One of the most important things we can ever do is remember that we are always dreaming. Until we do, we are merely dreamers, but not yet dreamsmiths. Even what we deem the “awake” state is really not that much different from the sleep state. It’s all a dream. I’m dreaming I’m a person living a particular life with particular values and beliefs and desires. I’m dreaming I have preferences, that good things and not so good things happen. I’m even dreaming that I can control that dream by thinking certain thoughts and not others. But it’s still all a dream.
The thing about dreams is, when we actually do wake up from them, we may be fascinated or not, but no matter the content of the dream, it no longer matters. It fades quickly enough. Even if we are prone to dream analysis, all we have managed to do in that is slip from one dream into another. It is a mystery. And the person who believes that they can influence their dreams within the dream does. The person who believes he has no control doesn’t. And the person who doesn’t think it matters either way is correct. But no one is wrong because it’s just a dream.
We are all dreamers telling stories in order to experience this mystery. I like, most people, regularly forget that I am dreaming. I begin to believe the story in which I find myself. I begin to believe it matters. So I have to practice “not dreaming.” I have to step out of the constant motion, the endless thinking and strategizing. I have to put down all my beliefs, as best I can, and just breathe. Some call this meditation. Some call it stillness. Whatever one calls it, I have found it is necessary for sobriety.
When the sanity returns, and I remember that I am a dreamer dreaming, I am not as concerned with “getting it right”. What’s to get right in a dream? I am not as concerned with coming up with answers to explain my predicaments and my self-reflective tendencies become curiosities rather than matters of life or death, misery or happiness. I am not sucked into comparisons, the flickering images before me, the tragedies nor the triumphs. The dream will surely shift.
And when I remember that I am always dreaming, I remember that everyone else is to. So when they act totally crazy or in an unpredictable manner, I am not so surprised. When the story is so real for them that everything in their dream complies with it, including the role they are having me play, I am not so astounded. I let it unwind. I let their dream dream out and back carefully away. Well, I do my best anyway. But there are certainly a lot of other dreamers with which to contend. If I do not dream my own dream, I dream the dreams of others by default. They are not always pleasant.
There are many of us with a yearning to wake up from the dream without slipping into another. What I have seen of seekers and journeyers is that we have a tendency to make our practices real forgetting they too are elements of a dream. We put far too much emphasis on “the way”. We forget we’re dreaming that too. We’re dreaming our gurus, our texts, our practices. We’re dreaming our limitations, even. It’s mind boggling. It’s the greatest mystery of all…this Life we live until we die.
I remember a profound dream I once had within a dream in which a plant medicine spoke to me and said, “What’s the point? Choose your point.” It was a great teaching. There is no point…unless one chooses a point. And having made that choice, one can change it in another instant and choose another point. Am I saying life is pointless? Pointless, poignant…but all the same. We, as dreamers, have no say in the matter, unless we remember we’re dreaming. Only then, can we choose. But if we’re awake, what’s the point of choosing. Life lives us. We no longer care.
Lately, I’ve been dreaming that I’ve forgotten how to let Life live me. I walk like a crab…sideways…leaning into my dreams questioning everything I see and believe to be real. It’s the best I can do for now. And for now, I use the tools I’ve been given to dream a more beautiful dream. I use color, words, light, sound, music, and silence to create a dream I want to be dreaming, to inspire myself within my dreams. I am a dreamsmith.
What are you dreaming?