Can “reality” really behave like a dream?… Go ask Alice… In the esoteric teachings of Tibetan Buddhism called Dream Yoga the student is taught to observe how “waking reality” often acts like a dream. Bizarre impossible dream-like “coincidences” often occur in clusters in waking reality. A pair of strangers walks by talking loudly and their words answer a question that has been plaguing you. A commercial truck drives by with the name of a friend painted on its side. You have not heard from this friend in a long time and just then that friend calls you.
Carl Jung called this phenomenon synchronicity and used it very successfully to treat his patients. He would wait for a synchronicity to occur and then used that “sign from the universe” as guidance for treating his patients. Great wars were won and epic love affairs begun because of synchronicities. Mighty fortunes have been earned and great discoveries made all because of what some call serendipity.
I often notice these winks from the universe, these synchronicities, these serendipities, and act on them. The universe has never guided me wrong and it has often been insanely entertaining. One curious example happened not long after I moved into a new house in Santa Cruz. Now, Santa Cruz is a very quirky place to begin with and has a vibe that skews what is considered ordinary reality by Santa Cruz locals but this walk far exceeded Santa Cruz’s normal abnormal.
I often exercise on a paved strand that runs along the top of the eighty foot cliffs that form the northern shore of Monterey Bay. My house sits on this same series of cliffs that often feel like the backbone of some ancient sleeping dragon – especially when the ocean fog drifts in like tendrils from some otherworldly dimension. I know this stretch of shoreline intimately with its waves that are only fifty feet from my back door. The rhythms of my daily life, my very biology are immutably synchronized to the natural cycles and energies of this place, this awe-inspiring boundary between the great worlds of land and sea. Along with many other things this place I live is prime territory for synchronistic winks from the universe.
Recently when it was dusk and a full harvest moon was rising, I decided to take a walk along the cliffs. The waves were kissing the base of the rocky cliffs in the familiar climatic rhythms of high tide. I took this walk at twilight so I could get into a more mystical mindset for dreaming and writing. Just as I reached the strand I spotted a group of twenty college-aged people walking in the opposite direction on this neighborhood strand lined with homes on one side and the sheer drop of the cliffs on the other. The walkers were dressed in costumes from Alice in Wonderland! They were dancing as they walked. There was someone in a big white rabbit costume that had to be eight feet tall while the women were dressed as sexy Alices or Queens. I assumed they were all on ecstasy or some other mind altering substance. This was after all Santa Cruz.
As I neared the group I spotted and heard one of the women dressed as Alice say I want to dance with that guy as she pointed her chin toward me. She then broke off from the group and started dancing with me. I was soon laughing and dancing with her. She was way too young for me – an early twentysomething – but she did cast a powerfully erotic spell. When I ended the dance after a short time, she looked a little disappointed as I went my way and she turned and went hers.
After that brief encounter I was walking with a silly grin that would not go away… and I could not stop questioning if I was dreaming… I did more than one reality check after dancing with that sexy Alice but all the reality checks confirmed this was real and not a dream. Twice more during that walk other women came up to me out of the blue in bizarre sexy dreamlike scenarios as absurd as my dance with Alice.
Some say enlightenment happens in three distinct stages, and my walk was a perfect example with its three encounters. As the bizarre dreamlike experiences accumulated, and the third odd encounter with a sexy woman occurred, I realize that the universe was trying very hard to teach me something and I’d better start paying attention to the message. The sexy women were not the message but the courier. The universe was showing me a statistically unlikely crazy string of events as evidence that what we call reality is simply another kind of dream we share with each other. So the message from the universe – my lesson if you will – was that whether awake or asleep we are always dreaming and that means our experience called reality is “only” a dream. Go ask Alice and she’ll tell you the same.