You and I wander in this wide world when we’re awake. When we dream, we’re in a different place – a place commonly understood to be less “real” because it’s less shared. My dream world is not your dream world.
Between wakefulness and dream sleep, there are layers of other experiences… the visions we behold in meditation, the shuddering the world undergoes when we fully give our focus to the candle flame, the mystical otherworldliness to be found in isolated places or times.
That which is experienced by most people is our standard of nonfiction.
When something is thought less real, we feel less bound to virtue in relationship to it. Is it not so?
Don’t you less concerned by the bad deeds you commit in your fevered dreams than the ones you do while awake?
When you behold beasts in your meditation, are you not less fearful because you think them unreal?
The problem, though, is that virtue doesn’t purely exist in relationship to the common, shared world. In the cultivation of virtue, we are happy because we honor ourselves, our divine connection, and our shared heritage with the moral acts. Virtue is not a social characteristic, it is an internal action. As such, it exists wherever you find yourself.
That is why you must be contented and unafraid with the beasts of the world just the same as with the beasts you may encounter in meditation. The danger they present is the same unless you value your body over your mind.
That is why you must treat the people you encounter in your dreams with the same compassion, kindness, and loving attention as you must offer the people in your life. You are diminished by negative intentions in both dreams and life.
Smile without fear at the vision of the dragon, and you have won yourself over. Rescue the stranded starfish on your dreamt beaches, and you have rescued parts of yourself. Offer a scrap of food to the fearful dog on the street, and you are elevated.
How can you be less bound to virtue in your dreams and visions? No act of kindness, compassion, or respect loses significance because of a lack of consensus. We must raise our eyes to the light whether we’re alone or in a crowd, asleep or awake.
The flashing lights and pounding drums in all worlds are within you. You are constantly presented with yourself. Experience is not a sliding scale of reality. You’re a wave, a thought, a ripple of the divine consciousness always.
And so you must honor yourself, your divine connection, and your heritage always too.