I know this is a rather small thing.
You talk in multiple places about the practice of visualizing a red lotus.
There’s a greytone image on p. 102 of Dream Yoga, but I have been unable to find a red one to print and use anywhere - I’ve looked in your books and websites, and searched google images using every name combination I can think of.
I’ve been enjoying and getting a lot out of the Foundations of Lucid Dreaming course on the Academy website. Hope to go through the material more than once. Is there a time limit to my access?
Ended up painting my own from this image.
What do the symbols on the lotus mean?
Letters of the Tibetan alphabet. Ah at the center.
Just random Tibetan alphabet letters that aren’t meant to represent anything?
Ah, is the first letter of the alphabet and the one that many of the DY teachings suggest to focus on in beginning dream yoga exercises. It represents opening, I believe. The other letters have meanings as I recall but don’t know what they are. Ah is also the first sound and open-arms practice used in Eurythmy, the visual speech taught at Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf Schools (Mystical Christian) and it too represents opening oneself up. Hope this helps.
Note: from Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangyal. The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep (p. 167). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
Visualize a beautiful red lotus with four petals in the throat chakra. The throat chakra is at the base of the throat, closer to where the neck meets the shoulders than to the head. In the center of the four petals, facing forward, is an upright, luminous Tibetan A, clear and translucent, like crystal made of pure light. Just as a crystal laid on red cloth reflects the color and appears red, so does the A pick up the red of the petals and appear red. On each of the four petals is a syllable: RA to the front, LA to your left, SHA to the back, and SA to the right. As sleep comes, maintain a light, relaxed focus on the A.
This part of the practice is meant to bring the mind and prana into the central channel. The quality is peaceful, and as we merge with the deep red A we find peace within ourselves. The teaching says that focusing on this chakra produces gentle dreams. The example given is of a dream in which a dakini gently invites the dreamer to accompany her. She helps the dreamer onto a mystical bird (garuda) or a lion and leads him or her to a pure land, a beautiful, sacred place. But the dream need not be this specific. It may just involve a walk in a beautiful garden or in the mountains, guided by other people. The quality of dreams generated has less to do with particular images and more to do, at this point, with the feeling of peace.
No time limit to the access on that material, and use the powers of your imagination to color in the lotus. It’s part of visualization practice, and actually a good mental exercise. Think and FEEL red!
Thanks Barry – as usual, you come to the rescue . . .
The Tibetan letters also double as seed syllables for the Five Buddhas, if that means anything to you. If it doesn’t, don’t worry. You can easily replace with the English: A Nu Ta Ra Om (blue, yellow, red, green, white in the center – so the lotus above needs to be turned 180 degrees). These are all refinements, so no big deal if you don’t resonate with this.
Thanks for that explanation Barry
Writing it helps me to remember to do it, too.
Could I tag along here and ask a question about this practice? I’m a little shy to make a whole new thread. Apologies in advance if that’s not in keeping with the forum etiquette or format or something.
I’ve been practicing this visualization from Andrew’s book. When I use what I know about how to concentrate on an object, I can maintain focus of attention on the visualization at the throat, but I can’t fall asleep. I’ve had a number of sleepless nights this way now. If I let go of the practice, I can get to sleep, but then I can’t use it to maintain presence of awareness through that transition.
I’m sure this has come up for someone before, but I haven’t come across anything yet. Would appreciate any guidance or conversation on this.
Hi Ben, welcome to Night Club. I’d love to hear what advice @Andrew might have to offer you, but meanwhile:
First, it’s totally legit to ask a related question on a thread as you have done; thanks for bringing an additional consideration into the red lotus topic.
I haven’t done this technique but in general anything that involves my mind focusing on something makes it extremely difficult to get to sleep, so this is relatable.
One approach would be to focus on different techniques that don’t interfere with your sleep. Another would be to do this practice for a period of time (e.g. 5 minutes, 20 minutes) and then let it go and allow yourself to fall asleep; it seems to me you’d still be doing a form of incubation that might influence your dreams later in the night. Or you could experiment with waking up in the middle of the night, and seeing if you can fall back asleep while doing this practice. Or you might try strategically depriving yourself of sleep for a period of time, then see if you can do it successfully under those circumstances, since your sleep pressure will be much higher, as well as having REM rebound working in your favor.
Another angle might be to see if there is anything interfering with your sleep – how’s your sleep hygiene? Are you using something like caffeine that may make it more difficult to sleep?
Finally, it might be helpful to experiment using this approach with liminal dreaming.
Thanks for the reply Arthur. Turns out, caffeine has been doing a number on me. There’s something I was eating that I didn’t realize had as much caffeine content as it did, and I discounted how much it might be interfering with my sleep. I’ve been sleeping better since cutting that out, maybe I’ll try the technique again and see what happens.
You’re welcome, Ben, and that’s great news! Best of luck with the technique, and let us know what happens.
This would be an excellent question to submit for the Thursday Q&A sessions! One thing I always remember from school is my teacher telling me “if you have that question, odds are someone else does too!” so please never feel shy to start a new thread. There is so much knowledge on this platform and kindness that you’ll never feel bad for asking!