“If we are dreaming and someone wishes to awaken us from the dream, the person’s voice or touch must enter into our dream state and rouse us from sleep. When someone wishes to awaken us from a bad dream, his or her voice must reach us in our dreaming state in order to awaken us. This is really how it occurs; the one who would awaken us does become part of our dream in that moment when he or she tries to wake us from sleep.
The analogy here is that we cannot be brought to self-existing awareness by someone simply calling out to us, unless his or her voice and message reaches us within our dream. Our awareness is so obscured that we can not just be awakened right away to dharmata, the natural state. In order to relieve us from the suffering that we’re experiencing in our dream of existence in samsara, the one wishing to awaken us needs to be able to enter the deluded perception with which we are afflicted in our dreams.
What this means is that the buddhas and those who are awake must appear to the dreamlike, deluded perception of suffering sentient beings in a form similar to theirs, in a manifestation that they can relate to. The awakened ones know that if the sleeping person does not apprehend that he or she is dreaming, he or she will not be able to recognize dharmata (true reality).”
~ Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
‘The Meaning of Meditational Deities