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    Thread: Lucid Dreaming Book Club (July-August '21)

    1. #1
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      Lucid Dreaming Book Club (July-August '21)

      The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science by Culadasa (John Yates), Matthew Immergut, & Jeremy Graves (Suggested by FryingMan)



      I found these sources online if you need help accessing the book:


      Ebook:
      Libby/Overdrive (your library may or may not have it purchased, FREE if they do) several other versions so do a full search
      Scribd
      Kobobooks
      Amazon

      Audiobook:
      Hoopla (FREE library website/app)
      Libby/Overdrive (your library may or may not have it purchased, FREE if they do) several other versions so do a full search
      CloudLibrary (FREE library site/app) - mine has it, yours may or may not
      Audible
      Scribd
      Audiobooks.com
      Kobobooks

      I also recommend checking the catalog of your local libraries. There's a good chance you could find it on CD / Mp3 player or the physical copy. Also.. most non-library sites will offer a free trial period where you can get a book or two for free (but be careful and cancel after ).

      Happy reading!


      Books already read by the book club (you can still post in these threads for continued discussion):

      The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep by Tenzin Wangyal - Discussion Thread Here
      Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach (Sageous) - Discussion Thread Here
      Exploring the world of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge & Howard Rheingold (MoonageDaydream) - Discussion Thread Here
      Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Robert Johnson (nautilus) - Discussion Thread Here
      Simply Pay Attention by Peter A. Luber (Occipitalred) - Discussion Thread Here
      Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self by Robert Waggoner (EddieDean) - Discussion Thread Here
      Dreamgates: An Explorer's Guide to the Worlds of Soul, Imagination, and Life Beyond Death by Robert Moss. (MoonageDaydream) Discussion Thread Here
      Last edited by MoonageDaydream; 07-02-2021 at 07:21 PM.
      Check out the Lucid Dreaming Book Club: July-August
      Have a suggestion? Book Club Suggestion Thread

    2. #2
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      Just started this book yesterday. Read through the introduction and overview chapter, and looking forward to starting part 1's practice soon.

      I'm excited because I think this could really help with inducing WILDs, however, there's no way I can sacrifice 1-2 hours a day during the work year. Especially with kids. How on Earth do people do that? Well, I'll just have to settle for what I can do, and work from there.
      Check out the Lucid Dreaming Book Club: July-August
      Have a suggestion? Book Club Suggestion Thread

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      First of all, I think it's great MoonageDaydream that we now have a sub for the bookclub. Everything is so much easier to find!

      This book comes with good timing for me. I had just reemphasised my meditation practice. As a lucid dreamer, I think meditation trains me to recognize internally generated things and to navigate them, so for me, my meditative practice is intrinsically connected to my dreaming practice.

      (Comment 1 – Introduction)
      “Meditation has many incidental benefits and leads to some nice peak experiences but its only genuinely satisfactory goal is Awakening, a permanent liberation from suffering through wisdom”

      Really? A permanent liberation from suffering? Short of fiction, I can’t conceive of anything like this or anyone that has achieved this. It seems to me that the attempt to eliminate all suffering permanently is very… unwise? Nave maybe? Fantastical.

      I’m going to nip this expectation in the bud right here in my reading. My goal reading this book will be for the incidental benefits and the peak experiences of meditation, even if the author considers these goals merely secondary. It is a bit distracting that Culadasa repeats that Awakening is the goal, which seems to me to be a distracting, mistaken endeavour.

      Alternatively, his description of the awakening as a cognitive event reminds me of the discovery that REM lucid dreaming is a cognitive event observable by the shift from REM state to a hybrid between REM and waking state.

      When Culadasa talks about the art of conscious living, I really relate to that. I do try to make my conscious experience artful. It’s a type of art only I can experience, but it’s the art I excel the most at. This art gets little attention because it is so personal, but I am excited that Culadasa brought it up and it is definitely with that perspective in mind that I will be reading this book.

      (Comment 2 - Introduction)
      Hmm, I realize he differentiated pain and suffering. He says pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional… because we can decouple the subjective response from the objective stimuli and choose whichever subjective response? I do practice sublimating my sadness for others into love for them, which is less excruciating and feels more wholesome. So, maybe his concept of awakening is more realistic than I first thought?

      (Comment 3 – From Introduction to Step 1)
      Presently, there is a lot of talk about consciousness and free will as illusions. There is this argument that our consciousness cannot act on our body, that only the body acts on consciousness. If consciousness acts on the body, it is because of the physical aspect of consciousness, not it’s subjective existence. So, if I grab an apple, it’s because of neuron firing, not because I experienced wanting an apple and decided to pick one up. Whatever the truth is on this question, I find that meditation recenters the debate by providing direct experience of the phenomenon. It’s probably blasphemy for me to say this, haha, but I feel like one of the first vipassana (direct insights from experience / not intellectual) of meditation is the experience of “I am” and “I have free will.” Not free will where there is freedom from the past, the environment and other causal factors, but free will as in, my mind has control over itself. Right from the beginning of the practice, we experience directing our attention. Then, we experience the domination of spontaneous events as contents from the peripheral awareness capture our attention. And it’s so… crazy! For me, it feels like sitting in the middle of a tornado. When I observe it, it’s overwhelming in a way I don’t realize when not meditating. And then, we find out how we have control over even that, by having an intent to refocus on the chosen object of meditation and remembering to notice when our attention strays. I found Culadasa’s comment that all we need to meditate is gentle intent to be really useful. That has really improved my practice. To clarify, I think the first vipassana is a direct experience of consciousness and its impact on the contents of consciousness. It seems silly to say that consciousness doesn’t have a crucial role in the mind. The view that consciousness is a one way phenomena (body to consciousness, not consciousness to body) could not seem more flawed in the context of this vipassana. While, I understand vipassana are other specific insights, I think this is also an insight of direct experience, that seems quite important in today’s discourse, even if this was already taken for granted by the people of old.

      Recently, Sageous has commented on one of his fundamentals of lucid dreaming (self-awareness):

      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      There is nothing meditative about remembering to remember, or gathering waking-life self-awareness in a dream (or in waking-life, for that matter). There is nothing deep, meaningful, or supercritical about this action; in fact it is little more than a decision.”
      I have found that statement very interesting in the context of Culadasa’s explanation of meditation (Let’s disregard the irony, haha).

      Culadasa reframes meditation as little more than an intent. To direct your attention on the object of meditation, just intend to do it, until your mind does it. If it doesn’t, that’s fine. Just have the intention again until your mind eventually does it. Your mind will then stray. No problem, just have the intention to notice and remember your intent. Until your mind naturally follows that intent. Meditation is just training the mind to follow intent. It’s little more than a decision.

      Still commenting on Sageous’ quote, Culadasa emphasises the importance of practicing samadhi (stable attention) and sati (mindfulness) together. This is something I had been missing. I had only been practicing stable attention, focusing on the object of meditation, and as he says, this does lead to dullness, however pleasant. So, what’s new for me, is sati. It’s still not all clear to me but here is what I understand: training sati (mindfulness) is cultivating an optimal interaction between attention (under direct conscious control) and peripheral awareness (not under direct conscious control). It seems, that it’s again, mostly a case of intent. Our intentions suggest to our subconscious what to bring to our attention. Peripheral awareness contains contextual information for the object of our attention. Culasada claims that the awareness that remembers our intent (prospective memory) and notices that we strayed away from the object of meditation can only be the peripheral awareness because it is the one which is aware of the whole, the context, the relation between things. Our attention can analyze the concept of “having strayed from the object of meditation” but it is peripheral awareness that noticed it as it happened. Peripheral awareness noticed it because we intended it to and because we are training it to during meditation.

      This seems very relevant to lucid dreaming. Training to lucid dream depends on prospective memory to recognize we are dreaming. If Culadasa talked about lucid dreaming, it seems to me that he would say that only peripheral awareness can notice that we are dreaming (the context) just as it notices when our mind strays away. It is peripheral awareness that remembers to do this from our intent (prospective memory). And it all is the result of intention.

      I find this very reassuring because this means, within a lucid dream, our attention can be on the dream, meanwhile, our peripheral awareness can deal with telling us whenever we stray from away from lucidity, as long as intend it, and practice the alignment between our intent and our mind.

      Something that perturbed me when I made the comment that led to Sageous comment up there, was that I knew only about the attention part of meditation. I didn’t understand how someone could both juggle knowing they are dreaming with dreaming. It seemed to me my attention could only be on one thing. But Culadasa is telling me, it seems, that while I meditate, I should still remain mindful of my context. So that my mind can inform me when I stray. So that my mind can tell me when I am no longer lucid. Turns out, like Sageous responded, lucidity is not the object of attention. It’s not about meditating over lucidity in a trance. It’s about an intention to be mindful (sati) and for the mind to naturally be aware of the context and bring it to your attention when you stray. I don’t want to claim Sageous’ concept of self-awareness is anything like Sati. Haha, I keep reinterpreting his fundamentals here and there. I’m quite terrible, but as of now, my understanding of self-awareness is approaching my understanding of sati. Sati is just a choice (intent) to be more aware of the context.

      Now, as I meditate, my object of attention is the breathing sensation of my nose, and I don’t miss any of the sensations of inhaling and exhaling during the whole session. Still, my attention is captured by a lot of things, I just notice it really quickly. But it’s not clear to me what I am merely aware of in the sense of peripheral awareness and what is actually me alternating from the object of meditation and content from my peripheral awareness. Culadasa did say alternating attention was only really noticeable by more practiced meditators so I will give myself time to better understand this as I read.

      I’m hoping that this samadhi/sati meditation can improve my ability to simply intend to have more mindfulness and to specifically better recognize when I am dreaming, just like I train to better recognize when my mind strays, when I need to adjust my posture or when I am acting on the basis of ill emotions such as envy or anxiety. I have definitely begun to spontaneously RC a lot more, even if I have always disliked RCs, just from intending my peripheral awareness to assess whether I am awake or dreaming while reading the book. I have also had two (short) lucid dreams continuous with my meditation practice the week before I began reading this book, so I am excited to see how my new attitude may translate into my dreams.

      (Comment 4)
      I think from my past meditative experience, I have reached the first milestone, so I will continue to read until then at a good pace. After that, I think my reading will slow down to the pace of my practice. So I might move on to the next books of the book club without finishing this book just yet. As for the first step, my practice will definitely be more flexible than he suggests so I won’t linger on that step haha.
      Last edited by Occipitalred; 08-15-2021 at 06:18 AM.

    4. #4
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      Although I haven't picked this book up yet, I quite enjoyed reading your comments Occipitalred and feel some need comment. I think that some of your interpretations on the text are stuff I wouldn't have considered if I was reading the book, since I tend to take stuff so(too) literally all the time. It was interesting to see how you also ended up reconsidering some of your own thoughts about some things, as you kept reading.

      What I really appreciated reading though... Were the comments on memory, focus and attention. It made me think about things I thought about regarding that "hypothesis of continuity" subject that was recently discussed.

      Most importantly for me, I think because I've been re-reading LaBerge's Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming and focusing on the MILD section, all of this has really been brought into a tighter focus for me. These discussions and comments and thoughts have allowed me to both be more relaxed about certain aspects and to be more confident in my own ability, especially when it comes to the level of non-conscious processing. The other aspect of this is that my last major lucid dream (almost precisely a year ago! ) was pretty much true to all of this, I didn't need to constantly focus on awareness of dream awareness, it was simply not required. The dream was stable and felt long, and has been the longest and most stable lucid dreaming experience I've had to date!
      Singled out from some of my favourite quotes from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: "Risks of [Planet] flowering: considerable. But rewards of godhood: who can measure? - Usurper Judaa'Maar: Courage: to question."

    5. #5
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      Hey I'm glad my suggestion was chosen. I backed off on the practice detailed in the book as I found myself unable to fall asleep at night, and I need my sleep. What I like about this book is that the explanations of the working of the mind are very clear and comprehensible, and it gives a step by step process for increasing meditative skill. I really like the basic walking meditations. The more advanced walking meditations seem a bit silly at first, I'd rather just walk than move in slow motion. But I'm sure there's a good reason for them.

      Briefly on the subject of suffering, I think it's actually not all that far out to think one can eliminate suffering, especially as suffering is more or less a choice of how one reacts to experience. The Buddhists have a lot to say about this as well.

      Considering the amount of time I waste trolling media sites, I could most probably get a grip on my schedule and work in a daily 45-minute meditation session, especially if it is a walking meditation.
      FryingMan's Unified Theory of Lucid Dreaming: Pay Attention, Reflect, Recall -- Both Day and Night[link]
      FryingMan's Dream Recall Tips -- Awesome Links
      No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.
      "...develop stability in awareness and your dreams will change in extraordinary ways" -- TYoDaS

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