As the new year rolls in, many of us are busy setting our goals. Naturally, all of us want to succeed. But the truth is that in a few months into the year, the enthusiasm for the goals fizzles away. One of the main reasons for this is that we haven’t spent adequate time understanding what we truly want – our deepest desires, our dreams. We haven’t been taught how to dream. In this post, we look at how to dream properly and more importantly what to do when we feel afraid to dream.
Nearly all of us want to be happy and successful, but we don’t admit it to ourselves. When we ask ourselves, “Do I want to be happy?”, how many of us can honestly answer, “Yes”. And even if we do say yes, does it come with a corresponding emotion of fear or uncertainty?
Herein lies the problem. We want success, but we don’t want it. This is like pressing the accelerator pedal and the brake at the same time. Usually, wanting success is a reflected want. That is, we feel the pinch when someone close to us gets success and we are left behind. At these times we are impelled to act. We begin sending out job applications, we start working harder than usual. However, this is misplaced. Success is always aligned with our nature. It usually doesn’t work too well when impelled from external events. Fear, jealousy, and greed are not good motivating factors for success. And even if we do manage to get that job or that recognition, we don’t feel it. It feels empty and vacuous. Such success is worth very little.
And therefore, when we ask ourselves, “what do I want?”, we cannot answer very clearly. Our wants, our deepest desires are usually socially driven. These desires are not ours and they aren’t natural to us. Doing anything that we don’t inherently like is a huge burden on us. Therefore we feel afraid. We doubt ourselves – can we be successful?
What do we do?
Understand that the fear of success is always linked to the result (Can I achieve it?). That is, we want things to happen the way we want them. However, what is more important is the intention. What is your dream? Desire? What is it that you want? When you understand your desires and align with them, the energy to pursue them is natural. You don’t have to become motivated, because you are the source of motivation. Actions flow out effortlessly from this inspired space. And how can we fear our own nature? We aren’t worried if our actions succeed or fail. No. There is a simple joy of doing, of playing out, and expressing your desires through action.
Therefore, for those of us who fear to dream, do this.
- Understand what you want in this short life. What are the things that matter to you the most? What are your core values?
- Write these down and keep visiting them again and again. It may take months. It may take years. We need to sift out our innate dreams from those planted by society.
- Meditate on how it feels to be playing out this dream. Close your eyes and visualise yourself in this dream. If you wish to be a CEO of a firm, imagine yourself in every little detail. Observe the emotions and the energy level that is evoked within you when you imagine. There is an elevated sense of energy and a rejuvenated feeling. If this feels silly, allow those feelings to reside and do it anyway. Visualisation is a powerful tool. All great artists, scientists and people in all professions use it. Michelangelo said something beautiful on this (see quote below).
- Actions, tools, teachers and methods can be easily obtained in today’s connected world. This is an easy part which flows naturally from you, once you fix your intentions and your dreams. This is an effortless path. There is not real need for discipline. The only discipline you need is to constantly keep coming back to your dream, your desire.
“The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”From Goodreads. https://tinyurl.com/yc7sv6mb
Recognize your dreams. This requires courage. If fear comes up, understand this is natural. We aren’t used to honoring our innate desires. Take your time. Be compassionate to yourself. But honor your desires. This is the first step to giving yourself permission to dream. Keep visiting your dreams, until you recognize the strong emotions behind them. Feeling these emotions is extremely important. Dreaming is not a mere mental exercise. This is what is meant in the Indian tradition as Kama Yoga or the Yoga of desiring. We sharpen our ability to desire, and it becomes a channel for self-expression and mastery.