Monday, 30 November 2009

Yoga and psychic dreams

Shortly after I started practicing Hatha Yoga at New York City's Integral Yoga Institute, I developed a high level of proficiency. One of the instructors there, Achalan, told me that as a result, I could expect something he called a "rising Kundalini" and that with it, I would notice certain side effects, or siddhis. These are incidental psychic events that accompany intensive yoga practice. He said they were interesting, but unimportant and should be ignored.

What he didn't know is that I had experienced siddhis throughout my life. It is true that I noticed them more after I started doing yoga, but that was because I was too young to appreciate them before.

The notion that my yoga practice affected these siddhis, principally my dreams, has persisted over the years since the question first occurred in 1988 or so. I have had many psychic experiences of various types, and I did achieve a high skill level in Hatha yoga. The inference is that they are connected. My position has long been that whether they are or aren't, the yoga effort didn't start them or stop them. I had experienced some kind of psychokinesis by the age of twelve, and out-of-body experiences starting at about eight, both long before I started yoga. Then, due to some injuries suffered in 1989, I stopped performing yoga regularly for a number of years, and have practiced only sporadically ever since, yet there has been no deceleration of psychic events in my life.

Recently, I was asked to locate which dream journal had the largest number of "veridical elements" by researcher Dr. Jacquie Lewis of the Saybrook Institute. I checked and found that almost 75% of the dream records in my third journal had been verified in one way or another. This is a much higher ratio than any other journal. It also happens to coincide, not with my most intense yoga practice, but a period when I was actively trying to determine whether my dreams were coincidentally similar to other events, or were more directly linked in some non-coincidental way.

The period of most intensive yoga study is unrecorded in my journals, because it ended before they began. One could argue that the yoga practice jump-started these dreams and put them in high gear. On a purely numerical basis, it does look that way, but then there is another important factor. Looked at more closely, all of the most fruitful periods in my dream journals are during lulls in my career, when I spent most of my time painting, both indoors and outdoors.

My impression is that the meditative mood this inspires has an enhancing effect on the quantity and quality of psychic dreams. This could be because painting is in many ways a meditation. When I paint, I barely notice the time spent actually painting because I am so focused on the job of transferring my subject to the canvas. From the moment I pick up the brush to the moment I put it back down, I am meditating strongly on a single thing, and continue until the goal is achieved. This effort, I think, is far more important than the physical exercise of yoga, and is likely a stronger contributor to my many psychic dreams than anything else.

The point though, isn't that anyone who is curious about siddhis should drop yoga and switch to painting, but that whatever you do, if you remain mindful of it, relaxed, and focused all at the same time, you will achieve a meditative state that will enhance your psychic experience.


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