People are often accused of being asleep. This assertion is made by people who believe that they are awake.
Is this just a metaphor used to launch a pejorative statement?
Or is it, like the difference between waking hours and sleeping hours, a condition where awareness is partially or completely absent?
Actually, it appears to be more than a metaphor and also a part of the human condition to be asleep.
Here are five ways we are all asleep.
One, we fail to notice things.
Due to the way our brains work, our minds can only notice a few possibilities out of an infinite sea. There are many reasons for this phenomena. Despite having 15 billion brain cells, the bulk of these are used for unconscious processes.
Brain lateralization is one reason, for example.
The left brain sees things differently from the right brain. And most people favor one over the other due to cultural bias.
The left brain focuses on language, mathematics, logic, numbers, sequence, linearity, and analysis.
The right brain focuses on forms and patterns, spatial manipulation, rhythm, musical appreciation, imagination, and daydreaming.
Those who do use both sides, communicating ideas between the corpus callosum, are those who have adopted special measures to override the cultural bias, like meditation, to create whole brain thinking.
Two, in a literal sense, the world is not what it appears to be. We appear to live in a world of spaces and objects, but actually this is an illusion created by the brain and the sense organs.
The smallest thing that we can see is made up of atoms. To see the atoms in a tennis ball, we would have to blow it up to the size of the earth. The atoms in it would then be the size of grapes.
If you were to now blow up an atom to see it more clearly, you would have to make it the size of a 14 story building. The largest part in the atom, the nucleus, would be the size of a grain of salt. However, since this is 2,000 times bigger than an electron, these would be the size of dust particles.
The real world is mainly empty space, punctuated by bits of matter, whose real nature are not hard bits of something but patterns of vibrations.
Three, we think of many things throughout the day, but most of this thinking is done in imaginary time. Imaginary time is the past, where things, events, people, and places have ceased to be. Sometimes they have passed away from our sense perceptions. Sometimes they may not exist at all. When we project the memory of the past into the future, we spend time in an imagined state where things will be different for us.
The only real time is now. The only real place is here. However, are awareness is seldom on the here and now. While maintaining enough of our consciousness to be rooted and functioning in the present, we frequently drift of into imaginary time.
The only difference between day dreaming and night dreaming is the intensity of our inner images. During the day, we are partially aware that we are not in imaginary time, and our experiences have a certain order to them. During the night, or when we are asleep in bed, we are completely aware of only imaginary time and our experiences have no clear logic, and one experience can transform into another within seconds and without an explanation.
A fourth way, we are asleep is because we think that our consciousness is our own. This may not be true. Our thoughts are only borrowed from the general thoughts of all humankind. Further, we may all share in a collective unconscious. Thus, all our thoughts are only variations on the theme promoted by our environment and our cultural conditioning on what things mean.
Finally, a fifth way we are asleep is that we assume that there are only four dimensions to reality, the three of space and the one of time. But both mystics and physicists often speak of the possibility of other dimensions
If we are all asleep, then, is an enlightened person awake?
Only in a relative sense. They know they are dreaming, while everyone else is convinced that their dream is real. In a way, an enlightened person, is like a lucid dreamer, while others are convinced that all this sound and fury called life means something and that the hour we strut upon the stage is of some great significance.
Saleem Rana would love to share his inspiring ideas with you. Hunting everywhere for a life worth living? Discover the life of your dreams. His book Never Ever Give Up tells you how.