How do we know if we are awake?
This was a question that came up in a recent class I’m taking on shamanic dreaming techniques. There are tools called “reality checks” which are supposed to clue you in – things like not being able to read or time not functioning normally in dreams. Words or numbers will appear distorted. And it got me thinking, is that much different than normal life? What is time but a construct? Quantum physics states that everything exists at once (past, present, and future). Shamans view time as a river in which you could travel to the past or the future to alter the now.
Words get distorted all the time. Our world has become so fake that the “truth” of what is “real” is all subjective.
It reminds me of the Neti Neti meditation in which you repetitively ask “who am I”? For example, I am a mother – no, that is a role, but not who I am, I am a woman – no, that was a chance of biology, not who I am, etc. You get the idea. You can keep going indefinitely with the question, until…. Until what? What is left when you strip everything away? The answer won’t be the same for everyone. Who am I when the long list of everything I am not is exhausted? To me - I am stardust. I am an exhale of Source. I am a piece of the whole in physical form for a moment so short it is like a blink.
So, am I awake now? Or in the moment of darkness, that fraction of a second between the opening and closing of my eyes? What is “real”? Does it matter? I have heard people ask children what if this was all fake, a simulation like in the Matrix movies? And after asking what the Matrix movies are, the response is usually “who cares?” Should we care? Does it matter? What makes something “real”? That you can touch it? That you can feel it? You can do both in dreams. Are these words real or just a distortion of the truth? But then my truth isn’t the same as your truth. Science suggests that an object is changed by being observed (as in the Schroder’s cat hypothesis). Is the cat in the box if we can’t see it? Or does is it only become real upon being seen?
So, are you awake? How can you tell? Sometimes dreams can be more vivid than reality. Are we the person, the role, the story, we perceive ourselves to be, having dreams? Or are we the dreamer creating this world in their sleep? If this life was a dream, what would you do? Would you still play the same character in the same story? If you weren’t limited by physical and mental constraints, the “should’s”, and the “don’ts” – what would you do? Who would you become? What world would you dream up? In the words of The Doctor, “we are all stories in the end, make yours a good one.”