Today I want to take some time to talk about a book that’s been a great read and guidance in exploring lucid dreaming for me. The book is Dreaming Yourself Awake: Lucid Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga for Insight and Transformation by B. Allan Wallace, who happens to be a writer who covers Buddhism, meditation, and related topics. I first read Wallace’s Stilling the Mind, which covers some of the more difficult translations from Tibbetan Buddhist texts for a more Western audience. The connections between Buddhism, secularism and psychology is of huge interest to me as a way to learn more about myself, but also lead a more fulfilling life. Wallace’s writing seems to sit nicely in this intersection. B. Allan Wallace, Ph. D., is a scholar and well-known translator of many Buddhist texts into English.
Dreaming Yourself Awake stands out above other books, because it is thorough in its methods, and because it goes into a fair amount of detail on the reasons Buddhist practitioners might want to lucid dream. There is a long, ancient tradition of using lucid dreaming in Tibetan Buddhism. It’s known as dream yoga. Its benefits include being able to reach deeper levels of being, in parallel to what one might be able to achieve in daytime using a meditation practice.
Wallace warns against wanting to lucid dream for selfish reasons, and I agree there. The self discovery, and the potential to achieve insights is probably a better path to take. What’s so important too, is that Wallace makes it very clear that many of these Buddhist teachings point out that our waking world may be just as impermanent and inaccurate as the dreaming world. In fact, the book suggests that the states of dreaming or deep sleep may help bring us closer to enlightenment than that of the waking state, where our ego tends to rule.
I don’t think you have to be a Buddhist to enjoy Wallace’s book, and it’s a fascinating read that touches on elements of cognitive science, psychology and other sciences. It is thankfully not a new age book. I am skipping those at all costs. I’m going to see if I can get Alan to do an episode of The Labyrinth with me.
Reading this book prompted me to take the following steps:
- Keep the consistency I have implemented with my dream journal. I write my dreams every single day
- Sign up for a meditation class. The milestones outlined in the book don’t just happen magically through lucid dreaming. A meditation practice is encouraged, so here I go as I begin to do it on my own at home (and with a class, too).
In other news, my dream journaling is going way better now. I am experimenting lots with diet and teas, and the removal of heavy meals before bedtime is doing wonders. Last night I even had 2-3 dreams in one night. Some have some lucid elements, but like I mentioned before, I am not always 100 percent sure I am being lucid in my dreams.
How are your dreams going lately? Have any of you started keeping a dream journal in 2013?