This workshop explores how imaginal capacities of mind are mobilized via specific Tibetan Buddhist contemplative practices. Participants are invited to deepen their understanding and experiential sense of the active imagination across the spectrum of sleeping, dreaming, and waking. We will learn conceptual and practical know-how associated with Tibetan Buddhist practices of dream yoga, sleep meditation, and corresponding daytime practices of conjuring illusory forms with an emphasis on continuities of perceptual plasticity, imaginal simulation, and kinesthetic sense to traverse the liminal thresholds of lucid waking and lucid dreaming.
June 13 & 14
Part of the Contemplative Studies Workshop, McGill Summer Program in Social and Cultural Psychiatry.
Other workshops to be scheduled.
DAY 1: Lucid Waking
Day 1 of the workshop emphasizes the operations of awareness and how the mind and its objects, specifically mental imagery, can be mobilized via contemplative techniques to cultivate lucid waking and transform consciousness.
SESSION I: Stabilizing Awareness
Presentation on the dynamics and tensions of awareness along the spectrum from focused attention to open awareness with an emphasis on balancing the faculties of mindfulness and meta-awareness to stabilize the mind on its focal object. Practices of mindfulness, meta-awareness, and attentional focus are facilitated, followed by group discussion.
SESSION II: Art & Science of Illusion
Presentation on the theoretical underpinnings of imaginal simulation and the use of mental imagery in meditation based on the Buddhist philosophy of dreams and illusions, and discussion of the science of cognitive illusion.Practices of visualization to conjure illusory and sublime forms are facilitated, followed by group discussion.
SESSION III: Play of Phenomena
Presentation on the play and display of observable phenomena based on a Buddhist understanding of the operations of mind and its objects.
Practices of illusory form during the day are facilitated, followed by group discussion.
SESSION IV: Cycle of Day & Night
Presentation on the liminality of waking and dreaming with an emphasis on how the inexorable cycle of day and night shape awareness. Practices of sleeping and waking are compared, followed by group discussion.
DAY 2: Lucid Dreaming
Day 2 of the workshop shifts the emphasis from lucid waking practices of the imagination to practices of dream yoga and dreamless sleep meditation.
SESSION V: Dream Yoga
Presentation on techniques to induce lucidity during dreams along with classical Buddhist practices of dream yoga. Practices of dream yoga with an emphasis on techniques of conjuring, transfiguring, and multiplying images during lucid dreams are facilitated, followed by group discussion.
SESSION VI: Dream Body, Dream World
Presentation on Buddhist paradigms of embodiment and world-making active during waking and dreaming. Practices of cultivating kinesthetic sensibility in a lucid dream are facilitated, followed by group discussion.
SESSION VII: Clear Light at Night
Presentation on the nature of clear light or luminosity of awareness during dreamless sleep meditation. Practices of cultivating the clear light of awareness during sleep, followed by group discussion.
SESSION VIII: Emergent Experiences, Possible Futures
Presentation on signs and measures detailed in Tibetan meditation manuals on dream yoga and sleep meditation, enhancement strategies, and emergent experiences. Practices including an exercise to future cast contemplative practices are facilitated, followed by group discussion.