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The World is a Dream seen with open eyes.


Pheena
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The descent is from one to three, and from three to many; but however far away you are from the One, you cannot step outside His edicts, His orders. No matter how much you disintegrate, how much divided you are in the many, He is present within you. If He is not, you cannot be. You may wander far, far away. You may go astray, but you cannot go so far that there is no point of return; there is no such point of no return.

Therefore no person is unredeemable. Even if a person has fallen into the lowermost depths of sin, he is not beyond cure. In terms of spiritual knowledge, there is no illness that is incurable, that cannot be remedied.

All spiritual diseases can be cured. You cannot go so far that you cannot return.

Wherever you go, He is present. However far you go, it is He who takes you. Even in sin you need His help, because it is He who breathes within the sinner, it is He who beats within the sinner's heart. We can go far, very far. We can forget Him, but there is no way of losing Him.

So when you ask, "How are we to seek Him?" your question is not correct, for you have never lost Him. Even if you wish to, you cannot lose Him for He is your very nature. Were He apart from you, you could have lost him, forgotten Him somewhere, but you cannot do this even by mistake, because He is you. Then what happens? You merely forget. There is also a way to forget oneself. Man can forget himself, forget his very nature. And yet his nature stands within him.

I have a friend. He is a lawyer, but a more forgetful person is hard to find. He forgets almost everything. On occasions he even forgets whom he was representing in court, who had engaged him to fight the case. But he is a very important lawyer. Once he had to go to another town to fight a case. When he reached there he found to his horror that he had forgotten the client's name. He sent a telegram to his secretary, "What is his name?" The secretary wired back the lawyer's name thinking he had forgotten that this time.

There is every possibility of forgetting one's own self also.

The whole world is proof that one's own self can be forgotten. And what is the way to forget? The way to forget is the same as the way to remember. How can forgetfulness be remedied? By meditation! When you become too much object-oriented, you forget yourself. For through concentration alone one remembers, and through concentration alone one forgets. Wherever you apply your attention, that is what comes to mind.

Whatever you remove your attention from is what you forget. When your attention is directed towards an object, your concentration shifts to the object and illuminates it. You begin to see the world and you forget your own self. You are so enrapt in what you see that you are lost to yourself. The only one way to get out of this and awaken is not be so absorbed in viewing. However beautiful or enchanting the object, shake yourself into remembering yourself.

But you are bound to forget reality. Even when you go to see a movie you forget the simple reality that it is only an empty screen in front of you, that the film is merely a play of light and shadow. People cry in the theater over the tragedy on stage. When you see them after the show you would imagine someone in their family had died. If it is an action film, they sit upright in their chairs, ready to fling themselves into the action, into the fray. And it is not only the simple-minded who forget themselves; even intellictuals get carried away.

There is just such an incident in the life of Ishmarchand, who was a great intellectual in his time. He was given the title of Vidyasagar, Ocean of Knowledge. Once he went to see a play in which there was a character who was supposed to be a rogue, a libertine. He harassed people in many different ways, like waylaying a woman and pestering her. Ismarchand was the honored guest, so he was seated in the front row. He became so angry he jumped onto the stage, took off his shoe and began beating the actor with it. The actor turned out to be wiser than Ishmarchand. He took the shoe in his hand and holding it to his heart said, "I shall not return this shoe to you, for it is the highest prize I could ever receive for my acting. Never before has anyone been so overpowered by my skill." Vidyasagar later regretted his mistake. He could not understand how he got so involved with the play. He also never got his shoe back.

Whenever something seizes your attention so intensely, you commit this same mistake. In the course of time you forget the seer and the object begins to mean everything to you. When this happens you lose yourself in the mirage, you go astray. If this habit becomes deeply ingrained in you, everything you see becomes real for you. This is why dreams seem true, just because of this habit. Whatever you see seems true to you. Dreams appear true when you sleep. In the morning you discover they were not. Again when you sleep, dreams look true again... and in the morning you realize they were false. This goes on and on. If someone comes to kill you in the dream you scream and your sleep is broken. You awaken and find your heart beating faster. If someone dies in a dream you cry. You wake up in the morning and find the pillow wet with your tears. How many times have you dreamed? Yet you forget that a dream is a dream in the course of the next twelve hours. How is it possible? It is because you have developed a habit of taking everything you see as true.

There is an old tantric method for this. Unless you know the dream to be false while it is in progress, you will never be able to know that the world is false. This is the reverse of what we know. We still believe samsara to be real; therefore even dreams appear real. Tantra says that unless you realize dreams to be false while they are happening you will never understand the ephemeral quality of maya. Tantra has evolved very subtle methods to know a dream to be a dream, and not reality.

You may experiment with this. Decide on something before you fall asleep: for example, decide to raise your left hand with a jerk. Or decide to put your palm over your eye as soon as you begin to dream. You will have to practice this auto-suggestion every night for three months before falling asleep.

At the end of that time or sooner, if you do it very regularly, your remembrance will become so intense that it penetrates your unconscious. Then as soon as you begin to dream, your left arm will shoot up with a jerk, or your palm will cover your eyes -- whatever you have practiced. As soon as this happens, it will come to you that this is a dream, for these two are connected in your auto-suggestion.

Another tantric method: whatever you see in your dream, concentrate your attention on one object. Let's say you see a marketplace. There are lines of shops loaded with various articles and many people are moving about. Now focus your attention on something, perhaps on one shop. You will be astonished to find that as soon as you fix your attention on this one shop, the shop disappears -- because it was never there. Then fix your gaze on other things one by one and you will find them all disappearing in the same manner. If you become adept at watching dreams, dreams will be lost. As soon as dreams are lost, you go into meditation even in sleep; you reach samadhi.

Begin with dreams and you find that the whole world is a dream. The world is a dream seen with open eyes because our habits die hard -- we get involved in the things we see. This involvement is so intense that we forget ourselves, forget the observer. Our consciousness works in only one direction.

Gurdjieff used to tell his disciples, "When the arrow of your consciousness becomes double-pointed, when your consciousness begins to flower at both ends, you will become an enlightened being."

Gurdjieff's efforts in directing his disciples were all to this end. "When you look at someone, look at him, but also keep trying to look at your own self: 'I am looking, I am the observer.' Then you are sharpening the other edge of the arrow of your consciousness. One end is directed towards the object you see; the other points toward you, the seer."

Here you all sit listening to me, and you have lost yourselves in me while listening. You forget the listener entirely -- but then you err. The listener should also be remembered while listening. So as I sit here talking to you and you sit there listening, you are also conscious of the fact that 'I am listening'. When you go beyond the listener, a transcendence occurs. The witness is born.

As soon as the witness is born, the person steps from the many into the three. You have reached the confluence of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Then it is easy to merge into the One from the three, for it is only one more step forward. Similarly, the confluence of great rivers is considered auspicious. Prayag is a unique pilgrimage place because of the confluence of three rivers. Two rivers can be seen, the Ganges and the Yamuna, but the third, Saraswati, lies underground and cannot be seen.

Whenever you focus your attention on something there are two elements: the subject, you, and the object, what you are observing. These are both apparent, but the connection between the two cannot be seen.

This is symbolized by the river Saraswati at Prayag. However, all three rivers meet at Prayag, and they naturally become one.

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