Dream Recall

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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dhamma_newb
Posts: 307
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:36 am

Dream Recall

Post by dhamma_newb » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:27 pm

Ever since I started meditating my dream recall has become stronger. I notice that many of my dreams and nightmares are vivid portrayals of hidden mental states and emotional reactions. During waking life I don't feel many of these emotions as strongly but in my dreams and nightmares I feel them deeply and I realize that I don't have as much equanimity as I thought I did. I think I repress or numb out during the day and pay for it at night with these disturbing dreams.

Do you think that the quality of your mental states in your dreams are a good representation of your progress on the spiritual path? Have your dreams changed the longer you've been practicing? Please share your thoughts. Thank you.

:anjali:
The watched mind brings happiness.
Dhp 36

I am larger and better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.
Walt Whitman

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DarwidHalim
Posts: 537
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:49 am
Location: Neither Samsara nor Nirvana

Re: Dream Recall

Post by DarwidHalim » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:19 am

That is a sign of progress.

When you start meditation, your awareness will get more and more noticeable, and you will notice the hidden thoughts which is undetected by grosser awareness, which is always distracted by thoughts here and there.

As your meditation get deeper and deeper, you will see that your awareness is actually getting stronger and brighter. The reason why this happen is because in meditation we are training in such as a away that the distractions are gettin lesser and lesser.

During awaking time, we are distracted by 6 senses for ordinary person.

During meditation, when your meditation is getting very strong, initially we may be distracted by 6 senses as well. But when you progress further, the distraction of 5 senses will getting less and less, and finally the only thing that can distract you is actually just our karmic view (human concept). In this case, what distract you is your last sense, which is your mind.

However, during sleep, we are by nature free from distraction of 5 senses. The only thing that can distract you is your thought during sleep, which is called dream. Because of significant less distractions, it is said in another tradition that during sleep, your awareness clarity is 7 times stronger than your normal awakening state, where in this you are distracted by complete 6 senses.

The point here is not why 7, or why not 2 or 3. The point is during sleep, your clarity of awareness is very clear. It is very similar with the clarity that you get in a very strong samadhi.

Since you are doing meditation, you have tried to maintain this clear awareness. During sleep, you will also be able to notice it, in a very weak way initially. If you dream, it will be clearer and noticeable, whic in this case give you the impression you dream is getting stronger. Actually it is your ability to stay within your clear awareness, which has improved.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

dhamma_newb
Posts: 307
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:36 am

Re: Dream Recall

Post by dhamma_newb » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:25 am

Hi DarwidHalim,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to the post I really appreciate it.

I recently did a ten day retreat and during the retreat I had a couple of really intense dreams and the details of the dreams were as clear as a movie. I was actually surprised at the images and in the dream because I do not consider myself an artistic or creative person but some of the "graphics" and ideas in the dream were complex and nothing that I would ever think my waking mind could create. Upon awakening from the dreams I was able to reflect on the themes of the dreams and try to understand how they were related to my practice. It was quite interesting to see how much the kilesas defile the mind, even in dreams.

Your explanation makes sense to me. I have been experimenting with cittanupassana lately and maybe that is one of the reasons the dream recall is becoming stronger.

Thanks again for your help.

:anjali:
The watched mind brings happiness.
Dhp 36

I am larger and better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.
Walt Whitman

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Ben
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Dream Recall

Post by Ben » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:38 am

Greetings Don,
Vivid dreaming is pretty normal during retreats.
My advice is not to invest too much meaning or importance in the content of dreams.
They are, like all other phenomena, just dhammas rising and falling, impermanent, evanescent, and insubstantial.
with metta,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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dhamma_newb
Posts: 307
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:36 am

Re: Dream Recall

Post by dhamma_newb » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:15 am

Hi Ben,

Thank you for your reply. The dreams were very disturbing so I thought I'd seek clarification. Are there any suttas that speak about dreams?

:anjali:
The watched mind brings happiness.
Dhp 36

I am larger and better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.
Walt Whitman

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