This is the realization: You are dreaming, and the entire universe is your dream. Everyone else is just a character in your dream. You have made them up. You have conjured every last person and thing in the cosmos because, after all, you are dreaming it. You are alone. You have always been alone and always will be alone, because there cannot be anyone else.
There is more to the realization: The world is a hoax, a sham, a cruel hallucination. The monumental superstructures of religion, science, culture—it is all a trick of the mind. Everything you held dear—your family, your home, your job, your friends, your town, your nation, the earth, “life”—is all a show, an incredibly intricate and complicated drama you have somehow created. It is the Great Joke. You could almost laugh, if It weren’t blowing your mind.
Yes, you are afraid. You want desperately to be somebody—anybody—but now you know better. Now you can’t go back. You can’t go back because you realize there is not anywhere or anywhen to go back to. There is only Here and Now and This, and you don’t know how to deal with all Three or all One or all None because they aren’t a place, a time or a thing. You are afraid not because of what you have lost but because of what you are losing moment by moment. You are even afraid of being stuck in your fear—thoughts swirling madly like a horrifying carnival ride you can’t get off. There is, you think, no way out. But out to where? . . .
To Here! You know the answer, of course, and you also know that all you have to do is let go—but it seems so final, so “forever.” Your head feels a little strange; you seem to be viewing the world from a little farther behind your eyes than usual, and you have the odd but certain conviction that everything you see is only you—which you really don’t know what to do about. It dawns on you that, in fact, there is nothing you can do about it, never could and never will, because you, you realize, have nothing to do with it, for you too are a character in your dream. Then who is dreaming?
You are! My God, you are alone, and the greatest joke of all is that you have dreamed up a “you,” someone who thought to be in charge, responsible for your every move and a few moves of “others” as well. But there is no “you,” there are no “others,” there is only the dreaming (no dreamer and nothing dreamed), so what to do?
Now you do laugh, and while you are laughing you watch yourself laugh—it is all so hilarious, this “doing.” What could you or anyone possibly do? And this “seeing”—such a meaningless concept! What possibly could one see that is not the seer?
A wave of gratitude washes over you. The fear is gone, and even if it were to return you feel you would be grateful for it, too. Now there really are things to do, an unlimited supply of “doing,” all without a you, all presenting themselves with a smile. It is as before but so completely different. Alone? You? The idea is as absurd as there being a “you” to be alone! How could you have been so blind, so ignorant? You could dance, you feel so light. Dance with “reality,” the only reality there is, the reality you have created. Dance with yourself! Oh endless laughter and waves and waves of—what? Bliss? Joy?—gushing from within. So this is the realization! This is it? This is all it is? No mystery, no hidden meanings, no secret of secrets, just the profound apprehension that the seer is the seen, and the seen is the seer!
So it is, you think. And with that, you realize that now it is just a thought—somehow, the “experience” has passed, as all experiences do, and you are left with a memory, an abstraction, a concept called “Awakening.” How quickly it is gone! And yet, you know it is still there, it is just that. Somehow, without you being aware of it, a “you” has returned to cover it. So you must remember yourself. Perhaps, with practice, you will get good at remembering. Perhaps someday you will “remember” permanently.
But then, you tell yourself, how could a “you” forget there is no “you”?
J. Amberchele is a prisoner in the California correctional system. His writings have been published in several periodicals.