Thursday, March 26, 2009


A short while back, Amanda Linehan wrote a post for her blog "Look Far" entitled; "Reflection: Keeping Your Dreams Alive In The Face of Reality". Basically, she asked the question, "is it possible to hold onto a dream while still accepting reality?"

I have to wonder how many times we hear in our life to "just follow your dreams". Sounds easy enough. If I follow my dreams, I will be happy. There it is. My work is finished.

If it were only so easy! Most of our lives do not include a lot of chances to follow every dream we may have. Situations, responsibilities and other limitations prevent us from going off on a wild tear each time a new fantasy pops into our minds. While it may sound good, deeper reflection may show us that this is not necessarily a bad thing. For us to function in this world, there has to be trade offs between dreams and reality.

Should we just give up on our dreams and accept the cold reality that most of them will go unrealized? I certainly hope not! Our dreams have a much deeper purpose than we often realize. Dreams give us hope when we despair. They enable us to go places we physically will never be able to go. Dreams spawn creativity that logical thought is not capable of. What may begin as a fantasy can even lead us to new possibilities that we would have missed otherwise.

Maintaining a healthy perspective concerning our dreams is key to maintaining a balanced life. Sometimes, we have to consider the impact that chasing our dreams may have on those close to us. We also have to consider the long term impact we may place on ourselves. Quitting our job with the hope of landing a leading role in a movie may sound great until we find ourselves without a home or money for food. It becomes an issue of choosing which dreams are possible and which ones are not.

Even if a dream is realistic, it still may require a good deal of planning to make it happen. Very few of us are born with the resources to do everything we want without a plan. On a side note, most of the people I have met who have these resources are no more happy with their life than those of us who do not. Working hard to achieve a dream gives us so much more than the things in our life that come easy.

Use your dreams to your advantage. Chase those you can, providing they will benefit you in the long run. Let your dreams carry you through the dark times of your life. Dream as big as you wish but always return to the present moment. It is this moment that true happiness resides.

As someone commented on the "Look Far" post; "Keep your head in the clouds but your feet on the ground".


klahanie said...

Hi Roger,
With dreams comes risks. For to dream of a new reality may lead us to remove ourselves from our uncomfortable comfort zone.
To fulfill a dream means to challenge our resolve. Do we continue to pursue the dream or do we give up?
I had a dream and the dream indeed involved risks. I gave up a safe life that I was used to and dared to live in another land.
Upon moving to England from Canada, I went through a phase of fear. What had I done? Was this a mistake?
Yet I embraced my dream of starting a new life here. I worked through my self doubts. Now, as I look out at my beautiful English garden that I created; I realise that by following my dream, it has made me stronger. I have contentment in knowing that I had the courage to believe in and fulfill my dream.
I send you positive wishes and thanks for your comment on my latest blog. There is no place like 'G'nome:-)

The Buddhist Conservative said...

Thanks Gary,

I am glad you followed your dream. It is possible to do great things when we are willing to take sensible risks and challenge ourselves to seek new experiences.

We all need our dreams whether they can be achieved or not.


Julie P said...

Thought provoking post, Roger. I agree with you, and gary. It's important to have dreams and goals but realise that even though most of them may not be achieved it is the journey that's the important part.
I think that if you know what makes you happy and you can push yourself just that little bit further it can be an amazing feeling to achieve something you didn't think you could, no matter how small. It's one step at a time.
I think Gary was very brave to move countries. He had an idea, he acted on it, taking one step at a time and he has a new life out of it. What an experience!

Take care. Julie xx

3L said...

I liked a few years without any real dreams. It left me dull, weak and tired. Now that I have found a new passion, blogging , I am sharp, patient and limitless. I've decided to take many risks to see my dreams through, and I am really scared. I did not plan before hand but I was surprised by events that left me only a few choices with risks attached. I went with the passion and I don't regret it.

Now that I've taken "try" out of my vocab, I am committed to success. It does not take away the fear, but it does spur me on to creative problem solving and hard work.

The Buddhist Conservative said...

Thanks Julie and LLnL

Uprooting and moving to a new country has to be a big change. Our travels to England have never extended outside of Heathrow as we made a connecting flight but it is on our list to spend at least a few days. It would be fun to rent a car and drive on the wrong side of the road. :)

Dreams are powerful, use them to see the possibilities.

Amanda Linehan said...

Hi Roger - Great post on following our dreams! And, thank you for mentioning my blog :) I think abandoning reality for your dreams is a bad idea as you have mentioned here, but I also like that you said that dreams may be inspiration for something that you never thought would happen. Even when we don't "make it" to our dream, they may take us places we couldn't imagine.

Clarissa Alverson said...

I think the best advice I ever heard about dreams is to look really deeply, beyond the specifics of a particular dream, into what kind of feeling you’re hoping to get out of achieving your dream. Say you’re dreaming about owning a big house with a beautiful garden. How do you think that will make you feel—at peace? able to express yourself creatively? respected by others? Once you do this, you realize that what you really want is the feeling, and that life gives you many different kinds of opportunities to experience that feeling, so long as you’re not just fixated on the one specific dream.

hazelmarie elliott said...

Hi Roger,

I think one of the things we have to define in our lives is the difference between 'dreams' and 'goals'. Sometimes, they overlap in our lives, but often attaining our goals will mean more than the elusive dream.

We must always appreciate our dreams, they're inciteful, and they're often amazing, but life is based upon the importance of what is real. Dreams are made on pillows...goals are attained through effort and work. We must weigh the difference.

As always, you make one think with your words. Introspection yields much, I think.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

'Til next time,

Dixie@dcrelief said...

["Maintaining a healthy perspective concerning our dreams is key to maintaining a balanced life." ~Roger]:
I'm inclined to agree and thank you for this article.
In peace, Dixie

Andrew said...

Sometimes it is difficult to know what is actually our dreams. Sadly many people do not have dream in their life and ended up with no actual purpose to begin or end their day. With dreams there is hope and possibilities.
Some people dream of being rich, but not all dreams can be achieved even with wealths.

Robin Easton said...

Beautiful post on dreams. I love your line: " Working hard to achieve a dream gives us so much more than the things in our life that come easy."

This is SO true. When it comes down to it, the out come of our dream, even if positive, is not really what it's about; it the journey along the way, which makes us grow and better understand ourselves, others and Life itself. If this were not true then we could just be given the outcome immediately and in many ways would be no better off. In fact we might be poor indeed. I know it sounds trite about it being the journey but I have found the more I choose to enjoy the trip the richer my life becomes.

I also feel that great dreams often involve great risks and a stepping out of our comfort zone. But I have found it to be worth it every single time. I always follow my dreams; it instills such freedom and abundant growth.

Thank you for such a lovely post. We all need dreams. In many ways we ARE dreams. They are the heart and soul of us

Mary Donnery said...

Throughout my life, dreams have led me down many fascinating avenues & roads, but only after I've edited them for real time...thought-provoking post!

Brenny said...

Realistic dreams give us a goal towards which to strive and hope for tomorrow. Brenda

Lee Ann / Living Introverted said...

Hi Roger -

I think you're right that our dreams are often what keeps us from despair- they give us hope. Even "small" dreams help us hope and imagine something better, and work toward that better place.

When things are going relatively well in life, dreams are still important and it's great to achieve some of them - whether in a small or big way.

Maybe the key is to have dreams - both large and small, and to work toward achieving them, all the while realizing that the journey is just as important if not more important (as has already been mentioned), and that some dreams won't come true.

Dream on, I say! Dream big! Love your dreams, but don't forget to love what you have right this moment, too!

Thanks for this great post!

Tess said...

Reality is never what it seems to be. Dreams are good but take action and remain open to change.

Shane Shirley said...

I have a lot of dreams. I will always hold onto them.

The Buddhist Conservative said...

Thanks to everyone for the great comments.

I cannot imagine a world without dreams. While they may or may not come true, they give us a vision of our possibilities.



dreams are required.
I have been holding onto this dream of mine very close to my heart.It is making me miserable and sad.It's been 5 years and still I have not stopped dreaming and trying to get to it.
Sometimes it is really hard to go on and the weight of it keeps me dragging,slowing me down.

Still, what are we without dreams?

Unknown said...

There are just too many clich├ęs out there about how a person's life is supposed to be. I sometimes wonder if people are sacrificing diversity in the face of the ideals of oneness and unity. We ARE different. I used to be so busy living my life that there was no space for dreams. Then a shrink asked me how come I don't have any. I figured, I should probably enjoy life more and hope for better things rather than just work (life was a bit of a chore for me). On the other hand I'm a realist and don't feel that my entire destiny can be forged through my willpower alone. I try and keep some dreams in my mind but without too much attachment... it's not easy but I guess it's better than just settling for whatever one has at the moment. Balance in all things... sure it sounds great to live in the present moment but it's not very human or natural, is it?! A good topic to discuss!

Mohit Parikh said...

That was insightful as well as motivating.

Unknown said...

Greetings Roger ~ I loved this piece on dreams it's that place we all begin when taking a new step into something ~ we dream how large it will be ~ how moving it will be for our lives ~ One of the best parts of the human design. When we loose that ability to move our dreams we just become numb..... This was a wonderful lead off from that blog.... Keep the dream ~ keep the faith... Life is to diverse not to gather a dreams intention....

Thanks much for sharing~~ Suzi

Jun said...

Hello, I think I will learn a lot from you in the same manner that I have learned many things from my theosophist friends who always talk about dreams, nirvana, karma, and the likes. Can we be friends?

YogaforCynics said...

Then, sometimes it's better if some of our dreams don't come, I think. I've always dreamed of being a rock star--a real Keith Richards/Jimi Hendrix/Led Zeppelin type rock star with all the wild living and decadence. Even now, I find myself fantasizing about it, though I realize that the reason so many rock stars have destroyed themselves is precisely because they idealized that kind of life as much as I do...and, when they got there, found not only that they still had a lot of their old burdens, but needed to keep pushing the envelope to make the dream feel real...until they were found OD'd on the bathroom floor....