– Dream and Reality

Everything in life is simply an appearance, an illusion, but when you are faced with trials and difficulties, instead of telling yourself, ‘It’s only a play. It’s not really serious,’ you start weeping and lamenting and wringing your hands. Instead of moaning you should do some thinking. Try to understand that, relatively speaking, the same kind of play is being acted out in your everyday life, and instead of taking certain situations so much to heart, tell yourself that you are watching a play and that you will see things very differently once the performance is over.

Take another example: suppose you have a nightmare in which you are being pursued. You run away as fast as you can until, all of a sudden, an abyss opens at your feet and you tumble headlong into it. Your anguish is such that, even when you wake up, you continue to feel the terror of the nightmare as though it were reality. But it is not reality; you are alive and safely in bed. And you can have a similar sensation with a happy dream: a feeling of joy stays with you, even when you are awake, as though you had really had a happy experience.

And now, think about this for a moment: if you can experience a dream as though it were reality, couldn’t you also experience reality as though it were a dream? This is what wise people do. Whatever happens to them, they say, ‘I’m only dreaming; one day I’ll wake up. At the moment I am in pain, I’m ill, I’m persecuted, but it’s only a dream. When I wake up it will all disappear without a trace.’

Yes, life on earth is a sleep. This is why it is true to say that death is an awakening in the next world. But, even there, human beings are   still asleep – more lightly, to be sure – but they are still asleep. In fact, they will continue to sleep until they finally reach the causal plane, for it is only then that they become truly awake. Then, after a time, when they come back to earth, they will once again sink more and more deeply into sleep as they approach the physical plane. Once on the physical plane they are  plunged into a deep sleep from which they will not be aroused for years and years. Oh, of course, you will see them bustling about and talking and gesticulating – but they are still asleep.

And this applies to each one of you, too; don’t imagine that you are really awake. You are asleep, and just as when you are asleep and dreaming at night, you find yourself walking about, meeting people, talking to them, etc., so in the ‘waking sleep’ of everyday life you do exactly the same. In fact, sometimes, it is while you are asleep and dreaming that you are closest to being awake, for some dreams make it easier for human beings to be in contact with the true realities. When you wake up in the morning, that reality is once again hidden by a veil.

Of course, this question of dreams and reality, of reality and appearances, is rather abstract and difficult; it is not essential for you to grasp it intellectually. What is essential is that you understand how the notions I have just explained to you can help you in your everyday life. When something unpleasant comes along, remember to tell yourself, ‘Of course, I can’t pretend that this is not happening, but is it really happening to me? I am an eternal, immortal spirit; it is somebody else who is having this experience. This is an illusion and I am no more than a spectator.’

To envisage things in that way can give you a great deal of courage, a great deal of endurance and strength. It is not to your true self that these misfortunes occur; your true self is above every vicissitude of life. The entity that is suffering in you is that unreal self, the actor that has to act their part and go through all sorts of adventures as in a play. The only thing that has to be taken seriously is what I tell you, not what happens to you…

Whatever happens to you, therefore, however painful it may be, remember that your life on earth is no more than a dream. One day, when you wake up, you will exclaim, ‘How stupid I was! I thought it was all true!’ We are no more than a dream of the divine being that dwells in each of us; we are asleep and we must wake up. How can we make ourselves wake up? By thinking of our higher self, by concentrating on it and identifying with it. In this way, little by little, our ordinary consciousness will begin to unite with the consciousness of our higher self, our superconsciousness. It is this union that constitutes our true awakening.
To be continued…

Omraam Mikahel Aivanhov,
Izvor Book 228, Looking into the Invisible, Intuition, Clairvoyance, Dreams