Allow me to draw your attention to an apparently surprising thing. If I told you that now, when you are reading these lines, you are in fact asleep, you would certainly believe that I have gone mad.
Your are awake, you are concentrating your attention to reading, and you are aware of your environment as well. You can see the furniture of your room, you can hear the call of the birds from the nearby forest. You are also aware of your thoughts and emotions, too. How can anyone claim that you are asleep in this very moment?
Naturally, you, just as everyone else, sleep at night, and yes, sometimes you see dreams while you sleep. But now it is daytime, you are awake, so how could you see dreams?
The question may arise in you why I claim that you are asleep and dreaming now. Well, from the state of consciousness I call Alertness I can see that you are asleep, you believe yourself to be a separate Self, you are a captive of the works of your mind.
You are not Present
What is the evidence for me that you are now asleep, and as a citizen of a dreamland you dream that you are awake?
First, that you are not present. To be present means that you are fully alert, attentive, and conscious in the present moment. Whatever you do, you do that fully consciously, you focus your entire attention on that particular activity.
You therefore perform the overwhelming majority of your daily activities mechanically. Your attention only becomes more intensive when you meet someone or deal with something who or that you find interesting, or useful in some way. Or the opposite: the person or thing may do harm to you in some way.
You Live in a Separate World
How deep you sleep may depend on how realistic you find your dreams, how much you identify with your identity embedded in your personal history. The less alert you are, and the deeper you submerge into your dreams, the more isolated, solitary and individualistic you will become.
Sometimes suffering alarms you from your sleep, but then you hasten to return to it, and start a new dream, a new objective in life, new ideals, passion, ambition that confirms your connection with your identity, rooted in your personal history.
The Reasons of Your Sleep
The reason of you sleeping is that you are not alert, only awake. Only one dimension of Alertness is present in you. Although you are able to focus your attention on your internal emotions and your environment, in your present state of consciousness you are still powerfully identified with your mind and its functions.
You are therefore drifting on the stormy ocean of your thoughts and emotions day by day, and the space necessary for the emergence of a contemplating Witness is missing from you. You still identify with your thoughts and emotions. These generate the dreams of the Mind, in which you live as a separate self, and try to find the ways of safely navigating your life on the stormy sea.
Longing for Freedom
In this separate state of consciousness, the lack of Alertness may appear as a desire for freedom. This desire emerges from your real self, as your mind remembers its origins. This atavistic memory of the ancient past is the quiet attraction that will eventually take you back to Silence.
If you wish to reach beyond the identification with your thoughts and emotions, if you recognize the functions of the mind and the intensity of your identification with them loosens, you may become alert again, in the quiet, pure space of Consciousness.
In this way, the third dimension of Alertness, that is, the contemplating Consciousness, appears in your life. This the original state of our existence, the pure Consciousness, the state of the witnessing Presence.