Andrew Holecek, is an ardent and knowledgeable teacher of Tibetan Dream Yoga and Lucid Dreaming, with over 30 years of experience in the field – he is a spiritual teacher and philosopher, humanitarian, author and a student of Buddhism. He offers conversations, talks, online courses and workshops in the Unites States and abroad.
Holecek’s teachings demonstrate the opportunities that exist in obstacles, helping people with hardship and pain, death and dying, and problems in meditation.
An acknowledged expert on lucid dreaming and the Tibetan yogas of sleep and dream, he is an experienced guide for students drawn to these powerful nocturnal practices.
He has authored several works including:
The Power and the Pain: Transforming Spiritual Hardship into Joy, Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, Dream Yoga; Illuminating your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep, Meditation in the iGeneration: How to Meditate in World of Speed and Stress, and the audio programs Dream Yoga: The Tibetan Path of Awakening Through Lucid Dreaming.
NP: One thing is certain, after listening to you the curiosity, expertise and passion you bring with you is engaging and inspirational. In general terms how would you describe a dream, lucid dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga?
Holeck: I view a dream as any manifestation of the mind. The nighttime dream is just the mind released from external sensory restraints. On one level the nighttime dream and the waking reality are both illusory. Tibetan Dream Yoga is a philosophical and spiritual method that allows the mind to awaken to the dreamlike nature of reality, diurnal or nocturnal. Inherent to Tibetan Dream Yoga is lucid dreaming, which acts as a platform to Dream Yoga, but in and of itself is a method that can lead to self-fulfillment. Lucid dreaming is more psychological than spiritual. The entire process of lucidity leads to spiritual awakening whereby our daytime reality and our nocturnal dreams are interwoven into a whole. For one truly awake, there is no difference between day and dream.
NP: A colleague of mine, during the 1990s when we appeared in a stage play together, suggested what might be considered an analogy of lucid dreaming – like being on stage and at the same time being in the audience watching oneself perform. That experience leads me to ask about the triggers of lucid dreaming.
Holecek: Interesting. Everyday we experience events that might be described as incongruities, or dreamlike. At night we might experience a similar incongruity in our dream, an anomalous event that can clue us into the fact that we’re dreaming. For example, during the daytime if something odd or dreamlike occurs and we jump up, we’ll come back down. This “state check” allows us to confirm we’re awake, we’re in the waking state. But if we do the same thing at night when something weird happens, we might keep going up. That will clue us into the fact that we’re dreaming, we’re in the dream state. We can trigger lucid dreams by our actions during the day so they carry over to dreams at night.
NP: What inspired you to pursue this path?
Holecek: In my early 20’s, which I explain my recent book, I experienced a profound awakening that I built on over the years. I always had a rich dream life but my experiences led to a spiritual awakening and I began to view later events within the framework of that awakening.
NP: What are the implications of lucid dreaming and the effect on lifestyle and work?
Holecek: In essence lucid dreaming leads to lucid living. As we gain insights during the night, those insights lead to “outsights,” or practical applications in daily life. Lucid dreaming is a method of shaping our life by shifting changes in how we respond to life rather than react. The neuroplasticity of our brain allows for mindfulness and meditation, as part of lucid dreaming, to reshape our brains, which can affect how we relate to anxiety, anger, stress and so forth. We use the night to transform the day.
NP: The future of Tibetan Dream yoga and lucid dreaming?
Holecek: I envision Tibetan Dream Yoga and lucid dreaming as methods for gaining greater insight into human potential and capability. It could represent the pedagogy of the future. As just one example, it can be used as a form of therapy. When you’re in therapy, the person you’re trying to resolve an issue with doesn’t have to be there physically, they only have to be there phenomenally – they only have to appear to your mind. In a lucid dream, you can work out unresolved issues, even with those who have died, by engaging in therapeutic role-play. You bring them to mind, which means they appear to you in your lucid dream, and you can process issues in that medium. In the future we may be able to bring about any number of physical, psychological, and spiritual transformations by what we do in our lucid dreams. That’s no small thing.