WHY ARE WE DREAMING?
The dream is the most critical mechanism; the greatest gift man has been given. Do you know that you are evolving even in your sleep? That motion set forth in the path of evolution is not stopped when your conscious mind goes to sleep, but it continues; it is continuous.
The waking state of life is also a dream, but a conscious dream that can be manipulated. Because of the conscious mind, you can redirect a thought. You can direct it in whichever direction you want it. Like you are driving a motorcar. You can turn left, or you can turn right. It is within your power to do that, and that becomes evolutionary if you have found the art of which way to direct your thought.
The dreaming state of consciousness is more evolutionary, and be happy that you can dream. Because here, without you willing a thing, it is automatically coming to the surface where the samskaras are being released and, with the release, they are being dissolved. It is easier to dissolve a samskara in the dream state than dissolve a samskara in the waking state. The reason is that one is effortless while the other is effortful. One is with effort.
SLEEP IS A STATE VERY CLOSE TO SELF-REALISATION
A sleep state is a state which is very close to the state of self-realisation. This will sound paradoxical to you. But during the sleep state, you are not consciously controlling your conscious mind, and you are allowing the deeper layers of your mind to function on their own. It could be described as a kind of meditation. But because the conscious mind is not functioning, you have that stillness in dreamless sleep and being so close to the source; you do not recognise the source. So, although you are in a state of realisation, you are not conscious of it. Therefore, it is not self-realisation. Realisation does involve the conscious mind, as well. The conscious mind has to appreciate everything happening within, and if there is no appreciation of it, then it is not self-realisation; it is sleep. That is the difference.
Shakespeare has said something very beautiful about this: sleep is the best nourishment in life’s feast. Of course, he meant it in terms of the rest and the energy gained.
IN SLEEP, THE LIGHT WITHIN CAN SHINE THROUGH
But where does this energy come from? It comes from a far deeper source that is within. When the conscious mind is not in operation, and the subconscious mind is lulled to a certain extent of stillness where it is dreaming, it is not insignificant turbulence. Therefore, if you do not remember the dream, then that Light within has a chance to shine through, invigorate, and regenerate the mind and the body. You see how vital sleeping could be, how integral dreaming could be, for those are also states of consciousness. Those consciousnesses have to be taken into account to achieve self-realisation. Without being able to dream, without being able to experience the waking state of life, one could never appreciate what is realisation.
In self-realisation or a deep state of meditation, in Nivrikalpa samadhi, which means meditation without form, consciousness of the body is lost because we allow the mind to cease functioning. The conscious mind and the subconscious mind, for that period, ceases functioning or rather cease their turbulence and assume a balanced, tranquil state. And when that is done, then naturally, the glass of the window becomes clearer and cleaner, and the Light shines through in its full glory, its full force, in its full power.
So, you see how important it is. But, when that Light shines through, a certain kind of consciousness exists. Not the waking state of consciousness, not the little mind that we use, nor the subconscious mind that we use, but consciousness exists consciously. That is pure consciousness, unadulterated by the workings of the subconscious and the conscious, and dreams do not interfere; they have subsided. So, in meditation, we train the mind to achieve that tranquillity where the depth of our inner Self shines through in full force.
IN DREAMING, THERE IS A SPONTANEOUS RELEASE
Coming back to dreams, we have said it is a must; it is necessary. The forces released in dreams are even more powerful and more important than those released in the waking state of life because this becomes an automatic process, and that which is released automatically is released because of necessity. That dream you have dreamt was essential for you to evolve because the inner mind, the deeper layers of the mind, knows what it has to release, and the conscious mind puts on no brake. There is spontaneity about it, and it is a spontaneous release.
So, we should be happy to be able to dream! The form of dream is not essential. The worse the dream, the better for you. This might not sound nice, but it is true.
Have more nightmares, for God’s sake! Release those fears. Do you see how the forces of nature are helping us? Every force in nature is doing its best to help man evolve. The only thing he holds tight; he just does not let go of the force of nature. So, when you have a nightmare, the following day you wake up, and you feel fearful – who feels fearful? It is a small piece of the conscious mind that feels the fear, yet the conscious mind recognises that this was but just a dream.
ONLY A SELF-REALISED PERSON COULD ANALYSE THE DREAM
The little conscious mind tries to analyse what the dream could mean. But there is no necessity to analyse the dream. The only person who could analyse the dream for you would be a self-realised person who could go back into your past lives and pick up all the threads and pieces of this jigsaw puzzle called a dream. He would know where all those pieces are to be found, from which life constituted the story in this dream.
A man is jealous of his wife without rhyme or reason. She is such a pure, wonderful woman that would never be unfaithful to him. She loves him; she worships him. Yet, the man suffers from a pathological condition where he feels jealousy. She might just look at someone, and he might interpret it as something wrong and evil. This man has a disease. It is a pathological case, a kind of mental dementia. He goes to sleep with a thought, an association of thought, something that might have happened two weeks ago. It does not mean that an occurrence must happen this afternoon, and you will dream about it tonight. It does not mean that. It could have happened two weeks ago while they were going for a drive, and his wife just happened to look out and saw a beautiful young man passing. And his mind is working, “I wonder if she knows him.” That is madness! So, one night he will just have a horrible dream that his wife is unfaithful to him.
What has happened? What is the mechanism for this occurrence? Is he stirring up a previous life where he had a wife that was unfaithful to him? Think very deeply about this. Where he, having found out about her unfaithfulness, caused such a deep impression, such a deep samskara, that it can no longer remain in the subconscious levels of the mind, but it is now daily translated through his conscious mind, as well. This is but a continuum: the conscious mind, the subconscious mind, and the Spiritual Self. The conscious, the subconscious and the Superconscious – are nothing but a continuum. It is not three things. They are not apart. It is one continuum from a grosser level to a subtler level.
This impression has been so deep that it does not only remain in the subconscious, but it is translated into his daily living, and he has a hellish time with his wife! He accuses her of everything imaginable. Remember the word “imaginable.” And troubles begin in the home. Meanwhile, perhaps the cause of the problem had been in some other lifetime where he had this experience. This experience is so impressed in his mind that, although he is translating it into the waking state of life, he still dreams that his wife is being unfaithful to him.
DREAMING IS SO IMPORTANT FOR RELEASING SAMSKARAS
Two things are happening here. One is putting that samskara or that impression into waking action. And by putting that unfounded jealousy of his into waking activity, he is stirring up and making the subconscious experience more powerful and vivid. Therefore, he gets this dream which becomes a nightmare for him. That man with that unfounded jealousy could become insane. That dream is saving him. Think very carefully about this. What is saving him is that dream. Because in that dream, he is releasing the force of this impression. Although in the waking state, he is still acting stupidly. If it were not because of this dream releasing the force, he would be driven insane or either there would be a divorce. But even after the divorce, the insanity would still be there because if he marries another woman who could be a goddess on earth, he will still have the same experience repeatedly. To such a man, I wish he would dream every night that his wife is unfaithful so that the slate could be wiped clean.
You see, what I am trying to illustrate to you is how important dreams are to us. Man evolves faster in his dream state than in his waking state because you can put a curb to things in the waking state. The conscious mind can decide whether I want to turn left or turn right. In the dream state, the mind is left to function on its own, and what is necessary to discard is discarded, thrown off, and thrown out. So, how helpful nature is to us?
People like to have good dreams, by the way. They want to have good dreams, but they do not like bad dreams. But a bad dream is more helpful than a good dream. The excellent dream could be a recollection of a memory, but the bad dream is stirring your innards and throwing off that samskara. So next time you have a nightmare, be thankful. Something has rubbed off; something has been erased.
THERE IS NOTHING BAD
There is this everlasting, unchanging, eternal, immortal existence which is you. The dream state, sleep state, and waking state are superficial, and superfluous. Because of the momentum gathered in the process of evolution and being mixed up with various other currents in the force of evolution, all these things have come about, and none of them is bad. Everything that has happened to you or me is good, and there is nothing bad at all. We created things ourselves, and we paid for the items we made.
MEDITATION AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICES MAKE IT EASIER TO PAY OFF SAMSKARAS
To make the payment easy, we do spiritual practices. Instead of getting “pay on-demand,” you get a chance to pay on the instalment plan. That is what meditation and spiritual practices do so that it does not become difficult. You owe a person $5,000, and if he says, “By the thirty-first of the month, pay up or else,” that is hard. Where are you going to get it from? That is difficult. But if the creditor says, “Pay off $50 a month,” you are okay. Meditation and spiritual practices help us pay off our debts, and it offers greater help by preventing us from incurring further obligations. It has a two-fold purpose. The first purpose, it helps us to pay off our debts; the second purpose is it allows us to stop incurring more obligations. So, our slate becomes so clean.
Waking, dreaming, and sleeping are all devices. By adding to that our spiritual practices and reasonable conscious effort, the sense of self-service and dedication and love, the path becomes short to that joy and fulfilment everyone seeks, which everyone needs because it is his inherent right. Man wants to become himself, which propels one on all the time. Things might loom so significant and large now. “What a big problem,” you say, “the whole mountain is collapsing! All the Alps are falling on my head!”
EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE
It depends where you stand; it depends on your perspective. You might stand at the seashore of the ocean, and the waves seem so turbulent. Waves are rushing high, 50 feet and 60 feet. But go up a mile in an aeroplane, and that water down there looks so calm and still because you are above it all. You have risen above the workings of your samskaras. You are objectifying your samskaras. You cannot get rid of them! Whatever you sow, you must reap. Nobody can take your karma away from you. But the way can be shown, and that way is the life to live! And that life you live is the truth. Do you see how easy it becomes? So simple, so simple, so simple.
We maximise our troubles instead of minimising them. No problem cannot be overcome, no problem. We take a molehill and blow it up into a mountain, and speaking, that mountain is much smaller than a molehill, depending on where you stand. If you stand above it, it is no problem at all.
THE FORCES ARE AT OUR SIDE, FOREVER PUSHING US ON AND ON AND ON
In this process of getting rid of our problems, accepting our problems, facing our problems, doing something about our problems, going beyond our issues, all these devices of the waking state of life with its five senses, with the bit of conscious mind that can think a bit (or that feels that it can think a bit), and the dreaming state that we experience, and the deep sleep state that we share, all these are vitally necessary to us, and they are excellent aids. To repeat, all the Forces are at our side, forever pushing us on and on and on.
Now and then, we will find something not so pleasant, but the schoolmaster knows when he will whack the child, and nature is the greatest schoolmaster in the school of life. It knows precisely when to whack you. But if we, as grown-up people, accept that perhaps this problem came about because I needed it? Maybe I am paying off something? Is it not teaching me something? What is it teaching me? Then we ask that question, “What is it teaching me?” And when the answer, in our meditation, in that quietude of mind, when the answer comes, and the Gurushakti flows through you, and the answer is so apparent to you, you realise, thank God for this experience. That is how it works. Very simple.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang US 1978 – 16