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Yoga for Lucid Dreaming

 I walked quietly through the Bell Shrine in a deep Valley just at sunset when the light reflecting off the bottom of the clouds was the only evidence there once were giants here. The purple mountains sang reverberations of light affirming wildlife and the resonance of bells being invited to harmonize.

Surrounding dream majesty on all sides, this central hill on which I found myself was covered in beautiful brick statuesque arches containing multitudinous bells. Bells so small I could only feel their presence as I passed by, holding my long, flowing dark red robes out of their tinkling fields near my unshod feet.

Spiraling ever so slowly toward the center, I keep seeing peaks of an enormous bell towering up to the clouds and piercing the sunset. 

Deep quiet resonances I first feel in my feet cause my heart to slow, my steps to still, and my breath to expand…

Three times I breathe deep, called home…

Glimmer of violet just around the corner.

Flash of bronze as the next note tremors…

The earth and sky sing as a choir to remember…

Until…

I am in the center ring, the enormous towering bell somehow brought down to a size I can see in my single small field of vision, and standing next to it is… me… in violet robes.

The flashes of color I was chasing. I think

I look closer, and I can't quite put an age to this "me," and when I look into their eyes, a wisdom deeper than any I currently know… looks back… and raises their eyebrow at me…

Beckoning…

Oh, right, I guess I am supposed to have a question… What does one ask their future self manifested in a dream bell shrine?

The "me" in violet robes begins to make their way away from the largest bell and toward the peripherals to a smaller bell, around my size, as I currently perceive my dream body to be. The violet-robed figure is about ten times the size of this small brass bell.

They pull out a little mallet from somewhere, perhaps a hidden pocket in their robes, or a crevice behind the bell…

Oh wait, right, dream; they just have the mallet; they didn't need to pull it from anywhere.

They smile, almost like they find my thought amusing, and then drop their right hand down next to their violet robes like they are blessing the land while gently grasping the silver mallet between thumb and forefinger, placing their left hand over their heart with a small patient smile spreading across their lips.

Beat.

Breath.

Oh, right, my question–

I formulate a really good one, put it together in my mind, take a deep breath, and tumble the words over my vocal cords just as a violet-swathed arm lifts the mallet, caressing the bell as my future self's answer rings out, mixing the three vibrations together becoming light, color, swirling, expanding, roar of magic, of red sunset, purple mountains reverberate through ever figmented fragmental parts of the dream…

just so…

Awe…

Beat.

Breath.

What was the question again?

They are already walking to another side of the clearing, toward another bell.

They stand by once again, that beckoning eyebrow raised. 

I ask a question as the answer and bell are wrung with corresponding colors and forgetfulness…

On and on it went, the sunset forever setting, the mountains forever purpling– until the eternity of the infinitesimal moment became silent and still… after the second to last bell toll shook the dream to its foundations…

And I found myself standing in front of the only bell left…- a beautifully carved reflective surface that refracted rainbows infinitely across the sky…

"How can I possibly, ever–" I choke through sobs of overwhelming ecstatic beauty and bliss "even try to share this with the 'waking' co-created dream of the modern world… to write about this, to manifest this for others… what can I possibly teach that won't cause more harm, and still alleviate the suffering of the world I keep waking up into?"

"Yoga for Lucid Dreaming" they whisper to me while holding my heart in gentle hands.

"...and…" I asked hesitantly, waiting for the bell to erase my memory again "... what is that?"

"Go find out–" they say as they gesture the final bell to life…

 

Vibration is the essence of all things. 

At our most basic quantum level, we are made of waves.

This sound from this bell, this wave of existence, was nothing impossibly becoming something, stillness becoming chaos, one becoming two; that infinitesimal moment when the great deity invited an inhale to breathe linear spacetimemattering into existence… 

Sound became.

In a moment so figmentally fragmented my mind could not encompass it, the particles in my cells felt themselves impacted by the vibrational life reverberating from this Birther of Rainbows. Each new wave of the bell's sound was so adeptly harmonious with the one that came before, it would gently caress any rough spots its predecessor dare trod on each spec of stardust it passed. 

Blown through, between, and beyond me, my consciousness whirled through to oblivion… as I…

Woke Up…

The fading symphony of bells, red sunset, and purple mountains, echoing with a simple refrain:

"Go find out… find out…"


 

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The most influential part of the dream, besides the name of the class, I would come to find was the closing refrain 

"Go find out… find out…"

beyond, never obtainable, achievable, graspable…

 

And incredibly frustrating.

 

I finished my first 200hr Yoga teacher training in the beginning of 2013...YouTube, being a place of learning, was just beginning.  Huge companies had patents on filming yoga classes and releasing them online, which still do ‘glow’ brightly as far as I know, and I was told I was crazy for putting my classes online: how would I ever retain students, since they could just go take the class online for free instead of coming to take the same class in person. Well, that sounds exactly like a recurring nightmare to me, which means we haven’t learned the lesson inherent in the repetition. We stop having the same experiences when we integrate the lessons therein. But, I had to ‘go’ to share these classes, to give them out for all of us queer folk who didn’t fit into the billion-dollar-a-year cis/het normative new age yoga movement that was(is) holding hostage these teachings that are meant as gifts to be shared with all.

 

There may be times when my teachings/videos/art make you uncomfortable; it sure makes me uncomfortable, and that is the point. Expanding the boundaries of what we currently perceive as reality will shake things up. If there isn't something rubbing you the wrong way, then you're far too comfortable to be learning anything new. The unknown is uncomfortable and not yet known to be safe or dangerous, so it gets our hearts all aflutter with fight-flight-freeze. 

I am an autodidact, I have been my student for many years and have the advantage of quite literally being able to take classes from myself thanks to FreeYogaTV. If you want one of the strangest and most revealing experiences, record yourself teaching something close to your heart and take your own class ten years later…

One of my teachers, many years ago, described me as a "cilantro teacher." When I asked what they meant by that, they responded:

"You know how some people really like cilantro and others really hate cilantro, but either way, people tend to have really strong feelings about cilantro? … You're like that, but a teacher."

I might just be a cilantro person.

I have also studied under many of our spiritual ancestors and have plenty of humbling comparisons for my pedagogy. The most frustrating teachers have a very, very long view in mind. Not worried about the student right now getting that thing they want, nor what the teacher sees/needs/hopes for the student; but instead, what will happen in the growth of life energy cultivated in this moment reverberated through infinite generations throughout the countless multiverses… in a subtle enough way where at the end of the day the students will congratulate each other and say "look what we did, all by ourselves." Thanks, Tao.

I know it can be challenging when the teachings change, or seem absent for a few years, or stop "working" altogether (hint: if they "work," that's just spiritual materialism, and so they will do the opposite of their original intention eventually), then the practices come back differently, then you're different, then we transcend all illusion and become one with everything, then i gotta figure out where lunch is coming from, then there’s no explanation for all these other changes and worrisome things, and stresses, and aging, and disease, and dying, and a pandemic, and climate change, and everything changing, and… and...

Trust,

 I promise, at least as far as I can see, and as much as I have created and practiced along the way… this is all by design.

All will be revealed in due time.

Stick around, it all gets more interesting the longer we stick with it.

Keep going, keep practicing, keep showing up each and every day for whatever comes next–

 

Simple.

 

Ten years later.

 

Not so simple.

 

Many of you have asked over the years why the old classes keep changing, being edited, or taken down… I hope this little written piece gives a bit more understanding as to the "why?" of the constant changes, including and excluding technical glitches and purposefully queer 'mistakes' throughout my videos…

Internalized capitalism is real, and so are the timeless practices that balance modern-day delusion-enhancing neurosis.

This desire to take one of my old classes exactly as it was, to see an old friend, feel that old feeling…

It is actually nostalgia for the present moment. It's not the old class you miss or whatever I might have been on about that will bring you joy. You can't ever see your old friend again; they aren't who they were yesterday, yesteryear, much less whoever you thought they were way back when… and sadly, you're missing them, and who they are right now…

That well of sadness we feel isn't missing someone or something from the past, it's the missing of the present-moment experience. Your life is happening right now; that sense of wonder and surprise isn't available in the past or future, only right now…

 

This is the major danger of recording anything related to contemplative practices. We as humans have a specific experience the first time through, say, a yoga class, a meditation session, or a piece of art, good or bad, and when we come back to the same video, recording, art, family member, etc we are looking for the same experience, the same person, the same feelings and inspirations, to repeat themselves, and of course our dear loved ones, a beloved book, old favorite TV show fall short. If we are wise, we will walk away and allow the relationship to remain magical in our memory otherwise, it will become less. And perhaps we can show up with whomever this person happens to be today. Otherwise, the practices, the showing up each day, becomes spiritual materialism: trying to materialize, manifest, make tangible, unchangeable; that which is ever-changing adaptable nowness. The ineffable is called thusly for a reason. The effort of this distracted mind goes toward trying to give the 'self' the illusion of solid ground under their feet, instead of flying. A butterfly who keeps crawling around trying to eat leaves need only get blown into the sky by the wind to realize who they really are.

One way of continuing to inch along with our wings folded is holding onto a past experience, transcendent or traumatic, allowing it to supersede the present moment, which is all there ever is. Looking for our 'fix' of nostalgia: "…remember that one time when it was so {insert whatever it is we wish this moment could/should/would be/have been}". To combat this addiction built into the platforms (i.e., technology/internet/video) on which my teachings are currently shared, much of what is currently available is only temporary. If this particular writing/video/audio affects you deeply, I would recommend recording it, writing it down, and somehow holding onto it, so that you can have a ceremony of letting it go whenever the time feels right. 

Burn a quote; I already forgot I said.  

I have some of the old videos, but not all, and some photos of past performances, but not all.

Only when an experience has a chance to be forgotten can it become legend. 

Legends change our lives.

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