Open Practice: Vipassana-Induced Lucid Dream (VILD)

The following was originally posted on Dharma Overground. It was a serendipitous learning on my part while doing Vipassana practice. So I’m posting it here and filing it under Open Practice. Give it a try and let me know what happens.

For those who are new to lucid dreaming, read Lucidity Institute’s very informative Lucid Dreaming FAQ.

Discussion: vipassana induced lucid dream (VILD)

i’ve been doing lucid dream practices on and off for a number of years now. i won’t go into details with my experiences, since i already shared some of them on different threads. see:

> head being ripped while meditating
> flowing like a sine wave
> series of lucid dreams and false awakenings
> merging with the light in a lucid dream

i recently learned that lucid dreams can be easily induced by vipassana techniques. i’d like to share what i learned for those who are interested to develop their lucid dreaming skill.

i understand that some of the hardcore Theravada practitioners may have objection to this. what does lucid dreaming have to do with “enlightenment”? isn’t it just another distraction along the path? another phenomena to cling to? in general, i agree. however, the practice i’m about to describe is a complement to vipassana, not a replacement. my main intention is not to develop lucid dreaming skill as an end in itself, but as a means for extending awareness in the dream state. think of it as concentration (or samatha) practice. mastering it is not required, but enough proficiency with it could lead to insight. from this perspective, lucid dreaming is just another doorway into the nature of things.

for lack of a better term, i’ll call this technique VILD (vipassana induced/initiated lucid dream). it has similarities with MILD (mnemonic induced lucid dream) and WILD (wake induced lucid dream). see http://bit.ly/Q7lS for a description of these techniques. however, VILD is slightly different since it is specifically initiated via vipassana meditation, as opposed to altering sleeping cycles (i.e. WILD).

it’s a work in progress. but in my experience, i’m able to have lucid dreams 80% of the time. (need more data points to be more conclusive though).

here’s how i do it. i do my meditation practice for 1.25 hours every sitting (one in the morning and one in the evening). in the morning i divide my “sitting” practice. the first half is regular vipassana sitting (Shinzen Young style, see http://bit.ly/sxsPN ). then i do lying down meditation for the second half. below is the algorithmic sequence.

1. 30-45 minutes of sitting vipassana. after this session the body and mind should be peaceful and relaxed.

2. continue with lying down meditation. focus on breathing (rising, falling), relaxation, impermanence.

3. sooner or later you will sense big waves/vibrations (maybe even high pitched ringing in your ears). notice them. label them as “flow”, “expansion”, “contraction”. stay with it. surrender to it. until…

4. WHAM! you’re in a dream state. (note: you might see a flash of light, prior to the change in scenery). initially you might be disoriented or get lost in the dream. but hopefully, the clarity of awareness from the vipassana meditation (step 1), would spill over the dream state and make you lucid.

5. once you’re lucid, you can either continue to explore the dream world. have fun in it (i always fly), OR you can continue with vipassana practice (i.e., noticing the phenomena in the dream state).

in my experience, there’s an initial disorientation when i shift to the dream state (step 4). but most of the time, as soon as awareness shifts, i still have some awareness that i’m dreaming and lying down in meditation at the same time. at times, i can even hear myself snoring. then i just note it 🙂

i understand that Tibetans have highly developed dream yoga techniques. but since i choose to practice vipassana, this is my own way of incorporating my practice into the dream world. again, VILD is *not* a replacement for vipassana, it’s my own approach for extending awareness in the dream state and continue with my chosen practice.

if you decide to give this a try, let me know how it works for you. we could use more data points. but never let the dream state be a distraction to our waking practice.

thanks!

~C

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