The meaning of life is to have an immersive experience of being alive in a fabulously creative, thought-responsive, conscious universe. We are alive to explore and share the transformative power of love, and to wake up to who we really are on the deepest level of reality.
Waking up is a spiritual act that is repeated throughout our lives. Can you pinpoint some of the awakenings in your life? My first lucid dream at age three not only awakened me physically from my nightmare of drowning, but it also awakened me spiritually to the power and mystery of that “other world” of dreams that the adults in my life bafflingly dismissed as “not real”. We will all awaken many times in our lives, through moments of insight, danger, change, loss, and those precious moments of joy and vision.
Through living our life with awareness and insight, we discover its meaning. We are all on a human rollercoaster that shuttles us through love, tragedy, existential angst, and wonder. The rollercoaster of human experience teaches us greater empathy for the suffering of others. We share the universal experience of being alive on this planet in this present moment.
Beyond the rollercoaster, permeating it and infusing every breath we take, is radiance. This blissful, loving, aware radiance is the source of light that we all emerged from and will all return to. It is always within us. It is pure love. It is profound safety. It is oneness. When we encounter this radiance, we simultaneously encounter our own ultimate nature and the core fabric of the universe. We experience the interconnected oneness of everything.
My favourite way of encountering radiance is through lucid dreaming, which allows for an immersive experience when all the dream imagery falls away so that I float bodiless in radiance and lose all sense of space, time, and self. There is only blissful, expansive oneness. Meditation, yoga nidra, and soaking up the beauty of nature are other well-trodden paths to an experience of radiance, but it can occur spontaneously in any state of consciousness, since radiance is our inner core.
Through living mindfully – not only in our waking lives but, crucially, in the third of our lives that we spend sleeping and dreaming! – we learn how our thoughts, expectations, beliefs and intentions shape our reality. We discover that we can live life as a guided, lucid dream, connected to our inner radiance and consciously creating the life we would love to live.
Our thoughts, along with the thoughts of others, co-create our shared reality. Our dreams are interconnected. We are connected to every person, animal, tree, river, and star. We are present in the hot spark of fire and in each salty ocean droplet. All of the universe is in us and we are in it. Experiences of radiant oneness remind us that we are powerful spiritual beings capable of incredible love. We come to understand that death is not the end of everything, but simply a transition. We experience our eternal soul.
Enlightenment is waking up to oneness. When we experience oneness, we easily feel love and compassion for others, because we understand that there is no “other” – we are all one. With this realisation, we become kinder. Imagine how the world could change if we were all kinder to one another! When I told my eight-year-old daughter that I was writing about the meaning of life, she said straight away: “The meaning of life is being kind!”
Yes. Here’s to being kind!
~Clare R. Johnson, PhD, was the first person to do a PhD on lucid dreaming as a creative tool. Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, her new books include Mindful Dreaming: Harness the power of lucid dreaming for happiness, health and positive change (European title: Dream Therapy); and Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming. Her lucid-dream-inspired novels are Breathing in Colour and Dreamrunner. Clare responds to questions about dreams, nightmares, and lucidity on her website: www.DeepLucidDreaming.com
Excellence Reporter 2018 Copyright © Clare R. Johnson