Friday, December 23, 2016

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche: Dreaming in Meaning

"As mentioned earlier, there are two levels of working with dreams. One involves finding meaning in the dream. This is good, and it is the level of most of the Western psychologies that accord value to dreams. In both the East and the West, it is understood that dreams can be a source of creativity, solutions to problems, diagnosis of ills, and so on. But the meaning in dreams is not inherent to the dream; it is being projected onto the dream by the individual examining the dream and then is "read" from the dream. The process is much like describing the images that seem to appear in the ink-spot tests used by some psychologists. The meaning does not exist independently. Meaning does not exist until someone starts to look for it. Our mistake is that rather than seeing the truth of the situation, we begin to think that there really is an unconscious, a thing, and that the dream is real, like a scroll with a secret message written on it in code that, if cracked, anyone could read.

We need a deeper understanding of what the dream is, of what experience is, to truly utilize dreaming as an approach to enlightenment. When we practice deeply, many wonderful dreams will arise, rich with signs of progress. But ultimately the meaning in the dream is not important. It is best not to regard the dream as correspondence from another entity to you, not even from another part of you that you do not know. There is no conventional meaning outside of the dualism of samsara. This view is not a giving in to chaos: there is no chaos or meaninglessness either, these are more concepts. It may sound strange, but this idea of meaning must be abandoned before the mind can find complete liberation. And doing this is the essential purpose of dream practice.

We do not ignore the use of the meaning in dreaming. But it is good to recognize that there is also dreaming in meaning. Why expect great messages from a dream? Instead penetrate to what is below meaning, the pure base of experience. This is the higher dream practice - not psychological, but more spiritual - concerned with recognizing and realizing the basis of experience, the unconditioned. When you progress to this point, you are unaffected by whether there is a message in the dream or not. Then you are complete, your experience is complete, you are free from the conditioning that arises from dualistic interactions with the projections of your own mind."

from 'The Tibetan Yogas Of Dream And Sleep' by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

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