How big dare you dream?
"There is no use trying", said Alice. "One can't believe impossible things."
"I dare say you haven't had much practise", said the Queen.
"When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast" Lewis Carroll
As a general rule the goals we set for ourselves fall with the realms of what we consider doable. After all, why should we set ourselves up for disappointment by wishing-upon-stars and chasing fantasies? And so we usually see a progression in our lives. As we achieve our goals we push back the boundaries of what we think ourselves capable of - almost like blowing up a balloon one breath at a time. Yet for many of us there's a deep nagging suspicion that we don't need to keep pushing back those boundaries - that we are capable of far more than think, that we could in fact simply prick the balloon and be done with boundaries and limitation for good.
If you have ever recognised this feeling within yourself then you are certainly not alone. Perhaps these two quotes from Albert Einstein hint at this same thing.
"Space and time are not conditions in which we live; they are simply modes in which we think."
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
One thing I am now absolutely convinced about, is that we never have a better life until we can somehow see it for ourselves. I have never yet found an exception to this 'rule of life' even if, as in the case of the Harry Potter writer J.K.Rowling, we do this accidentally. In an early interview JKR was asked how it felt to be catapulted from the life she had had as a single mother struggling to make ends meet, to being probably the most successful authoress of all time, in what seemed like no time at all. JKR fumbled to answer the question and seemed as bewildered as anyone at her incredible turn of fortune; but then, almost as an aside, she remarked how strange it was that in writing the first book she had to spend months imagining what it would be like 'for my character to be shot from obscurity to fame and fortune'. Not so strange, perhaps.
So the question is, how do we break free of what we think is possible for us, or as Alice put it, "...believe impossible things"? How can we take quantum leaps in our lives instead of 'making steady progress'? The answer, I believe, lies in the source of our thoughts. To get a handle on this, think back to our childhood: -
For many of us, the last time we really experienced the feeling of unlimitedness - a sense that world is our oyster and anything is possible, was when we were little children. If you can recall those feelings you'll remember that they weren't at all extraordinary, it wasn't something we'd learnt or been told - it was an easy and natural thing - something we just knew to be true - we simply had the 'felt-sense' that it was so. Now, every belief in limitation that we've taken on board since then, no matter how seemingly immutable or based on 'fact', has been learnt. Limitation is only ever learnt. So what I am suggesting is this: Regardless of all our learning and everything we have come to believe, that inner-knowing or feeling of unlimitedness is still there, hidden under clouds of conditioning maybe, but always there and always available to call upon because it is our original and natural state of being.
Life can be pretty tough when we are led by the head instead of letting the heart show us what we really want. Our rational minds continuous list of things we 'think we want' and in this state of competing goals and lack of clarity the attainment of these things becomes a struggle at best, and our lives tend to reflect our confusion. We seem to be developing a whole industry of productivity aids and techniques to help us find balance, carve out periods of 'flow' and 'get things done' within stressful, conflicted lives that are befuddled by limited beliefs. I am sure this need not be.
Clarity of mind is the easy path of least resistance to whatever is imaginable, but clarity can only come when we set aside what we think we want and are capable of, in order to get real about what would truly float our boat.
It starts with a dream
So, instead of being led by what we think we want we can always call upon this unlimited intuitive, inner knowing and give it a little space in our lives to show us the what would really light our fire. By changing the source of our thoughts in this way we can sidestep the limited beliefs and fears that we have unconsciously come to learn and accept as true. We go beyond what we think we want to what our heart is leading us to see, to give us clarity about what would make us truly happy.
Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect. Then be sure of one thing: The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have. Richard Bach
To help us actually do this, here's a little three part process I have found useful that you might like to try.
- Consider the pervasiveness of the limited beliefs that we have learnt. The laws of economics, of medicine, of communication, the physical laws, the laws of 'good relations' and reciprocity, the laws of how we accomplish things - what we believe about discipline, learning and effort. Now ask yourself, how many people would it take to transcend these limitations for you to doubt their ability to constrain you. For me it would take just one. Consider for a moment what would it take for you to doubt the validity of these beliefs?
- Invite your unlimited intuitive, inner knowing back into your conscious awareness to show you the life you really want. You do not need to go looking for it, it knows the way to you. Your part is only to invite it in and give yourself the space to hear it - attempt more and you take away the little space it needs.
- Give your self the space and time to hear. Use whatever works for you - whatever gets you quiet and relaxed. Anticipation plays no part at all, only trust.
Dreams from the heart do come true. It's simply their nature to do so. What we do is get in the way of their accomplishment. It's simply a process of stepping back and allowing it to happen - a little trust is all it takes. Like a good gardener we need only plant the seeds (our unlimited dreams), pull out any weeds that may appear (looking directly at any doubts or fears that arise and ask honestly, "Does this thought serve me now?") and trust that the sun and the rain (the experiences along the way that come to teach us what we need to know when we pay attention - but which we often label 'good' and 'bad') to do the rest. To use the same metaphor, what we mostly do is mess up this very natural and easy process by trying to pull on the plants to make them grow whilst avoiding any rain.
So, if it's our own efforts that mess things up then what can we trust to deliver? How about the same unlimited, inner-knowing that we called upon above. I regard this as our true Self - the flow of inspiration, intuition, creativity and love that dances in the white-space between our thoughts when we stop grasping and let our minds relax and attend to what we really want. This 'Flow' state is not just some nebulous gooey feeling - it is vibrantly alive, intelligent, articulate and tireless; carrying us effortlessly down the path of least resistance towards our dreams when we get out of our own way and just give it welcome. You can choose to step back and let this nourish you and lead the way - receive instead of plan, so to speak.
Remember, we are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true.
A word of warning
It's easy to imagine that in making the decision to live the life of our dreams everything will be just rosy and sweet. Truth is, it can get a bit scary when we stare-down our limited beliefs and talk a stroll beyond the horizons of what we thought possible. For me, once I'd made this commitment, I happened to glance out of life's window one morning and saw a wrecking-ball swinging towards me. I guess sometimes what we've made no longer serves us and the best way forward is to the level the ground and start over. These changes are always for our good but are mostly perceived as traumatic. To put it another way, to be truly happy we must sacrifice boredom and in practice that is usually not as simple at it sounds.
The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your beleif in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the Master calls a butterfly. Illusions