WILL YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN TO US WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OTHER FACTORS WHICH CAN MAKE ONE CONSCIOUS WHILE DREAMING?
This is a significant question for all those who are interested in meditation, because meditation is really a transcending of the process of dreaming. You are constantly dreaming — not only in the night, not only while you are asleep; you are dreaming the whole day. This is the first point to be understood. While you are awake you are still dreaming.
Just close your eyes at any time of the day. Relax the body and you will feel that the dreaming is there. It never disappears, it is only suppressed by our daily activities. It is like the stars in the day. In the night you see the stars. In the day you cannot see them, but they are there always. They are simply suppressed by the sunlight.
If you go into a deep well, then you can see the stars in the sky even in the day. A certain darkness is needed to see the stars. So go into a deep well and look from the bottom, and you will be able to see the stars in the day also. The stars are there. It is not that in the night they are there and in the day they are not, they are always there. In the night you can see them easily. In the day you cannot see them because the sunlight becomes a barrier.
The same is true with dreaming. It is not that you dream while you are asleep. In sleep you can feel dreams easily because the activity of the day is no more there; thus that inner activity can be seen and felt. When you get up in the morning, the dreaming continues inside while you start acting on the outside.
This process of activity, of daily activity, simply suppresses the dreaming. The dreaming is there. Close your eyes, relax in an armchair, and suddenly you can feel: the stars are there; they have not gone anywhere. The dreams are there always. There is a continuous activity.
The second point. If the dreaming continues, you cannot be said to be really awake. In the night you are more asleep, in the day you are less asleep. The difference is relative, because if the dreaming is there you cannot be said to be really awake. Dreaming creates a film over the consciousness. This film becomes like smoke — you are surrounded by it. You cannot be really awake while you are dreaming, whether in the day or in the night. So the second thing: you can only be said to be awake when there is no dreaming at all.
We call Buddha the awakened one. What is this awakening? This awakening is really the cessation of inner dreaming. There is no dream inside. You move there, but there is no dream. It is as if there were no star in the sky; it has become pure space. When there is no dreaming, you become pure space.
This purity, this innocence, this non-dreaming consciousness, is what is known as enlightenment — the awakening. For centuries spirituality all over the world, East or West, has said that man is asleep. Jesus says this, Buddha says this, the Upanishads talk about this: man is asleep. So while you are asleep in the night you are just relatively more asleep; in the day you are less asleep. But spirituality says that man is asleep. This has to be understood.
What is meant by this? Gurdjieff, in this century, emphasized this fact that man is asleep. “In fact,” he said, “man is a sort of sleep. Everyone is deeply asleep.”
What is the reason for saying that? You cannot know, you cannot remember who you are. Do you know who you are? If you meet a person in the street and you ask him who he is and he cannot reply, what will you think? You will think that he is either mad, intoxicated, or just asleep. If he cannot answer who he is, what are you going to think about him? On the spiritual path everyone is like that. You cannot answer who you are.
This is the first meaning when Gurdjieff or Jesus or anyone says that man is asleep: you are not conscious about yourself. You do not know yourself; you have never met yourself. You know many things in the objective world, but you do not know the subject. Your state of mind is as if you had gone to see a film. On the screen the film is running, and you have become so absorbed in it that the only thing you know is the film, the story, whatsoever is appearing on the screen. Then if someone asks you who you are, you cannot say anything.
Dreaming is just the film — JUST the film! It is the mind reflecting the world. In the mirror of the mind the world is reflected; that is what dreaming is. And you are so deeply involved in it, so much identified with it, that you have completely forgotten who you are. This is what being asleep means: the dreamer is lost in the dreaming. You see everything except yourself; you feel everything except yourself; you know everything except yourself. This self-ignorance is the sleep. Unless dreaming ceases completely, you cannot awaken unto yourself.
You might have felt it sometimes while looking at a film for three hours, and suddenly the film stops and you come back to yourself. You remember that three hours have passed, you remember that it was just a film. You feel your tears… you have been weeping because the film was a tragedy to you, or you were laughing, or you were doing something else, and now you laugh about yourself. What nonsense you were doing! It was just a film, just a story. There was nothing on the screen — just a play of light and shadow, just an electrical play. Now you laugh: you have come back to yourself. But where were you for these three hours?
You were not at your center. You had moved completely to the periphery. There, where the film was moving, you had gone. You were not at your center; you were not with yourself. You were somewhere else.
This happens in dreaming; this is what our life is. The film is only for three hours, but this dreaming is running for lives and lives and lives. Even if suddenly the dreaming stops you will not be able to recognize who you are. Suddenly you will feel very faint, even afraid. You will try to move again into the film because that is known. You are acquainted with it, you are well adjusted to it.
For when the stopping of the dreaming happens there is a path, particularly in Zen, which is known as the path of sudden enlightenment. There are techniques in these one hundred and twelve methods, there are many techniques which can give you sudden awakening. But it can be too much, and you may not be capable of bearing it. You may just explode. You may die even, because you have lived with dreaming so long that you have no memory of who you are if there is no dreaming.
If this whole world should suddenly disappear and you alone are left, it would be such a great shock that you would die. The same would happen if suddenly all dreaming disappeared from the consciousness. Your world will disappear, because your world was your dreaming.
We are not really in the world. Rather, “the world” consists not of outside things to us, but of our dreams. So everyone lives in his own dream world.
Remember, it is not one world that we go on talking about. Geographically it is, but psychologically there are as many worlds as there are minds. Each mind is a world of its own. And if your dreaming disappears, your world disappears. Without dreams it is difficult for you to live. That is why sudden methods are not used generally, only gradual methods are used.
It is good to note this: gradual methods are used not because there is any need of gradual processes. You can suddenly jump into realization this very moment. There is no barrier; there has never been any barrier. You are already that realization, you can jump this very moment. But that may prove dangerous, fatal. You may not be capable of bearing it. It is going to be too much for you.
You are attuned only to false dreams. Reality you cannot face; you cannot encounter it. You are a hothouse plant — you live in your dreams. They help you in many ways. They are not just dreams, for you they are the reality.
[Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1]