Regard all phenomena as a dream
In postmeditation, be a child of illusion
These two slogans are instructions from Geshe Chekawa’s Seven Points of Training the Mind. I think these days, the outer circumstances in our world make it especially easy to practice like this.
The 95-year-old man I care for is from a different world. He remembers when the milk man came with his daily delivery in a horse-drawn carriage. He remembers when basketball teams only had white players and army troops in the war we’re segregated. He finds amazement in the reality that women now hold positions as CEOs and leaders.
Things change so drastically so quickly today that their illusory nature almost bursts from the seems of the digital news cycle feed.
How are things like dreams? As we experience them, they seem quite real. But once they’re over, they’re gone – a mere memory. Waking life, too, is this way.
The contents of dreams seem real and solid; I rarely doubt the true existence of the objects I perceive while dreaming. Of course, they’re really projections of my own mind. Like this, if I analyze the nature of the objects that I know while awake, I do not find anything that exists objectively, independent of my mind.
Is it possible to know something without it appearing to my mind?
When I see an attractive person, I’m certain they truly exist. Likewise if something, like the cold or a political debate, appears so excruciating that it’s impossible to bear.
How unquestionably real did the supremacy of white men seem to be for many centuries? But that just appeared to be true to certain individuals with the predisposition to see it. It’s like a bubble. Nothing substantial was ever there.
An illusion appears to be real. I get sucked into a movie and have genuine feelings for the characters, but they’re all just images appearing in dependence upon the conditions of a script, a director, actors, a camera, a screen. Similarly, all phenomena are like empty illusions, arising in dependence upon causes. They’re like a reflection.
Is there no difference at all between my dreams of last night and my activities of yesterday? My dream self has no real efficacy. However, the actions I perform in waking life affect both other beings and my future self. This is a difference.
Today, I will not allow myself to get bogged down by unpleasant circumstances or over-excited by pleasurable ones. I’ll realize that my life and whatever I encounter lack intrinsic existence. What I experience arises in dependence upon my actions and my mind.
As a child of illusion, I won’t be reactive or depressed, but will see that my own happiness and suffering depend upon myself. Watching the world’s incessant change rain before my eyes will give me wisdom. Seeing the cause of happiness, I’ll generate loving-kindness and warm wishes towards all the beings I meet.