The disciple, wanting to tease the master, said with a chuckle, “Here’s a question for you. Imagine that you’re sleeping. Imagine that you’re dreaming. A big lion is chasing you. You try to run away and you see a tiger coming in front of you. You turn sideways, but every side you turn to, you find a ferocious animal coming after you. How can you escape?”
And the master, with a twinkle in his eye, and confidence is his voice, said, “Wake up!”
Source: As retold by Philip Chircop
By waking up, one enters a whole new world of reality, different from that of the dream world. What was a huge problem in the dream state becomes a non-issue in the waking state.
“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
There was a great race between a team of the wise and a team of the foolish. The wise people won by a mile. So the foolish people hired a expert to figure out what went wrong. He reported that the wise people had one person steering and eight people rowing, while they had eight people steering and only one person rowing.
“Aha,” said the foolish people who immediately restructured their team: Now they had one senior manager, seven management consultants, and one rower. In the rematch, the wise people won by two miles!
After further intensive consultations, the foolish people fired their rower!
Source: unknown origin
In the above story reality was staring the team of the foolish in the face, but they just couldn’t see it. The fully lived life is all about seeing, seeing differently, seeing things as they really are. It has been said that “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
A guy is riding in the first-class cabin of a train in Spain and to his delight, he notices that he is sitting next to Pablo Picasso. Gathering up his courage, he turns to the master and says,
“Senor Picasso, you are a great artist, but why is all your art, all modern art, so screwed up? Why don’t you paint reality instead of all these distortions?”
Picasso hesitates for a moment and asks, “So what do you think reality looks like?”
The man grabs his wallet and pulls out a picture of his wife. “Here, like this. It’s my wife.”
Picasso takes the photograph, looks at it, and grins. “Really? She’s very small. And flat, too.”
Source | Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
(New YorkPenguin, 2010) page 2.
Reality means more than a simple two-dimensional snapshot of the world, even though the snapshot may be true.
A drunk was staggering across a bridge one night when he ran into a friend. The two of them leaned over the bridge and began chatting for a while.
“What’s that down there?” asked the drunk suddenly.
“That’s the moon,” said his friend.
The drunk looked again, shook his head in disbelief and said, “Okay, okay. But how the hell did I get way up here?”
We almost never see reality. What we see is a reflection of it in the form of words and concepts which we then proceed to take for reality. The world we live in is mostly a mental construct. People feed on words, live by words, would fall apart without them.
Source | Anthony de Mello, Taking Flight
(Image, 1990) page 66
A camel trader is walking across the Sahara Desert. The party pitches a tent for the night. And the slaves drive pegs into the ground and tie the camels to the pegs. Then they come in to say to the master, “There are only nineteen pegs and we’ve got twenty camels. How do we tie the twentieth camel?”
And the master said, “These camels are stupid animals. just go through the motions of tying the camel and he’ll stay put all night,” which is what they did, and the camel stood there, convincing everybody. And the next morning they lifted the tent and continued on their journey, the slaves came to complain that all the camels were following except this one. This one refused to budge. And the master said, “You forgot to untie him.”
They said, “Oh, yes,” so they went through the motions of untying him.
Source | Anthony de Mello, Rediscovering Life, Pages 63-64
PONDER AND CONSIDER
This is an image of the human condition. We’re scared about things that are not. We’re tied to things that don’t exist. They’re illusions. They’re falsehoods. They’re beliefs; they’re not realities.