Life Is But a Dream
“I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man” – Zhuangzi
For anyone that knows me, you know how much I love dreaming, especially lucid dreaming, and recently I had one of my most freaky yet insightful dreams to date.
As of late I have been on a string of weird dreams, many of them going back to old places and people in my life. My dreams are usually very intense and vivid. The dream I am sharing today takes place in my childhood home in Denver, Colorado.
I used to have a room in my parents finished basement, the basement was basically my own little world. My room was very comfortable, it had everything I needed. One of the cool things was my closet that had two huge sliding mirror doors that took up the whole wall.
I spent a lot of time in front of those mirrors, taking a good 5 minutes everyday to look my best for the middle school ladies.
Now that you have a little background let’s move onto the dream. This dream starts off by me waking up and finding myself back in my old bed. I feel that it’s time to get ready for school, so I push aside my bed covers and hop out of bed. Then as I glance over at my mirror as I usually did, what I saw terrified me. And no it was not because I was a short, skinny, little teenager with pimples. What I saw through my dream eyes and reflected in the mirror was not me at all, but a very short, old, black guy.
I had to do a double take. I began to feel extremely scared, I was like…who are you? Wait… Isn’t this supposed to be me? Where did Ivan go? Where am I ? Who am I? Who is this new guy?
In my dream I tried to understand what was going on. I thought to myself….how do you know your Ivan?..well..because I am the thinker thinking these thoughts… and if you really are Ivan why do you look like a short black guy? In what seemed like just a flash of dream time, I questioned every concept I had of my identity.
Finding My True Self
Then It dawned on me, that this was just one more gentle reminder of a deeper truth I have experienced in my life. This truth is that while living In this reality, I am in my body, but ultimately who I really am is beyond the body. That my true nature is the formless nameless entity that see’s through my eyes, my body is just a shell.
This is not a logical understanding of the mind, if you have had this transcendent experience you know what I am talking about. When you really know something, it’s not just an intellectual thing, but something you understand with your whole being.
I can’t really tell you who I am, none of us can, it’s beyond language, but I can tell you what I am not. I am not my thoughts, my mind, my personality, my name, or my body. These are all just certain aspects of my real essence, consciousness itself. The problem is that when we become identified to the instrument (body), we live a life of bondage, we struggle with life, we seek to always satisfy our bodies sensual desires and our minds never ending wants. This is a game we can’t win.
This realization while in my dream had a very calming effect on me, then as my awareness became more intense and focused in the head region, I realized this was all just a dream, very shortly after that I woke up. Fortunately this time I was back in my usual body.
When you know who you really are, restful awareness becomes your way of life. Anything done with awareness is creative. It’s time we wake up from not only our nightly dreams, but our day dreams as well. It’s time for all of us to lead creative lives, the world needs it.
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(editors note: originally published on feb. 8th 2011)