Friday, June 4, 2010
WHY WE ARE NOT LIVING OUR DREAMS?
The reason we aren't living our dreams is inside ourselves. We pretend it is people, things, and situations outside ourselves that are to blame.
Suppose I wanted to enjoy reading a good book!" but I decided to watch this movie on TV last night, and I was going to read the book afterward, but then I went out for ice cream, and I was tired, and decided to start fresh in the morning, but then I slept late, and then I went out for breakfast and took a drive past a shopping complex and decided to stop in, then I went for lunch, and then thought I'd take a nap and start fresh in the evening, but then I started watching a documentary on TV, then, of course, it was time for dinner, then I was invited to the movies, and I don't want to be rude to my friends, and besides I sort-of wanted to see the movie anyway, then I was going to go right back and read that book, but then I remembered how good the ice cream was the night before . . .
But.-that three-letter word permeates our language. It's a nasty little word. It allows us to lie to ourselves and to severely limit ourselves without even knowing it. Let's look at a typical sentence containing "but" in a simple situation.
I want to visit my sick grandmother, but it's raining outside."
"But" usually means: "Ignore all that good-sounding stuff that went before—here comes the truth." The truth is that grandma is not getting a visit. The lie is that I care so much about my sick grandmother that I really want to pay her a visit. (Note my sensitivity to her need for visitation, and my compassion for wanting to visit her.)
At this point, entering stage right, are two of but's dearest friends--if only and try. "If only it were a fine spring day, I'd be on my way to Grandmother's house. If only it weren't so raining, I'd be at Granny's side right now. I'm going to try to get there tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes.
What a tragedy it is to live with the will so weak that one cannot carry out that which one sincerely intends to do or live as one has conscientiously resolved to live.
In life, we have either reasons or results--excuses or experiences, stories or successes. We either have what we want, or we have ironclad, airtight, impenetrable reasons why it was not even marginally possible to get it.
But, alas, as John Kenneth Galbraith pointed out, "In the choice between changing one's mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof." In the amount of time it takes for the mind to invent a good excuse, the mind could have created an alternate way of achieving the result--rendering excuse-making unnecessary.
This choice, of course, is not a single, monumental choice. No one decides, for example, “I am going to remain the laziest person in the world for the rest of my life”. No. The choices I'm talking about here are made daily, hourly, and moment by moment. Do we try something new, or stick to the tried-and-true? Do we take a risk, or eat what's already on our dish? Do we ponder a thrilling adventure, or contemplate what's on TV? Do we walk over and meet that interesting stranger, or do we play it safe? Do we indulge our heart, or cater to our fear?
The bottom-line question: Do we pursue what we want, or do we do what's comfortable? As Charles Kingsley rightly said, “We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.
For the most part, most people most often choose comfort--the familiar, the time-honored, the well-worn but well-known. After a lifetime of choosing between comfort and risk, we are left with the life we currently have. And it was all of our own choosing.
As Henry Miller said, “Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, and evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
You can have anything you want if you want it desperately enough. You must want it with an inner exuberance that erupts through the skin and joins the energy that created the world.
Mere doing never leads to success, -for back of it there is no ideal of the process, no desire to improve it, no thought-out plan, and no ideal. In mines and stores and factories and offices, there are millions of good workers. They learn to do one thing -they learn to do it well -and then, forever afterwards, they merely do. They drudge, or toil, or labor but they do not work; and -they do not succeed. You yourself may do your work perfectly -merely doing it; you may be always at it; others may be able to depend upon you doing your work exactly, with no loss of time, not missing a stroke. But all these do not lead to attainment. Purposeful doing is one step in advance of mere doing. It is based upon an idea of progress and is stimulated by a deep desire coupled with iron will power.
Things that go upward have to be pushed. Going upward is overcoming.
And it is so with our own lives. Real living is conscious effort to go
upward to larger life. If you are making no effort in your life, if you are moving in the line of least resistance, depend upon it you are going downward. They are content to drift and be Majorities and they are not willing to make the effort to rule themselves. They follow false gods that promise something for nothing. Rather than dispose of the barriers to our dreams, the mind disposes of the dreams.
Decide what you are lacking that you need or want. Write it down as an achievement or goal to reach by the next month or three months or year! Make the goals reasonable yet challenging. Let your reach exceed your grasp, and work toward it daily in steps you can handle. Get the best tools you can. We use one of the most powerful tools at our disposal--the mind--for our disposal. And remember diplomas, degrees are not an education, they are merely preparations. When you are through with the books, remember, you are having a commencement, not an end. You will discover with the passing years that life is just one series of greater commencements.
You are the creator of the reality you experience. Every event that occurs around you takes on meaning when you put your attention on it. During your lifetime you have been exposed to a lot of conditioning, but you have selected what seemed valid to you and made it part of your programming. If reality is getting you down, examine the programming that is in the bio-computer you call your mind. That programming can be changed at any time because you are your own programmer.