There’s a lot of talk in our culture about the importance of our ‘dreams’…we’ve got to follow our dreams, make our dreams come true, live the dream, never give up on our dream. You know you the drill!
But here’s what I suddenly realised. All this talk of dreams is really the last thing we need. We don’t need dreams. Life is already a dream! What good is it dreaming within a dream? Certainly, the dreams can be sweet, but they rarely stay that way for long, because that’s simply not the way dreams work. Sooner or later elements of discord and discomfort creep in and before we know it our dreams become nightmares. So, why not forget our dreams? What we need more than anything else is to wake up.
We don’t need to manipulate the circumstances of our lives in order to be fulfilled and at peace. Because, like I said, dreams have a habit of perpetually changing and shifting. You can be lying on the beach on a tropical island one moment and then the next moment you’re being held at gunpoint by Ronald McDonald. (Dreams are bizarre, as well!)
Perhaps it’s better that we simply wake up and see life for what it is, and indeed, more fundamentally, see ourselves for what we are. I recall the inspired words of Carl Jung when he said that “who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakens.”
The notion that we have to chase and fulfil our dreams seems to have taken root at the heart of western spirituality and these dreams usually come down to at least some element of avarice. Perhaps in order to thrive in our western world, spirituality involuntarily assimilated some of the principles of capitalism? Such ‘dreams’ tend to be unconsciously founded on the notion that what’s out there is really ‘real’ and that in order to be happy we have to mould and manipulate it into a favourable configuration. I’m not saying that we can’t do things and have goals, but simply that they be seen for what they are, which is ultimately quite insignificant, no matter how grand and lofty our ambitions. Do stuff (by the very nature of the world we live in, we have to do stuff), but remember that it’s all just maya you’re playing with, dream-stuff, a play within a play, mere movements in consciousness.
The ultimate goal is not to fulfil our dreams, but to wake up from every last one of them. To see reality for what it is, to know ourselves as what we are, to dis-identify from the dream forms we’ve projected ourselves into and know ourselves as the dreamer, the dreamed and the dream. The deeper we go into the dream, the more we tend to lose ourselves in it, but if we take a step back, withdraw at least some of our attention from the objects of the dream and use it to go within and inquire (who…what…am I REALLY?), then the awakening process begins. We become openings for turiya, a stateless state of lucid wakefulness.
This wakefulness is worth more than all the gold in all the dreams in all the dreamt-of worlds. The person living in a slum in India who has awoken from the spell of our great collective dreaming, is infinitely richer than all the Wall Street brokers put together and multiplied by a thousand. The riches of the dream-world never last, but the emergence of lucid wakefulness is a jewel that will surely last beyond eternity.