Nights ago I dreamed that something was after my family. I even whimpered aloud as I once did as a little child. When I awakened it was clear that the nightmare had ended. It was clear that the absorbing story that frightened me just a minute ago, was not reality after all. It could have fooled me. It did fool me. The feeling was 0dd because in my life I have been so exceptionally content and happy. It was funny that "I" was not able to meet my dream with the same equanimity that I have been meeting the rest of life. I found myself marveling at this "other world" that managed to emotionally terrify me and handcuff my ability to be present. Yet in actuality the events were imagined. I was on edge. My adrenaline was pumping. It had all felt so real.
What if the world we live in is a lot like that? What if most people live in a dreamlike state; rarely aware of the true reality they could wake up to. Freedom is not the cessation of "bad" things from happening it is embracing what is happening simply because it IS happening. There exists a reality is below the surface of what passes for the real world and is a part of what we call the real world but in actuality it is more "real" than the things we touch, hear, see, smell or taste And yet ironically our access point to that richness of that reality is through thoses senses. We touch the divine through our bodies. Anything you have ever "experienced" of the divine or the formless has come to you through form by your senses. The dream world our minds recreate each moment is part of the real world. Yet have you ever awakened out of a deep slumber and for a few moments not had any part of your story come to consciousness ie) you were just present without referencing a who or a where or a what? Have you ever meditated and melted into a space where only the "isness" of the moment existed, where you were not thinking of a "me", where "every-thing" seemed to almost disappear. There is a richness to a world where we let things "be" as they constitute themselves before us in that moment. In our effort to control our world and rid ourselves of the fear of not knowing, we give a false consistency to the wildness of life, to the "suchness" of unmediated experience. We forget that the world is created anew through our own eyes each and every moment, that each and every moment anything can happen. So your father "always" criticizes the way you dress, and your best friend "always" gets withdrawn when you mention her relationship with her husband. How much does the fact that they acted that way in in the past - color your present moment with them? How much is your present conditioned by their "past' behavior? What would happen if you gave them the space to be whoever they were going to be in the moment you were interacting with them? What if you met them wherever they were and realized that you are both free to act differently at any moment and you both just might? You are not the accumulation of your deeds and no one else is either.
Forgiveness would be more prevalent. Forgiveness would come naturally because we would realize that we are each more than a tally sheet. It would come because we narrowed our lives to the present and gave ourselves the gift of relating to reality and not the "dream" world of what that person or situation was five minutes ago. Holding onto the past is painful. The present is always something we can handle. This does not mean that we need to put up with hurtful behavior, that we cannot remove ourselves from harmful situations, or that we cannot choose to spend time with other people, it simply means that the burden of attachment to something which is not now, is no longer there. Until you have forgiven, you are still in the dream world where at some level you believe you are a victim. Does that sound harsh? I do not mean it to be, I only mean it to help one free oneself. If you have not forgiven someone, then you are telling yourself a story in which you were wronged and that at some level things won't be ok until something else happens. Nothing ever needs to happen for you to be happy. Nothing ever needs to happen for you to be content.
What if you really did nothing. Spend 10 minutes alone quietly sitting on a chair or lying in bed when you are not too tired. Language fails here but "try" to do nothing. Truthfully, I find its more like relaxing into nothing. No worries, there is no wrong way to "do" this experiment.
What happened at the end of 10 minutes? Did your thoughts slow down? Did the "spaces" between your thoughts increase? Did you find your mind rattling on and on -- if so do you know how it started down that track? Did you find it hard to "do" nothing? Did you have a running commentary about how you weren't doing the exercise correctly? Did you fall asleep? Were you able to sit/lie for the full time? What constituted "doing" or "nothing" for you in the exercise? How do you feel? What were you able to sense during the exercise? What was your breathing like? Are you living your own life or is life living you?
The aliveness of the web of oneness can directly touch us in any moment that we are not ensnared in a believing a story about it. There is no magic to it. Just use your senses; your access point to the divine, to open to the world within the world, by experiencing without conceptualizing and by embracing the moment you are in. How will you know whether or not you are in the dream state? The more aliveness you sense in everything around you, the more your are leaving the dream world. The more your felt connection to that which inhabits the cosmos, the less you are living in the dream world.