Zhine and Dream Work

zhineI've been having a lot of vivid dreams lately, which have been helpful for doing some internal work, specifically in relationship to some deeper issues of conflict I've been feeling out within myself. Part of what I've been doing during the day to prepare for the dream work is a form of Tibetan meditation called Zhine. Zhine involves maintaining awareness of something around you, without thinking about it, studying it, or anything else. You are simply aware of it.

I have found this to be a challenging exercise because simply being aware of something without thinking about it can be hard. It's a good discipline exercise that challenges you to continually focus on just being aware of the object. Every time you think about it, which includes looking at distinct features or thinking about the color, you have shifted away from awareness and gotten caught up in the reality of what you are aware of. The point is to be simply aware, noticing it, but not thinking about it.

One variation of this exercise that I tried recently involved being aware of a fork that a person was using to eat. I was always aware of where the fork was, but I focused only on the fork as opposed to the person or how the fork was being used.

If you do this long enough and consistently enough, something very interesting happens. Your experience of reality changes subtly. What you are aware of seems less real, more of an image than actual reality. It's there, and yet what is there isn't real. There is a vividness in this experience which lends itself to dream work and makes your dreams more lucid and you more capable of remembering them. This has proven helpful in doing the dream work I've been involved with of late. You can learn more about Zhine by reading about Tibetan Dream work. I recommend the Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep.