Religion and Spirituality
By Pir Zia Inayat Khan
The mystics say that life is a dream and when we die we awaken. What does this mean?
Every morning we wake up in bed. The usual tendency is to abruptly spring up and rush off to attend the chores of the day. The alternative is to linger briefly in the intermediate state between sleep and wakefulness. This enables one to gently draw the "treasures of darkness" into the daylight of consciousness.
When we let our dreams lie forgotten, we lead a double life: one half of the self has no idea what the other half is doing.
When we do recall the experiences of the night, in retrospect our reactions to situations in the dream often appear ridiculous. If we thought we were in danger, and trembled in fear, we now realize our body was safely lodged in bed the whole time. If we thought we had been insulted, and fumed with rage, we now realize our antagonist was just another fragment of our own mind. How silly we feel.
So why do the mystics say that life is a dream and when we die we awaken? Through all the shifting circumstances of life, the essence of our being, the soul, remains safe and sound, eternally endowed with life, apparency, simplicity, indivisibility, and in definability. As the soul awakens in death, it recognizes its true self. In death, all mortal delusion will vanish. How silly we will feel.
Generally we awaken from our dreams-in the morning. But sometimes we awaken in our dreams-at night. The awareness that we are dreaming suddenly breaks through the spell of the dream. It comes as a revelation, and all at once we are liberated. All reactive emotions disappear, leaving one in a state of pure joy and freedom. Everything is possible.
Death is the awakening from the dream of life, but it is also possible to "die before you die" and awaken in the dream of life. Not only is it possible, it is the very purpose of life. It is achieved when one becomes conscious of the soul, and understands with the clear light of pure awareness that one is now as one ever was and always will be.
When one is aware that life is a dream, life does not therefore become less interesting. On the contrary, true creativity arises as one learns to act rather than merely react. Nor are one's feelings for one's fellow beings blunted. On the contrary, one sees oneself in every self, and behaves accordingly.
As soul after soul awakens in this dream of life, the dream is transforming. The time will come when no one will remain asleep. The collective dream will then become reality.