When you wake up in the morning you leave behind one world — the dreaming world — and find yourself in another world — waking life. These two worlds or states share similarities. In Tibetan Buddhism they’re two of six states termed ‘bardos’, or ‘in-between states’.
Sensing, emotion and thoughts exist in both. When we are in a dream, it can seem as real as waking life. That’s because it is! Dream is just a different take on reality.
Most of us see waking life as more real than dream because we possess a kind of self-awareness in daily life that we don’t experience in dream, save for the few of us who are familiar with lucid dreaming. Thus we also feel a sense of control when we’re awake that we don’t feel we have in dream.
Nonetheless, in daily life our awareness can get pretty wobbly at times, and we often don’t feel very in control.
The phenomenon known as ‘awakening’ is often compared to waking up from a dream. In awakening states, our awareness is much more acute and our sense of control seems much greater; this is largely because the illusion of the ego being the master is dropped. The ego begins to seem like part of a dream, which may be more accurate than perceiving it as a master of anything.
Awakening releases us from many of the worries and troubles of life! Curiously, this is not because these concerns go away, but rather because they don’t seem as important as they did before. A major side benefit is that we get much better at managing our lives and handling our problems.
The experience of awakening feels much like being handed a glass of water while crossing a parched desert. Interested?
Meet the Teachers
Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat are Dharma and meditation teachers who founded Clear Sky Meditation Centre, BC, Canada.
Achariya Doug Duncan received lay ordination from Namgyal Rinpoche in 1978, and is a lineage holder in that teaching. Known for his direct, humourous and compassionate engagement with students, Doug embraces various traditions, contemporary psychology, and science, to mentor all beings to a more awakened state.
Catherine Pawasarat has trained daily with Acariya Doug Duncan since 1998 in an intensive spiritual apprenticeship that is rare in the modern West. She received lay ordination from Namgyal Rinpoche in 2003. In addition to Buddhist philosophy and its applications to daily life, Catherine also draws on generative living and the arts. With Doug she is co-founder of Clear Sky Retreat Center in the BC Rockies.