Surfing the Edge, by Jennifer

Posted on April 13, 2008 in All, » Tibetan Dream Yoga | 0 comments

The night of the Oneironauticum, I had a hard time falling asleep. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been practicing Dream Yoga throughout the day, behind the wheel, at my desk, on the subway. As I sit and write now, I can easily visualize, and auralize, a glowing white om humming at my heart center. Even though the practice comes naturally now, however, it’s incredibly difficult to maintain mental focus as I slip closer and closer to the edge of sleep. At the point of final approach—the moment when I can feel myself relaxing into sleep—the focused image disintegrates and sound dissolves into the buzz of the border crossing. The meditation breaks apart and my efforts to grasp it again wake me back up.

Not surprisingly, the practice has overall yielded more success maintaining consciousness moving from dream into waking than the other way around. Keeping awareness slipping into sleep is much harder. The morning of the Oneironauticum, I surfaced close enough to awake to recognize that I felt Very thirsty. In the dream, I knew there was a glass of water on my bedside table. All I had to do was wake up and reach over and take a drink. But I didn’t want to wake up. I tried drinking a dream glass of water, but it didn’t work. If anything, it made it worse, like pouring parched dryness down my throat. I decided to try and sink back down into the dream and finally managed, but it took a while. Instead of a solid wall between sleep and awake, the boundary point has become more like a pane of glass that I can see through.

The night of the Oneironauticum, I tried my best to maintain the focus of the practice right up to the moment I fell asleep. As I approached the moment and felt my attention slipping away, I repeatedly jerked myself back awake. This reminded me of what often happens to me, and to many other dreamers, at the moment of becoming lucid in a dream: my attention focuses on the moment with a sudden, sharp intensity—imagine catching something interesting in the corner of your eye and turning quickly to look at it—and it wakes me up. Finally I let go and drifted off to sleep.

That night, my dreams were filled with controlled spaces and structure. The dream kept trying to reveal its architecture to me, breaking off into sub-sections of dream that provided support for the other parts, showing me foundational areas. In one dream, I found myself trapped in one area trying to get into another part of the dream that I could see, the feeling a bit like being stuck under ice. I yelled out, a thing I rarely do, and woke up the other dreamers in the room.

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