Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light [ePub]

by Namkhai Norbu

Dictionary's definition of DREAM:

- series of thoughts, visions, or feelings that happen during sleep

- an idea or vision that is created in your imagination and that is not real

- something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time


Dreams, most common folks would agree, are something that “just happens to you”; are something “out of control”. However, from a clinical point of view, it would be interesting a perspective which would put the observer/passive-onlooker in a more active role. I mean, for those who undergo nightmares or any sort of unpleasant dreams, it’s quite obvious, that perspective would be useful.

This book is a lot about that perspective, truly issued from a Buddhist old tradition (DZOGCHEN), and fully explained by the Tibetan master Nakhai Norbu Rinpoche.

Before approaching N.N. Rinpoche’s teachings, the book offers an enlightening introduction by Michael Katz* (New York city, 1991). Katz refers in an anthropological sense how dreams are valued by some cultures, namely the Australian aborigines and the Senoi people, in Malaysia; the latter highlight the “creative dream work”.

Then the symbolism aspect of dreams is presented with recourse to Freud’s and Jung’s views. But most importantly is the actual experience of Katz who travelled to France to meet with Rinpoche and learn about his methods and get proof they really work. As a child Katz never forgot the dream he had: a snake he’d seen while dreaming; then waking up rushing to parents to tell them about the snake in the bedroom, and the attempt by his parents to convince him that nothing at all was really there.

Katz writes thereafter about one of the most important lessons of the Buddhist approach: “…do not sleep like an animal, but transform illusion into luminosity” (so says the Buddhist prayer). His study in France was meant to develop his “awareness of the Yogi sleep”.In a different venue Katz also mentions the Steven Laberge approach: on training of lucid dreaming and the use of cues (to tell the dreamer it’s a dream he/she’s experiencing). Laberge’s views build on REM analysis.

Stephen LaBerge:"The goal is to remain awake during deep sleep when the gross conceptual mind and the operation of the senses cease. Most Westerners do not even consider this depth of awareness a possibility, yet it is well-known in Tibetan Buddhist and Bon spiritual traditions.The result of these practices is greater happiness and freedom in both our waking and dreaming states."

Yet the Buddhist approach is unique.

"I bow to Padmasambhava..."

Now, N.N. Rinpoche’s. Historically it dives in the teaching of Mahamaya Tantra and the Dzogchen teachings. It aims at developing the Mayic body and uses the power of concentration in certain syllables and their visualization.

N.N. Rinpoche, in an interview (inserted in the book), recognizes he himself is not always “lucid” in his dreams, but the techniques allow for (control over) ending the dream or having a “positive dream”. He said a curious thing in the interview: true, a master can enter the dream of the disciple.

Dreams by the author abound in the book, especially in the part when he describes a pilgrimage he’d made to Maratika, “to retreat with his consort Mandarava”.

The role of intentionality is paramount: you may be dreaming about a forest, but you may “want to change the situation” and place yourself in a desert. That part made me wonder about the epistemological side of these issues; since this approach blends “sleep and reality”, I wonder: that which you experienced (once you have applied the methods at stake) can still be called a dream?

The book also provides a biography of the Tibetan master. Of special interest I retained his study under Ayu Khandro, a woman,then 113 years of age. More recently, Rinpoche had been a teacher of Tibetan (and other languages) in Naples, Italy.

No doubt, an useful perspective.
*see his article http://www.dreamyoga.net/articles/50-...



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