Orthodox Gems, Gaelic Psalms, and Dream Yoga

Welcome to our October newsletter!

We open our monthly selection with a collection of aphorisms titled “On Those who Think that They are Made Righteous by Works.” Attributed to St Mark The Ascetic, one of the Holy Fathers from the Philokalia, these little gems from the heart of the Orthodoxy are full of penetrating insights, glimpses into the alchemical spiritual psychology known as the “science of vices and virtues.”

When rain falls upon the earth, it gives life to the quality inherent in each plant: sweetness in the sweet, astringency in the astringent; similarly, when grace falls upon the hearts of the faithful, it gives to each the energies appropriate to the different virtues without itself changing.

Mark Ascetic icon
Russian icon of St Mark the Ascetic

• As the latest addition to our Sacred Audio Collection, we present a recording of Gaelic Psalm Chanting from the Outer Hebrides. This particular way of congregational singing, possibly of ancient origin, has been discreetly and vigorously preserved in Scotland and only in a few other and diverse Christian communities in America.

• Finally, we present an introduction to the subtleties of “dream yoga” (svapnadarshana / milam), as cultivated with great detail in the Tibetan tradition. Our excerpts by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche reveal hidden depths at every turn, while warning us: “How subtle our understanding must become and how easily we can get lost! This is why practice is necessary, in order to have direct experience rather than just developing another conceptual system to elaborate and defend.”

The first step in dream practice is quite simple: one must recognize the great potential that dream holds for the spiritual journey. Normally the dream is thought to be “unreal,” as opposed to “real” waking life. But there is nothing more real than dream. This statement only makes sense once it is understood that normal waking life is as unreal as dream, and in exactly the same way. Then it can be understood that dream yoga applies to all experience, to the dreams of the day as well as the dreams of the night.