The nightmare can become a dream - once you 'realize' it...
The recurring nightmares...
The long day finally came to an end and with all eagerness I looked forward to hitting the sack as soon as possible. The bed seemed to be beckoning me and I felt that we were made for each other. With the softness of the pillow below my head and the warmth of the blanket over me, I snuggled inside and then was lost to the world.
Soon another world opened up to me. I was somewhere in the deep woods walking all alone. The heavy overhanging creepers gave me the creeps and the dense interlocked branches barely allowed a few beams of light to percolate to the ground level. It was by the yellowish colour of the light beams which filtered down that I realized it was day and not night. The only sound I could hear was the soft squishing of the moss and ferns under my own feet as I walked. I knew not where I had come from and had not the slightest idea where I was headed to. Uncertainty and fear haunted me as I was unsure of what I would meet on the road ahead.
Out of the blue, there were loud howls from the treetops above. A fierce group of some primates seemed to have found sudden interest in me and they were charging down towards me. I broke into a run. Dashing wildly along an imaginary path, among the thorny bushes and slippery ferns, I moved with a speed that amazed me. But that is the way anyone would run when in mortal danger.
A roar now echoed from my left. To my horror, I saw that it was a black panther - a mother guarding her cubs.
Not exactly pleased with the intruder, she decided that I would make a good meal for her family. She joined the chase that was hotting up every moment for me. I was now palpitating - more out of fear than exhaustion. And then the worst happened.
A tiny slip followed by a huge fall. It was sickening to hear the cracking and crunching of my own bones. I rolled over the mossy yet stony forest floor and felt as though my right leg did not exist. As I tried to get up an excruciating pain shot up from my knee and travelled the length of my body. It was a hopeless condition.
Automatically tears coursed down my cheeks and I just lay there waiting for the inevitable end. The apes above and the panther below - what a gruesome exit it would be! I closed my eyes and for the first time in my life, I seemed totally blank.
I woke up gasping in my bed. Beads of perspiration rolled down my fear stricken face. I sat with my mind in the same state of blankness. It was evident that I had suffered a bout of sleep paralysis, and that had been responsible for my 'helplessness'. A few moments later, I was gulping down a glass of water. The last month had been terrible I felt. Every night scary dreams haunted me. Every night, I woke up in the middle of my sleep feeling helpless.
What could I do? Who could help me? Nightmares, bad dreams, sleep paralysis - these are all very common in the world. I decided that the dreams had gone too far this time. I would put an end to them before they ended me.
"What an irony!" I thought, "I create the dream and it tries to destroy me??"
My tryst with mySelf...
I walked up to the mirror and looked at myself. And in an instant, something seemed to happen. It was no longer myself that I was seeing in the mirror, but mySelf. The image there seemed to speak to me:
"You are the one who has created that dream. You can change anything that you want. You need not feel helpless because everything there is just a manifestation of your mind and your will. You are the creator and so create whatever you like. Do not suffer the limitations that you create for others. Nothing can limit you. Whatever your mind can think of, you can do because you are the creator. But remember, you must Know who you are. Otherwise you will again get overwhelmed by your own creation."
I walked up to my walkman now. I recorded whatever MySelf had spoken to myself. I plugged in the earphones and played the tape. I heard it over and over again till once more, I was lost to this world. I was again in the deep woods walking all alone...........The same dream began to repeat itself.
Fast forward to where I lay on the floor, helplessly awaiting the panther and the apes. This time however, all of a sudden, I found a walkman next to me! I put on the earphones and heard what MySelf spoke to myself. And I Knew.
The redeeming power of discrimination and wisdom...
"It is a dream and I am just creating it."
Then as the panther lunged at my throat, I willed it to be transformed into a sweet kitten. Soon, it sat in my arms mewing! I looked at my right leg and willed. It was as healthy and wholesome as never before! Another will later, the apes brought me food and water and seemed to massage my feet!
Then I realized that I had stopped thinking. I just seemed to know everything. I knew I was in New York and I was walking barefoot on the streets there. Everyone around thought that I was mad and it just did not matter for me. I once again Knew that they appreciate me a lot and at that instant there was a huge gathering waiting to hear me speak. I didn't want to speak for I was lost in the bliss of my new found Identity- my true one in fact. I knew that I would fill everyone with the same bliss and the next minute, all seemed so ecstatic.
I then knew that I was gone and the next moment I was on the slopes of the Himalayas. I knew that the cold would never be able to touch me and sure enough, it didn't. I came to understand that the New York Times carried my picture on the front page with the headlines, "Miracle Man vanishes into thin air!"
I felt that....sorry..... I knew that humanity had been misguided. By now, I had stopped thinking and feeling. I just knew everything, for I was and am the creator right?
As I walked the great Gangetic plains in India, I knew a wave of kindness and with a wave of my hand, I healed all the sick there. I created a world just as I wanted. Years passed this way. It was so simple. Since I was in charge, I traversed through time too. Time travel was not a myth. I knew it and so could do it. Then I knew I was back in New York. People rushed to me from everywhere and then I was facing a mammoth gathering in a super-dome. Everyone addressed me as God! Oh my God! This was crazy. Didn't they realize that this was all a dream. If I was God, then they too were God equally! Right?
It was only out of supreme compassion that I spoke.
I said, "There is only one thing that you need to know. You are all God too. You can do all that I do only if you know this Truth. The difference between me and you is that I know the Truth while you do not!" Well, the people adored me but they were not ready to understand what I said. They felt that I was muttering the impossible. Bound in their own narrow realms, they refused to see the Truth.
I told them,
"You do not have to achieve anything. Just KNOW. That's all."
This simple statement for them seemed the most complicated and inconvenient Truth. But I just knew that wherever I go, I would just speak the same thing - that alone was the Truth, everything else an illusion.
The dream ended for, soon, I woke up in the morning. I woke up gently this time. I felt in supreme control of myself. The time was 5:30 am. I washed and dressed and flicked on the digital radio set and tuned into RadioSai, the carrier of divine love in the digital dimension. Swami's (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's) sweet voice floated into my room. The Youth Conference of 2007, Valedictory discourse was on.
"You are all God. Everything you see is God. You spend hours in meditation and spiritual activity. 11 seconds are enough. Keep yourself steady and KNOW, "I am I". That's all there is to be done......Know yourself and it takes only 11 seconds to do that.............You are unnecessarily taxing your body by sitting for hours together in meditation......"
My ears were deaf to any more words. I was lost in a trance like state. Deja vu? A sudden flash of realization? I don't know what exactly I felt. I fell on my knees and hoped that once again myself would listen to MySelf.
Today, I do not abhor 'bad dreams'. I feel that these dreams have been put into our lives with a purpose. The nightmares are meant to prod me into realizing the dream that we call life! In trying to reason out that there is no need to fear a dream, unconsciously and subconsciously, I am strengthening myself to 'face the difficulties' of life.
I may feel that the 'dream' is a simulator to help me painlessly learn to face 'life'. However, as Swami puts it,
"Life is a dream; Realize it."
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