For Healing and Health, Dream On
In Your Dreams
Tibetan Dream Yoga continued...
Namkhai Norbu, in his book Dream Yoga and the Practice of
Natural Light, does reveal methods used in one dream yoga tradition. He
advises people to fall asleep while visualizing a white Tibetan syllable (or
English letter) representing the sound "ah." Men should lie on their
right side, women on their left side.
"Awareness within the dream state becomes a way to develop
oneself and to break one's heavy conditioning," he writes. However, Norbu
too says that a personal relationship with a teacher is essential for a full
understanding of the practice.
"When you read a book you can understand all concepts in an
intellectual way," he writes. "If you receive a transmission from a
teacher, you can have a different taste." Norbu is a retired professor of
Tibetan language and literature at the Oriental Institute of the University of
Since 1992, Gabriel Rocco has been studying dream yoga and
other Buddhist practices with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan
Yogas of Dream and Sleep. Throughout the day he reminds himself that waking
life is like a dream. Before sleeping, he reinforces his desire to be fully
aware during his nighttime dreams and remember them when he wakes.
"This practice is tremendously helpful in coping with
everyday life," he says. "We talk to ourselves all the time, creating
emotional dramas. Dream yoga helps you cut through that and come back to the
present movement. You may be upset because of a scratch on your car, or you may
have an argument. Dream yoga helps you cut loose."
Tibetans believe dreams can be a useful way to prepare for
death, since the after-death state resembles the dream state.
"Bardo is a Tibetan word that simply means a transition or
gap. ... Of course, the bardos of death are much deeper states of consciousness
than the sleep and dream states, and far more powerful moments, but their
relative levels of subtlety correspond and show the kind of links and parallels
that exist between all the different levels of consciousness," writes
Sogyal Rinpoche in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. "For
example, the way in which you react to dreams, nightmares, and difficulties now
shows how you might react after you die."
Rocco hopes to use his dreaming experiences as a way to prepare
"The first time I realized I was awake in the dream, I was
so excited I immediately woke up. You have to get past that, to become relaxed,
aware, alert, within the dream. The point of this practice is to become more
familiar with the capacity of your own mind to create and alter your