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Dream Yoga: Lucid Dreaming
in Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan dream yoga is the original form of lucid dreaming. It is a philosophical practice created in Tibetan Buddhism at least 1,000 years ago. Just like lucid dreams, the aim of this is to awaken the consciousness in the dream state. However, Buddhist monks have more esoteric goals in mind...
Their aim is to harness the power of the lucid dream state and then complete a number of set tasks to take them to the next level. These tasks include:
- Practice sadhana (a spiritual discipline)
- Receive initiations, empowerments and transmissions
- Visit different places, planes and lokas (worlds)
- Communicate with yidam (an enlightened being)
- Meet with other sentient beings
- Fly and shape shift into other creatures
The ultimate goal in Tibetan dream yoga is to "apprehend the dream" (attain conscious awareness) then dissolve the dream state. When you are deprived of physical stimulus (from the sleeping body) and conceptual stimulus (from the dreaming mind), you can observe the purest form of conscious awareness.
That sounds like an excellent goal for any lucid dreamer.
Dream Yoga Techniques
The philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism is complex, but you don't need to be an expert to practice dream yoga techniques. However, you do need to show commitment; a technique is only as good as you are prepared to work at it.
One very broad but basic rule is this: compare your dreams to waking reality and know what it feels like to be conscious. This will increase your self awareness and you will find it easier to induce the lucid state in dreams.
Here is one example of a dream yoga technique. If you already practice lucid dreaming, you will find it familiar because dream recall is the key to lucid dreaming which ever way you look at it...
Every time you wake up, reflect on all the dreams you can remember. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is believed that the ego travels about during sleep - revisiting places we have been to in real life, and repeating all our experiences.
So it's important to meditate upon your latest dreams and recollections. Stay completely still while you do this, because the astral body is disturbed by physical movement and the memories are lost.
As you meditate on your dreams, repeat the mantra: RAOM GAOM, accentuating the O and splitting each word into two syllables. This will help focus your awareness on memories from the subconscious.
Dream Yoga Books
For more lucidity techniques, I recommend The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. Unlike many other books on the subject, Tenzin is clear and concise and offers lots of practical examples.
This book is aimed at beginners to dream yoga, starting with the nature of dreams and their relationship with reality. He also emphasizes how you can incorporate dream yoga into your daily life and reap the rewards of this profound lucid dreaming practice.