[Advaita-l] waking, dreaming, sleeping, as mutually supportive

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Sun Oct 11 08:00:38 CDT 2009

I have aired this question before, and received answers that were
immaculately Advaitic, but theoretical : i.e. all these states are part of
maya, illusion; only Brahman is real..

So I'll come at it from another angle. I have experienced turiya, the fourth
state -- or a shadow or hint of it, not to make false claims. The experience
was of blissful freedom, where all three states were present : the senses
were fully present, but quiescent; the mind was present, but quiescent --
and there was enough residual mind to be aware that there was total freedom
as to whether to have a thought, or not...; and the rest was so profound
that there was no need to close the eyes; after 24 hours without sleep, 20
minutes of this was all that was needed.

Such experiences only explain themseves fully over time. But it has raised a
question, of -- in our normal level of daily consciousness -- to what extent
these states are mutually supportive of sadhana.

Their individual value has been well discussed, within limits : the more
wakeful and observant, the more the senses take in and present to
consciousness as the demonstration of the presence of the self; deep sleep
takes us the most precious refreshment within us, para itself; but dreaming
is usually taken simply in theory as  a metaphor for 'the illusion'.

But 'psychological' science -- that is by definition, the science of the
soul -- has suggested that the dreaming state may have to do with resolving
emotional  blockages (e.g. in repeated dreams); or a sort of psychic
evacuation; or an involuntary relation to that state of 'creative dreaming'
which sustains artists, by making connections in the brain or mind
previously not made -- e.g. when a poet makes a striking metaphor which
'seems to work; at a subconscious level in the reader; even touching the
heart in new ways.

And science tells us that dreaming is 'necessary' to our psychic health.

All this suggests to me that the three states are more interdependent than
theory would suggest.

I would like to hear whether there are any practical statements in the
shastra that might make this interdependence more fruitful, if that's at all


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