Do We Live In A Dream? Ask Deepak Chopra!

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Deepak explores the question of whether we live in a dream, whether this life is an illusion. Are we asleep? How do we wake up?* Our thoughts are almost always about the past and future, which means we do technically live in a dream. Only in life-centered present-moment awareness do we live in a world of consciousness and possibility. Many spiritual traditions say that we need to “wake up.” Then we will realize that we are the creators of our own dreams. We are the authors of our own lives. We are the universe.

“I am that. You are that. All this is that. That alone is. And that is the infinite consciousness that is constantly evolving and expressing itself.”

ASK DEEPAK is a daily show featuring reflections, thoughts, and inspirations on big questions and current events from writer and philosopher Deepak Chopra. What would you like to Ask Deepak? Leave your question in the comments below or upload a response video.

THE CHOPRA WELL is a new Youtube channel created to encourage people to live healthier, fuller lives, and to be more aware. Deepak, Mallika and Gotham Chopra, along with other friends and experts, join together in this inspiring project for personal and global transformation. The channel features daily shows about spirituality, wellness, healthy living, humor, and much more.

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  1. Reverend Eslam


    CONSCIOUSNESS means “that which knows” or “the state of being aware”, from the Latin prefix “con” (with), the stem “scire” (to know) and the suffix “osus” (characterized by).
    Higher species of animal life have sufficient cognitive ability to know themselves and their environment, at least to a measurable degree.

    HOWEVER, in recent years, the term has been used in esoteric spiritual circles (usually capitalised) to refer to a far more Universal Consciousness, due to the fact that the English language doesn’t include a single word denoting the universal Ground of Being (for instance “Brahman”, “Tao”, in other tongues).

    The Tao which can be expressed in language is not the REAL Tao. All concepts are, by nature, relative, and at most can merely point to the Absolute.
    That explains why some branches of theology use the apophatic method of pointing to The Infinite (“neti neti”, [not this, not that], in Sanskrit). Also known in Latin as “via negativa” or “via negationis” theology, this philosophical approach to discovering the essential nature of The Tao, gradually negates each description about Ultimate Reality but not Reality Itself.

    The brain is merely a conduit or TRANSDUCER of Universal Consciousness, explaining why the more intelligent the animal, the more it can understand its own existence (or at least be aware of more of its environment – just see how amazingly-complex dolphin behaviour can be, compared with other aquatic species), and the reason why it is asserted that a truly enlightened human must possess a far higher level of intelligence than the average person. The brain is the equivalent of computer hardware, whilst consciousness is akin to the software programme, using deoxyribonucleic acid as the memory chip. A person who is comatosed has lost any semblance of individual consciousness, yet is being kept alive by the presence of Universal Consciousness (here, the word “coma” is not to be taken by its etymological definition of “deep sleep”).

    So, then, one could complain: “That’s not fair – why can only a genius be enlightened?”
    The answer is: first of all, as stated above, every species of animal has its own level of intelligence on a wide-ranging scale. Therefore, a pig or a dog could (if possible) ask: “That’s unfair – why can only a human being be enlightened?”
    Secondly, it is INDEED a fact that life is unfair, because there is no “tit for tat” law of action and reaction, even if many supposedly-great religious preceptors have stated so. They said so because they were preaching to wicked miscreants who refused to quit their evil ways, and needed to be chastized in a forceful manner. It’s not possible to speak gentle words to a rabid dog to prevent it from biting you.

    There is evidence of consciousness being a universal field in SAVANT SYNDROME, a condition in which someone with significant mental disabilities demonstrate certain abilities far in excess of the norm, such as superhuman rapid mathematical calculation, mind-reading, blind-seeing, or astounding musical aptitude. Such behaviour suggests that there is a universal field (possibly in holographic form) from which one can access information. Even simple artistic inspiration could be attributed to this phenomenon. The great British singer-songwriter, Sir James Paul McCartney, one day woke with the complete tune of the song “Yesterday” in his mind, after hearing it in a dream. American composer, Paul Simon, had a similar experience when the chorus for his sublime masterpiece “Bridge Over Troubled Water” simply popped into his head.

    Three states of being are experienced by humans: the waking state (“jāgrata”, in Sanskrit), dreaming (“svapna”, in Sanskrit), and deep-sleep (“suṣupti”, in Sanskrit). Beyond these three temporal states is the fourth ‘state’ (“turīya” or “caturīya”, in Sanskrit). That is the unconditioned, eternal ‘state’, which underlies the other three. So, in actual fact, the fourth state is not a state but the Unconditioned Ground of Being (or to put it simply, YOU, the real self/Self).

    Perhaps the main purpose of dreams is so that we can understand that the waking state is practically identical to the dream state, and thereby come to see the ILLUSION of this ephemeral world. If someone were to ask your dream character if the dream was real, you would say, “yes, of course this is real!” Similarly, if someone were to ask your waking state character if this world was real, you would respond in a similar manner. The Ultimate Reality (“Brahman”, in Sanskrit) alone is real – real in the sense that it is the never-mutable ground of being. Reality is clearly seen by those self-realized persons who have experienced spiritual awakenings, yet only intellectually understood by those who have merely studied spiritual topics (that is, practiced one of the four systems of religion described in Chapter 16).

    “If you remain as you are now, you are in the wakeful state. This is abolished in the dream state.
    The dream state disappears, when you are in deep sleep. The three states come and go, but you are always there.
    Your real state, that of Consciousness itself, continues to exist always and forever and it is the only Reality.”
    ”It is fallacious to think that there is an individual self, which functions through the body and the mind.
    The ‘me’ as an individual self, is merely a mental modification, and there is no such thing as a mind, apart from thought.
    When the source of thought is probed continuously as it arises, it is revealed, that there is no such thing as mind, or an individual behind it.”
    Ramesh Balsekar,
    Indian Spiritual Teacher.

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clearheaded science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about the atoms this much: There is no matter as such! All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Spirit. This Spirit is the matrix of all matter.”
    “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck,
    German Theoretical Physicist.

  2. Progressive Ideologies

    Please guide us step by step towards the ultimate truth.. 🙏🙏🙏🙏

  3. Progressive Ideologies

    Are there two different Deepak vjopras? 🤔🤔 Different person in another video

  4. Dan Ness

    What a refreshing message, I am one with the whole! Namaste 🙏❤️

  5. Total T

    Ty. ☀🙏

  6. Victoria Peckham

    Christian tradition also uses the I am presence. Eckhart Tolle teachess the Presence of the Eternal Now, others that memories of the past are all kept in the Alashic Records and that we are keepers of those memories, lifetime after lifetime. Our past is important, our memories are vital. Our future may not yet exist but we are creating it with every breath. ‘Waking up’ doesnt affect anything xxxx

  7. Lighteningthedark

    I experience this regularly.
    I had a massive heart attack and only given a short time to live. I then moved to my favourite beach, my favourite small town in australia. My life is very basic, and somewhat repeatIng, but I walk the beach everyday in a somewhat meditation mode.
    This awareness started as… one day stepping onto the beach from a concrete platform.
    I became aware of the ocean, the tides, the birds, the animals, the sun, the dolphins, the fish, the rocks, the shells, the trees, the entire existence around me revealed itself that I too was part of all this.
    The Clouds also seemed to engulf my surroundings like the sky had fallen around me.
    I get this interpretation.

  8. 4am Curiosity

    I dont think just saying the past is a memory makes it a dream.

  9. 4am Curiosity

    I mean it is a dream, but that’s not why

  10. Линара Хадимуллина

    Dear Deepak, I have the following question to you about quantum psychology, – if we and the world around us are the single substance,made from the same energy, then it is necessary to dissolve subpersonalities, and then the first of them – I AM, which means to accept the absence of me in order to accept the reality. Then what is the reason for a person to live if there is no individual energy and mission ? This question is problematic for me after reading books of Stephen Wolinsky

  11. Suketa Patel

    The past, the future, Is an illusion…. this is my truth….but you opened my eyes even deeper….dream? Same word isn’t it? 🙏 After this message, The word dream has more resonance, The awareness has expanded ten folds…Blessings of this new seeing😇

  12. Gary Hiles

    How do people ‘wake up’?


    before deepaak video i watched another video on youtube, from the AWAKEN THE WORLD FILM series called THE ILLUSION OF THE SELF. these videos really make for a great sunday experience. of course the idea is every day is sunday if you follow this line of thinking. but, the notion of LIFE AS DREAM, or MY CONSCIOUSNESS AS DREAM, found much of my earlier life experiences being anything but a sunday experience. as of late, i have come to a few realizations that helps with a perspective . i’ll attempt to express the perspective. a dream appears to be something that “just happens”. the element of intangibility is there. the experiences or events occur, seemingly, without a RATIONAL framework. as life on earth has gone, the experience of the terrestrial world has varied over time. life forms developed in the oceans, transitioned to land creatures, and of the air. the dinosaurs came and went. a number of species are disappearing, and others being discovered even today. in this sense the karma of the cosmos is in play on the terrestrial world. climate change is seemingly happening at a faster and faster pace. so in this sense change and transformation is a fundamental part of our experience. there is structure at work, but, the relationships of the sets of elements engaged appears to be constantly changing, from the “instant” of the human experience to the birth and death of galaxies. …. so, it would seem, the life forms of the terrestrial world are part of the “flux” of this realm of experience. as the human being is one of many creatures here, perhaps it could be said, we are part of the DREAM/KARMA OF THE UNIVERSE. …. if you can see yourself as an aspect of this weaving of events/energies or dynamic equilibrium of the organic world, then you know yourself as part of THE DREAM OF LIFE. at the level of personal experience, in todays world, it would seem we are not able to bring to bear what the experience of being in nature, and dependent on it, really is like. in this respect, we are said to be asleep or dreaming. we mechanically (pretensively ) move through life, with assumptions , all is well and is as should be. we are “above it all”, is the societal backdrop, with no concerns for how to come to terms with a perspective or psychology of the human experience. so we play the “role”, and hopefully perform so as to be “successful”. … but, if you are able to find the experience of the “resonance in your heart” that which brings you to the resonance of all aspects of the organic world, (compassion, innocence , co-existing, etc.), you can tune in to the pivotal experience that transforms you from being mechanical with your life experience or a victim of your circumstance. to being in touch with the force(s) at work as our reality/natural world. this is the meditative posturing for your “inner child”. if i am out of touch with this basic or fundamental state of existence or experience, you are said to be living mechanically or dreaming, at the same time, we are still a part of the dream of cosmos/karma, but just more of a victim of it. it is obvious, once you begin to look at what the history of man has yielded, culturally. from its earliest beginnings through the Renaissance. all cultural expressions where about the extent to which man was able to realize how his existence was governed by or apart of the COSMOS/KARMIC DREAM. all temples, deities, and archetypal forms are his expressions of what lies “within”. human potential it would seem is very flexible, and capable of yielding much variety. but, once you understand what is at work, and how to allow for the experience, it is easy to see the common bond between all cultures, through all of history.. so, to conclude, one might say, be with the dream of the cosmos, be a dream unto your own experience of the “natural world”, but, don’t be in the dream of pretense or assumption. (are you in the appropriate context or relationship, or are you without orientation the emphasis here is not on the man made tools we have developed, but the nature of human experience as part of the natural world.) if you have known the experience of genuine love, parents or partners, * which can be “dreamy” themselves, then you know relationships are somewhat subjective, and this is also true with your relationship(s) with the natural world, especially when “living off of the land.” we hope for a strong bond to assure a healthy relationship/experience. so, in either case, the way your energies/experiences are “brought to bear” make all of the difference in the world. do you see the perspective or orientation i am suggesting? it is stated “in the nut shell”, but, hope it is digestable.

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