The Dream within the Dream
Being with the physical form of the Master is wonderful. We feel such devotion to him and the path; our worries and cares about our daily life take a back seat and, if we are really lucky, they disappear completely from our minds as we drink in the words of our Satguru. Our time with him is golden.
Then, when we go back to our daily lives, not seeing his physical form every day, not hearing the truth in his company, the memory of being with him fades, till it seems much less real than our daily grind. The time with him can feel like a dream; and the teachings he gave us may seem almost meaningless in the face of the seeming reality of the lives before us.
In Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, a questioner captures this dilemma:
Master, I notice that when I leave India, after I get back to America, it’s almost like the time I spent in India was a dream, but while I was in India, it was wonderful – I felt lots of very special feelings toward the Master. Then when I get back home, it feels like it’s a dream and it kind of fades away, and that’s painful. It feels very real while I am here, and yet when I go home, it feels like a dream. How can I keep all these feelings real?
Hazur Maharaj Ji puts everything in perspective when he answers:
This whole life is a dream. This may be a dream within a dream. This life is nothing but a dream, and in a dream everything looks real. We feel, we cry, we laugh – we only realize it’s a dream when we wake up.
The life we are leading in our homes, with our families, in our jobs, is as much an illusion as a dream we have when we fall asleep in our beds. And since the time we spend with the Master’s physical form is in the material creation, the time we spend with him is a dream within the dream of our worldly existence.
In a dream that we experience when we go to sleep in our beds, everything seems real; we interact with others, feel happiness and sadness and then wake up to find that none of it really happened.
When we pass out of our body at the end of our lives, when we die, we will know then that the life we have just finished was nothing but paying off our karmic debts so that we can move on to the next stage of our spiritual evolution.
But now, embroiled in the illusion as we are, we do not have the understanding that nothing here is real: reality is beyond time and space and can only be experienced once we go within ourselves through our meditation. For now, we have to live in the dream. To shift beyond this illusion, Hazur says in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III:
So keep on sleeping, don’t wake up.… Live in this atmosphere – it will remain a dream. Always keep yourself in this fort, in this atmosphere, so you’ll be happily living in this dream. Don’t come out of it.
Which dream is he saying we should stay in? The dream of being with him – don’t wake up from that dream when we are no longer with his physical form; keep that atmosphere that we feel when we are with him physically.
In another question, a disciple says: “When I am not with you, I’m not very happy. What should I do about that?” Hazur responded, “So why not always remain in the presence of the Master? Be where the Master is always with you.”
Where is the Master always with us? Within us, at the eye centre. Hazur continues:
Be in his presence always and always remain happy. We must bring ourselves to that level where we can always be with our Master. Naturally if that gives you happiness, you’ll remain happy.
We already know that being with his physical form brings us happiness, so being with his Radiant Form all the time will surely give us more happiness. Our Master has said that if we can remember the happiest moment of our lives, that is a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the happiness we will feel within at the first region, what to say of the higher spiritual realms.
Happiness comes from connecting the soul with the Shabd, which is all love and bliss. Mind is concentrated by meditation; so we might say that happiness is the fruit of concentrated simran, simran that takes us to the eye centre. It is much easier to concentrate at the time of meditation if we have not allowed the mind to stray away from thinking about the Master, so doing simran during the day keeps that connection going. That continuous effort to keep him constantly in mind is what shows him that we want this dream to come true, this dream of being with him always.
Effort and grace go hand in hand. His grace is always showering on us; it never lets up. So many times we can see his hand in our lives in the little things that are made easier for us. We see them when we are facing him. And it is easier to face him when we choose him over the world.
As Hazur Maharaj Ji suggests, we can choose which dream in this lifetime to live in. We can choose to live in the worldly dream, where all the things that we go through with our families and our jobs is our reality. Or we can choose the dream of being with the Master, always in his shelter, as our reality.
Don’t wake up. Keep the dream alive by constant attention to the Master and his teachings. Live the spiritual dream.