An excerpt from the The Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

22 Apr

Yesterday I was at Whole Foods drinking a Yuengling and reading The Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche in the outside cafe. This book is the best I’ve found so far on Buddhism – especially because it intertwines an understanding of quantum physics and neuroscience into a Buddhist framework for understanding the mind and the nature of reality. I love it!

Anyhow, I found this gem of a passage that I want to share where the author compares lucid dreams to our experience of reality while awake.

On page 82, we learn that:

“…clinical studies indicate that the practice of meditation extends the mechanism of neuronal synchrony to a point where the perceiver can begin to recognize consciously that his or her mind and the experiences or objects that his or her mind perceives are one and the same. In other words, the practice of meditation over a long period dissolves artificial distinctions between subject and object – which in turn offers the perceiver the freedom to determine the quality of his or her own experience.”

What does last bit remind you of? Ah-hah! Lucid dreaming!

As soon as one becomes consciously aware in a dream that they are dreaming, they understand that nothing in their experience is separate from the mind, and furthermore, the response to the experience becomes something you feel you have great control over.

He says this better when he continues with:

“In a dream, if you recognize that what you’re experiencing is just a dream, then you also recognize that whatever you experience in the dream is merely occurring in your own mind. Recognizing this, in turn, frees you from the limitations of “dream problems.” “dream suffering,” or “dream limitations.” The dream still continues, but recognition liberates you from whatever pain or unpleasantness your dream scenarios present. Fear, pain, and suffering are replaced by a sense of almost childlike wonder: “Wow, look what my mind is capable of producing!

He finishes by saying:

“In the same way, in waking life, transcending the distinction between subject and object is equivalent to recognizing that whatever you experience is not separate from the mind that experiences it.”

I read these paragraphs, literally, 5 or 6 times in a row trying to take it all in. Even now, I’m still digesting this.

What do you think?

5 Responses to “An excerpt from the The Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche”

  1. Zataod April 23, 2007 at 2:09 pm #

    This reminds me of the times that I’ve read the Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep. One of the waking exercises in that book is to think of waking reality as a dream and see the events and objects all as dream objects.

    If you can perceive waking reality as a lucid dream, then it matters a lot less whether or not you are lucid in your dreams while you are sleeping.

  2. Ben April 23, 2007 at 4:52 pm #

    Zataod is the Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep hard to read? Is it full of metaphor and poetry or is it more straightforward?

    If you’re able to perceive waking reality as a lucid dream, I don’t think it necessarily means then that having real lucid dreams won’t matter as much. I think it depends on why you want to have lucid dreams in the first place. For me, I would be disappointed if the perception of waking life as a dream didn’t result in more dreams where I became aware I was dreaming.

  3. Derrick May 8, 2007 at 5:50 pm #

    It also reminds me of insight meditation in which you focus on breathing and sensations in order to stay present. This also works to keep you in a lucid dream. Rubbing your hands in a lucid dream or engaging with the dream environment keeps one lucid. It is quite enamoring to realize one could use the same technique to stay conscious in the wake and dream worlds.

  4. Jeff August 8, 2007 at 3:42 pm #

    Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep is a very easy book to read. No abstract poetry at all. The book offers methods and ideas which incorporate a lot of lucid dreaming tasks such as changing environment and one’s body, then relates them to waking life and the nature of reality.

  5. Ben August 8, 2007 at 10:49 pm #

    Jeff thanks for seconding that recommendation. Today I’ve tried finding the book in my county library system but it’s not available! I might try and get it from Amazon this year then. If it’s not full of abstract poetry and whatnot, I would very much like to check it out.

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