I recently dreamed that I was attending a meditation retreat. Sitting on my cushion I closed my eyes and instantly disappeared into an infinite field of empty dazzling space. I WAS the infinite empty dazzling space! Seemed like I was in this space for some time before waking up out of it. While in this space it seemed timeless, so hard to know how long this lasted. It felt like I had been granted a little taste of enlightened mind, so I continued lying in bed meditating and seemed to be able to somewhat consciously re-enter this state. I would be curious to know if anyone has experienced this sort of “taste of enlightenment” in a dream or sleep state.
I am no expert, but I have heard Andrew describe Sleep Yoga as being very similar to what you said you experienced, if not the same thing.
Did you have a sense of self/ego during this experience that was able to differentiate between you and the space?
Very cool dream, I am jealous. I have not experienced this depth of meditation before, so I think,that means I need to start practicing more and longer.
@fenwizard Sounds like you touched the state of rigpa, congratulations. Remember to not cling to this experience (i.e. develop attachment to it).
During a lucid dream, it is one technique to sit down, meditate and close one’s eyes in order to enter rigpa. When I manage to do that, I touch briefly on rigpa but do not have the stability to remain there for very long and black out. In the morning, I wake up feeling happy.
The practice to attain stability is shamata.
@NightHawk999 Yes, that sounds like a sleep yoga experience what fenwizard wrote about.
It seems to me that he entered rigpa via dream. That’s one possibility.
The other would be to enter during waking state meditation by practicing dzogchen meditation.
In any case, in my understanding rigpa is the ground state which is there all along, seemingly obscured by coarse mental activity - like a cloud covered blue sky.
If for some reason the conditions are as such as the clouds are less dense or even the sky is clear, rigpa - which is ever-present - will shine through.
Actually, on an experiential level, it’s kind of like breaking through the cloud ceiling with an aircraft on take-off: the sun always shines above the cloud ceiling.
As I recall there was no separate sense of self. I was the infinite space itself.
The dream itself was not lucid. I didn’t say to myself “this is a dream, I will try meditating in the dream.” I was just dreaming about a meditation retreat and then entered this state. I think I became lucid after the state in that I realized I had entered this state through a dream. And it hasn’t happened since, although my mind is becoming increasingly quiet during my meditation practice. I don’t yet become lucid in dreams that often, but if I do I will try it again.
Sounds like textbook Sleep yoga from how Andrew describes it. That is a huge accomplishment! Was this your first time achieveing this in the dream state? What day of the week did it happen on?
I have heard Andrew say that 3 things can happen when you close your eyes and meditate in the dream:
1, is as you described above.
2. is it will cause you to wake up
3. (I forget the 3rd) but I think he said something like it will cause you to have a false awakening, or a dream within a dream.
How long did it take you to achieve the rigpa state by doing dzogchen meditation?
Is Dzogchen meditation different than the Shamata stages of meditation described in the book The Attention Revolution?
Loved the simile you used for describing rigpa.
Disclaimer: I am not a meditation teacher, I recommend you ask in any case an authentic dzogchen master (safest is one of a traditional lineage with an impecable conduct) and if it is for you, receive teachings and meditation instructions.
Since you asked me… there is a dzogchen saying: “The more one talks about it, the farther one is away from it.” There is a real danger of conceptualizing dzogchen meditation and thus mistaking the map for the territory, even for those practicioners who have touched on rigpa before.
That being said and to be remembered … Dzogchen meditation or the state of rigpa is not something one achieves.
In my understanding, it is your innate state which is conceiled by mental noise.
The practicioner meditates by means of settling the noisy mind.
When the mind becomes more and more settled, the underlying rigpa state surfaces naturally.
You don’t look for it, you don’t make it… you just settle, without interfering. That needs to be practiced.
Another tibetan saying of ripga goes like this “You can never find it… because you have never lost it.”
I.e. it is like the light of the stars: ever-present - also during the daytime.
Yes, it is different, although shamata (or “Zhine” in tibetan) is used in certain stages of dzogchen meditation, especially in the beginning stages.
In Shamata there is always a focus. Either focus on breath, or space of mind etc.
That can be used to settle the mind.
But practicing dzogchen means to rest without focus on an object.
It goes even farther, it means not only to not focus but it also means to not not focus (!)
Allowing the state of rigpa to arise and resting/being (in) it - is the meditation.
If of interest, you need to find a qualified teacher.
By the way, B.Alan Wallace teaches dzogchen and uses in that traditional approach the stages of Shamata to prepare the mind for dzogchen.
Well said. That was very helpful advice. With the guidance of a teacher, how long did it take for your mind to settle into its natural state via dzogcen?
Appreciate that explanation of it. The first person who taught me to meditate in a lecture, said to ‘focus’ on the gap between thoughts, and try to make it last longer and longer over time. Not sure if that was dzogchen, but, it was what made me fall in love with meditation. I could not get a gap of 1 second when I first started.
Yes, my first and only time. It just spontaneously happened. I have been meditating lying down while falling asleep or if I awaken in the night. So perhaps that is helping, Day of the week? I don’t remember. Not sure why that’s important.
Yes, except for me it wasn’t like breaking into sunlight but into some kind of deep infinite dazzling darkness. More like deep space. Paradoxically both dark and dazzling & sparkly. Hard to describe in words. And I WAS the space. It seemed timeless. I have no idea how long I was in that space.
Absolutely it is helping, Andrew says it is one of the most important practices to ‘achieve’ these types of nocturnal states.
Last week, early tuesday morning was a full moon and lunar eclipse. I would be very curious to know if your dream occured within 48-72 hours before or after that event.
Andrew has said on numerous occassions that these types of alignments can impact the nocturnal meditations in a big way. New moons and planetary conjunctions are also things to look out for (a new moon = a conjuntion of the sun + the moon). During his dry spell of lucid dreaming last summer, @KhyungMar had an avalanche of lucid dreams during the week of a new moon (he was also doing intensive daytime practices too, which greatly helped).
I fell asleep monday night watching one of Andrews videos, and I dreamed of him giving me an empowerment (like a spiritual invisible magic pill). After he did that I went into a state of pure blackness similar to what you described. However because it was the first dream of the night, the details have mostly vanished. I do not think it was true sleep yoga like you experienced (because I think such a profound experience would be far more memorable) but I think it may have been in the intermediary state where dream sleep collapses into deep sleep. Whatever it was, I am very glad you shared your experience, because I think it helped incubate whatever it was that I experienced. Thank you
You see, that is a good example of the danger of the power of concepts when talking about those experiences: the analogies I used were analogies - not to be understood literally. There is no light to be seen, but still it is luminuous spaciousness.
Another analogy used by B.Alan Wallace: it is like being in outer space, close to the sun, and the sun being at your back. So you are looking into dark space but the space around you is blasted with invisible photons. So, you don’t see anything, but it is an experience of energetic space. If a spec of dust would cross your field of vision, it would be illuminated.
Again, this is another analogy.
Sounds to me like it could well have been rigpa.
Respectfully, I prefer not to talk about my personal experience. Doing so could spawn subtle expectations, conceptualisations, comparisons and perhaps even hindrances.
I think, what can be said is that it is each sentient beings innate state which reveals itself spontaneously when the conditions are right. In any case, it is not a process of trying/effort. Rigpa can even surface naturally when the mind is quiet for other reasons, like physical exertion or by stunning beauty of nature, etc.
Traditionally rigpa is introduced after so called Ngöndro (purification) practice which prepares the “monkey mind”. After having done those exercises, the lama usually introduces the students to their own experience, i.e. points out/clarifies.
But, spontaneous experience of rigpa - without Ngöndro - is not unheard of.
As B.Alan Wallace says quoting a Theravada buddhist saying, it depends for the individual on how much “dust is on their eyes” (i.e. karmic disposition).
Thank you for telling me aboit Ngondro. I found this monk who talks about both outer preliminaries (first video) and the Inner preliminaries (second video). He also has a 6 page downloadable text:
In that case my eyes have gone swimming in a haboob
B. Alan Wallace’s description is very much like what I experienced!
OK I looked it up in my dream journal. It occurred in the morning hours of Sunday November 6. So a couple of days before the full moon and eclipse on that Tuesday. Close enough?
Absolutely, that is so cool, appreciate you letting me know! The times will vary a little bit depending on your location, but by me, the Eclipse started around 2am, and peaked at around 5am. So that puts your dream almost exactly within 48 hours of the event, maybe even a few hours closer.
Timeanddate.com is one of the best sites I have found for getting accurate times for your relative location, if you do a google search of “lunar eclipse november 2022 +[your city name]” it should be one of the top search results:
That Sunday night/ Monday morning of November 7th I had a minor precognitive dream (one that saw into the past kind of) about @_Barry
These events are very, very powerful.