There’s something I’ve wanted to talk about for a long time and I think it keys right into why we should be unfailingly positive in the face of these ‘interesting times’. This body that houses us here is a coffin and we are asleep inside of it. We wake up when we die and... I should add that some of us wake up inside this coffin before we die.
Because we have a body, we are dreaming. We are asleep and we are dreaming the dreams of flesh. A part of us knows that we are dreaming and in some cases it struggles to wake us up. Only death- of some kind- can awaken us. Once one is awakened that person begins to walk in an opposite direction to the world and attention is needed not to run into the sleepwalkers you are moving through.
The medium of understanding for the sleepwalkers are the senses. The senses are like five horses hitched to a chariot or carriage. We hold the reins in our hands but because we are dreaming we are not paying attention to where we are going and this is how our vehicle comes to go off the road so often and this is what causes nightmares. In life, which is not life, you probably call these nightmares something else because when you are dreaming, one thing is certain; no one will admit that they are dreaming. They insist they are wide awake.
Someone asked me about ‘the one mind’. This person had the idea that the one mind is insane because of the state of the world we live in. My first thought was that this person doesn’t understand the nature of the one mind. The one mind is like an ocean which is inhabited by billions of fish. We... via our assumption of a separated, personal mind swim around in this ocean with the idea that we are independent of it. However, if you pull any of us out of the water we will die. It is true that whole schools of fish can go insane. It is true that portions of the ocean can become polluted by the bad behavior of some of the fish or because of some accident which is usually the result of some ignorant action on the part of one or more of the fish. But;
Even if the whole ocean became polluted and all of the fish died, the ocean would still be there, hosting whatever life forms remained to live in the murk. We come and go in the one mind but the one mind remains. We come and go for the same reason we go to sleep and wake up again each morning. Because we imagine ourselves to be separated from the one, we also separate the world outside of us in a variety of ways and we measure its progression with something called ‘time’.
Let us think of ourselves as one of many types of light bulbs or light fixtures. There are a great many varieties. Let us think of electricity as the force of the one mind that lights us up and animates us. Electricity is a single force yet it has a wide span of applications. It can cool and heat. It can do all kinds of things. I understand that we have yet to develop the technology to be able to capture the force of a single lightning bolt. Perhaps I am wrong but... imagine how many lightning bolts there are. Consider that this electricity penetrates the furthest regions of this incomprehensibly vast universe, composes it and is also apart from it as well and you get some idea... maybe... of the power and presence of this one mind.
They say matter cannot be created or destroyed. You might consider, in this context, the difference between kinetic and potential energy and if you get the point you will see proof positive that we don’t actually die... we go somewhere else ...we turn into something else but... we don’t die. We just change. If you could change whenever needed in every circumstance required you would find, as the Bible says that, “some will not taste death.”
The problem with dreaming is that you are contained within the dream and so, everything outside of the dream seems to be a dream when, in some cases it is more real than anything the dream contains. It takes constant and persistent effort to wake up. It is the rare individual for whom this is the most compelling of needs. A master once gave an example to a student who asked him how much intensity one should put into striving for realization. The master said that he should submerge himself in water and hold his breath and that when he could not hold it any longer that this was the state he should be in regarding realization.
It has been said by many teachers in many times and places that the purpose of physical incarnation is spiritual progress. Although there are places where one can reincarnate outside of the physical, such as the Amitabha Buddha’s Western Pure Land, our spiritual progress takes place here because this is where the circuits get wired for the electricity to flow in the direction of intention. You don’t go anywhere that you are not already at and Heaven begins where your feet touch the ground. What you achieve here is where you are when you go.
You must accomplish it here. If you understood what was involved in dying and being born over and over, I assure you that you would have no other thoughts on your mind but self-realization. We are all of us, to different degrees, living in a hallucination. The power of Maya and the dream-web is very great; the greater the materialism of the age the greater the power.
Everything is actually backwards and upside down from the way we understand it. When a baby is born it sees things upside down and this is one of the difficulties it has to surmount in learning to walk. All of us learned to walk and it was a great accomplishment. We learned a language and all sorts of things more rapidly than we do now and this is something we should consider because we have lost something. This is another meaning that can be attributed to what Christ said about how we must become as a little child to enter the kingdom of Heaven.
In Heaven we are impersonal. There is no striving against each other there and that is what makes it Heaven... along with a few other benefits. Hell is the isolation of the self in a fire of unfulfilled desire. That lake of fire is a lake of desire and it is also the magnet that draws you once again into physical form.
There is nothing important here. Saving your life is not important. It doesn’t even belong to you and you can’t save it anyway. The person you are isn’t even real because of the identification with personality as the enduring entity. The personality is a stained glass window through which the light shines. It is the house and not the life within. Our concern for survival here is as ludicrous as our vanity in our relentlessly aging appearance. We see signs all the time that there is more to life than the pursuit of the senses and the appetite but we can’t seem to make the connection. It’s all coincidence but... coincidence is merely the moments when we are spotting the consistency in the marvelous tapestry of life.
Find some kind of practice and engage it. Let it be what you do when you are doing everything else. In some traditions they suggest offering everything you do to the divine. Others suggest operating as if you were the divine in everything you do. Some suggest practicing the presence of God and some suggest engaging in unceasing prayer. There’s a ‘real’ system for everyone and you won’t discover anything more important in this dreaming life than what that system will introduce you to. Remember what Paramahansa Yogananda said. “If you don’t look for God in the springtime of your life, he won’t be there in the winter.”
'I Am Alive' is track no. 8 of 12 on Visible's 2007 album 'Almost A Capella'
Lyrics (pops up)