Allow me to draw your attention to an apparently surprising thing. If I told you that now, when you are reading these lines, you are in fact asleep, you would certainly believe that I have gone mad. Your are awake, you are concentrating your attention to reading, and you are aware of your environment as well. You can see the furniture of your room, you can hear the call of the birds from the nearby forest. You are also aware of your thoughts and emotions, too. How can anyone claim that you are asleep in this very moment? Naturally, you, just as everyone else, sleep at night, and yes, sometimes you see dreams while you sleep. But now it is daytime, you are awake, so how could you see dreams?
You Imagine a Whole World Around Yourself
I believe, however, that you do not only sleep at night, but also at daytime. I believe that in your present state of consciousness your greatest illusion is that you think that you are awake. I believe that in your present existence your greatest illusion is when you think that you are alert. What I see is that in your present state of consciousness you are asleep, and at present you are dreaming, and what you see and hear are all parts of your dream.
Your nighttime sleep is only different from your daytime sleep in that in the night your dreams are less active. During the day you imagine a whole world around you, and you play an active role in that dream. Your personal history takes place in that world, and identifying with that world shapes your personal identity.
At present you are dreaming that, as a part of your personal history, you are reading these lines while you identify with the role of the spiritual Seeker, and you are outraged by what you are actually reading.
The question may arise in you why I claim that you are asleep and dreaming now. Well, from the state of consciousness I call Alertness I can see that you are asleep, you believe yourself to be a separate Self, you are a captive of the works of your mind.
You are not Present
What is the evidence for me that you are now asleep, and as a citizen of a dreamland you dream that you are awake?
First, that you are not present. To be present means that you are fully alert, attentive, and conscious in the present moment. Whatever you do, you do that fully consciously, you focus your entire attention on that particular activity.
Or, do you feel free to declare that you are present in every moment of your life?