Life Begins, The Dream
After showing my wife my latest poem,
she immediately questioned my Vishnu reference. I suppose I can't
expect everyone to familiar with the world's mythology-- I suppose once
upon a time, you could write a poem with references to Greek/Roman
mythology and expect your audience to understand, but Indian mythology? Not
I was first exposed to the sleeping Vishnu creating the world with each
opening of his eye from Joseph Campbell (in this book, The Mythic Image)
and this image was brought to mind while watching my infant son
blink at the sights associated with entering this world. Here's a quote
from one of Campbell's articles:
Vishnu is pictured as the divine dreamer of the world dream.
Vishnu sleeps on a great serpent, whose name is Ananta, which means
"Endless." The serpent floats on the universal ocean, called the Milky
Ocean. But this Milky Ocean and the Serpent and the sleeping God: these are
all the same thing. They are three inflections of the same thing,, and that
thing can be thought of also as the subtle substance that the wind of the
mind stirs into action when the universe of all these shifting forms is
brought into being. Vishnu, the God, sleeps, and the activity of his mind
stuff creates dreams, and we are all his dream: the world is Vishnu's
dream. And just as, in your dreams, all the images that you behold and all
the people who appear are really manifestations of your own dreaming power,
so are we all manifestations of Vishnu's dreaming power. We are no more
independent entities than the dream figures in our own dreams.
Do I really think we are nothing more than God's dream? There are
plenty of rabbinical and mythological references to God who dreams, thinks,
or speaks, and the things come to be. Not much different, I suppose.
I know, that is not the unsettling question here-- Do I think we are not
substantial, like a dream? Would explain a bit, don't you agree?
But I like to put this myth on its sleepy head… is this world just an
expression of our own dreams? A figment of our imagination. Clearly, our
perception and interpretation is nothing more than cerebral projections from
the stimulation of our senses. But this idea doesn't diminish their worth!
I've always been a big fan of science fiction that alters our perception of
reality. And it is nice that movies are trying to render those ideas, like
that Truman Show or The Matrix. Does questioning reality,
make it any less real? Perhaps. But it certainly makes it richer.
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