What if we could choose our dreams?

I listened to the Alan Watts podcasts about Hindu mythology, which is specifically about Brahma and lila, God playing hide-and-seek with itself.

One part I found especially interesting is in the third segment where he explores what we would do if we had complete freedom to choose our night dreams?

For a few months, we would probably want to dream about having all sorts of riches and pleasures. But it would get boring and predictable after a while.

Since we know it is just a dream, and we can’t really get hurt by it, we may then choose to include some drama in the dream to make it more interesting. Something is at stake, and we may or may not get it.

And to make it even more juicy, we may choose to make it into a life and death drama, to see how far we can take it. After all, it is just a dream and we don’t really get hurt.

Finally, to make it even more engrossing and juicy, we may choose to forget that it is a dream while we are dreaming. Not only is it a life-and-death drama, but we take it as real. We don’t have the detachment to it anymore that we had when we knew it was just a dream as it happened.

To top it off, in a beautiful way, a part of the drama becomes the awakening from the dream. While we take ourselves to be the character in the dream, involved in a life-and-death drama, we may have glimpses of it being just a dream, or others may tell us it is only a dream, so we get curious. Is it true? If so, how can I wake up from the dream?

This leads to the awakening from the dream, and after enjoying it for a while, Brahma is free to start the cycle all over again. Why not? It is only a dream after all. So why not start the drama and forgetting all over again?

We see this in our relationship to movies, books and theater as well. We want some drama to make it more interesting, more juicy. And most of the time, we want it to be as real and believable as possible. We want to lose ourselves in the story, to experience it as if it is real for a while. We want it as juicy as possible.

Taking this out of the analogy and to what is alive in immediate awareness, how does this play itself out here now?

Well, the dreamer is the awakeness itself. This awakeness, reading these words, being aware of this body, these thoughts, this room, these sounds, sensations, tastes, smells, sights.

The dream and everything happening within the dream is all made up of consciousness. And here now, if we look, we may find that the content of awareness is made up of awareness itself.

The dreamer is not hurt by whatever happens in the dream. It may get caught up in it, and even temporarily identify itself as part of the content, but no matter what happens within the content, it is not harmed by it. In the same way, awakeness is never hurt by its content, because this awakeness is the no-thing allowing all things, and also because its content is itself.

In a dream, we may forget ourselves as the dreamer and take ourselves to be a dream character, either similar to or very different from our human self. In the same way, in daily life we take ourselves to be this human self.

But if we look, we may find that what we really are is this awakeness within, to and as all experiences happen, including this human self.

The cosmic dreamer, Brahma, has no other. And if we look, we may find that this field of awakeness  – and its content  which is awakeness itself – is inherently free from any I with an Other.

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