Sunday, October 7, 2012


This morning I was sitting at the computer when, suddenly, the Waking World and the Dreaming World merged for, perhaps, five seconds.  It’s happened to me before, several times over the years.  It’s as if the brain misfires and secretes a chemical that’s normally only released when we’re asleep, deep in our dreaming states, and, for a few precious moments, the world in front of us—the one we’re conditioned to believe is real—feels exactly like a dream.  The first time this happened it was disorienting, but as the experience has repeated, I’ve come to welcome it.  This morning I breathed into the feeling, rode it like a wave, let it fill me, exhilarate me.  As I said, this lasted for, perhaps, five seconds and, if it was just a hiccuping neuron or a confused chemical, it really wouldn’t matter and it certainly wouldn’t be worth writing about; but if you’ve been reading my work for any length of time, you know that I’m obsessed with the idea that life really is a dream.  No, for me it’s far more than an idea:  it’s a truth that’s echoed through the corridors of my soul, gaining more power the older I get.

In the early 1980’s someone sent me an audio cassette of a 1956 gathering in Los Angeles:  Avatar Meher Baba—the spiritual master who’s been at the center of my dreams, both waking and sleeping, since I was nineteen—was visiting the U.S. and addressing a group of spiritual seekers.  (Meher Baba didn’t speak:  he took a vow of silence in 1925 and, by the 50’s, was communicating via a unique series of hand gestures.  The gestures were then interpreted by one of his disciples, usually a wise and wonderful man named Eruch Jessawalla.)  Here’s what Baba, through Eruch, had to say: 

All this is nothing but a dream. When you are asleep, you find yourself talking, enjoying, sometimes you weep, sometimes you are happy; but when you are awake, you realize the pain and joy that you felt in the dream were nothing but a dream.
Even this is a dream—your sitting with me. The noise of the buses and street cars, this place, the whole city, all of this is nothing but a dream.
Suppose tonight in a dream, you see Baba sitting beside you and explaining, "Do not get entangled in all of this, it is nothing but a dream," then you would question me, saying, "Baba how could it be a dream? I have so many joys and sorrows. I see so many people around me. I see you. How could it be a dream?" The next day, you wake up and you realize that Baba appeared to you in a dream and said it was but a dream.
Even now, at this moment, I tell you that you are dreaming.
The first time I heard those words they bypassed my mind and went straight to the deeps of my heart.  Till then, despite whatever small glimpses of the inner reality I’d been blessed with, the notion that “life is but a dream”—what the Hindus call Maya—was nothing more than a fascinating intellectual concept.  But the recording of that Los Angeles event seemed to carry the authority of Meher Baba’s presence and power.  “Even now, at this moment, I tell you that you are dreaming.”  And I knew it was true.

Years later, I was on retreat at the Meher Spiritual Center in South Carolina and that truth unexpectedly deepened.  For an entire week it felt as if several layers of the Veil of Illusion had been stripped away; the people around me seemed no more substantial than heat trails on a highway or shadows flickering on a wall:  it was all I could do not to put my hand through them.  I remember talking to a friend (who’d spent many years in Meher Baba’s orbit) about this and she said—and I’m paraphrasing—that, yes, it’s all a dream, but the thing that
dignifies the dream is God’s presence in it.  It made perfect sense to me.  If I’ve learned nothing else in my life, I’ve learned this:  The oldest cliche in the world is true.  God is Love.  Pure, unadulterated, non-judgmental Love, both awe-inspringly cosmic and deeply personal.  And that Love is what underlies and, as my friend said, dignifies this dream we call life.

I know that, for many people, this all sounds like metaphysical nonsense; but let’s—for a moment at least—imagine that it’s true.  What, if anything, do we do with this view of the universe?  Turn our backs on the dream—as some spiritual paths suggest—diving exclusively inward in hopes of transcending the illusion and becoming one with the Love that underlies it?  Or do we embrace the illusion, exulting in it, dreaming bigger than ever; always striving to remember—and share—the Love at the dream’s core.   

I choose the latter.  The goal to me—and I’m sure I’ve said this before—is to become a lucid dreamer; to find union—or at least a conscious partnership—with God
within the illusion, molding and shaping it until it’s become the most beautiful dream ever dreamed.    
Taped to a bookcase in my office is a message that came to me last year in a dream (I wrote about it here).  Printed in bold, colorful letters, it reads:
This is a dream.  I’m dreaming.  And I can do anything.  I can fly. 
Even if it was just the result of a random, misbehaving neuron, the five seconds of overlap I experienced this morning brought that truth back to me in a sweet and powerful way.  It was a reminder to fly high and far.  To play in this Sandbox of Dreams with the innocence of a child—and fill it with as much love as I possibly can.

©copyright 2012 J.M. DeMatteis

The transcript of Meher Baba’s 1956 gathering in Los Angeles comes from Bhau Kalchuri’s Lord Meher, Volume 14.


  1. I always look forward to your blogs. Thank you for another inspirational and beautifully said blog.

  2. And thanks for always being there with appreciation, Kevin. See you at NYCC I hope!

  3. Just discovered your blog. What an interesting read - it's an idea I believe a lot in myself. Do you know what always comes to mind when I'm thinking about this idea? The nursery rhyme:

    Row, row row your boat gently down the stream
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
    Life is but a dream...


  4. Same here, David. That childhood song gains more and more resonance as the years pass.

    Thanks for stopping by Creation Point. Hope you come back again. Best -- JMD

  5. "That childhood song gains more and more resonance as the years pass."

    No wonder you like Star Trek V: The Final Frontier! :-)

    Re: Meher Baba --

    When I was in college and first getting into the Who, I fell in love with a fairly obscure song of theirs called "Let's See Action." The song ends with Pete Townshend repeating over and over again, "Nothing is everything, everything is nothing." Later on, I learned that was one of Meher Baba's sayings and that Pete was a major devotee.

    1. I love the moment in STAR TREK V, Glenn, where Kirk says: "Maybe life IS a dream..." Highly imperfect movie that I have an inordinate amount of affection for.

      Yes, one of Avatar Meher Baba's books is called THE EVERYTHING AND THE NOTHING. And those concepts are central to his cosmology.

      Do you plan on reading Pete's autobiography? Sounds like it's a pretty raw and honest book.

  6. I ordered Pete's book from Amazon the day it was announced! It should be arriving this week.

    1. Why am I not surprised? He was on THE DAILY SHOW last night. If you didn't see it, check the DS website.

  7. Hey J.M thanks for sharing your comments with us, your blog to me is fine art just as your comics and books. Thanks for the words on God and the spiritual world, I think we, believers, must have a voice that speaks out loudly and pungently, and your voice echoes into our hearts and minds. "After all, this is a story about God".

    1. I know that talking so directly about spiritual things can alienate a certain segment of the audience; but I have to write from my heart about the things in life that are important to me. That you appreciate what I have to say—both in my work and in these blog posts—is something I profoundly appreciate. Thanks, Daniel.