Chrissy and I were sitting around a campfire near Noosa last night, talking about dreams.
Most people have no problem with the idea that the world that exists inside their dreams, including themselves, their friends, family, inanimate objects, etc, are merely thoughts, brain spasms over which they have no control. They would have no problem agreeing that the entire world inside their dream exists totally and completely inside their minds. They totally accept that all of those people, events, their own bodies, the entirety of the dream universe – have no reality outside of their mere thoughts.
Yet, when you suggest that the “waking” world also exists totally inside their minds, they struggle to accept it. Why? Because it feels different. It feels more vivid. But this feeling, too, exists only inside the dream. When you are in a dream, how often do you question the reality of the dream? Doesn’t it also feel vivid? Haven’t you woken up saying “wow, that seemed so real!”
And have you ever had one of those dreams where you know you are dreaming? You suddenly realise you are in a dream and you just accept it. You relax, saying to yourself “well it’s just a dream, so nothing is real, let’s see what happens next and enjoy it!”
Well that’s exactly what enlightenment is like. You realise that the waking state is also a dream – that you, your family, your friends, the entire world exist only as thoughts, as concepts – that in reality, they are all just atoms, frenetically interacting with each other, eternal, immutable, and completely governed by the laws of physics. Waking up from this dream, you think “wow, this is just a dream – let’s sit back, relax and enjoy whatever happens next!”