My Life Should Have Been So Different
"For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.'" - John Greenleaf Whittier
Sometimes life is... well... disappointing. We sit down for a great 5-star meal and get served stale crackers and warm beer. What happened? It SHOULDN'T be this way! But it is.
Oftentimes we make choices that, through no fault of our own, lead not to some promised land, but in the opposite direction from it. And, often, by the time we realize it, we can't even see our glorious destination, it is so far over the horizon.
Dream lost! So what do we do now? Let go? Settle? Reframe? And my personal favorite, be realistic?
In India, they devised a rather clever and harmless trap for catching monkeys. It is a simple pot. It has a wide mouth, a wide bottom and a neck that a monkey can easily get his hand through. Inside this pot they put a nice, fresh banana, the critters favorite dish. The monkey reaches in, grabs the prize and starts to pull his hand out. It is then that the hapless primate makes a disturbing discovery. He can't get his hand through the neck. It went in easily but, with his fist closed around his treasure, it can't make the return trip.
He then faces one of life's harsh realization. He either lets go of his favorite meal, or he becomes a captive for life. While I am willing to bet there have probably been a couple of monkeys that did catch on, the vast majority sat there dumbfounded, refusing to give up their favorite delicacy. And so, he not only lost his freedom, but the banana as well.
OK, I am not suggesting you let go of your dreams and "be realistic." Not at all.
What I would like to do though, is invite you into a deeper examination of what a dream actually is, where it comes from and how to pursue it without actually pursuing it. Yeah, pursuing without pursuing. It's a mystical thing.
The first thing to know about our dreams (aka ambitions, aspirations, visions, life desires, high ideals) is that, you didn't create them. You didn't sit there one day deciding what your life's vision was going to be. It came upon you. It came out of nowhere and lodged somewhere in your consciousness. You received it and it started to work its alchemy on your life and mind. It pointed you in a direction. It colored your perceptions. It awoke your interests. It took over your attention. It filtered out most everything else. All you did was let it in.
But... it didn't come from Ikea. There were no instructions. No neat little manual or roadmap for making that transition from dream to lived experience.
On first blush that may seem to be a rather cruel, cosmic joke. But looking more closely we may make a different discovery.
The purpose of the aspiration is not to deliver you some ideal circumstance, some land of milk and honey, some heavenly realm. Its purpose is to transform you to such a degree that you don't recognize yourself.
Its mission is not to reveal the dream to you but to reveal the dream AS you!
Like the monkey who realizes it is he who has bound himself, poor Father Schober is suddenly confronted with the very thing he has condemned from the pulpit. In his desire for a shiny new ornament for the altar, he did not recognize what it would cost him.
Taking that even deeper into the realm of the mystic, he has a chance to see that he is that Christ figure and the one pounding the nails into what are revealed as his own hands. Ikea indeed.
Now, which is the bigger blessing, The religious trinket or the spiritual embodiment?
So where does the dream come from? From the depths of your own being. And if it comes from there. Can it ever really be lost? It can transform. It can shift and morph, but lost?
The THING we so desire, is only the momentary form that the deeper movement takes. And the thing you desired 10 years ago, probably bears little to no resemblance to the dream you hold now. But something is the same.
The dreams has always been from you, to you and revealing you to you. Which means, they can't be lost. So we monkeys can let go and find our heart's desire. And it will be way more than a banana.
A dream realized has an end. Your self recognized is forever.
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