Sunday Sermon (August 31, 2008)

¡Hola! Everybody…
What a beautiful day! But aren’t they all? It’s not a matter of “positive thinking.” The phrase “positive thinking” bothers me because it implies we must be “positive” in order to be happy. From that perspective, being positive means getting rid of the negative – all the people and situations we feel aren’t aligned with our “positive” (better?) natures. That’s called repression. No, the relevant issue is not positive thinking (or any type of
thinking for that matter! LOL), but being able to stay here, right now, in this very moment, this very life and feel/ experience this very moment in all it’s glory — whether it’s perceived as negative or otherwise. Ultimately, this is all you have…

* * *

-=[ Dreams and Illusions ]=-

“Your sleeping and your waking dreams
have different forms, and that is all.”

— A Course in Miracles

For many years I was plagued by a recurrent dream. I would call it a nightmare, actually. However, it wasn’t the kind of spine-tingling nightmare that wakes one up in a cold sweat. It was worse than that. The dream always seemed so real, that it would take quite a while after awakening to realize it was a dream. The premise of the dream is simple: I have been living a lie. In this dream, the life I was living was the complete opposite of everything I have worked for.

It’s difficult to describe the horror of waking up to that “fact” – that my life has been a lie. And the thing is that it’s so real. One woman I know used to tell me that it was the “Devil” trying to get at me. LOL! I truly abhor such thinking.

It’s been years since I’ve had this dream, but it had a devastating potential. What I learned from my sleeping dreams is that our minds have the ability to create worlds that, while we remain asleep, seem completely real ands appear to be outside of us. Yet, as in my recurrent nightmare, all the people and things in these dreams are in actuality creations of our own minds that we mistake for reality. It is only when we awaken that we come to the realization that none of the events that seemed to happen in the dream ever occurred.

The core teachings of all the great spiritual traditions emphasize that what we call “reality” is also a dream – a dream from which we have not yet awakened and therefore do not recognize. Modern science is proving these ancient traditions true. Cutting edge research in perception, knowledge acquisition, and “gathering data” show that, rather than perceiving in the pure sense, we actually create our world. We have to — otherwise we wouldn’t have survived as a species. We create “schemas” (maps) so that we don’t continually have to process data. This is a good thing; it ensures that we can act swiftly to dangers and situations needing immediate action. It also has its downside in that it creates filters that serve as obstacles to perception.

I feel the aim of life is to awaken from both our sleeping and waking dreams. The aim of any effective guidance, spiritual or otherwise, is to help us recognize our dreams and illusions and to awaken from them. Dreams show us that we have the power to create the world – as you would perceive it. And because you want to see it a certain way, it becomes that. Because you perceive things in a certain way, you have no doubt that it is real. Yet, here you are in a dream within a dream, mistaking cause for effect.

If you want freedom, then the end of dreaming is the end of fear. Awaken to the reality of the here and now and you will awaken to a different universe. Ultimately, all you have is this eternal moment. You can’t even love without this moment: love in the past is but a memory and love in the future is but a mere fantasy.

Wake up…




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