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Dreams and Daily Life
2022, October, Issue 14
Today, I’d like to start with a poem that I wrote, which was originally published by Levekunst some time ago. In that article, I was mainly writing about the importance of dreams in Spiritual Practice; however, I began with this poem. It seems to me that poetry can convey much more than prose, if we are open to hearing it:
IN PRAISE OF DREAMS
by Robert Aho
Careless beings, watch this fixation unfold!
This dream is none other than mind’s illusion,
appearing in this moment.
Do not fixate on any of it!
Awaken to your true nature
in that space before the story can be told.
Drop all labels into the empty void,
remain completely relaxed,
without words or thoughts remaining.
See that reality which defies explanation,
as it truly is, in its naked state,
without fabricating anything.
Are you awake?
Let that go before you answer.
Are you asleep?
Let that go as well.
that this life
is nothing other
than a dream,
are not different
Now, it seems to me that the ideas behind this poem are an essential ingredient, if we wish to awaken. We observe the mind when we are awake. We observe the mind when we sleep. We become accustomed to what is, as it is. We must not be careless about this commitment to awakening.
When we die, we have the opportunity to freak out, wildly flailing until we are reborn—most people choose this option. Another option is to have some idea that we are dead, then remain completely relaxed in this ineffable condition, fully at ease. This takes preparation.
Some say that only the sudden realization of our real condition is possible. Some say that it is important to gradually prepare for death, over many lifetimes. As someone who has returned from death, I am here to tell you that time is an illusion. Prepare for death in your own way.
Realization can be sudden. You can become fully liberated right now, if you wish. If it seems too difficult, then relax, take your time, be patient with yourself.
When you die, you need to be relaxed. If you are uptight about your own Spiritual Path, if you did it too quickly, too slowly, with your eyes crossed—whatever—then you will have problems. Just relax. Look at mind. Meditate every chance that you have. Seek teachings and teachers, then use what you have learned. Do what makes sense to you in your own way.
Dreams and daily life are the same. They both seem real when we are there in the moment. When we examine any phenomena, either in dreams or daily life, we cannot find anything that is real, nothing whatsoever. This truth became quite obvious to me when I was in the death bardo. Buddha Shakyamuni said the same thing. Quantum physicists are also saying the same thing.
Look, when we meditate, we’re not looking for belief, we’re looking for reality. When I died, it was much more real than dreams or daily life. People asked me if I might have been hallucinating or if it was just something I dreamed. I told them that it was far more real than anything I had ever experienced before. I also stopped short of stating that it was real. To say it was real is to diminish what I experienced. Death is raw direct experience that defies any concept or belief. We must prepare for what will be directly experienced, beyond any human concept, belief or idea.
I think if you were to read and reread the above poem, you might just open a door in your spiritual life. That, at least, is my hope. I wish that we all awaken. We will awaken.