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Let’s suppose there is some kind of meta-information embedded in our various moment to moment excursions into alternate reality, such that, if we could keep it in hand, we’d be less prone to accumulate mental tension, because it would always be clear to us that our various tangents weren’t actually real.

Let’s suppose it’s pretty subtle. It stands to reason that it must be. We probably then need the strongest, most obvious example of the thing we’re interested in.

You sleep, right? And, with rare exception, you have all have dreams. And, if so, you’ve almost certainly had dreams that were totally inconsistent with the way your waking life was…and yet you were totally immersed in and convinced that this dream was real, and that this person you thought of as yourself was actually you. In effect, you were living inside a mental picture of the world and (and this is the important part) yourself that wasn’t real.

And then you woke up.

Now what was that like–the exact moment when you transitioned from the false picture to the real(er) one? The exact moment when the false picture slid off the top of your mind, like it never existed at all?

It wasn’t just that everything *looked* different, because you were in your bed and not somewhere else–that’s by far the least important part of it. It was also that your mind in that moment come out of a shell of false beliefs  that only made sense in the dream. How intense that transition was depends on how radically the dream diverged from your waking life, but I’m sure everyone at least once has had a dream of something that would totally alter your conception of self–either something awful and irrevocable, or profound and amazing. Either way, you woke up out of it. You were no longer that person.

Now what was it that made you wake up? Assuming you weren’t disturbed by something external, what was it that made you come out of the dream. What was it that told you, something isn’t right about this. This isn’t real.

Did you suddenly become conscious of the inconsistency with your waking life? But then, what was it that made you conscious of that? Up until that point, the inconsistency didn’t occur to you, and then it did. What changed? Was it always there? If so, is it only apparent to you at some times and not others? Or was it always there, and, up to a certain point, you just didn’t care?

Is getting more enlightened just a matter of caring more about reality?

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