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How to Wake Up From a Dark Imagination and Enter Real Life

The other day I had an experience I’ve had countless times during my life, and I think it’s likely that you have had it too.

I was going about my usual morning routine when unbidden, and without my awareness, a memory of a past, painful experience crept into my consciousness and took over my heart and mind. I was caught in the throes of real inner torment, when suddenly I “woke up” to my current condition. I could see I was lost in a reverie that had nothing to do with what was actually happening in the moment. Without doing anything but undergoing a refocusing of my consciousness, I was free.

Now, I must admit, in the past, and even today in moments of weakness, I will not be so quick to leave that memory behind. I will continue to carry the emotional weight of it. Sometimes I don’t even want to let go of such a juicy, familiar memory that makes me feel so much like “me.”

But I have learned that waking up and walking away from a nightmare is so much better than remaining its captive.

And here is something else I have learned. Phantom memories and reactions from our past can pop up and take charge in any moment when life presents us with a disturbance. Those old remnants of the past go before us to interpret what is happening, often turning what could have been a neutral event into a painful, unwanted moment. We think we’re awake, seeing things as they are, but in a very real sense our consciousness has been highjacked, and we’re in a kind of dream, experiencing life through the filter of a past pain, seeing it “through a glass darkly.” And because of that we miss out on the beauty and potential for greater understanding and more inner freedom each new moment brings.

The great sages know the truth of this, and they speak to us from across the centuries, telling of the wondrous transformation possible in any moment when we wake up, even in what seems like the darkest time. They urge us to leave the dream state behind and choose to live fully in the present moment. Here are some inspiring examples:

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

This place is a dream. Only a sleeper considers it real. Then death comes like dawn, and you wake up laughing at what you thought was your grief. — Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207 – 1273)

But now you are awake; it is but a dream you had! For horror’s prey in darkness of the night is but our reason’s sport in morning light. — Pierre Corneille (1606 – 1684)

All gloom is but a dream and a shadow… cheerfulness is the real truth. — Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 – 1864)

Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

When, in some dreadful and ghastly dream, we reach the moment of greatest horror, it awakes us, thereby banishing all the hideous shapes that were born of the night. And life is a dream: when the moment of greatest horror compels us to break it off, the same thing happens. — Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

Vivekananda (1863 – 1902)

It is only when everything, even love, fails, that, with a flash, man finds out how vain, how dream-like is this world. Then he catches a glimpse… of the beyond. It is only by giving up this world that the other comes; never through holding onto this one. — Vivekananda (1863 – 1902)

If men could see their true position and could understand all the horror of it, they would be unable to remain where they are even for one second. They would begin to seek a way out and they would quickly find it, because there is a way out, but men fail to see it simply because they are hypnotized… “To awaken” for man means to be “dehypnotized.” — P.D. Ouspensky (1878 – 1947)

The lesson for us here is that when the world seems dark, gloomy, and devoid of possibilities, we would be wise to question from where comes our understanding of conditions. Is it a clear assessment of what’s happening in the moment? Or is it a distorted vision of what’s happening, based on old fears and resentments and familiar responses that have built up in us over time? That distorted vision is a dream — a bad dream — from which we can awaken.

When we see more truly we can act more truly in our own best interests and the best interests of those around us. As OneJourney founder Guy Finley tells us:

Guy Finley (1949)

An inwardly awake person would never intentionally hurt himself. Self-observation is the key to developing this higher order of awareness; it is how we learn to become inwardly vigilant to our own thoughts and feelings, even as they pass through us. When we can observe ourselves in this new way our higher nature naturally prevails over any troubling thoughts or feelings that want to drag us down into their lower world. — Guy Finley

Come to Free, Livestreamed Talks and Learn How to Wake Up and Walk Out of Any Dark Moment

If you would like to exit the world of troubling dreams, Guy Finley can help. He presents free webinars every week on subjects related to How to Wake Up and Walk Out of Any Dark Moment. Join us via GoToWebinar every Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM Pacific Time, and every Sunday morning at 9:30 AM Pacific. You are invited to join us for these free live talks plus extended Q&A sessions with Guy. If you register at you will be emailed the view link right before each talk.

Click here to REGISTER NOW >>

Guy says we can break free of the pain of unwanted moments when we learn to see any situation from the higher vantage point that self-awareness gives us. His talks will help you gain this new view so you can transform peak pain into perfect peace, use any limitation to realize a life without limits, and cross the “river of dreams” into the real world.

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to learn effective methods that can lift you above any negative reaction.

Best wishes,

Dr. Ellen Dickstein
The OneJourney Project

P.S. I hope you will join us for Guy’s free livestreamed talks every Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM Pacific Standard Time and every Sunday morning at 9:30 AM PST. To see all the details and to pre-register, visit

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