Dream yoga, lucid dreaming, or conscious dream awareness is a profound practice for awakening the mind and spirit. Dreaming is a very different experience to be had while in full lucidity The awake or lucid dreamer carries the linear mind of the assembled self with its numerous egocentric aspects and experiences dream-time with all of its power revealing time and space in new dimensionality. The relationship of our mundane waking awareness, our Ego, to the “dream self” or “astral self,” is the integration of our heart with the awakening mind. This integration actualizes with techniques for determining conscious and energetic engagement.
By Josh Reichmann
This integration of our lucid dream state and our waking life or mundane perspective is the goal. The illuminating of our deeper mind of clarity in space-time (a realm of awareness we can describe as the Sambhogakaya- the energy body of Buddha), which we inhabit and experience outside of mundane space-time, is a spiritual process. This eclipsed space-time is the home of the astral self in all of its relevant power. This level of embodiment we call Sambhogakaya is an overlapping aspect of perception achieved with realization and practice, an available state of existence that entwines with dharmakaya (Buddha mind). We are discussing a state of mind we want to cultivate a relationship with and embody, both while awake and during sleep, eclipsing our perspective and enhancing our energy. It is our birthright and portal to a way-station (Bardos) that arrives as the birthing and dying of mundane states of consciousness and after bodily death – the gate of enlightenment.
Lucid dream space is just one of our co-occurring or simultaneously manifesting spaces of resonance and residence while we are in any state of consciousness.
Lucid dream space is thusly a realm of perception we access as an attribute of Sambhogakaya when we eclipse our mundane mind with our more subtle conscious awareness cultivating a refined body.
I am attributing this Kaya or Buddha body manifestation to our multi-dimensional embodiment when in lucidity, which touches the enlightened state of awareness more readily.
Our essential goodness, our underlying core vibrating selfhood or frequency, resides in the lucid dream space with many others, and with all imprints, in an enfolded lattice of many-dimensional happening. All of this conscious activity is an undulating, ever-mutating, and porous exchange between minds and collected projections. None of the lucid dream experiences are permanent or premised on fixed elemental structures, but neither is our mundane waking world! As with our mundane waking world, the lucid dream playground it is a construct of ever-more complex interconnected objects and events which lack inherent singular self-dependant existence and yet display as stabilized realms for perception and arise through the level perception.
This fabric of space-time projection we call lucid space is an energy emanation is an arena of various dimensions interacting, including that of our own cognition’s imprint store.
All beings are “dreaming” even while in waking states in the mundane world.
The planet and all organic material dreams and all elements manifest in the astral dimension’s web, and this web is made more available for lucid dreamers. All layers of mind interact in the dance, and therefor lucid dreaming is simply a focus of mind- but a more concentrated one. We can be swept away and plunged into a dark pool as we loose focus and bounce between objects and concepts, or ride the wave and be the wave, all at once with a soft but firm resolve to maintain a view of impermanence and our natures. We can direct our mindstream through this chaotic interplay or leave it to chance and absorb the consequences and remain genuinely asleep in the passive dream. If we choose to direct our mindstream and become more lucid, we start by feeling into the body, our energy field, the emanating form of consciousness we call self.
The dreams which leave strong echoes as we come into our assembled conscious, or waking mind, are those we ascribe meaning to and inspect, if only briefly. Usually, passive dreams which trigger intense fear, loathing, or arousal are the dreams we recall. The colors, emotional impact, allegory, confusion states, and the songs in dream, blend into a packet of information we hold and play within waking life. As it seeps through our fingers or burns off like the mist on the pond, we come to know the elusive nature of dream and mind itself. When we rouse from sleep, waking life dominates the mind, and the dream recedes or thins out into a symbolic state.
So what if we could be more present during these passive dreams? Where would we be? “What” would we be during them? What could we become in this astral space with our heart and embodied mind awakened? Could we come to fully realize the dreamlike nature of what we call reality and evolve through the process?
Time Out Of Mind
As this process of the dream fading occurs upon waking, we begin to create revisionist and simplified tellings of the passive dream through our rational and fixed mundane perspective. The emotions we experience around dream as memory is an extensive registry of complex amalgams. Some of the heightened emotional states we remember and have fading imprints of are stranger than many we process or experience daily when awake. What does this suggest about the dream body and dream space? What does it say about what we tell ourselves about the mind’s process, about phenomenal reality and its stability?
Powerful expressions of mind occur in a dream where they can not or are not allowed to express in the waking life of the mundane world.
Jung and many since, thoroughly offered a map for the repressed and deep bubbling up of archetypal, personal-foundational, and traumatic imprints wishing to express in dream where they cannot through waking linear, organized egoic mind. The primordial mandalas of human experience are the core symbol of our sense-making mechanisms’ built into form and time and onto our knowledge reflecting mindstreams. Still, they are far more than a metaphor for unprocessed lived experiences. They are the scaffolding of consciousness in personalized or individuated form.
This lens for potent but limited dream recall and contact with this scaffolding does not itself present the final state of wisdom offered through the dream realm, nor does it express the goals of a lucid dreamer. We transcend our logical mind and baggage, the collective hallucination of symbol, and our shared language space of projection as we move into broader horizons in Astral space where our dream body – that which approaches Sambhogakaya, displays.
We move into pure creative energy expression with mind activating a realm beyond waking life’s symbol and even beyond astral spaces’ projected and received constrains when we truly see what lucidity has to offer. We must learn to differentiate the feeling of a personalized egocentric retelling and that of a powerful expression of conscious awakening or what we know as a lucid dream without limits.
There is a unique clarity and mix of feelings induced by a passive dream, an emotional melange that ripples forward and backward with implied meaning and baffling logic no matter what the subjects and objects are. We can not get caught in this story! This strange brew is a product of the dream as a memory component and the usual temporal mind’s grasp and process of dream simultaneously mixing with the powerful, timeless energy of the lucid realm – that friction is our inroad to greater freedom. Our inner sense of self is also trying to condense the very unreasonable and yet, by some unknown type of logic, entirely “normal” feeling of our dreams. Let’s imagine that this non-linear, meta-symbolic, and robust realm is normalized, that it can be traversed and then allowed as we allow the ocean to float us along. Acceptance can release us into the energy of lucidity, which will catapult us even further when the chains of over description and mundane framing are dropped.
We seem to force dream imagery, and it’s barely linear narrative, into a package of stories that are useful for cognition’s self-integration and the upholding of Ego’s continuum or “sanity” while noticing some bits as uselessly absurd. It is those very bits that often carry the most significant potential to eject us from the linear rational mundane frame.
Those most obscure and bizarre sections of dream are often where the energy lays. Usually, we must dismiss the real horror of the dream impression as utterly strange and find some core story or punch-line to relay to our selves to digest a regular passive dream or semi-lucid dream. With just a touch of closer work and patience, spending time with the dream’s resonance, we find that much more is going on.
We breathe into our memory imprint, allowing the feeling to wash over us. Not the conceptual narration with our rational mind’s map, but instead, we approach with our fully open heart and the calm focus of a meditators view. We are accepting the dream.
Something beyond just passive observation, something beyond us simply being rag-dolled around a holographic chamber of the confused dream story of samsara is happening. If we track this, with acceptance, the story’s more profound energetic lessons, conclusions, and exciting obscure mysteries begin to peek out in non-rational but empowering ways. The center of the wheel of dharma exposes in those glimpses, and we gain energy in the process of looking. Some radical agency of ours develops. We gain power.
We feel remorse, regret, yearning, promise, dread, pathos, absurdity, and disgust wrapped into a bizarre cocktail in one moment as we remember our last dream before waking. The thematic resonance of our dreams is potent, like colors or hieroglyphics of information, like emotional rivers running over fractured stories, condensed and confusing. We must embrace the confusion and see the more profound energy of the terrain we are in lucid space.
When we arrive into lucidity
When we arrive into lucidity in a dream, we must use all of our training to focus. We must not be swayed into mesmerization and desire, for if we are, we will instantly wake or leave ourselves susceptible to forces we do not know how to navigate in the astral realms. The trauma of waking life survival takes over from our dream integration as we wake, and the lessons are forgotten or buried in the psychic body. Often this happens without us even being aware of it. Our body’s
activity through the waking world of perception distracts us, but it can help us to remember as well if we use our body to feel the dream.
Hold on to those felt dream impressions. Even a skewed reading of a dream sets us into intention with the lucid dream realm and its exact language of power. Walk with that. That is the first practice. Feeling the embodiment of dream. Open the heart to the underlying feeling and “truth” of the dream. There are no lies in dream if understood through the body (body again meaning both our organic and energy body systems and the subtle winds which move through them on all planes). Lean into this feeling without conceptual understanding as motivation.
What is the take away from an ordinary dream which fades with each passing moment? A moral truth, a warning, a fear processed at best. Mostly projection. The process of recalling a dream and letting it wash over us without attempting to frame the dream into our standard logical mechanisms is an essential aspect of beginning the lucid process. The accepting is the ultimate goal of tracking the lucid space. To watch the mind watching dream and to resonate into this awareness and to stay with the embodied feeling. Something is waking up in us as we do this. We can do it right now!
We can start by remembering our last dream. Or we can start by recognizing our previous waking moment, which is a sequence of smaller moments bundled into a sense impression and conceptual meaning imprint embodied or metabolized. What is the residue of this moment? Let it sit. Now recreate or conjure the imagery or a waking life memory. We can do this right now by choosing a dream or memory most fresh. We conjure our moment or dream recall, and we feel it. We see it as a hologram and accept it’s resonant tone.
Recalling more than we imagined we could
Usually, when we settle down and breathe for just a few seconds with a calm but alert nervous system, we can recall much more than we imagined we could. What’s the core feeling tone of this fading moment of dream or memory imprint recall? We disrupt analysis or the reflex to forget a dream, and we feel it without judgment.
We can use this same approach to the very moment we are in presently! Curious but soft alertness, this is the quality we practice to become a lucid dreamer—atmospheric recall and emersion. Find a texture or part of the story of the dream, now feel the energy. The way it interacts with your body when you remember it. We apply this embodied dream lens approach to our present and see the phenomenal display and sensorial stimulation as dreamlike transient and simply energized with vibrancy.
Again, allow the feelings, the memory, and the atmospheric resonance that the dream produces to arise. How is this feeling different in quality than the feeling you had just before commencing this exercise? Take this approach to feel awareness with open curiosity and calm alertness into dynamic integration with the waking world as many times as you can remember to do. See the world like the dream you just recalled. One sequence to the next, each noticed, flagged, and released for its quality. Breathe. Remain upright as if you about to take flight. Soon, this quality of conscious engagement will become a habit over the distracting practice of judgment and the flittering of our former waking life perspective.
Tracking embodied awareness like this allows us to see the very first inkling of the seeds or blueprints of Karma. That is, the foundational map of our relationship to macro total conscious expression, the shared field of impermanent arising, and it’s special quality making us what we are. This occurring is subject to the further inquiry where we notice through the lucid dream that all is void of any inherent form, and that time is an illusion of mind’s addiction to form, including our mental construct of any reliable self. Dreams can help showcase all of this. Awakened moments are usually absorbed into our subconscious like lost jewels, but often they recede from our daily working memory. We want to eclipse and absorb those insights into our mundane habits of cognition and let those jewels shine. They will illuminate our minds and help stimulate the energy needed to stay awake even in dream!
Seeing the obstacles and shadow
The nature of our mindstream and the quality of our body and heart begins to reveal itself. We can see the obstacles and the shadow or the resistance. The fear is natural, the doubt is natural, the disgust is natural, the laziness is inherent, but we do have a choice, and we do have the power to evolve using the lucid dream as a guide to awareness.
The opportunity is touching our underlying frequency, our light mind, our bare-awareness, our capacity — that jewel. We start to see all experience as a buzzing dance of fluctuating noise. It becomes less personal and yet more illuminating.
Again, just allowing the dream to sit in our body and mind, letting it hover and stay. Then using our sensory memory of its nature to scan the feeling and impression, experience its aura while awake, and bring this quality to our waking life, this is the practice. No strenuous thinking is needed. We surrender to it and let it blanket over and weave into us. Now we are tracking power and dream energy and awakening our dream body. Our bare-awareness. The exhilarating level of fundamental core heart/mind/body our potential Sambhogakaya awareness.
To reiterate, mostly, the rational or mundane mind’s confusion is an appropriate response to our dream’s impressions. There is not much we can do to make a dream map of the passive dream until we understand how to feel and see these essential elements and how they teach us and how they propel us into more awareness and more power and further usage of energy. Contacting the “aura” of a dream is the point of entry for the introduction to practice lucid dreaming. This contact will prove to be the gateway to fully empowered lucid dreaming and far beyond, which in turn opens up a space to investigate our underlying frequency and to take hold of our evolution, doing so with love and compassion as guiding principles of action.
Contact with, and acceptance of the multi-layered untenable quality and depth of many confusing dreams is the first step to building a relationship with the “infinite” without the sense gathering mind. Other worlds await when we allow the feelings to wash over and sit with us, all the while maintaining our focused and awakened intention and heart. This process is tracking and embodying all at once.
The practice is about bridging these realms in waking life. We do the great work of mystics when we step outside of time and form’s usual expression, and we learn to observe all states of awareness skillfully through the body. We see what is observable to the senses in memory and through the body in the present, and as usual, most importantly, we observe ourselves observing. This practice can help collapse addiction to mundane form/time and offer another door to empowerment and energy.
Leave Meaning At The Door
The dream is a dumped over a treasure chest of impressions, warped memories, emotional displacement, and confusing conclusions, all strewn about in an unfolding haphazard and violent play of pattern-seeking, creating and grasping. The mind is trying desperately to find a foothold and stabilizer for meaning to erupt. Who is running the show? The simple answer is…
No one! It is less about why or who, and it is entirely about how! Beyond this, it is about allowing. Lucid dreaming showcases how we are a unique mix of energy rather than a stable identity.
Every moment is a chance to observe how our notion of self is balanced on an absurd proposition- that there is an unchanging personality we can claim. The changing moment’s quality is sometimes subtle, and we impute a self-developed ego projection to interact with it, but this Ego is not permanent. It is always evolving and dying and being re-established through its interaction with samsaric imprints. It is a tool but nothing more. We are a deeper mind, a deeper heart, and we use these more profound expressions to travel into spirit, mind, dream, and to align these properties with lucidity. So, where does meaning arrive for our lucid experience?
The meaning is simply that we each have a ladder to climb upwards to expand our consciousness and ignite our evolution for the betterment of all. We enter this field of power and use it to transcend rather than to understand. The knowing is in the going. What awaits could never be imagined. Evolution is inevitable, and the dream unfolds until we see beyond it.
Dream is the space where our more subtle conscious levels of awareness express, including integration with consciousness from “outside” of our own linear experiences and body, eclipsing self and others in more refined ways than in the mundane sphere.
We do this repeatedly in our waking life by maintaining contact with a dream’s “feel” as we stay simultaneously aware of our conscious intention filled mind and the focused but relaxed mind sensing experience with the open heart. We learn to do this in dream space in the same manner. We learn to bring conscious awareness and focused intention into dream. We bring conscious wakefulness to sleep. Conscious wakefulness is the ordered mind of self-reflective sensory input and output working in synthesis to make an egoic captain who is tamed. So how do integration of the Ego and this more subtle self help us?
The illogical ego view of self
The very act of connecting the illogical egocentric view of a permanent “self” with the more subtle mind and heart of our etheric body and our The very act of connecting the illogical egocentric view of a permanent “self” with the more subtle mind and heart of our etheric body and our heart’s tender infinite pulse – coalesces us into a lucid dreamer! We become integrated.
Integrating the shadow of ignorance with the illumination of the Sambkogakaya is a lucid dreamer’s specialty.
Practicing this integrating approach in both spaces of mundane waking life and dream time, we gain access to the dimensions which surround and inhabit us at all times in all conscious states. This work also gains us access to farther realms beyond the personalized and passive dream, beyond the lucid dream, and what awaits us beyond concept.
Every step we take, awake or asleep is lucid when we focus and release with equal measure entwined by a view of emptiness and the eternal vibrancy of heart.
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Author | Buddha Weekly
Josh Reichmann is a multi-disciplinary artist and dharma student-teacher. He relays epochal shifting visions through modernist views of spiritual practice, devotion, and creative artifacts.
His work engages clairsentience and poetry to spread Dharma and discuss the arising psychic template prevalent today.
Josh Reichmann teaches traditional meditation and uses visualization and energy work, leading recovery and mindfulness retreats for over six years. He is a student of Mahayana Tibetan Buddhism through the Gelugpa sect and uses other modalities to augment his offerings.
Josh Reichmann has released multiple musical recordings internationally and directed music videos and the feature film "Tenzin" which is spoken entirely in Tibetan featuring an all Tibetan cast. The film was presented to Cannes festival programmers on behalf of Telefilm Canada in 2018. His film work includes scriptwriting and creative direction.
Latest record link: https://joshreichmann1.bandcamp.com/releases