Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying

Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying

The intention of this dialogue was to focus on a far more delicate area including the three topics: sleeping, dreaming and dying. The participants brought to discussion those “marginal states” in which our habitual, reified sense of personal identity is challenged, and in which concomitantly a host of phenomena of great significance for human existence become intensified or are made manifest. Current knowledge (in 1992) about the strictly neuroscientific correlates of sleeping and dreaming were presented. However, the multi-dimensional nature of these states required other approaches of research which were presented as well.

In particular, participants drew on the insights of many years of clinical work in the Western tradition of psychoanalysis concerning dreams and their role in neurosis and health. Further, studies on lucid dreaming were introduced, together with the relevant practical applications and technological methods that developed in the West. These presentations were complemented with a description of the unique Tibetan tradition of dream yoga and “Bardo” teachings (on the intermediate state following death and prior to one’s next rebirth). Western clinical studies on so-called near-death states were discussed in connection with the above Tibetan teachings.

Dialogue Sessions

Psychoanalysis and Dreaming

This presentation will introduce the point of view and extensive experience of a unique Western tradition of understanding the mind, which started with Freudian psychoanalysis and has continued to evolve to this day. At the center of this tradition is the discovery of the unconscious and the fragmentary nature of human experience. In this context, dreams have constituted from the very beginning a royal path to psychoanalytic theory and practice.

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Honorary Board Chair
  • His Holiness the Dalai Lama
  • Thupten Jinpa, PhD
  • Alan Wallace, PhD
  • Adam Engle, JD, MBA
  • Francisco Varela, PhD
  • Michael Chase, PhD
  • Jerome Engel, MD, PhD
  • Jayne Gackenbach, PhD
  • Joyce McDougall, DEd 
  • Kenneth Ring, PhD
  • Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche 
  • Charles Taylor, PhD