Life is a dream

Life is a dream
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Highlights

If we contemplate, we will realise that just like a dream, life is nothing but projections that seem to be real. Finally, there is no doubt that life will end just as a dream ends. Our journey on planet earth will dissolve into nothingness just like a dream does. So then, why do we take life so seriously?

We human beings are intelligent, and we understand the difference between being awake and dreaming. We know that our body and mind are both conscious when we are awake. We walk, talk, scream, shout, and go about with our usual duties and responsibilities in life. But, after all this, the body needs rest and restoration. It needs to be re-energized, so the Creator has designed that we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we lose consciousness of what is happening around us. Earlier the eyes could see, the ears could hear, and the skin could touch and feel. But when we sleep, our senses stop perceiving unless provoked and we wake up. But, we are still alive. So after we sleep, we wake up.

While asleep, we are unconscious, but our subconscious mechanism continues to work and makes us breathe. Our body goes to sleep, but our mind doesn't. Instead, it wanders into distant lands, even into the unknown with dreams. We experience images, ideas, emotions, and sensations in a dream which may seem very real. Dreams happen when we are asleep, and when we wake up, they dissolve into nothingness. We may have a couple of dreams every night and dreams may last for a few seconds or even up to 20 or 30 minutes.

But dreams are dreams. They are not real, unlike what happens when we are awake. Suppose I borrow one million dollars from you today. After, we sleep and wake up, does the loan remain, or does it disappear? 'Of course, it remains,' you will say. You have taken my signature and documented the transaction; I cannot escape it. You will hound me till you collect both principal and interest of the loan. But suppose I borrowed one million dollars from you in your dream when you were fast asleep. When you wake up and realize that it was just a dream, would you still approach me to return the one million dollars I borrowed from you in your dream? Ridiculous! You wouldn't even try. You clearly understand that this was just a dream and in reality, I had not borrowed the money that you had dreamt of.

While we human beings clearly understand the difference between the 'waking state' and the 'dreaming state', we don't learn how to live life because we don't realise that even the waking state is like a dream. Thus, we suffer. To truly live, we must realise the truth – life is like a dream.

How can life be considered a dream? Let's analyze. A dream is not absolute. It is just an imagination, a projection of thoughts, be it a happy fantasy or a nightmare. When we wake up, the dream dissolves. But life is different. While the dream gets over in the sleep during the night, our life doesn't get over every time we go to sleep. I might have married a princess in my dream, but when I woke up, the princess is gone! However, if I married the princess when I was awake, the princess would be there when I got up from sleep. There is continuity in life, day after day, unlike in a dream. The dream is not real; it appears and disappears. But, while we clearly understand that the dream is an illusion, we firmly believe that life is real.

When we were born, what did we bring with us and when death occurs, what will we take with us? At birth, we are born into a family, and we build relationships. But at death, all relationships come to an end. Life too is like one big dream. The only difference in the 'life dream' is that it starts when we are born, and it ends when we die. But because we don't realise that life is but a dream, we scream, we shout, we fight, thinking everything is real when in reality, it is not.

If we contemplate, we will realise that just like a dream, life is nothing but projections that seem to be real. Finally, there is no doubt that life will end just as a dream ends. Our journey on planet earth will dissolve into nothingness just like a dream does. So then, why do we take life so seriously?

Because we don't realise the truth that life is no more than a dream, we get possessive about people and possessions. The ego builds its identity remaining ignorant of the fact. Because we live and die in this cosmic illusion, we suffer. We become miserable because we misunderstand the true meaning of life. We know the truth beyond doubt that death is inevitable, and everything will dissolve like a dream. But we are unable to realize this truth and accept it. And because we don't realise that life too is like a dream, we take life too seriously. We cry, get stressed, and get upset over the smallest things. We become vengeful and angry. We account for every penny and we bargain. We cheat. We fight. All because we think, 'This is my business, my money, my family,' when in reality, nothing is ours. We come empty-handed and we will return empty-handed. The moment we realise life is like a dream, we will transcend the ego and we will discover true peace and bliss. We will learn to enjoy whatever happens, like we enjoy a movie, a show. We will understand that we are all actors who come and go.

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