You have probably heard the sages saying that this so called reality is a dream. Of course, they are not the only ones, as scientists are now saying it too. It seems like every few months there is another breakthrough to prove this theory. But how do we wake up to this fact ourselves experientially?
Centuries ago Tibetan Buddhist masters developed a practiced that could be used to pierce through the veil of illusion and release the practitioner from this wrong view of seeing the unreal as real, they called the practice Daytime Dream Yoga.
The essence of Daytime Dream Yoga is to see this so called reality as a dream. Just like a nightly dream, things appear but they are non-existent of the label that we give them. They appear, but they are not “real”.
First, some science.
Quantum physicists have discovered that the smallest identifiable particles known are actually not fixed. An atom can appear as a particle in one experiment and a wave in the other, all depending on the mind perceiving it.
Pioneer Physicist Werner Heisenberg says, “What we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning.”
In a very real way, this material world is a game of make-believe. Just like children play make-believe with dolls. They may dress the dolls up like sailors, dancers or partygoers, but the dolls are not really what they are dressed up to be- they are merely labeled as such.
Here are 3 ways we can easily see that things are not as we usually see them. All phenomena are:
- Empty of the label we give them.
- Dependent on something else to “exist” (so they don’t exist by themselves).
- Void of a universal identity, meaning not all minds see that same thing.
For example, things are “empty” of the label we give them. Empty means “not finding”. We cannot find the very label that we give something.
We cannot find the “car” in the car. This thing labeled “car” is a collection of parts serving the function of the car and yet the very “car-ness” cannot be found directly.
If the car is dependent on these other components to make it so, and if it is dependent on the very label to make it so and if it is dependent on the mind perceiving it to make it so, then it does not exist from its own side.
Each mind will see something different as well, proving that things are not permanent, or fixed or “true”. One person might see a Mercedes and think it is an expensive car, a billionaire might see it and think it’s her “cheap” car, a member of an indigenous tribe might not even think that it is a “car” at all.
So what is this thing called “Mercedes” then really?
The Dream Walk
The power of Daytime Dream Yoga is that you can bring your practice everywhere and cut through the very fabric of delusion. I cannot recommend highly enough taking a “dream walk” as often as you can.
As you begin your walk start with statements like these… “I am dreaming, this is definitely a dream”, “For sure, I’m dreaming right now”, “Wow, I’m waking up into a dream”. Convince yourself that although this has been known to be a reality, you are actually dreaming.
Continue on with “I know I must be dreaming because these things I see, although they appear, they are not real, they are illusions”
Here is when you start picking out things to “debunk”. Pick out trees, cars, people, the walking surface, the birds… anything.
Universal questions to ask of all things you see on your walk.
- Where exactly is the label I give this thing? Example: where is the car in the car?
- Does this thing exist by the label I give it by itself? Or does it need other things? Example. Does it need small, to be labeled large, in the same way, the number 3 needs the numbers 2 and 4?
- At what point will it cease to exist as this label exactly? Example: When exactly does a “young tree” stop being labeled “young”?
- Will all minds label this thing as I do? The birds, insects, all peoples of the world, would they all see this as I see it?
- Could this thing be easily labeled something else? Example, a house can become a dental office or another place of business quite easily.
As you walk noticing the inherently empty nature of things and continue to affirm “I am dreaming, this is definitely a dream”. “I know this is a dream because I cannot even find the “thing-ness” of what I am looking at. All is appearing, but an illusion, a hallucination.
Want to learn more about Dream Yoga? Pick up a copy of “Dream Yourself Awake” by B. Alan Wallace
Merely Labeled Meditation Instructor