Dzogchen, which is the ultimate healing practice in all of Tibetan
Buddhism, and lucid dreaming, which is when you wake up inside of
a dream and realize you are dreaming, can shed light on each other
in a way that illuminates both.
In Dzogchen, our situation is likened to a kitten, who, seeing
her own reflection in a mirror, reacts and becomes conditioned by
the reflections, thinking it is another kitten, not realizing it
is simply her own energy. This metaphor is a perfect one for lucid
dreaming as well, as the nonlucid dream ego thinks that the dream
is both real and separate from him or herself, not realizing that
the dreamscape is none other than their own mind.
In Dzogchen, the metaphor most commonly used to describe our situation
is that of a mirror and its reflections. The reflections in a mirror
are like the thoughts in our mind, which if we don't recognize as
being an illusory, impermanent, unmediated, manifestation of our
true nature, we will react to, identify with, become conditioned
by, absorbed in and embody. Our true nature state, on the other
hand, is likened to the mirror itself, which underlies and embraces
all of the reflections, all the while remaining pure and changeless,
never being tainted or stained by any of the reflections. It is
important to realize that each thought in our mind is like a dream;
once we become absorbed in a thought, we have literally entered
a complete dream universe and have evoked and stepped into an illusory,
limited and arbitrary identity which we experience as being who
we truly are. In Dzogchen, if we get immersed in our dream-like
thoughts and don't recognize the pure, mirror-like nature of our
mind, we are literally considered to be nonlucidly dreaming.
The problem is that as long as we are identified with and absorbed
in the imagination or thought of being a separate self we are going
to resist part of our experience, as resistance and contraction
are themselves the very expression of the separate self. Once we,
as a separate self, see that we are resisting our experience, we
will undoubtedly try and not resist, which is just another, more
subtle form of resistance, and we will find ourselves in a self-created
double bind, a prisoner of our own mind once again.
Dzogchen truly offers us the key to liberation; from the Dzogchen
point of view, these contractions and resistances are themselves
seen to be the unmediated expression of the enlightened mind itself.
If we don't recognize this, we will react to our resistance like
it is something real and separate from ourselves, seeing it as a
true obstruction to our enlightenment. If our resistance is seen
in this way, it will, in no time whatsoever, spontaneously shape-shift
and manifest as a seemingly genuine obscuration, as it is nothing
other than our own reflection, and we will once again be caught
in the infinite regression known as samsara or cyclic existence.
On the other hand, if we recognize our resistance as the unmediated
expression of our enlightened nature itself, which is none other
than to become lucid in the dream, not only does the resistance
not last very long, but it ceases to be problematic, as we are no
longer resisting our resistance, and have thus snapped out of our
infinite regression. The resistance then reveals itself to be the
very vehicle through which we have deepened our realization, as
we have embraced even the part of ourselves that is non-embracing.
For more articles about dreaming, see www.communityconnexion.com/levy