We are raised to have a dream. Something that we want to accomplish, participate in, and share. We are urged to pursue our dreams, to work hard, and to never settle down on a pile of laurels.
Recently, someone asked me what was my dream for myself – what did I want to accomplish?
I thought back to my youth, when I decided I wanted to be an astrophysicist. I wanted to attain the freedom of enlightenment. I wanted to teach physics. I wanted to have children. I guess my dreams came true to the degree that I dreamt them, but living them was so much more than I dreamt. My life has been full of experiences, questions, expectations, disappointments, and hope in ways I did not preconceive.
I realized that I have no more dreams or goals. Not in the way people do when they want to shape or mould themselves into their version of success. I have no need for “success.”
If you knew me in the past, you would think that it doesn’t sound like me at all. I was a living exemplar of ambition – from playing piano competitively to majoring in a difficult subject and, for a time, rapidly climbing the corporate ladder. What happened? Is it unhealthy or a sign of giving up to stop setting goals and dreaming?
In truth, I do not recognize myself anymore. I’ve changed so much. One of the things that’s gone is my ambition to be somebody important or special. Another thing that’s gone is the desire to be loved and understood.
So, what’s left of a person when they no longer dream of being someone or of being with someone? In my case, I just live now with no agendas or blueprints for the future. Life is unpredictable and full of surprises. I try to take it one moment at a time and do my best with that moment.
I’ve seen and dreamt so much that goals have been supplanted by visions, which cannot be put into words. I’ve turned my life over to God. This does mean that I no longer try to control my life. Thus, I do not suffer my life despite much pain that must still be cleared out. I know that I am not my pain.
I also don’t need complements or reassurances about my daily deeds and work. I see no point in receiving praise about a moment that’s already receded. The next moment is upon me, and then the next. I watch where I fell short of expressing what I am, and I pay more careful attention. I know that I will never be perfect in any way.
It’s easy to make life all about healing or all about enjoying everything. But life doesn’t care how we try to define it – it just happens. Whether we dream about the future or just take in one moment after another, life never judges. There is no prescribed template for living or dying. So, when my dreams left me at some point, I guess I just let that be what it is.
What’s left now is the continuous reflection of whether I express the Divine enough and where I hold back. I am nobody. The beauty of life is that even a nobody can marry the Divine and allow That to be one’s life – simple. The more I live, the more of a nobody I become. I do like peace. I do like the moments I have to meditate and commune with the Divine state. I love to be alone and I love teaching.
I suppose people will continue to have goals, plans, and dreams. I just don’t believe that such a life is the only kind of life worth living. Sometimes, it’s only about being in relationship with whatever comes, including receiving the unexpected. Sometimes the most sacred moment is the one you let go of most deeply.