s1va

The Myth of Conscious awareness in Sleep

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23 hours ago, s1va said:

 

I think we may have different conceptual background and possibly different understanding of certain basic building blocks, or may be we are using the same terms with different meaning from our experiences.  Such differences are entirely fine with me and we don't have to necessarily agree on this.  I know you are speaking from your experience and respect that completely.  Sleep is not just loss of objects of awareness to me.  I explained the conscious and subconscious layers in a post earlier, it is the subconscious layer that is active during the sleep and not the conscious layer.  The ratio of the conscious layer vs. the subconscious changes as we progress, when a chakra opens, we are expanding to include another layer of subconscious layer into the conscious layer.  The mind is made up layer after layers.  We start with the lowest level of conscious layer and everything else veiled in the subconscious layers of the mind.  As we evolve and grow we further integrate  layers of subconscious mind into the conscious layer of our mind.  Thus the conscious layer grows.  Sleep is always the subconscious part of the mind and the conscious layer is absent.  I don't even know what the absence of objects mean.

 

The levels of consciousness or the nirvikalpa samadhi stopping after a certain state that I mentioned are from my own personal experience (verified by some others who have reached or experienced the same states) besides the comments about Buddha.  I consider myself to be fortunate to have come in contact with some who in my opinion have reached the state of Buddha.  Doesn't matter what others believe or think about it.  Based on reading certain sutras given by Buddha and also communicating with persons who I consider to have reached that state, I am able to come to certain conclusions and express them confidently.  I can understand that if this does not sound right or makes anyone uncomfortable. 

 

You are more than welcome to post in opposition to the topic of this post as long as you do it in a constructive way without any malice as you have done so far.  But, this topic is what I believe based on my experiences and know to be true, having conscious awareness in sleep just like waking state is a myth to me beyond any doubt.   You are expressing your objections positively in a non-confrontational way.  This is something I not only appreciate but welcome.  IMO, such constructive objection against a topic and open discussion can be a lesson to many here in forum, to learn how to object to a topic without malice or resorting to ridicule of opposing ideas to illustrate or assert one's expertise on a topic. 

 

If you would like to further expand from your experience as to why you object to the title of this thread, please do not hesitate and just feel free to proceed,  even take apart the title if you feel so :).  I am not attached to this topic and I welcome sincere and constructive opposition to the topic with open heart.

 

Thanks once again for sharing!

 

In the Bön teachings, conscious and subconscious mind are all considered mind. In waking we practice mostly with the conscious mind. As meditation deepens, more of the subconscious content and workings are illuminated by consciousness.

 

In dream yoga, we become conscious in dream and have the opportunity to practice with content that is normally subconscious.

 

In sleep yoga, we become conscious in deep sleep, in the absence of dreams. It is a practice of recognition and stability of the Nature of Mind. The mind and body contain many layers obscuring the pure awareness that knows itself, whatever you prefer to call it.  It is said that in the Bardo after Death (the Clear Light Bardo), when we no longer have a body to limit our clarity and experience of spaciousness, they are far greater than anything we can experience in life. Cultivating awareness  in deep sleep is said to be the closest we come to this experience in life, as we are temporarily “free” of the body and workings of mind.

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20 hours ago, Everything said:

I have retained awareness fully in my fully awakened body, from wake induced lucid dreaming, hallucinations, prior to dreaming, to dream induced lucid dreaming. Even the dream induced lucid dreaming into the end of the rem cycle to a no body awarenes, back into pre wake induced lucid dreaming hallucinations and the whole experience of wake initiated lucid dreaming. SO freaking many times. It's so freaking booooring...

Who cares? rlly!? Dreams are stupid and meaningless and fake, unless your life is awesome, your dreams will also always be awesome.

thanks for sharing your own direct experience.

this is amazing.  we both have had lucid dreams, and we both have different beliefs of what they are.  how wonderful!  while many of my dreams are "boooooring", many are very profound, and the ideas of "real and unreal"have no meaning. but that is my personal experience, and you have yours, and this is the reason I got on DB's. to share personal experiences with others and marvel at the amazing differences in our life experiences.  

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41 minutes ago, steve said:

 

In the Bön teachings, conscious and subconscious mind are all considered mind. In waking we practice mostly with the conscious mind. As meditation deepens, more of the subconscious content and workings are illuminated by consciousness.

 

I would agree that the subconscious and the conscious layers make up the mind.  I will try to explain my view on this from my personal experience.  But I am going to borrow some helpful definitions from Kashmir Shaivism and from Vedanta (Hindu Upanishads), where some of these concepts are defined and explained already.  What we call as Mind is made up of 4 components.  1) The Sensory Mind (Manas) - It is composed of the sense perceptions (tanmatras - form/vision, sound, smell, taste and touch) and brings about the sensation of world through 5 sense organs and with the 5 gross elements.  2) Intellect (Buddhi) - that which discerns.  3) The ego (ahamkara) -  the arising sense of individuality or 'I' and 4) Chitta - I mentioned it is similar to subconscious in an earlier post.  But Chitta is much more than that.  It consists of all our latent impressions (vasanas), habit energies and mental formations.

 

The Chitta is the part of the mind that is active all the time --  during the sleep and waking state.  I borrowed the following diagram from the site Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo to explain.   The waking state is called 'Jagrat' or the conscious awareness state, the dream state is called 'swapna' and the deep sleep is called 'sushupti'.  The subconscious layer is still very much active in the waking state (also).  The subconscious layer  dictates many of our actions in the waking state.  For instance, our likes and dislikes, what each person considers pleasant or unpleasant (feeling of aversion) comes from this layer during the waking state.  Majority of most people's actions during the waking state are the result of the subconscious mind, basically auto-pilot actions driven or dictated by the underlying habit-energy or impressions collected from the past (vasanas). 

 

As shows in the following picture, the conscious awareness or the jagrat chitta is active during the waking state.  During the sleep phase it is the Vasana chitta or the subconscious layer that is active and functions.   This is the same for everyone.  It is not possible to have the jagrat chitta or conscious awareness during the sleep phase.  There is an exception, which is the lucid dreaming.  During lucid dreaming we get something like the jagrad chitta or conscious awareness during the dream phase of the sleep, the intellect seems to be active during the lucid dreaming, but the sensory mind is still absent.  Lucid dreaming is of limited value as I explained earlier in this thread, this is in my experience and also explained by various other sources.  The sensory mind layer (manas) is absent during the sleep.  The buddhi or the intellect layer is also predominantly off during the regular sleep but it can come on.

 

I have given a very brief explanation of the parts and the working of the mind as explained in KS.  Anyone interested can search and refer to other resources available online or also to books or other traditional texts.  For instance, the Integral Yoga of Aurobindo, some texts from Kashmir Shaivism & Vedanta explain the inner workings of the 4 layers of the mind in detail.  I came across an article by Satguru from Isha where he explains the components of mind in brief detail and how chitta is the only layer that is active 24/7 during the waking state and sleep.

 

download.png.db6e1b5a2c5cb405053bf13bf32d8343.png

 

 

1 hour ago, steve said:

In dream yoga, we become conscious in dream and have the opportunity to practice with content that is normally subconscious.

 

As per dream yoga, I think it has benefits but they are limited in my opinion.  It may help in cultivating certain good sleeping habits and may be of some limited value in helping to understand that everything arises from the mind.  The subconscious impressions do get untangled and released to certain extent even during regular sleep.  This untangling and the release of the latent impressions is what is perceived by the mind as dreams during the sleep.

 

1 hour ago, steve said:

In sleep yoga, we become conscious in deep sleep, in the absence of dreams. It is a practice of recognition and stability of the Nature of Mind. The mind and body contain many layers obscuring the pure awareness that knows itself, whatever you prefer to call it.  It is said that in the Bardo after Death (the Clear Light Bardo), when we no longer have a body to limit our clarity and experience of spaciousness, they are far greater than anything we can experience in life. Cultivating awareness  in deep sleep is said to be the closest we come to this experience in life, as we are temporarily “free” of the body and workings of mind.

 

I would like to respectfully disagree once again.  As I explained earlier, it is my view and experience one becomes conscious only in lucid dreams.  Practicing mindfulness or trying to reside in the present movement during the waking state consistently eventually carries over into the sleep states also.  From my experience, a separate practice to cultivate awareness especially in deep sleep or during dream phase is not needed or essential.  As the article that I linked in the OP states, it is better to just let go, relax and sleep instead of trying to bring awareness, or pictures of characters into dreams, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, steve said:

 

In the Bön teachings, conscious and subconscious mind are all considered mind. In waking we practice mostly with the conscious mind. As meditation deepens, more of the subconscious content and workings are illuminated by consciousness.

 

In dream yoga, we become conscious in dream and have the opportunity to practice with content that is normally subconscious.

 

In sleep yoga, we become conscious in deep sleep, in the absence of dreams. It is a practice of recognition and stability of the Nature of Mind. The mind and body contain many layers obscuring the pure awareness that knows itself, whatever you prefer to call it.  It is said that in the Bardo after Death (the Clear Light Bardo), when we no longer have a body to limit our clarity and experience of spaciousness, they are far greater than anything we can experience in life. Cultivating awareness  in deep sleep is said to be the closest we come to this experience in life, as we are temporarily “free” of the body and workings of mind.

I agree with you completely and I love the eloquent, precise manner in which you have described the process. I have practiced "conscious sleep" ("chetan nidra" or "sleep yoga" as you call it) for many years and have actually discussed the process at length with Buddhist monks in the highlands near Luang Prabang (Laos), Sufi Shaiks, Tibetan Buddhists in Lhasa many years ago, and other practitioners. Everything you wrote is very consistent with my own understanding and practice.

 

At the Haridwar Khumba Mela in 1998, I personally met for the first time a yogi who reportedly had not slept in the traditional manner (supine) for years and, through an interpreter, asked him how he did it. He stared at me for a while and then responded directly to me in two words, "chetan nidra", which of course means "conscious sleep". The interpreter looked at me and said that he wasn't sure how to explain that response to me but I assured him that I understood and didn't need a further explanation. My colleagues and I checked out this yogi for the 3+ weeks that we were in Haridwar. We saw him during the daytime at the bandaras (feasts) and also at night at his tent beside the Ganges. At no time during that period did we ever see him lying in the supine position or unconscious.

 

When I did a brief stint in Adult Protective Services, our organization worked closely with VPS (Visiting Psychiatric Services). One of the psychiatrists, who knew about my travels and interests, jokingly asked me if I had ever met any of the well-documented cases where yogis go without traditional supine sleep for years. I responded that I had met such a yogi personally and, when I described the process, he said that my explanation was the only explanation that he had heard which made sense from a medical perspective.

 

Using your terminology, I find "dream sleep" to be very helpful in identifying latent urges (subconscious as well as the obvious conscious ones) that trigger dreams. Like yourself, I feel that cultivating awareness in deep sleep does indeed seem to be the closest we come to the experience of the Clear Light Dharmata Bardo in life as we are temporarily "free" of the body and workings of the mind. I also find it illuminating to observe the transitions between the three states --- particularly the transition from the deep sleep state to the so-called waking state.

 

I hope that you post more on this subject as your observations and preciseness of language are very much appreciated. You have stated it better than I could. Thank you.

 

 

Edited by Still_Waters
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On 1/23/2019 at 7:13 PM, steve said:

This may be a bit of a detour but I'd like to share about yogas of dream and sleep.

In the Tibetan Bön tradition, they are part of the tantric teachings and are considered precious.

 

There are two distinct stages - lucid dreaming and the clear light of sleep.

Dreaming is practiced first. The benefits of lucid dreaming are multiple. 

As a tantric practice, it is a great opportunity to work with personal transformation.

We are aware that we are dreaming and, with a little practice, able to act intentionally in the dream and change it at will.

But we are dreaming - sights, sounds, trains of discursive thought... that is dream yoga.

Cultivating the ability to transform the dreams leads to greater flexibility and freedom in waking life.

It also helps understand illusory nature of all experience, asleep and awake.

 

Sleep yoga bypasses dream or uses dream as a springboard.

Reaching the clear light is a bit like samadhi - total clarity, openness...

No visions, no images or arisings. A feeling of pure awareness floating in boundless space.

Effortless and very stable, feels like there is an inertia of stability.

The teachings say that reaching the clear light even a few times in life helps at the moment of death to recognize the Nature of Mind and self-liberate.

 

Peace

 

 

After reading your latest post, as accessed via this site's activity log, I was so impressed that I am working backwards in this thread to read your other posts. It is very rare for me to be in complete agreement with something that another has said or written, but what you have written here is something that I could have written myself albeit not as eloquently as you have just done.  Even your terminology is very agreeable to me. Thanks for sharing.

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On 1/23/2019 at 3:37 PM, dwai said:

:) I also wrote that the realization that one is already Turiya seems to be hidden by the focus of the mind on objects external and internal. The classic example given is that a necklace, a finger ring and an earring are all made of gold. So long as they are perceived as being apart from gold, gold can be considered a "separate" thing. However, when the realization occurs that these objects (necklace, finger ring and ear ring) are nothing apart from the Gold, it becomes clear that they always were made of Gold. Similarly, waking, dreaming and deep sleep seem like disconnected states from this purported fourth (Turiya). But upon realization it becomes clear that they are nothing apart from Turiya.

I'm actually working my way backwards through this thread after reading posts identified on the latest activity log from this site. It's good to see confirming posts on conscious sleep NOT being a myth, as you have indicated subsequently, but a very practical practice not only advocated in the Mandukya Upanishad but also in the Tibetan Buddhist bardo literature. The Sufis call it "dying before death". This practice is common to many traditions and , having practiced it for years, I too do not consider it a "myth" at all as you have duly stated.

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2 hours ago, Zen Pig said:

thanks for sharing your own direct experience.

this is amazing.  we both have had lucid dreams, and we both have different beliefs of what they are.  how wonderful!  while many of my dreams are "boooooring", many are very profound, and the ideas of "real and unreal"have no meaning. but that is my personal experience, and you have yours, and this is the reason I got on DB's. to share personal experiences with others and marvel at the amazing differences in our life experiences.  

It is good to see you here on this thread supporting the sharing of direct experiences on this subject and on other subjects as well. With people like you and others here, the quality of the discussions relevant to direct experiences keeps getting better and better. :)

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On 1/23/2019 at 10:46 PM, voidisyinyang said:

The problem with your claim - that you repeat ad naseum - is that it directly goes against the teaching of Ramana Maharshi! I'll stick with Ramana Maharshi:

 

 

Due to the "Westernization" of reality - people have this New Age perspective that "light" is awareness. Light is the spiritual ego - as consciousness. It is confusing as the terms "awareness" and "consciousness" can be exchanged and so easily confused.

 

 

Dwai wrote, " It is awareness. The Light in which objects are known :) " and you responded as above with a reference to Ramana Maharshi.

 

Without getting bogged down regarding the exact meaning of the terms "awareness" and "consciousness" and "the Light", Ramana Maharshi (of whom I am a great admirer) did say the following as reported in his "Talks" (Talk 177):

 

"...the body and all other objects are all contained in the brain. The Light is projected on the brain. The impressions in the brain become manifest as the body and the world. Because the ego identifies itself with limitations, the body is considered separate and  the world separate".

 

When one practices "conscious sleep" and watches dream formation intently from start to finish, one can see the Truth in Ramana's words as the dream world manifests and the dream-objects see virtually see the same dream world though obviously colored somewhat by the egos of the dream-objects. This is an interesting process to observe in meditative slow motion with far-ranging implications. ("As above, so below"; "Man is made in the image of God"; etc.). I would not be so quick to discount Dwai's position over terminology. 

 

It might be more beneficial to focus on the process whereby objects are known rather than getting bogged down in terminology.

 

That is probably why the greatest masters whom I have met have communicated in silence as there are obvious difficulties that present themselves with the use of language. (Before you ask, I will add that I have indeed met masters who have communicated in silence for hours both at a Taoist monastery in Chengdu, China, as well as at the Haridwar Kumbha Mela in India, in addition to other instances of shorter duration. The problem of language and terminology is effectively eliminated for those who are receptive to such communication.)

 

Edited by Still_Waters
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5 hours ago, Still_Waters said:

 you responded as above with a reference to Ramana Maharshi.

 

No I responded with a direct QUOTE from Ramana Maharshi - not a "reference to."

 

Quote

"...the body and all other objects are all contained in the brain. The Light is projected on the brain. The impressions in the brain become manifest as the body and the world. Because the ego identifies itself with limitations, the body is considered separate and  the world separate".

 

So from WHERE is that light "projected"? Give the context of the quote!

https://archive.org/stream/BeAsYouAreTheTeachingsOfSriRamanaMaharshiEditedByDavidGodman131pp/Sri Munagala S. Venkataramiah - Talks With Ramana Maharshi 1 (209p)_djvu.txt

 

You claim it's a quote from "Talks with Ramana Maharshi" - but it's NOT in there!

When I search the "quote" that you posted - this is what I find:

Quote

Again, (in the microcosm) the body and all other objects are all contained in the brain. The light is projected on the brain. The impressions in the brain become manifest as the body and the worlds. Because the ego identifies itself with limitations, the body is considered separate and the world separate.

'Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi', Talk 177

So that is what you are quoting.

Now let's give the full context:

Quote

Talk 177. D.: What is mahatl

Ramana Maharshi: The projected light from Absolute Consciousness.

 

Notice - you are logically claiming that since Ramana says the Light is Projected onto the Brain (as you emphasized - that therefore the formless awareness or Self is the Light. Notice what Ramana states - the light is projected FROM Absolute Consciousness. He does not say that Absolute Consciousness IS the light just as you are agreeing that the Brain is NOT the light and yet the light is projected TO the brain.

Ramana Maharshi:

Quote

the Absolute Consciousness projects light, manifests as the ego

Notice this is precisely what i stated above - the light is the spiritual ego.

Ramana Maharshi:

Quote

That flame is to be identified with the ego-consciousness.

So again the  light is the spiritual ego.

Ramana Maharshi:

Quote

The Self is self-luminous without darkness and light

So again the Self PROJECTS the light but it is NOT the light.

https://archive.org/stream/selfrealization/TalksWithSriRamanaMaharsiVol.1_djvu.txt

Quote

People want to see the Self as something new. But it is eternal and remains the same all along. They desire to see it as a blazing light, etc. How can it be so? It is not light, not darkness ( na tejo, na tamah).

So no I am not "referencing" Ramana Maharshi - I am "quoting" him and I give the references to the quotes.

Quote

As for nirvikalpa samcidhi i.e., samadhi, of non-differentiation (undifferentiated, supreme, beatific repose), it consists of pure consciousness, which is capable of illumining knowledge or ignorance; it is also beyond light or darkness.

And there's more! Ramana Maharshi:

Quote

Once before Goddess Parvati practised austerities for realising the Supreme. She saw some kinds of light. She rejected them because they emanated from the Self, leaving the Self as it was ever before. She determined that they were not supreme. She continued Her austerities and experienced a limitless light. She determined that this also was only a phenomenon and not the Supreme Reality.

and this: Ramana Maharshi: https://archive.org/stream/BeAsYouAreTheTeachingsOfSriRamanaMaharshiEditedByDavidGodman131pp/Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi - Self Enquiry (22p)_djvu.txt

Quote

supreme Brahman which shines in all bodies as interior to the light in the form ‘I’ is the Self-ether (or knowledge- ether): that alone is the absolute Reality.

That's the Yuan Qi.

Ramana Maharshi:

Quote

Just as the elemental ether within the flame of a lamp is known to fill without any difference and without any limit both the inside and the outside of the flame, so also the knowledge-ether that is within the Self-light in the heart, fills without any difference and without any limit both the inside and the outside of that Self-light. This is what is referred to as Brahman.

Case Closed.

Westernized New Age Advaita repeatedly claims the Self is the Light - no the light is the spiritual ego that emanates from the Self as the Ether or Yuan Qi.

The Daoist alchemists make this same point as well.

 

Edited by voidisyinyang

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40 minutes ago, Everything said:

Contrast allows you to know the objects or focus on them. The substance of everything is loving light. Consciousness is what everything is. The resonances is what create the different perspectives, but it all exists within your consciousness. 

So you're looking at yourself, in order to come to new perspective of yourself, your physical you is a very dense perspective, new preference arises from this perspective. And thus a new idea is born. However, this new idea is VERY OFTEN not realised untill one dies, why? Because people are simply too hung up on the perspectives which gave birth to the new idea! So they don't allow themselves to go with the their new idea. 

 

For example, you are thirsty, the preference is born for water. But then instead of thinking about water, focusing on water, causing the perspective of appreciating water to expand, one holds on to the perspective which caused the thirst, and thus one suffers their own thirst or that which inspired their preference or desire. Then one mistakingly states that the desire is the source of suffering, and they build a false idea which says "without desire I will be free." and as they consider the idea, it feels like relief to them because they mistakingly have decided to belief that the desire for water has caused their thirst, when it is completely the other way around. So they conclude that it is the new preference to be without desire. And thus they allow themselves to go with it. And so they now have a new perspective, which no longer suffers their thirst. And as they no longer suffer their thirst, they now have a desire for water, and since they no longer suffer thirst, they are not attached to their thirst, and thus they allow that thirst to be quenched. And thus they enjoy drinking water. And now they say, just release the desire and you will get what you want. 

The misunderstanding is, they did not let go of their desire, because eternal expansion cannot stop. They let go of their resistance towards their own eternal expansion.

 

So often it is said, if you want to be enlightened, simply lighten up on yourself. 

Enjoy the desire in it's thought form, as the new idea, in the becoming stage of that new idea which allows for its own ever expanding greater realization and becoming. So the only necessity for ever expansion and enlightenment, is simply joy. 

To give thought to what one enjoys and wants. And their heart which can always feel that which they enjoy, be it thought or condition. But often in thought, people have an easier time of going with the flow. But conditions, people find it hard to let go, thus a great meditation releases awareness of physical conditions. And in doing so, the only awareness that remains is of all the new thoughts that your life has caused you to give birth to. And when one is thus suddenly aware of all the new leading edge thoughts of creation, one feels enlightened, clear minded, confident, joyful, free, in love with all that is, as it all helped them give birth to all these new ideas, that are in the process of becoming for them, evermore. And they simply go with the flow of all these new ideas and preferences. And no longer care so much about the conditions that helped them realise these new ideas and preferences for themselves. 

So focus happens effortlessly, due to the attractive nature of joy. And thus eternal expansion happens effortlessly aswell. As their will always be new birth of new desire in every new realisation of every new idea, comes a set of circumstances which yet again inspire a greater idea. And to go with the flow of that, is magnificent, and joyful, and freeing, and moving, and expansive, and enjoyable. 

 

The attention is often physical conditions yes, including the body. But when the preference is beyond the curre t physical, then holding your attention on the physical will just slow down the becoming of the preference. So suicide, sleep, or meditation becomes the path of lesser resistance to them. Often one finds greater benefit in just killing the idea or believe that set them in bondage to their current physical experience. 

However, one can also simply imagine the preferred being and becoming, as it is already always instantly fully has become 99% in non-physical fashion.

So this 99% cannot be heared or tasted or touched. But it can be felt. And that is what enlightened beings are capable of doing. Which anyone can do by just feeling your way to the idea that feels the best. If you know what you don't want you also know more clearly what it is you do want. So shifting the focus and attention, more and more and faster and faster ongoingly, causing the clarity to come to a peak of every expanding realisation and inspiration, the journey is effortless easy and fun.

They can feel it, thus know it internally. And all things that are not aligned with their greater knowing, thus then becomes a very funny mirrage or misunderstanding of the nature of reality. And they often see, people are creating their own reality by holding their attention on the very thing they don't want, thereby continueing its creation process. Even tho, it is not necessary for them to do so any longer. 

However, they do clarify their desires in doing that. So expansion still happens, but just slower than it actually should. 

So when resistance falls away, often civilizations like us, will snap into the light, like a elastically stretched chord that has been gaining tension for a long period of time. 

That is what people call the ascension process. 

 

However, as with every desire, people still have the choice to dissallow it. And in doing so, they gain a perspective of even greater clarity. So the terms change and evolve, from ascension to transcendence. 

 

These are all designed for beings with great powerful wanting, fast moving energies. Which have allot of resistance in them. Thus the suffering is that much greater, and tho simple the answers always be, the more big they will seem to be for them evermore. 

 

Because you simply cannot cease to exist. And everyone who dies, goes through that ascension or transenscion process. But no one needs to die, before allowing themselves to transcend. Because the questions of your life, all already contain the answer. The unknowing, are merely indications of your natural wish to allow your knowing. Allowing knowing is like letting go and accepting who you really are, which is who you really want to be. That can never be undone. No matter how hard you try. Or how long. Thus joy is your everlasting destiny. 

 

Likes, dislikes, desires and going with what feels good is what leads to attachments and keeps one in the local mind.  All of that is far from true clarity and what awareness really is.

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17 hours ago, Still_Waters said:

At the Haridwar Khumba Mela in 1998, I personally met for the first time a yogi who reportedly had not slept in the traditional manner (supine) for years and, through an interpreter, asked him how he did it. He stared at me for a while and then responded directly to me in two words, "chetan nidra", which of course means "conscious sleep". The interpreter looked at me and said that he wasn't sure how to explain that response to me but I assured him that I understood and didn't need a further explanation. My colleagues and I checked out this yogi for the 3+ weeks that we were in Haridwar. We saw him during the daytime at the bandaras (feasts) and also at night at his tent beside the Ganges. At no time during that period did we ever see him lying in the supine position or unconscious

 

Some ordinary people from all over the world don't sleep at all for years in their life.  This is even medically documented.  Absence of normal sleep is not an achievement.  B.K.S. Iyengar (founder of Iyengar yoga), the Hatha yoga master has described how he has helped some people with such condition and are not able to sleep for years or decades.  This is not the Turiya mentioned in the scriptures, not even close.  There are people who never ate anything.  There are approved types of siddhis.  Swami Vivekananda writes about a sadhu who he meets called Bavahari Swami (meaning - the swami that consumes only air).  This person did not even drink water or consume any food ever.  He was not considered realized or enlightened!  Tons of such phenomenon have been documented in numerous traditional and new texts.  One such example is the Autobiography of a Yogi.

 

What does such phenomenon prove?  Just some extraordinary abilities which normal people don't possess.  These are not indicators of true realization.  If we use such indicators to measure a person's progress or realization, it may produce misleading and crazy results!

 

None of the Upanishads including Mandukya promote retaining full conciousness such as the jagrat avasta in either swapna and sushupti phases, or teach practices geared towards retaining conciousness in sleep.  If anyone claims so, I request them to quote the relevant verses directly from the Upanishad.   

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17 hours ago, Still_Waters said:

When one practices "conscious sleep" and watches dream formation intently from start to finish, one can see the Truth in Ramana's words as the dream world manifests and the dream-objects see virtually see the same dream world though obviously colored somewhat by the egos of the dream-objects.

 

As far as I know, Ramana Maharishi never taught, advocated or advised anyone ever to 'practice conscious sleep'.  He never gave any methods or practices to get into such states!  If you claim so, please provide the appropriate reference where RM advocated or taught such practices.

 

If it is your assertion to practice conscious sleep and if you think it will reveal the truth in Ramana's words, then please explain that appropriately.  As I mentioned in the previous post, none of the major Upanishads, Brahma Sutra or Gita propose or teach anything like conscious sleep or provide any methods/practices for it.  If you disagree with this, please quote from the relevant upanishad and explain.

 

If it is from your own experience, you are describing this 'consciousness in sleep', it's fine with me, I would respect it as your opinion.  But trying to equate that up with Ramana Maharishi's teachings or Upanishads is not appropriate unless you can substantiate it with proper quotes.   I have explained the difference between awakened sleep (Turiya) and retaining consciousness in sleep.  As explained earlier, I don't agree with retaining consciousness in sleep and consider it a myth.  Turiya is described as a state that transcends all the other 3 (jagrat, swapna and sushupti). None of the scriptures or traditional masters ever proclaimed that after a certain state, the jagrat avasta (waking conscious state) continues non-stop, into the swapna (dream state) and the sushupti (deep sleep) states.  If as you explain, the conscious awareness is always retained through the sleep state, then it is jagrat all around and not Turiya. There is no need for a 4th state that transcends the other 3 states. 

 

If someone is not able to get into the sleep state and retain the conscious awareness as in waking state all time (the Yogi example you gave who never lies down or goes into sleep), in my opinion something is wrong and the person better get some medical help or reach out to someone like BKS Iyengar or a qigong healer.  I am saying this with good intentions.

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Spoiler

 

This video is pertinent to the topic of discussion wrt. "awareness" in sleep.

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18 hours ago, Still_Waters said:

I agree with you completely and I love the eloquent, precise manner in which you have described the process. I have practiced "conscious sleep" ("chetan nidra" or "sleep yoga" as you call it) for many years and have actually discussed the process at length with Buddhist monks in the highlands near Luang Prabang (Laos), Sufi Shaiks, Tibetan Buddhists in Lhasa many years ago, and other practitioners. Everything you wrote is very consistent with my own understanding and practice.

 

At the Haridwar Khumba Mela in 1998, I personally met for the first time a yogi who reportedly had not slept in the traditional manner (supine) for years and, through an interpreter, asked him how he did it. He stared at me for a while and then responded directly to me in two words, "chetan nidra", which of course means "conscious sleep". The interpreter looked at me and said that he wasn't sure how to explain that response to me but I assured him that I understood and didn't need a further explanation. My colleagues and I checked out this yogi for the 3+ weeks that we were in Haridwar. We saw him during the daytime at the bandaras (feasts) and also at night at his tent beside the Ganges. At no time during that period did we ever see him lying in the supine position or unconscious.

 

When I did a brief stint in Adult Protective Services, our organization worked closely with VPS (Visiting Psychiatric Services). One of the psychiatrists, who knew about my travels and interests, jokingly asked me if I had ever met any of the well-documented cases where yogis go without traditional supine sleep for years. I responded that I had met such a yogi personally and, when I described the process, he said that my explanation was the only explanation that he had heard which made sense from a medical perspective.

 

Using your terminology, I find "dream sleep" to be very helpful in identifying latent urges (subconscious as well as the obvious conscious ones) that trigger dreams. Like yourself, I feel that cultivating awareness in deep sleep does indeed seem to be the closest we come to the experience of the Clear Light Dharmata Bardo in life as we are temporarily "free" of the body and workings of the mind. I also find it illuminating to observe the transitions between the three states --- particularly the transition from the deep sleep state to the so-called waking state.

 

I hope that you post more on this subject as your observations and preciseness of language are very much appreciated. You have stated it better than I could. Thank you.

 

 

 

I very much appreciate your input and I'm feeling a bit jealous about how well traveled you are!

 

Thank you for pointing out the value of focusing on the transitions between waking, dream, sleep, and waking.

In sleep yoga, one of the core practices is to observe the gradually dissolving consciousness into the sleep state.

We seem to go from awake to asleep instantaneously, and most have little or no recollection of the transition, but it's not at all like that. If we train ourselves to observe the transition it is fascinating and teaches much about the nature of consciousness and the mind-body connection. 

 

I'm occasionally able to maintain awareness through the full transition from waking into dream but never directly from waking into dreamless sleep. Lately my practice hasn't been consistent enough to expect much. For me, it takes quite a bit of time, patience, and commitment to see fruit from the practice.

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19 hours ago, s1va said:

It is not possible to have the jagrat chitta or conscious awareness during the sleep phase. 

We'll have to agree to disagree on this point.

My own personal experience and that of sleep yoga practitioners in the Tibetan tantric tradition demonstrate otherwise.

I don't want to get too bogged down in labels for different states of consciousness.

Different traditions have different labels and paradigms.

I'm far more drawn to discussing personal experience over conceptual frameworks.

 

19 hours ago, s1va said:

There is an exception, which is the lucid dreaming.  During lucid dreaming we get something like the jagrad chitta or conscious awareness during the dream phase of the sleep, the intellect seems to be active during the lucid dreaming, but the sensory mind is still absent.

The intellect doesn't only seem to be active, it is active.

 

19 hours ago, s1va said:

  Lucid dreaming is of limited value as I explained earlier in this thread, this is in my experience and also explained by various other sources. 

I appreciate your opinion though don't share it.

There are many benefits of lucid dream practice according to my personal experience and the Tibetan tantric tradition.

Different strokes, I guess...

 

19 hours ago, s1va said:

As per dream yoga, I think it has benefits but they are limited in my opinion.  It may help in cultivating certain good sleeping habits and may be of some limited value in helping to understand that everything arises from the mind. 

OK... I guess I'll bite and make a bit of a case for the practices.

Yes, you mention two of the benefits and I don't trivialize the value of the second benefit you mention. It can be very powerful for the right practitioner.

 

Other benefits include:

- cultivating a sense of flexibility in life. When we experience the power and freedom of changing the situations that arise in the dream state, that freedom from subconscious patterns carries over into waking life. It can be powerfully liberating. Life feels less solid and fixed. We see more options and tap into deeper creativity. We see more opportunity and develop the confidence and mindful awareness to break free of dysfunctional patterns. One doesn't need dream practices to accomplish this but the more tools there are, the more likely we, and others, will have success.

 

- we spend 1/3 of our lives asleep (20-30 years) - imagine having the opportunity to engage in spiritual practice during some or much of this time while still getting just as much rest for the mind and body.

 

- we have a far greater recollection of the dreams and whatever lessons they have to teach us about the relationship between our waking life and subconscious content and processes. Thoreau said, "Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake."

 

- there is a powerful synergy between becoming lucid in our dreams and lucid in our day to day life. As you pointed out earlier, so much of waking life can be conditioned patterns, often dysfunctional. This is both a part of the method and a benefit of the practice.

 

- when we experience or wake ourselves up from a nightmare, whatever issue gave birth to it is usually still present in our subconscious, unaddressed. If we are lucid, we have the opportunity to face and transform the nightmare rather than simply run from it, repress, or suppress it. This allows us to directly work with and liberate deep seated karmic traces. I've been able to end recurring dreams in this fashion and have seen changes in my life that reflect a release of some of those subconscious patterns. I've heard stories of other practitioners using this method to make profound changes in their waking lives.

 

- we can ask for teachings in the dream state from great masters, from nature, from the elements, and receive some very powerful information from the deepest parts of (our) mind. The possibilities are limitless and, at least in my view, there is ample evidence that our dream state gives access to information that is generally otherwise unavailable. Information that can transcend time and space.

 

There are other benefits but I think I've said enough. If you disagree, that is certainly your privilege but for those who are open to these practices, they can be powerful transformative tools and I'd like to provide an alternative perspective in this thread.

 

19 hours ago, s1va said:

The subconscious impressions do get untangled and released to certain extent even during regular sleep.  This untangling and the release of the latent impressions is what is perceived by the mind as dreams during the sleep.

Sometimes there may be untangling and release.

More often these patterns return in similar or varied themes and forms throughout our lives until we deal with them in a conscious and intentional way.

 

19 hours ago, s1va said:

I would like to respectfully disagree once again.  As I explained earlier, it is my view and experience one becomes conscious only in lucid dreams.  Practicing mindfulness or trying to reside in the present movement during the waking state consistently eventually carries over into the sleep states also.  From my experience, a separate practice to cultivate awareness especially in deep sleep or during dream phase is not needed or essential.  As the article that I linked in the OP states, it is better to just let go, relax and sleep instead of trying to bring awareness, or pictures of characters into dreams, etc.

It certainly may be true that these practices are of no value to you but that doesn't necessarily mean they are of no value to others.

I advocate being supportive of all reasonable practices and looking for their value, particularly when they are supported by generations of lineage masters in ancient wisdom traditions.

I don't see much benefit to anyone in discouraging such practices.

Different people respond to different things at different times in their lives.

I think it's good to encourage people to be open to new paths, even those that may not appeal to or work for me.

 

I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this topic that's near and dear to my heart and practice.

 

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15 hours ago, voidisyinyang said:

No I responded with a direct QUOTE from Ramana Maharshi - not a "reference to."

 

 

So from WHERE is that light "projected"? Give the context of the quote!

https://archive.org/stream/BeAsYouAreTheTeachingsOfSriRamanaMaharshiEditedByDavidGodman131pp/Sri Munagala S. Venkataramiah - Talks With Ramana Maharshi 1 (209p)_djvu.txt

 

You claim it's a quote from "Talks with Ramana Maharshi" - but it's NOT in there!

When I search the "quote" that you posted - this is what I find:

'Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi', Talk 177

So that is what you are quoting.

Now let's give the full context:

 

Notice - you are logically claiming that since Ramana says the Light is Projected onto the Brain (as you emphasized - that therefore the formless awareness or Self is the Light. Notice what Ramana states - the light is projected FROM Absolute Consciousness. He does not say that Absolute Consciousness IS the light just as you are agreeing that the Brain is NOT the light and yet the light is projected TO the brain.

Ramana Maharshi:

Notice this is precisely what i stated above - the light is the spiritual ego.

Ramana Maharshi:

So again the  light is the spiritual ego.

Ramana Maharshi:

So again the Self PROJECTS the light but it is NOT the light.

https://archive.org/stream/selfrealization/TalksWithSriRamanaMaharsiVol.1_djvu.txt

So no I am not "referencing" Ramana Maharshi - I am "quoting" him and I give the references to the quotes.

And there's more! Ramana Maharshi:

and this: Ramana Maharshi: https://archive.org/stream/BeAsYouAreTheTeachingsOfSriRamanaMaharshiEditedByDavidGodman131pp/Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi - Self Enquiry (22p)_djvu.txt

That's the Yuan Qi.

Ramana Maharshi:

Case Closed.

Westernized New Age Advaita repeatedly claims the Self is the Light - no the light is the spiritual ego that emanates from the Self as the Ether or Yuan Qi.

The Daoist alchemists make this same point as well.

 

I did due diligence by checking out your Ramana quote from Talk 177 and confirmed that you did indeed report it accurately. However, as for me saying that "the awareness IS the Light", I never said that. As a matter of fact, I specifically started my post by saying that I did not want to get bogged down regarding the exact meaning of the terms "awareness" and "consciousness" and "the Light but wanted to focus on the actual process of projection and the manifestation of the body (obviously including the ego) and the world.

 

You are obviously intelligent and well-informed so I would like to pursue this even deeper in dialogue with you.

 

The Ramana quote says that "the light is projected FROM Absolute Consciousness." Ultimately, the "light" is indeed obviously projected from a higher level whether we call it the Absolute, the Source, or anything else. In that quote, Ramana called it the Absolute and that is quite workable. However, what exactly is the Absolute? How many levels are there between us and the Absolute?

 

Having directly interacted with sages who clearly demonstrate verifiable "remote viewing", they point out that from one level higher one can see from afar the events of this Universe. They add, however, that there is more than one level to be navigated to get back to the Source. My own teacher, who would slip about things that she verifiably saw from afar, stated that she could go back one level and get glimpses of the next level back. If you are familiar with the Yoga Vashistha, there are stories about worlds within worlds and time within time very similar to what we experience with the creation of the dream world within ourselves. The great Sufi Mystic, Hazrat Inayat Khan, talks about the levels back to the Source and it is well-documented in the book, "The Message of Our Time", which was written by his son Pir Vilayat Khan under whom I studied for over two years and discussed matters such as we are discussing now. I personally have had glimpses of merging with the Light from the next level to pick up verifiable "remotely viewable" happenings but cannot do it consciously and most certainly cannot sustain it for more than fleeting episodes. I could go on further but I feel that the above demonstrate the point that I am trying to make. In his Talks, Ramana states that "the light is projected FROM Absolute Consciousness". I don't disagree with that at all, but my sense is that Ramana did not want to overly complicate things by defining the Absolute/Source or going into the various vertical levels or horozontal parallels. (Regarding the horozontal, read the story of Lila and the King in the Yoga Vashistha which even Ramana Maharshi quotes.) I have also discussed Ramana's teachings on the "Absolute" and the Light with senior residents at the Arunachala Ashram in Queens, New York, so I have done my due diligence on this subject.

 

I offered the dream analogy as the means by which I validated Ramana's statement on the microcosm-microcosm dream level. In conscious sleep, one can clearly verify Ramana's statement at the microcosm level and that gives one a better understanding of what happens at the higher level(s). If one is incapable of discussing the process at the dream level, which is totally within the scope of one's direct observations, how can one presume to speculate about what takes place at the higher level(s) and ultimately at the Absolute/Source level? Any discussion by us on the Light and the Absolute would be an example of the blind leading the blind.

 

I am NOT at a level where I can validate anything projected from the Absolute/Source level. If you are, which I suspect not, then enlighten us all. When one's mind is thought-free, one becomes aware of the subtle vibrations at the crown which one can trace to the next level and merge with it eventually. (I've had glimpses but, as I've said, it's still a haphazard unrepeatable process for me that just happens spontaneously with me having no control over it like the sages whom I've encountered have.) What I can do , however, is observe the process of dream formation so that I can understand it better and thus how to understand how to proceed to different levels of the macrocosm.

 

This is a fascinating discussion and I would love to hear your thoughts on this. However, let's not speculate on what the Absolute/Source is at this point since I am certainly not at that level and suspect that neither are you. Through glimpses, readings, and discussions with sages, I have an idea of the process though I cannot do it consciously. As far as the Absolute/Source is concerned, I love reading what Ramana says about it and the light projected from it, but I can't do anything about that at this point but theorize based on Ramana's words which I strongly suspect are a watered-down version of what really is so that he can communicate with us limited ones who would probably be overwhelmed if Ramana revealed it all exactly as it really is.

 

As I said before, you're obviously intelligent and educated, so I would appreciate hearing more from you on this subject.

 

P.S. There is an interesting though somewhat confusing movie called "Inception" which tries to depict worlds within worlds and various levels of consciousness. It's an interesting attempt to portray levels of consciousness though I would not see it again and wouldn't particularly recommend it. I think that the screenwriter has a sense of what is happening but, as with words, it's very difficult to communicate that aspect of the Reality.

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35 minutes ago, steve said:

We'll have to agree to disagree on this point.

My own personal experience and that of sleep yoga practitioners in the Tibetan tantric tradition demonstrate otherwise.

I don't want to get too bogged down in labels for different states of consciousness.

Different traditions have different labels and paradigms.

I'm far more drawn to discussing personal experience over conceptual frameworks.

 

Yes, it's better to agree to disagree on this.

 

35 minutes ago, steve said:

I appreciate your opinion though don't share it.

There are many benefits of lucid dream practice according to my personal experience and the Tibetan tantric tradition.

Different strokes, I guess...

 

Agreed on different strokes.  

 

35 minutes ago, steve said:

Other benefits include:

- cultivating a sense of flexibility in life. When we experience the power and freedom of changing the situations that arise in the dream state, that freedom from subconscious patterns carries over into waking life. It can be powerfully liberating. Life feels less solid and fixed. We see more options and tap into deeper creativity. We see more opportunity and develop the confidence and mindful awareness to break free of dysfunctional patterns. One doesn't need dream practices to accomplish this but the more tools there are, the more likely we, and others, will have success.

 

- we spend 1/3 of our lives asleep (20-30 years) - imagine having the opportunity to engage in spiritual practice during some or much of this time while still getting just as much rest for the mind and body.

 

- we have a far greater recollection of the dreams and whatever lessons they have to teach us about the relationship between our waking life and subconscious content and processes. Thoreau said, "Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake."

 

- there is a powerful synergy between becoming lucid in our dreams and lucid in our day to day life. As you pointed out earlier, so much of waking life can be conditioned patterns, often dysfunctional. This is both a part of the method and a benefit of the practice.

 

- when we experience or wake ourselves up from a nightmare, whatever issue gave birth to it is usually still present in our subconscious, unaddressed. If we are lucid, we have the opportunity to face and transform the nightmare rather than simply run from it, repress, or suppress it. This allows us to directly work with and liberate deep seated karmic traces. I've been able to end recurring dreams in this fashion and have seen changes in my life that reflect a release of some of those subconscious patterns. I've heard stories of other practitioners using this method to make profound changes in their waking lives.

 

- we can ask for teachings in the dream state from great masters, from nature, from the elements, and receive some very powerful information from the deepest parts of (our) mind. The possibilities are limitless and, at least in my view, there is ample evidence that our dream state gives access to information that is generally otherwise unavailable. Information that can transcend time and space.

 

There are other benefits but I think I've said enough. If you disagree, that is certainly your privilege but for those who are open to these practices, they can be powerful transformative tools and I'd like to provide an alternative perspective in this thread.

 

Appreciate you taking the time to expand and explain the benefits from your perspective.  I agree with many things you explained about the specifics of the benefits and yet believe it to be limited in scope.  That's just my thoughts and my experience on the subject.  I don't expect anyone to agree if their personal experience or if the tradition or the teacher they follow explain otherwise.

 

35 minutes ago, steve said:

Sometimes there may be untangling and release.

More often these patterns return in similar or varied themes and forms throughout our lives until we deal with them in a conscious and intentional way.

 

Agree on more untangling and release as a continuous ongoing process.  But, instead of patterns keep returning, I feel that we continue to untangle and release in deeper and deeper layers, as we grow and integrate more of the subconscious layers into the conscious layer.  Once we  clear and untangle issues in a certain layer, that layer is complete and we proceed on to work with the issues in a next or further deeper layers.  One same issue in a certain area could go very deep into the subconscious layers.  When one layer is cleared, it feels like the pattern or issue is entirely gone.  But we may discover it is still present in the deeper layers and there is more untangling and releasing to do before we can completely release the issue.

 

35 minutes ago, steve said:

It certainly may be true that these practices are of no value to you but that doesn't necessarily mean they are of no value to others.

I advocate being supportive of all reasonable practices and looking for their value, particularly when they are supported by generations of lineage masters in ancient wisdom traditions.

I don't see much benefit to anyone in discouraging such practices.

Different people respond to different things at different times in their lives.

I think it's good to encourage people to be open to new paths, even those that may not appeal to or work for me.

 

I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this topic that's near and dear to my heart and practice.

 

I never said any of these practices are of no value (entirely) to me and/or others.  I am not discouraging any practice such as sleep or dream yoga entirely.  But retaining consciousness during sleep is something I cannot agree as a fixed state or result (besides lucid dreaming) based on my personal experiences and from the systems I follow.  

 

Agree entirely with the highlighted part above.  This is also why I would argue no single practice is a must/essential for everyone since all of us are different and are in different stages of our journey.  What works for one may not work for another or even possibly can be harmful.

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2 hours ago, s1va said:

 

Some ordinary people from all over the world don't sleep at all for years in their life.  This is even medically documented.  Absence of normal sleep is not an achievement.  B.K.S. Iyengar (founder of Iyengar yoga), the Hatha yoga master has described how he has helped some people with such condition and are not able to sleep for years or decades.  This is not the Turiya mentioned in the scriptures, not even close.  There are people who never ate anything.  There are approved types of siddhis.  Swami Vivekananda writes about a sadhu who he meets called Bavahari Swami (meaning - the swami that consumes only air).  This person did not even drink water or consume any food ever.  He was not considered realized or enlightened!  Tons of such phenomenon have been documented in numerous traditional and new texts.  One such example is the Autobiography of a Yogi.

 

What does such phenomenon prove?  Just some extraordinary abilities which normal people don't possess.  These are not indicators of true realization.  If we use such indicators to measure a person's progress or realization, it may produce misleading and crazy results!

 

None of the Upanishads including Mandukya promote retaining full conciousness such as the jagrat avasta in either swapna and sushupti phases, or teach practices geared towards retaining conciousness in sleep.  If anyone claims so, I request them to quote the relevant verses directly from the Upanishad.   

First of all, I agree with you completely that the display of powers/"miracles" is most assuredly NOT a sign of enlightenment. As a matter of fact, it is well said in the east that miracles are rarely performed without at least some trace of ego. In the past, I must admit that I was very impressed with displays of powers and/or miracles. However, as one matures spiritually, one realizes that such displays are actually a "red flag" (at least to me) and that it's important to investigate even more thoroughly with such individuals to determine if there is indeed anything of an enlightenment nature than can be gleaned from them. What these phenomenon do prove, however, is that virtually anything is possible once one understands the subtle forces underlying the Universe. That is all. Once one gets that message, powers/miracles become surprisingly uninteresting. Moreover, the fascination with acquisition of powers can actually hold one back with attachments to subtler levels of reality and the ego issues that arise with those attachments to powers.

 

Our interpretations of the Mandukya Upanishad clearly differ. It is said that Shankaracharya declared that if one could only study a single Upanishad it should be this one; similarly in a late Upanishad, the Muktika ("Deliverance"), Rama appears and tells a devotee that "the Mandukya alone is sufficient for the deliverance of the aspirant". Take it for what it's worth and proceed as you see fit.

 

 

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1 hour ago, steve said:

 

I very much appreciate your input and I'm feeling a bit jealous about how well traveled you are!

 

Thank you for pointing out the value of focusing on the transitions between waking, dream, sleep, and waking.

In sleep yoga, one of the core practices is to observe the gradually dissolving consciousness into the sleep state.

We seem to go from awake to asleep instantaneously, and most have little or no recollection of the transition, but it's not at all like that. If we train ourselves to observe the transition it is fascinating and teaches much about the nature of consciousness and the mind-body connection. 

 

I'm occasionally able to maintain awareness through the full transition from waking into dream but never directly from waking into dreamless sleep. Lately my practice hasn't been consistent enough to expect much. For me, it takes quite a bit of time, patience, and commitment to see fruit from the practice.

Fortunately, I was a corporate VP and Department Manager in trading systems at Merrill Lynch as well as a consultant to airlines and casinos so I had the wherewithal to travel wherever I wanted on my spiritual quests though I did not always have a lot of time to be away when I did travel. Nonetheless, when I went to the Haridwar Kumbha Mela in 1998, I was away for 3+ weeks (long for me) and it was literally life-transforming and well-worth the time spent there.

 

You are correct that most people think that "we seem to go from awake to asleep instantaneously" and also from deep sleep to awake instantaneously. However, as one practices conscious sleep more and more, the whole process slows down considerably and it's not as instantaneous as one had initially thought. It's similar to the thought-observation meditation technique where one's psyche is flooded with thoughts from all over the place initially but, as one observes more intently over the course of time, the thoughts slow down and then there is a space between the thoughts and then, eventually, one simply abides in the alert silence (NOT a dopey blissed out trance state) between the thoughts.

 

I have used mantra meditation for years so, when I go to sleep, the mantra starts spontaneously and eventually fades into nothingness at which point one simply rests in the deep sleep state until that which triggers dreams arises. When I am walking down the street with nothing particular on my agenda, the mantra similarly starts spontaneously as I wander thought-free BUT ALERT until something that triggers a return to the active waking state (such as an ambulance requiring action) happens.

 

Eventually, however, once one understands the process and has learned from it, one doesn't do it as assiduously as one had done in the past. One moves on to other practices or simply abides in the thought-free alert stillness more and more continuously without wanting to disturb it by mundane unnecessary thoughts. However, when necessary to function, one can activate the mind and the thought processes at will (or almost at will). (I still have a long way to go in certain areas. LOL)

 

P.S. I absolutely LOVE your posts as your language is so clear and precise. I am learning from you, and I really appreciate both the CONTENT and the FORM of your posts.

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2 hours ago, s1va said:

 

As far as I know, Ramana Maharishi never taught, advocated or advised anyone ever to 'practice conscious sleep'.  He never gave any methods or practices to get into such states!  If you claim so, please provide the appropriate reference where RM advocated or taught such practices.

 

If it is your assertion to practice conscious sleep and if you think it will reveal the truth in Ramana's words, then please explain that appropriately.  As I mentioned in the previous post, none of the major Upanishads, Brahma Sutra or Gita propose or teach anything like conscious sleep or provide any methods/practices for it.  If you disagree with this, please quote from the relevant upanishad and explain.

 

If it is from your own experience, you are describing this 'consciousness in sleep', it's fine with me, I would respect it as your opinion.  But trying to equate that up with Ramana Maharishi's teachings or Upanishads is not appropriate unless you can substantiate it with proper quotes.   I have explained the difference between awakened sleep (Turiya) and retaining consciousness in sleep.  As explained earlier, I don't agree with retaining consciousness in sleep and consider it a myth.  Turiya is described as a state that transcends all the other 3 (jagrat, swapna and sushupti). None of the scriptures or traditional masters ever proclaimed that after a certain state, the jagrat avasta (waking conscious state) continues non-stop, into the swapna (dream state) and the sushupti (deep sleep) states.  If as you explain, the conscious awareness is always retained through the sleep state, then it is jagrat all around and not Turiya. There is no need for a 4th state that transcends the other 3 states. 

 

If someone is not able to get into the sleep state and retain the conscious awareness as in waking state all time (the Yogi example you gave who never lies down or goes into sleep), in my opinion something is wrong and the person better get some medical help or reach out to someone like BKS Iyengar or a qigong healer.  I am saying this with good intentions.

I learn from all. Ramana Maharshi has filled in some vital points in my meditation practices. He is not my only source. His "Talks" are obviously very disjointed since random people come to his ashram at random times and ask questions to which he responds in the moment based on their level of understanding. What he says to one person may not apply to another and he directly states that on many occasions. It was difficult reading him at times because his answers to the same questions from different people at different levels can be significantly different. Therefore, there is not a preferred prescribed practice from Ramana other than self-enquiry which he highly recommends. Even with self-enquiry, he states that there are relatively few who can practice that well. For those who cannot do self-enquiry for whatever reason, he recommends bhakti. For still others, he recommends karma yoga (losing one's self in service to others). For those who cannot do any of the above, he recommends pranayama since it is a "natural sedative" and will calm them down. :)

 

The Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying aptly describe the similarities between going to sleep and dying. I personally met with the author of the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying as we discussed my near-death-experience compared to what he had just taught at St. Peter's Church in New York City. In addition, the Sufi mystic Hazrat Inayat Khan spoke extensively about "dying before death" which employs the same principle albeit with different terminology. I studied directly under his son, Pir Vilayat Khan, for about two years and these subjects came up. Kabbalistic Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan of my borough, Brooklyn, spoke and wrote extensively about the talmudic consensus regarding what happens at physical death and how to prepare for crossing over. My practice and knowledge is a composite from various traditions that did not contradict each other regarding basics and are consistent with my own near-death-experience and my conscious sleep practice. In addition, my own spiritual mentor was a guide in this respect. I am not going to peruse Ramana's writings to identify where he spoke or hinted about conscious sleep. You will have to do that yourself if it's important to you. I would recommend that you follow your ideal practice to the end and do what is best suited to you personally as all of us are unique and what works for one may not work best for another. Ramana Maharshi has stated that explicitly as I mentioned above when he recommended self-enquiry for some, bhakti for others, karma yoga for still others, and a "natural sedative" (pranayama) for still others. Now, do as you wish.

 

P.S. Ramana's words about the Light projecting the brain and the impressions in the brain manifesting as the body and the world triggered me to apply that to the dream-process and use that as a catalyst to understanding how to trace the Light back to the Source as best as possible. That was all that I said about Ramana in this respect and it was a vital point related to something on which I was meditating at the time. My teacher once told me, "You're an experienced meditator. Meditate and all will be revealed." Verily, what has been important to me has become a subject for meditation and revelations just happened in one way or another with Ramana's talks filling in various pieces of the puzzle for the subject under consideration. However, I repeat that Ramana is not my only source but what he has said does not contradict anything that I have discovered and incorporated into my understanding of the Reality. That is why he remains one of my favorites.

 

P.S.S. I am sure that you have discovered that words are ultimately inadequate and cannot express the inexpressible. With a user-name like Siva, I am sure that you are aware of Dakshinamurti who taught in utter and complete silence. Quotes from the Upanishads can only go so far. Some of my most illuminating "dialogues" have been in complete and utter silence with masters who have virtually no following at all since there are very few who are receptive to that kind of communication. Most need words and "quotes".

Edited by Still_Waters
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On 1/23/2019 at 8:38 AM, s1va said:

Lot of people confuse Turiya or the 4th state with conscious sleeping.  I read some posts and articles where it states about retaining awareness consistently in sleep just like in the waking state.  This is simply not possible and just a myth.  It can happen for brief intervals in the dream state and this is called Lucid dreaming.  Lucid dreaming can be lot of fun and it seems to happen in a certain stage in the journey

 

This lucid dreaming state is not the state of Turiya.  The lucid dreams generally happen in the early stages  after the opening of the 4th/5th chakras (heart & throat) and before the crown opening.  It is extremely rare after the crown opening and the inner heart or the 8th chakra opening, after a person reaches the light stage.  It is possible to induce lucid dreaming in the early stages, but some of the methods that do so can be harmful.  Lucid dreaming just increases the awareness a bit, but there is not a whole lot of benefits besides that.  Some traditions promote practices such as this as part of dream yoga.

 

What is Turiya?  It seems to be the fully awakened state that transcends all the other 3 states and is present all the time, generally described as the 4th state of consciousness that is beyond dreaming, wake and deep sleep states.  Turiya and the states that lie beyond Turiya (Turiyatita) are extremely rare, as in may be one or two who have reached the state of a Buddha might experience this state. 

 

Temporarily having awareness at night during sleep for few hours or even few days is certainly possible.  After a yoga nidra practice or when in nirvikalpa samadhi, a person might retain awareness in sleep.  Once again this is not the state of Turiya or awakened sleep.  Turiya seems to be a permanent shift into a new state that completely transcends all the other 3 and there is no going back after reaching this state once.

 

The following article explains this concept and turiya in some detail.

The heading is quite misleading and forgive me for not reading through all of it.

 

I am not familiar with the term Turiya but I have achieved this awakened state.

 

It is rare to those un-awake but not so rare in those Awake.

 

It has been six + years.

 

 

On 1/23/2019 at 8:38 AM, s1va said:

 

 

Edited by Spotless
Sorry - (originally responded prior to reading everything)
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2 hours ago, steve said:

 

Thank you for pointing out the value of focusing on the transitions between waking, dream, sleep, and waking.

In sleep yoga, one of the core practices is to observe the gradually dissolving consciousness into the sleep state.

We seem to go from awake to asleep instantaneously, and most have little or no recollection of the transition, but it's not at all like that. If we train ourselves to observe the transition it is fascinating and teaches much about the nature of consciousness and the mind-body connection. 

 

 

Steve,

 

Interesting.  At a Yi Gong retreat I attended some years ago,  teacher Jenny Lamb asked us to try to be aware of whether we fell asleep on an in breath or an out breath.  She didn`t explain why we might want to know, though  I suspected at the time that the question might be aimed at helping us maintain continuity of awareness between waking and sleeping consciousness.  Perhaps it`s not so different from sleep yoga, though the teachings you describe sound much more fleshed out and we receied only the barest hint.  

 

..............................................................................................................................................

 

On a more general note, I find it useful to stay open to possibilities.  People report all sorts of experiences here that are beyond my own and how could I possibly know that they haven`t had the experiences they say they`ve had?  My not having experienced something is no proof that somebody else hasn`t.       

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3 hours ago, Spotless said:

Lot of people confuse Turiya or the 4th state with conscious sleeping.  I read some posts and articles where it states about retaining awareness consistently in sleep just like in the waking state.  This is simply not possible and just a myth.  It can happen for brief intervals in the dream state and this is called Lucid dreaming.  Lucid dreaming can be lot of fun and it seems to happen in a certain stage in the journey

I am not sure what you read but your phrasing is quite contentious.

 

The shift you later describe is definitely a shift. It is also accompanied by no dreaming.

 

One can listen to a podcast while hearing oneself snoring and your wife snoring and the dog moving

all night long.

 

Waking up is not like waking up - you open your eyes already awake and slide off the bed - no coffee needed to coaks you into the body - one’s awareness does not slowly come back - it never diminished. 

 

It is unique - your wife may ask a question in the darkness of night and you are completely present but we’re in objectless awareness and responsive awareness is immediate.

 

I have not ruminated over a fuller explanation at this time but it is accompanied by a lightness - a very physical embodied sustained lightness.

Edited by Spotless
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A body may sleep fully and yet have a prevailing awareness.

 

This is not a reference to an instinctual awareness.

 

Dwai’s desciption is quit accurate.

 

Awaken has also previously mentioned the no dream aspect wherein we concur.

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