In a previous post, we explored the question of what it means to say the world is an illusion, not real. To do so, we considered the waking world as it compares to the “world” of dreams. If you missed it, you can find it here. If you didn’t, good show, and on we go.
Drifting off to sleep…
When we dream, we create a world in our mind. A world of time and space in the non-space of our consciousness. We populate that world with people, places, and objects. Then we ourselves enter into that world as one of those people.
Pause to consider that for a moment. It’s important.
Why this is important…
Well, this virtual-reality populated with player-characters that interact with us is contained within our mind. Let’s be more specific: Within your mind. These people think, speak, and move in your mind. Yet it seems you are not one of them. You are you. You see, hear, and feel only through the you player-character. In essence, you’ve entered into your own creation, and become one of the characters you created. This is all going on in your consciousness, and you’re not conscious of that. Not at the time, anyway. Only when you wake up do you see what’s happened.
And even then, most of us aren’t likely to give it much thought.
So let’s give it some thought…
In the previous post I mentioned, er, previously, we looked at what a dream is made of. What the substance is that it’s created from, what it rises out of. We could call that substance imagination, or thought. From a yogic perspecive, it might be thought of as “mind-stuff.” But whatever that substance is, the you in your dream is made of that. So are the places and objects, air and water, light and shadow, and other player-characters. Essentially, everything in your dream is one substance. You might say everything in your dream is one.
You might even say the other people in the dream are of one substance with you. You, the dreamer.
Returning now to the waking world…
…and to that previous post I keep mentioning. If we consider the similarities between the waking world and the world of dreams, could we not say that everything in this waking world is one?
How else to account for the seed in the ground that sprouts tendrils that feed and drink from the earth, then emerges from that earth in search of starshine, to slowly become a tree over time? A tree that bears fruit. Fruit that shines, smells, and feels to the first humans like something that might be placed in the mouth, blend with them, become one with them. How else could seawater rise to become cloud, fly for a time in the sky, then fall to the earth again as water, soaking the soil that feeds the seeds, to grow trees, to bear fruit. The water that finds its way to a stream, to a creek, to a river, and back to the sea to swim for a time. How else could any of this be possible if, ultimately, everying were not already of one substance?
When no one is looking,
I swallow deserts and clouds
and chew on mountains
knowing they are sweet bones.
When no one is looking
and I want to kiss God,
I just lift my own hand to my mouth.Khwaja Shamsuddin Mohammad.
Considering the people, places, and objects in our dreams as one substance is a good way to understand this world as one substance. And that is the best way I know to grasp non-duality. Oneness. Or rather, not-twoness. A state where form is emptiness, emptiness is form. A state where, as Rumi said, I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God. A state where we are all of one substance with the Father.
What if our ability to create a dreamworld into which we ourselves enter … what if that is very much like what it means to be “made in the image of God?”
Then every piece of ground is sacred. Everything is holy. And everywhere you turn, as the Sufi’s say, in everyone you see, there is the face of God.