dreams?

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alan...
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dreams?

Post by alan... »

from a theravada perspective: what of dreams? should they be ignored? worked with? is there much mention in the canon (i can only find a couple of places, namely the one where the buddha has dreams before he reaches enlightenment about bugs and birds and what not)?

furthermore, to those of you who can honestly say you practice mindfulness nearly at all times and as diligently as possible: do you have lucid dreams?

long ago when i was studying zen and practicing mindfulness, i think after a retreat that involved lots of sutra chanting and mindfulness, i had a couple of them where i was walking around and because i had been practicing mindfulness so diligently i simply knew i was dreaming. as opposed to our normal mindstate where we are thinking about and often doing more than ten things at once and do not notice we are dreaming as we mindlessly drift through dreams the same as we do waking life.

is this something to be cultivated? for example: i have had some dissolving of my ego while conscious, perhaps i could replicate this experience and speed up my progress easily in the dream state since the mind is in total control? maybe one could soar through the jhanas, mastering each one in the dream state and then it would be easier in waking life? or other ways?

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Polar Bear
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Re: dreams?

Post by Polar Bear »

I don't know what an orthodox Theravada perspective on dreams would look like but I have my own plans to use dreams as another means of practice. I want to start doing the whole dream journal thing until I have complete control and recollection of my dreams, once I get to that point I want to simply spend my time dreaming by sitting under a tree and doing anapanasati because I think it would be very interesting to meditate while in a dream. I think being in control of dreaming could be of great long term benefit.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

alan...
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Re: dreams?

Post by alan... »

polarbuddha101 wrote:I don't know what an orthodox Theravada perspective on dreams would look like but I have my own plans to use dreams as another means of practice. I want to start doing the whole dream journal thing until I have complete control and recollection of my dreams, once I get to that point I want to simply spend my time dreaming by sitting under a tree and doing anapanasati because I think it would be very interesting to meditate while in a dream. I think being in control of dreaming could be of great long term benefit.

awesome! do you have any books on it (lucid dreaming)? need recommendations? i have one book i always come back to when i want to learn (or rather relearn) how to lucid dream. there's one other one that i sometimes look through for ideas and i also know of a few techniques that are helpful. however in theory the dhamma combined with dream journaling should do the same in a much more simplified and stream lined way. not to mention the infinite bonus of all the wonderful results of mindfulness practice.

near as i can tell, if someone is practicing the dhamma with great gusto and dedication the only thing between them and automatically having lucid dreams is not deliberately making an effort to remember and/or write down their dreams. ie: people who practice the dhamma well have lucid dreams but don't remember them. although it is also possible that one is less likely to have them without bringing some conscious thought into the dream state via the deliberate action of attempting to recall and record ones dreams.

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Polar Bear
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Re: dreams?

Post by Polar Bear »

I don't have any books on it right now so any recommendations would be great. Thanks. And good luck with your own dream practice! Do you have anything that you specifically want to do in your dreams to further your practice? I guess you did mention jhana, I wonder if you can do those while dreaming, that would certainly be cool.

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

daverupa
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Re: dreams?

Post by daverupa »

Hmm... I dream a lot less than I used to, due to the practice...
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

alan...
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Re: dreams?

Post by alan... »

daverupa wrote:Hmm... I dream a lot less than I used to, due to the practice...

interesting. could you elaborate? are you having less REM sleep and therefore literally dreaming less or are you simply not remembering as many of your dreams as you used to? how is this due to the practice? or rather, and perhaps additionally: what practice are you doing that is affecting the frequency of how often you dream?

in my experience if i don't try to remember them, i don't, just fragments here and there. but if i start keeping a dream journal, suddenly i'm writing a full page or two in it of dreams every morning.

alan...
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Re: dreams?

Post by alan... »

polarbuddha101 wrote:I don't have any books on it right now so any recommendations would be great. Thanks. And good luck with your own dream practice! Do you have anything that you specifically want to do in your dreams to further your practice? I guess you did mention jhana, I wonder if you can do those while dreaming, that would certainly be cool.

:namaste:

some old school shamanic stuff, but i'm not serious about it. it would be just for fun. such as: finding my "dream guide" which is just a part of your subconscious conjured up to lead you around your own mind (or some would say it's an actual entity in the "dream world", i for one don't go in for the mystical side of these things). other than that i want to dissolve my consciousness, travel through space, time travel and talk to the buddha (i've done that one before but i want to try it again).

all of that is just for fun though and a lot of it is "exercise" for the mind in learning how to lucid dream. i want to learn to see the aggregates as not self in dreams. i can do it in waking life but only after an intense jhana or after a time of focused mindfulness. i theorize that in dreams one could do this at will with great ease which would lead to it being easier in waking life.

books are:

"exploring the world of lucid dreaming" by stephen laberge and howard rheingold. that is the best one i've ever seen and as far as i know it is THE standard on learning this skill.

there are other methods and lots of other books but because this one works so well and covers so much ground i don't even bother with other ones. the only other one that i have read that is very good has a ton of drawbacks, i actually just wrote a big thing on it and deleted it all lol! however if you don't want to read the one i've mentioned i know of some pretty good tutorials on line that you can look into.

daverupa
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Re: dreams?

Post by daverupa »

alan... wrote:are you having less REM sleep and therefore literally dreaming less or are you simply not remembering as many of your dreams as you used to? how is this due to the practice? or rather, and perhaps additionally: what practice are you doing that is affecting the frequency of how often you dream?

in my experience if i don't try to remember them, i don't, just fragments here and there. but if i start keeping a dream journal, suddenly i'm writing a full page or two in it of dreams every morning.
Dream recall is definitely a trainable skill, as is lucid dreaming. In my case, I tend to do what I can to engage with the following practice:
reclining on his right side, he takes up the lion's posture, one foot placed on top of the other, mindful, alert, with his mind set on getting up
The posture, in and of itself, is rather ascetic if one tries to hold it, but the call to remain mindful and alert with a mind set on getting up seems to be at the root of... shall we say, less dreaming being available to perception.

I tend to practice anapanasati for this purpose, in a sleep pose.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

alan...
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Re: dreams?

Post by alan... »

daverupa wrote:
alan... wrote:are you having less REM sleep and therefore literally dreaming less or are you simply not remembering as many of your dreams as you used to? how is this due to the practice? or rather, and perhaps additionally: what practice are you doing that is affecting the frequency of how often you dream?

in my experience if i don't try to remember them, i don't, just fragments here and there. but if i start keeping a dream journal, suddenly i'm writing a full page or two in it of dreams every morning.
Dream recall is definitely a trainable skill, as is lucid dreaming. In my case, I tend to do what I can to engage with the following practice:
reclining on his right side, he takes up the lion's posture, one foot placed on top of the other, mindful, alert, with his mind set on getting up
The posture, in and of itself, is rather ascetic if one tries to hold it, but the call to remain mindful and alert with a mind set on getting up seems to be at the root of... shall we say, less dreaming being available to perception.

I tend to practice anapanasati for this purpose, in a sleep pose.
is this from the sutta on nodding? interesting. so how much sleep do you get a night? i imagine keeping your mind set on getting up would lessen dream recall as the way most remember dreams is to keep the mind on remembering them. so keeping it on something else would likely have the opposite effect.

daverupa
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Re: dreams?

Post by daverupa »

alan... wrote:is this from the sutta on nodding? interesting. so how much sleep do you get a night? i imagine keeping your mind set on getting up would lessen dream recall as the way most remember dreams is to keep the mind on remembering them. so keeping it on something else would likely have the opposite effect.
That phrase can be found in a couple of places, such as AN 4.37, as part of being devoted to wakefulness.

I get about 7 hours of sleep a night; pertinent variables may include a moderately physical job and the fact that due to a total colectomy I tend to wake up a few times throughout the night as a matter of course.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

alan...
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Re: dreams?

Post by alan... »

daverupa wrote:
alan... wrote:is this from the sutta on nodding? interesting. so how much sleep do you get a night? i imagine keeping your mind set on getting up would lessen dream recall as the way most remember dreams is to keep the mind on remembering them. so keeping it on something else would likely have the opposite effect.
That phrase can be found in a couple of places, such as AN 4.37, as part of being devoted to wakefulness.

I get about 7 hours of sleep a night; pertinent variables may include a moderately physical job and the fact that due to a total colectomy I tend to wake up a few times throughout the night as a matter of course.

oh okay. 7 or less makes remembering dreams less likely. if you were getting 8-10, regardless of any practice, you would probably still have a few fragments here and there if not awakening from full blown story driven dream sequences. then again, everyone is different and perhaps the practice you are doing really does cancel them out? or then there are people who have overly vivid dreams and always remember them no matter what. for someone like that there is probably no practice that would make them not remember them other than severely limiting the amount of sleep they get per night.

for me, like i said, it's all about effort. if i don't try i'll rarely remember anything. however for what i described above, i have a friend that's a perfect example. no matter what goes on in his life he remembers vast amounts of highly detailed dreams every night. it's kind of amazing.

also i thought the lion pose was roughly just how most people sleep at least for portions of the night? isn't it just on your side with your legs slightly bent and your arm resting on your body? when i first read about that pose i didn't get it's significance because that's how i fall asleep the majority of nights anyway and always have. what is ascetic about it? maybe making sure you're always in that pose as opposed to only as you fall asleep?

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beeblebrox
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Re: dreams?

Post by beeblebrox »

I also sleep on the right side (all night). :) It was a bit difficult only for the first few weeks, especially when it used to feel a little painful on the right hip... but now it just feels comfortable. I also sleep on a very thin futon (not due to any particular choice, though...)

I think it's less trouble sleeping this way, because then there's no tossing or turning. Just a solid meditation while falling asleep. I think many people actually don't realize how much energy they expend while in the bed... it's exactly the same with the dukkha while out of bed.

I used to lucid dream often when I was a kid, and played around with it quite a bit... but these days it seems to happen much more rarely. Not sure why, but I think it might be because there's less interest in doing something with my dream. I actually sat to meditate in my dream once, but nothing much came out of that. There was not much stimulus, or anything that was noticed while I was sitting.

This was just one experience though.

:anjali:

alan...
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Re: dreams?

Post by alan... »

beeblebrox wrote:I also sleep on the right side (all night). :) It was a bit difficult only for the first few weeks, especially when it used to feel a little painful on the right hip... but now it just feels comfortable. I also sleep on a very thin futon (not due to any particular choice, though...)

I think it's less trouble sleeping this way, because then there's no tossing or turning. Just a solid meditation while falling asleep. I think many people actually don't realize how much energy they expend while in the bed... it's exactly the same with the dukkha while out of bed.

I used to lucid dream often when I was a kid, and played around with it quite a bit... but these days it seems to happen much more rarely. Not sure why, but I think it might be because there's less interest in doing something with my dream. I actually sat to meditate in my dream once, but nothing much came out of that. There was not much stimulus, or anything that was noticed while I was sitting.

This was just one experience though.

:anjali:

zaphod! hello, how is master yunmen these days?

anyway that makes sense thanks!

i kind of drifted away from lucid dreaming as i developed more into buddhism but now i'm considering that it may be a very good tool to work with the mind.

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beeblebrox
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Re: dreams?

Post by beeblebrox »

alan... wrote: i kind of drifted away from lucid dreaming as i developed more into buddhism but now i'm considering that it may be a very good tool to work with the mind.
Hi Alan. :) When I reflect back on it... I think at the time I was used to establishing my meditation on the body, like breath or bodily sensations.

Seemed like there were neither of these in the dream... or at least they don't stand out like they do in the physical world. Of course, there are still some experiences of a body (i.e., struggling to run, like in a bad dream), but it seems to be manifested differently.

In Satipatthana sutta, there are three options other than body: feeling, mind, and phenomena. Plenty of these in the dreams... just some food for thoughts.

Of course, I think it would be easier to practice these in real life first, within the body... till the mindfulness for each is firmly established. I don't think I've ever meditated apart from the body... other than that first attempt in the dream, maybe... but I guess it's possible if the mind is well-trained enough.

:anjali:

alan...
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Re: dreams?

Post by alan... »

beeblebrox wrote:
alan... wrote: i kind of drifted away from lucid dreaming as i developed more into buddhism but now i'm considering that it may be a very good tool to work with the mind.
Hi Alan. :) When I reflect back on it... I think at the time I was used to establishing my meditation on the body, like breath or bodily sensations.

Seemed like there were neither of these in the dream... or at least they don't stand out like they do in the physical world. Of course, there are still some experiences of a body (i.e., struggling to run, like in a bad dream), but it seems to be manifested differently.

In Satipatthana sutta, there are three options other than body: feeling, mind, and phenomena. Plenty of these in the dreams... just some food for thoughts.

Of course, I think it would be easier to practice these in real life first, within the body... till the mindfulness for each is firmly established. I don't think I've ever meditated apart from the body... other than that first attempt in the dream, maybe... but I guess it's possible if the mind is well-trained enough.

:anjali:
indeed. i used to always stick to body (anapanasati) and much less walking meditation. but lately, due to some experiences with jhana, i have become much more interested in mindfulness of mind objects (or dhammas) and mindfulness of mind. these are certainly prevalent in dreams, if not even more so than in life. so i think there is value to this idea, but only experimentation will tell. i plan to keep at it until i have some results. right now i'm simply working my way back to having the ability to have lucid dreams. once i get back into it and have some experiments done i will probably post a thread detailing my results.

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