Dream Yoga and visualisation

Nicola Joanne Dunn, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 4:42 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 4:42 AM

Dream Yoga and visualisation

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Practical Dharma

OK so I guess this is my first real post, and I thought I'd dive right in at the deep end with some dream yoga and visualisation stuff.
I finally caught up on the Buddhist Geeks podcasts, and I listened to the two about Dream Yoga with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche on the long bus journey on the way to my new flat this morning.
Now I've been really into these podcasts, and lots of them have grabbed my attention in various ways, and I thought I'd go over them all again with pen and paper and jot down notes and ideas and what I think about things, but this one just grabbed me so strongly, I have to think about it now.
Bear with me as I've not really been encouraged to talk about experiences before, so this is new to me, and I'm not great at wording things sometimes.
I don't have 'The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep' and I've never looked at any Dream Yoga before, so I'm going solely off what was discussed on the podcasts, and the tiny bit I've just googled.
I do plan on getting the book, as soon as I can afford it which should be next week, and hopefully that might answer some of my questions, hey it might might answer the whole lot, but I'm pretty sure I'll have these questions anyway.

From what was said, and the little information I've picked up online today, I think I may have been doing this all my life without realising.

I'll work backwards, which may be an odd place to start but is how I've worked this out.
More recently in my Buddhist life, I've started a kinda of 'mini practice' that I started to do before sleep.
Not a sitting meditating, or doing sadhanas kind of practice, just something I did IN bed.
Mentally sitting, just visualising myself sitting doing clear mind meditation mostly, though sometimes other types, like asking Vajrapani to guide my dreams, etc.
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Nicola Joanne Dunn, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 4:51 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 4:51 AM

RE: Dream Yoga and visualisation

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Mostly I ended up going to a place I'd visited in a very strong experience early on in my Buddhist life, a place that is very safe to me, and very calm, and I'd just do basic sitting meditation and clear my mind. I was hoping it would help me sleep. Ihave issues with sleeping as I have a medical condition that means I get stuck in dreaming sleep, and don't get into deep, restorative sleep, so I wake like I've been awake all night, because essentially, my brain has.
So I was hoping that calming my mind would help calm my brain activity and that my dreams would be less intense, and that I'd actually get some rest.
I ended up expanding it a bit since I've had odd Dharma-related dreams and things for years, so I would ask Vajrapani to guide my dreams sometimes and see what happened.
But that's a recent thing really - the last few years.
I started because I knew I could do things in dreams just as in the real body, and it would affect me the same way.
I know this because I'm quite severely disabled, and I used T'ai Chi as a good way of keeping my body going, and being able to walk whilst my body was trying desperately to stop me doing so.
But sometimes, it was just too painful to do the movements, and since I believe in the Chi side of things anyway, I decided to just sit down and go through the 'feeling' and chi movements of the form and not actually move physically at all.
I discovered that I can do T'ai Chi just as well mentally, as I can physically, and that after a mental session of doing it, my body responded as well as it did after a physical session - I could feel tiredness in my muscles, but also that the chi lines were better, and that I could move better because of this.
None of this has ever been suggested as something I should try, by the way, it was just something I 'knew' I could do kind of, so I just did it.
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Nicola Joanne Dunn, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 4:58 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 4:58 AM

RE: Dream Yoga and visualisation

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
So anyway, dreaming as in asleep and dreaming, and lucid dreaming.
I've always known when I'm dreaming, and been able to step in, change things around, let the dream go and see what happens. It's been something I've done since I was little.
I didn't even realise it wasn't a normal thing.
Sometimes I can't get out of it - like in some nightmares, I guess I'm overcome by fear, and cling to the self and that messes it up.
I don't really know.
But then, I've never actually tried to do this, so I've never worked at it to get my skills better. Maybe if I really try to work at dream yoga, I'll be able to take control in my nightmares as well.
I don't really know how to explain how I do it.
I just realise I'm dreaming, and then I decide what I want to do with it.
Mostly I'm intrigued by the dream, or having a pleasant dream, so I just go with it and see where it goes.
I don't form the dreams in this case - I have no say over what's coming up, it's a total surprise to me. But... if I wanted to I could.
I could change it totally.
I've had occasions where I decided the dream was boring, or I didn't like it, or it was getting too close to things I didn't like about myself, or nightmarey, etc, and so I've taken it off in a totally different direction. Sometimes then I'll kind of pull back and let the dream take over again, but in that new place, and sometimes I'll just stay in control and create the world around myself and the storyline.
I know, not great words I guess, well, not very Buddhisty words, but they're ones I can use and I'm sure people will understand.
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Nicola Joanne Dunn, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 5:05 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 5:05 AM

RE: Dream Yoga and visualisation

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Now to non-sleeping 'dreams'. I guess you call these visions, but I'm not sure.
I've had a few of these. I do get visiony type dreams when I'm sleeping, and I've never been able to take control of those, though I think I realised they were dreams at the time.
But I've also had well I guess I used to call them day dreams, where I'm not asleep, but my mind wanders and it's like a dream, and Iv've had visions then. Some have been like visions of the future, that have come true, some just odd things.
But I also lucid dream when I'm awake.
I always thought it was just using visualisation, though I guess when I was younger before 'visualisation' meant much to me, I just thought it was my imagination.
Basically, I just visualise up whatever I want and go with it. It's like the sleeping dreams really, though obviously there's no realising you're dreaming as you create it all from the start.
But I always thought this was just visualisation. I guess I think of it as visualisation practice, not that I've ever needed practice to visualise anything. That's tied in with all of this I guess; I'm just good at it. From the first time I ever tried to visualise something under instruction, it just came to mind easily. Probably because I'd been doing this all my life without realising what it was.

So... what am I asking, I'm not really sure. Maybe other experiences of this, maybe confirmation I'm not just nuts. Is the daytime lucid dreaming just visualisation, or lucid dreaming? Is there a difference?
I guess now I know about this I should study it, do something with it, but I don't really know where to start. I'm getting that book, but this is meant to be pretty advanced stuff.


Djon Ma
Mike L, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 5:39 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 5:39 PM

RE: Dream Yoga and visualisation

Posts: 75 Join Date: 5/13/09 Recent Posts
"I have only made this letter rather long because I have not had time to make it shorter."

Perhaps the next time you have a lucid dream, see if you can maintain lucidity beyond the end of the dream. While yoga (as in Yoga Sutras) is not the most popular framework/lingo on this board, you might get some benefit from: http://swamij.com/yoga-nidra.htm [Of course, the thing to read is Daniel's book ( download at http://www.interactivebuddha.com/mctb.shtml )] There are free yoga nidra mp3s on the web, so don't feel you have to order the one on offer at swamij just to give it a whirl.

*/me looks*

In fact, there's one available on that site linked from: http://swamij.com/online61.htm Afaik, 61 points is the basis of nearly all the yoga nidra guided meditations. So, if you can keep your attention on the task---pretty unlikely until you practice some---you wouldn't need a guided meditation recording.

"A monk once asked his teacher, 'What is the fundamental teaching in Buddhism?' the Master replied 'Attention'. The student, dissatisfied with the answer said, 'I wasn't asking about attention, but was wanting to know the essential teaching in Buddhism'. The Master replied, 'Attention, Attention, Attention'."
---snipped from dharmaweb.org
Nicola Joanne Dunn, modified 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 5:04 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 5:04 AM

RE: Dream Yoga and visualisation

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
What do you mean by maintaining it beyond the dream?
I have woken up many times (I wake up a lot during the night because of various medical things), and then decided I wanted to go back to the dream because it was pleasant, or interesting, or whatever, and just gone straight back into it, either going back to sleep because it's still the middle of the night, or deciding to just sit and continue it.

I've downloaded Daniel's book and I need to read it, I've just been very busy with moving house, and I need to unpack today or my boyfriend will be grumpy at me because he'll then not be able to fill the unpacked boxes with more things to move tonight!
Next week I should be able to start concentrating properly on things, so I'll make reading Daniel's book, and the links you've provided my priority then.
I got more money in today than I expected (hurrah for benefits backpayments!) so I shall buy Tenzin Rinpoche's book on Saturday when I know I'm fully moved in here, so I know I'll be able to sign for it when it arrives!

Thank you for your response, and I look forward to reading these books and guides and hopefully learning more!


Djon Ma
C4 Chaos, modified 14 Years ago at 1/8/09 8:09 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 1/8/09 8:09 AM

RE: Dream Yoga and visualisation

Posts: 0 Join Date: 7/26/09 Recent Posts
Djon Ma,

based on your account it sounds like you have an innate ability for lucid dreaming. i've had some interesting experiences myself but lucidity doesn't come to me naturally. i have to make an effort and keep trying before i can induce the experience.

as far as practical and theoretical frameworks on lucid dreaming are concerned, i find Stephen LaBerge's, "Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming" to be a very authoritative resource. for example, LaBerge suggests a step by step technique on how to induce lucid dreams while dreaming and/or awake. so you might want to check it out to validate your own experiences as well as understand the scientific theories on lucid dreaming.

this FAQ from the Ludicidity institute might have answers to some of your other questions. http://www.lucidity.com/LucidDreamingFAQ2.html


triple think, modified 14 Years ago at 1/8/09 4:43 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 1/8/09 4:43 PM

RE: Dream Yoga and visualisation

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
There is nothing wrong with what you describe, it is within the range of human nature. Some people cause difficulties with this sort of thing if they attach too much or too little significance to it. I sense your underlying question is along the lines of "what do I do with this?" If this is so then you have the range of options you have now and you can add or subtract from these. If buddhism is something you are serious about then I suggest you familiarize yourself with the basic teachings and practices in a form that suits you well and when you fully understand and accept the goals of the buddhist path you can apply these skills to the path as well. Sweet Dreams.
Nicola Joanne Dunn, modified 13 Years ago at 11/21/09 10:34 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 11/21/09 10:34 AM

RE: Dream Yoga and visualisation

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Thanks for all the help and insight everyone.

I'm trying to catch up with old posts now, since everything's switched from the old site. I've not been getting notifications anymore, so I kind of lost track of DO, which is a shame.

I think I was wondering what to do with it mostly.
I got a couple of books, though I'll look at getting Stephen LaBerge's book as well, thanks for the info. Just need to save up for it.
I think I've not been serious enough about my Buddhism.
I seem to just know a lot of things subconsciously, that I've never been taught, or studied, and I should take advantage of that, and not just pootle along doing next to nothing.

I have a weird feeling though, it's like I know I'm not meant to be enlightened in this life. And that puts me off learning things, like I worry I'll learn too much. I don't understand it at all.

But I'm going to try and practice some of this Dream Yoga stuff, and see where it gets me :-)


Djon Ma