“Is all that we see or seem
but a dream within a dream?”
~ Edgar Allen Poe.
This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.
Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.
Almost every human believes that on awakening from sleep we are experiencing another day in “the real world”. But rare Buddha-like beings say that this relative “reality” isn’t really Real; that it is like a daytime dream, or a mirage, from which we are destined to awaken.
“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
For millennia “enlightened” mystics and sages have likened our supposedly awakened earth life to nocturnal dream life, saying we are not truly awakened if we self-identify as entities separate from Nature and from all else in our perceived world of impermanent forms and phenomena.
Nighttime dreams are mental images arising on a ‘screen’ of formless awareness. Similarly our supposedly “real world” arises from mental images perceived and projected on the same screen of formless awareness that perceives nocturnal dreams.
Such formless awareness is the identical consciousness in which all dreams arise. It is universal and beyond time and space, beyond birth and death. (In the Bible it is called “everlasting life” [Daniel 12:1-3] and “eternal life” [e.g. John 17:1-2] ) And, from a ‘Buddha’s–eye’ perspective it is our true Self and ultimate Identity.
Purpose of Earth-life Dream Life.
So mystics say we are here to awaken from our daytime dreams of separation from Nature and its forms, to our True Self identity as non-dual eternal Awareness. And like mystics, quantum scientists have discovered that our supposed “real world” of perceived forms and phenomena is merely impermanent and non-material energy in a universal quantum field. [E=mc2]
“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong.
What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses.
There is no matter.”
“There is no place in this new kind of physics for the field and matter, for the [quantum] field is the only reality.”
~ Albert Einstein
Moreover, consistent with the ancient mystics, Einstein realized that space/time relative “reality” is merely an optical illusion of consciousness arising from [ego-mind] thought:
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
“Space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think.”
Yet, like the ancient mystics, Einstein intuited and venerated a transcendent, incomprehensible and inexplicable Omniscience or universal intelligence beyond space/time’s relative “reality”:
“That which is impenetrable to us really exists.
Behind the secrets of nature remains something subtle, intangible, and inexplicable.
Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.”
Awakening From Earth-life Dream Life.
Over forty years ago, I was blessed with the immensely transformative insight that I was not merely my physical body, its thoughts or its story, but the consciousness from which they arose. Since then I’ve gradually been enjoying ever growing happiness and ever less fear of death by increasingly identifying as universal Eternal spirit rather than as a merely mortal separate physical body – viz. more and more as Ram and less and less as Ron. The stories recounted in my spiritual memoirs are all about this awakening process.
But the most unforgettable experience which has best revealed to me that we are all like dreamers awakening from illusory mortality to joyous eternal Reality, was my beloved Guruji’s parting poetic gift described at “My Miraculous Experience on Shri Dhyanyogi’s Mahasamadhi”.
On August 29, 1994, Guruji intentionally left his then one hundred sixteen year old body in India. At the same time, and unaware of Guruji’s transition, I received from him in San Francisco an inspiring poem about our awakening from Earthly dream life of supposed birth and death, to true Reality as Eternal Bliss [Sat-Chit-Ananda].
That simple ‘channeled’ poem was extraordinarily powerful because it was infused with Guruji’s blessing or sankalpa for fulfillment of our deepest Awakening aspirations. So it has remained indelibly imprinted in my heart and on my ‘mental software’. And I have often spontaneously recited it for others.
Here is the original poem, as initially titled, “Dream Life”:
When we come to Earth
they call it a birth.
When we leave,
they say we die.
But we really don’t come,
and we really don’t go.
We just dream our lives.
To awaken as Bliss
from all of this,
Joyous that all is
The poem’s verses were received and written without any title. But in the above and later writings and recitations, I added different titles: mostly, “Dream Life” or “I am THAT”.
Also, occasionally I added as concluding lines “I am THAT” or “We are THAT” [and Sanskrit translations “Soham!” and plural “Sovayam”]
Audio and video explanations and recitations of Dream Life poem
For many people, actual or audio/visual recitations of Guruji’s parting gift poem are more powerful than just reading the printed words. So I am sharing with you below two audio/visual recitations, both prefaced with brief explanations of the poem.
mp3 home recording.
mp4 film clip with Ron’s recitation beginning at 1.3m.
This happened on October 29, 2013, while I was chatting with my poet friend Hippy Dave at San Francisco’s Aquatic Beach. Dave and I were greeted by Andrey Milyayev, a Ukrainian cinematography student who was doing a school documentary film project about artistic life in San Francisco. Andrey asked Dave to recite one of his original poems, and Dave obliged. Whereupon Dave unexpectedly asked me to also recite a poem. So I spontaneously recited the Guruji dream life poem, then calling it “I am THAT”.
May all those who hear or read this poem receive Guruji’s blessing or sankalpa for fulfillment of our deepest Awakening aspirations.
And so may it be!
“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
On retiring one Saturday night, I planned going to Trader Joe’s first thing in the morning, for bananas and other needed provisions. But I was unexpectedly delayed for over two hours.
From 6:30 to 9:30 I experienced recurrence of traumatic post-colonoscopy diarrheal episodes. Finally, by 10 a.m., I was pooped out and showered and ready to go to Trader Joe’s. But when I got into my garaged Prius, the battery was dead. Almost another hour passed before AAA had responded to my emergency call and jumped the Prius’ battery to get me going. But instead of heading straight to Trader Joe’s, I needed first to drive for twenty minutes to recharge the battery. So, I finally arrived at TJ’s a couple of hours later than planned.
There I discovered that two important items on my shopping list – gluten-free rice bread and blackberries (which are anti-diarrheal) – were not on the shelf. Disappointed, I was about to check out empty carted when a smiling TJ employee offered to look in the stock room for the missing items. So, instead of checking out, I waited for longer than expected.
While I was waiting, a special friend from my Aquatic Beach kook group appeared in the store. It was Hippy Dave, the singing, cycling, sadhu who is one of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever met. (Dave’s birthday is May 8th, horoscopically exactly opposite my November 8 birthdate.) Because of cold and inclement weather at the beach I hadn’t seen Dave for a couple of months.
But there in Trader Joe’s, Dave and I had our usual wonderful synergistic ‘satsang’, greatly recharging our spiritual and psychic batteries. And while we talked the smiling Trader Joe’s man finally emerged from the stock room, triumphantly holding up my non-glutenous bread and anti-diarrheal blackberries.
The diarrhea, the dead battery, and the empty bread and berry shelves, together proved to be consecutive disguised blessings. But for their unexpected sequential occurrence, I wouldn’t have met Sri Dave and enjoyed our great Trader Joe’s satsang. And but for the smiling TJ man, I would have checked out empty carted before Dave’s arrival.
Moral of the story:
Look for the disguised blessing in every experience, especially in every difficult experience.
Hippie Dave and Ron reciting poetry at Aquatic Beach, 10/29/13
To satisfy possible curiosity about Hippie Dave, here is a rare video of him spontaneously reciting from memory one of his many extraordinary poems: