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Nothing Happens in a Dream

by David Ian Cowan
(Boulder, Colorado)


Nothing Happens in a Dream
Posted on February 29, 2016 by David Ian Cowan

We’ve all been there…stressing out over “What am I gonna do next in this impossible situation…why am I in the high school play, but completely buck naked?” Then we wake ourselves up with our tortuous tossing and turning and find out to our immense relief, “It was only a dream!” How many novels and movies has snapped us out of our drama angst by ending with the equally surprising and somewhat embarrassing end of the protagonist simply waking up and leaving the story behind? We feel a little foolish, because we fell for the story, let it take us on a somewhat insane ride through the dregs of the emotional landscape just to have to admit we were duped. “That’s the last time I eat pizza at midnight” we promise ourselves, and try to forget all the energy we gave away to a fantasy.

Here’s a thought experiment. What if, just like in the movie’Inception’, when we wake up from the sleeping dream we are, in fact just waking up into another ‘dream layer’, equally unreal, but equally convincing. How would we know we are dreaming, especially if we assume we mus be awake? In the movie, the ‘dream architects’ were able to somewhat construct the nature of dreams within dreams, but the main ‘takeaway’ for me was the idea of multiple layers of dreams themselves.

A dream is a state of mind where your attention is fixed on a series of events which you seem to have little or no control over. No matter how bizarre or weird the contents of the dream appear, because our attention is glued to the experience, we rarely, if ever’ stop to consider whether the experience itself is real. We run on assumptions, especially the one that tells us our sense are telling the truth.

According to my understanding of the non-dual dynamics of Creation, the Universe of separation is an ontological impossibility. We call it the ‘expanding Universe’ but it is in truth the ‘escaping Universe’ with each and every seeming separate aspect compelled to seek it’s own space where it can remain in the illusion that it even exists independent of everything else. Therefore, the best analogy for our experience of ourselves as a separate unique and distinct ‘individual’ is that of a dream. Notice how the term ‘individual’ tells a deeper story? Buried within this word is the reminder were ‘indivisible’ with reality, which is One with itself in all aspects. Yet we also see the word ‘dual’ which implies we have taken this indivisible self and, through the desire to experience ‘something more than everything’, have created an artificial state of duality. This explains the ‘split mind’ concept; how part of our mind does and must reside within the perfect Oneness of Creation, yet another part thinks it’s somewhere else…in a Universe of seemingly separate forms. Ever wonder why the human brain is split into two sections? Psychoanalysis reminds us that everything in a dream is symbol of yourself.

So, tomorrow morning I suggest, if you are interested, upon awakening, remind yourself “I must be dreaming…and no matter how bizarre and weird my day is, I will remind myself I must be safe at home, while merely dreaming I am separate.” The analogy of the experience this intention can offer is that of lucid dreaming. These are the dreams where it suddenly dawns on you that the weirdness of your dream doesn’t in fact change you at all, and therefor, this experience can’t be real and you MUST be dreaming. Once we understand that, the dream takes on a whole new tone while it lasts. You realize “Nothing really happens in a dream, so bring it on! I’m not really here at all, and my destiny is to wake up, laugh at the notion I could be anything other than what I truly am as part of yet one with a undefinable essence of Spirit, and get on with my life.”

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