Your Life Is A Night Dream
Updated: Nov 21, 2019
In this post I will try to challenge once again your assumption that reality is material and physical using another metaphor, that is, your life being a night dream. Throughout this post I will bombard you with questions that should make you rethink your current way of holding reality as something already established.
“Suffering just means you’re having a bad dream.
Happiness means you’re having a good dream.
Enlightenment means getting out of the dream altogether.”
- Jed McKenna -
We are used to divide our conscious state in 3 different phases, that is, the waking state, the dreaming state and deep sleep. Science tells us that each of them has specific and distinguishable physical and neurobiological features and based on this assumption we have all learnt to regard them as separate and distinct realities.
The waking state represents the real life, where things truly matter. The waking state deals with relationships, job, career, friendships, money, social activities. In a nutshell, it deals with the most important thing for us, our life. The waking state represents the world where we are born, where our most precious memories reside and it is the place that we will leave once dead. Yes, from time to time we give our self a break, but most of us behave as if this is not the place to mess around too much because there are impellent things to achieve and to be done. We have to use our time at best, because this is our only occasion to have an impact in the real world.
Many time we hear the admonishment: “Wake up! This is real life man, stop dreaming." This way of reasoning already indicates how the dreaming state is held with less importance for most of us. Sorceress, psychologists and psychiatric might have a stronger consideration about our night dreams but always in relationship to our real life, the waking state. The waking state is retained as the place governed by objective physical laws, a place that cannot be fooled by mere imagination, whereas the dreaming state is a realm where our imagination gets a bit more freedom to make crazy things happen. And since we have agreed that whatever goes against the solid laws of science is not real, dreams are mostly dismissed as not being as real as our physical reality.
Finally deep sleep is the state where everything is forgotten. It is considered an important phase for our general physical and mental well-being because it is the only time where we can get a total break from our self and forget everything that is bothering us within real life. This is the phase that gives us the possibility to say: "Oh, I had such a great sleep!".
However, do you think you had a good and resting sleep because of some specific wavelengths present in your brain? Far from that. I know it sounds weird but you have not slept a single second in your life. What you think to be has. Is not funny that what you think to be (that is what you are currently identifying with) has to take a break from itself in order to survive otherwise it will simply collapse? But you, the true you, does not need that.
Waking up (for real) will teach you that this three stage classification is totally inaccurate and that your physical reality is nothing else than another dream. The problem of interpretation comes, as usual, from our first premise: that we are a physical entity living within a world made out of objects having their own separate existence. We tend to hold the belief that we are a physical individual made out of a physical body within which resides the mind, a full range of emotions, feelings, maybe a soul, and sense organs that allow us to perceive and interact with an external world.
But let’s examine these assumptions more closely giving credit to our own direct experience of how things work rather than blindly supporting scientific theories about the world we live into.
It has been a long and busy day and finally it is time to sleep! You count your sheep and puff your are gone in another dimension, the dreaming state. If you are honest with yourself you have no idea you are within a dream. Wherever you have been thrown into, it becomes now your reality. It could be a Caribbean island or the worst prison in the world. Nevertheless, this is where you think you are as the character of the dream. From this point of view you feel the same emotions you would feel in real life: you get scared, you fall in love, you make love, you get hurt, you cry, you fight for your survival. During the dream you interact with people, you travel, you might even fall asleep and dream another reality. There is no way you can actually label and distinguish this experience as a dream rather than reality. It looks exactly as your real life: colors, sounds, smells, perceptions are so real that it is impossible to realize that is just a dream. Not even the appearance of unusual living organisms or landscapes will make you doubt and dismiss the reality you are experiencing.
At some point you awake and say: “What a dream! It looked so real, I am so glad it was just a dream!”. You get yourself back together and then you forget about the all thing. Anyway it was just a dream, no? The important fact is that now you are safe in your bed ready to deal with real life. However, instead of dismissing so fast what has just happened, why do not we dig a bit more into this experience to challenge some taken for granted conclusions?
Is it not true that as the character within the dream your perceptions of the dreamed reality looked, functioned and appeared extremely real? Could you not touch other people? Could not you smell the flagrance of a flower or experience the taste of an amazing meal? Could not you ride a wave and get seriously wiped out? Could you not hear someone talking? Could not you feel the fear of getting hurt? Simply put, could you not perceive and interact with the world in the exactly same way you are doing it in the "real" life? This open up an interesting question: How do you do that? If this was just a dream, with which sense organs could you ever interact with this reality? Is a dreamed nose or a dreamed mouth able to smell and taste something in the same perfect way as our “physical” nose and mouth do?
I know where are you heading to. Many of you (especially scientists) might invoke the brain as the ultimate explanation of how we can create such a real experience: everything happened within our physical brain, end of the story. However, you have no direct experience of a brain making up none of these experiences while dreaming. It is just a story you gave yourself to easily sweep these paradoxes under the rug. Brain might perfectly correlate with some of these experiences but you have no direct evidences that show that brain causes them. Just a thought for your beloved brain: How do you think is possible that infinite realities, scenarios, plots, events, stories, characters can be produced by a finite physical brain? Literally speaking, where all these things take place? In your small head or within something larger that can actually include and create all these realms? Sometimes the tendency to consider ourselves at the center of the Universe make us the laughing stock of our Universe.
Another interesting point to contemplate on is that from the point of view of the character within the dream there is an undeniable external reality made out of independent physical objects with which he can interact with. The character cannot discriminate that the substance of the objects and of the entire world around him it is simply made out of mind stuff. For you, the objects and people you are dealing with within the dream represent a real experience. Only once you awake you can realize that everything within the dream was made out of mind stuff, imagination, a substance that has no substance and that there was nothing to be worried about.
How can you be so sure that the substance of the waking state reality, the substance you find yourself right now while reading this post, is not made out of a substance that has no substance rather than being made out of matter, atoms, energy? Why do you dismiss a priori the possibility that the substance that allows the dream to exist is exactly the same substance that allows “physical” reality to be? I know it is hard to make such a shift, it feels so real this physical world! But you are basing your current experience from the materialistic paradigm and you need to get rid of all the assumptions you are holding on without any personal validation to directly verify your own experiences about yourself and the reality you live in.
Once you fall asleep, you as a human being, where do you go? Are you still existing as a physical individual? What happens to you, whatever you think to be? What happens to your ideas of being a scientist, teacher, salesman, to your ideas of being a shy or a confident person, to your ideas of being overwhelmed by many problems, to your ideas about what you should or should not do? Puff, all gone. Is this possible? If you really were all these things, should not all these features stick with you wherever you go? Should not you, whatever you are, always be present, regardless where you go?
Where does whatever you think to be in the waking state go once you fall asleep? I know your objection: “I am right here, laying on my bed, dreaming”. No, no, no. You, if honest, have no idea of being laying in your bed once dreaming. Once sleeping you have not anymore any conceptualization of having or being a body. Being or having a body or a brain that is causing your dream is simply a story you tell to yourself once awake to give reality to something that has no concrete substance. It is your attempt to give sense to something that appears to be paradoxical from the mind point of view.
Cannot you see that whatever you think to be disappears once your mind is shut down? Cannot you see that once you wake up, mind is creating a reality from something that a second before was not existing? But still you exist, this is undeniable. But as what? There is something that is present and never goes away during your waking, dreaming and sleeping state. What is that? It is your body? Your mind? Your personality? Your emotions? Your feelings? Are all these things still present and unchanged in all the different phases or they come and go? Is not “your” body and mind disappearing as the room in which you are sleeping? Are not “your” body, mind, emotions, feelings and perceptions vanishing like a burp once “you” are in the so called deep sleep? What is the difference between the disappearance of the book next to you and your body during deep sleep? Why once awake the body becomes “yours” and the book just a book? Is this distinction real or created? Was the body objectively yours one second before being awake or it became yours afterwards?
It is clear that whatever you think to be during the waking state cannot really be you because what you consider to be you has disappeared as anything else around you. You, must be you at any time! I am sorry to tell you that you cannot take a break from yourself, not possible. You can only take a break from what you are not, that is, what you think to be. However, this is a good new because what makes you suffering, what make you feeling incomplete and that causes all your problems is not what you are but what you think you are (consciously or unconsciously).
What makes your dreams so real is the process of identification with a specific character within the dream. Did you ever notice that even though the entire content of the dream is created by you, the dreamer, you still identify with one specific point of view? All people, objects, animals, landscape within the dream are literally made out of the same substance and in a sense they exist at the same existential level. There is nothing that could physically stand out and get separated from something else because everything is literally made out of the same substance. But still you identify with someone in particular and you live the dream from a unique point of view that cannot know the inner feelings, emotions and thoughts of other character created by you. Does it sound as something familiar? Could not be that what you currently identify with and the "physical" world you are living in is simply the creation of something larger than includes whole possible perspectives, yours included?
Awakening is like a lucid dream. It is not the character within the dream that has to wake up to realize that was just a dream but the dreamer that is creating the whole dreamed world. In lucid dreams, the dreamer knows that is dreaming everything up. At this point the dream does not disappear and life within the dream keeps running as usual but the character within the dream now is aware of what is happening: he knows that there is no difference between himself and any other character within the dream, he know he was never physically born and he will never die, he knows that he actually was not born from a mother and a father, he knows there is nothing material in life, that the walls and the air is breathing are made out of the same substance. It just appeared as such from his limited perspective. Importantly, he realizes he has nothing to lose and that there is no point to behave in a selfish way, he knows that all the other characters are made out of its same substance and that living consciously is the best thing to do. Believe it or not, all this apply to your current "physical" life. Just do not expect to wake up as someone else dreaming. Indeed, do not expect to wake up as someone at all.
So I asked you once again. You do exist, but as what? Can you find that which is ever present in all your experiences no matter in which state you seem to find yourself? You should since that is what you are but I know how difficult it is to get rid of so much confusion and ideas coming from a severe brainwashing and lack of existential education within our current society. In the waking state body, mind, objects, people seem to objectively exist as individual entity made out of some specific substance. However, most of what you know about yourself and the world disappears during the dreaming and deep sleep state but not you (whatever you are). So what is left? Who are you? Who is that always present? Bodies? Minds? Emotions? What?
Since I cannot point to you directly what I have been trying to make you realize, I had to use some metaphors to help you in grasping all this. However, do not fall in the temptation that all these words are a sort of mental masturbation or a philosophical attempt to model reality. Consciousness work deals with what is absolutely truth, all the rest is relative. Right now you are living a dream, you are imagining to be a physical entity constrained in a physical body. Awakening will show you that this is not the case and it will give you the freedom to live this human relative life from a new perspective.
To conclude dreams should not dismissed so fast (and for the sake of discussion also hallucinations). Not because they might tell you something about your unconscious psyche that might be important for our “real” life. That is a minor aspect. They should not dismissed because they are an easy and accessible door to understand that our “physical” reality is not at all different from the dream reality. Dreams do not occur in a physical brain present in a physical body. Dreams occur within you and your goal is to find yourself. You believe that this physical reality is the definitive reality because you lack an alternative point of view from which to look at the world. Awakening gives you this alternative.
Only by waking up from this dream called physical reality, you will understand what I am trying to point to. And once awake you, as a character within the "physical" dream, can make the conscious decisions (if you wants to) to make your dreamed human life as close as a dream, not as a nightmare.
One last point: since it is all a dream, dream big! Limitations come only from mind not from yourself.