The dream theory

Omkaradatta's picture



Average: 4 (5 votes)

People talk a lot about the 'dream theory' in Advaita, that life is only a dream. Yet, I think that people apply this in too 'blanket' of a way, assuming it means that all is illusory, that everything is unreal.

Others have stated "the world is only unreal *as world*" (collective of memories), yet this belief that "everything is unreal" persists in the realm of spirituality.

Nisargadatta: "I am real, for I am always *now*, in the present, and what is with me now shares in my reality."

Our immediate, direct perception (which doesn't require any thought) isn't a dream. Rather, it 'becomes' dream the moment it passes into memory, or when such memory is projected as 'future'.

Thus, dismissing everything (including our Being) as illusion makes no sense. Immediacy is real, and that's the point. What we have to *think about* is not, and that is also the point.

This is why we aren't the body (self-image), and why we aren't the 'me' as well. You have to think of your body in order to feel as though you are a body, right? Otherwise, you are awareness, direct perceiving of Nowness.

I think we do ourselves a disservice by applying 'brute force' beliefs to spirituality, e.g. reading "the world is a dream" and assuming that means our immediate perception and Being as well. Obviously (at least from here), this typing wouldn't be happening if everything was illusory, nor would anyone be reading this. It is important to discriminate "what is real" and "what isn't", instead of making these assumptions.

From here, spirituality is immensely practical -- there's nothing mystical about it. It is hinting to us what the truth is, that's all. If it contradicts our direct experience, it should be discarded. It's obvious here that 'what's in my head' as thought is dream, unreal, and what isn't in my head is not.



Phroggy's picture

My reality theory

Perception and form are the same. Sense perception is not separate from thought. Conception (or conceiving) takes form as sense perception, so what we call our 'reality' consists of imagination or conceptualization, formed in self defining dualistic pairs of concepts.

the term 'reality' is one of these dualistic concepts, which itself has no ultimate reality. As with all concepts, they are true/false only within appropriate contexts. Your nightly dream may not be real from the perspective of your waking state. Your waking state may not be real from an 'Awakened' state.

The term 'reality' refers to an experiential reality for most, and since there's only one, the term has no meaning. Whether we call experience real or unreal means nothing unless there's something else; in this case a physical reality that's 'really real'.

In a spiritual context, illusion doesn't mean unreal, it just means it's not what it appears to be, which doesn't imply dismissal. If a rope can look like a snake, a snake can look like a rope, and it would be unwise to dismiss it.

Phroggy | Mon, 09/22/2008 - 17:35
Omkaradatta's picture

Does it?

"The term 'reality' refers to an experiential reality for most,"

Does it? Show me "Paris, France", as you're sitting in front of the computer, now. It's a thought in your head, nyet? This is not an experiential reality at all, but an imaginary one.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Mon, 09/22/2008 - 17:45
Phroggy's picture

Well, theoretically speaking.

As I'm sitting in front of the computer now, Paris is not an experiential reality for me. The computer screen is an experiential reality because I'm experiencing it. I understand the difference between a present experience and a thought or memory. Lemme rephrase; If we postualte a theory that 'reality' refers to present experience for most.......

Phroggy | Mon, 09/22/2008 - 18:04
Omkaradatta's picture

Your only mistake...

"As I'm sitting in front of the computer now, Paris is not an experiential reality for me."

Your only mistake is adding the 'for me' at the end... it's unnecessary. There is nobody but You. You have never experienced anything outside your own Being, perceptions, imagination.

"Lemme rephrase; If we postualte a theory that 'reality' refers to present experience for most......."

From here, that theory is incorrect -- I think most people believe that Paris, France is real. Even if they are in "Paris, France," it isn't real. Their immediate experiencing IS real. The rest is dream, including the notion that their experience of the room they're in is called "Paris, France" somehow. This is what I'm trying to say...

"Whether we call experience real or unreal means nothing unless there's something else; in this case a physical reality that's 'really real'."

There is nothing *definable* that's 'really real', but of course the undefinable, not-in-words is real, is it not? Isn't that direct 'experiencing' of immediacy? Maybe you don't see it that way...

To repeat Nisargadatta: "I am real, for I am always *now*, in the present, and what is with me now shares in my reality."

I think he debunks "all is dream, all is illusory" very clearly in the quotation above (and fwiw, he talks constantly about reality, using the term reality). Advaita in general talks endlessly about "real" vs "unreal", and I'm surprised you don't feel the term very meaningful.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Mon, 09/22/2008 - 18:29
Phroggy's picture

Illusion theory

An illusion (not what it appears to be) that is seen to be an illusion is no longer an illusion. (no longer not what it appears to be) You can call it real or unreal. Doesn't seem to have any meaning for me.

Phroggy | Mon, 09/22/2008 - 18:53
Omkaradatta's picture

...

...

Omkaradatta | Tue, 09/23/2008 - 04:30
eputkonen's picture

That is the problem…people

That is the problem…people argue whether the world is a dream or not from belief – and so do not understand what it means for the world to be a dream.

This typing could be happening if everything is illusory...to be an illusion does not mean it is not perceived. A mirage is an illusion of water…the water is not real and it is just an illusion, but there is still a perception. When you see a coin trick (a vanish for example)…it was just an illusion…it was not real…but there was still the perception of it. There could be an awareness (a perception) of people reading this and before that a perception of this being typed…but it still could all be illusionary…a mirage.

Furthermore…the mind always accepts what is seen as reality...immediate, direct perception in the dream does not appear to require thought either. What is in the dream while dreaming seems just as real as now. Only upon waking is it seen that all the dream was a product of thought. The immediacy within a dream is not different than what immediacy is now (e.g. waking).

Namaste,

~ Eric Putkonen
http://www.awaken2life.org

eputkonen | Tue, 09/23/2008 - 15:28
Omkaradatta's picture

Indeed...

Everybody has a different 'mental picture' of the dream theory, an idea of what it's supposed to be about. Folks are dreaming about dreaming! ;-). Who dares to let thought go, see directly what is real and what isn't?

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Tue, 09/23/2008 - 18:35