Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
This sounds so true, as life is a dream that we pursue to give meaning to it. The colour of our dreams determines the colour of our lives. So much so that life itself has become synonymous with dreaming. Some mystics refer to the entire world as one big cosmic dream and link the spiritual awakening as a waking up process. Like Paul Levy aptly describes: “When you begin to spiritually awaken, it is like waking up inside of a dream and recognizing that everything you are experiencing is nothing other than a very convincing projection, or display of your mind. The boundary between the inner and outer, between dreaming and waking starts to dissolve, and you begin to realize that the same dreaming mind that is dreaming your dreams at night is dreaming your life. You realize that there is a Deeper Dreaming Self that is having a dream and we are it!” (1)
The following study was made with the objective to question and identify why do we need a dream for life and whether dreaming is optional or inevitable behaviour? If it is optional then can dropping out of it be an avenue to awakening? Does the manifestation of a dream itself require a certain level of awakening?
It is observed in human behaviour that people chase dreams during a part of their lives, sometimes as the sole purpose of life, sometimes going to various lengths to realise them. At other times on the contrary they might find it difficult to identify or define their dreams. What is it that helps us identify and define our dream for life? Even if we are able to define and identify our dream life, it may not be an easy task to make it a reality or manifest it.
The following study is supported by data from a survey which conducted live face to face and online interviews of participants from different walks of life, different countries and cultures and varying age groups (18-72 years).
Do we dream?
If we ask ourselves the question whether we dream or not, it will be easy to answer in the affirmative or negative, but if asked what is our dream for life, most of us may not be able to define that. It may be easy again to answer whether one should dream or not, but to explore the possibility whether it could be optional may seem weird. Most volunteers in this study admit that they have a dream and only one out of fifteen said that he used to dream but now he does not. As he felt that dream meant visualising a perfect future, while here and now is the true reality. Yet this individualistic visualisation of one’s ambition or desire is also another aspect of reality.
Recently a survey was conducted to gauge the fact whether it is optional or inevitable to dream, and what could be the reasons for it being either of the two. Participating volunteers were given a questionnaire with questions about their dream in life, their current profession, whether it was their dream job or not, and if they dreamt of something other than that? Most participants were clear about the fact that they dream, and felt positively about the fact that people should dream, with an emphasis on making sincere efforts to realise them. Half of them felt that they were currently in a profession of their choice, but were open to further dreams. However, not many of them were certain about what dreams to pursue. Though they were certain that there was something they wanted to pursue, some were unable to identify or define their choice. The clarity of choice was not age dependant.
The younger and older groups had better clarity than the middle age groups that ranged between 40-50 yrs. The reason for this clarity could be role models, social environment, and education, family or individually inherent like in cases where individuals could clearly define from a very early age what the dream of their life would be and few were actually living it! Like Charles Gilchrist who always knew he would have something to do with sacred geometry from very early on in life. While for Mrs S. Saraswathy who took up teaching from the age of 19 years of age, knew she would take up teaching as her father who was also into teaching was a role model for her. There were others like who felt that their current profession was not so fulfilling and wanted to pursue something else, but were not clear about their choices.
Why is it important to have a dream for life?
Being human, the purpose we give to life, defines its directions and outcomes, hence most volunteers believed that it was good to nurse and nurture a dream. Shivanya Yogmaya, a relationship coach, says one must dream as today’s reality is yesterday’s dream and today’s dream might be tomorrow’s reality. While Mrs Saraswathy believed it was inevitable for humans to not to dream. A safety manager, Shahul, said if people want the reality they most desire, they should definitely dream unless peace, happiness, respect, self-worth, comfort, pleasure and the limitless prospects of other nice things don't mean much. To Gracelyn, a financial advisor, it is important to dream to be successful in life, as she believes that all entrepreneurs and business owners, and successful people are the ones who have achieved their dreams. And Neelam, a homemaker, feels that people do better work when they are doing their dream job, and also feels that one should work towards fulfilment of a dream as it brings satisfaction and sense of achievement.
When questioned that unfulfilled dreams lead to development of negative emotions like depression, frustration and anger, and keeping these in view, should one give up the concept of taking a dream forward, the response was defensive in favour of the dream to be pursued despite all this. They said that these negative emotions could be tackled and overcome. They can be overwhelming but never too strong than the will power to rise above them and pursue our goals. They make the task of taking a dream forward, a real challenge and thus adding to the sense of fulfilment with a dash of triumph!
Why should the dream manifest?
All volunteers of the survey agreed that effort to manifest the dream was of utmost importance, without which a dream was meaningless. Despite the hard-work and commitment required to manifest a dream, all volunteers believed that it was necessary for humans to pursue a dream and realise it to achieve fulfilment in life. Even if it was not possible to realise it, they unequivocally felt that effort must be made, so that there are no regrets later on. Some of them were of the view that even if difficulties and hurdles come, efforts should not be given up, as the dream was the only thing they felt could give a direction and purpose to human life.
Thus, pursuing it against all odds is something that one should not give up. As in the words of Rajni, an architect; ‘unfulfilled dreams of whatever nature lead to frustration and dissatisfaction. Realising them may or may not lead to happiness but at-least a sense of fulfilment is there. A feeling that we didn't give it a try does not remain. Sense of fulfilment can also be achieved through higher awareness which also comes with experience.’ While Shahul, who recently underwent a course in manifestation, believes that manifesting a dream has the power to heal and make us more evolved and feel connected as a whole, rather than disconnected individuals. And Vidit a college student says “I’m really fascinated by the fact that someday my imagination will create something which will actually exist physically. I love designing and would love to see my ideas come out of paper.”
Thus people look forward to a dream coming true due to the satisfaction and fulfilment factor attached with it. As our dreams are usually about stuff that creates positive emotions such as happiness, comfort and pleasure, by fulfilling them, we seek to foster these positive emotions. For some people it can bring relief to pain and suffering, for others it can create greater experiences like bliss or, grow mentally and become more evolved beings as well as bring peace and harmony to chaotic environments.
They were also asked if awakening was a pre-requisite for manifesting one’s dream. Most answers were affirmative for this. While the process of making a dream to manifest, makes a person to go through all sorts of ups and downs in life, this roller-coaster experience has a possibility to make a human experience the depth of existence and lead to mental evolution and result in a certain degree of awakening. There have been instances when people have attained insights while working towards their dream and these insights have led to awakening as in the case of some popular scientists like Nassim Haramein who has come forward with his theory of the connected universe (2).
Still there are others who have pursued awakening as their sole dream in life, like the many mystics and saints all over the world. Adi Shankaracharya referred to the entire world as untruth or dream and the Brahma as the only truth. His sole objective of life was awakening. Awakening is quite evidently the opposite of dream, it may not seem to bring comfort, but those who pursue this dream, certainly do it with a purpose. The purpose is revealed as attainment of imperishable bliss and evolution of being. It could be concluded that the choice of our dream and its path decides the amount and quality of happiness, satisfaction or bliss that it brings.
Is choosing a dream optional or inevitable?
We may choose our dreams, but it is difficult to say whether it is a choice or it is inevitable. Since those who are on the path of awakening, seem to have chosen this as their dream for life. Thus we can conclude that dreaming and awakening are like companions or partners in that case, helping each other in their purpose. Opting out of dreaming in life seems possible only after awakening or fulfilment of a dream that leaves you with no more capacity to dream further. But what could be such a dream? A dream to awaken perhaps!
Thus, to have a dream for life may be inevitable or a choice, but the truth is most humans dream. Some nurse a dream others nurture it to fulfilment. Hard times, may present one with the option of giving up on a dream, but the goal to happiness keeps us going to take it forward. Giving us experience and strength along the path, dreams small or big continue to colour the lives of us humans, taking us through this colourful path sometimes smoothly, sometimes with a stumble here or there. We can choose to stay in this colour-land or reach out to the sky beyond the rainbow, to the source of all light to awaken or choose to colour it with the bright light of awakening itself.
Author: Jyoti Prateek
About Song of the Being by Jyoti Prateek
Allegorical and Imaginative; at times the poems tend to take a mystical shape. The language is simple yet profound in meaning. The book expounds and illustrates the journey of a Being, where brief pauses in life provide insights. Poems are a good medium to simplify the thoughts and provide a natural rhythm to the flow of Being's experience through discovery of Love, that Inspires a Vision which finally paves the Path, as the Being moves along to maturity and realization of Self. This unique collection of Poems is bound to invoke thoughts and inspire the reader to explore own perspective towards life.