Have you ever had something happen, something shocking or so unbelievable that you had to question, just for a moment, "am I dreaming?"
In this case, Reality seemed so "unreal" that we didn't believe it - we had to question Reality itself as it unfolded before us. So the question came - "is this a dream?"
Maybe we asked someone to pinch us, because we wanted to see if we would wake up. Yet that wasn't really a remedy because the person pinching would also have to be in the dream. The pain would be "dream pain".
As the odd sensation passed, maybe we were still left wondering if we, at some point, might wake up. For a while, we didn't look at the world in the same way - we looked with eyes of disbelief - all belief was suspended temporarily as we suspiciously looked upon everything as potentially "only a dream."
We really were lost because there wasn't anything we could do to PROVE that it was a dream, nowhere to go, nothing to seek out - every single thing we could find, every answer we could get, would be just more dream stuff. The only thing we could do was wait it out and see if we woke up from the dream.
There is something very telling in this type of episode. The fact that we might question Reality during the "waking state" as possibly a dream shows that there is something aware of both the "waking state" and "dream state" - something that knows the illusion of the dream while it's happening, and therefore knows the illusion of the waking state also.
That "something" is Consciousness.
Consciousness is prior to both of these states - aware of the unreality of the dream, aware of the assumption of Reality of the waking state. It is Consciousness that recognizes the unreality inherent in the dream - that's how that "state of illusion" is recognized as a possibility during the "waking state". That familiarity of feeling "is this a dream" comes from Consciousness, the presence which is aware of both states.
Asking "is this a dream" shows that there is a familiarity with the fact that a dream is an illusion, knowingly, while it's happening. The same is true for the "waking state" - although Consciousness is aware it's an illusion while it's happening, it's "willingly" playing along, just as it does in the dream, willingly participating through identification with the body, all the while never unaware that Consciousness is the very essence or substance of both the dream and the "waking".
Therefore when that shocking situation is happening, it's so unreal that the usual groundwork of assumptions in place to keep the "waking state" as real are shaken. At this point the dream character, the person you take yourself to be, is directly challenged. If you say "is this a dream" you directly and purposely negate that very "individual" you've identified with. You have to. At that point you seriously doubt the reality of the individual self. Isn't that the case?
And if you can seriously question the reality of the individual self, how solid is it? How Real is it? If it can be directly challenged it must not be the unquestionable Reality you thought it was. Even though it seems to be operating as usual during the "waking state", that very presence of an individual, separate self is actually KNOWN to be a mechanism, a thought process, a belief structure only. The entire assumed Reality of the "waking state" depends on this belief of an individual ME.
But it isn't "you" questioning this - it's Consciousness questioning it's own display - Consciousness is the "dreamer" - the "you", the individual, the dream character, is ultimately known to be a passing "state".
And in the dream, we don't get up and walk around, being chased and winning the lottery and finding monsters and all other "dream stories" - we simply lie on our pillow and the dream unfolds, AS Reality, made up of nothing but Consciousness. The substance of the dream itself IS Consciousness. All objects in the dream are MADE OF that pure subjective Consciousness.
And if these "objects" are MADE OF Consciousness in the dream, if this "dream situation" is so much like the "waking state" that we may, at times, question if the "waking state" IS a dream, then there must be no difference between the actual experience in either "state". In the "waking state", so-called "objects" are MADE OF Consciousness also. The "objects" are nothing but that pure subjectivity itself - the knowing Consciousness which is, at all times, prior to both the "waking" and "dream" state.
If allowed to permeate, if the usual intellectual "blocks" don't immediately come up to apply knowledge, to directly contradict actual experience, it may become clear and obvious that the "objects" in the waking state are actually nothing BUT this "subjectivity" - nothing BUT this Consciousness, just like a dream.
What is the real difference, then, between the "waking" and "dream" states? At this point, the boundary betweeen "waking" and "dreaming" starts to become transparent. As the mental, conceptual difference between the two is seen to be merely an idea, a belief, Reality begins to shine without obstruction. Reality is apparent as the obviousness that - we don't know what the Hell EITHER state is - we don't know WHAT is dream and what is waking - we don't know - we just "make believe" - make belief - belief is the only difference between the two "states".
Belief is the only factor which separates "dreaming" and "waking". And who is the "believer" when the individual is only an appearance in both states? Belief is simply the mechanism in play as Consciousness veils itself FROM itself. It's sometimes called "lila."
So the statement "you are dreaming" isn't speaking to the individual "you" - this "you" isn't dreaming, this "you" is an appearance in the dream. The "YOU" being referred to is Consciousness. Consciousness is dreaming a "you".
So right now are "you" reading a blog? Or are you dreaming? With honesty, how certain can you ever be?