Why Life is a Dream (Similarities Between Dreams and Reality)

Why Life is a Dream (Similarities Between Dreams and Reality)

Last Updated on March 3, 2024 by The Unbounded Thinker

NB – I use the term ‘reality” to refer to physical reality/ everyday reality/the wake state

Is life a dream?
Ancient cultures believed the dream world is a sacred place and a distinct realm that exists independently. They believed the dream reality was another plane of existence that their souls visited during sleep. Ancient cultures also believed ancestral spirits and deities inhabited the dream world and they could communicate with them through lucid dreaming.

I support the ancient idea that the dream world is an independent reality, and I believe life is a dream because after studying my dreams and pondering life/physical reality for a while, I noticed the following similarities between dreams and reality/life.

Both Are Mental Projections

Almost everything created in the dream world is a reflection of the contents of your mind because your dream experience is shaped by your subconscious desires, memories, and thoughts.

Reality is also a mental projection since everything we imagine, perceive, hear, and feel is a form appearing in the mind. Our senses gather information from the external environment, which is then processed and interpreted by the brain within the mind.

Both Can End Abruptly

A major similarity between dreams and reality is their ending. Although we can decide to end our lives through suicide or end a dream when lucid dreaming, both realities can end abruptly. We cannot know when we will die and we never know when a dream will end. 

In Both Worlds, Everything is Thought

Study your dreams and you’ll realize that the dream world is a thought-world as it is primarily created by your dominant thoughts. If you harbor anxious thoughts, you will always have bad dreams. For instance, you might have repetitive dreams of being chased by a dangerous creature. Conversely, if you mostly think good thoughts, such as thoughts of peace, hope and love, you might have good dreams involving serene environments or having a good time with your loved ones

The physical world is also a thought-world. Every man-made thing was first a thought in the human mind and every natural thing was first a thought in the God-mind.  For as Robin Sharma, the author of The Monk Who Sold a Ferrari writes, “Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.”

Both Involve Our Senses

The most remarkable similarity between dreams and reality is that both involve sensory perception. In both realities, you can interact with others, navigate your environment, and experience the full spectrum of human existence through hearing, seeing, smelling, and feeling.

Both Worlds Are Illusory

The dream world is fleeting as it only exists to you when you are asleep. When you wake up it disappears. Although it is a ‘real world’, where people have connected with the spirits of the dead, it is not the ultimate reality. Similar to physical reality, it is a shadow of a greater reality.

Physical reality is an illusion shaped by your belief systems, emotions, level of consciousness, senses, and the information you’ve been exposed to. These five factors determine how you experience reality. For instance, your emotional state influences your perception of reality, as evidenced by how fear can cause us to mistake a harmless rope for a dangerous snake.

Both Can Be Controlled By The Mind

You can easily shape and influence physical reality if you gain mastery over your thoughts, emotions, or mental processes. The double-slit experiment, magic and the several miracles performed in the ancient past prove that reality can be controlled by the mind. Similarly, shaping and influencing the dream world is possible through lucid dreaming. Experienced lucid dreamers can manipulate the dream world and direct the course of their dreams: they can even make people or places appear in dreams.


These similarities between dreams and reality make it safe to claim that life is a dream or life is like a dream. If you study the dream world, you’ll realize that living in a body is what makes physical reality appear different from the dream reality. For instance, time is linear in physical reality because we interpret it through the brain. If you get out of your body through Near Death Experiences (NDEs) or spiritual practices like astral projection, you’ll realize that there is no difference between the dream world and what we call ‘reality’. This is why, when people have an out-of-body experience or NDE they describe reality as dreamy.

I believe you learned a lot from this article. See you in the next article.


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