Hello, dear readers. Today we will begin and end with dreams.
Dream practice would be one of those practices where it is best to let it take over your life. If you’ve read The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, you may know that the author suggests associating dream with awareness and presence, which in the Tibetan tradition is known as rigpa. Yeah, no shit, that’s what lucid dreaming is - being aware of your experience while you are dreaming.
If you’ve read Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming or been on any LD forum ever you will have heard of Reality Checks. I may be repeating myself some here but these things bear repeating. Reality Checks (RCs) are basically the watered down version of the more effective technique of mindfulness paired with the awareness that your experience is of the nature of the dream state. I have done the “nose pinch” RC, where you pinch your nose and if you can breath through it then you are certainly dreaming, but only after I already have attained lucidity due to the arising of the awareness that my experience is of the nature of the dream state. I intend to stop doing the RC because it is like anxiously checking your pockets for the fifth time to make sure your keys are in fact in the pocket that is deep and zipped close.
If you don’t want to be a dabbler then you should do some mindfulness meditation as part of your dream practice. One sit for an hour a day is good. You can build up to that. If you do not believe that you have time for that, I suppose we all make time for what is important to us. With a mindfulness practice, it is important to encourage the arising of awareness throughout the entire day, not just during your meditation sit. Bruh are you calling me unaware? Yes, yes I am. With dream practice, you take this a step further, recognizing all phenomena that arise in awareness as being of the nature of dream, and encouraging this awareness to continue into sleep as well as during the waking hours.
This post you’re reading. Dream! The phone or computer? Dream! The water you drank today? Dream! The food you’ll eat? Dream! The thoughts and emotions that arise? Dream? The people you interacted with? Dream! You? Dream! Me? Dream! Dream? Dream!
Here is part of my practice which I alluded to before but I’ll elaborate on more now. First, in case you haven’t read the (Dream!) book, you’ll want to start cataloguing your dreamsigns. These are anything that you frequently encounter in your dreams. People, places, events, anything. You can do a (Dream!) sex magick working with these, by the way. As you make a list of your dreamsigns, periodically review them and use them for the following technique (I loosely call it the MILD (mnemonic induced lucid dream) visualization).
I currently do this three times per day, though I may increase this as I get used to the routine. The first time is after my coffee and occult reading, the second time after doing (Dream!) hatha yoga, and the third time right before bed. I was having some trouble doing my kegels consistently so I started doing them right before this (three sets of 10, alternate between hold 10 seconds each direction and 10 quick pulses alternating directions). (Dream!) Big paragraph so new one.
After doing my kegels I go right into the visualization, no preparation or buildup or anything, like a dream. I imagine myself in a situation involving dreamsigns. I usually use locations, but you can include people in those locations too. Sometimes I will move around between locations, sometimes I’ll stay in just one. I’ll bring the dreamsign and its label to mind, and then think, wait a minute, [dreamsign]? Oh, of course I’m dreaming, what else could I possibly be doing? I’ll then imagine myself rubbing my dream hands together and examining my surroundings to stabilize the dream. Chill for a (Dream!) moment. Then I’ll imagine myself doing something in the dream. Maybe I’ll just walk around, maybe I’ll fly, maybe I’ll do something sexy with a dream partner, maybe I’ll stab something, maybe I’ll shoot laser beams out my eyeballs, whatever. Then I’ll ask myself, How did I remember, that I am dreaming? Then I’ll get on with my (Dream!) day.
Quick note - my current hatha yoga routine is a set of three videos which I do and then have a rest day, which I should probably use to go for a walk. If it’s a rest day I’ll do the second MILD visualization before showering. I also don’t do kegels on the rest day.
It is possible that you may find yourself getting somewhat frustrated by the practice of encouraging (Dream!) Dream! to pop into your head all the time, especially if you, like me, are still in the beginning stages of dream practice. The solution is to be aware of the dreamlike, illusory, transitory nature of that emotion and allow it to pass. The more you do the MILD visualization and the more you see the results of dream practice in your dreams the more you will come to associate dreaming with pleasurable feelings. Persistence is (Dream!) effective.
One more thing. Directly prior to going to (Dream!) bed (well I do this in my bed but you know what I mean), I do my kegels and then the MILD visualization. After this, I allow memories of the day to arise, and I recognize those memories as being of the nature of dream. Just as I remember these waking memories that are and were of the nature of dream, I want to remember the sleeping memories that are and will be of the nature of dream. When I (Dream!) awaken, I record my dream memories. When I awaken for the final time of the sleeping period, after recording my dream, I remember that I want to abide in rigpa and recognize my experience as being of the nature of dream. And so the wheel of practice turns through day and night.
The author also suggests visualizing many beautiful Dakinis in the room all around you as you go to bed, watching over you and protecting you. If you want to imagine a bunch of sexy people all hanging out in your bedroom you can certainly do that. The first dream visualization, Peace, should also serve as a reminder that you are protected by Enochian powers (or by spirits in the Tibetan tradition if you use the traditional Tibetan visualizations).
With these visualizations we have Peace and Power, Clarity and Corruption. We have the Peace of creation, the beginning of desirable things. We have the Power of destruction, the ending of undesirable things. We have the Clarity of light, knowing and abiding in pure supreme awareness. We have the Corruption of darkness, knowing ignorance.
I’m not really much of a chakras dude, but here we have red with Peace and blue with Power. Red symbolizes the root chakra (though the visualization is done in the throat), and the practice the peace that comes from the fulfillment of fundamental needs. Blue symbolizes the throat chakra, the power of making labels for forms, though the visualization is done in the chest. Red and blue blended together create shades of purple, the brow and crown chakras, which are about psychic and magick powers and connection to magick and stuff like that.
You know the practice is good if it’s got me talking about chakras.
On the note of practice, I almost talked about a good practice routine for learning music today, but I do have things I would like to do. I’ll give you the quick version today. Oops I basically typed it all. You don’t have to do the entire thing every time or every day, but if you are a serious artist then you will want this to be something you do quite regularly. If you primarily make music electronically, then I suggest learning to sing and doing singing for all but the last part. If you make music electronically and also play another instrument, then mostly practice your instrument and make tunes but also make some time for singing. The singing is mostly for building musicianship and improving your musical Ear. Ideally also have some exercises for rhythm. A good teacher whom you take lessons from helps. I suggest a jazz musician that has formal training since they’ll have good exercises. If you don’t know where to find one go to a jazz club when the pandemic ends. If the music you make isn’t really jazz then also find someone skilled and successful who does do your genre. The jazz cats have good technical stuff but can sometimes be kinda snooty if you’re not doing jazz (the cool ones aren’t snooty), so keep that in mind.
Settle in and warmup. Maybe make some tea (smoking weed before practice is a no no) or something and review what you want to get done with the session. Then, technical exercise. A few scales (played like you mean it) would be your warmup, so this is more like etudes (when I was a sax player I used the Charlie Parker Omnibook), chord progressions, arpeggiating chord progressions, improvisation patterns, stuff like that. Things that are not actual tunes that you want to play/make but that help you play your tunes a whole lot fucking better. In case I need to say it, use a metronome. Then, kinda halfway between technical exercise and actual playing of tunes. This is where you isolate stuff that you want to use in whatever tunes you may be practicing. You could consider chord progressions to fall into this category instead of the previous, for example. Lastly is actually playing/making some tunes.
The last part is the only part you’d really want to share with anyone else. You can share your technical practice with another musician for co-motivation, but that stuff isn’t really music for listening. I do also encourage you to share what you do with this last bit of your practice routine. Post stuff on soundcloud or instagram or whatever (or both). This is probably not where people will find your Masterworks of Grand Glorious and Supreme Awesomeness, but it will encourage you to finish and complete many, many, many, many, many bite-sized projects and will help you get used to sharing your stuff. I’m talking like 30 second (or shorter) (or longer) little tunes that you finish in a single session or a few, possibly taking a week at the absolute longest. Include in them whatever you like, but make them complete. Spam that shit. It may also help you start building a following. I’d say your artistic craft is the foundation of your artistic career, but your following is also pretty important.
Ok that’s all for (Dream!) today.
Remember to remember that your experience is of the nature of dream.