Dream within Dream

I am at a presentation of a computer gaming company. They are presenting their newest shoot‘em-up game which is supposed to be even more realistic that the first version that I had played before. It is a huge dark auditorium with many interested people sitting in half-circle seat rows. At the front they have a huge multiscreen gamer cockpit setup.
Then the presenter asks if anyone from the audience would like to try. A couple of people storm the floor; I am a little slower but move also to the front because I‘m curious, too. One of the quick ones is sitting in the chair and starts to play the game. I notice that there are at least eight big screens so that the immersion into the game‘s scenary is absolute. I note to a person standing beside me „Look at the realistic visual effects! A couple of years ago, when we were younger, we would be totally crazy about any simple visual effect here and there. But now it’s totally realistic. Look at the individual leaves on the trees, even they have light reflections on them!“ I pan the screens and notice a huge number oft visual details of the game.
As I watch the changing game scenary through which the tester is leading us (switching to a bazooka :laughing:) I mentally say to myself „This is a dream!“ I resist the urge to be sucked in by the dream game‘s photorealistic atmosphere. In the dream I can feel the distancing from that energy… but I remain in the main dream, not noticing that I am dreaming! :upside_down_face:
I wake up and am a little frustrated that I did not become really lucid and aware that I was dreaming…


:grinning: Thanks, the end phase of the dream was indeed very vivid.

Meanwhile, I was pondering about the non-lucidity of the dream itself while at the same time being „lucid“ to the dream-within-the-dream“…

It is kind of ironic: When I said to myself in the dream „This is a dream“, referring to the illusion of the computer game, it seems that in the end I got exactly what I bargained for: lucidity of the onsetting immersion of the game‘s scenary. Nothing more and nothing less.


The time zone difference unfortunately makes it difficult for me to join the movie night… how was the movie?

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Thanks for your impression of the movie. I‘ll see if I can get it; sounds very interesting to me. :+1: I would have loved to hear the discussion afterwards… maybe next time :grinning:

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I did have a couple of false awakenings or similar experiences a few times several years ago, where I would dream that I was killed by a group of men at a construction site. They had thrown me into a pit and dumped tons of earth on me, suffocating me.
Then I would „awaken“ and seem to be laying awake in bed in my room and watch the ceiling. After a few seconds concentric circles of lights appear and slowly draw tight around my head building up to a physical tension and a kind of tingling pain in my head. I actually now remember a buzzing sound/vibration that came with it. Then I would rapidly wake up for real.


Thanks, I‘ll check into that!

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Waking Life. Find it on Amazon. Hits like a ton of bricks. Worth watching in a group or alone.


:+1: already ordered it


Here’s the chat discussion from the viewing. You might like to read it after viewing the movie. meeting_saved_chat.txt (8.1 KB)


Thanks Barry! It‘s appreciated!

This quote touches a point that I have been pondering for a long time. Here’s my take as a student:

One way of looking at it, is from the specific practicioner’s reference point and perhaps even more so his/her degree of realisation:

From a Dzogchenpa-view one could perhaps argue that cutting directly through the visions (dream, bardo or daytime) directly to rigpa (and resting there) is the only thing that “matters”. So why bother with visions at all?

I can imagine that from a Dzogchen master’s view this “cutting short” (i.e. not bothering with visions) is a valid quintessence.
If the master has realised the true, empty nature of visions already, he/she needs not to practice with them (anymore) and simply rests in rigpa, without being disturbed by visions, if they would arise.

Like a seasoned mountaineer who takes the direct route to a mountain’s peak - not being lured by possible detours (“seen that, done that, have been there already”) and not losing time on the way - , because reaching the peak is the essential goal.

For most other non-realised being this is probably very hard to do, since we are being constantly mesmerized by visions, not having realised their true, empty nature. There WILL be times (either in bardo states, dreams, etc) when the connection to rigpa is not so strong, in which visions WILL arise and we will go non-lucid.
So, a good question would be, how will the pracitioner handle these states then?

In contrast to the seasoned mountaineer, for the amateur mountaineers, this direct cutting-through route could be too steep (depending on practice realisation) and they would have to take the long way up (i.e. exploring and realising the nature of visions by engaging visions).

Temporary cutting through is of course possible, but as said above, there WILL be times when visions will be quite strong and possibly overwhelming.

Both views are surely valid, but for the student pracitcioner, the “direct” way could also be dangerous in terms of spiritual by-passing, if one is not conscious of a possible tendency to patronise vision phenomena and our reaction to them. This is in my opinion a danger.

As in the Chod saddhana, the visions are “…the dance of the unobstructed, self-arising energy of the base, dissolving in the state of non-dual wisdom”. (From the “Laughter of the Dakinis”)

Nothing more but also nothing less.
Seeing them as “nothing more” bears the chance of patronising - a form of nihilism.
Seeing them as “nothing less” bears the chance of reificiation - a form of eternalism.

The dream- (and the daytime) reactions to visions are the gauge and truth tellers of how much the practicioner is still being un-lucidly mesmerized by the respective visions and loses conscious connection to rigpa in the process. This is surely the most common situation for most pracitcioners.

So, my take is, that if one’s practice realisation is strong and constant enough to cut through the visions one does not need to focus on realising visions as the practice path. It seems to be a choice of practice.

Finally, it needs to be said, that Dzogchenpa-masters such as H.E. Lopon Tenzin Namdak and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche maintain always that “visions are not a problem” and TWR once said to students “The Dzogchenpa has no problem with forms”.

My understanding is, that in Sleep Yoga the practioner rests all-out in rigpa (“seasoned mountaineer”).
In Dream Yoga, the practicioner engages visions while having a non-exclusive connection to rigpa, with varying degrees of non-lucidity, exploring the “self-arising energies of the base”.

Of the four bardo states, there will be one in which there is a chance to recognise and rest in clear light and also one state in which visions will arise. Depending on the pracitcioner’s aptitute in the respectice practice, there are several distinct chances to liberate from samsara, depending on practice realisation.

Both paths do not exclude one another as many Dzogchen-masters (such as Namkhai Norbu and many others) practice both paths.

P.S. Just to be complete in interpretation of the quote: the term “forgetting” as in “…forget the beginning of the dream…” can have a positive connotation, such as in the colloquial “forget about it!”.
It can have the connotation to deliberately “not engage in mental activity about something”.
In this case, I take it to possibly mean as advice to “be conscious about that you are engaging in the mind’s energetic play and don’t elaborate”.
As in the Dzogchen practice advice shared by several teachers “Leave it as it is”. Meaning, don’t engage, don’t elaborate, don’t deny".


@Sujata just my take, glad some of it resonates. I have found that I need to be very conservative with my social media/internet time. I feel much better having drastically reduced it now. Will check in from time to time though :slight_smile:


@cloudragon :slight_smile: yes, me neither. I guess we continue practicing, right? :slight_smile:


It is important to emphasize that I can only try to answer your question as a student, whose view and practice is for sure faulty in some aspects.
Also, as important, please remain aware that when discussing or thinking about dzogchen practice, even when defining words, we are automatically reifying thought concepts which do not reflect the real experience of dzogchen practice, which is by its essence non-conceptual. We can talk about it, as long as we don‘t forget to remember to not confuse the map with the territory. Sorry if that sounds smart aleky, but there is a real danger of intellectualising dzogchen, which leads one in a totally wrong direction.

That being said… as I have learned and understood, „contemplation“ in my dzogchen practice means to rest in the nature of mind. I was instructed to practice resting in rigpa without following thoughts which will arise inevitablly. Practicing to rest in the nature while leaving mental phenomena be as they are, not following, not elaborating, not denying them, leaving them as they are while resting in still, silent, luminous space of one’s settled mind.
With practice it is said to be possible to remain more and more in this state while going about one‘s daily business, while not losing lucid connection to rigpa.
… <— here ends the „map“ :wink:


yes, beautiful essence teaching of a master!

…while resting in rigpa, any phenomenon, if it appears, is experienced non-dually. It is said that phenomena can still appear, but they are rather seen as ornaments of vibrant experience instead of disturbances.