Its circular and the grandest game ever. Each lifetime is a wave of the cycle. waking, dreaming and sleep are all cycles going over the zero line. Understanding all the cycles and their workings is the liberation. Liberation is not in any particular state of mind/or a particular way of perceiving/or a particular experience since that is just one particular kind of movement of the wave. Reality cannot be one particular state or one particular pattern of movement. It is all the infinite patterns of movement and all of the substrate being moved. That is why it is said all of samsara is a cycle. If everything is cyclic, how can there ever be an end? True Existence is completely fathoming this mystery with every molecule of your being/experience.
I have noticed keenly that I do not really listen clear regarding what my experience is trying to communicate to me. The entire of experience is always there, but I have some patterns/systems of guilt, fear, attachment etc. that create so much of turmoil preventing me from seeing clearly like fog or stormy clouds which prevent you from seeing the sky, the stars or the sun. The struggle creates an intense motion blur making it almost impossible to see anything. The forces of guilt, fear etc. are obscuring forces manifesting struggle, confusion, disconnectedness, fragmentation, turmoil, resistance and so forth. I need to understand all the obscuring/distorting/fragmenting forces.
In fact, if I just stop all of that, and ask myself, and look at what my experience is really trying to tell me, It actually communicates extremely clear. Its just that there is this huge protective force field that needs to be fully stilled down, to read the clear messages give. My technique is just be alone in a dark room and plainly look at what is happening without distortion/manipulation/blurring it/disconnecting from it/distracting yourself etc. and after a while everything is visible clearly. Its like seeing through all of the fog and struggle, what the subtle experience is trying to communicate to you.