Butterfly Dreams

Life is but a dream.

Row, row, row your boat,

Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream.

Is Life but a dream?

Maybe Zhuangzi’s “Butterfly Dream” will open your mind to the possibility that it is.

Zhuangzi, Zhuangzi butterfly dream, dreams

I Dreamed I Was A Butterfly by Alice McMahon White

 Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream

“Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Zhuangzi. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”Zhuangzi

How do we really know when we’re dreaming or when we’re awake? How do we know if what we perceive is “real” or a merely an “illusion”? Is the “me” of my dreams the same as or different from the “me” of my waking world?

How do we know, when we experience something called “waking up” that it is actually a waking up to “reality” as opposed to simply waking up into another dream?

The answer is you don’t. 

Maybe it’s just possible that “dreams” and what we call “wakeful reality” are two sides of the same coin. One is as “real and meaningful as the other.” It makes your head hurt just to think about it. So who are you really, the person of your “dreams” or the person you think you are when you are “awake”. And who was Zhuangzi?

Who was Zhuangzi?

Zhuangzi, Butterfly dreams

Zhuangzi – Courtesy wikipedia.org

“Zhuang Zhou, commonly known as Zhuangzi was an influential Chinese philosopher who lived around the 4th century BC, a period corresponding to the pinnacle of Chinese philosophy, the Hundred Schools of Thought. He is credited with writing a work known by his name, the Zhuangzi, which expresses a philosophy which is somewhat skeptical, arguing that life is limited and knowledge to be gained is unlimited. As a Daoist philosopher, many claim his writings reflect a form of western relativism.”*

Zhuangzi was not afraid to adventure and explore the deeper recesses of human thought and existence. Are you? Do you want to know more about Zhuangzi and his mystical philosophy? Click the book below.


“Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings with Selections from Traditional Commentaries” by Brook Ziporyn

What do you think of Zhuangzi and the Butterfly Dream? Leave a comment and let us know.

Until then, pleasant dreams.

 Watch for our “Plant the Flag” Photo Contest coming soon.

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