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Dream and reality, a duality

Dream and reality, a duality

The State of R.E.M. which arise vivid dreams It is a mystery for science. Sleep is biologically necessary and complies with a more or less obvious function, but dream is different; in the first instance do not have a very clear evolutionary explanation. It is somewhat strange, why humans and some animals when they sleep experience alternate realities, all the night your brain becomes a holographic projector of films with an illogical narrative? Some scientists simply suggest that dreams are chaotic shooting activity neuroelectrical that prepare the individual for the rest of deep sleep. This explanation certainly does not tell us much and shows the same inability to materialistic science in its explanation of consciousness, which also is often explained as an accident of the complexity of the subject. An explanation that is totally unsatisfactory to the majority of human beings, Since, in the light of direct experience, humans are often thought of as primarily a consciousness that experiences the world in a certain way. Awareness is the first thing, the essence, the sine qua non all experience, and therefore all that we say and think of reality. “We must remember that our knowledge of the world begins with the perception, not with matter. I am sure that my pain exists, because my ' green’ There is, and my ' sweet’ There is. I don't need proof of its existence, because these events are part of me; everything else is a theory”, It says in an excellent essay on the consciousness the physicist of the University of Stanford Andrei Linde, one of the few non-materialistic scientists within the mainstream of science.

There are, Of course, several scientific theories on why we dream, neither fully accepted, Although some more interesting than the reductionism of the dream is something that occurs randomly during the course of evolution, an epiphenomenon of matter that has no meaning. More or less recent theories have considered the possibility that dreams have the function to help process emotions, create scenarios so that we tell solutions to problems and consolidate learning. Psychology, from Freud, It has been conceived to dreams as irruptions of unconscious material that can be used stop to understand the processes of the psyche, motivations and hidden desires that dominate our life unless we are aware of it. Jung, For example, He understood that dreams could be used to heal and integrate the psyche and contained, as if it were, a soul in a symbolic language-encoded messaging. This is not at all original; ancient philosophers saw the dream world as a reflection of the spirituality, a theme common to all religions; the neoplatonic Sinesio, For example, It was considered that dreams could be worked and purify themselves to reflect, to make them a clear mirror, the divine world.

Making a Freudian reading, but farm in neuroscience, Professor Patrick McNamara believes that all dreams have a sexual basis. McNamara has noticed a correlation between the ability to remember dreams and greed by having one partner or with problems or upheavals in relationships. McNamara suggests that dreams of somehow influence us to put us in a State most prone to playback (and it is doing an experiment on the possible relationship between ability to recall a dream and fertility).

Now well, This hypothesis is based on a completely materialistic basis and imply that biology (genes) they use and even manipulate human beings in various ways to get to this play and that summarizes its existence, without having other more subtle layers of meaning (This is the scientific explanation of why we fell in love: Another illusion to which submits us biology). So we dream that somehow our genes make us a kind of mental programming that makes us want to have sex. The hypothesis of McNamara does not seem completely crazy, but it seems that it falls short and fails to understand the depth of what is human, which is not just a bag of bones and guts –a kind of organic robot– controlled by genetic information nanoprocesadores, whom, in themselves they are blind and have no sense of purpose, but they directed our existence inexorably. Missing, Of course, the spiritual dimension of the human being. And it is here where we can understand the function of dreams.

Unlike the materialista-evolucionista vision, for different religious traditions, consciousness is not the result of the evolution of matter, but that matter is caused by the awareness; the materialistic scientists believe that consciousness is an illusion generated by the subject; exactly opposite way spiritual traditions such as Buddhism or Hinduism and Platonism philosophy believes that matter is the delusion of consciousness, the erroneous perception of reality that is generated by ignorance. So then the consciousness is at the beginning of the evolution and the evolution is nothing more than a return to or a recognition of the original nature that is the conscience. In this sense the evolution is also an illusion, or a relative truth that only exists while prevailing ignorance of the original condition that is pure awareness (the word awareness is English is more accurate, in Tibetan Rigpa, even more). So we can talk about an evolutionary function of dreams from a relativist perspective only: dreams help to recognize the original condition showing the illusory nature of the phenomena, which are taken as real, substantial and separated in a subject-object duality. Dreams, as some scientists believe, Yes they are scenarios to solve problems and test hypotheses, and the knowledge that reveal is that the world we experience is produced by our mind. The disturbing question that occurs naturally in the dreamer, who recognizes the awakening that dreamed was produced by his own mind, It is the seemingly independent and external world which we call vigil is also dependent to your mind, certain causes and conditions which cannot be separated from his own mind and his past mental activities (o, According to Buddhism, your karma). And then a bright possibility, a question and a desire to could cease all the oppressive weight of the reality of the vigil whose essential nature seems to be dissatisfaction, Yes, in the same way as in dreams, We only notice that we are producing phenomena that we perceive as external with our Mint? This is very much the question that arises spontaneously in the famous dream of Chuang Tzu:

Chuang Tzu dreamed he was a butterfly. Waking up was unaware of whether it was Tzu who dreamt he was a butterfly, or if it was a butterfly and he was dreaming that he was Tzu.

This ontological question is something that happens naturally, It is not the result of a complex philosophical development; If it may seem radical it is only because we are very accustomed to the siding of the vigil. We believe that the vigil is real because it is supposedly populated by independent and solid objects that can be verified by other persons. However, We see all the things that we see only through our consciousness, not in themselves, they are an interpretation, not something that has intrinsic existence (“matter is an opinion, the substance a rumor“, said David Chaim Smith). And although people may more or less match that they see the same thing that we do in their conceptual descriptions of objects, don't really know if they see the same thing that we, only having similar concepts to describe the things that we see. There is no way to transfer experience because we always see our own conscience. The physical and Buddhist teacher, Alan Wallace explains:

Lucid dreams provide the ideal setting to examine the essential nature of dreams and reality and the relationship between the State of sleep and wakefulness. According to scientific research, the main difference between the dreams and imagination and perception of the vigil, It is the waking experiences are directly excited by stimuli from the outside world, While the imagination and dreams are unrestricted creations, free from physical and environmental influences. For Buddhist thought, However, Western science has only half the story. Buddhism and science, both, agree that although Visual objects, sound and tactile sensations of the world around seem to exist beyond outside, It has no existence separate from our aware of them. But Buddhism adds that the mass, energy, space and time as they are conceived by the human mind, they have no separate existence of our conceptual consciousness of them - no more than our dreams every night-. All appearances exist only in relation to the mind experiencing them, and all mental States arise in relation to the phenomena experienced. We live in a participatory universe, without subjects, and absolute objects. With this emphasis on the illusory nature of the reality of the vigil as the dreams of, Tibetan Buddhists formulated a system of teachings called “Yoga of dreams” more than a thousand years ago, which uses the power of lucid dreams to undo the illusions and open a door to enlightenment.

This is another of the peculiarities of the dreams that are difficult to explain from an evolutionary materialist perspective: We have the capability of realizing that they are dreams and keep dreaming, collect lucidity. When this happens the guy I could make all kinds of experiments on the nature of dream space (and indeed some experienced lucid dreamers make them). The dream provides an initial stage to explore the illusory nature of reality; an investigation that then can be moved to the plane of the vigil. The result of the experiment, in the flash of knowledge, It is the awakening in a continuum beyond sleep and wakefulness.

Dream and reality

Tibetan Buddhism teaches that in the same way that dreams seem real while still dreaming, the reality also appears to be real only as long as we have an illusory perception of the same. It is believed the same way that our experience wake up affecting the content of our dreams, the experiences that we live in dreams can affect our experience at the vigil. For example, a nightmare can affect us once we have awakened to creating a series of negative emotions, tensions and an unconscious influence on our State of mind awake. Our dualism is such that we divide them strongly, as if it were two worlds closed and separated from the other, usually identifying ourselves with the vigil, which arbitrary and conventionally designated as real (and how unrealistic dreams).

In his teachings oriented enlightenment or liberation, mahayana Buddhism considers that the understanding that all phenomena are illusory (are like dreams) is the correct perspective that produces what he calls Bodhicitta absolute, literally the mind of awakening, equal to the Buddha.

The Buddhist teacher Dzigar Kongtrul makes a comment to one of the slogans of the lojong in his book Intelligence of the Heart:

The slogans of the Bodhicitta absolute give us a step-by-step method to understand voidness in progressively more subtle levels. This slogan asks us to look at the characteristics of our dreams and see what they have in common with our experience at the vigil. Dreams occur only under certain conditions. We can only experience a dream when we are asleep. This means there are no dreams “out there” by his own account. They appear only when a person enters a particular mental state. This is pretty obvious in the case of dreams, but, When is it our awake experience? When we are asleep, our dreams affect us and are convinced of their reality because we don't realize that we are dreaming. Similarly, When we are awake, We are convinced that things are real because we don't realize that we are misrepresenting what we are perceiving. In the same way that dreams are a function of our be asleep, the daytime events are a function of our lack of understanding. During the day we have various perceptions that we consider as “reality”. For example, We see a table. But our experience of the table is not based on what is there. Is based on seeing what they think is there. We see the table as an immutable object. Although we are aware that at some point the table will age and eventually will be destroyed, see the table of today as well as the table yesterday or tomorrow. But this is not true. To make the table age should change every moment. To give this phenomenon, It is a continuous change, the name of table, We're trying to fix with language something that can not be fixed. If a table does not remain equal, not even a moment, It is always becoming a new object.

One of the reasons by which Buddhism holds that reality is like a dream is because things are empty of inherent existence, they are not substantial (things are made of atoms, but the atoms are not things, only potential energy are) and they rely on certain causes and in the same way that a dream objects depend on certain causes and conditions within the mind of the dreamer.

The master of Tibetan Buddhism nyingma tradition, Thinley Norbu Rinpoche explains the function of sleep in his book White Sail: “The essence of the practice of the dream is to see that the phenomenon of the vigil have the same illusory qualities of dreams“. This practice has two aspects, sleep lucid dreams, and lucid dreams in the vigil. In the first, What is known simply as lucid dreams, the practitioner of the yoga of dreams goes to sleep without losing consciousness — using a technique of visualization and concentration, as it may be to focus on a light in his heart. During sleep, conscious, It stabilizes the luminosity and then dissolves all its dream-like experience in the light: “positive and negative dreams gradually dissolve in an immaculate bright space“, says Thinley Norbu. During the day, the practitioner of yoga of dreams, reminds himself that the phenomena experienced are not real, they have independent existence. Does lucid reality, Noting its voidness. Borges curiously understood this very well, in his essay on Buddhism says:

One of the exercises is in the Buddhist monasteries: the neophyte has to live every moment of your life living it fully. You must think: “It is now noon, I am now going through the courtyard, now I find the upper”, and at the same time should think that noon, the courtyard and the superior are unrealistic, they are as unreal as he and his thoughts.

[…] We must come to understand that the world is an apparition, a dream, life is a dream. But that must feel it deeply, achieve this through meditation exercises.

In more advanced meditation practices, as are part of the dzogchen, the practitioner also dissolves the outside world of the phenomena in the non-dual awareness space. Stops occur as a separate subject that experience objects and achieve understanding of the inseparability of primordial consciousness and phenomena. This is the mystery of what the world is emptiness and however manifests, appears. The dreamer then wakes up in a dream, but it does keep experimenting the appearances of the dream. What changes is that they already do not produce you anguish, fear, attachment or other sensations, in the same way that a snake is no longer be perceived as a threat when we discovered that it was a rope. “If we have recognised that all phenomena are insubstantial appearance, open and detached from the primordial consciousness, then, everything is released”, says Thinley Norbu. This is the prime example of how the truth free. The phenomena become then, from the mind that has been recognized as the sovereign of the dream, in gnosis, joy and pure aesthetic joy. Infinite nectar which every lucid dreamer has tested a first drop.

In summary, modern science has failed to explain the function of dreams. But in Tibet, ago around 1200 years - following the developed by the Buddha Shakiamuni ago 2500 years-, they came to a conclusion that can illuminate this mystery. Dreams make us prove how the mind can generate a complex world we make ourselves as independent. That can fool us so that we think that what we live has an intrinsic existence separate from our own mind and, as such, It is capable of generating a series of events beyond our power, that make us suffer. Of course, then we wake up and realize, with relief, It was just an illusion. To discover that this is the nature of dreams - that are not real or have no independent existence- It is only natural that we question the vigil in the same way.

This would be the meaning of the dreams for Tibetan Buddhism and probably also to other traditions: that dreams can be used to discover that the world is a dream, It is a theatrical representation of light, written and performed by the mind. Dream, Paradoxically, It has the function of evolutionary make us wake up.


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