Touching on notions of 'concepts,' and non-dualism

I call myself DI (Dream I) in dreams.

DI was in the presence of a dark-skinned woman who was in charge of scanning tokens. DI was handing them to her one at a time. In DI’s hands they appeared like credit cards, but as DI handed them over, they appeared to be coin-sized.

DI noticed that the woman turned them over ‘once’ before fitting them inside a tight boundary of a scanning circle. The tokens presumably had to be aligned ‘just right’ to be accepted. One token at a time. This was repeated several times. DI wanted to speed things along and indicated that DI would flip them over first before handing them to the woman. The woman nodded and took the next proffered token.

There was a problem when the woman tried fitting it into the scanning circle. DI could see that the edge of the ‘pre-flipped’ token was smeared with a runny, white substance. Paint? Maybe glue? It was taking awhile for the woman to remedy the situation so the token could be accepted.

In the meantime, DI held a stack of at least three more credit cards in her right hand. DI handed them to the woman. It didn’t feel like DI was giving her a gift. It felt more like DI decided to accept an insignificant loss–hand off the cards so they wouldn’t be wasted, and move on. This was the end of the dream.

I record and analyze my dreams almost daily, and right now, I am focused on ‘dharma,’ so what I took away from this dream has to do with my personal notions regarding ‘concepts,’ as non-physical constructions and notions related to non-dualism. I’m less focused on the mechanics of dreaming just now and more focused on content.

After a lengthy analysis, regarding my concepts related to credit, poker chips, two sides of a coin, winning and losing, the middle way, attachment to outcomes, etc., I concluded that I can view this dream as abandoned potential (loss), an inexpensive insight (gain)—or both, or neither. In any case, it was an experience that helped me better understand that I operate from concepts. Everything here is a concept about something I perceive, including the analysis. The seeing into the nature of my existing conceptual frameworks reduces habitual behavior. Strengthens volitional action. This frees me more and more in myriad ways. A helpful insight.

Anyone else studying dharma and looking to their dreams for insight? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience. Peace out!


I liked your detail and find the analysis very interesting.

I am also trying to relate my nocturnal experiences to Dharma practices but on a more literal note, maybe because I’m not so experienced with Dharma practices, or perhaps not having such good dream recall. Instead, I pay attention to my thoughts and responses to dream situations that I observe or take part in, lucidly or non-lucidly, and evaluate them as experiences removed from my five senses and my heavy social conditioning—and thereby, they are more representative of my unconscious “self,” the self that I am trying to awaken from shadows and reification.

For example, in one recent dream situation where I would usually have gotten angry and reacted negatively in waking life, I was very calm and felt that I responded in a way that was beneficial to others and myself. I reflected on that as evidence that my daytime practices had borne some fruit. Small fruit, perhaps a cherry or two is all. Maybe just the pits? So I don’t really look for symbolism that much since my dreams are usually of a different ilk, yet I believe there is always some type of lesson to be learned, even if is only that I had a dream and remembered it. Then it’s one point earned for The Memory!


Thanks for your kind response. I think your method sounds like a very interesting way to work using your mental consciousness. To look at your dreams with comprehensive objectivity. Sounds like a very beneficial practice to me. Bravo!


Sounds like Bodhgaya, where you hear that prayer, continually on a loop when you first enter the grounds. What a fine dream!


Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts. :slightly_smiling_face: My immediate reaction (admittedly a ‘compare’) was that maybe you know your ‘deeper/inner/higher/lower/intergalactic’ self more intimately than I do. LOL! I love the richness of your imagery and bow to the workings of your mind.

I’m grateful too for the reference to Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s dream yoga book. I am not familiar with his work, and I’m drawn to the notion of ‘manifestations of karmic traces,’ in the sleep of dreams. Sounds fascinating! Interesting. So much to explore.

I often feel like I did as an eager new student stopped dead in my tracks in front of the library by the notion that there is so much knowledge and information I will never ‘know’ or have time to consider. An expansive feeling of awe. I still can’t wrap my mind around this concept more than 30 years later. LOL.

Thanks again for your comments. May you be happy, well and at peace :slightly_smiling_face: :upside_down_face: :slightly_smiling_face: :upside_down_face:


Sure :slightly_smiling_face:…and maybe we can enjoy the trip, yes? This little snippet from one of my dreams last night will make you smile. It’s out of context for brevity, but for me it points to an attitude I can have about learning more about what’s down there for me. A choice I can consciously make as I ‘approach to engage,’ at a deeper level. Made me laugh out loud!

‘As she went down, at one point she was aware that she was playing on the stairs. Her feet had big black boots on them, like over-sized army-issued ‘bunny-boots.’ She was careful and quick in them. She knew that she could fall if she didn’t pay attention to her steps as she enjoyed herself on her way down. There was a point where DI hopped with her feet angled ‘toes-right’ and then swiveled in the air to land on the next step ‘toes-left.’ She smiled and hopped and felt her way at times—aware of the distance that often varied between the steps. Always planting her feet correctly. She knew as she did this that she had to pay attention. She landed with a bit of a flourish at the bottom and moved out to pick up the rags…’


Thank you for your wonderful sharing! I also tend to see the dharma in my dreams. One of my closest spiritual friends often says that everything is related to our dharma practice - dreams included! I have not had many auspicious dharma dreams, but I do see aspects of my practice play out in them.

Re: karmic dreams - I can’t remember if it is in Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s book or Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche’s, but along with that karmic classification that are also dreams of clarity. These tend to happen near dawn and may have signs or portends in them. Dream analysis is also used in Tibetan Medicine. Dr. Nida has a really interesting book on it!


Cool…and oh I agree with your friend most wholeheartedly–separation as illusion in all our experience–LOL!

Thanks for your share about seeing your experience from practice play out in your dreamtime and your mention of clarity dreams. I’m not familiar with distinctions here, but I just got a copy of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s The Yogas of Dream and Sleep and am especially interested in his commentary on karmic traces and the types of dreams including dreams of clarity. There is so much to explore…

I did have one dream experience I can remember that hinted at non-duality. Dream ‘I’ was running with joyful abandon down a snow covered road in an increasing blizzard. No sense of weight, cold or discomfort of any kind. My heart was leading the way, legs sprinting easily full speed ahead! The swirling snow at one point just became all–merged I guess with my experience–I can’t say. But I know when I woke up I knew something, or something more that couldn’t be explained. It felt right.

I’m also grateful for the nod toward Dr. Nida. Interesting to be sure. I noticed that when I’m lucid lately and look directly at dream content, I wake myself up. I think I’m trying too hard…lol… and my eyes stop moving (maybe). I’m going to experiment with bringing the motion of walking meditation into the experience (if I can remember to do it) to keep moving in the dream–and by extension keep moving my eyes? I’m just beginning to experiment with making changes in my dreams. So nice to connect with like-minded friend.

Thanks again for the share! Be well, happy and at ease. Sweet dreams!


It sounds like your practice is going amazingly well! I totally hear you on the trying hard part. Still though, it is wonderful to hear how well you are working with your dreams. Enjoy the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep and Dream - it is a true gem!