‘Dermot, Dermot’. I tug at his shirt urgently, trying to get his attention.
‘Yes?’ He glances at me and smiles.
‘Dermot, what if I told you all this,’ I wave my arms around expansively to indicate the enormity of what I’m about to say, ‘is not real, that it’s all just a dream.’
I finish breathless and cock my head on one side waiting for his astonished reaction.
‘Piffle’, he says, and I realise he’s referring to the book he was reading.
A beat later he looks up and smiles.
‘Go on then spud, tell me what you mean?’.
He says it kindly and with the absolute confidence of one who has been in this territory many times.
Suddenly I’m shy, I don’t want to expose my lack of understanding. I shake my head. ‘It’s OK’.
Now it’s his turn to tap me on the arm.
‘Go on. It would be good for me to hear with fresh words and a different vision.’ He smiles encouragingly.
Nodding, I start slowly. ‘Dermot, I’ve heard what you’ve said many times and I’ve always thought I understood what you meant. But today I realise I’ve only ever understood it intellectually, with my mind. Today something happened which I meant I know it, and every fibre of my being, every cell feels it as Truth. I finally got what you meant when you told us we would know when we know. It was never about the information or the thought experiments was it? Those were just demonstrations of the effects pointing the way.’
He smiles and the room lights up. ‘I see you’ve worked it out. If only all my students found their way as you have. Now, I’m keen to hear what it is you know?’.
I glance away, gathering my thoughts. ‘I know this reality is a dream.’
‘We create it anew every moment of every day we think we’re awake. And we do this because we are constantly naming and judging and interpreting what we see out there.’ I use my hands as mini exclamation marks around the important words.
I carry on. ‘We assume that we all see the same things in the same way and to some extent we do, but that’s not the case. It’s simply that we’ve given a common name or experience to something and generally we agree on it. That’s the easy bit’.
‘The hard bit comes when we assume other people are like us in the way we think, that’s when it starts to break down. That’s where we bring in concepts like good, bad, up, down, right, left, right, wrong, time and space. Because these are highly subjective and depend on perspective. After all, to someone in Australia, we are upside down when you think about it. And perspective is dependent on too many factors for us to keep up with, so we create a sort of universal short-hand for our experience and we call it society or life or tree or love and make our short-hand the way we navigate the world’.
He looks at me critically.’ That’s a really different way of putting it and now I’m really interested.’ He leans forward indicating I should carry on.
I’m buoyed up by his interest and stumble a few times trying to get it all out.
‘Take for example that I use a word as short-hand for anything I like. The word is not the thing, but we substitute it and then point to the thing saying that’s what it is and suddenly we’ve reduced the most amazing, gracious, glorious event or tree or bird to a word.’ I shake my head as now I know this, I can’t believe we keep on doing it. ‘The word of something like that should be BIG and full of meaning and only used on special occasions.’
Dermot holds his hand up to stop me. ‘Hey, I think you might be veering off course a little there spud. We were talking about reality and the big dream’. I must look a little crestfallen and he relents. ‘Not that you haven’t made a good point, you have indeed’.
‘Ok’. I say ‘Take dreaming, why do I assume I’m awake now and asleep when I’m in bed?’
He shakes his head, ‘I don’t know, do you have an answer?’
I think about it for a few minutes. ‘So, I assume I’m awake because I’ve come from a state we call sleep and I assume my wakefulness is reality. But what if it’s the other way around?
He smiles. ‘And now spud, it’s time to get on with the book’.
And I’m dismissed.
(Image: Pixabay: Comfreak / 566 images )