– quoting Adi Da –
The wise man who sees the world as
an illusion does not act as if it is real.
Therefore he does not suffer.
– The Buddha –
So, think about what it’s like when you go to see a movie. Have you heard the term “willing suspension of disbelief?” It’s the deal you make with yourself every time you go to a movie. You agree to relax your discrimination and let the movie in. You know the movie isn’t reality, but you will sit quietly for two hours and allow yourself to experience it as if it were. You suspend your disbelief in order to form an empathic bond with the characters and the movie. Make sense? And then the movie’s over, you go back out into the harsh light of reality and stop suspending your disbelief.
Most people are unconsciously caught up in the drama of the movie and completely identified with its experiencer character. In the “movie” of this worldly life one is being asked to be dis-identified from this movie, to participate with a sense of detachment from the story and the outcome; one is to realize, “Ah, this life is only a movie, a projection and modification of my own energy,” enjoying its wondrous mystery for what it is, until it inevitably ends (and one is not averse to its ending).
One is to come from the more expansive, open, and free context of one who can witness the movie of life, without having one’s attention be totally captivated by it, lost in likes and dislikes, attachments and aversions.
It’s like this: when, in a movie, one suddenly stop suspending your disbelief and realizes it to be a movie, not real-life, one becomes totally equanimous about the contents of the movie, and one’s focal attention expands to include not only the passing show on the screen, but also the sense of one’s body-mind sitting in the seat watching it, other body-minds in the movie theatre, the screen, the projector and its projecting light, the spaciousness of the theatre, and so on.
Likewise, when one realizes life to be a movie or a dream appearance, one becomes equanimous about the content of one’s life. And one’s focus of attention opens up to include not only the play of forms—this body-mind and all “other” body- minds—but also to intuitively include the formless matrix, context, or ground for this play: namely, the pure, absolute Being-Awareness, the witness in its formless no-thingness, which mysteriously, playfully gives rise to, allows, permeates and essentially comprises the play of forms. Thus, in the awakened state, “One witnesses the dream while the dreamless (awareness) goes on”.
In sum, we may wish to say here that the awakened one, the sage, is lucidly dreaming this world appearance, always knowing it to be a dream while it plays itself out, not becoming lost in it. So, for the sage, the world-appearance does continue after his spiritual awakening, though he (or she) is now no longer attached to it through desire or fear, like or dislike, attraction or aversion.