Yoga Nidra


Adi Da Samraj – 1999

Excerpt from Torque of Attention

Yoga Nidra

ADI DA SAMRAJ: What else?

DEVOTEE: Master, I would like to know about the nidra state during meditation.

ADI DA SAMRAJ: Yoga nidra? We were actually talking about it earlier, I didn’t use the term.

DEVOTEE: But, where does that fit in?

ADI DA SAMRAJ: “Nidra” means “sleep”. The term Yoga is usually added to it to mean something more than the usual sleep.

DEVOTEE: Is that at the beginning of the process of the transition?

ADI DA SAMRAJ: Yes, as I was describing it earlier. Its an in-depth equanimity of attention, in which the transition could be made to the Witness. You go through sleep, or through objectless attention through and beyond that. So Yoga nidra could be associated with that in-depth objectless meditation. That is something like sleep, but its attentive. But the phenomenon of Yoga nidra could occur anytime.

Do you remember I always used to mention this about Patricia even from years ago? You would observe her in the meditative setting or even on other occasions, where she did become meditative, but she would look like she was asleep. You know that nodding and then jerking back and all that kind of thing.

Well, that’s an example of Yoga nidra, but it doesn’t necessarily result in Awakening to the “Perfect Practice”, you see. Doesn’t usually, until there is that unique capability. So it is a kind of objectless deep meditation though. So externally it also looks like the person is sleeping. If it’s Yoga nidra, the person is attentive. If its just plain old sleep, the person is not attentive, and not aware of being attentive. And feels unconscious. When you get up the next day, you say you got a good nights sleep, you see. But that’s simply because you became objectless and relatively unconsciousness.

So Yoga nidra can be basically just like that, just a temporary rest, but with attentiveness at its core. And its a relatively deep state of meditation. But it can be associated even with the beginning of practice, so, in itself, is not associated with the transition to the “Perfect Practice” necessarily. That comes with all of the other aspects of practice, all coming to the same point, you see.

So, no matter what is arising, you are the Witness, even now.

But if you somehow associate that with the generalized sense of the body just very generalized, basically just noticing that you’re bodily here, without moving attention about, just this general awareness well, you’re asleep. [Devotees chuckle.]

If you close your eyes, you are asleep. But you are attentive, so you are responding to Me.

But notice this state. It is identical to sleep.

Fundamentally, in your conscious experience, you are always asleep. You don’t just go from one state to the next sleeping, dreaming, waking, waking, dreaming, sleeping, so forth you are always in all three of them.

And at the root, you are asleep, just aware attentive, but without body-mind association. Your always asleep.

But you are noticing that you are asleep now, because you Stand as the Witness.

That is the fourth.

Enter deeply into that to the point of transcending “difference”, you Realize the fifth.

So all the time you are asleep, all the time you’re dreaming too, you do intentional thinking. But notice: Apart from your intentional thinking, there’s just thinking and memories, or internal perceptions. There’s a reverie process that goes on all the while in the mind, and that is the dream state. If you relax deeply into it right now, you would experience basically what you experience when dreaming, you see.

And you’re also awake all the time. You do guard the body. So there is that component. And even now, while waking certainly awake, in the body you are, if you experience yourself altogether, not only awake in the body, as the body, you are dreaming in the reverie aspect of your mind, and you’re sound asleep. All right now.

Once you’re awake, you’re also dreaming and sleeping. If you’re not awake with the body, and you’re dreaming, then you’re still asleep also. And if the mind is relaxed beyond, then you are simply asleep.

Remarkably, you’re always asleep, and yet able to function, dream-wise and waking-wise. And you never truly become unconscious, because you are Always Already the Witness. But you can have experiences of being unconscious, when attention becomes so steady it has no object. Then when you wake up, you have nothing to refer to. So you assign it the label “unconsciousness”.

But you are the Witness of sleep. You tend to want to make a life, a philosophy, an understanding of Reality out of the waking state. And in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta, a great deal of effort is spent to argue to this point. Its argued over and over again in that tradition, all of your presumptions, everything else, are based on waking state matters. For some reason or other you don’t want to take into account dreaming and sleeping in your view of Reality. You want to have all of your mental constructs and so forth be associated with the waking state, body-based consciousness.

But in all this making your presumptions about Reality, what about the fact that you dream also you enter into the dream state? What about the fact that you enter into the sleep state? And yet theory all you.

And what is the condition then, in which the sleep state arises, the dream state arises, and the waking state arises? Whatever your point of view about it all, it must take into account not only waking but dreaming and sleeping. And the fact that you Witness all three.