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    Thread: Is lucid dreaming a useful tool to help develop Mindfulness?

    1. #1
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      Is lucid dreaming a useful tool to help develop Mindfulness?

      Hi All

      I'm doing my thesis (hopefully) on "Is lucid dreaming a useful tool to help develop Mindfulness"(or something to that effect). Iíve put together a preliminary literature review, which Iíll post here soon for anyone interested.

      There is enough written and researched in the other direction, that mindfulness helps induction of lucid dreams. As my MSc is in mindfulness studies, Iím interested if I can research weather Lucid dreaming can be useful in developing mindfulness. In Dream Yoga, Holechek says how it is a very underrated practice. Iím finding it hard to get focused on what my research would be though. I could do interviews with some experienced/intermediate/beginner practitioners of lucid dreaming and mindfulness meditation. Though I need get clear on what my research questions would be and what Iím seeking to establish.

      Some of the practices of lucid dreaming and mindfulness practice seem to have overlap. Reality checks can be an opportunity to bring more mindfulness into the moment, if this is ones intention. Oftentimes, when attempting a WILD and having awareness while the body has gone to sleep, it can feel like a very deep meditation. There is enough writing on the flexibility of mind and recognition developed, though bringing awareness into dreaming and experiencing how malleable seemingly solid projections are. I donít know how much of an effect this would have within ones ability to be mindful during the day, or how this could be evidenced in some way.

      Does anyone have either any links or literature suggestions on this?

      Also if anyone has any ideas on key research questions, Iíd appreciate. I could come up with ideas myself how my lucid dream practice has affected my mindfulness practice in both positive and perhaps negative ways. Maybe this would be enough to explore with participants, with a follow up interviews some months later. Maybe Iíd get better data with questioners to a larger audienceÖdonít know yetÖHere are some of the preliminary ideas that are occurring to me (probably demonstrating my current inability to focus this research).

      1) Do you notice a convergence between Mindfulness practice and Dream yoga? ExplainÖ
      2) Do sleep and dream practices lead to a greater faculty of ďrecognitionĒ as discussed in Insight material? Does this have a noticeable effect in our mindful awareness?
      3) Does increasing the span of our attention into states where we usually go unconscious such as sleep and dreams, lead to a greater continuity of consciousness into areas where we usually go unconscious such as drowsiness, or even anger or boredom etc.
      4) Experiments such as putting your hand through walls, are said to develop recognition about how mind mistakes illusion for reality, Is there any way this could be evidenced or does your experience seem to support this notion?
      5) Do you think the practice of Dream Yoga offers any surprises, challenges or interesting potentials for the mindfulness community, if they engaged more with these practices?
      6) Has Lucid dreaming has altered your sense of Self, or how your waking ego sits in relation to the rest of your experience?
      7) What have been some of your own most interesting experiences with these practices or insights that have emerged from practice?
      8) Have any dream/sleep experiences stood out for you, or have you had experiences that didn't fit into your normal understand of how reality works, and how has this impacted on you?
      9) It seems that frequently after talking to someone about lucid dreaming, they then go and have their first lucid dream. Does this suggest that having lucid dreams may be easier that is often thought and that in some way we manage to block a natural ability by not knowing how to use our attention properly and can a mindfulness practice help with this?
      10) Are there any areas of conflict between these practices, or can you adopt a critical views of sleep and dream practice?
      11) How long do you think it takes to become proficient in lucid dream practice or dream Yoga?
      12) It appears that not a lot of people take these practices to a high level, is this so and if so why is this?
      13) Relating to these two subjects is there anything else you feel worthwhile to consider or anything else you wish to say in this interview?

      Thanks for any input

      Patrick
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      You go just about as mindlessly go through a lucid dream as you would a non-lucid dream. All you need to be mindful of is the fact you're dreaming. So, lucid dreaming in of itself won't make you more mindful.

      But, to improve your lucid dreaming skill, you must improve your mindfulness of your dreams. Since dreams mimic waking life, most people seeking to improve mindfulness of their dreams will seek to improve their mindfulness of waking life.

      Dream yoga is any system of training that develops the skills of the yogi while asleep. So, mindfulness practice done with dreaming in mind is dream yoga practice.
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      Just responding to the title of this thread, it is actually the opposite: Mindfulness practice is a useful tool in developing the ability to lucid dream.

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      Quote Originally Posted by VinceField View Post
      Just responding to the title of this thread, it is actually the opposite: Mindfulness practice is a useful tool in developing the ability to lucid dream.
      He's already covered that angle and is investigating the inverse:

      Quote Originally Posted by Patjunfa View Post
      There is enough written and researched in the other direction, that mindfulness helps induction of lucid dreams. As my MSc is in mindfulness studies, I’m interested if I can research weather Lucid dreaming can be useful in developing mindfulness.
      This seems like a reasonable question, if a difficult one to answer.

      Certainly it was not a tendency toward mindfulness that helped me get lucid, as far as I can tell, because I am about the least mindful person imaginable, if by "mindfulness" you are referring to what is called sati in Pali. I am profoundly absent-minded, oblivious, and generally lack situational awareness to an absurd degree.

      Has lucidity helped me to be more mindful? In terms of sati, not really, I'm afraid. I do think it has had benefits in other areas, but these are more the consequence of intellectual reasoning than presence of mind.

      As for "dream yoga," I would really like to know more about the primary source texts. Unfortunately, I do not read Tibetan, and I have yet to encounter any evidence of such practices in the forms of Buddhism that prevail in China, Japan, Thailand, etc.

      The Pure Land Sutras describe forms of visualization that might possibly border on VILD practice, but fall short of confirming this. There also isn't much evidence of Pure Land Buddhists literally performing the visualization practices described in the sutras, at least in recent centuries.

      If you've been researching Tibetan dream yoga, could you perhaps clarify the nature of the primary sources that describe this practice, and their dates? Translations (as opposed to the well-known contemporary commentaries), if they exist, would be extremely useful to those of us not fluent in Tibetan.

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      Patjunfa:

      Given that LD'ing is fueled by self-awareness, which in my mind is effectively mindfulness, I could see how extensive experience in LD'ing might lead to a greater presence of mindfulness in waking life. By the same token, though, I don't think that someone interested in developing mindfulness in waking-life would choose LD'ing as their primary path, because the LD process would be far too subtle and take a very long time compared to what can be done in waking-life.

      Also, given that the bulk of initial dream yoga work is done while awake, with the result of that work being mindfulness in dreams, I'm not sure you are making the right assumptions about the practice. As you research it, you might discover that dream yoga develops mindfulness in pretty much the same manner as any other discipline; it is what it does with that mindfulness that sets it apart from the rest: dream yoga is a first step toward sleep yoga (essentially constant mindfulness/self-awareness straight through the night, with an ultimate goal of doing the same straight through the death process); if you can sort out sleep yoga, then you might be able to glean how dream yoga can be used to develop very high levels of mindfulness/self-awareness.

      By the way, your questions seem excellent; at a glance I can't think of anything you've missed.

      Good luck!
      Last edited by Sageous; 03-17-2015 at 04:35 PM.
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      Since this line of research is of my interest as well, expect a PM from me within the next few days Patjunfa, I might have some resources that you'll find useful and some tips regarding research questions and other matters I guess you and I must both be waiting for the same study that is still in press

      I’ve put together a preliminary literature review, which I’ll post here soon for anyone interested.
      We are ^^
      Last edited by Zoth; 03-17-2015 at 05:36 PM.
      Quote Originally Posted by nito89 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by zoth00 View Post
      You have to face lucid dreams as cooking:
      Stick it in the microwave and hope for the best?
      MMR (Mental Map Recall)- A whole new way of Recalling and Journaling your dreams
      Trying out MILD? This is how you become skilled at it.

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      I've had many lucid dreams. I've never done dream yoga, but I've done dream gymnastics and dream dance. I did dream dance last night in a nightmare. Its been a couple weeks since I've had a lucid dream, but I've had many. The night before I go to sleep I ask God to give me a memorable, lucid dream. I usually dont remember my lucid dreams because when I wake up I try to fall asleep to go back into the dream and succeed. I don't know anything about mindfulness, I used to meditate but I can't focus on meditation for longer than 5 minutes, but I make God a part of my dream life. I had a dream that was a metaphor for Jesus, there was a sick man and I helped him go "upstairs" for a healing environment, at the time I was just carrying him up a staircase, now I am thinking that the staircase could have been a metaphor for taking him to heaven. Jesus was in me, and the sick man I helped was Jesus because the Bible says when we help the least of these in Jesus' name we are helping Jesus himself. It was a good dream but it wasn't a lucid dreams, I find that not all dreams are meant to be lucid, but I also read that people who lucid dream have bigger, better brains.

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      Thanks for replys everyone

      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      Patjunfa:
      I'm not sure you are making the right assumptions about the practice. As you research it, you might discover that dream yoga develops mindfulness in pretty much the same manner as any other discipline; it is what it does with that mindfulness that sets it apart from the rest: dream yoga is a first step toward sleep yoga (essentially constant mindfulness/self-awareness straight through the night, with an ultimate goal of doing the same straight through the death process); if you can sort out sleep yoga, then you might be able to glean how dream yoga can be used to develop very high levels of mindfulness/self-awareness.
      That actually makes good sense. There are aspects of the Practice, that may contribute to development of awareness or mindfulness, however actual resulting mindfulness developed from time in actual lucid dreams may not be evident for a relatively long time. Its continuem towards sleep yoga seems to exemplify the potential of this tho. For a long time I've been inspired by Ken Wilbers descriptions of constant consciouness, and how as morning arives its like puting on clothes, as the personality and ego arise for a time and are in time also shed, but the identification is with that which is ever present. He quotes ramana marahisi, saying only that which is present in deep sleep is real...
      It seems for so many authors, some version of spiritual insight appears to be their motivation for their dream practice. If this is so, then it is to examine if it seems to bear fruit...Someone posted a thread here before "lucid dreaming doesnt make you more spiritual", and of course it doesnt...nothing does...and anything can, if that is ones intent and motivation. My question is, assuming one already has an established mindfulness practice-is lucid dreaming a useful tool to expand/deepen ones mindfulness/compassion/insight... I need however to narrow down to a few simple research questions...


      Verre, there is enough writting on dream yoga to give a good introduction. such as by andrew holechek, Tenzin Wangal Rinpoche, Alan Wallace, Namkhai Norbu etc. Charlie Morleys writings are probably in that direction also, tho less explictly named as such. I'll post my lit review soon when I've a chance to tidy it up a bit.

      Zoth, great thanks, look forward.
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      Hi

      I'll post the litriture review and other relevant stuff when its more developed, but if anyone wants a look at preliminary writing on it I'll pm to you. let me know either as a reply here or a pm. Lots to develop on it still.

      Talking to supervisor and hes happy for me to proceed. I'll do a number of interviews (at least 10) with people who have a committed mindfulness meditation practice and a lucid dream practice. Can be by skype. If anyone potentially suitable and interested, please let me know.

      I have to develop a clear research question with potentially a few sub questions...
      perhaps simply Does participants Lucid dream practice have an effect on their mindfulness? (exploring positive, negative or neutral impacts...).
      Could also explore their motivation for either or both practices...
      That would perhaps surface enough relevent data...
      questions that interest me like "Does increasing the span of our attention into states where we usually go unconscious such as sleep and dreams, lead to a greater continuity of consciousness into areas where we usually go unconscious such as drowsiness, or even anger or boredom etc." -and the rest listed above- might be a bit specific or complicated for a study...Also not sure how much scope I'll have to include a detailed investigate of sleep yoga, despite it being v relevant. Will depend on how word count looks, and how much I can do without it sprawling beyond the 15-18000 word limit.

      Regarding litriture, does anyone have any links to either critical views of lucid dreaming? or links/references to stuff that seems divergent from mindfulness training? ie...you can do whatever you want, whatever sex you desire etc...

      Thanks

      P

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      Quote Originally Posted by Patjunfa View Post
      Verre, there is enough writting on dream yoga to give a good introduction. such as by andrew holechek, Tenzin Wangal Rinpoche, Alan Wallace, Namkhai Norbu etc. Charlie Morleys writings are probably in that direction also, tho less explictly named as such. I'll post my lit review soon when I've a chance to tidy it up a bit.
      Right, I'm familiar with most of these, although I haven't yet done a comprehensive survey of the literature. My problem is that the books I've looked at still leave ambiguous the historicity of these techniques. I'm not so much interested in the present-day teachings as in their concrete historical basis, and how far back it goes. I understand that this is deeply problematic in the case of the Tibetan Buddhist canon because of oral teachings, terma and other factors that undermine a firm provenance, but I really do think it matters how far back these techniques actually go and where they come from, if we're going to insist on associating lucid dreaming with Buddhism at all. I can't help but notice that Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche identifies as Bon, for crying out loud. So is this a Tibetan thing rather than a Buddhist thing? I understand that this might seem like a spurious and artificial distinction, but if there is no evidence of lucid dreaming practice in the Buddhist traditions of any other Asian country, then it seems reasonable to ask.

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      I'd be interested to know more myself, and may have to know a bit more for the sake of the litriture review. I cant put my hand on Wangals book at the moment, but think he gives some history. Given that Tibetan buddhism is Buddhism apadpting to the background of the Bon religon, its fair to say its fairly old, as Buddhism made its way into Tibet around 650 CE. In terms of dream yoga and buddhism, I've never heard of it in relation to Zen or Theravaden Buddhism. I think it is a Tibetan thing. They say the 1st Karmapa attained his enlightenment in a dream (I think..), and currently Dream yoga seems more spoken of in the Kagyu tradition of tibetan buddism. Looking in Charlie Morleys book now, the forward by Lama Yeshe says, "in the tibetan tradition, the refined discipline of Dream Yoga has been practised for a thousand years, and as one of the famous Six Yogas of Naropa it is an important element in our intensive for year retreats at Samye Ling Monastery. The stability of the lucid dream is the foundation of Dream Yoga"..
      If/When I come accross more I'll let you know...

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      I would suggest its the other way around - improving your mindfulness in turn promotes lucid dreaming.


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      ^^ That's probably the right way 'round to turn it...

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      Quote Originally Posted by b12 View Post
      I would suggest its the other way around - improving your mindfulness in turn promotes lucid dreaming.
      If you scroll up, you'll see that I made the same comment as you, although I made it clear that I was simply responding to the title of this thread and not the content. Had I actually read the OP, I wouldn't have made this comment. Give it a read and you may feel the same way.

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      For an ordinary human, in a dream he is the most connected to his unconscious. In a lucid dream you can become more aware of the real you and discover more about you. The language of the unconscious is unknown for science, but you can figure it out yourself. This is my only reason ( since last year ) for why I lucid dream. You can overcome many things by doing this and change very much in just a year or so. If by mindfulness you mean more awareness of your current state and thoughts, than yes, this will help you. But like every other tool you need to use it right. Fire can be your best friend or your worst enemy, just like you can be to you.
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      Quote Originally Posted by nito89 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by zoth00 View Post
      You have to face lucid dreams as cooking:
      Stick it in the microwave and hope for the best?
      MMR (Mental Map Recall)- A whole new way of Recalling and Journaling your dreams
      Trying out MILD? This is how you become skilled at it.

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      Hey, so there is a lot of content here and I certainly haven't read through all of it, but though I'd throw in my two cents..

      I am in complete agreement with B12's simple response. When I am meditating more often, I am able to notice things in my dreams because I have a greater awareness of the ways my thoughts flow in general; because of this general awareness, I become aware that my thinking is not usual in my dream state. The same can be said for my senses. It is easier to notice, for example, that there has been a sudden change in scenery or in the background music because I have a greater awareness of my surroundings (both in waking and dreaming life) when I have been meditating and practicing yoga regularly.

      That being said, I am very curious as to what might happen if I were to meditate in my dream.. I tried this once but spun out of the dream immediately

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