The idea of life being a dream, maybe God dreaming us, maybe us just dreaming has been with us for a long time, but most of us dismiss it. For one thing, it goes against ordinary experience. In a dream, we can fly if we choose. In a dream, logic and physics can be whatever we want. We can be a baby one minute and an old man the next. We find ourselves out of context, in places with no idea how we got there. I often find myself taking a test in a class I’ve never attended. This makes no sense. The dream world plays by an entirely different set of rules. It’s not solid and stable and predictable like the real world. So, this world cannot be a dream.
We have been taught we live in a material world. Consciousness, which science has yet to define if it exists at all rises from the material. Some say consciousness is just an illusion generated by our brains. In the beginning was the Big Bang from which the material universe sprang, and way down the line, consciousness finally developed after biological organisms came into being. That is the conventional wisdom of our day.
Over 100 years ago, physicist Max Planck turned that idea on its head and said that consciousness must precede the material and is the basis for our existence. Without consciousness, nothing would exist.
With the discovery of quantum physics and the realization that our entire material universe is mostly empty space (if the nucleus of an atom were the size of a baseball, the electrons would be orbiting 20 miles away). Even what little “solid” matter there is in the universe is tiny strings of vibrating energy just slowed down enough to be perceived as solid.
I’ve had the feeling for a while there was something I was missing about reality. Some say this world is just an illusion, just a dream. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean anything. Our experience tells us differently. It seems very real to us, and experiences absolutely matter. We have real pain and absolute pleasure and real joy. Others say the world is strictly material, strictly random. We are accidents of nature, just biological organisms, nothing more. And since consciousness arises from the brain, when the brain stops functioning, naturally, consciousness stops with it. We simply are no more. Neither of these views did I find satisfying nor did either resonate with my intuition as being correct.
I just finished reading the book “More Than Allegory” which finally helped me reconcile these two views into a coherent, logical view that I find to be satisfying. I cannot possibly do the book justice in this short space (or at all for that matter), but I will try to give you the major points I took away from it, the most important being that consciousness is ALL there is. Anything and everything we see, do or experience arises out of consciousness. In a very real way, this world is a dream in that it is generated by consciousness. We say that dreams aren’t logically consistent, but if you think about it, they do have internal consistency. Water in your dream gets you wet, in your dream. If you close your eyes, you cannot see in your dream. The other characters in your dream act in unexpected and even unwanted ways. Have you ever asked yourself how a character in your dream can surprise you, can act in ways you don’t want him to if it is YOU who is that character? That food in your dream has a real taste. The couch you sit on feels like a real couch. Yet, when you wake up it’s gone. So, you say, “It was just a dream.”
Yet, the experience in the dream is real when you’re in it. The other thing that the book helped me come to grips with is this notion that we are separate yet, we are all one. We all arise out of the same consciousness, yet- in this world, we express ourselves individually like cells in a body. We are connected at a level deeper than most of us can perceive or choose to perceive. The rules of this universe, this consensus reality we experience, are rules that we agree on, so they are.
The reason you cannot jump off a building and fly is within this reality/dream, the rules don’t allow that. And while you might think you believe it and actually do at a differentiated ego level, at a deeper level, where we are all connected, you do not believe it. People who confuse us as individuals with our connected selves or even our Higher Self which does not actually fully enter our body confuse the notion that all is consciousness to mean that anything we imagine or wish for hard enough, we can make come true.
First, there are the rules of consensus reality. Second, the fact that the ego that you so closely identify with, is not your True Self. And what your True Self wants for you does not always align with what your ego wants. If we controlled this dream from our ego perspective, we would never experience pain or disappointment. Shayna would still be here with me. But, at some higher level, this is what we wanted. My Higher Self or our Soul Group or God, if you will ,chose this path and made it happen as much as little Brian here in this meat suit did not want it.
As always, the next question for me is, “So what?” What real difference does this make? It helps me to see others as extensions of myself, to try to figure out why they are in my life and what I’m supposed to be learning from them. It helps me to understand that as real and permanent as this world is, it’s simply a place we created ourselves to come and have these experiences. As Swedenborg called them, the idea of correspondences, came up often in the book. Correspondences are things in this world that reflect more profound realities. They are clues we leave for ourselves to find to remind us of the deeper spiritual truths and the “real” reality. Dreams are one of those correspondences.
Looking at the dream state, we can see the analogy to our immersion of ourselves right now into our dreams. I keep picturing death as waking up in your own bed. It makes sense to me now. When people leave us, when they “die”, they are simply passing from the dream state to a higher level of reality. We think of this as the “real” world, and we think of the afterlife as not quite as real, not solid, not substantial. I’ve even heard people in after-life and near-death groups make the mistake of saying, “If it’s all mental, then it’s not real.”. I’ve got news, boys and girls. It’s all mental, including the world we’re in now.
The consensus reality changes in the afterlife, we have different sets of rules, but this world isn’t nearly as solid as you imagine it to be. It’s still difficult to imagine the place where Shayna and Felton and Uncle Michael are to be as real as this place is because it’s so far outside of my ability to comprehend, but I’m trying to come to grips with the fact it’s just as real, it’s more accurate because it’s Home. When we come to the end of the dream, we’ll wake up, and we’ll be back there, safe and sound.