How to Wake Up from this Dream
Written by Jafree Ozwald
“When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom.
When I look outside and see that I am everything, that is love.
And between these two, my life turns.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Most of us are living our daily lives in a dream. It’s either a fantasy, a nightmare or something in between the two. The mind gets wrapped up in creating scenarios and memories about your past and your future, and you’re unknowingly pulled away from being here in the now. It happens more often than you may realize. If you have an important appointment a few hours in the future, the mind starts projecting all sorts of hopes, fears and assumptions about how the experience will be. The mind is constantly living in a fabricated version of reality that is generated by an overly active creative imagination.
I want every spiritual seeker to know that there is nothing wrong with this experience. It is a natural and necessary step in the awakening process. In order to have a global spiritual awakening we all have to be deeply asleep. The purpose of becoming unconscious that we are over identified with our thoughts, is so that we can experience the freedom of being conscious of them again. As the dreamer shifts its perspective it makes reality become soooo amazing and real! Without living in darkness we cannot truly know what its like to live in the light, and once your mind stops believing its inner picture show is real, then you will know without a doubt what it means to be awake.
So how will you know you’ve truly “awakened from the dream”? There will come a time where you won’t have to try to step back from the dream. You will constantly be living as the awareness, the presence, the conscious essence that sees the play between the dream, the dreamer, and the awareness watching the dream. It will be natural, easy and effortless and feel like you’re always bathing in the Light of your Being. There will no longer be any worry, struggle, or effort to make reality different than what it is. You’ve let go of buying into the mind’s ideas about right and wrong, good and bad, and you’re simply in love with life being right here, right now. You are immersed in the simplicity of what is. There’s no thinking machine churning to get ahead of the game, or covering it with fancy adornments to make it better than what it is. You are submerged in the essence of pure Being, simply here feeling at peace with what shows up exactly as it is.
To unravel oneself from a lifetime of being caught in the web of the mind, the first step is being aware of the mind’s habit of dreaming about the past and future. Without judgment or emotion, watch how the mind continuously returns to buying into the illusions it creates. The dreaming machine is much stronger than you think it is, yet not as powerful as you are. You’ll want to get a firm grip on the mind, and this is done best through practicing meditation. Sitting silent and still as if you were a crystal statue, bring the mind to a place of deep inner calm.
Watch the thoughts pass through the mind, like clouds flying through the vast blue infinite sky, and you’ll begin to realize all those super important thoughts aren’t important at all. The thoughts seem very real, and you’ve believed them to be real your entire life, yet where are they really? They are just electrons flying through your brain, synapses firing electrical impulses in that massive space in between your ears. Once you are aware that this is what’s happening, you start to pay more attention to what is real. Once you are able to still long enough you’ll be deeply enjoying the experience of basking in the glorious love and light of your own being. It can take up to 48 minutes of still silent sitting before the mind quiets completely. This inner quietness is the main necessary step towards a massive awakening experience.
As you explore yourself deeper on this inner awakening journey you may begin to wonder “what is real”? Are the sensations of your taste buds firing good and bad flavors more real than these imaginary ideas about the past and future? Is your body’s sense of touch, sight and smell and hearing more real because they allow you to interface with the physical world? We could invent all sorts of brilliant definitions about what is real and what is imagined, and make a varied list of degrees between these two worlds. Yet, for practical reasons in this spiritual awakening experiment, lets stick to the understanding that what is real is that which does not change.
This Universe is a vast ordered chaos of quarks, atoms and molecules flying every which direction, yet what is it that does not move and is the very center of this outrageous cyclone. You may know what the answer is intellectually, and have known this understanding for years yet find yourself still lost in the dream. It is only when you devote your entire heart and being 100% to the grounded experience of what does not change that a full spiritual awakening will occur. When you stop to ponder this thought, and dive into this understanding with deep inquiry and investigation all day long, something profound occurs. You are bound to wake up from lifetimes of dreaming. When your mind becomes obsessed and addicted to diving into the mystery of knowing that which does not change 24 hours a day, the veil begins to lift on its own accord.
The problem for most people is that they think they don’t have time for this inner exploration. They feel its not practical or possible given their busy lives of children, work, bills, mortgages and traffic jams. The truth is you can continue doing the same actions you are doing, yet from a more enlightened perspective. You will show up at work and in your relationships with more lightness, smiling and a genuine peaceful interest in what their experience of life is. When you wake up from the dream, life is completely effortless no matter if you’re trading millions of dollars on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. You realize a deeper enlightened truth inside, and do not allow anything to compromise the peace in brings.
It is never healthy to try and force yourself to be dedicated to something you feel you “should” do. If you want real long lasting results, there needs to be the utmost curiosity and wonder that comes naturally from within. For anyone to have a full spiritual awakening experience, they must be 100% committed to total inner freedom and be willing to experience a deep level of transmutation. When you devote your life to something 50% you can at best expect 50% success. A true spiritual awakening is no small matter for nothing in your life will be the same after it has occurred. Of course you could continue to hold the same job, family and lifestyle as before, yet the quality of each of these experiences will be is like the difference between driving a 69 VW bug and a 2012 Ferrari. Your life will be completely transformed when you’re fully surrendered to living as the awareness of what is real and does not change.
My best advice to you on this profound walk through the enlightening forest of self discovery is to be gentle with yourself. Don’t expect too much change in too little time. Often when progress is steady and slow, the final change is more permanent. Slow and steady wins the race, as each subtle shift creates a deeper embedded pattern making it harder for the mind to slip back into it’s old unconscious habit. And if you start to hit a wall, relax, rest and be ordinary. A simple walk though the forest can become the pathway of profound realization. The ordinary things in life become absolutely extraordinary when there is nowhere to go and nothing to attain.
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“There are no accidents or coincidences in this world. Nothing is by chance. Everything you’re experiencing is a direct manifestation of where you’re focusing your energy, attention and consciousness.” ~ Jafree Ozwald
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