One of the magical aspects of the nocturnal meditations is that they have diurnal, or daily, correlates. In other words, there are a number of daytime practices you can do that really help with nighttime lucidity.
This idea works with the foundational tenet of bi-directionality, which is central to the nocturnal meditations, and suggests the cross-pollination that takes place between day and night. The idea is simple yet profound: what you do during the day affects how you dream, and what you do when you dream can deeply affect your day.
This means that the insights gained from your dreams do not stay tucked under the blanket of darkness. They can be brought from the dream state to inform and transform your everyday life. This principle is what makes lucid dreaming and dream yoga so potent – and so much more than what happens when you sleep and dream.
The principles of bi-directionality work with the fact that daily practices install a host of “pop-ups” into your unconscious mind that will then ping into your dreams to clue you into the fact that you’re dreaming. You’ll be going along with a normal non-lucid dream when suddenly something installed during the day will ping into the dream and wake you up within the dream. That pop-up makes you instantly lucid.
But bi-directionality is a two-way street, which means that what you install during your dreams with the practices of lucid dreaming and dream yoga will then pop-up during the day to wake you up in daily life. For example, you’ll be going along with normal non-lucid life, perhaps engaged in a difficult discussion that is about to explode, and something from your dreams will suddenly ping into your mind to deliver the insight: “Hey, wait a minute. This anger I’m feeling is no more solid and real than the dream I had last night! I don’t have to go along with this (non-lucidly) and blow up.” That pop-up makes you instantly lucid, or more aware of what’s really happening, and can save you a lot of trouble.
A lucid dream is an aware dream and whatever you can do to increase awareness during the day will help you at night. What the poet Kabir said of death also applies to dream: “What is found now is found then.” Be lucid now (in life) and you’ll find yourself lucid then (in your dreams).
Lucid dreaming and dream yoga therefore update some antiquated software, a very outdated operating system that only functions during the day. By downloading these nocturnal and diurnal practices, you’re installing a new operating system that allows you to operate not just when you’re awake, but when you’re dreaming (lucid dreaming and dream yoga), sleeping (sleep yoga), and even dying (bardo yoga).
Our next post will explore the power of meditation in updating our software, and show us how meditation works with developing lucidity. Technically speaking, lucid dreaming per se doesn’t overtly work with meditation, but dream yoga certainly does.