Do we live inside a dream?
-It was a dream.We live inside a dream.-.png

Are you a fan of Twin Peaks?  If not you should be.  Twin Peaks was a TV show which first ran in the early 90’s.  It was a groundbreaking and influential show.  Its latest and perhaps best incarnation was on Showtime for eighteen episodes this past summer.  One question the show implicitly asks is, what is reality and can we change our reality? 

Do we live in A Matrix?

There are science-based theories, which assert that we live in a type of simulated reality.  Or, we are living in a matrix.  That can be difficult to accept.  So many unanswered questions.  A central question would be who is the dreamer and who is creating the dream?  Who created the simulation? 

I’m not so sure about these theories.  Although it would validate every science fiction fantasy I had as a kid, it doesn't seem likely.  I once heard a Buddhist monk give a response to someone who asked him if we live in a dream state world.  He said, “if you think you live in a dream walk in front of a moving bus, you will figure out rather quickly what reality is.”  That may sound harsh, but he makes a valid point. 

Now we do live in a dream of our creation.  How is this dream world created?  It springs from a misinterpretation of where things arise from and the difficulty in experiencing reality directly.   

From where do phenomena arise?

We get confused most of the time and think that the things, people, and events that exist around us are independent of each other.  The exact opposite of this is the the truth.  In other words, nothing exists completely on it own.  The Buddhists refer to this as Dependent Origination.  Things and phenomena only exist because other things and phenomena are existing, rising and falling, becoming and ceasing.  It is logical and easy to explain.  Think about yourself and how you came to be.  You didn’t just arise from nothing.  You had to have two people a male and a female meet and create you.  You had to spend nine months in the womb, and then you came out into the world, and for several years you had to be taken care of.  You would not be reading this is if that did not occur.  To think you are on your own and independent is an illusion.  A powerful illusion, but an illusion none the less. 

Quantum physics confirms dependent Origination.  All things down to the smallest particles and waves exist only in relation to other particles and waves.  Nothing exists completely on its own. Even you.  Your continued existence is dependent on so many factors that it would take a year to list them all.  This is why the Buddhist would say that there is no self. 

 

Do you experience reality directly and correctly?

 

The answer to this question is no.  Our perceptions of reality are clouded by the instruments which we have to experience it.  The five sense as amazing as they are can often be faulty measuring instruments.  Do I see the same color of red as you do?  Most likely not.  Can you hear a dog whistle or see an x-ray?  No, but we know that they exist because my dog hears the whistle, and I can look at the pictures of my bones by using x-rays.  Once there was a wise man who said to me when I was quite young to “believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see.”  That has always stayed with me.  I would be lying though if I said that I always followed this rule.  I tend to agree with situations and information that conforms to my current set of beliefs.  I now see that as I have gotten older much of what I believed in the past was false.  I see the world as I am not as the world is.  Do you ever completely see the world as it is?  Most likely not. 

Do we live inside a dream?

My answer to this is I don’t know. That is my go-to answer these days.  If we gain any wisdom as the year's pass, we see that what we know for certain is almost nothing.  It is all a mystery.  The best course of action is to gain control of the mind and to continue to peel the onion of reality. Although there is no end to the peeling and mystery, the other course of action would be to become complacent and stop growing.  How boring is that?

Until Next Week,

Rich Decker – Mindful Accord