"Once I, Zhuang Zhou, dreamt that I was a butterfly fluttering about happily. I did not know that I was Zhou. Suddenly, I awoke, and there I was, Zhou again. I did not know whether it was Zhou dreaming that he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming that it was Zhou" (Zhuangzi).
Are you awake or asleep? Are you sure? How do you know which is which?
"When they were dreaming, they did not know it was a dream. They even tried to interpret their dreams while they were dreaming. They did not know that it was a dream until they awoke. <...> The foolish think that they are awake and insist that they know it. <...> I who say that you are dreaming am also dreaming" (Zhuangzi).
As an awakening to what is, is Enlightenment then a form of insomnia, an inability to fall back asleep into the dream that one is awake?
"A man who sleeps cannot ‘do.' With him everything is done in sleep. Sleep is understood here not in the literal sense of our organic sleep, but in the sense of associative existence. First of all he must awake. Having awakened, he will see that as he is he cannot ‘do'" (Gurdjieff).
A reaction is not an action, but a re-enactment of the previously learned response to a given stimulus, triggered by the confusion of what is with what once was... Unless consciously chosen by us, life happens - to us - much like a dream in which we passively default to our perceptual-behavioral presets...
As an awakening to what is, is Enlightenment nothing more than a form of lucid dreaming in which one chooses to dream that he or she is awake? A kind of Reality TV with a running ticker tape of "YOU ARE DREAMING... YOU ARE DREAMING... YOU ARE DREAMING..."
"There is nothing but mind" (Niguma).
"The mind indeed is of the form of space. <...> The mind is the past. The mind is all. But in reality there is no mind" (Dattatreya).
Hmm... So, is all our existential sense-making just a circular attempt to deconstruct the non-sense of our mental constructions? A solipsist tail-chasing spin around one's own I-axis?
"Election time's coming.
Who you gonna vote for?
If I was President,
I'd get elected on Friday,
Assassinated on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday, then go back to work on Monday.
If I was President, if I was President, if I was President" (Wyclef Jean).
No, not a non sequitur... but a circadian reincarnation theory of sorts: where sleep is a death of conscious presence and an awakening is a kind of rebirth... if one, indeed, re-awakens and not just journeys from nocturnal sleep to a waking dream...
So, what are you doing this morning: waking up... or falling asleep? Will today be just another day that "happens" to you or will you "do" some conscious living?
Whatever you elect it to be, preside over your reality... Snuff out the illusions...
At any rate: have some consciousness for breakfast!
Pavel Somov, Ph.D.