Monday, September 13, 2010

Dreaming of the Dalai Lama (And Other Dreams within Dreams)

I had a dream last night (I am not kidding) that the Dalai Lama was a dinner guest in our home. He was a pleasant fellow and laughed a lot. But he did not care for the barbeque pork. Then I woke up.

Have you ever awakened from a dream only to still be in a dream? Then you wake up again to discover that you were in a dream within the dream. When that happens I can’t help but wonder if I am still in a dream within a dream within a dream. And if I am, who is doing the dreaming?

The Taoist teacher Chuang Tzu had a dream that he was a butterfly. He woke up to exclaim, “Am I a man who dreamed he was a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming I am a man.”

A creation myth says that the universe – and all history – is the dream of God. Is this really so far fetched? The Bible says that God spoke the universe into existence out of nothing. In other words, the universe is nothing more than words spoken into a void. We are thoughts of God spoken out loud.

What is the difference between an idea and a dream? One is conscious and one unconscious. But does that distinction have any validity when we are talking about God?

There is another myth that the universe is the song of God. Another that it is the dance of God. Another that it is a story crafted by God. Didn’t Shakespeare say this?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. (The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158)

Before our birth we are nothing more than ideas in the mind of God. After our death, when we have no substance to bind the spirit to earth, we are once again ideas in the mind of God … and those who loved us. Then the Scriptures say we are spoken into existence again - enfleshed anew at the resurrection.

It is said that words never die, that sound remains as long as it has a medium for propagation. So how can there not be eternal life?
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Image is Sound Waves, painting by Ofelia Uz.

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