Michael Katz (born 1951) is a psychologist, former Yantra Yoga instructor, author, artist and long time student of contemporary masters of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon. He is best known as having authored the introduction and edited the popular book Dream yoga and the Practice of Natural Light by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 1-55939-007-7 Additionally he is the author of the book Tibetan Dream Yoga- The Royal Road to Enlightenment and he maintains an archive of lucid dreams.
The original and second editions of Dream Yoga have been translated into more than ten languages. These include bootlegged Russian and Chinese versions circulated during the Communist era.
The book Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light emphasizes the importance of using the time spent asleep and dreaming for spiritual or transpersonal purposes. The book also offers specific exercises to develop awareness within the dream and sleep states associated with the Dzogchen tradition of Buddhism. It also describes the relationship between the "practices of the night" including "Dream Yoga" and the passage through the Bardos of Death and Dying.
"One of the important messages of Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light is the distinction between the Dzogchen awareness referred to as Rigpa which arises from the practice of natural light, and the more relative but still important experience of lucidity.
"Many Victorians viewed dreams as the "garbage of the mind." In stark contrast, the Surrealist movement, extending the work of Freud beyond its psychoanalytic bounds, sought to unite dreams and waking reality. Numerous traditional societies have similarly placed great stock in dreams, viewing them as both a symbolic language and a practice. And the Tibetan Dzogchen tradition encompasses this range of perspectives and then some, mastering them all with profoundly practical instructions on what we can do with these dramas in which we find ourselves while sleeping.
Like his other publicly available books of teachings, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche's Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light is a generous transformative reading experience, a resource that will unknot the thought of readers ready to engage it. Additionally (as seems to be the rule with such public works of his), for those who have received Rinpoche's living transmission, the volume can unlock the real essence of such transmission, reconciling the puzzle pieces of our day with the complete picture we embody from a larger perspective."
In addition to contact with Tibetan Lama Chogyal Namkhai Norbu in the dream state, Katz cites personal lucid dream experiences such as the following as having inspired the original book.
"In my dream I was standing on a beach near the shoreline. In the surf I saw a crystal baby being washed back and forth by the waves. Although I had little hope that the baby was alive due to its prolonged exposure to the waves and the ocean, I nevertheless rushed down to the shore and snatched it out of the water. No sooner had I cradled it in my arms than the crystal baby became animated. Its uniqueness and beauty instantly struck me.
This dream expresses a great deal about our predicament—and its solution. Distracted by the 100,000 things of the world, our crystal awareness, or rigpa, is temporarily obscured by the waves of violent emotions. Despite this, it is never destroyed and, with attention, becomes alive.
Katz was featured in the Discovery channel video series "The Power of Dreams" (1994) along with other lucid dream trainers including Stephen LaBerge and Tenzin Wangyal, as well as the movie "Tamara's sacred Journey" (2011). He has travelled internationally since the 1980s conducting retreats for the purpose of introducing and training lucidity in the dream state. In particular he has been amongst the pioneers in utilizing hypnotic induction for lucidity during "guided naps" for this purpose. Additionally his retreats are characterized by the use of lucid dream enactment he has titled "Lucid Dream Theater Work" for the purpose of deepening the experience of the lucid dream state.
Katz is also the author of a book of poetry The Crossing (out of print),and a novel The White Dolphin.
His novel The White Dolphin raises awareness about the destruction of the world's natural resources. It features the dream based relationship between a white dolphin and an environmental activist.