Daytime at Porter College with my friends, Allen and August--I'm having a very lucid dream. I consciously decide that I want to do some metaphysical experiments with the dream reality. Though I think about it often while awake, it's not so often that I can form a firm enough resolve to experiment and not get distracted--to not let the act of dream manipulation become yet another dream storyline to get swallowed up in along with my will and concentration. To that end I perform the dream spinning technique to focus my mind on the felt presence of immediate experience. My friends follow suit after I describe the benefits. Along the same lines, I put my attention into my body, feeling the perfect realism of elastic tendons, convoluted muscles, circulating breath and functioning internal organs. I also rub my hands on the cement ground beneath my feet, concentrating on the perfectly chaotic texture and my tactile sense. As a first step in reality control I levitate my body one foot off the ground. Allen and August do the same. After sliding around the quad on an invisible force I decide that I want to will something into existence. The image of my friend Lianna comes to mind so I attempt to manifest her presence. But try as I might, I don't have complete faith in my ability so she doesn't appear. I give up the attempt and walk into the dining hall.
Another idea occurs to me: I want to leave the confines of this physical body in the dream world and project my perception into the "real" waking world. As soon as the thought comes, I am elsewhere. Though I'd expected to be in my own bedroom, hovering above my sleeping body, I am somewhere else entirely. Unfortunately I have little memory of this period of time. At some point I'm back with Allen and August at Porter, and they're wondering where I've been. An in-depth conversation ensues--the subject: dreams and reality.
There are many levels of being which together compose the totality of all existence. The primary ones humanity is currently concerned with include the physical, mental, emotional and astral. While the true universe is infinite, and the possibility of enlightenment is everpresent, intelligent beings generally move through this infinite space roughly in the aforementioned order. This "motion" is usually perceived as an ascension or evolution, but that's really just an artifact since all paths lead to the same place. Dreaming teaches an important lesson in this phase of the Earth School because dreaming pulls the Self out of the physical for a while up into the astral. In that place, matter is shaped by thought itself and events are shaped by the will. But to the average dreamer, this appears not to be the case. She is completely taken in by the illusory images, people, places and events which greet her every night. While in the dream, she believes the dream is real--which is no surprise since it is totally convincing, despite the strange and fantastic events which may transpire. Maybe you have a recurring dream where you're captured by mercenaries, they throw you off a cliff and you die. On the way down you're belly is filled with that shocking tingle of weightlessness and near-death. Then you awaken in your bed and what a relief! It was just a dream! It wasn't even real, though it seemed so at the time. But if one has enough practice with this lesson, one learns to have a similarly relieving sensation while still dreaming--at which point you can interrupt your swift descent towards death and fly back up the cliff. There's even no need to be angry at your killers because you were never in any danger! So this lesson and its infinitely subtler variants are taught to you every night--the dream is an astral training mode for the "real" physical world. And the moral of the story is this: there's no need to wait until "death" to realize that this world is just an elaborate dream--the biggest, best story ever told--you can have that realization right now. You may have heard that you need to attain some morally-pure sainthood like the Buddha in order to become enlightened. That's bullshit, just another plot element of the story. Anyone can reach enlightenment anytime in an instant awakening (satori).
And whether you believe me or not, simply take note, without interpretation, of what's on the screen of your reality movie right now. Make it a habit and you may start to notice the clues.