Life in the material dimension is just a never-ending sleep full of good and bad dreams.
DREAMS AND DREAMING
Sometimes dreams are so vivid and intense that I wake up remembering every detail and feeling deep emotions. I still remember dreams from 50 years ago and how I felt during the dream and after I woke up. In one, I was swimming in the ocean and was attacked by a shark, bitten through my right shoulder and chest. I felt a lot of fear and woke up checking my body for damage. There was none.
In another one, I was eight and digging in the sand with my hands at the beach. I was excited and happy to uncover a bunch of coins. I knew I was dreaming so I filled my pockets and clutched as much as I could in my hands. I then woke up and looked at my clenched fists and opened them, but they were empty. I was disappointed because I was sure coins would be there.
Around the same time in my life, I dreamed an alien was shooting me in the chest and it hurt a lot. I woke up in pain and my mom called the doctor to the house who gave me a shot because I had pneumonia.
In the first two dreams, the experience was only in my mind and was not directly connected to what my body was feeling in the bed. In the last one, there was a connection in my dream to the pain my body was feeling so I could feel pain in the body I experienced as myself in the dream.
When dreaming, the mind may produce an experience that is so lifelike, that I do not know I am dreaming. I identify with the body and the experience the mind produces in the dream, and believe it is me in my actual life. Only when I wake up do I understand that it was only a dream.
I can have countless dreams in my life and may carry the emotion I felt in the dream into my conscious state. Multiple times my wife has woken up in the morning mad at me for something I did in her dream.I was not actually in her dream, I was sleeping and having my own dreams.
The Vedas describe life in the material dimension as a dream of the eternal living being who identifies with the material body as being himself in the dream of life.
I, the eternal living being, existed in the spiritual world and then I rejected that existence and entered a material body. My body was born at a point in history,in a certain planet in the universe. Two other material bodies, inhabited by two eternal living beings, who also rejected their spiritual home, produced my body. All three of us are not those bodies but eternal, spiritual persons.
I, my parents, my siblings, and every other eternal being wearing a material body,are all complicit and supportive of each other in this dream that I am a human,I am this body, my life is real. In this dream of life, everyone is asleep, not remembering the waking state of pure existence in the spiritual dimension.
I am so attached and so connected with the material body that when it feels pain or pleasure, I believe I feel pain or pleasure because I am dreaming that the body is me.
I, the living being, am indestructible and can not be harmed by anything in the material dimension, just as the shark in my dream did not harm my material body.
I am a spiritual being described in the Bhagavad -gita as follows:
Only the material body of the indestructible, immeasurable, and eternal living entity is subject to destruction; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata. 2.18
The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind. 2.23
The illusory dream world where I now live is temporary like dreams in sleep. My material body is temporary, I am not.
If I am fortunate, the saintly person appears in my dream and shakes me, waking me and helping me to stay awake in the material world where everyone is asleep and engrossed in their dreams.
Self-realization means I am awake, and I understand that I am an eternal person, living within a material body which is most definitely not me. If I am enjoying a dream and I wake up, I feel disappointed and want to keep dreaming that dream. Likewise,because of my attachments to my material life, I do not want to give it up.
I still have all my relationships, activities, desires, and attachments and outwardly my life does not change much. Just like my wife who continued to experience anger after waking up, I have an ocean of attachments and emotions which are still very real to me.
But now I understand that within every material body, an eternal living being resides in a sleeping condition, in a bad dream or nightmare that never ends. I see that real life is spiritual, eternal, full knowledge, and full happiness, with no suffering or bad dreams. Life in the material dimension is just a never-ending sleep full of good and bad dreams.
Gradually,by accepting and practicing Bhakti yoga, all the power of the illusion that kept me dreaming “I am this body” is completely dissipated. My body’s actions become spiritual in nature instead of material and I have the chance to not take on another material body when my current body is no longer usable, and I must leave it.