I saw a comment recently which I’ve read a lot over the years, to the effect that living on this beautiful world is not reality but a dream, and reality is the world of spirit.
I’ve quite often felt like writing something about this, then dithered, and finally didn’t write anything at all. I considered myself not spiritually good enough to comment. But today I decided that I don’t agree with this phrase, I think it’s a monumental cop-out of life on earth, and so I’m putting this into print.
Not, I hasten to add, that I think I’m suddenly spiritually good enough to comment, but because I’ve stood up, thrown off the shackles of servitude to others’ spiritual beliefs, and feel I need to write my own truth, whatever that is. It may not be the right truth for others, but hey, it’s good enough for me!
If life here is a dream, why the hell are we here? I don’t want to comment on how others view this but to me, life as a dream suggests wafting through life watching from the sidelines, knowing that all that is taking place is not real, and all we’ve got to do is wait until we pop our clogs, shoot through on this unreal world and return to the real McCoy. It seems to me that considering life here as a dream is a nice little cop-out which is very much a New Age, spacey, feel-good idea mainly confined to us here in comfortable, developed nations.
How do you think a starving woman in one of the Somali refugee camps would feel if someone told her life is a dream, that her reality of extreme hardship, perhaps losing her children to disease and starvation, is not reality? How would the people experiencing civil war in Syria feel about this concept? Would the miners whose comrades were shot by police in South Africa and who live and work in appalling conditions with disgustingly low wages so that we in the West can enjoy comfortable lives really appreciate being told that life here is just a passing phrase until the return to the reality of the world of spirit?
To ask that question is to know the answer, isn’t it?
It’s taken my 65 years to work all this through and my view is that we come here because life on Earth is a reality, maybe one dimension of reality, but one that is a teaching tool for our hearts and souls. We experience pain, grief, happiness, joy, doubt, certainty, loss, gain – an infinity of emotional tidal waves which teach us to grow and ride the roller-coaster of life. We can embrace selfishness, greed, intolerance, hatred, prejudice if we wish. The choice is ours. But the infinite wisdom of Divinity offers us also the choice of unselfishness, generosity, tolerance, love, an open heart, compassion and laughter. We have free will.
Supposing for example we viewed the explosion of the internet and world communication as a vessel for those of us in advanced nations to realise how our extreme consumption is impoverishing developed nations, and that their reality is a result of our catastrophic behaviour? Suppose we came to realise that society is the world’s peoples, that we are all interconnected and the lesson for us in the US, Australia, the UK and Europe is that our mantra can’t be any longer “I will have what I want” but “I will have what I need” because we love our neighbours – and our neighbours aren’t just in our street, they are all the peoples of this world wherever they are and in whichever country?
Such a concept does, of course, go against the mantra of the establishment that constant economic growth is the engine of all our societal wellbeing. Given the amount of depression and anti-depressants being taken these days, and the increasing impoverishment of all but the super-rich, such a mantra is looking increasingly threadbare and seedy.
It seems to me that at the moment we are learning to live the poem by Guillaume Apollinaire:
“Come to the edge, He said.’
They said: “We are afraid.”
Come to the edge, He said.
They came. He pushed.
The era of allowing an external judge and setter of rules to be obeyed without question is passing away – fast. Such a regimen is based on fear promoted by and control exerted by the head honchos in government, business and religion who want a tame, unquestioning population which obeys the rules however stupid or insane they are.
We look externally for a Father or Mother who’ll lead us to safety and security. Except that no one person can do that. I look at people cheering wildly and being almost in hysterics over Mitt Romney or Barack Obama and know, that despite all their promises of change, jobs, less taxes, more taxes, and so on, that both of them are only human beings. We project our hopes and fears onto them when, in reality, we need to take responsibility for our own Mother and Father archetypes. To do so is to grow up. To remain dependent on who wins elections is to infantalise ourselves.
I apply that same world reality to religious leaders. I remember as a child learning the Catholic catechism:
“Is the Pope infallible?”. “Yes, the Pope is infallible.”
But further down the line the Catholic Church changed its mind on the Pope’s infallibility or otherwise. And if you investigate religions carefully, you’ll find they were all written by men to reflect a society where people were supposed to be subservient, while religions became the tool of the head honchos to maintain their rule and control. Doubtless someone will refer to the Bible as the word of God, but in their dreams, in their dreams. The original writings of Jesus’ day have been adapted by subsequent emperors, kings, queens and various other ruling elites to justify their positions of power. How many know that the original Bible endorsed reincarnation which was deleted in the 6th Century because you could control people more easily if you said they didn’t get a second chance of life?. More recently, Good King Hal the Eighth set up the Protestant Church so he could divorce an inconvenient wife and marry again, and again, and so on.
The edge of the cliff is our date with reality. We don’t need to view life as a dream. It is real and jumping off the cliff is to throw ourselves into the courage of being our own leaders, embracing our own Mother and Father, learning to let go of false leaders – whether they be religious, political or whatever – and standing up on our own two feet. Yeah, baby, it’s going to be damned hard work. That’s what makes life on earth so real – learning to respect our own inner sense of what is right in this world, to stop following other people, to bypass those who seek to control us, to learn as we land gracefully and lightly after our jump off the cliff that we are here to dance to our own,very real, very individual song in this world and the whole point is to follow the path of love, service and kindness in whatever way is appropriate for each of us.
If you think I’m living in airy-fairy land, that reality of a different, people-oriented world is taking shape before our eyes. There are so many people involved in creative work outside the straitjacket of current economic structures that it’s impossible to list them all. Just to take a look at Facebook posts or what’s for sale on Etsy or artwork for sale on the internet, or people raising their own fruit and vegies in their gardens, building networks of communal support – it’s genius stuff and inspirational for a new society taking shape as the old, industrial era passes away.
Life on earth: live it; love it; embrace it. It’s the greatest teacher for the development of our hearts and souls on their karmic pathway through the heavens.