Being a westerner, I’ve found that metaphors have been particularly useful for trying to understand or imagine how it’s possible that there are no separate others, that everything is God and that all the many things that appear are just that, appearances.
One of my favorite metaphors is that we people are like waves that think they are all separate, but in fact, we are the Ocean. Waves appear in all kinds of similar but different variations, different sizes, speeds, directions and depths. But at no time is any wave not part of the Ocean and it’s not really possible to say where the wave ends and the Ocean begins. God is the ocean but all we see are waves.
However, a more compelling metaphor is that of the guru who comes to you in your dreams.
Imagine yourself today falling asleep and dreaming vividly. This shouldn’t be a stretch for you to imagine since most people at one time or another have had dreams so compelling that when they awake they can remember scenes, emotions and experiences that are so fresh they feel like memories that happened while awake.
In any case, imagine that in that dream, a person approaches you and says, “wake up!” Imagine that person looks like anyone, a parent, a lover, a friend, a stranger, a guru.
Then imagine you do in fact wake up and remember the dream. If I were to ask you while you were awake whether that person in your dream who woke you up was in fact a separate person come to you in your dream OR your own mind or aspect of your inner sleeping self, what would you say?
Wouldn’t it seem obvious that since you were dreaming that all the images and people while you slept were in fact projections of your own self? If you dreamt of Santa Clause, you wouldn’t think, oh that was actually Santa visiting me in my dreams to organize his list?
Now think of your entire world of waking, dreaming and sleeping and everything in your experience as something like an extended dream in Consciousness in which the Guru comes to you and says, “Wake up!” Exactly as in the scenario above. That is Adi Da‘s message. He is NOT a separate being from you. He’s your own Self here to wake you.
But unlike in the dream analogy, everything other than the Guru in our current unconscious state is telling us to stay asleep to perpetuate the dream of separateness.
This analogy becomes very useful as an insight in a number of healthy and loving ways. Because it also communicates that everything I see or encounter, all apparently separate people and “objects” are that same Self. I have trouble accepting this when seeing Donald Trump on TV, but also keep waking up every day as “Cage” so the dream persists.
Recently, I listened to a talk called the Gorilla Sermon by Adi Da Samraj which I don’t remember hearing but no doubt was directly or indirectly the source of this metaphor of the Guru presenting Himself to you in the dream. In this talk he likens the “gorilla” with our death in pursuit of all beings and the consoling approach of religions that try to distract you from the gorilla hot on your heals. It’s a wonderful and humourous discourse.