Is Life but a Dream?
by April Bender
Upon waking yesterday morning, I grabbed myself a cup of coffee and my trusted dream dictionary. I wanted to get to the bottom of a very disturbing dream I'd had the previous night, and was eager to begin analyzing the symbolism found therein.
I looked up several symbols (basic objects, places/spaces, colors/numbers, and any creatures) that had appeared within this dream, while also checking in with my intuition on them, knowing that all dream symbols are in the main deeper aspects of Self. Just as I was beginning to formulate an interpretation of what the dream had meant and was reflecting back to me, I was struck by a most curious question.
Looking up from my journal, I looked at my bookcase and thought, "What if life or my external reality is also but a dream? What if I were to analyze the objects and people in my physical reality in the same way in which I approach the interpretation of my dreams? So out of sheer curiosity, I began to do just that.
Suddenly, the bookcase in front of me was no longer just a bookcase - symbolically it reflected back to me my love of being surrounded by wisdom and the value I feel in continuously striving to accumulate it. Our shelf of video games in turn, became a symbolic reflection of my need to incorporate play and honor my child-like nature. My laptop became a symbol of deep communication, friendship, social/global awareness, and wisdom.
On and on I went around the room analyzing all the objects it contained. Then I analyzed the room itself. What I learned by looking anew at my external life and reality in this way is that external reality is a mere reflection and material manifestation of my most basic values, beliefs, intentions, passions and unique soul/spirit essence expressing - as many of these things represented aspects/qualities that are core to me. I urge you to try this yourself as it is quite an enlightening experience!
This demonstrated to me in no uncertain terms that indeed what we experience as everyday reality is constructed by us - out of our values, beliefs, and intentions - not just simply human preference. There were even some things that have to now go because what they represent to me is fear, lack and/or other inner shadow elements. As a result, this experiment also demonstrated to me the need to be very conscious and aware of what one is manifesting and/or calling into their lives and their environments.
Sure I already knew all this to be true in more of a philosophical belief sense, but I had not experienced it yet before in such an immediately profound, dramatic, and mind-altering way. This will come to be a periodic practice for me I think, in order to check in and see what I'm sending out there and attracting into my experience. I hope you find it helpful as well.
In closing, I'd like to leave you with a short 5 minute clip from philosopher Alan Watts, where he also asks the question, "Is life but a dream?" And as always, Alan's response doesn't disappoint.
Alan Wilson Watts was a British philosopher, mystic, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and popularizer of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience.