image by Erin Langley
This morning, I woke up inside a dream, looked around, and decided the most brilliant thing I could do was shout to the quiet residential neighborhood around me, "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS DREAM?"
That is like going out into my own neighborhood while I'm awake and shouting, "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?" The question, and especially the shouting of it, evidences my own deafness. What kind of answer was I expecting? The answer--the meaning of the dream, the meaning of life--is self-evident. Nothing happened. I laughed.
Lucid dreaming is cool because we can have direct contact with pure, unmasked (pre?)consciousness more easily than we can while we're awake. The pristine quality of emptiness or form or whatever you want to call it can remind us that all the masks we choose to don again in the morning are just there for fun, for ornament. They offer decorative distinctions that can be useful to us.
If I have the insight next time, I will ask for contact with the dream before it assumes its own masks, or mine: a residential neighborhood, a forest, a lair of striking snakes, encounters with angels or demons. I will ask, "What is behind the dream?" or "What is the clear light?" or "What is our true nature?"
In an interview between lucid dreamers Rebecca Turner and Robert Waggoner, Robert explains:
"The Buddhist yogi, Naropa, considered dream yoga (a system of inquiry that relies on lucid dreaming) one of the six paths to enlightenment. In Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, I tell how after 20 years I sought to go 'beyond' lucid dreaming - beyond expectation and belief, beyond feeling and memory, to the source of lucid dreaming and its information. Without realizing it, I began to have experiences that sound very similar to what dream yoga leads to (non-dual experiences of clear light).
I had no framework to place those non-dual experiences, until I heard a talk three years later on dream yoga (so it was not something that I expected to happen as I went 'beyond' lucid dreaming). I felt like I had bushwhacked my way into something that another tradition had already built a path to - I just did it my way. Whether we take an Eastern path or a Western path to conceptualizing reality, lucid dreaming offers insights either way."