I cannot clearly say how I had enteredDante, Inferno, Canto 1: 10-12
the wood; I was so full of sleep just at
the point where I abandoned the true path.
Your life is but your dream. How we think of ourselves, others, and our interactions are all played out inside your dream. How we regard others and our relationship to them, is all based inside your dream. But the most amazing thing about your dream, is that it is a shared dream. And in this dream appears all our world and all that is living in the world. In this dream appears our good and our bad, our ugly and our beautiful, our right and our wrong. Yes, you are dreaming now. Can you hear what I am saying while you are dreaming?
We do not ask where this dream comes from, because we believe it is just this way and because we are in it. We do not ask if perhaps we are dreaming, because we would feel to be wasting our time in such philosophical musings. For if you were a sea creature who never experienced the surface of the sea, the land, the air, or the sun, you would find it laughable to imagine anything outside of that sea. “Impossible!”, you would say. “I could not even live outside of this sea.” In fact, you would think that anything outside the sea was a dream, and that the sea itself was life.
Now there is a very powerful river that flows beneath the bottom of the dream, as a river of the underworld, and in this river, hidden, dark, and turgid, lives all the shadows and spirits who have helped you create and support this dream that you are now dreaming. These are called Dream Weavers. You do not know these Dream Weavers until you have traveled, like the maiden Persephone or a Shaman, through that dark river of the underworld. For when you arrive there, you would see exactly how they make the dream that you believe to be your life. But until that time, you believe that life is truly as you experience it and could be nothing else under the light of the sun.
However, although most cannot see them, the influence of the Dream Weavers and the power of that river does not completely escape you. When that great river swells with the storms that fall upon it – for there are wild storms of fire and brimstone down below- you begin to experience a sense of unrest and disease. Sometimes the swell and discomfort is so great, your dream starts to feel like a nightmare or perhaps an earthquake. People become disfigured. You are frightened. Love turns into fear and the beautiful turns sour. You feel that you must do something quick and urgent. Sometimes you will consult others in the dream for help, and they will tell you exactly what you want to hear, for the strange thing about dreams is that we only talk to ourselves. Everyone else in our dream is just an aspect of our own reflection. We are truly alone in the dream, even when it seems that we are not.
But, of course, feeling that fear – no matter how great – and discomfort still doesn’t convince you to let go of the dream. For you are the sea creature experiencing your sea. In fact, the discomfort is what allows the dream to survive. For the pleasant and the unpleasant are also part of the dream, and all you think you have to do is run from what is painful and run towards what is pleasant. This activity, will allow you to escape the nightmare.
Many times, people help others escape their nightmares as well. There is pleasure in great numbers; for the dream feels more real when more people appear to agree about it and that gives us the greatest sense of pleasure, to be agreed with. The greatest sense of pain comes when most do not agree with us. And this is the true motivation behind pleasure seeking. We are always running from the nightmare, and we are ever running towards what seems to protect us from that nightmare. The pleasures show up in the form of people, places, things, substances. The pains or nightmares also show up in those same shapes, only in an unpleasant manner. But whatever our pleasure is, we become addicted to it, like a child becomes addicted to a blanket and a favorite toy because it removes the monsters beneath the bed.
Now this kind of life, the running from pain and the seeking of pleasure is what we consider to be the normal activity of life, and so we just accept any discomfort, pain, and disease that we feel as if it were “normal”. But the truth is that we are generating so much energy with our fears and our desires, that we no longer have the power to escape the dream. Many do not even have the mental power to challenge it. Now the Dream Weavers who live in the dark and turgid river love this, because they need energy to create your dream. Your restless and constant activity in the dream feeds the energy required for them to make your dream. Some people have become so distraught from the running and chasing that they become anxious and call themselves victims of anxiety. And they do suffer anxiety, but it is due to their own participation in the dream. Every time they give attention to any part of the dream, they are feeding the Dream Weavers. And the Dream Weavers use that food to create more of the dream. On and on it goes, the circle of life, the circle of feeding, the circle of absurdity.
So, you ask, “How can I escape this?”. Well, there are many ways to describe the route, but there is only one true path. Many wise humans have attempted to teach humanity about the way to master and escape the dream. Mastery of the dream is the mastery of life and the key to living powerfully. People attempt to learn the art of Zen, the Tao, Yoga, the teachings of the mystery schools, spiritual teachings of all sorts. Very few, however, have become masters. But that is changing. More and more people are become aware of the dream and how it has led them astray.
The ancient masters teach that if you overcome all pain and pleasure, the chase and the running, you will no longer feed the dream. All of that power that you gave to the dream will be returned to you, and in returning to you, you will help others to return their power as well. For you will have collapsed that part of the dream that they shared with you. You will set yourself and all of them who are willing, free. Then and only then will we be able to create a new dream, one free of the pain and struggle that we have learned to accept, like slaves who have accepted their bondage.
For if we stop feeding the dream, that river that flows beneath the dream will grow thin and weak, and eventually will dry up from all the fires that blaze around it. The Dream Weaver spirits will evaporate into the void, and you alone will be what remains. You will be the only one left to create the dream that you thought was so impossible in the dream you were in before. Finally, you will get to choose the people, the places and the things for your dream. No longer will you be controlled by the Dream Weavers. No longer will the nightmares fuel their insatiable hunger for your energy. No. Now all of what you are will be as the butterflies who dance around the sacred thorny rose.
Eternal Light, You only dwell withinDante, Paradiso, Canto 33: 124-6
Yourself, and only You know You; Self-knowing,
Self-known, You love and smile upon Yourself!
Tada drastuh svarupe vasthanamPatanjali, Yoga Sutras, 1.3.
Then the seer abides in it own nature