June 12 Am I Dreaming?

This Monday Marie will facilitate.  She shares:


I recently returned from a silent retreat with Anam Thubten, a Tibetan teacher, whose teaching was both profound and playful.  On Monday, I would like us to share our experience with one of his teachings: asking ourselves the question "Am I dreaming?


Rinpoche describes two types of dreaming: the type that happens at night, whilst we are sleeping, and that which happens during the day, when our minds construct a "reality" based on our thoughts and judgements.  Most of the time, we are captured by thoughts, judgements and feelings, and this "reality" becomes the prism through which we view and relate with the world. One, single thought can proliferate and become numerous storylines that explain and justify past and future actions.  We become lost in our personal stories, and many of our "problems" are symptoms of this dream, this "unwareness".  In a way, it's like being caught in a sticky web from which it's difficult to extricate ourselves, yet there are some important differences that make our situation much better than that of the average fly.  First, we usually don't realize that we are caught; second, the web is of our own making, which means that, third, we can drop the web and free ourselves - at any time.  


How do we free ourselves?  The first step is to realize that we are dreaming.   How can we be "caught" in something we created?  It doesn't sound possible, yet many of us have spent time in this place.  Our thinking mind creates the dream, which might be about ourselves or someone else, and is reinforced by judgement, emotions and/or actions.  Oftentimes, the patterns of our dreams are are familiar: "Oh, there he/she goes again..."   We tell ourselves that we don't need to listen or pay attention, because we "know" what will happen. We anticipate what he/she will think, feel and do - and how we will respond - that is what happens, again and again.  No wonder we are so sure that we "know"!


Many of our problems are symptoms of this unawareness.  Mark Twain once said:  "I have had many problems in my life and most never happened."   


Over the next few days, I invite you to pause throughout your day and ask yourself:  Am I dreaming?  Recognize when you are lost in thought, and gently bring yourself back to rest in the present moment.  Please focus on resting in the present moment, as opposed to rejecting dreams or castigating yourself for dreaming.


On Monday night, we will share our experiences with this practice.





PS Anam Thubten will be offering a public talk and weekend retreat in DC in early October.   You learn more about his teachings and calendar go here.