26 Sep 2014

Before the silent meditation Alan talks about how the different practices that we had a look at in the past weeks work together and how they can be balanced in a non-retreat setting. So, Shamatha practice offers us the possibility of leaving the fight-or-flight mode and finally relax. But it is more than just simple relaxation as you develop a sense of ease and acceptance in relation to your identity. As Alan puts it: It’s ok to be who you are now (just don’t stay that way but keep practicing). You are definitely going in the right direction. When it comes to lucid dreaming your Shamatha practice will come in handy because what often happens to novices of lucid dreaming is that they get excited at realizing lucidity and immediately wake up. Thus, what you need is the sense of relaxation and stability from your Shamatha practice. Then, however, you want to engage with the dream, sustain lucidity and explore the dream world. This exploration is actually Vipashyana as you need both vividness and insight. In a non-retreat setting it is then important to balance your practice and really think about what you need at that moment when you sit down. Alan uses the analogy of a fridge full of tasty food: You have a range of practices to choose from, but you have to check your appetite. If you had a rough day you might just want to do the infirmary and not go for more advanced practices; if you feel grounded, you may just as well take the mind as the path; and if you feel balanced already, then why not have a session of awareness of awareness. Furthermore, think about how you combine your choices/sessions. After the meditation Alan goes back to the text and explains several issues concerning night-time dream yoga. He goes into detail as what concerns appearances. In the waking state as well as the dream state all appearances are empty and have the same origin: your substrate. However, the appearances that you experience in the waking state also appear to other people in a similar fashion, which makes them intersubjective invariants. This also allows for the possibility of you dying in your sleep e.g. from a rock (of which you have no experience since you are asleep) smashing your head into pieces: All you will experience is substrate, quickly a lot of pain and then substrate again. Alan then continues and draws the distinction between the appearances and the phenomena. As it says in the text first: All phenomena are LIKE a dream. This means that from the perspective of a sentient being they are dreamlike. However, from the perspective of rigpa all phenomena are part of a dream.

Silent Meditation cut out at 19:05

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