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05 Jun 2023
Video Overview
Contemplative Sciences Center

Practices of dreaming, and related methods for inducing perceptual and cognitive illusions, are key modes to epistemic inquiry and soteriological praxis in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist practices and literature. Buddhist practices of dream yoga – or alternatively, “sleeping meditation” – consist of well-formed practical methods to learn how to dream, train in the oneiric life, and recognize illusory qualities of waking experience. Recent neuroscience research has made headway identifying the neural correlates of dreaming states, and most recently, shown the ability for dreamers to communicate while dreaming, extending the horizons of empirical dream research. Discussing the discrete procedures of Tibetan dream yoga practices, as well as theoretical frameworks of lucid dreaming, this domain explores the science and philosophy of dreaming in the context of these contemplative practices.  

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  • Ken Paller
    So welcome to day two of this wonderful conference. I'd like to start by thanking Michael and David and all the people working with them to put together this wonderful two days. Thank you very much, to all of you. And maybe it's good to start with a dedication. That's sort of a nice custom. So let's hope that, you know, all the efforts from our two days are beneficial for all beings. And we're going to start, of course, with a focus on practices. But before we do that, we're going to have a little neuroscience at the beginning instead and then move to the practices. And a question is, how do we come to know about the sleeping mind? And then how is that potentially useful for understanding more about the waking mind?
  • So Andrew will be leading us on some meditations today and to help understand these practices, but I'm going to have a little fun myself, too, with... with... with that. So let me try the following little brief exercise, if you're willing to cooperate. I'd like you to just from where you're sitting, look around the room, look all around the room and scan, let's say, non-judgmentally around the room. So if you're like me, you just experienced a room full of people and other objects and situated in one location within this spatial context, you in a special location where you're observing what's happening here. So how does this understanding of the world arise? Neuroscientists like to look at the brain's role in this. And I'm a neuroscientist just by the way, here's my title slide, but we don't need that.
  • So Neuroscientists like to consider the stages of development, interactive influences of genetics and lots of other factors, social relationships, culture and so on, and we consider the anatomy and physiology of the brain. So the traditional story would start with sensory transduction. We have specialized brain cells sensitive to signals that come in, such as electromagnetic energy in the visible range, sound waves, certain frequencies, certain chemicals that impinge on parts of the body, a wide range of signals from many, many other parts of the body where our limbs are, and temperature and tickle. So all sorts of things. And through transduction, then these types of sensory input become neural signals and the neural information, what we conceive to be neural information, is stored in not just single neurons, but in neural circuits. And we can measure some of that with brainwave measures.
  • Now, 86 billion sounds like a number somebody just made up, but it's apparently about how many neurons you have in your brain. And 600 billion synapses, the connections that can change and giving rise to the special feature we call neuroplasticity through which circuits are formed. And according to present theories, that's really the basis of learning. So after transduction of photons, for example, there's a progression of neural signals for a vision across brain regions, specialized for lots of various computations that are carried out on those signals and those signals and all these different regions, I won't go into them, but all these regions have these signals that don't have any visual quality persay in the signaling among neurons. The signals aren't light. There's no literal luminosity there. The neural information gains, meaning indirectly in the sense that, as we say, there are representations that are constructed as we try to understand what's out there and what inferences we can make about what probably produces sensory input.
  • So standard stuff. The anatomy of the brain produces a massive set of highways for neural signals and physiologically different sets of these highways can be used from moment to moment. Our sensory inputs are constantly changing. Our attention changes our intentions and our actions change. And so neuroscientists try to figure out how the dynamics of all this neural processing could produce our ongoing experiences of the world, such as your experiences in this room here. And importantly, a whole lot of that processing is what we would call implicit processing. It doesn't actually provide us with a. Experience of the world, it's really only a small subset of that processing that seems to be more closely associated with experience and that breaks down. And Melanie, you might talk about information from neurology patients with blindsight or another phenomenon called that apperceptive agnosia can have real difficulty with their conscious experiences.
  • They might not be able to see the chair, but yet be able to walk around it. They might not see the chair in agnosia, but not know what it is at all and yet still be able to reach out and grab. Well, so there's all this implicit processing and a little subset of that that we can study that leads to our conscious experiences. Now, if you're like me, your normal sense of looking around the room feels like we just directly read out what's out there with immediacy, as if we're just seeing the world as it is. And it may seem like our human sensory capabilities just allow us to know the world directly. But really our... our human brain quite indirectly, gives us this capacity to construct a world. So neuroscientists delve into each part of this. What is the perceiving of objects in the world? Our directing of attention, our gaining of expertise to be really good at certain things, remembering things, navigating places, social interactions, communicating, planning for the future and so on. All the... all the different parts of neuroscience that are fascinating.
  • And part of our capacity for perceiving the world, as Antoine brought up yesterday, may actually depend on this deeply seated capacity for prediction. And we're really predicting what's going to happen next. But not consciously necessarily, but at each stage of processing, implicitly, these predictions are going on and maybe that's really connected with our experience of the world. So it doesn't really start with transduction. It starts well before that as we anticipate what's going to happen and then make adjustments when they're disconfirming information. So now let me try a second exercise. So I'd like you to this time close your eyes. And I want you to imagine that you're dreaming right now so you can dream anything, anything you want to dream, you're going to construct a world out of your imagination, a normal, non-lucid dream, say, so in this dream, you think you're awake, as we do in most of our dreams. But your experiences doesn't correspond to input from the senses.
  • OK, so in a dream like this, you may think you're walking around and you don't realize that many, many, almost most of your muscles in your body are deactivated, you're in a state of paralysis or atonia. So you're not really walking around, but you're dreaming that you are and experiencing that world. And it's pretty interesting. You just dreamed up a world and everyone's brain can do this, allowing you to experience a world that's not built up from sensory inputs because, you know, the brain is habit driven. And so what are we doing all day long? We're... when we're awake, we spend a big chunk of our time experience... having a series of conscious experiences of the world. And so then it's no surprise that our brain tends to do that, essentially the same thing while we're sleeping, although it doesn't have to do other things as well. Like, you know, in your dream, you just imagined... Oh, you can open your eyes now. Some of you had your eyes closed still and um... I should say, you know, you're going to wake up feeling wonderful.
  • So did you dream with yourself in there? Were you in your dream because it didn't have to be you? You could have been dreaming that you were a frog or, you know, or some non conceptual dream. You know, it could have been entirely not non-dual, but we tend to do, you know, follow our habits here. So so we're going to see today what are the, you know, well, let's see, we're... we're... our habits then are this experience of wandering around in the world, and that's really adaptive. It's really helpful to do that. So it's, you know, a generally adaptive capability, if not ultimately accurate. So, you know, the two truths appear there, but it works for us and it's one of our habits. But we can we can push against it, as Andrew will tell us, I'm sure. So what are the opportunities then to see how dreaming and being awake can inform each other?
  • How can this play out from the advance... from the perspective of the advanced practices we're going to hear about? And then how can we try to bring together those experiential perspectives with neuroscience perspectives? So to plant some seeds for that? I want to ask this question again: What knowledge do we have about what happens while we sleep? And Andrew, in his wonderful book on dream yoga, just mentioned the basic three things you would expect that we can descend from surface consciousness into two levels of unconsciousness, as he called it, the dream level and the dreamless sleep level. Now, dreamless sleep is pretty good. I wish I had a little more of it last night. But, but, but it's a little ambiguous. So when I at least for me, when I wake up and think, well, I just, you know, wasn't dreaming anything just now, I just woke up. Well, there's a little ambiguity there. It could be that I, in fact, wasn't dreaming anything, or it could easily be that I was dreaming.
  • But I forgot because of sleep amnesia. Sleep amnesia is pretty strong. We tend to not store our dreams and remember them seldomly, except if you train to be better at it. And so it's a little unclear what you know, what do we mean by dreamless sleep and how do we how do we assess that to see if it's really dreamless sleep or just forgetting of dreams. So then the general question is, well, how do we think about trying to gain knowledge about sleep? And so I have a list here. And perhaps the same kind of list can can guide us in trying to think about contemplative sleep practices as well. So maybe a starting point then is behavioral observations about sleep. And, you know, these are you don't really need much technology here. You can see these things. Watch your dog sleeping, you'll see changes. Sleep is not uniform, not homogeneous, but there are different things happening at different points in sleep, which we may not know from our first person perspective.
  • We can wake up and we don't realize, well, we had multiple cycles of sleep and we went through different types of sleep that we call REM and non-REM sleep, for example. It's not quite apparent, at least to most of us, that that's happening. But there are these behavioral observations we can make to try to understand sleep. And then we have our dream reports. What do we remember when we wake up? And so this has been the mainstay of a lot of dream research, but it's quite limited. It's... it's a little messy. It's retrospective. It's basically about memory. You have to remember what was happening earlier and that earlier thing that happened, you were in a different state, you were asleep, now you're awake. You've shifted states. So then we have a lot of sleep amnesia that hits that. And that can mean, you know, forgetting your dreams entirely or partially forgetting them or distorting them. And then what you do remember is subject to biases that are playing out while you're in the waking state, biases from what your expectations are, other conceptual factors that influence how you recall a dream.
  • So it's not really enough. And this is hard enough as a lot of things in psychology are. We want to use every method we can so we have other methods. One, I'm going to tell you a bit more later this morning is we can also ask people about their dreams while they're still dreaming and get some information. I'll leave that as mysterious for the moment and we'll come back to it. And then, of course, we can measure brain and body physiology and... and try to understand, OK, what are these brain signals that we can measure? We can't measure everything we would want, but we can measure some things and we can try to see, OK, how does that relate to what's happening during sleep? How does it relate to what are the experiences people are having? And in these contemplative practices, we will be able to ask, we're just starting to ask, how does it relate to what they're doing? And then, you know, another big, long list could be here about other things that that we can measure and how theories can guide us and what we want to look at and, I put the asterisk there, and work with that we're starting on on these contemplative practices during sleep, working with David and Michael on understanding the full context from a Buddhist uh... Buddhist scholars perspective of what's happening and what's the context of the whole practices is part of how we're trying to put together with the neuroscience to understand what's going on.
  • So now really time to talk about what these practices are. So first, Andrew is going to lead us on some... some related practices, and he's going to do that first in a moment and then again after our break, two different parts and then Jake and Michael will talk further after that. So Andrew, please.
  • Andrew Holecek
    Can you hear me OK? Kind of have to do one of these numbers. Good morning, everybody. So fun. So, yeah, I'm going to try a little bit of the impossible, some kind of Meditation McNuggets. I'll give you a couple of kernels of practices that maybe you can at least get a taste for and that when you leave, perhaps you can elect to purchase them a little bit. And so if we could, I'd like the mood that we did with Lama Willa yesterday. If we could drop the lights just a little bit. I'm going to just say a couple preparatory comments... Ah there we go, about the kind of the general tenor of what I'm going to try to present here, a couple of practices in relationship to this notion of um... [inaudible] was alluding to, this profoundly important, not only from a scientific point of view, from a philosophical point of view, but also a sociological point of view, this has real traction.
  • This is like translation stuff we can use in our lives every day. This really profound notion of perception is creation. And I'm going to try to point out to you, using a couple practices that fundamentally create contrast mediums. One of the reasons we don't see that we don't see, in fact, is kind of an archetype of lucidity, is we're too close, we're too enmeshed. And so as I look back over the extraordinary array of practices I've been blessed to practice, I noticed that these practices, they flush, they remove the camouflage, they create contrast mediums to allow us to see things we haven't seen before. And so one of the things I want to point out to you is the extraordinary speed of the mind that it's literally, in my estimation, in the service of ego, the world's fastest construction company, literally at the speed of sight as we turn our heads. And this is a fantastic thing to do both during the day and especially at night. You can really see this when you're dreaming. At the speed of sight as we turn around, as Ken was saying, there's no pre-existing world out there, there's no non-contextual realism, non-contextual realism is an illusion.
  • At the speed of sight we enact reality. It's participatory. We... we don't create it. We co-create it. And so one of the things you can discover with both the nighttime practice of dream yoga and its diurnal correlate is just how rapidly we do this and how how responsible we are, therefore, for both the creation of our reality and therefore our suffering, and therefore the ability to deconstruct it. So at the core of all these practices is the issue of reification and de-reification. If there was an original sin Buddhism in the service of ignorance, it would be, in my estimation, reification to make real and we suffer in direct proportion to how solidly we reify the contents of our mind and the contents of our reality. And you can really see this in a dream, right? I mean, you're having an f*ing nightmare and it's just your mind in there. But if you're completely not lucid to it, I mean, it can quite literally, sudden unexpected nocturnal death syndrome, it can kill you because you reify the contents of your mind to such an extent it can literally kill you.
  • So in order to deconstruct this in the service of deconstructing our suffering, go ahead and close your eyes for just a second. Like we did yesterday, if it works for you, planting your feet somewhat squarely on the ground. And without being a dilettant with these practices that are actually quite refined. It's a practice that I learned from my teacher, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoché. Literally one breath meditation session. So during the duration of one installation, one exhalation, just simply be 100 percent present for your breathing.
  • There you go, you just did your meditation session for the day. This creates a contrast medium, right? Stasis helps us create a contrast medium that helps us better detect movement and the speed. Just to show you how quick to give you one intimation of how fast the mind is and again, neuroscientist Evan Thompson, Francesca Varella, so many others have studied this. When you listen to my voice, without examination, you immediately impute meaning onto what, when it's deconstructed, is essentially neutral, compression, refraction, sound waves. That it. So for the next 30 seconds or so, try to listen to my voice as if it was from a foreign language. And notice the immediacy of how quickly we impute, reify, bring meaning to what is essentially just neutral physical sound waves.
  • And the second thing, if you haven't already open your eyes. Look straight ahead. Decentralize your visual field as if you're focusing, quote unquote, on the periphery. Relax your jaw. And hold your visual field completely still.
  • Descartes once, of course, famously said I think, therefore, I am. In today's cyber age, I think it's more I seek, therefore I am. But I would argue at the very deepest, ontological levels, I move, therefore, I am. It's very interesting when you're in rapid eye movement sleep, REM sleep, that's mostly when you're dreaming, one way to wake up from a dream is to literally, and if you're in a lucid dream, hold your dream eyes still.
  • And it'll do several things. One is it can end the dream. So we want to end the dream of samsara, the nightmare of samsara. That's what the Buddha, the ultimate lucid dreamer, woke up from the nightmare of reified reality into a de-reified illusory world. So that's going to invite extremely subtle, this ties into some of the principles that were expounded yesterday, intimately connected to the creation of duality and the relaxation into non-duality. This may not happen in the session, but I invite you through this kind of contrast medium of openness to perhaps notice, and eventually this is something you can feel affectively when the mind slows down and no longer flicker fuses, reality arises in a quantized, pixellated pointalistic way. It's like a Seurat painting.
  • Through the speed of the mind, roughly, the neuroscientist's can help me here, 1624 frames per second, we flicker fuse the illusion of continuity through the speed of the untamed mind. Slow it down, put the brakes. And it creates the breaks. The invitation is to notice this lightning fast openness, contact with reality which I would argue in that instant is a dual experience. This brings the utter immediacy of non-duality. It's hiding in plain sight. And then reflexively, again, at the speed of mind, faster than the speed of sight, faster than the speed of light, we contract.
  • This is the combustion cycle, the tachycardia of samsara. Expansion just enough to make contact with reality. And then immediate reflexivity contraction, which generates and that one move self and other. That's the construction company. And this is why if you stay in complete stasis, open awareness meditation, your eyes can be open. Your world can dissolve. It's revelatory. It's disconcerting. Prescriptive. Diagnostic.
  • This level of contraction takes place, it's not turtles all the way down is contractions all the way down from the overt subcontractors that we know is aggression, anger, panic, to the kind of more mild, middle range and ubiquitous contractions known as dis-traction. Etymologically, literally, to pull apart, to draw apart from reality. And through this increased sensitization, openness, contrast medium, you start to see and then take greater responsibility for the construction or the co-construction of your reality. If you want to blame someone for your agony or ecstasy, look in the mirror.
  • Open. Favorite definition of meditation: habituation to openness. This will eventually deconstruct all the way down to the primordial contraction. What does that feel like? What does the primordial contraction feel like? That rock upon which ego builds its church, what does that feel like? Me. That ineffable axiomatic self-sense. The primordial contraction. This is why when people engage in deep meditation, they can panic. We get down to the truth, things literally start to fall apart. Chaos should be regarded as extremely good news, Trungpa Rinpoché. Getting closer to the truth.
  • Reconstitute your vision. Look straight ahead. When you do this in a little more gradual, effective way, it's extremely interesting to notice what you feel. When you start to open, is it refreshing, liberating, exhilarating? Or is this somehow disquieting? There's no place for personal identity in this space. A type of death. And then when you come back into form, how does that feel? Does that feel safe, secure? Yes, form! Yeah, body! Does it feel somewhat claustrophobic, limited as the infinitude of consciousness contracts into the space time coordinate we call the self-sense.
  • A construct that takes place moment to moment to moment as out of a zero point energy field, dharmakaya, reality arises, dissolves, arises, dissolves. We're the ones that literally confuse it all together. And so in my next presentation, I'm going to guide us through a contemplation on the Clear Light Mind. In a more kind of analytic meditation that will bring a little bit more of conceptuality and the thinking mind to some of the further refinements of this particular approach. Thank you so much!
  • Jake Dalton
    Thank you, Andrew. That was really wonderful. OK, so with my time here, I have been... lots of things that were said yesterday and even just now, this morning, tie in to what I'm thinking about here, when David was, in fact, the very title of the meeting on generativity is very much in line with what I'm going to be talking about and how Andrew, too, talking about how we create so automatically our realities. And... and Ken mentioned the importance of habit in dreams and how dreams are in some sense a reflection of our deep habits of reality creations. And part of what I find so powerful about Dream Yoga and dreams in general is they provide this opportunity to transform our unconscious habits that are so deep and close to us that we overlook them all the time.
  • And somehow dreams make those most obvious habits or most unobvious habits are obvious in some way or something like that. So that's kind of what I'm thinking about. And I actually I'm spending most of my time on this talk, talking about a different practice than dream yoga and then... But it provides, I think, some context for and interesting insights into what's important in dream yoga. So but... but overall dream yoga is in order to really understand a lot of the writing around it, you have to grasp this idea that it's rooted in, which is a set of equivalencies between, for example, in a... in a normal tantric meditation, where you start by imagining the dissolution of reality into emptiness and then regenerating as yourself as a deity.
  • And then that, by the way, I can't help historicizing everything, that... that's... so that's already there in the seventh century. And then and then that starts to be tied to the processes of dying, dissolution and rebirth. And so, in some sense, your re-habituating yourself to different ways of dying and being reborn through tantric meditation. And they and they start seeing this as a practice for death and dying. And then this is finally paralleled with falling asleep and then reawakening into the dream. So all of these are processes of reality, creation, like what Andrew was just talking about. In terms of Indian precedence for dream yoga, there's surprisingly few. It's definitely there, but it's really a practice that's elaborated in Tibet. You most commonly find it discussed in the context of the Chö druk, the Naro chö druk or the Six Yogas of Naropa.
  • But even there you well, I'll say that in a second. And so there in that context of Chö druk, you often find dream yoga associated with the practice of illusory body, gyu lü. And that's kind of what I'm going to be looking at here. So yeah, some of the earliest writings on dream yoga you find in... like there's a short text by Marpa, but it's really not until Gampopa in the 12th century that you find them really being elaborated and explored. And so in terms of this illusory body, which I think, as David was saying, a lot of contemplative practice is shaped by the surrounding context. So I thought it would be interesting to look at illusory body as one of these contexts and see what it tells us about dream yoga. So according to Gampopa, in the context of these Six Yogas, illusory body practice basically consists of gazing into a mirror, for example.
  • There are lots of ways of doing it over the centuries, but this is what he writes about is gazing into a mirror. And Michael's going to provide some nice examples for all the practices I'm talking about. I'm sort of providing some of the historical and theoretical background, and then Michael's going to give us some really beautiful examples from the literature. So you gaze into a mirror at yourself, contemplate how your reflection, that this is a illusory form, you can hurl insults at yourself until you gradually start to no longer take offence. And gradually you reach some sort of insight into the essencelessness of your body. And then there's another practice related, which is sometimes juxtaposed to this first practice as the pure illusory body practice, where you again gaze into a mirror. But this time you hang a little picture of your yidam, your deity, over your shoulder and you gaze at that as if that were yourself and then repeat the same kind of practice.
  • So I just want to note that that's in... that's how it's practiced even today and we'll be returning to some of this. But first, I want to go back into the prehistory of this illusory body practice and... and maybe first of all, to... to point out... the line is not lining up quite as beautifully as it did on my laptop. But first to point out the kind of doctrinal background is very much what we talked about yesterday in terms of non-dual awareness and luminosity. And here I just want to mention, when people talk about either luminosity or clear light, I think we agreed we didn't... none of us minded much, but we decided to go with clear light because I think that generally is the term used in the Tibetological world, because it translates ösel. I notice in... in Indic studies, people tend to use luminosity, which translates this word pravasara or prakasa. And we're going to be talking about that more in part two of our presentation.
  • So anyway, this illusory body practice before you ever get to it being discussed in the Naro chödruk or in connection with dream yoga, you actually find an illusory body practice already in the 9th and 10th century writings relating to the Guhyasamaja Tantra and specifically in the kind of circle of texts, of writings that came to be called the Arya School as popular today and in particular in the Geluk school. So what is this? And how did it end up being so closely associated with dream yoga and why? So in that context of the Arya tradition in the 9th and 10th century, what this... what this practice basically looks like is the Arya tradition of meditation is first you do a very familiar practice, a kind of generation stage practice where, you dissolve everything into emptiness and generate yourself as a... as a deity.
  • And then you do various breathing practices to bring the winds, your energies, into your central channel and then collapse them into your heart, at which point you have the experience of clear light. And in stage two of this practice, which they consider the completion stage, you're in this state and you then kind of re-arise spontaneously, almost within that clear light and this is sort of not volitional, you re-arise as the deity while the winds remain in the central channel. And... and it says that you do this. Why? Why is this happening? Because you're not visualizing anything like you did in state stage one here. It just is happening kind of automatically. And there's this one commentary that asks precisely this.
  • Well, then how is the body of this deity generated in this context of the completion stage? And it says in the stage of self-consecration, which is to say this illusory body practice, it always arises from selfless dharmas. That is, it arises through the strength that is propelled from before. In other words, all the practices you've been doing previously in stage one here, where you've been willing this visualization of yourself as the deity suddenly automatically kick in when you're in this state of clear light and you appear as the deity kind of through the bakchak or the karmic imprints, the residues of your past training, your habituation. And so you are a deity that... you're still completely focused in meditation and yet this is sort of unfolding before you as you've become a deity again.
  • This time made out of the stuff of awareness and clear light because you continue to be in this state of immersion and awareness. And yet it's kind of impelled by karmic residue. So it's an interesting... this so-called impure, illusory body partakes of both clear awareness, the winds are in the central channel, and yet there are still these karmic samsaric residues that are driving the appearance of this deity. So it kind of partakes of both samsara and nirvana in that sense. So what this... what you do without trying to do anything, without any effort, is you rest in this clear light all over again. So this illusory... the illusory body deity again does breathing practices as you've trained yourself and brings the winds into the central channel of this deity that is within the central channel of your physical body and again, collapses it into clear light.
  • And now you rest in clear light again. But this time you've sort of exhausted your... your habituations. And this is what's called the pure illusory body. It's just clear light, basically. So that's kind of the three stages of this practice. And I just want to note before moving on that these three levels, if you read from the bottom up, consist of a meditation on clear light and the pure illusory body and then this impure or really the illusory body proper where you're this body of light, sometimes mapped onto the sambhogakaya. The dharmakaya being the clear light. Sambhogakaya... And then the first stage, the generation stage is kind of like the nirmanakaya, where you're just generating... transforming your physical body into the deity. So these three levels are kind of key to this Arya Tradition of practice. So returning to the context of the Naro chödruk and our dream yoga, a century or two later, what is the illusory... how do we get from this Arya Tradition to this practice of looking in mirrors and so on?
  • Well, the first thing to know is throughout Gampopa's writings on the Six yogas, this same triad is... just runs all over the place in all of the different practices, whether it's transference or bardo practices or... or dream yoga. And basically the idea is, for example, upon dying, all the energies dissolve into the central channel and then into your heart of clear light. And ideally, if you're a really great meditator, you will attain liberation at that point. Just rest in that clear light and never move on. Or move on at will. But second best, if you can't handle that, is you will appear out of that clear light in what is termed an illusory body and into the bardo before you take rebirth.
  • And then... so it's just I just want to note that that bardo state is, you know, maps... is using this language of illusory body from the earlier Arya Tradition. And then if you fail that and they'll talk about what that means in a minute, you can maybe stop yourself from entering into the womb and taking a flesh and blood rebirth. So those are.... these three stages are kind of... of... of clear light, illusory body and flesh and blood nirmanakaya or this existence are kind of being used as an interpretive grid and applied all over the place in the context of disillusion and rebirth.
  • So just to unpack, like I said, number two here and what it means to fail or not fail within the bardo as an illusory body, in this Naro chödruk practice, they actually, again, use the language of impure and pure illusory body, which if you remember in the Arya Tradition, the impure illusory body is this first illusory body that emerges out of your central channel and performs non-volitionally these same practices that you've habituated yourself to and then dissolves again into the pure illusory body of clear light. Here they take these same terms and now they talk about how after you die, you emerge out of this clear light of death and... and if you lack recognition, you remain non-lucid in this dreamlike state of the bardo. You are in what they call an impure illusory body. And here you can do all sorts of things, wander around, see your relatives, but you will eventually take rebirth.
  • So that's kind of a different sense of impure illusory body. It kind of lacks awareness, whereas the impure illusory body before sort of partook of awareness and karmic residues. On the other hand, if you've practiced dream yoga and maybe this illusory body of meditation, you can enter into the bardo in the form of a pure illusory body. And here, your body is no longer your own, as in the impure bardo, you will appear as your deity and you will be you will spend your time in the bardo as your yidam deity. And at that point, perform these same tsalung, sort of subtle body practices as you did in the Arya school as an impure illusory body, here called a pure illusory body. You will collapse the winds into the central channel and everything, and eventually re-enter clear light using this illusory body of the bardo.
  • So you can see how they're using all the same technologies, all the same triad of of associations, but they're using these terms... sort of repurposing some of these terms in new ways. All right, so what does all this tell... why am I going on about this? Well, one thing is I just want to point out the relatively simple, illusory body practice that one might learn today in the context of dream yoga, I'm arguing, is associated really, historically with this earlier Guhyasamaja illusory body practice and is being kind of brought in and transformed. And I think it's significant that that early illusory body practice in the Arya school is... Oh, and I should point out, by the way, Tsongkhapa even rails against this... this reinterpretation of the illusory body in the Naro chödruk and says they're dumbing it down.
  • This isn't what the illusory body is, just sitting there looking in a mirror. They don't understand. So there is some recognition of this shift in Tibetan writings. OK, number two, the... the other thing I find interesting and useful about all this is that the early illusory body practice is about... it... the point is to exhaust your karmic imprints, your bakchak, in order to eventually be liberated into clear light. How? Just to sort of remind you, you first in your ordinary body, bring the energies into your central channel, rest in clear light, and then your bakchak, your imprints are sort of rise up and non-volitionally you start appearing as the deity and performing these same practices all over again and... until they're finally exhausted back into the clear light.
  • So really, in that sense, the point of this impure illusory body and the Arya school is to run through... is to sort of run out the clock on your imprints in the best way possible until they're exhausted and you can enter the clear light once and for all. So that's... that's the idea that earlier illusory body practice and what does all this tell us about dream yoga? So I would say like the illusory body practice, the goal is to purify in this sense, at least, this is what the context tells us from the perspective of illusory body practice, the goal of dream yoga is to purify these unconscious karmic residues. And that's exactly what they write about in dream yoga texts. And so as Michael is going to show, you do this by step one, practicing various techniques to achieve lucidity in the dream.
  • You can do this in all kinds of ways, practicing through the day to remind yourself this is a dream, various visualization practices at night, whether it's working with the subtle body or whatever. And... and once you've achieved lucidity within the dream that's only... that's just step one and now you're in this kind of illusory body state of the dream and you can then start working within the dream to sort of work through again, work through these these karmic residues by means of various exercises to transform or overturn the dream. And again, Michael's about to show us some good examples of that. But you might try to fly or walk through a wall and and this will be different, the texts say, this... these... these different prescriptions of these exercises depend on each person's karmic background.
  • So I was saying to Andrew he might be able to fly, no problem, but for some reason, you know, putting his hand through solid objects he finds a little tricky. Like even when he's lucid and he knows this is just his own mind, but he still can't quite do it. And meanwhile, I can put my hand through solid objects, no problem. But I just can't seem to get off the ground. So what does this tell me? It says something about the deep habituation of our sense of reality and identity, even in the waking world. So for me, gravity and feeling connected to the earth is just deeply meaningful to my whole sense of reality. And by practicing in the dream to work through this, I might eventually free... free up that deep level of kind of habituation. And for Andrew, similarly, some sense of solidity around him might be core to his identity. So these are the kind of habituations that you're working through and the bakchak or residues that you're trying to purify through overturning and working through your... your dream environment.
  • And the goal is, and this is this one author I've been looking at out of the Dzokchen tradition, but the goal is very much in the end to stop dreaming, to collapse this illusory body of the dream body back into clear light and you will no longer have a need for these dreams which are impelled by your karmic residues. And you can just rest in the clear light while sleeping, which is what we're going to be talking about in part two of our presentations today. And before ending, I know I've gone too long, but I just can't help it. I really like this. That same author Zhang Nyimabum. I'm interested in psychology. And so I find this particularly kind of intriguing to think about. He talks about the kinds of residues that... that are represented in these dreams.
  • And so he says, so the dreams... when you're dreaming of more recent events, like just from yesterday, just before you fell asleep or something, he says these... these dreams, these appearances, these residues are actually relatively easy to purify. They don't run deep, right? The second most difficult are recurring dreams, and probably most of us have had those, I find those particularly interesting. And these are of sort of middling difficulty to work through and purify. And maybe in some sense recurring dreams, from a psychological perspective, I think we would say this is a particular issue that we're hung up on and trying to work through or a memory that is still haunting us and still returning to us regularly. And so these are of kind of middling difficulty to get rid of or stop being victim to.
  • But the most difficult, he says, are when you're dreaming of people or places, you have no idea who they are. You've never seen these people before. And that's kind of an interesting thing. Why? What's so special about these dreams that are absolutely foreign to us? And why are they so intractable? And that's where I can't help suggesting, this is not coming out of any texts, but I wonder if we might surmise that such dreams could stem from either a previous lifetime that is sort of deeply buried in our mindstream still or... or maybe in any case, some sort of imprints that are deep... that so close to our sense of self as to be almost invisible and are only now very reluctantly showing up and sort of deeply disguised. Maybe it's from traumatic events or some kind of past experience that is... that could be so disruptive to our sense of self that we need to keep them as... in forms that we just don't recognize and just sort of like I don't know what to make of any of this. That's my own theorization.
  • But anyway, it's interesting to think of why these... these are unrecognizable dreams are so intractable. But I think, again, just to conclude it all is about kind of shifting our habitual kind of automatic reality making mechanisms through these practices. OK, thanks.
  • Michael Sheehy
    Wonderful. Thanks so much, Jake. So what Jake has just presented really gives a framework, a kind of contextualisation, historical, philosophical for the material that I'm going to be talking about, which is really I'm going to walk you through a series of excerpts from dream yoga manuals, Tibetan manuals, writings that are prescriptive instructions on how to perform these practices, dream yoga, illusory body. And then in the second half, we'll talk about clear light practices during sleep. So, just for some context, we'll begin with dream yoga and we'll talk about illusory body.
  • Contemplatives in Tibet understood dreaming to be a powerful, expressive domain in which novel and disparate worlds can be experienced and from which new knowledge can emerge. This is a very important point, is a kind of epistemic as much as they are soteriological practices. And also in which new skills can be cultivated. Again, very important point. These are domains in which skills are cultivated. Dream yoga, milam naljor, or sometimes we call it sleeping yoga, which also is a term that you find associated with the clear light practices during sleep, the nyel gom, consist of practical methods to learn how to apply lucid dreaming. So we're talking about what we'll call... what's called lucid dreaming. And these are ways that Tibetans have talked about lucid dreaming and performing while lucid during dream time. There's no separate vocabulary necessarily then lucid dreaming to perform specific contemplative practices. So what makes these so distinct from contemporary lucid dreaming is that these are very intentional practices that I'll outline very briefly These practices focus on the plasticity of perception, fluidity of self and world boundaries.
  • Non-duality of awareness–this is very nice. Some of the themes that came up yesterday segue very well into practices we're going to talk about today–are meant to extend insights achieved during dream time into perceptual shifts during waking life. This is a very important point and the illusory body practices, the clear light practices, the dream yoga practices, we find coupled. These three. Jacob made reference to the so-called Naro chödruk, the Six teachings of Naropa, which are... become codified. I'm going to make reference to the Six teachings of Niguma. Again, a contemporary codified six, very sim... the same practices ordered slightly differently. And what you... how you perform them is slightly different. We find, as he mentioned, in the Guhyasamaja, some of the illusory body practices I'm going to mention.
  • And in the Dzokchen Nyinthik tradition you also find references to these practices. So these are very much part of the milieu of these practices... of these kinds of practices in Tibet and are developed slightly different across these traditions. So getting down to practices, what do dream yoga practitioners do in their sleep? OK, it's about performative dynamics. Kyungpo Neljor, who is the really founder of the Shangpa tradition. Some people call Shangpa Kagyü really Shangpa tradition and again kind of overlaps with Gampopa in that same time period that Jake referenced. [He] outlined these six discrete practices that you perform during your dream time to recognize, the first, and again, as Jake had mentioned, recognition is lucidity. To recognize you are in a dream while you are in a dream is to be lucid. So that's baseline recognition.
  • To train, to increase, to conjure, to transform and to ascertain objective appearances, these are all technical procedures, practices that you perform. These six practices propose a succinct sequence for a practitioner to operationalize dream yoga, and though instructions differ slightly across authors and systems, these practices have served as a heuristic template for dream yoga over the past millennium. And again, you find alterations of this to some degree. Longchenpa has a set in one of his texts of eight in which are based on these six
  • and he says, well, there's two subsets. And anyways, you find extensions and not really contractions, but some other kind of codifications as we move through the literature in time. But nonetheless, these are, as I say, a kind of heuristic template. So here's one Taranatha, 17th century author, he's commenting on what's called the Six teachings of Niguma, her dream yoga practice. He says, OK, this is an instruction imagine in the place below you, this is as you're going to sleep. So you've laid down typically on your slide... side. Close your eyes. Imagine in the place below you. Imagine that you are on an extremely steep precipice, like being on the ledge of a cliff. Imagine that you are sitting on the lip of this precipice in the sky, one arrow's length high. So like, you know, two and a half feet levitating on a precipice.
  • Then suddenly, look down. At that instant, you've fallen into sleep, you've fallen asleep, right? We say it in vernacular English, I've fallen asleep. So this is a literal visualization for... that evokes a kind of hypnagogic imagery to induce what's called a sleep start or sudden muscle jerks triggered by this kinesthetic images of falling into a precipice. Taranatha continues these appearances are the appearances of a dream. Since these are the appearances of a dream, think, why am I afraid? Let yourself fall down with a thump. Or not falling, almost hit the ground. Imagine that you vanish into things. Or alternatively, come higher and higher above by flying like before, sit on top of the precipice, right, so fly you don't hit.
  • You fly up to the top, the precipice with an intense intention, intention, the word here is dünpa in Tibetan, is thematized over and over and over. Intentionality is critical to these practices. In similar ways train again and again. That is to say, repeat this every night as you go to sleep. The instructions suggest reflexivity for the dreamer to ask herself, why is she afraid? She must have some degree of self-awareness. The dream is encourage... dreamer's encouraged to make choices to fall off a steep precipice, to land on the ground with a thump or almost hit the ground. You're making choices. This is volitional. You can do this, you can do that. Or vanish or incrementally fly, flapping your wings like a bird to ascend.
  • The dreamer is instructed to exercise her volitional powers. Instructions, sort of skipping ahead, but continuing the same commentary instruction. Stay with your intention–again, thematized throughout day and night, it's about intentionality–train and being unimpeded to move upwards, move downwards, move diagonally, move to the side across pillars, walls, the ceiling. Otherwise enter into tiny smoke holes. You can imagine in Tibet, you know, they poke a hole in the ceiling for the fire smoke to go through, right? And so forth. Like skylights, right?
  • Precipices, water, fire–the elements are played again and again thematically through these instructions–subdue wild carnivorous animals, fly in the sky, slide on the ground, walk on top of water, and so on. In sum, this is how you train in the methods of being mindful, that is to say, mindful in a dream. If the dream body becomes accustomed to walking then sit or run. If the dream body goes straight, move diagonally or in a crisscross pattern. Go through windows or skylights. The practice is to imagine the dream body, the milam gyi lü or yi kyi lü sometimes, it's kind of mentally can create a body. Perform different kinds of activities because these activities intentionally disrupt the ordinarily... ordinary bodily habit patterns.
  • The dreamer begins to familiarize with different somatic movements. And this is an important point I want to make. The dream body is a somatic experience in this literature and a kinesthetic sense, how you move your body in the dream is important. There's a viscerality that they are seeking to to emphasize over and over again. From a slightly different 14th century instruction by Longchenpa on dream yoga, he writes, conjuring upon recognition. So I mentioned that there are these different practices. One is training, that was the beginning of a training exercise. Another is called conjuring or trülpa, what people translate typically as emanating, but in this context, it's really conjuring apparitions.
  • Conjuring upon recognition entails conjuring numerous different deity bodies, living beings, visual appearances within the mind during the day, and by conjuring one thing into multiple–take one you make it many–these conjured apparitions are likewise seen in dreams. Next, transform gods into serpentine spirits and vice versa. Transform men into women. Transform one thing into multiple or multiple things back into one. By training during the daytime with undistracted intention, these will certainly emerge in your dreams. Then by mentally creating places, as Andrew was mentioning, mentally creating universes and so forth that you haven't visited before, you'll be able to travel there in your dreams, listen to teachings and so forth. If you perform these with intense intention, you'll quickly master these.
  • So he's oscillating between day and night, between waking and sleeping. And he's saying, imagine, use your imaginative capacities while you are awake to think about, oh, there is a man changing into a woman. There's a woman, imagine her as a man. Oh, there's one. Now, there are many. There's many, now there's one, et cetera, et cetera. You are playing with perceptions. You are cultivating a perceptual plasticity. OK, and that's my segue here into these illusory body practices, which are daytime practices, but again, the segues, the oscillations are very important.
  • Again, continuing with Longchenpa, 14th century Dzokchen, since there is no difference between appearances that arise as reflections in a mirror, as Jake had referenced, subjective or objective phenomena, why grasp them as real? To counteract this with undistracted intention–again intention–think that certainly these reflected appearances are all an illusion. And meditate on whatever appears to be an illusory reflection. More specifically, when your own image arises in the mirror. That is to say, take out a mirror. Look at yourself in the mirror. Put on clothes, wear jewelry, get dressed up, put on a costume, be a character, then take them off, throw them away, discard them, talk praise and insult yourself.
  • So the practice is twofold: one, the mirror as a reflective device, as a contemplation itself on the illusory nature of things like a reflection appears in a mirror. So there's a whole Buddhist philosophy of dreams and illusions that undergird this. right? Emptiness as the intrinsicality... a lack of intrinsicality of phenomenon and perception. And then secondarily as a practice, working with self-image, working with your own perceptual patterns, your own forces of perception. How self-image plays out in very discreet, intentional ways and playing with that. Looking different, getting dressed up, wearing different jewelry, putting on different makeup, and then just taking it off and discarding that self-image.
  • While the former rises in the mirror, it's not proven to be real. Similarly, these appearances, self and other, enemies and friends, food, clothes, wealth, praise and insults, failure and success, birth and death, happiness and suffering, sickness, whatever manifests, whatever you remember, whatever appears, all experiential reality. All the phenomena of life cycles and beyond are like reflections in a mirror. When these appear, know that they're devoid of an essence. Once you've mastered this illusory nature, which are distorted appearances, devoid of reality, you'll see your own body as an illusory body.
  • Without a doubt, you'll recognize the illusory body of the intermediary bardo. As Jake had sort of referenced and sort of set me up for for this kind of practice, we have this historical thread within the literature from the Guhyasamaja understandings and kind of presentations of illusory body up until these other practices, innovations later in Tibetan, where you're now transforming your own living waking body into the body of an illusory body just like the body in the between at the moment of death. So they're playing here, right? They're playing here with these tensions.
  • Continuing, moreover, from this ongoing experience, the qualities of meditative concentration, bliss, clarity, non thought will dawn. By resting with these appearances, move into their transcendence at that very moment of an appearance. As Andrew had mentioned, the kind of quickness of the mind, but at that moment of an appearance at the moment, evenly move into the cracks of light, the ambiguities, the perforations, move with the shimmering, the fluctuations, the pervasiveness of awareness. This is from Longchenpa's instructions on Being with Ease in Illusion. That is to say, these are specific practices where you're looking at the perforations, right? You're looking at how things move.
  • You're looking at trying to slow down your perceptual field. OK, you're investigating how the shimmering of appearances, the liminal spaces in between resembling cracks of light like a door ajar that implicitly have a shadow. These are blurry or buzz.... they buzz, evanescent due to seeming holes or being porous, descriptions of the flickering of awareness of light that flashes uncertain movements. These are specific practices starting of staring at shadows performed in the Kalachakra Butön 14th century. Kalachakra teacher makes a reference to these kinds of practices that you perform and the completion stages of the Kalachakra, very similar, performed during the early morning or at dusk when wind blows and the trees sway your visual field.
  • You are meant to familiarize yourself with illusion with the shifts of perception in this regard. By training the illusory body during the day and during the night, you'll regard distorted appearances without grasping for reality. And since your body will become translucent, you'll regard appearances to be devoid of reality, like a shadow. As you're playing with shadows, so you become like a shadow. For instance, your body will be divested of a shadow, you'll recognize the illusory body of the intermediary bardo, and will become a person in their last birth of existence. And then he actually names two people historical figures, one Lama Dampa on the other is Nyima Bum, who he says have attained this shadowless existence.
  • Shall we convene for some conversation and then we'll do this in the second half?
  • Andrew Holecek
    Yeah, first of all, it's so fun. I just wanted to make a comment or two. One comment is, is this notion about how dreams stop, which I think is really important in terms of the fruition of nocturnal meditation. But I think this is can be rendered two ways. One is yes, indeed, in the way you're talking about the bakchak, the habitual patterns are purified and as a measure of the path, then, you know, you can actually gain is a metric, dreams start to change from samsaric to more kind of dharmic dreams, eventually clear light dreams, and so eventually dreams stop when all the contents of the unconscious mind are in fact, delivered into our consciousness, into awareness. One way to talk about enlightenment is dreams cease. But another way to look at this, and I'm curious how this lands with you, is that everything becomes a dream in the sense that dream, in my rendering, is is code language for manifestation of mind.
  • So what we know as the nocturnal dream, the double delusion, the example dream, that ceases. That another way to then look at that is this becomes a dream. So in the Buddhist tradition, I think it's definitely worth talking about. They talk about three types of dream. One is the nighttime dream, so compellingly called the double delusion. The example dream as a way to study, extrapolate insights into the primary delusion, the delusion from which the Buddha awoke as the ultimate lucid dreamer, but then also connected to the bardo that you talked about, they talk about that as the dream at the end of time, which is so beautiful. And so therefore this practice is not just bidirectional, it's tridirectional. So you're doing natural meditation bidirectionally it comes back in a virtuous feedback loop to help support illusory form practices and then it pings forward to help you prepare for death. So, you're not just getting two for one, it's three for one.
  • And so I think that's actually quite important that, yes, on one level, dreams cease as we know it because there's no more ignorance. And in fact, parenthetically, as a sidebar, you no longer even need a body at that point. I mean, that level of purification, then you have what's called rainbow body, because the bakchak is actually held within the unconscious mind, which is the ... , and even that can go up in smoke. So.
  • Jake Dalton
    I totally agree. I think it reminds me a little of your... I think it was you who was asking about automaticity and non-automaticity, you know... that somebody was talking yesterday. And, you know, I can't help thinking of a paper written by James recently about the final result of Dzokchen practice and whether it's a disappearance of all appearances or appearances continue in some new way.
  • Andrew Holecek
    Yeah, the play never ceases, right? .... in a certain sense what ceases is the involuntary display driven by the bakchak, driven by... and this is actually super important. One of the differentiations from Tibetan versus some other traditions is that in terms of rebirth, the dream at the end of time, the point is not to get out of rebirth. The point is to get out of involuntary rebirth. And that applies whether it's rebirth moment to moment at the level of a voluntary thought, voluntary speech, voluntary action that's the fruition. The fruition is not hitting the FedEx button and I'm out of samsara. It's actually getting in, but now with full lucidity. And that, in fact, is what I think is perfectly pure, illusory form
  • Michael Sheehy
    Yeah. So... so two things here. Longchenpa has this really beautiful poetic text called the well, he has a trilogy called the Ngelso korsum and one of them, the final, third volume called Gyümé Ngelso, this Being at Ease in Illusion. And at the beginning of the text, he says this, you know, he's sort of waxing and he makes this very striking comment where he says, you know, all of the phenomena of ordinary cyclic existence is like a dream and an illusion, but it's a perverted dream and an illusion. A lodok gyi gyüma, he says, an erroneous illusion. But one that's derived from cognition, right? Lodok gyi gyü ma, so a kind of cognitive illusion.
  • And then he goes on the next like he says. but nirvana too, is an illusion. It's just not one fabricated by the mind. In other words, it's not due to the cognitive forces of errancy and the perceptual habit patterns that derive. So it's a very interesting way to set up what then he wants to talk about is how do we then use dream and illusion? And he's actually going through a classical set of eight metaphors or similes, like an echo, like a bubble, etc., to talk about... in a very kind of practical manner, and there's a whole set of practice instructions that go with this, what is it to cultivate illusory-like, dream-like, echo-like, etc. experiences in very intentional ways? So why would you do that? Well, the argument from the Buddhist tradition is that our ordinary habits of perception, cognition are distorted, they're lodok gyi gyüma, right?
  • They're errant cognitive illusions. And if we habitualize ourselves in ways that take illusion, take dream, take these distortions seriously, we transform them and that's sort of, in the earlier session yesterday on cognitive control, you know, the idea that you sort of stick with something, right? Over and over and over, it's the same basic principle. But here you're sticking with the idea that illusion or dreamlike, etc., again, there's this set of eight or twelve metaphors that you're playing with, become habituated, become part of your habitual perceptions to the point where there's a kind of automaticity that overrides your distorted waking, ordinary perceptions.
  • And I just... it's a very kind of beautiful thing, because he's trying to say both in a poetic manner, well, yes, but not that way. However, let's take these seriously and in ways that can play out in efficacious kind of nirvanic means. So the dream yoga practices are sort of using your nighttime, right? Your sleeping part in... during these lucid dreaming practices to really build on this understanding of lucidity and plasticity of perception and fluidity of self and world boundaries, because dream time is... is the perfect time to do that. One, we all have access to it. We all dream.
  • And two, if we can intentionally dream in certain ways, and that's what these performative practices are for, prescribed performances are for during dream time, then the claim being made by these contemplative traditions is one's cognitive and perceptual habit patterns will change in waking life. That there's a translation that there is a trans... that there's a virtuous loop, so to speak, that you can create. And that dream time is the perfect domain in which to do that, because you can do things that you can't ordinarily do. You're not bound by the same habits, right? As those instructions suggested, your body, your dream body is not the same as your ordinary body.
  • As Jake was saying, you can fly. You can put your hand through matter. You can walk on water, as Taranatha says. You can X, Y and Z. So playing with, in a sense, those kind of powers to again translate back into waking experiences. Why would you do that? Again, working with perceptual plasticity, with cognitive pliancy with self world boundary dissolution. These are the kinds of tensions that the Buddhist traditions are very interested in directly addressing through contemplative practice. Does that make sense?
  • Andrew Holecek
    I just have a little exclamation point. I think it's also helpful to restate that in a certain way you can make the argument that everything in Buddhism circumnavigates nothing, right? Everything centers around emptiness. And so Mingyur Rinpoché and other masters say very compellingly that that the dream arena is an easier classroom for emptiness. And also to also to remember that when we talk about... when we're working with our dreams again, what are dreams made of? There's no pre-existing dreamscape in there. I mean, you're working.... your dreams are made of mind. And so when you're changing the contents of the dream, it's like Tenzin Wangyal says so beautifully, the one fruition of dream yoga, it's fantastic, is to say this is a dream. I am free. I can change. And so therefore, it's this narrative of de-reification, another way to talk about emptiness.
  • Again, we suffer in direct proportion to how solidly, you can see this in any experience, how much you reify, literally in ... takes you down. So by working with that in the nocturnal arena, which is actually when you're lucid too, you're more in contact with reality in the deep... in the dreamless state. That's actually the truest state. And then from there you can extrapolate those teachings from that pedagogical arena to the daytime also.
  • Jake Dalton
    So I have a question for our scientists here, which is what from... from a scientific perspective, why would the dreams be such an opportunity? What makes them so I mean, according to the Tibetan tradition, so such to have such potential for transformation on such a deep level? Is there any... do you have any thoughts about that? Are there certain parts of the ...?
  • Ken Paller
    I think it's the same constraints you already mentioned. That you're not subject to the same limitations. So the possibilities are wider. So that that opens up.
  • Melanie Boly
    .... Can I just say one more thing? During waking, for adaptive reasons, our consciousness resonates with the world a lot, yeah? So there's much more constraints on what you can experience. One function of sleep is actually to kind of integrate what you experience while you're awake with the rest of who you are, yeah? And reactivate all your circu..., which you said there's a lot more variety of experiences you can have and also a lot of more freedom to explore because we are actually spontaneously kind of reactivating different parts of who we are anyway. So that's one thing too.
  • Michael Sheehy
    Yeah, and that's great. Another way to think about it is that the waking integrations during sleep.
  • Ken Paller
    Yeah, I was thinking that we're going to do more integration of the textual analysis, the contemporary work and science after our break, so it's about time for our break. We should do that and then come back.