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Buddhadharma : Summer 2015
summer 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 29 meditation and an age-old practice in Tibetan Buddhism. For most of us, dreamless sleep is the antithesis of awareness. It’s a total blackout. Nothingness. But for a sleep yogi it’s a mini-enlightenment, a descent into the awakened mind, because it’s a nondualistic state. The formless awareness of dreamless sleep is not nothingness, but no-thingness (emptiness). We don’t recognize it when we fall into dreamless sleep because we’re so habituated to identifying with the forms that arise in awareness rather than with awareness itself. We identify with thoughts, emo- tions, and other mental forms, not with formless- ness. So when formless awareness is pointed out in dreamless (formless) sleep, we unconsciously say to ourselves, “That’s not me, I’m not nobody, I’m somebody!”—and pass out. We can learn something about the nonduality of deep inner space by looking at deep outer space. Imagine floating in outer space, where the light of the sun is constantly streaming. If there’s no object placed in that light and space, then nothing is actu- ally seen. The only thing you see is the blackness of outer space. You don’t see the light. But the instant you put an object into that streaming light, both the light and the object (duality) suddenly appear. Phys- icist Arthur Zajonc explains, “Without an object on which the light can fall, one sees only darkness. Light itself is always invisible. We see only things, only objects, not light.” It’s exactly the same with the darkness of the deep inner space of your own mind. Replace “light” with “awareness” in the above quotation to see how this applies to your dreamless mind. The light of awareness, the Clear Light Mind (The Great Eastern Sun in Shambhala Buddhism), is constantly streaming. But if an object, in this case a thought form, doesn’t arise in that light and space of the With the nighttime yogas, you can bring sleeping and dreaming fully onto the path. For those who are busy, it’s like adding a night shift. You no longer have the excuse that there isn’t time to meditate. PHOTO | piptexel