DREAM YOGA: Illuminating your life through lucid dreaming and the Tibetan Yoga of sleep – Andrew Holecek


I have devoted my scientific career to the exploration of this extraordinary state of consciousness. Research done by my colleagues and me at Stanford University has proven the objective reality of lucid dreams, delineated their basic types and psychophysiological characteristics, and led to the development of new techniques and technology for more effectively inducing them. I have also learned how to voluntarily access lucid dreams and have found them wonderfully educational in the deepest sense. That is, as a means of bringing forth what is within.”

This process of integration is a form of dream yoga, and its practice leads to experiences of transcendence, which might be recognized as having similarities with the Tibetan dream yoga that is the subject of this book. That is no accident. I have had significant contacts with the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, starting with a workshop with Tibetan lama Tarthang Tulku at Esalen in 1972.”

Remember the story in which the character Nasrudin is under a streetlight outside his house searching for his lost key? A neighbor helps him look for a while — fruitlessly — then asks, ‘Where, exactly, did you lose your key?’ Nasrudin answers, ‘In my house.’ The neighbor exclaims, ‘Then why in the world are we looking out here!’ Coolly logical, Nasrudin replies, ‘Because there’s more light here.’”


I started a dream diary and within those 2 weeks had filled several notebooks. It was as if my deepest unconscious mind erupted and a volcano of dreams burst forth. Some of those dreams still guide my life today.” “I started reading everything I could about dreams. I read Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and countless books from psychologists, scientists, mystics, and quacks.(*) They were helpful but also incomplete. I still couldn’t understand what happened. One day I started reading about Buddhism and was immediately struck that ‘buddha’ literally means ‘the awakened one’. What does that mean? Awake as opposed to what? What did the Buddha awaken from, and what did he awaken to?

(*) While Freud and Jung spent a great deal of time with dreams, they spent very little with lucid dreaming. The 1st edition of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (1899) has no overt reference to lucid dreaming, but the 2nd edition does. Jung had little interest in the topic, at least as we are defining it. However, Jung did work with dreams in very creative ways. Jung said that he did not dream, but was dreamed.”


Lucid dreaming is the ultimate in home entertainment. Your mind becomes the theater, and you are the producer, director, writer, and main actor.” “Going deeper, lucid dreaming can develop into dream yoga, and become a spiritual practice. This is not to say that lucid dreaming isn’t spiritual. It can be. But as a practice, and in contrast to dream yoga, lucid dreaming doesn’t have as many spiritually oriented methods. ‘Yoga’ is that which yokes, or unites. Dream yoga unites you with deeper aspects of your being; it is more concerned with self-transcendence.

Other traditions work with sleep and dreams for spiritual purposes, including Sufi and Taoist dream practice, aspects of Transcendental Meditation, and Yoga Nidra. I will focus principally on Tibetan Buddhist dream yoga because this is a specialty of this branch of Buddhism.” O prelúdio para o inútil só pode ser, por extensão, inútil.

The exact origin of dream yoga is opaque in Buddhism. Some scholars trace dream yoga back to the Buddha. Namkhai Norbu, a master of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, says it originated in the tantras (especially the Mahamaya Tantra), which are shrouded in mystery and authorship. [Não diga! Por que os 100% acordados não conseguiram traçar essa genealogia? Porque ela é um conto de fadas…] There are 4 main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. In order of emergence, they are the Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelugpa traditions. Guru Rinpoche, the founder of the Nyingma tradition who brought Buddhism from India to Tibet, taught dream yoga as part of his cycle of teachings. In the Kagyu and Gelugpa traditions, dream yoga is taught mostly in the 6 Yogas of Naropa, which is perhaps the oldest certain source. Naropa gathered the 6 Yogas but was not their author. Lama Thubten Yeshe says, ‘The 6 Yogas of Naropa were not discovered by Naropa. They originated in the teachings of Lord Buddha, and were eventually transmitted to the great 11th-century Indian yogi Tilopa, who in turn transmitted them to his disciple Naropa.’ But the Indian master Lawapa (‘master of the blanket’, also known as Kambala) is the author of dream yoga as presented in the 6 Yogas. He passed the teachings on to Jalandhara, who passed them to Krishnacharya, who taught them to Naropa. Tilopa, who is the founder of the Kagyu tradition, attributes dream yoga specifically to Lawapa.”

Four of the 6 Yogas will be central to our journey in this book: illusory form yoga, dream yoga, sleep yoga, and bardo yoga. The other 2 yogas are chandali (inner heat) yoga and phowa (ejection of consciousness) yoga, which are beyond the scope of this book.”

Taking this practice further, dream yoga can develop into ‘sleep yoga’, an advanced meditation in which awareness spreads not only into dreams but into deep dreamless sleep. Staying awake during dreamless sleep is an age-old practice in Tibetan Buddhism. With sleep yoga, your body goes into sleep mode, but your mind stays awake. You drop consciously into the very core of your being, the most subtle formless awareness — into who you truly are.

If you want to go even further, there’s one final destination of the night. Dream yoga and sleep yoga can develop into ‘bardo yoga’, the famous Tibetan practices that use the darkness of the night to prepare for the darkness of death. ‘Bardo’ is a Tibetan word that means ‘gap, interval, transitional state, or in between’, and in this case it refers to the gap between lives. If you believe in rebirth and want to know what to do after you die, bardo yoga is for you.”

While I’ve never seen anyone get into trouble with dream yoga, as with any discipline it may not be for everyone. People with dissociation or depersonalization tendencies should consult with a mental health professional before undertaking lucid dreaming or dream yoga. Those with psychotic predispositions, or anyone suffering from a loss of a stable sense of reality, could potentially worsen those dissociative states of mind. As with any meditation, it’s always good to check your motivation. If you’re looking to escape from reality, the nighttime meditations are probably not for you.”

While lucid dreaming is more of a Western phenomenon, dream yoga, sleep yoga, and bardo yoga come mostly from Tibetan Buddhism. Our journey will unite both worlds, the best of the East and West. The Indian philosopher Mahadevan said that the main difference between Eastern and Western philosophy is that the West develops its view of reality from a single state of consciousness (the waking state), while the East draws from all states of consciousness, including that of dream and sleep.” “Like any good yoga, this book will stretch and then relax. And as with physical yoga, the best way to expand and grow is to feel the stretch, and let it work on you as you gently lean into it.”

Three Wisdom Tools

The Upanishads (arguably the first written map of the mind) articulate 4 states of consciousness: vaishvarana, the waking state; taijasa, the dream state; prajna, deep dreamless sleep; and turiya (‘the 4th), the super conscious state of illumination. It’s called ‘the 4th because it transcends the other 3. [George Lucas Productions] From a psychological point of view, it’s called turiya; from a philosophical point of view it’s called brahman. So turiya and brahman are Hindu correlates for the clear-light mind. In Buddhism, ‘the 4th is connected to ‘the 4th moment’, which is the timeless dimension that is beyond the other 3 moments of past, present, and future. In other words, the 4th moment refers to the experience of the clear-light mind.”

By reading and thinking about this material, you will be engaging the first 2 wisdom tools. In our voyage this is like filling the gas tank, getting a good map, and stocking up on all the necessities for a big trip. But the journey truly begins when you start to meditate, when you actually turn the ignition on and engage the yogas that take you within. This is when you’ll replace the map with the territory” Jamais o farei.

The 3 wisdom tools are the way we ingest, digest, and metabolize the teachings until they literally become us. If we remain at the level of hearing and contemplating alone, we’ll remain at the level of mere philosophy. The teachings may tickle your intellect or entertain you, but they won’t fundamentally change you.” I’m a mere philosopher!

I have had the good fortune of being around some of the most intelligent people on this planet, from famous scientists to world-renowned philosophers. I find them infinitely fascinating. But the ones who really touch me, who truly move me, who inspire me to change, are the most meditative people on this planet.” Na hora que filósofos e cientistas são úteis, você os utiliza – interessante!

The Tibetan word for ‘meditation’ is gom, which means ‘to become familiar with’. It is through meditation that you will become familiar with previously unfamiliar inner states of mind and body.”


“‘LUCID DREAM’ IS a term hinted at by the scholar Marquis d’Hervey de Saint-Denys (1822–1892), but which was coined by the Dutch psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden (1860–1932).” “Some scholars look at the popular definition of lucid dreaming as a Western term, because it assumes a (monophasic) culture where waking and dreaming are distinctly different states, an assumption that is not held by many indigenous (polyphasic) cultures.”

In the West, lucid dream accounts go back as far as Aristotle, with the first Western lucid dream report written in 415 by Saint Augustine. A lucid dream is when you wake up to the fact that you’re dreaming, but you still remain in the dream — that is, you’re dreaming and you know it.”

The 3 principal states of waking, sleeping, and dreaming are not mutually exclusive. Like everything else in reality, they interpenetrate. When you’re having a daydream, you’re dreaming in the waking state; when you’re awake in a dream, you’re lucid dreaming; when you’re awake in dreamless sleep, you’re lucid sleeping;¹ and of course from a spiritual perspective, when you’re ‘sleeping’ in waking life you’re a normal confused sentient being. Buddhas are simply those who remain awake in all states.”

¹ What the ACTUAL fuck?!

The validity of lucid dreaming was scientifically proven in 1975 by the psychologist Keith Hearne at Hull University, and then independently by Stephen LaBerge in l977 at Stanford.”

You can do whatever you want, and no one can see you. You can fly, have sex with a movie star, or rob Fort Knox.”

Flying and having sex are indeed the two most frequently engaged-in activities for lucid dreamers. See Bahar Gholipour, ‘What People Choose to Dream About: Sex and Flying’, LiveScience.com, July 10, 2014, livescience.com/46755-flying-sex-lucid-dream-content.html. Other common adventures are doing things that are impossible in waking life: breathing underwater, talking with animals, time travel, and being someone else.”

One reason adolescents and young adults get into trouble is because the prefrontal cortex isn’t fully developed until age 25, which leads to bad decisions and poor social control.”

Lucid dreaming gives you a chance to live the myth of Gyges, and to learn from it.” Would there be a quota for evilness?

being barely lucid might involve acknowledging on some level that you’re having a dream, but not acting with full comprehension. You might still flee from perceived danger, or treat dream characters as if they were real. Hyper-lucid dreaming would be full comprehension of the dreamlike nature of your experience in the dream, recognizing that even the sense of self in the dream is being dreamt. Hyper-lucidity could also refer to colors and forms in the dream that seem more vibrant and real than anything in waking experience.”

Young children tend to have lucid dreams more frequently, an occurrence that drops off around age 16. Younger people in general are more likely to have lucid dreams than older folks. Lucidity occurs as early as age 3, but it seems most likely to happen around ages 12 to 14. On average, lucid dreamers have 3 to 4 lucid dreams each month, with the average length of lucidity being about 14 minutes. [Não faz qualquer sentido terem conseguido medir isso!] Some 58% to 70% of people will have at least one lucid dream during their life.”

Lucid dreaming is becoming the latest rage. People are using it to get an edge on their competition. Researchers are working with it to treat PTSD. Sleep scientists in Germany are using it to enhance focus and performance in athletes. Actors, inventors, artists, writers, and musicians are increasingly practicing lucid dreaming to enhance creativity.” Me pergunto se qualquer coisa (mesmo “budismo profundo”, como vou chamar provisoriamente) ainda tem qualquer valor se passa a ser idolatrado pelo Ocidente!

MINHA DUNGEON DE GELO: “Dreaming in general has been connected to creativity for eons, and the literature is replete with examples. The German chemist Friedrich Kekule discovered the molecular structure of benzene in a dream, James Cameron’s dream of a robot-man eventually became the movie The Terminator, Robert Louis Stevenson came up with the plot for his novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a dream, and Paul McCartney’s song Yesterday came to him in a dream.”

Relaxa o sphincter and just lerigo uidaflô

The current popularity of lucid dreaming is both a blessing and a curse. We’ll explore the blessings throughout this book. The curse is that dreams, as being unreal, are often not taken seriously. Cultures that honor dreams are often dismissed as primitive.”


Fear in a dream doesn’t always disappear at the onset of lucidity. It’s more the realization that no physical harm can come to us in that realm that provides an opportunity to continue exploring the dream despite a fearful reaction to its contents.”

In Buddhism, entire volumes (like the Dasabhumika Sutra) are devoted to the stages of awakening, and each of the 3 Turnings has its own description, as well as varying articulations of the stages. A common classification is the 10 bhumis (‘levels’ or ‘grounds’) of spiritual development.”

“‘Fear’ is etymologically connected to ‘fare’ [tax]. Fear is the fare, or toll, that must be paid in order to grow. If we really want to wake up, we need to follow our fear into and through the darkest aspects of our being, for that is where the brightest light abides.

When Joseph Campbell uttered his famous maxim, ‘Follow your bliss’, he was speaking a partial truth. It is important to follow your bliss, and it can take courage, but if that’s all you do, you’ll just get blissed out. From a spiritual perspective, it can be more valid to say, ‘Follow your fear’. But similarly, if that’s all you do, you’ll just get freaked out. The Buddhist concept of the ‘middle way’, or ‘not too tight, not too loose’, is the ideal guide. Don’t become an extremist and lose your way by getting either snared in bliss or scared away by fear.” A filosofia do pequeno-burguês.

In my spiritual community we talk about ‘klesha attacks’, where the Sanskrit word klesha means ‘emotional upheaval’. It’s basically when someone loses it. It’s easy to identify klesha attacks of passion, aggression, jealousy, or pride, for example, but I’ve never been able to say, ‘I’m having an ignorance attack’. This is an irony, because if I see the world as solid, lasting, and independent (dualistically), I’m under attack. It means I’m under attack right now, I just don’t see it. This blindness is particularly damaging because every other visible klesha, and therefore all our suffering, arises from this one, the stealth bomber of ignorance.”

Dark retreat is a specific practice associated with thögal, one of the most advanced practices of Dzogchen. This retreat is also associated with the bardo teachings, and is sometimes referred to as ‘the bardo retreat’. Traditionally (and only under the strict supervision of a meditation master), a meditator goes into total darkness for 49 days. [???] During this period the shine of the clear-light mind manifests in various ‘visions’, akin to what happens during the second phase of the luminous bardo of dharmata after death. […] If you take these visions to be real, instead of attaining enlightenment, you attain insanity. It’s a potentially dangerous retreat. To a lesser degree, we suffer from varying levels of insanity when we take our daily ‘visions’, the appearances of waking life, to be real. Dark retreat shows the meditator the roots of all this madness. See Chögyam Trungpa’s introduction to his translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Boston: Shambhala, 1975); Tenzin Wangyal’s Wonders of the Natural Mind: The Essence of Dzogchen in the Native Bon Tradition of Tibet (Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press, 1993); and Christopher Hatchell’s Naked Seeing: The Great Perfection, the Wheel of Time, and Visionary Buddhism in Renaissance Tibet (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).”


WE TAKE SLEEP for granted, but it’s literally a lifesaver. Without sleep you would die. There’s a rare genetic disorder called ‘fatal familial insomnia’ that usually occurs in middle age, lasts about a year, and always ends in death. There is no cure” “Those suffering from sleep apnea have a significantly higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and a host of other illnesses. It’s a silent killer.” “there are over 70 sleep disorders” “Even if you don’t suffer from sleep apnea, sleep problems contribute to diabetes, obesity, anxiety, depression, immune suppression, substance abuse, strokes, heart disease, accidents, mood disorders and death.”

In a New York Times op-ed column titled ‘To Dream in Different Cultures’ (May 13, 2014), the anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann remarks on how our obsession with 8 hours of continuous sleep is a product of our electrified age, and artificial light. In pre-modern times, she says, people engaged in ‘punctuated sleep’, which is more akin to how our kindred animals sleep. She quotes Roger Ekrich, author of At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, who writes that people went to bed for the ‘first sleep’ as the sun set, but then woke up throughout the night: ‘There is every reason to believe that segmented sleep, such as many wild animals exhibit, had long been the natural pattern of our slumber before the modern age, with a provenance as old as humankind’, says Ekrich. In many ancient societies, what happened during the night was important, and because people woke up frequently, they remembered more of their dreams. Luhrmann goes on to quote the anthropologist Eduardo Kohn, who writes, ‘Thanks to these continuous disruptions, dreams spill into wakefulness and wakefulness into dreams in a way that entangles them both.’

scientist William Dement says, ‘Sleep is one of the most important predictors of how long you will live — as important as whether you smoke, exercise, or have high blood pressure or cholesterol.’” K. já nos acréscimos.

Dream yoga may or may not help with sleep disorders. It’s not meant to be a medical treatment. But it can help people relate to their disorders in a new way”

To sleep well you must literally do nothing. For many of us that’s not easy. But doing nothing, and doing it well, is one aspect of meditation. So the preparatory meditations for dream yoga that we will introduce can help with things like insomnia.”

unwind: relaxar ou: tirar o vento da cabeça…

One way to work with insomnia, via the inner yogas, is to engage what the Mahamudra tradition evocatively calls ‘subterranean samadhi’. With this practice you visualize 2 black pearls at the soles of your feet, one on each sole. By bringing your mind so far down with the visualization, the winds and bindus that have gathered at the head chakra (resulting in the insomnia) are also pulled down, and your mind is seduced toward the heart chakra where sleep occurs. (Bindus are like drops of consciousness, and chakras are energy centers where bindus gather to create states of consciousness, as we will see in chapter 5.) It’s an application of the ‘extreme path to the middle’ approach, where the middle is your heart center, and the extreme is the bottom of your feet. I’ve tried this with mixed success.” “When I’m stressed and ‘windy’, I invariably get a cold and have to sleep. In Buddhism, wind is considered the most powerful element.”

Biographers state that the Buddha slept very little—one hour a night—and took the occasional nap. I have asked several meditation masters, including Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Sokse Rinpoche, and Choje Rinpoche, about buddhas and sleep, and they assert that buddhas do not sleep.” ???

Their body may go into sleep mode (they lie down at night), but their minds never black out.” Sei.

Meditar, numa palavra, seria como descansar após a idade adulta. Utopia?

SOCIALIZAÇÃO: “The first split is toward the truth of our experience, refusing to accept our immediate experience as it is. The second split is when we add a disconnect from our immediate embodied experience, which is an ongoing dissociation from the truth that we’re embodied beings. The third split is when we add a continuous stream of self-referential commentary to our experience; we have an experience and we instantly make up a story about how it has to do with us.¹ The fourth level of disconnection is when we link moments of experience to one another, creating an illusion of continuity.² And the fifth level of disconnect is when we work to ‘stabilize a state of chronic struggle by maintaining the claim that there’s something really important that has to be fixed³ about us or about life’.”4

¹ Consolidação normal do ego?

² Maturação – estágio “kantiano” – diagnóstico consciente da lei de causa-efeito e conceituação das percepções de espaço-tempo.

³ Jack Shepherd Syndrome; communism?

4 Há uma hipérbole das “barreiras que o praticante de meditação” precisa transcender ou, senão, essas ‘cisões’ não estão em ordem cronológica… Dissociações do corpo ou da experiência imediata têm mais a ver com o filosofar ocidental ou o uso de narcóticos ou a ocorrência de episódios místicos que com processos de socialização infantis que viessem antes da third, fourth e fifth splits!

spiritual chronic fatigue syndrome” – se ter sonhos ansiosos é o critério para tornar-se um paciente desta síndrome, entrei nessa aos 20…

According to the Dalai Lama, and every resource I could find, there is no explanation within Buddhism for why we dream. [Idiota!] Perhaps it’s purely soteriological, or ‘pertaining to deliverance’. Perhaps we dream, and wake up from our dreams, to show us how we can deliver ourselves from samsara.” Isso já é mais do que a neurofisiologia contemporânea permite concluir.

There are 2 main kinds of sleep: non-REM, or quiet sleep, and REM, or paradoxical sleep. REM sleep is called ‘paradoxical sleep’ because while the brain becomes more active during this stage, muscles become more relaxed. Non-REM sleep is associated with restoration, deep relaxation, and an idling brain. People who suffer from sleep apnea don’t spend enough time in non-REM sleep, and therefore don’t get the needed restoration. (REM sleep is the sleep stage used in lucid dreaming and dream yoga. Non-REM sleep is used in the stage associated with sleep yoga.)

REM sleep, which accounts for about 25% of sleep in most people, is associated with rapid eye movement (REM), muscle twitches, sleep paralysis, an active brain, and dreaming. Sleep paralysis (atonia), which is when voluntary muscles become temporarily paralyzed, usually goes unrecognized, but sometimes we can be aware of it. The awareness of sleep paralysis results from an ‘out of sequence’ REM state. We’re not supposed to be conscious of our body in REM sleep.” “In recognized sleep paralysis, REM encroaches into wakefulness; in lucid dreaming, wakefulness encroaches into REM.” Hm, me parece perigoso!

With certain disorders, such as REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), sleep paralysis doesn’t work, and folks do things like beat up their sleeping partners, completely unaware of doing so. People have been arrested and prosecuted for this bizarre form of domestic violence. When my dog is dreaming, I often see him twitching and semi-barking, and I wonder what he might be chasing in his dream.” “Sleepwalking and sleep talking are different, and occur in non-REM sleep when there is no paralysis.”

Until recent improvements in technology refined our understanding, scientists measured 4 principal brain-wave states — beta, alpha, theta, and delta — as determined by an EEG, or electroencephalogram. Waking consciousness is associated with beta and alpha, and sleep with theta and delta. With refined instruments come refined measurements. Two new states have been added to these classic 4. At the very low end, epsilon 0–05 hertz has been associated with intense meditative states. At the very high end, gamma 30–100+ hertz is associated with the coordination of signals across longer distances in the brain, and is connected to complex actions or associations that require the simultaneous use of multiple brain areas. Research is moving away from these fixed stages as more sophisticated measurements of the sleeping brain are developed. With neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, PET scans), high-density EEG, and spectral analysis (which measures the amplitude and phase of electrical activity over wider frequencies and time scales), new models are emerging.” O EEG clássico não serve pra porra nenhuma – nem pra determinar insônia no paciente!

As brain waves settle from beta into alpha, we enter a pre-sleep stage called the ‘hypnagogic’ phase, which is a kind of gap (bardo) between waking and sleeping (from the roots hypnos, ‘god of sleep’, and agogia, ‘leading to’ — a lovely image). During this stage it’s common to have feelings of falling, or hearing someone call your name, experiences called ‘hypnagogic hallucinations’.” “This sensation of falling is interesting from the point of view of the inner yogas, as we will see, because falling asleep is when the bindus (drops of consciousness) fall from the head chakra into the heart chakra. It’s also suggestive that ‘contraction’ is associated with this stage, which could be a defensive response against falling into space. For a thorough look at the hypnagogic state, see Thompson, Waking, Dreaming, Being, 107–138.”

The psychologist Matthew Walker at the University of California at Berkeley, who led one study, says, ‘It’s as though the email inbox in your hippocampus is full and, until you sleep and clear out those fact emails, you’re not going to receive any more mail. It’s just going to bounce until you sleep and move it into another folder. Sleep is sophisticated, it acts locally to give us what we need.’ See Yasmin Anwar, ‘An Afternoon Nap Markedly Boosts the Brain’s Learning Capacity’, Berkeley News, 02/22/10,

newscenter.berkeley.edu/2010/02/22/naps_boost_learning_capacity.” K. deve estar presa em 2015 ou até antes!

Stage 4 is our deepest sleep and lasts about 30min in the 1st sleep cycle. (We cycle through these 5 stages 4-5 times each night, as described below.) It’s characterized by profound muscle relaxation and rhythmic breathing. This is where we’re fully offline.” “We spend about 12-15% of total sleep at stage 4, but that percentage decreases dramatically as we age (from up to 20% as a young adult to 3% by midlife), and by age 65 this ‘slow wave’ sleep can disappear altogether.” Isso se chama ‘preparação para o sono da morte’, amiguinho!

The sleep scientist Penny Lewis at the University of Manchester talks about sleep engineering, which is designed to optimize sleep, and sustain slow wave sleep as we age. The aspiration of sleep engineering is to therefore sustain cognitive function, reduce the effects of aging, enhance creativity, and facilitate problem-solving abilities.”

After resting in deep dreamless sleep for about 30min, we briefly come back up to stage 2, but instead of coming all the way back up to stage 1, we enter a new stage, REM sleep, or stage 5. In other words, stage 1 is replaced with REM sleep. After REM, we go back down through the stages again. REM sleep is when we dream the most.”

You actually consume more oxygen during REM sleep than you do when awake, unless you’re doing something aerobic. People often worry that lucid dreaming and dream yoga could make them less rested. Since most of our restorative sleep occurs in delta wave sleep, and dreams mostly occur during REM sleep when the brain isn’t resting anyway, this worry is unfounded.”

We go through these 5 stages 4-5 times each night, in about 90min cycles. After each REM period, we have brief moments of awakening, up to 15 times a night, when we toss and turn. This creates an opportunity to bring awareness to our dreams before cycling back into stage 2 sleep”

Just before awakening we can be in REM sleep for 45-60min, which is why we mostly remember our morning dreams. This is prime-time dreamtime.”

Don’t waste your time trying to have lucid dreams in the early part of the night. Get your restorative sleep. Wait until REM sleep is at its peak. When I do dream yoga retreats and have the luxury of taking naps during the day, I often practice lucid dream induction techniques throughout the night. This means I set my alarm to go off every 90min, which is when I’m most likely to be in REM sleep. I don’t recommend this as a regular practice, unless you can take naps during the day.”

This is all we need to know about the science of sleep to launch us into the nighttime practices.” nightmare of practices


Dream yoga itself hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years. It was designed by beings so awake that perhaps they didn’t realize that mere mortals like ourselves might need some baby steps. The classic practice texts are pithy, and therefore steep. The great contribution of modern lucid dreaming is to provide a gradual on-ramp. Lucid dreaming has much to offer for practitioners of dream yoga, and dream yoga has a great deal to contribute to lucid dreaming. Together they make fantastic sleeping partners. In these 2 chapters I will introduce a variety of induction techniques. There is no need to master them all. Triggering lucidity is the point, not the technique that gets you there.”

The point in presenting all these techniques is that you will eventually find one that works for you. When you do, stick with that. No need to do any other unless you wish to explore more possibilities. The only danger in presenting so many methods is that you might try one for a night or 2, give up, and then skip to the next. I recommend staying with a technique for at least several weeks.”

If you find it’s too disruptive to practice lucid dreaming during the week, then just do it on weekends. While it’s helpful at first to do a technique the way it’s presented, don’t be afraid to play around with it. Maybe a blending of techniques works for you, or your own method. Experiment, and have fun. If you don’t enjoy lucid dreaming, you won’t do it. While motivation and ambition are important, don’t be hard on yourself.”

A central teaching in any meditation is ‘not too tight, not too loose’. If you’re too tight, or try too hard, you’ll tie yourself into knots and won’t fall asleep. If you don’t try enough, you’re too loose, and you’re not practicing dream yoga. The ‘middle way’ approach is always best. It’s like tuning a guitar. Tune it too tight and the strings snap; tune it too loose and it makes a saggy sound. With balance, perseverance, and humor, you will learn how to tune your mind to make beautiful night music.”

Have you ever had to get up early and not had an alarm clock? By setting a strong intention to get up at a certain time, we often wake up at that time despite not having an alarm. In the same way, we can set an internal alarm to wake us up within a dream by setting a strong intention.”

In the East, intention is referred to as ‘the power of resolution’, and refers to the power of karma. Karma is basically the law of cause and effect. In Tibetan, ‘karma’ is translated by the word leh, which means ‘action’, and action is all about cause and effect. Fully constituted karma has 4 aspects: intention, action, successful completion and rejoicing. These refer to the intention behind an action, the action itself, successful completion of the action, and a sense of satisfaction in having completed the act. (…) The point with dream yoga is that through the power of resolution, we’re planting karmic seeds that can ripen in the dream and spark lucidity.”

Luz não é nada sem trevas.

If you’re reading this book, you’ve already started to set your intent. Studying the view, or philosophy, behind lucid dreaming and dream yoga strengthens it. To actually practice intention, say to yourself throughout the day, ‘Tonight I will remember my dreams. I will have many dreams. I will have good dreams. I will wake up within my dreams.’

In lucid dreaming workshops, people often say, ‘My goal is to become lucid in my dreams!’ When they do, they often immediately wake up and feel disappointed because the lucid dream didn’t last.” “They got what they asked for, so the key is to ask for more. It’s therefore important to set a goal beyond becoming lucid, so that lucidity eventually becomes the natural state, the platform, that’s required to accomplish even higher goals.” “A second essential ingredient for lucid dreaming is good dream recall. Even though we have at least 6 dreams each night, many people don’t remember any of them. LaBerge says that until you can remember at least 2 dreams each night, it’s better not to try the lucidity techniques.” “Because Western society tends to dismiss dreams, we also dismiss the importance of good dream recall. Other cultures that support dream recall also support what occurs in the night. The Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann (‘To Dream in Different Cultures’, op. cit.) spent time in evangelical churches in Accra, Ghana, and Chennai, India, and writes, ‘One of the more startling differences is that Christians in Accra and Chennai say that God talks to them when they sleep, and in their dreams. He wakes them up by calling their names. American subjects, asked about odd events in the night, were more likely to say things like this: I see things, but it’s just sleep deprivation. It seems likely that the way our culture invites us to pay attention to that delicate space in which one trembles on the edge of sleep changes what we remember of it’.”

Pelo visto, essa prática não é mesmo pra mim!


Many of the methods in this chapter come from Vajrayana Buddhism, which is largely a Tibetan tradition. Vajrayana (‘diamond vehicle’) is the last of the 3 main schools of Buddhism, the other 2 being the Mahayana (‘great vehicle’) and Hinayana (‘narrow vehicle’). The Vajrayana methods are meditative techniques that can be learned, practiced, and developed. If you don’t have success with them initially, as your practice matures so will your success”

Countless books are available on the inner body. From a Kagyu perspective, Rangjung Dorje, The Profound Inner Principles, translated by Elizabeth Callahan (Boston: Shambhala, 2013), remains the classic. [Um clássico de menos de 10 anos? No way!] For East-West perspectives, see Anodea Judith, Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self (New York: Celestial Arts, 2004) and Maureen Lockhart, The Subtle Energy Body: The Complete Guide (Rochester, NY: Inner Traditions, 2010).”

LIBERAR OS NÓDULOS DO CHAKRA E DO NEN: “The intermediate level of the inner subtle body is targeted in Chinese medicine, Indian Ayurveda, and other Eastern medical systems (via techniques such as acupuncture, acupressure, and moxibustion) for physical health.”

And just as there are outer yogas that work with the outer gross body, there are inner yogas that work with the inner subtle body. The dream induction techniques from Tibetan Buddhism engage these inner yogas.”

QUADRIPARTITE: “The subtle body has a sophisticated anatomy and physiology; our discussion here will address the 4 main constituents — referred to as the channels, winds, drops, and wheels. These are called nadi, prana, bindu and chakra in Sanskrit, and tsa, lung, tigle and khorwa in Tibetan. Each of these 4 inner aspects has outer-body correlates that can help us understand them.”

Although the subtle body isn’t a material body like the outer gross body, that doesn’t make it less real. In a sense it’s more real, because it’s the foundation for the outer body. In the Tibetan Buddhist view, the outer is an expression of the inner. The best way to explore the subtle body, and discover the 4 main constituents for yourself is through the inner yogas. That’s when you can prove to yourself that the channels, winds, drops and wheels are real, because you feel them, and feeling is even more convincing than seeing.”

1. Channels. The channels are the easiest elements of the subtle body to understand. Depending on which system you use, there are around 72,000 channels in our subtle body. These are like arteries, veins or even nerves. For our purposes we only need to know about 3: the central channel (avadhuti in Sanskrit, uma in Tibetan), the right channel (pingala/rasana), and the left channel (ida/lalana). The central channel runs from the top of the head to the base of the spine. The left and right channels begin at the nostrils, curve up to meet the central channel near the top of the head, then run parallel to it to a distance about 4-finger widths below the navel, where they merge with the central channel.”

The current rage in neuroscience is neuroplasticity, which is the discovery that the circuits in our brains are not hardwired. By changing our mind, we can literally change our brain. In a similar fashion, by changing our mind we can change our nadis, what we could call nadiplasticity. Meditation changes the configuration and texture of our nadis. The inner yogas simply target this process more directly.” “the configuration of our nadis dictates our talent for lucidity. Some people are just hardwired for lucidity.”

2. Winds. Within the channels flow the subtle winds, or prana, also known as chi, life force energy, psycho-physical energy, subtle bioenergy, even Holy Spirit in esoteric Christianity. The outer body correlate is most obviously respiration, but other parallels would include the flow of blood or the conduction of nerve impulses. The wind that flows through the right channel is called the ‘sun poison prana’, which is a masculine, extroverted, ‘in the world’, and very active energy. The wind that flows through the left channel is called the ‘moon nectar prana’, which is more feminine, introverted, and receptive. The wind that flows through the central channel is called ‘wisdom wind’, and it only ‘breathes’ when the 2 outer channels, which carry confused or dualistic wind, stop breathing. This occurs in very deep meditation or death.” Cabeça aberta é uma coisa, mas isso…

3. Drops. The 3rd aspect of the subtle body are the drops (bindus), sometimes called ‘mind pearls’. These can be the hardest to understand. Outer body correlates would include sperm and ovum, neurotransmitters, hormones, or anything that represents the concentration of life force energy. In spiritual practice, the drops are often visualized as shimmering beads of light, the size of a sesame seed. [Isso são resquícios de luz na retina e há um nome específico para esse fenômeno…] (…) Think of them as drops of consciousness.”

4. Wheels. The final aspect of the subtle body is also the most famous — the wheels, or chakras. Chakras are energy distribution centers. Depending on the system, there are usually 5 or 7 chakras situated along the central channel: base of the spine, genitals, solar plexus, heart, throat, forehead, and top of the head. Outer body correlates are the endocrine centers, which are, respectively, the adrenal glands, the testes or ovaries, and the pancreas, thymus, thyroid, pituitary, and pineal glands.”

If you don’t do inner yoga, you can still get a feel for the subtle body when you’re touched by sound or music.” “The next time you’re really touched by music, it’s your subtle body that’s being touched.” Eu tenho um corpo sutil muito desenvolvido!

Mantra, which is obviously connected to sound, also works on the subtle body. Mantras work in a number of ways, but in terms of the subtle body they serve to ‘straighten out’ the channels through which prana flows.”

First calm your mind with 10 minutes or so of meditation (next chapter). Second, you can do a brief prana purification exercise, which removes the stale winds and energizes the subtle body.” “take 3 slow and deep cleansing breaths. As you inhale, imagine pure life force energy flooding your subtle body. As you exhale, imagine that all the stagnant winds are blown out. You can do a final vigorous push at the end of your exhalation, as a respiratory exclamation point, with the sense that every last wisp of stale air is being expelled.”



Mindfulness is the art of keeping your mind on the present moment. It’s set in contrast to mindlessness, which is when your mind drifts away from what’s happening. Mindlessness is virtually synonymous with distraction, and mindfulness is a synonym for non-distraction.”

We start with effortful mindfulness, which is a relatively coarse level of mindfulness that dissolves as we fall asleep. But with practice, this level refines into effortless and then spontaneous mindfulness, which do not dissolve at sleep. This means that these more advanced levels are qualities of mind that you can hold on to when you go to sleep, and that keep you aware of what’s happening with your mind (phenomenologically).”

If we just go along with the usual stream of mindlessness, which most people unwittingly do, we don’t feel its enormous pull. We’re going with the flow. But the minute we sit down and begin to practice mindfulness meditation, the torrent of mindlessness is finally felt.” “It may seem like we’re training the mind, redirecting the flow of our attention from mindlessness into mindfulness. This is provisionally true. But on a deeper level, mindfulness is the natural state of the mind. If we just left the mind alone, it would always be mindful.” “This means that the only thing we have to do to realize effortless and spontaneous mindfulness is simply relax.” !!!

Scientists talk about ‘inattentional blindness’, which is when you fail to notice something that is fully visible because your attention has been directed elsewhere. Inattentional blindness is a more intense form of distraction, or mindlessness, that can literally kill. How many times have you been distracted by something, and then bumped, or even crashed, into an object? Studies of inattentional blindness reveal that visual perception is more than just photons hitting your eyes and activating your brain.”

Distraction, as the expression of ignorance, is the sustenance of samsara. When we get lost in the sleep of ignorance — lost in thought, distraction, or dreams — our samsaric lives are fed. We’ve hit the refresh button on confusion.” Estou caindo de sono lendo isso. E não é tarde da noite nem nada do tipo.

Unrecognized (discursive) thought is just the way we go to sleep moment-to-moment. Estimates put the number of these thoughts at around 70,000 per day. A 16-hour day has 57,600 seconds. Look at your mind to see if you have one or more distracting thoughts each second. LONI website, ‘Brain Trivia’, loni.usc.edu/about_loni/education/brain_trivia.php.” error 404

The basis of samsara is this: we just forgot.” “Sentient beings have forgotten that they’re buddhas; buddhas never forget. It’s a Zen-like conclusion — all this effort to learn, when all we really have to do is remember.” “This simple practice therefore has monumental repercussions. The spirit of re-membering starts with mindfulness, but ends with Buddhahood.”

With all our electronic gadgets, these clever weapons of mass distraction [destruction] (smartphones, tablets, and so forth), we only need to look at the world to see the truth of this maxim. Many traditions speak of our time as the ‘Dark Age’ (kali yuga in Hinduism), or in our terms, ‘The Age of Sleep’. This is the darkness of ignorance in its moment-to-moment expression as distraction. People often associate the darkness of this age with climate change, environmental destruction, religious and political chaos, and the like. But these are just overt manifestations of the covert origin of this darkness. Distraction is the real stealth bomber of our age. Technology is not the issue. Inappropriate relationship to technology is the issue.”

The return to Christ, or the Buddha within, begins when we return to the present moment. We start to heal the primordial dismemberment, the fracturing away of the psyche from the clear-light mind that results in duality, every time we come back to nowness.”

Every time you come back to your breath in mindfulness practice, or to the present moment in daily life, you are practicing enlightenment, and healing the primordial dismemberment that continues to reverberate in the mini-dismemberments that we call mindlessness.”

Detailed instructions and resources can be found in my book Meditation in the iGeneration: How to Meditate in a World of Speed and Stress (Lafayette, CO: Maitri, 2014). Pema Chödrön’s How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind (Boulder, CO: Sounds True, 2013) is another valuable resource.” Tudo engodo. Se quiser leia, mas faça o favor de piratear!

There are 3 phases to the instruction: body, breath and mind. These 3 phases interpenetrate and therefore support each other. Together they create a stable tripod that reinforces lucidity.”

It is taught that simply by taking the proper posture, sooner or later you will find yourself meditating. An attentive posture invokes an attentive quality of mind. The posture itself is supported by an attitude (or mental posture) of dignity, nobility, even regality”

Sit in the middle of a meditation cushion, or a chair. If you’re sitting on a chair, don’t lean against the back. Cross your legs if you’re on a cushion, or plant your feet squarely on the ground if you’re on a chair. Feel your connection to the stability of the earth. Rest your hands on top of your thighs and keep your back firm, but not stiff. A stable back represents the quality of fearlessness, but it’s balanced with an open and receptive front, which represents gentleness. Fearless and gentleness are two key ingredients in good meditation, and your posture literally embodies that. Pull your shoulders back and expose your heart, which is perhaps the central instruction with posture. All the other physical aspects of posture hinge around opening your heart.

Align your head above your spine, which usually means tucking it back in. We’re often ‘heading’ out in the wrong direction, and this inclination is represented in bad posture. Rest your tongue on the back of your upper teeth, and part your lips as if you are whispering ‘ah’. Later we’ll discuss how to extend this practice into a lying down posture, which is when you close your eyes, but for now it’s best to practice lucidity with your eyes open. Keep your gaze down at a point about six feet in front of you, but don’t focus on anything. Let your visual field be open and receptive, like your mind and heart.”

Physical movement is like camouflage. It decreases the contrast that would otherwise allow you to detect the movement of your mind.” Sacrilégio contra o corpo!



frequent lucid dreamers were less tense, anxious, and neurotic, and more likely to have more ego strength, emotional and physical balance, creativity and risk taking ability.” Tholey, ‘A Model for Lucidity Training as a Means of Self-Healing and Psychological Growth’, in: Gackenbach and LaBerge, Conscious Mind, Sleeping Brain, 276–277.

Further advantages: “banish nightmares”, “test alternate behaviors in a safe environment”, “accelerate activity of the immune system”, “synthesize the personality” (Patricia Garfield).

See Mayer, Extraordinary Knowing: Science, Skepticism, and the Inexplicable Powers of the Human Mind, for an elegant discussion on relative siddhi (sadharanasiddhi in Sanskrit). [poderes psíquicos!!!] Ramana Maharshi, and many other masters, warned people repeatedly against attachment to relative siddhi. Vajrayana Buddhism lists 8 ordinary siddhis: (1) the sword that renders unconquerable, (2) the elixir for the eyes that make gods visible, (3) fleetness in running, (4) invisibility, (5) the life-essence that preserves youth, (6) the ability to fly, (7) the ability to make certain pills, (8) power over the world of spirits and demons. (Ingrid Fischer-Schreiber et al., eds., The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion (Boston: Shambhala, 1989). Many other powers are listed informally in the literature, things like clairvoyance, clairaudience, and the ability to read minds.”

It is possible to trust such accounts if you understand that the nature of samsara is indivisible appearance and emptiness like a dream or a magical illusion. Without such understanding, it will be hard to believe them.”

SENECÃO: “If we’re not careful, psychic mastery over the physical world can become a sorcerer’s trap. Many people get stuck at the level of relative siddhi, thinking that’s the point. The real point, however, is absolute siddhi — which is when the world no longer has power over you.”

Humor comes from a root that means ‘liquid’, as in the humors (fluids) of the body.”

DL: “The dream has no dreamer.” “Thoughts have no thinker.”