What I hear at the heart of every single spiritual tradition which I’ve had the privilege of studying is essentially the same message, and it’s this, and that is things are not what they seem to be, and that we’re not who we think we are. Because this moment, this strange experience we’re having, this flow of colors and sounds, its like a collective dream, and we can wake up.
And what I’ve seen in my own experience is that waking up is comparable to the experience of lucid dreaming. So, when I dream normally I’m completely engrossed in my dream. I think I really am the particular character I happen to be dreaming myself to be. But when you dream consciously you recognize that you’re dreaming, so you are still dreaming, but you are conscious that you’re dreaming. So when I dream lucidly I recognize that, ah ha, things aren’t what they seem, and I’m not really this person in this dream world. There’s a deeper level to my identity, actually I’m Tim, who’s dreaming, and in that sense the whole of the dream is in me, and I’m one with the dream, the whole thing.
This waking up which the mystics from every time and place have talked about is the same only it’s right now while we’re awake, and that’s why I call it lucid living, because it’s just like lucid dreaming. You start to become more conscious. You start to recognize that things aren’t what they seem to be.
And that there is a deeper level to our identity, and that deeper level to our identity is much more than just Tim. And that, the life dreamer, the dreamer of this dream of life if you like, there’s one of us, there’s one of us dreaming itself to be everyone and everything and then meeting itself in all these different forms.
So the waking up happens when we become conscious of this deeper self, which Hindus call it the Atman, the Buddists call it the Buddha Lecha, the Christians, the Gnostic Christians they called it the Christ, and each one of us calls it I. We each give it the same name, and we write it like a one (1) which is kind of cute because there is 1 of it.
So here we’re separate in this dream of life and then if we become more conscious we realize there’s another element to our identity, where there’s one of us. And that I think is what spirituality at its deepest heart has always been about: waking up to that.
When we’re lost in the dream of separateness, its terrifying. It becomes a nightmare. It doesn’t look good for this. I mean look around you, it doesn’t look good. There’s illness, there’s old age, there’s death, and if we are really identified with the separate self, and we’re not terrified, we’re in denial.
And there’s a loss of, to cope with that there’s a numbness. We become more unconscious. If we don’t lighten up we tighten up. We become stuck in our story about who we are, and we start to even forget we’re really alive. Once we begin to pay attention to the moment, then you can reverse that process. You start to wake up, and you come to life. For me its very much like I remember, I’m alive. Oh, I forgot that I’m here at all.
And when you do that suddenly the colors are richer, the body is pleasurable, just to breath can be such a fantastic experience. And you are aware of the miracle of your own existence, which you don’t even notice when you are asleep in the dream, you don’t even notice the most obvious thing about our predicament which, that a life is this awesome, breathtaking mystery. But pay it attention, and all that comes into focus.