Thank you, Unity of Charleston, for inviting me to speak yesterday about lucid dreaming and dream yoga.
“Dream Yoga” is a phrase that I borrow from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The simplest Western phrase to describe dream yoga is the idea that “life is a dream”. When we awaken from a sleep-state dream, we understand that the dream took place in a mental environment and that symbolic meaning can be attributed to many of the people, animals, places, and events that were encountered in the dream. A “dream yoga” worldview looks upon our so-called waking reality or physical reality the same way. There is the understanding that, upon our death (or sooner, in some cases), we will “awaken” from the dream of physical life. Given this, we can interpret the animals, people, places and events that we encounter in physical life as having symbolic meaning, just like a sleep-state dream.
The Tibetan dream yoga tradition is richer and more complex than the foregoing snapshot description. You can check out some of the books quoted below if you want to explore the idea further. I also want to emphasize, however, that there are many other historical, cultural, literary and philosophical sources for the proposition that life is a dream. I’ve outlined some of these in the quotations and descriptions set forth below.
• Tibetan Buddhist “Dream Yoga” Tradition. Oral tradition goes back approximately 1,000 years.
• Greek Philosophy - The Allegory of The Cave. Plato, The Republic (380 B.C.E.)
• Taoist Tradition – The Zhuangzi (3rd Century, B.C.E.)
• Rumi, 13th Century Sufi Poet
• William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
• Edgar Alan Poe
• Nursery Rhymes
• Children’s Literature
• Carl Jung (1875 – 1961)
• Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952)
• Channeled Wisdom Teachings.
• Shamanic Traditions.
• Near Death Experience Literature.
• Some Other Contemporary Sources