Whether we realize it or not, when our body rests, we enter into the realm of dreams. Some people keep a dream journal by our respective beds so that when we return from that ( realm ) to this physical ( material ) realm, we can jot down what we remember from our sojourn there. There is no question that when we go to sleep, we enter another realm, not physically speaking, of course, but mentally, spiritually. Even if we aren't aware of our time in this realm, we all enter this state of consciousness! Some people enter this state during what are normally called 'waking hours'. Though these may seem to be somewhat different than our 'sleeping dreams', they're really not; dreams are dreams, whether we're awake or not, whether we're aware or not! The question is, 'what ARE dreams?' Are they reality, or are they merely our unconscious 'mind' manifesting our hopes or fears? Some have learned to pay attention to these dreams, as they believe, or 'know', rather, that these dreams are messages from their Higher Selves, warning them of what may happen if they continue the course they're on, or in other words, by making certain choices.
Dreams are funny things. 'As above, so below'; they can include anything from pleasant ones, like what are often called 'wet dreams' to premonitions of what we subconsciously ( or consciously ) fear may be looming on the horizon. Dreams can also take the form of nightmares, again, usually involving fear, with either scenes of things we hold remorse over, such as killing in war-time, or again, premonitions that our actions will have terrifying consequences! These should not, however, be feared, as they are messages from Beyond, whether powered by our conscious or unconscious 'mind'. The Mind is a powerful thing!! It is also something to be aware of; It can be deceitful! We create our own 'reality', our own 'truth', through it. Here's where we come face to face with the Ego. As we've noted previously, the Ego is neither good nor bad; It, like the Mind, just IS. It is when we allow them to control our lives that we get into trouble. Don't get me wrong, both the Mind & Ego CAN be put to good use. In this thing we call 'Life', one usually won't get far without a good, strong Mind; the Ego also helps keep us afloat in the busyness of the 'day-to-day', especially in this 'dog-eat-dog' world!
The question, at this juncture, is ( or should be ) 'what IS 'Life'?' If Life is simply ( ? ) the 'busyness of the 'day-to-day' in this 'dog-eat-dog' world', then maybe we should all just go Home! Is stepping on the backs of the down-trodden so that we, personally speaking, can get ahead really living, or is it just surviving? "Survival of the fittest' may not be as popular a phrase as it used to be, but it sure has manifested well ( ? ) over the ages! For all intents & purposes, one might well call this physical experience 'Life', but is that all there is to It?! We live & die, then we come back to Life to do it all over again ( hopefully with better results )? Now, the question that REALLY needs answering is, 'who ARE we?'
Knowing Who & What we are is of utmost importance! So 'people have 'survived' without truly knowing themselves for ages', one might object. That's true; they 'survived', only to 'die' & begin the cycle all over again ( some people are just slow learners ). To truly live, one MUST develop an understanding of Who & What they really are! It's been said before ( many times ) that we are spirits having a physical experience. Whether one believes this or not, 'it is what it is'; while believing ( knowing ) this will make the biggest difference in how we live our lives on this earth, it IS possible, through our choices ( powered by 'free-will' ) to do More than to just survive this experience. To truly LIVE, though, one must, to some extent at least, know themselves for Who & What they truly are. Not that this is an easy proposition. It IS, however, a simple one.
Simple meditation, if we can but quiet our Minds & Egos, can do wonders for our soul, like 'Chicken Soup', one might say! Meditation is not 'the end-all', of course; it's simply a means to an end. The goal of meditation is More than just quieting the Mind, though that IS necessary; it is THROUGH quieting the Mind that One begins to realize that the Mind isn't all It's cracked up to be! 'As above, so below'; it is 'good', in this day & age especially, to have a Mind that is not easily swayed by outside influence, by 'others', so to speak, but in order to 'see' past the rigamarole of this thing we call 'Life, One must first stall the Mind, bypassing the Ego, to find the 'Us' that NEVER changes!
As a human being myself, personally speaking, I can surely understand that, with the busyness of 'Life & our hectic 'day-to-day', it is difficult, some might even say 'damn near impossible' to find the time to meditate! As they say, though, we must MAKE time!`If we can't take the time to get to know the Real Us, all we'll ever do is survive; we'll dig a rut so deep that our Mind will convince us that there's no way out. The Ego, on the other hand, will try to convince us that we're better than that, so there will be continuous warfare between these two, until we realize we are More than both of them!
Our dreams would tell us much, if we'd only listen! I should clarify; some dreams get pretty crazy, at least mine do. Crazy as it may sound, we, our Higher Selves, are telling us something important through those crazy dreams, something Beyond! Even though they may seem, especially at the time, to be rather inconsequential, even silly, there is a deeper meaning to them. If only we could easily decipher them & move Beyond, but alas, for the most part, our dreams, sleeping or waking, are relatively difficult to figure out. Some are fairly simple & vivid ( lucid? ), such as premonitory dreams, but even those usually have a deeper meaning attached. As the case may be; I wish you, my readers, the best of luck as you Journey Beyond your Dreams!
Namaste' & Blessed Be,
Charles Haddon Shank