This weekend I have been off! I have been doing a lucid dreaming retreat with the amazing Charlie Morley. I am keen to develop my skills to become lucid in my dreams, which means to know I am dreaming while I am dreaming, so that I can continue my practice while I dream.
Charlie teaches more than just lucid dreaming. He teaches mindfulness of dream and sleep, which includes conscious sleeping as well as lucid dreaming, so that we can extend our mindfulness practice into the third of our life when we are asleep.
One of the advantages of living, and sleeping on my own, is that I can wake up several times in the night and write in my dream diary without disturbing anyone. I have a strong motivation for this practice, but I also notice a strong resistance too. I will explore this using the ACT bus exercise during the retreat I am leading this week. I can use this exercise, to explore what my resistance is, but also what causes and conditions are in place to support my mindfulness of dream and sleep practice.
I am looking forward to the retreat I am leading later this week. It is on a subject close to my heart – Compassion in Action – or how do we find the courage and commitment to walk our talk. To actually do something in the face of social injustice and climate crisis, with hope and joyful diligence, rather than giving in and moaning about the world. I am delighted that Rob Nairn will be joining me to deliver three sessions over the week. One on mindfulness, one on compassion and tonglen and one on insight.
One optional element of the retreat is an evening discussion based on videos I have shared with the participants around how moving to eat more of a whole food plant based diet can benefit our own health as well as freeing the animals enslaved within the cruel animal agriculture industry. We will also explore the massive contribution that the animal agriculture industry makes to carbon emissions and habitat destruction which is driving the current climate crisis. Topically, we will also look at how the animal agriculture industry has caused and is likely to cause virus pandemics such as the one we are currently subject to. None of this is conjecture or opinion, it is thoroughly evidence based.
In my life and in my practice I follow the evidence. My first degree was maths and physics and so thankfully, I understand the scientific method, which is more than just another opinion. I love the fact that neuroscience, psychology and evolutionary psychology are reaching the same conclusions as Buddhist and meditation practice about the reality of this human condition we find ourselves imprisoned in.
When I ask myself why am I prepared to wake up in the middle of the night, several times, stay up and do some practice or write in my dream diary. It is because I long to know what is true and what is delusion. It is because I recognise that so much of our suffering is based on this delusion and therefore is optional. So I will keep going and share what I learn so that I can hopefully be of some benefit in this world.
One way to relieve some of the needless suffering that might happen during the night is to be aware of what we do in the twenty minutes or so before we fall asleep. What we do then will set the tone for our whole night of sleep. If we are doing something stressful, anxiety or anger provoking then this does not set us up for a night of calm refreshing sleep. Chose to do something that promotes a sense of calm, kindness, safeness and compassion before bedtime. Good things to do might be compassionate imagery practices from the Compassion section of the free Mindfulness Based Living app. Lie down and do a compassionate bodyscan, safe place or compassionate colour practice before falling off to sleep. Have a go and see how this affects the quality of you night’s sleep.
Until next week.