In the mind of India, Vishnu is dreaming this world, which will continue until he ends the dream and disperses his dream characters — including ourselves. The god with skin the color of rain-filled clouds sleeps on a great serpent, drifting on the Ocean of Milk. While Vishnu sleeps, his mind generates dreams — and this is the stuff we and our world are made of.
A Sanskrit name for dream travelers, kamacarin, means “those who can transfer themselves at will.” The sacred writings of India are a treasury of tales of dream travel, grounded on experience. In this session, we’ll explore the teachings of the Yogavasistha, where dream travelers find that time is elastic. You may live a hundred years in a dream world and return to find that only a day has passed in ordinary time.
What is experienced in the dream worlds is real and has real consequences in the traveler’s waking world. Spiritual apprenticeship and initiation can take place in this way.
Falling Out of the Cosmic Dream of a Sleeping God:
Markandeya is a human being who is curious about what is real. He tries so hard to see beyond the obvious that one day, without meaning to, he falls out of the mouth of Vishnu, the dreaming god. He now discovers that he has spent his whole life inside the body of the god. Now he’s out there, he has a cosmic vision of the structure of the universe; he sees that everything he knew is contained within the body of the dreaming god. But this vision is too much for him; it inspires him with a trembling awe that easily shifts to terror. It’s too much for him, even though he is an evolved soul, an adept. So he climbs back through the mouth of Vishnu, back into the world he contains, and as he resumes his life there he starts to forget what he saw beyond it.
— From The Secret History of Dreaming by Robert Moss
In this module, we’ll learn from the dream yoga and Vedic traditions of India that:
- We can enter dreaming as a sleeping lion
- True initiation and apprenticeship can take place in dreaming
- We can enter and retrieve other life experiences as conscious dreamers
- When we awaken inside our dreams, we are ready to create realities
- We are dreaming all the time, including when we suppose we are awake
Wanda Burch, author of She Who Dreams a Journey into Healing through Dreamwork, is a long-term breast cancer survivor, alive because of vivid dreams of warning and diagnosis. Wanda presents healing retreats for women surviving chronic illness and for women veterans. Her programs use dreams and music as gateways for claiming easily accessible gifts of the imagination that can help those suffering from illness, trauma, pain and everyday anxiety find a place where souls and hearts can mend. Her current book is The Home Voices Speak Louder Than the Drums: Dreams and the Imagination in Civil War Letters and Memoirs.