Dream Yoga 102: What Makes IDL Dream Yoga Interviewing Differerent?


In this unit you will learn..

A different approach to dream lucidity

Most approaches to Dream Yoga focus on lucid dreaming, or realizing that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. The assumption is that this will give you more control over your dreams and that such control is a good thing. Lucid dreaming is also approached as training in seeing through the illusions of waking life, waking up out of them, and moving toward enlightenment. 

Tibetan Dream Yoga

Here is an example of traditional, Tibetan dream yoga, presented by Gampopa, of the Yagu branch of Tibetan Buddhism, in his Closely Stringed Pearls:

Seizing the dream – Becoming lucid in the dream. First, the yogi must see all perceptions and thoughts as a dream during the day. Then, they must go to sleep lying on their right side, with strong determination to recognize they are dreaming within the dream. They visualize a lotus flower with five syllables that radiate gentle light in the throat chakra and slowly shift their awareness from one syllable to another while falling asleep. This should spontaneously produce the experience of lucid dreaming. In another meditation manual by Gampopa, A Mirror Illuminating the Oral Transmission, one is instructed to visualize a sphere of light in between the eyebrows instead.

Training – According to Kragh, “The yogi is here instructed to think of whatever dream arises as being merely a dream and to relate to it without any fear. If he dreams of water, he should plunge into it or walk across it. He should jump into an abyss or sit down to be bitten by dream-dogs or beaten by dream enemies. He should fly in air, visit the god realms, or go sight-seeing in India.”

Blessing as illusory and getting rid of fear – Here, the yogi checks their mind during the dream to see if there is even the slightest fear, and if so, they should let go of it by recognizing that they are only in a dream. Once they’ve mastered the feeling of complete unobstructedness, they have “blessed their dreams as illusory.”

Meditating on reality – The yogi meditates on reality by “analyzing that all states of dream consciousness are his own mind, which is unborn. If such a contemplation of Mahamudra did not occur during the night, the yogi should direct his focus on the syllables again in the morning after waking up and then rest in the state of Mahamudra.”

You can see from the above that Tibetan dream yoga uses dream lucidity as a training ground for meditation, with the goal of seeing all things, including oneself, are self-created and illusory. 

Contemporary approaches to dream lucidity

Stephen LaBerge,  the psychologist who proved dream lucidity is real in laboratory experiments at Stanford University in 1980, developed a formula for inducing lucid dreaming called MILD (memnonic induction of lucid dreams):

“First, setup dream recall. Set intentions before going to bed to notice when you wake up from a dream and to remember dreams upon awakening. When you awaken from a dream, recall it as completely as you can.”

“The next stage involves setting your intention to lucid dream. While returning to sleep, concentrate on your intention to recognize that you’re dreaming. Repeat “Next time I’m dreaming, I will remember I’m dreaming,” like a mantra. Meditation helps master your focus during this state. Put real meaning into the words and focus on this idea alone. If you find yourself thinking about anything else, let it go and bring your mind back to your intention.”

”Next, see yourself becoming lucid. As you continue to focus on your intention to remember when you’re dreaming, imagine that you are back in the dream from which you just awakened (or another one you have had recently if you didn’t remember a dream on awakening). Imagine that this time you recognize that you are dreaming. Look for a dream sign—something in the dream that demonstrates plainly that it is a dream. When you see it say to yourself: “I’m dreaming!” and continue your fantasy. Imagine yourself carrying out your plans for your next lucid dream. For example, if you want to fly in your lucid dream, imagine yourself flying after you come to the point in your fantasy when you become lucid. Any dream control idea or dream goal you have works here.”

”Finally, Repeat steps 2 and 3 until either you fall asleep or are sure that your intention is set. If, while falling asleep, you find yourself thinking of anything else, repeat the procedure so that the last thing in your mind before falling asleep is your intention to remember to recognize the next time you are dreaming.”

Contemporary approaches to lucidity emphasize dream control, skill acquisition in a failure-proof environment, problem solving, creativity, spiritual development, or meditation training.

How IDL dream yoga differs

While these approaches have their strengths and advantages, the emphasis of IDL Dream Yoga is different.

Becoming lucid in a dream doesn’t change the perceptual filters of the dreamer

When you become lucid in a dream, you are still you, meaning you, the self that normally perceives your experience, filters and conditions your experience. This occurs regardless of your state of consciousness. For instance, you still filter your experience through your worldview, familial, social, and cultural scripting. Why would we, why should we, assume that this filtering automatically disappears simply because we recognize that we are dreaming?

The reason this is important is that enlightenment is generally understood as one of the four transpersonal states: a sense of oneness with nature, divinity, formlessness, or the non-dual. But becoming aware in a dream that you are dreaming does not produce transpersonal states of oneness. What it produces is a significant degree of objectivity toward our experience when we are dreaming. While such objectivity is a step toward escaping our own subjectivity, it neither eliminates it nor helps us appreciate the value and importance of our normal dreaming and waking subjectivity. 

What we assume it means to dream is not magically changed when we become lucid

If we think dreams are self-created delusions, when we go lucid we are very likely to continue to assume that dreams are self-created delusions and that everything we experience are self-aspects. However, if we think dreams are real experiences in some other dimension, as in shamanism, when we go lucid we are very likely to continue to assume that dreams are real experiences. 

IDL values the relative lucidity of dream elements, whether from normal or lucid dreams. Their lucidity is embedded in their worldview, which is generally more expansive than our own. The only way to wake up in our dreams is to wake up out of our waking scripting, drama, and cognitive distortions while we are awake. If we do not, we will carry them into our dreams as filters that block clarity and any real objectivity. 

For example, just because you become lucid in a dream does not mean you move out of the Drama Triangle. You may still persecute yourself or see other dream elements as persecutors. You may still experience yourself as the victim of your dream experience. You may still spend your time dreaming attempting to rescue yourself or others. It is only as you learn to recognize and move out of waking toxic drama do you import that form of lucidity into your dreams, regardless of how aware you may be that you are dreaming. This is a fundamental way that the IDL healing curriculum relates to dreaming and dream lucidity. If you want to be lucid in your dreams you need to be lucid first in your waking experience. That means sorting through your familial, social, and cultural scripting and aligning your priorities with those of your life compass. It means learning to escape the Drama Triangle in the Three Realms. It means learning to recognize and avoid emotional cognitive distortions, logical fallacies, and toxic cognitive biases. 

Dream control

Lucid dreamers typically bump up against some limit to their ability to control or change a dream. This is because our perspective within a dream is always limited to our perspective. Sooner or later even lucid dreamers bump up against the “other,” that is, perceived dream elements that are “not self,” outgroup members that we do not identify with and are likely either alienated from or threatened by. This represents the limits of our multi-perspectivalism, and it serves as a reason to broaden our multi-perspectivalism by interviewing ourselves, others, and having others interview us. The more we do so the less we feel a Ned to control, due to a need to protect a rigid, armored identity. 

IDL refers to ourself in our dreams, whether normal or lucid, as “Dream Self.” This is to indicate that we remains in the perspective of our waking identity when we are dreaming, but with additional abilities that our waking self does not have; we can fly, die and resurrect,  or transform into animals. The relationship of IDL Dream Yoga to Hindu dream yoga is explained in Hindu Foundations of Dream Yoga, to Tibetan dream yoga in Tibetan Dream Yoga and Phenomenologically-based Experiential Multi-Perspectivalism, to shamanism in Shamanism, and to other approaches to lucid dreaming at DreamYoga.com. 

What is fundamental for IDL Dream Yoga?

We have seen that in most approaches to dream yoga and dream lucidity, either the practice of meditation while dreaming, problem-solving, or controlling the dream as a vehicle for practicing assertiveness in a failure-proof environment is fundamental.

Not a projective, symbolic, or archetypal approach

Other, non-dream yoga approaches to dreamwork typically ask,”what is the meaning of this dream?” Dreamers are looking for insight and/or validation of some interpretation they have of a dream, of some hope or fear. Interpretive approaches to dreams, which include Biblical, Indian, Chinese, and shamanic approaches, are projective. In such approaches, we place onto a dream and its elements meanings derived from an expert, dream dictionary, a dream group, or our own hopes or fears. For example, in ancient Egyptian dream interpretation, to dream of a crocodile was associated with guilt. But how do we know that association fits your dream? How can we know unless and until we ask the crocodile? Otherwise, dream interpretation is either a guessing game or the trusting of some external authority that knows nothing about how dreams are generated in our own lives and who have their own agendas to advance. 

Such associative interpretive approaches are also symbolic. If you dream of the sun it symbolizes light, or warmth, or giver or life, or god, or…? These meanings are cross-cultural archetypes, since all cultures relate to the sun in ways that are universal. But all cultures also relate to the sun in non-universal, culturally and socially specific ways. And then each individual within each culture relates to the sun in particular ways, such as that sunburn one got yesterday. 

The point is that symbols and archetypes are also projective. It is not that these are not interesting or even helpful or relevant. In my youth I did in-depth studies of archetypes and cross-cultural dream symbology, for instance by reading various works by scholar of comparative religions, Mircea Eliade, such as his Patterns in Comparative Religion, which is an amazing cross-cultural compendium of symbols and archetypes. Such knowledge forms a background framework for forming hypotheses about what a dream might be about. In IDL this is addressed by stating our associations to the dream. The function of this step is phenomenological: we are surfacing our assumptions about the meaning of a dream to act as a sort of pre-test to see if it is validated by the perspectives of interviewed dream elements. It also serves as a guide in questioning: Are the answers provided supportive of or challenging our assumptions? In my experience, despite such studies, my associations tend to be either wrong or woefully partial. In addition to reminding us of the limitations of “pre-cooked” approaches to dreams, such challenges to our interpretations serve to keep us humble. 

IDL suspends assumptions regarding the relative reality of anything that is interviewed. This in line with basic moral principles of reciprocity, reciprocity, and empathy. It demonstrates reciprocity in that you and I do not want to be viewed as the figments of the imaginations of others and that therefore we do not conduct interviews from a framework of non-reciprocity. This is also respectful, in that we are respecting the authenticity and autonomy of whatever perspective and worldview is expressed, regardless by how outlandish or clearly self-created an image, character, element, or personification might be. In addition, it requires empathy, as expressed by the willingness and ability to drop our own assumptions, perspectives, and worldview in order to fully embody those of an interviewed character. It is this commitment to a morally-grounded relationship with intrasocial, as well as social relationships, that is fundamental to Integral Deep Listening as a dream yoga.

Not about the subconscious or personal or collective unconscious

These ways of thinking about dreams project a waking perspective onto them instead of listening to what they have to say themselves. For example, if you interview a fire in a dream, does it say it is an element in your subconscious mind or not? Does it say it is an aspect of your personal or of collective consciousness or not? Could it not respond, “No, I am conscious; you are the one that is unconscious.” Or, “No, you are an aspect of my subconscious.” IDL Dream Yoga suspends this way of talking and thinking about dreams because it assumes that a waking framework is an accurate way of portraying how dream characters see themselves. How do we know unless we ask them?

Not about self-aspects, “parts,” or “subpersonalities.”

This is another assumption that IDL Dream Yoga sets aside, at least during interviewing. Does the character see itself as a self-aspect or not? Could it not answer, “No, I am actually your deceased mother.” Or, “I am both your deceased mother and an aspect of yourself that is like your mother?”

Reality is assumed to be multi-perspectival

Another fundamental assumption of IDL dream yoga is that reality is multi-perspectival. There is no one “right” answer, perspective, or worldview. For those who seek security in certainty this feels like maddening ambiguity and hopeless relativity. However, IDL views some perspectives as more useful and appropriate to circumstances than others. This is a pragmatic, rather than a correspondence or coherence theory of truth. IDL asks, “What perspective, framing, or approach is most effective for the task at hand?” whether it is dealing with some life issue or understanding a dream, mystical experience, or family member. We can see this principle at work in the scoring in core qualities of confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing. While our general assumption is that higher scores are “better,” it is not unusual to find interviewed characters that not only score low on a number of these, but cannot score higher and remain an authentic expression of their nature. This is important because their recommendations are an expression of their nature and worldview, and to artificially force core qualities higher is to distort their authenticity. The conclusion is that multi-perspectivalism, even regarding core qualities, is essential. 

A focus on empirical testing via application

In addition to a difference in who is the primary interpreter of a dream, mystical, or life experience, IDL differs from other dream yogas in what is done with an interpretation. Most approaches to dreamwork focus on insight, realization, and practical life guidance. IDL supports these interests and motivations while focusing on testing recommendations that are made. How do we know that the perspective and recommendations of an interviewed velociraptor lead to health, balance, transformation and higher order integration instead of away? This is why IDL recommends the operationalizing of any chosen recommendation to see if it holds up to empirical scrutiny. Such testing also requires that we be accountable in our testing, which is one reason why IDL uses a team support structure. It provides a degree of both objectivity and accountability that we need to see if IDL dream yoga really does support healing, balancing, and transformation. In addition, it specifically defines healing in terms of script awareness, escape from toxic drama in the three realms of relationships, thinking, and dreaming, and the cultivation of clear thinking through the recognition and avoidance of emotional cognitive distortions, logical fallacies, and toxic cognitive biases. It defines balancing in terms of goal setting, assertiveness, and problem solving. It defines transformation in terms of interviewing, meditation, pranayama, and clarifying intent. 

The application of interview recommendations is explained in the next Module, on IDL life issue interviewing. 

Does IDL Dream Yoga work?

Is it effective? What sorts of benefits and changes can you expect to experience? 

A greater freedom from childhood scripting

Unless the assumptions that created our identity as young children are surfaced and assessed, they will act as filters, largely determining the course of our life and serving as barriers to accessing the priorities of our life compass. The relationship of IDL dream yoga to our familial, social, and cultural scripting is explained in the first healing module of the Coaching, Practitioner, and Trainer curricula. 

Less emotionally-based drama in your relationships, thoughts, and dreams

Unless the reality and intensity of our feelings is understood we are likely to live our lives within the Drama Triangle, moving among the roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer, trapped in self-reinforcing toxic emotional loops in our relationships, thinking, and dreams. The relationship of IDL dream yoga to toxic drama is explained in the second healing module of the Coaching, Practitioner, and Trainer curricula as well as in both Escaping the Drama Triangle in the Three Realms: Relationships, Thinking, Dreaming, and Waking Up.

Greater mental clarity

Unless the assumptions behind our thoughts are surfaced and recognized, they act as filters that block our connection with authenticity and the sacred dimension of life. There are three types of thinking that are based on toxic, largely unrecognized assumptions that keep us in delusion, sleepwalking through life. These are emotional cognitive distortions, logical fallacies, and cognitive biases. The relationship of IDL dream yoga to clear thinking is explained in the third healing module of the Coaching, Practitioner, and Trainer curricula as well as in Waking Up.

More effective pursuit of your life goals

If we do not set and work toward goals important to us we will act on and strengthen goals that are the products of our scripting and learned habits. While some of those may be useful, some probably won’t be. In either case, how will you know if your goals are aligned with your emerging potentials and the priorities of your life compass? Goal setting is discussed in the first module of the balancing curriculum and also in Waking Up.

Greater assertiveness

Assertiveness is confidence in relationships. For IDL, it is not only confidence in relationships but also in our thinking and in our dreams. Authentic confidence is difficult and rare. Most of what passes for confidence is a compensation for fear and insecurity, or born of ignorance. Authentic confidence is something else entirely, and difficult to develop because it easily feels like aggression and it does not generalize well. Just because you learn to be assertive in one situation or person does not mean that you will in another. Assertiveness is essential for balance and is discussed in the second module of the balancing curriculum and also in Waking Up.

Improved problem-solving

Every day we are all faced with problems, challenges, and life issues to resolve. They may come from others and our external life circumstances or they may come from our own scripting, emotions, or thoughts. IDL problem-solving is called “triangulation,” because it teaches the consultation of external others, such as friends and experts, interviewed “others,” and one’s own common sense and intuition in decision-making. Accessing all three of these perspectives makes it much more likely that you will find and pursue a path forward that is both wise and authentic. Triangulation is discussed in the third module of the balancing curriculum and also in Waking Up. 

A reduction of fear and anxiety

The most common source of both stress and mental health disorders is fear. IDL reduces fear by incorporating fears into an expanded and thinned sense of who you are. IDL interviewing has been shown to eliminate nightmares, agoraphobia, panic disorders, and PTSD consistently, in as little as one session. This process is explained in Ending Nightmares for Good. 

A growing sense of groundedness in your authenticity

Most people think they are their scripting because they identified with its assumptions from early youth and have never recognized its arbitrariness. They think they are happy and living authentically when they are living out someone else’s script assumptions. Even if you sort through your script assumptions, arriving at your own choices regarding your scripting does not necessarily ground you in the authenticity of your emerging potentials and the priorities of your life compass. IDL interviewing is designed to do so, and that is why it provides the context for application of the content of each of the IDL nine curriculum modules. 

An expansion and thinning of your sense of who you are

As you practice the yoga of taking on multiple alternative perspectives you incorporate their preferences, priorities, and worldviews into your own. The result is that your boundaries between “self” and “other” thin, allowing you to empathize more fully with the perspectives of others. You get out of your own way. This is an important function of interviewing, but self-interviewing is not enough. If it is not accompanied by the interviewing of others and being interviewed by them, as well as the ongoing application of chosen recommendations in your daily life, the process can be like eating too much Thanksgiving dinner too often, inviting “psychic indigestion” and leading to an avoidance of the process all together. 

A shifting of your priorities into closer alignment to those of your life compass

Your life compass is a fundamental life-orienting process that can be felt, like air, and that is essential, like oxygen, but like both, unseen. It can only be intuited or inferred through the repetition of preferences and priorities by a multitude of interviewed characters. Your life compass embodies priorities that are foundational and authentic for you. For example, waking up is a motivation so often mentioned by interviewed characters that it is most likely a priority of the life compass of every human. 

A growing sense of the sacredness of life

Rather than seeking the sacred in devotional acts or pilgrimages to holy or inspirational places, IDL dream yoga teaches the recognition of the sacred in the most mundane and secular aspects of daily experience through interviewing spoons, spit, toilets, and nightmare threats. The result is a thinning of the distinction between the sacred and profane, so that every aspect of life becomes increasingly precious and capable of evoking a sense of awe and deep gratitude. 

Transformation via interviewing, meditation, pranayama, clarifying intent

While childhood transformation is first a biological and then a social and cognition mediated process, most people stop transforming in profound and creative ways because they become stabilized and comfortable within the scripted expectations of their social identity and roles. To continue to transform we require not only transpersonal yogas but the teaching of those to others as a way to ground our knowledge in service toward creating a better world for others. Meditation, pranayama, and intention are three powerful transformational vehicles emphasized by IDL dream yoga. 

  Dream Yoga Meditation

Meditation is a paradoxical practice of increasing focus and objectivity at the same time. An overview of the five duality traps, sense experience, images, emotions, thoughts, and consciousness, can be found in Transcending Your Monkey Mind: The Five Trees and Meditation. IDL uses a Naming meditation to integrate these dualities into a greater whole. By practicing naming any of the five skandhas that arise in awareness we move our awareness into a clear, non-filtered space which is centered, grounded, at peace, and sacred and to take that perspective into every mundane corner of our daily lives. Naming meditation is explained in the meditation module of the IDL curriculum and in Waking Up.

  Dream Yoga Pranayama

Gautama Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment through meditation on his breathing. IDL Pranayama has seven octaves: sensory, processes, attitudinal, qualities, potentials, emptying, and cosmic. These are built on a foundation of six stages of every breath: abdominal inhalation, chest inhalation, the pause after inhalation, chest exhalation, abdominal exhalation, and the longer pause after exhalation. IDL Pranayama is explained in the pranayama module of the IDL curriculum and in Seven Octaves of Enlightenment: Integral Deep Listening Pranayama.

   Dream Yoga Intention

While goals are specific, intention articulates why we are alive and what our lives are about. Creating a statement of intent clarifies who we are, where we are going, and what we stand for, It directs goal setting and the activities we choose to pursue in life, day by day. Clear intent provides the sense of purpose and meaning that generates the motivation to be disciplined in our efforts to align ourselves with the sacredness of every moment. The nature and purposes of setting intent, as well as an explanation of the IDL Statement of Intent is explained in the Intention module of the IDL curriculum and Blueprint for Awakening: Using the IDL Statement of Intent to Awaken, Clarify and Center Your Life.

Assignments and Homework


Under “Essays and Interviews,” “Dreams and Dreaming,” Beginners, choose several essays to read.

Read several essays on lucid dreaming from the Beginners and Coaching sections here:

Lucid Dreaming



What is Integral Deep Listening? (Videos)

IDL is a DREAM Yoga: Are Dreams Illusory or Real?

Dreams have a great deal to teach us about the illusoriness of life and waking life has a great deal to teach us about the reality of dreams! In this video we discuss the interdependence of dreaming and waking, of subjectivity and objectivity, and how a balanced life needs to be built on the foundation of a transformational transpersonal yoga that integrates these two critical states of our life experience.

How Our Worldview Creates Our Reality

Whether we think dreams are illusory, real, both or neither; whether we regard our waking lives as real, illusory, both, or neither, impacts how we approach life. Integral Deep Listening finds merit in all these positions and its practices reflect that worldview.

The Worldview of IDL

With the background of the previous introductory videos, it’s time to explain what it means that Integral Deep Listening is not simply multi-perspectival but is a variety of experiential multi-perspectivalism. In addition, it is important to understand what it means to say it is “polycentric,” or “cosmocentric” rather than psychologically geocentric or heliocentric. These distinctions grow out of IDL interviewing and create a framework for understanding all of the various integral life practices of IDL.


Go to Quizlet and see what questions on this unit other students have added. Feel free to add your own.


If you have had one or more lucid dream, choose one or more character from it and interview it.

 Compare its perspective with that of yourself in the dream and after awakening. 

Find someone who has had a lucid dream and do the same with their dream. 

Then have them interview either another lucid dream of yours or a life issue of your choice.

 To have your interviews automatically created for you, use the on-line interviewing format on this site.  Keep track of the interviews you do by listing the following: Name of the interview Date Who/What interviewed Major Recommendations Choose one or more recommendation from your interviews to apply and monitor. 


  1. Write down your answers to the following questions.
  2. Share your answers with your other study team members.
  3. Discuss.
  4. Submit your written answers to your team supervisor.

How does IDL Dream Yoga differ from other forms of dream yoga?

What is your sense of the meaning or purpose of lucid dreams?

How do you understand the IDL approach to lucid dreaming?

How do you understand the IDL approach to lucidity in general?

How will you know if IDL Dream Yoga is effective and works for you?

Setting Intent

What do you want to take away from this unit to improve your life?

How would you like it to influence your dreams tonight?

How can you format that as a statement of intention to read over to remind yourself, before you go to sleep, to incubate in your dreams tonight?

For more information, contact joseph.dillard@gmail.com. While IDL does not accept advertising or sponsored postings, we gratefully accept donations of your time, expertise, or financial support.