I have been asking a very specific question for a while now. I asked everyone who I talked to and who showed an interest in any type of philosophical debate. The nature of the question is not deeply philosophical, although for me, it underlines something very interesting.
The question is this: If you could step into a machine, or had the power to dream anything you wanted every night and fill your dreams with absolute pleasure and ultimate happiness, but while dreaming not remember that you are dreaming, would you do it? The added parameter is that you can never again step out of the machine or dream while you are still alive.
After a while or very little thinking the person usually answers No.
That to me is very interesting for a specific reason that underlines something deeper than mere attachment of the ego. It presents a possibility of life that’s quite fascinating.
At first, the answer No is obvious, or should I say the Why someone would say No is obvious.
Everyone is attached to their own body and their own experiences. Losing either does not seem like an inviting prospect as they are intertwined with the person’s idea of what the Self is. Losing either implies the death of the Ego, who will do anything to prevent such a thing.
But now let’s remove one parameter of the question.
Instead of having to be in the machine or in the dream until you die, you can still dream and be anything you wish. But you can do this in a single night. That is to say, in a single night you are able to live the life to the age of 60 or however long you wish. You can experience ultimate bliss and have the most fun you can possibly have. All the time. Then wake up.
For most, this will still be very daunting. This shows we’re not only attached to the physical dimension or ego, but to time as well. The two are inseparably linked, so this is actually the same attachment as before.
And yet you immediately think that, even though only one relative night will pass, you will effectively live for 80 years within the dream. You are attached to the flow of time as it is right now and to the central feeling of existence.
And yet… here comes the concept of the Hindu Brahman. Brahman is the one reality that is indefinable and unchangeable. A creative force present in all things as all things are It.
Most human beings like to give themselves to Brahman. Which means they do not like to realize the fact that they have the responsibility, or the power over oneself. And that they in fact are the only ones who can fundamentally do things in a different manner for themselves. They like to think there is a personal force out there who will protect and guide them. A force that will not let their children die.
The question above implies why, or how all things are in fact God, and how all humans are the very same thing manifesting in countless forms, or in Hindu – Atman, which is the manifestations that we call Self in the Brahman.
Allow me to explain. If you are presented with the ability for ultimate bliss every night – or ultimate success in the form of the Self, you will after a set of nights eventually say, “That was great!” now let’s try something else. Let’s give this a bit more of the unknown, a bit of something that would challenge me. For this you would of course need to add other minds, other Atman’s into the game, as there is no Self without the Other.
Imagining that you have that ability, you would, instead of living only one life as before, live all the other lives as well at the same time, as you would be able to experience more in a shorter span. After each night of this, you would begin to do more and more. More challenge, more possibilities, more decisions, more minds. Until eventually, you would reach a point where things would be exactly as they are right here and now. You would reach a stage in your simulation or dream where you would have infinite possibilities, infinite potential, and infinite divergence of choice and thinking.
What would happen then?
You would discover, after eons of doing things and through countless lives and countless different decisions, that even though you have lived and tried an infinite number of dreams, you still have in no shape or form realized each dream, even though you have lived through billions of expressions and things to express them.
Through this living of the Atman, the Self, that which is Brahman had been manifested and performed in a play of dreams. You would dream forever, until eventually you would delight the most in forgetting that you are dreaming, and so hiding from yourself. You would delight the most in finding yourself, just as in a game of hide and seek it’s the most fun when you find that hiding rascal and announce to everyone that you have found him.
Eventually, the game of hide and seek would become so obvious – because everything would be That which Hides – that the realization that God is everything and that everything is God, would be too obvious, and still the best hiding place would be everywhere and everything.
And yet that too would become too obvious. Soon the only hiding place not obvious and truly left, would be inside the Self. Inside the very thing that is looking.
This is an awesome possibility of a God or Brahman playing at being the Self – the Self as a whole reality. Not a personal God or some king in the sky, but Everything that is pretending it’s not everything.
In this sense, God is very real, and we are all It.
Image by Jin He
Image by Jin He