More and more science is becoming aware of what many religions and spiritual paths have always known that life is a dream state and is a projection of our minds. It’s like a spiritual training ground if you will and you have way more control over your life than you know. The following is written by Chad Foreman and is an excellent and short summary of how to live and walk through your daily life aware of the dream.
Everyday life in between sitting calmly on your cushion is an important time for a meditator. A powerful method for keeping an enlightened meditative composure throughout the day is to be mindful that everything experienced is dreamlike and illusory. Masters of illusion are meditators who can move through the world while staying detached and still keeping their compassion for all the dream-like characters that they meet.
To remain in the Unborn was Zen Master Bankei’s advice for avoiding straying into the illusory nature of the world and dwelling in that which does not arise, as a personal experience of enlightened naturalness. Nothing else needs to be practiced, he would say. No need to follow the dream-like appearances, simply remain in unborn awareness.
A master of illusion is a meditator who can remain in awareness and ‘dream’ lucidly during waking hours; continuing on in normal everyday life but with a distinct impression of events being ephemeral and dream-like. This enables practitioners to navigate the world while keeping connection with the natural presence of awareness and simultaneously experiencing the ebb and flow of constantly changing events.
When a person gets drawn into the seemingly real dramas of life, the impression of a dream-like existence fades into the background and the predominant experience becomes one of being contracted, serious and confused. We get drawn into an illusory dream in some way to find love and security and, forgetting it is not substantial, we pursue unattainable goals. This is a losing battle within the dream dimensions of confusion and suffering.
Within Buddhist ways of thinking our nature is already pure and complete but there are six dream realms people get drawn into, forgetting appearances are illusory. Briefly, the six realms of distraction that move people off the indestructible throne of Being and into ‘samsara’ are desiring pleasures, egoic pride, getting angry, being jealous, being confused and being addicted. All of these realms have a slightly different feel and type of suffering but they all arise from mistaking things to be real and substantial and therefore can all be avoided by remembering ‘this is just a dream.’
To be committed to seeing life as a dream is to see all things equally. Everything that happens is equally a dream event, nothing is more or less important than anything else, and this allows a sense of equanimity to be present and makes it easier to relax into a natural state of being.
The practice of viewing life in a dream-like way also undermines our usual selfishness and egoic pursuits that usually lead to harming ourselves and others. By viewing life in a dream-like way it illuminates the moment with a light-hearted presence which helps to be easy-going, relaxed and not take things so seriously. This is more than just relaxation though; if letting go is complete, the enlightened ground of our being is touched and activated.
Letting go from controlling the dream and surrendering to just being brings with it an immense relief and a flood of good qualities. No longer distracted by fear or desire for the dream, the natural awakened qualities of love, wisdom and joy can shine through un-obscured. Being a master of illusion is detaching from believing in the dream and connecting with the pure energy of unborn enlightened awareness which is exactly what the dream is made of.