Free Your Pen

Buddhist Writing Prompt: See Everything as a Dream

See everything as a dream is about letting go and not trying to control reality. After facing up to the facts of life and death in Slogan 1, you can see how everything is always changing and impermanent, so the best thing to do is to go with the flow.

The original lojong slogan is: Regard all dharmas as dreams. Dharmas refers to all the various phenomena that make up your perception, like thoughts, feelings, sensations, and so on. All these phenomena are constantly changing and reality is like this too. You can’t pin it down or get hold of it, but underneath the relentless churn is the ultimate nature of reality: absolute bodhicitta.

Bodhicitta is the desire for enlightenment, and absolute bodhicitta is your true nature or Buddha mind, which is pure Awareness. Absolute bodhicitta reveals that everything happens in pure Awareness and you’re part of that playful dream-like unfolding of reality.

Saying that everything is like a dream doesn’t mean it isn’t real. It means that everything is interdependent so nothing can exist separately without everything else. Buddhism calls this shunyata, or emptiness, which is ‘no-thingness.’ In other words, there are no ‘things’ that exist separately from each other – not even you.

Apply this slogan to your writing practice by remembering the importance of dreams and imagination. When paying the bills and dealing with the necessities of life get you down, this slogan can remind you that dreams matter.

Imagination is just as important as everything else, so make a space in your life for your dreams to take root and grow.

Your writing prompt for this weekend: Take one of your recent dreams and turn it into a story…

More in the book: Free Your Pen: Mind Training for Writers


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