Thursday, January 26, 2006


Mystical reality is to the waking state, as the waking state is to the dream state. More specifically, just as the waking state is considered by most of us to be, somehow, more real than the dream state, so, too, do the Sufi masters consider mystical realization to be more real than the events of the normal, waking state.

Similarly, life after death is to life in the physical/material world, as the post-natal world is to the pre-natal world. In other words, just as most of us would judge the condition of awareness of the post-natal state to be far more acute, intense and nuanced than our state of awareness in the womb, so, too, do the Sufi masters consider the condition of awareness in the next life to be more acute, intense and nuanced than is the case, for most of us, in our earthly life.

From the perspective of the practitioners of the Sufi path, we are living in a dream-like state. When we die, we will come to realize this. The experience of mystical reality affords us the opportunity to gain insight into the truth of the foregoing realization prior to our physical death.

Dream states, waking reality, pre-natal experience, post-natal experience, life after physical death and mystical states, all give expression to different facets of reality. They form a broad spectrum of possibilities.

Each of the aforementioned categories could be further sub-divided to reflect the richness of experiential potential inherent in this spectrum. Moreover, just as visible light constitutes but a small portion of the total spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, so, too, according to the Sufi masters, does normal waking reality represent but a very small fraction of the total spectrum of possibilities inherent in reality.

Until the great discoveries of X-rays, ultraviolet light, radio waves, infrared radiation, microwaves and so on, our understanding concerning the parameters of electromagnetic radiation were limited. Similarly, until the announcements of the great mystics, across the ages, with respect to the many different kinds of mystical states and conditions, the grasp of the average individual concerning the possibilities available to us was very restricted.

To be sure, even now, the understanding of most of us vis-a-vis mystical states is very superficial. In fact, many people are, probably, relatively skeptical about the existence or reality of the mystical realm.

Nonetheless, on the basis of their experiences, various mystics from a wide-variety of spiritual traditions have repeatedly tried to draw our attention to the substantive nature of these states and conditions. Of course, we could dismiss or explain away all of these reports as the proclamations of: crazy people; victims of some organic dysfunction; liars; con artists; attention seekers and so on.

Undoubtedly, some of the people reporting such mystical experiences may be subsumable in one or more of the foregoing categories of dismissal. Whether or not all of them can be so subsumed is an entirely different matter. This is especially the case given that the tendency to dismiss is not based on a direct, rigorous examination of the evidence or the people making the claims. In fact, for the vast majority of those who reject the reality of the mystical realm, the dismissal is categorical and out-of-hand.

From the perspective of the mystics, such people continue on in their waking state of dream. The latter people treat the mystics like individuals who are trying to wake the former people from a very intense and pleasant dream. The people who are dreaming tend to get irritated and annoyed with the disturbers of their dreams.

Sufi masters indicate that not only are we living in a waking dream, the dream is a nightmare. Notwithstanding the character of some aspects of our waking dream experiences, our waking dream is not the pleasant affair we have allowed ourselves to be deluded into believing is the case.

We are being manipulated in our waking dream, and our situation is extremely precarious. We are not who most people in the dream say we are. Our identity is quite different, and everything depends on our coming to know our true identity.

When the alarm of death goes off, we will be brought rudely to our senses and recognize the truth in what the practitioners of the mystical path have been saying. When that happens, however, it will be too late, and we shall realize we have overslept and missed the bus of opportunity.

Some people have the capacity to experience what is known as lucid dreaming. In this condition one is able to exercise a degree of conscious control over what goes on in the dream. Such people are able to act, within limits, on the character, contents and direction of the dream rather than be merely passive witnesses to it.

Sufi masters are those individuals who, by the grace of God, have acquired the mystical counterpart to lucid dreaming in relation to the dream of waking life. In a sense, they are able to wake up within the dream state of waking life and become active participants rather than passive witnesses.

To be awake within the dream of waking life, is to be aware of the nature of the dream which constitutes waking life. Such a person has knowledge and insight into the possibilities of that dream state. Such an individual can take advantage of this understanding in order to act within the waking dream in a way that generates benefits for the individual.

Some of these benefits are as follows. One can come to know one's true identity. One can realize one's essential capacity. One can come to know the purpose of the dream. One can fulfil the conditions of that purpose. One can come to know God in a direct fashion, unmediated by concepts, theories, language, or rational limitations.

When most people dream, their muscles become paralyzed. There are restrictions imposed on what they can and can't do.

In the dream, of course, we usually feel like we have full use of our muscles. Yet, these are only our "dream muscles". In point of fact, most of us do not have access to use of our "real world" muscles during the course of the dream.

In the dream of waking life, we believe we have full use of our muscles. These, however, are only the muscles of the waking dream. Our spiritual muscles are paralyzed.

When one learns, if God wishes, how to wake up within the dream of waking life, one's spiritual muscles are no longer paralyzed. Consequently, one can use them to fulfil various kinds of tasks, as well as to journey to various realms within the spectrum of possibility of reality which are not possible to do as long as one is asleep in the dream of life.


No comments: