Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

The Dreamlike Qualities of Life

Understanding the illusory quality of reality is a potent idea but, for most of us, not easily accomplished.

Indeed, it is spiritual truth that usually requires repeated contemplation to actualize its full meaning.  Yet the more you glimpse this truth, the more you will find spaciousness and ease as new companions in your life.

Today, I invite you to contemplate this beautiful heart advice from Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche. In these words, Rinpoche elucidates how the realization of the dreamlike quality of life helps to free us from attachment and aversion while also giving birth to more good heart and compassion.

“Always recognize the dreamlike qualities of life and reduce attachment and aversion.  Practice good-heartedness toward all beings.  Be loving and compassionate, no matter what others do to you.  What they will do will not matter so much when you see it as a dream.  The trick is to have positive intention during the dream.  This is the essential point.  This is true spirituality.”

from Life in Relation to Death by Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

If you would like to explore this idea further, you might like to read these related articles:

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  1. I try to be compassionate always, with some noted failures. Great post!

  2. Hi Sandra,

    These words are really thought-provoking, inspiring and above all gives a true, a real meaning to the reality of life.
    Absolutely heart touching beautiful advice. I hope and I do wish to practice these golden words in my life.

    Thanks for the bright sunday reflection.


    • Hello Sangita,

      It’s so wonderful to hear your appreciate of these “golden words.” Chagud Tulku Rinpoche was indeed an incredible teacher. May his words burn brightly for eons.

      Wishing you all the best on your parenting and health blog. Children are the future and helping them be happy is so important. I admire your commitment.

  3. HI Sandra,
    That quote…my its deep..and oh so true.
    In the dream like state of life, we can truly externalize so much. It just goes to show how much of life is reality and how much is true illusion created much by ourself.
    Positive intention/thinking really does go a long way in enhancing your spiritual state of being.
    Thank you dear one for sharing these words. I think I might just try and get the book 🙂
    Much Love,

    • Hi Zeenat, I’m so touched by how you see the depth of this quote. There’s so much there. It could be contemplated for many moons! I thought this would be the perfect reflection to follow my guest post on your awesome blog Positive Provocations. Thanks so much for your comment.

  4. > the more you will find spaciousness and ease as new companions in your life.
    They sound like some great companions and I’m always up for having more companions join my band of merry men.

    It strikes me as, “what would you do if you had nothing to lose” … and playing more at life.

    I think another angle is that we are the most important meaning makers in our life, we get what we expect, and our metaphors and filters shape what we see and what’s possible.

    • Hi J. D.

      I like your take on how this view frees us up to be more playful in life. Your second angle is an interesting one and I think this is so true too – changing the way we perceive, changes our experience and interaction with the world.

      Thanks for sharing your keen insights.

  5. Hi Sandra,

    Absolutely beautiful!

    Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche was the author of the very first Buddhist book I read. And it was that book that get me started on my spiritual journey. One of his students was my first Buddhist teacher and it was such a blessing to be able to know of his work. He was definitely a very powerful writer and from what I hear…a beautiful spirit.

    The selection you used is an example of his power and beauty. The intention with which we do things is often much more important than the outcome.

    • Hi Nadia,

      I love hearing the synchronicity of your first connection with Buddhism, which has been such a significant part of your life and journey. I also love the power and beauty of this selection and how it touches on several different key points. Intention is truly of prime importance!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Hi Sandra Lee

    That is so beautiful – thank you for sharing those words, especially that I have never heard of this author.

    I know the illusory quality of life theoretically too very well, and as for a practical level… well I remind myself of it and really try to apply the richness and freedom it holds into more and more moments of my life. There are still triggers along the way that make me forget it, but it feels good to know that they are decreasing.

    • Evita,

      It makes me happy that these words inspire you.

      I share the same challenges as you. It takes diligence to recall the dreamlike quality of life and weave into the fabric of our being. But it is a relief that there’s a crack in the solidity we impose on reality allowing some light to shine through. As you say, it feels good to know the triggers are decreasing and more freedom and richness is on the way!

  7. Isn’t life is but a dream? Well, I thought so because when I’m in a state of dream there’s no distinction. Reality is deep within us and not within the realm of our limited perception. 🙂

    • So true, Walter ~ reality is not our limited perception but far beyond that. Thank you for sharing this insight. All the best to you.

  8. Oh Sandra!!

    This is just so moving. It seems I come here and always am enriched. I really needed to hear this in my life now. It’s beautiful, true and soothing. I’ve lived so much of my life in the dream state, in many many ways. It is especially easy to do in nature, but more challenging for me to do here in my small city. Or, let me put it this way, the more exposure I have to nature the more I live COMPLETELY within a dream. And what this does for me is I tend not to be fazed by what others, do, say or feel, or think because my soul is so firmly planted in nature, or the dream.

    But lately, doing my book, I’ve had far less time in nature than I have been used to most of my adult life. So I’m noticing that I don’t feel as “rooted” in the dream place, where things just wash off me as easily or I seem to have less or no separation from them.

    I can’t quite put this in words, as I am exploring it here. But in Nature I FEEL 100% the vastness, the mystery, the magic, and little else really matters in the face of such vastness. In nature I feel extreme omnipotent love and compassion, so huge that things from the world of “man” just roll off.

    But then I also know that I am learning much about humanity, myself, and life during this phase of my life (going into the world with my book). It also will allow me to eventually move to the land, somewhere quiet, surrounded with trees, rocks and water. I need that constant connection. It’s like nature, the stars and great universe is my god, my source of sustenance, compassion, healing, magic and love.

    My words here may not be clear at all to anyone else reading it due to it’s exploratory nature 🙂 but it sure was healing for ME 🙂 to express it here. In doing so I remember who and what I am. Nature does that too, reminds us who we are and what is important and what is not.

    So do you.

    It’s what I love about you.
    Thank you from my heart,

    PS: Thank you for being open and willing to embrace new ideas, ways, feelings, concepts and more. It’s what allows me, and I’m sure many others, to connect to you on a deep level.

    • Dearest Robin,

      Thank you for reaching into your heart and soul and sharing these deep words of insight with us.

      This is the key point that resonated for me: “And what this does for me is I tend not to be fazed by what others, do, say or feel, or think because my soul is so firmly planted in nature, or the dream.”

      Appreciating the dreamlike quality of life doesn’t mean that life is not real, but understanding it’s not so solid and permanent as we tend to think. This helps us lighten up. We can bring that sense of vastness to all we do. Like Dudjom Rinpoche said – always have a sky inside you! You definitely articulate this point so well.

      I know it’s not easy to do this when life becomes more chaostic, but you clearly have your current mission for a purpose! I hope your dream of going back to nature comes true for you at the perfect time.

      I’m so glad this is a healing place for you. All my love to you.

  9. Thanks for sharing Sandra. It reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite comedians, Bill Hicks:

    “The world is like a ride at an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think that it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly coloured, and it’s very loud and it’s fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question – is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us. They say ‘Hey! Don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride.’ And we…kill those people. Ha ha ha. ‘Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride. SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and family. This just has to be real.’ It’s just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. But it doesn’t matter because: it’s just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings, and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourselves off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here’s what you can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defence each year, and instead spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, for ever, in peace.”

  10. Sandra,
    What wonderful advice. Living life as if it is a dream is a great way to keep from reacting all of the things in life that push our buttons. Thank you for this!

    • Hi Angela,

      You are so right! It’s impossible to remove all the buttons, but we can change our perspective. I love seeing your pretty smile. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Hi Sandra! These are profound words. We tend to get so caught up in our “reality” that we forget that it’s actually like a dream. The difference between the dream we have at night and the dream we live during the day is that in the first when we wake up we no longer care about it, in the later we act as if everything is really important because we are still not awake.

    Very thought provoking post. Thanks for the inspiration. Loving blessings!

    • Hi Andrea,

      The way that you expressed the difference between these two “dreams” is remarkable. You have an excellent grasp of the key point of this passage. I really appreciate your comment. Thanks. Much love and blessings to you too.

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