they don't have the
exalted spiritual status they have in a path that honors the notion of
"wakeful sleep."

One
of Atmananda's main purposes in proposing the deep sleep teachings was
to remove the spiritual elitism that some paths confer on individuals
who have the comfort and leisure to cultivate nirvikalpa samadhi over
and over. All that is not necessary. Deep sleep is within the reach of
all........

.....

Some
confusion maybe comes from Ken Wilber. One of the people who proposed
this had been a Ken Wilber student. He was echoing Ken Wilber's
teachings on the subject. But KW mixes stuff in from Tibetan Buddhism,
so it's not too Vedantic. Here's from an Integral forum:

"There
is an absolutely beautiful passage in Ken Wilber's "One Taste" where he
describes the first time he kept awareness throughout a full day - and
it lasted for 11 days before he lost it. He describes the process of
flowing from dreaming (REM) into deep sleep and back again. He describes
awareness during deep sleep as not really being awareness - because
there is no more duality between observer and observed. It just is. But -
not only do you experience this and recall it. He describes magically
the process of dreaming (or REM) taking shape from this emptiness. It
really is an awesome description.

I know I should post this next bit on another forum - but if you haven't seen this video - it is a must: http://integralnaked.org/news/index.aspx.
In about 4 seconds - Ken (hooked up to an EEG) - goes into a meditative
state where he zeros out all brain activity except for delta waves."

http://www.dreamviews.com/.../12070-awareness-deep-sleep...