I run a popular series on this blog called Debunking Popular Myths. Characteristically I look at and poke fun of popular platitudes, sayings and the like. One platitude I was going to put through the ringer today was the ever popular “become your dream“. In a comedic sense, this is very funny, especially if you have ever kept a journal of your dreams or your readings of psychology have bumped into the phantasmagoric images and surreal juxtapositions of dreams. I find dreams and how they are depicted in pop culture highly insightful. Let me give you an example: I heard one woman over the course of a day tell someone to become their dream, and tell another person who tried to get her phone number: “in your dreams”. It is a very funny situation, and there is a subtle bit of irony there.
But I am not going to get into all that in this post. What I am going to do is share with you something important: The Four reasons why we do not chase our dream. I normally like to make fun of stuff and break things apart. I’ve done that since I was a kid. I would break my toys to see how they worked, now I do the same with ideas and things I hear. But today of course the stakes are so much higher. there are so many people not able to live life as they want for a host of reasons. I thought to share this which inspired me recently to continue pushing and working for my vision of life. it comes from Paulo Coelho’s recent introduction to the Alchemist. Enjoy.
Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend. However, we don’t all have the courage to confront our own dream.
There are four obstacles. First: we are told from childhood onwards that everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea, and as the years accumulate, so too do the layers of prejudice, fear and guilt. There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible. But it’s still there.
If we have the courage to disinter dream, we are then faced by the second obstacle: love. We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue their dream. We do not realize that love is just a further impetus, not something that will prevent them going forwards. We do not realize that those who genuinely wish us well want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on that journey.
Once we have accepted that love is a stimulus, we come up against the third obstacle: fear of the defeats we will meet on the path. We who fight for our dream, suffer far more when it doesn’t work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse: “Oh, well, I didn’t really want it anyway.” We do want it and know that we have staked everything on it and that the path of the personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in this journey. Then, we warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how.
Oscar Wilde said: ‘each man kills the thing he loves’. And it’s true. The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far. I have known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reached their goal – when it was only a step away.
This is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest. But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World and you understand why you are here.