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Dreaming Yourself Awake: Lucid Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga for Insight and Transformation Paperback – May 29, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A fiercely clear exploration of dream yoga and lucid dreaming, this rare and brilliant book is fundamentally a guide to awakening.”—Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center, author of Being with Dying

“A brilliant scholar, monk, and lucid dreamer presents a provocative modern Buddhist view of reality: if you think the world is merely matter, you’re dreaming. Wake up and read this book.”—Stephen LaBerge, author of Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming

“For those unfamiliar with lucid dreaming or Buddhist meditation practices, this book offers a plain, accessible look at the ways we can access the hidden adventures within our dreams and stretch our imaginations into the realm of enlightenment.”—San Francisco Book Review

About the Author

Brian Hodel is a freelance journalist and book editor.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 1 edition (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159030957X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590309575
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This is a challenging review to write. "Dreaming Yourself Awake" is a well-written book containing valuable information (thus my four star rating). However, in only 150 pages it cannot do justice to the broad swath of topics it addresses. The writing, scholarship, and erudition are equal to the high standards found in Dr. Wallace's other wonderful books. Many people will find it a good introduction to this interdisciplinary subject and for this purpose I would recommend it highly. However for those serious about this area, allow me to recommend the following four volume course of study: LaBerge's "Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming" (for practical, "how-to" lucid dreaming information), Waggoner's "Lucid Dreaming - Gateway to the Inner Self" (for the "big picture" of lucid dreaming, including spirituality), Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's "The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep" (for Buddhist dream yoga), and Dr. Wallace's own "The Attention Revolution" (for Shamatha meditation).
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This isn't a simple how-to book. True, it does offer clear, step-wise techniques for cultivating the skill of 'waking-up', of becoming fully conscious, functional and free within the context of one's dreams...a skill that is gaining more and more attention after having been ignored by western thought for pretty much all of history. But in the process of learning how to do that, the book inexorably puts the reader into contact with the possibility of not only realizing that what we think of as 'waking reality' is itself a form of dream, but that it, too, can be awakened from...the ultimate form of freedom. There are many interesting insights for those who approach the spiritual path through meditation, and this book should definitely not be dismiss as only of interest to those who want to learn to have marvelous experiences in the dream-world. This isn't a simple book on any level.
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I liked this book, but I also think it should not be your first book on lucid dreaming. Nor should it be your last! Alan Wallace provides basic, helpful information, such as methods for grounding the body and quieting the mind before entering the dreamscape. He also provides guided meditations to assist the reader in getting into a more relaxed and suitable state of mind for lucid dreaming. But for what you get, there really isn't a lot of information offered! The segments on dream yoga are slim, and we don't get any of the interesting yogic induction methods (other than the throat meditation designed for beginning sleep). If one consults Tenzin Rinpoche's The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, we see there are several other chakras to be meditated upon, such as the heart, third eye, and "secret" chakra. I have had success initiating nightmares with the secret chakra, and for the moment avoid using it; I have also had "strength" dreams, so I feel that these incubation methods work if the appropriate intention is present. Wallace may leave these out as he is not of the Bon lineage, but still--is that really all there is to dream yoga?

I would HIGHLY recommend listening to Wallace's Lucid Dreaming and Dream Yoga talk available at the Upaya Zen Center's dharma podcasts online (just search for dharma podcast and lucid dreaming). It is a 13 episode lecture on lucid dreaming, dream yoga, and Buddhist philosophy. He brings to light many of the "dream signs" yogis use during the daytime practices, such as recognizing the arising of dukkha and so forth. Great to read and listen as part of a larger study. Good luck.
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If you consider the fact that one third of your life will be spent sleeping--that is, if you live to be 90 you will have spent 30 years in a coma-like state--it might seem that those years could be spent more "productively". Some of the touted benefits of lucid dreaming include: gaining spiritual insight; being able to work through past traumas; solving problems, be they mathematical, scientific, or philosophical; improving creativity; and being able to experience conditions that are otherwise unavailable (for example, a woman confined to a wheelchair could "fly" in her lucid dreams, enjoying freedom from the terrible weight of gravity that governs her waking state). All this is well and good. But I don't really see how it is so very different from concentrated meditation, or participating in a session of active imagination, except that it is more challenging. Given that your body is in a state of atonia (REM stage of sleep muscular paralysis), lucid dreaming requires some degree of training and discipline.

No problem, according to Wallace. He believes that we all can dream lucidly and provides instructions in relaxation and dream journaling that will help toward that goal. I came to this book more out of curiosity about sleep and dreams in general, rather than specifically to learn how to lucid dream, so I am perhaps not the target reader, and I remain somewhat skeptical. Nevertheless, I found the book to be intelligently written, and the uncomplicated techniques appear to be well designed to achieve the goal of lucidity in dreams, if that's your aim.

To my thinking, the real feat would be to "wake up" from the dream of consensus reality. The second part of the book, on Dream Yoga, addresses this, but not as extensively as I had hoped.
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