Meditation Exposes Our Passion for Non-Lucidity

Most of us love to get swept away by the stories and dramas of our lives. We love getting hooked into our thoughts, lost in our emotions, or sucked into one production or another.

The Tibetan word for this is “shenpa,” which means “getting hooked.” You can see the power of this up close and personal in meditation.

When we sit in meditation, a thought pops up and before we know it we’re sucked into it. That’s non-lucidity, and it happens all the time.

This same love affair with non-lucidity occurs when we get hooked into gossip, a movie, or any other form of drama.

We’re Not Fully Present for Life Because We’re So Caught up in Distraction

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Thoreau

This is why so many people feel that something is missing. Something IS missing. But it’s not out there. Our awareness, or lucidity, is what’s missing.

Because of this lust for getting lost in thought, in fantasy, or in our emotions — we end up spending most of our lives getting sucked into one form of distraction or another. Every single night this love affair plays out when we get hooked and lost in our non-lucid dreams.

A spicy thought pops up and covertly advertises, “Come along with me, I’ll make you happy.” A juicy emotion arises and whispers, “Stick with me, I’ll entertain you.” And so we endlessly get lost in the contents of our mind, a loss that continues as we lose ourselves in non-lucid dreams.

Lucidity is Being Fully Present to What’s Happening

When you’re lucid to your dreams, you’re aware of the context that you are dreaming. When you’re non-lucid, you’re not fully present or aware.

Lucidity sounds good on paper, but it’s not so entertaining for the ego, which feeds on distraction. Sit in meditation for an hour or longer, and you’ll find yourself hungry for entertainment – for something to DO.

The Reasons Why we Don’t Have Lucid Dreams Go Very Deep

Understanding these reasons will help us appreciate what is required to flip from non-lucidity to lucidity, and empower the practice of meditation.

Distraction, or in our terms non-lucidity, is the lifeblood of ego. Ego feeds on forgetfulness, it sustains itself on mindlessness. It does so because distraction, forgetfulness, mindlessness, and therefore non-lucidity, are all expressions of ignorance.

This isn’t your normal ignorance, like not knowing about a topic. This is a primordial ignorance that is unaware of the nature of mind and reality.

This is the ignorance that the Buddha, whose name literally means “the awakened one,” or “the one who knows,” woke up from. In many ways, the Buddha was the ultimate lucid dreamer, the one who removed this primordial ignorance and became lucid to both the waking and the dreaming state.

Non-lucidity Sustains the Ego

This ignorance not only gives birth to ego, but continues to sustain it moment-to-moment through distraction, mindlessness, and forgetfulness.

Ego in this context refers to our sense of self, that ineffable feeling of “I,” or “me.” The ego, and by extension our non-lucid dreams, are both a product of this ignorance.

“No matter how many nights we sleep . . . we cannot finish sleeping. We return to it again and again as if it recharges us, and it does. Ignorance is the sustenance of samsara and, as samsaric beings, when we dissolve into the sleep of ignorance, our samsaric lives are fed. We wake stronger, our samsaric existence is refreshed.” (“Samsara” refers to conventional reality, the world of suffering and dissatisfaction, and is the opposite of “nirvana.”) – Tenzin Wangyal

This “sleep” not only takes place every night, it takes place moment-to-moment as we get lost in thought, or non-lucidity.

As above, So Below

As with thought, so with dream; as with dream, so with thought.

It’s with meditation that we counteract this primordial ignorance as it manifests in its moment-to-moment expression. This primal ignorance manifests every single time we get hooked into non-lucidity, and can therefore be gradually eliminated every time we release the hook in our practice of lucidity.

A meditation master is never lost in thought or in dream, and is therefore lucid to both states of mind.

Meditation and the nocturnal practices reveal our passion for ignorance, and how this archetypal ignorance expresses itself every single night in non-lucidity.

I hope this helps you understand why we have non-lucid dreams, and therefore what we need to do to start having lucid ones. With the foundational practices presented in this first course, you’ll properly prepare your own field of dreams so that when the Eastern and Western techniques are planted, they can take root in this field and blossom.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock Natalia Maroz