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Lucid Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga for Insight and Transformation

B. Alan Wallace

1. Lucid dreams. 2. Yoga—Tantric Buddhism.
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Book Details
 194 p
 File Size 
 4,946 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 978-1-59030-957-5 (pbk.: alk. paper)
 2012 by B. Alan Wallace 

Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreaming is simply being conscious that you are dreaming.
Many people, especially in childhood, have had lucid
dreams and have described them. Often in lucid dreaming there
is a sense of exhilaration on discovering you are dreaming right
now—an excitement so intense that it may cause you to awaken.
If you are able to maintain both the dream and your awareness
of it, there comes a great sense of freedom. Knowing that the
dream images are insubstantial, you can walk through dreamed
walls or escape the law of gravity, flying over vivid, imagined
landscapes. With training you can shape the dream environment
according to your wishes. Small things can be made large,
large objects shrunk at will. The only limit is your imagination.
Once greater control has been developed you can use the dream
space as a laboratory to achieve psychological insights, overcome
fears, do creative work, entertain yourself, or meditate in
the virtual environment of your choosing.
The science of lucid dreaming is a recently developed system
of theory and practice within the field of psychology. Although
he had important predecessors, Stephen LaBerge, who received
his PhD in psychology from Stanford University, is the foremost
exponent of lucid dreaming. In the late 1980s, LaBerge, while
doing graduate research at Stanford, became the first to prove to
the scientific community that one can be consciously aware
while dreaming. Although many people had reported lucid
dreams through the ages, psychologists assumed these were
false memories—that people had actually awakened at night
and in the morning mistakenly believed they had been conscious
of dreaming. LaBerge is extremely gifted as a lucid
dreamer and is able to have lucid dreams at will, an ability he
had naturally as a child but which was lost during adolescence,
then deliberately regained as a graduate student. As part of his
research he devised a method of making specific eye movements
while he dreamed so that his fellow researchers would know he
was awake within his dreams. This method proved the existence
of lucid dreaming.
While at Stanford, LaBerge developed more effective means
of awakening in his dreams and sustaining and vivifying them.
Continued research, including interaction with interested lay
persons, led to the publication of several popular books on lucid
dreaming (including Lucid Dreaming, Exploring the World of
Lucid Dreaming, and Lucid Dreaming: A Concise Guide to Awakening
in Your Dreams and in Your Life). Due in large part to La-
Berge’s work, the reality of lucid dreaming has been generally
acknowledged in the field of psychology. I met Stephen LaBerge
in 1992 when I was a graduate student in religious studies at
Stanford. My research centered on the contemplative development
of attention. When Stephen and I talked about our
research, we both saw immediately that our work was complementary.
Beginning in the late 1990s I began collaborating with
Stephen in ten-day public workshops that included training of
the attention and dream practice.

 Dream Yoga
Historically, Tibetan Buddhists seem to have explored the yoga
of dreaming and sleep more deeply than other contemplative
traditions. Dream yoga is part of a spiritual tradition whose goal
is the complete awakening called “enlightenment.” An experience
beyond our normal, rational way of understanding, full
enlightenment is said to include knowledge of all reality in both
breadth and depth. And it is wedded to an all-embracing compassion,
a profound love for all beings. Sometimes enlightenment
is described as a nondual experience of wisdom and bliss.
As to the actual flavor of enlightenment, such portrayals leave
us with more questions than answers, but it must be an awesome achievement.
In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition—the style of contemplative
spirituality with which I am most familiar—dream yoga
comprises a set of advanced spiritual practices that act as a powerful
aid to awakening from samsara. Samsara may be briefly
described as a dreamlike experience of life after life, propelled
by ignorance. This, according to Buddhism (and other spiritual
traditions), is our normal modus operandi. Ignorance and the
distorted views woven from it are, for Buddhism, the source of
all suffering. True and ultimate happiness, on the other hand,
results from the elimination of ignorance, from awakening
from the dream of samsara. A buddha, an enlightened one, literally
means “one who is awake.”
The practices of dream yoga are based upon a three-tiered
theory of consciousness. According to this view, the most coarse
and superficial level of consciousness is what we in the West
call the psyche. The psyche comprises the five physical senses
along with conscious and unconscious mental phenomena—
thoughts, feelings, sensations, and so forth. This is our ordinary,
conditioned mind. The psyche emanates from a deeper,
intermediate level, the substrate consciousness. This is described
as a subtle mind stream containing latent habits, tendencies,
and attitudes tracing back to previous lifetimes. The deepest and
most fundamental layer, primordial consciousness—encompassing
both the psyche and the substrate consciousness—is an ultimate
level of pure wisdom where the “inner” (mind) and “outer”
(phenomenal world) are nondual. The realization of primordial
consciousness is the gateway to full enlightenment.
Dream yoga seeks to gradually penetrate to primordial consciousness
by way of realizing that everything, oneself included,
emerges from and is of the nature of this primordial, enlightened
ground. The specific practices of dream yoga enable one to
explore and deeply understand the nature and origin of the
mental phenomena of the psyche, to penetrate to its source—
the substrate consciousness, or ground of the ordinary mind—
and finally to recognize and dwell in primordial consciousness.
Although it initiates this process during sleep and dreams,
dream yoga involves practices employed during the daytime
and aims to awaken our entire life—day and night—from the
sleep of samsara.
My first encounter with dream yoga came in 1978, when I
acted as a translator for Westerners attending teachings on
dream yoga by Zong Rinpoche, an eminent Tibetan lama. He
explained that dream yoga is one of a group of advanced practices
called the Six Yogas of Naropa and that it requires a strong
foundation in meditation. Following that advice, I engaged in
foundational practices before attempting dream yoga. In 1990 I
received dream yoga instruction from another revered Tibetan
teacher, Gyatrul Rinpoche. Two years later a friend requested
that I teach him dream yoga. I asked Gyatrul Rinpoche if I should
teach it, and he gave me his permission. Over the years that I have
practiced and taught dream yoga, my sense of reverence and
respect for this practice has only grown. This is one of the core
traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, and it has enormous implications
for both our understanding of reality and our spiritual advancement.

In all the great spiritual traditions where meditation plays an
important role, the watchword is “Awaken!” This call is echoed
in the Western science of psychology. The implication is that
throughout our lives weve been asleep—in essence, dreaming.
Of course if we sleepwalk through life we will invariably stub our
toes on unseen realities. Given life’s uncertainties, we need to be
as awake as possible to its opportunities and dangers. Dreaming
Yourself Awake is directed as much to our awakening from lifeas-
a-dream as it is to our becoming lucidly aware as we dream at
night. Both situations, and our awakening within them, are intimately
connected. Such an awakening brings with it the clarity
and freedom that form the basis for genuine happiness.
How are spiritual awakening and lucid dreaming connected?
In both cases you are poignantly aware of the unfolding of your
experiences in the present moment. You are not carried away by
distractive thoughts and emotions. You can observe their appearance,
continuity, transformation, and fading with perfect
clarity. Like a chess grand master, your mind is fully focused—
sure and unclouded. Such clarity is a gateway to inner freedom.
Awake to the potential of every situation, you become the master
of your destiny. Dream practice can heighten creativity, solve
problems, heal emotions, or provide scintillating inner theater—
the ultimate in entertainment. It can also be a valuable aid to
the attainment of spiritual awakening.

What is it like to be lucidly aware that you are dreaming? The
seventeenth-century English philosopher and physician Sir
Thomas Browne, who could witness and control his dreams like
a movie director, said, “In one dream I can compose a whole
Comedy, behold the action, apprehend the jests and laugh my
self awake. . . .” Another seventeenth-century Englishman,
Samuel Pepys, described the erotic potential of lucid dreaming:
“I had my Lady Castlemayne in my arms and was admitted to
use all the dalliance I desired with her, and then dreamt that this
could not be awake, but that it was only a dream.” The anthropologist-
shaman and best-selling author Carlos Casteneda was
instructed by his teacher to look at his hands while dreaming.
When he first accomplished this he found himself in a surreal
and forbidding landscape. Casteneda claimed he mastered the
“art of dreaming” to the point that he could visit other worlds.
Dreaming Yourself Awake integrates the two most effective
approaches to dream practice—lucid dreaming, as developed
and enhanced by the science of psychology, and the dream yoga
of Tibetan Buddhism. 
Together they will bring you to a lifechanging awakening.

Table of Contents
Introduction ix
part o n e : Lucid Dreaming
î. Meditative Quiescence: Laying the Groundwork
for Lucidity 1
2. The Theory of Lucid Dreaming 19
3. The Practice of Lucid Dreaming 35
4. Proficiency in Lucid Dreaming 53
part t w o : Dream Yoga
5. The Universe of Dream Yoga 67
6. The Daytime Practices of Dream Yoga 79
7. Nighttime Dream Yoga 95
part t h r e e : Bringing It All Together
8. Putting Your Dreams to Work 115
9. Individualized Practice and Infrequently
Asked Questions 123
to. Dreaming Yourself Awake : A Wider Perspective 135
Notes 151
Glossary 159
Selected Bibliography 165
Index 167

Dreaming Yourself Awake- Lucid Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga for Insight and Transformation
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Horticultural Hall
300 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115

First Edition
Printed in the United States of America

Distributed in the United States by Random House, Inc.,
and in Canada by Random House of Canada Ltd
Designed by James D. Skatges

The Pocket Guide to 125 Medicinal Plants and Their Uses


1. Indians of North America—Ethnobotany—Handbooks, manuals, etc. 2. Herbs—North America—Handbooks, manuals, etc. 3. Ethnobotany—North America—Handbooks, manuals, etc.
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Book Details
 263 p
 File Size 
 3,934 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 1992 by Alma R. Hutchens 

This authoritative guide—based on the author’s classic reference work, Indian Herbalogy of North
America—is a portable illustrated companion for the professional and amateur herbalist alike. It
provides detailed descriptions of 125 of the most useful medicinal plants commonly found in North
America, along with directions for a range of uses, remedies for common ailments, and notes on the
herbal traditions of other lands. Entries include staples of folk medicine such as echinacea and
slippery elm as well as common kitchen herbs—such as parsley, thyme, and pepper—whose tonic
and healing properties are less widely known.

Each book has its own fate and destiny,” Alma Hutchens observed in the preface to her classic, Indian
Herbalogy of North America. The prescience of that statement will be evident to those who have watched
Mrs. Hutchens’s work unfold in the thirty years since she began her research under the tutelage of her
mentor, the noted herbalist N. G. Tretchikoff. Indian Herbalogy, first published in the 1960s, came at a
time of burgeoning interest in folk medicine and natural healing methods, and it met the need for a detailed
reference book for North American herbalists. It has since become known as a standard work on the
subject in many countries and has gone through seventeen printings as of 1992.
As the years have gone by and interest in herbs and their uses has increased, the need for a “portable”
version of Indian Herbalogy has been felt. It is with this need in mind that Mrs. Hutchens has compiled
this Handbook of Native American Herbs. In it are found descriptions of 125 of the most useful medicinal
plants commonly found on the North American continent. Included are dosages, directions for use,
remedies for some common ailments, homeopathic methods, and lore from the folk medicine of other
countries—particularly Russia, China, India, and Pakistan—where the arts of herbal healing have
traditionally flourished.
The fate and destiny of Alma Hutchens’s work in herbology has proven to be its enduring influence in
the field. A Handbook of Native American Herbs represents the latest phase in that unique destiny.

Table of Contents
Editor’s Foreword
Ale Hoof
Balsam Fir
Beth Root
Black Cohosh
Black Root
Black Walnut
Blue Cohosh
Blue Flag
Blue Vervain
Castor Bean
Couch Grass
Creosote Bush
Five Finger Grass
Fringe Tree
Ginger, Wild
Lady’s Slipper
Life Root
Prickly Ash
Red Clover
Slippery Elm
Solomon’s Seal
St. John’s Wort
Swamp Beggar’s Tick
Sweet Flag
Sweet Gum
Turkey Corn
Virginia Snakeroot
Water Pepper
White Pine
White Pond Lily
Wild Carrot
Wild Yam
Willow, Black
Witch Hazel
Yellow Dock
Yellow Parilla
Yerba Santa
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A Handbook of Native American Herbs
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Horticultural Hall
300 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115

E98.B7H87 1992 92–50122
615′.321′097—dc20 CIP
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