What is Dream Yoga? A yoga is a psychospiritual discipline. A dream yoga is a psychospiritual discipline which focuses on waking up out of dream, or dreamlike, states. Perhaps the best known of such yogas is Tibetan Dream Yoga. However, this is not a text on Tibetan Dream Yoga; there are many excellent resources on that subject. Nor is it a text on techniques to learn to lucid dream. There are many excellent resources on that subject as well. This text asks, “What does it mean to wake up in all states, which are: dreaming, deep sleep, and waking?” In Buddhism, to be fully awake generally refers to the cessation of all desires and all attachments: “I reached in experience the nirvana which is unborn, unrivaled, secure from attachment, undecaying and unstained. This condition is indeed reached by me which is deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand, tranquil, excellent, beyond the reach of mere logic, subtle, and to be realized only by the wise.” Waking up in all states is generally the purpose of Tibetan Dream Yoga, which has the fullest, most developed tradition of dream yoga. It uses waking up in dreams as a way to work toward becoming enlightened in all states.
There are three core awarenesses that are priorities for healing, balancing, and transformation, which inform the approach to dream yoga taken by Integral Deep Listening.
The first core awareness is to focus on waking up, in any and all states. This is what makes IDL a dream yoga. It assumes that we are asleep and dreaming when awake, dreaming, and deeply asleep, and need to awaken.
The second core awareness is to focus on the six processes and six values necessary to do so. The processes are: awakening, aliveness, balance, detachment, freedom, and clarity. The corresponding values are: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing. Focusing on these processes and values creates concrete, spiritually-based, life direction. It is concrete because these processes and values provide structure for your spiritual development, like the skeleton provides structure for the body. It is spiritually-based in that these values are transpersonal. That means that core processes and values are not based only on belief or on reason, but transcend and include both. It creates life-direction by providing an objective grounding that stands the test of time because it transcends personal and cultural preferences.
The third core awareness focuses on the support required to awaken. Doing so speeds your development by greatly improving your access to the inner resources you need to wake up.
In Integral Deep Listening, you focus on waking up by learning to see everything as a wake-up call and by questioning the reality of the moment. When you see everything that happens in your life as a wake-up call you transcend common blocks to development that keep you asleep and dreaming. These include fate, karma, bad luck, accidents, evaluating life in terms of better and worse, self-judgment, personalization, peer pressure, cultural norms, and addiction to drama and to the “Drama Triangle.”
When you view everything as a wake-up call, you question the reality of the moment by asking, “Am I awake or is this a self-created dream?” This allows you to question your objectivity, both when you are awake and when you are dreaming. If you do not question your objectivity, you will assume that you are awake. In an “aperspectival” reality, where many points of view and many perspectives are both legitimate and valuable, you probably can benefit by becoming more awake and objective. When you question your wakefulness in the moment, you are implying that you may be asleep and dreaming. This also assumes that other people and objects are actually externalized self-aspects in both your waking and dream experience, which allows you to own and become other points of view, and which expands your identity to include those perspectives. This is not to deny the objective reality of the external world, but only to point out the obvious: what you know of others and of life is a projection and interpretation based on your previous life experiences. When you learn to experience others as aspects of your greater identity, you to treat them as you would want to be treated, not because of some moral precept but because it is a common sense, rational conclusion based on your own personal experience of becoming this or that self-aspect and finding that, functionally, all are aspects of yourself.
The second point above was to focus on the processes and values necessary to wake up. These processes and values are not derived from ethical norms, societal teachings, religious scriptures, or the teachings of spiritual masters. Instead, they are derived through a phenomenological and experiential experimental process that you are encouraged to validate for yourself. For example, your breath is a constant microcosmic reflection of macrocosmic processes and values. If you observe your breath at this moment, you will discover that it has at least six parts or aspects: an abdominal inhalation, a chest inhalation, a pause at the top of the breath, a chest exhalation, an abdominal exhalation, and a longer pause at the bottom of the breath. If you will contemplate these six stages, you will notice that they duplicate the round of a day, year, and lifetime as the following processes: awakening, aliveness, balance, detachment, freedom, and clarity. Freedom is associated with death and clarity is associated with life after death. These terms are arbitrary and not essential. You may have others you prefer, but before you dismiss these choices, know that there has been careful thought and consideration put into them and their rationale. These issues are addressed in this and other texts in this series, particularly Dream Yoga and Meditation.
From these processes arise parallel core values: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing. These are ways of defining spirit as it moves into expression in consciousness. Since it cannot die, spirit is not afraid. Therefore, it is confident. Like new life, it has the audacity of growth. Because spirit transcends and includes both love and its opposites, fear and hate, it is compassionate. A compassionate life is the flowering of aliveness. Because spirit is balanced, it is wise. Because spirit is detached, it is accepting. Because spirit is free it has inner peace. Because spirit is clear it can witness the drama of life without getting caught up in it.
To identify with these process and qualities in a balanced way is to wake up. In IDL dream yoga you learn to use your breath both when you are meditating and when not meditating to create balance, amplify your potentials, and to wake up. You do so by learning to amplify the processes and qualities associated with the stages of your breath depending on what your consciousness is lacking at the moment in order to come into balance. The process of breathing indicates priority waking and dream actions and when and how to balance them. The qualities of breathing define your core potentials and how to balance them.
The third point above involved learning to focus on the support you need in order to wake up. You do so in IDL dream yoga by practicing a process called triangulation. Initially, you consult others so as not to repeat your mistakes and to learn from theirs. You do so by defining your problem, finding out who knows more than you, and asking them what to do and how to do it. You rely on a diversity of qualified external input. Secondly, you consult your inner potentials to learn how and why you are stuck and what you need to do to get unstuck. No one knows you like you know yourself. No one knows who you can become and how to express that better than you do. This is called “finding and following your inner compass.” You do so by conducting interviews with your dream characters and with the personifications of your life issues. You learn to interview others to maximize your ability to listen to wake-up calls moment to moment. Thirdly, you use the support of your common sense. There are good reasons why spirit evolved frontal lobes. It is surprising how many people view reason and common sense as enemies on their road to enlightenment. Nothing could be farther from the truth. IDL encourages both reason and skepticism, particularly toward what you read here. If something sounds crazy, examine it to find out if it is transrational or just irrational. Examine it to find out if it is based on transpersonal experience that transcends and includes belief and reason, or whether it is just based on belief.
Each of these three practices is a leg of a supportive foundational platform for your growth. When you use these three together in balance, you “triangulate.”
When you put your focus on waking up, balancing core principles and values, and on triangulation, healing, balancing, and transformation happens. You will be able to validate this for yourself in a number of ways.
Your life will become simpler. This is because you will have a structure with which to make sense of both inner and outer realities that will stand the tests of time. As you grow, the directing structure of your inner compass will grow.
While not everyone will like you, you will have your own self-respect. It is important to remember that not being liked by those who hold views or who advocate practices that do not lead to self-actualization is a good thing. Those people who want what they sense that you have will respect you. Those who don’t want what they sense that you have will nevertheless respect that you know who you are and where you are going, even if they disagree with you.
You should be much more effective because you will be more clear and focused and because you will be decisive and tend not to repeat the same mistakes.
There will be internal changes in how you feel. There are many such changes, but three important ones are correlated with waking up, balancing core principles and values, and triangulation.
First, as you learn to see everything and everyone as a wake-up call, you will become thankful. When we are thankful we are not angry, scared, confused, guilty, sad, or blaming. Thankfulness is correlated with happiness, joy, receptivity, appreciation, and acceptance. As a result, genuine thankfulness is a major fuel for psycho-spiritual evolution.
As you become one with core processes and values you will include and transcend them in your identity. This will make all structures transrational and absurd. Consequently, all laws, principles, and structures will be seen as humorous. The absurdity is not the absurdity of existentialists; it is the absurdity of crazy wisdom, of life as an extraordinarily meaningful cosmic joke. You will laugh at everything, especially yourself, while respecting and revering everyone and everything as your teacher of the moment.
As you get in the habit of triangulation, insecurity and non-support will be replaced by an overwhelming sense of abundance. You have all the support you need and you know that you always will, because you know how to find and access that support within yourself and within the world. You have enough. You are enough. The world is enough. Others are enough. This is not complacency or passivity. It is simply an awareness of outrageous, unlimited abundance.
Together, these three experiential outcomes, which you can observe and measure in your own life, feed the processes of waking up, balancing the processes and values in your waking and dream lives, and accessing, listening to, and using the support you need to grow.
To learn about opportunities for professional trainings in Integral Deep Listening, click here.