A near-life experience

It’s said that when we’re asleep we’re half-awake, and when we’re awake we’re half-asleep. As creatures of habit, we often fail to notice that we fail to notice how our unconscious desires produce consistent results. This is what we learn to call, “just the way things are.”

This dream's for real
This dream's for real

Typically in life, it’s not until we’re faced with some kind of seismic emotional event, a crisis or trauma, that we are jolted out of our mundane routines and take stock. Witnessing the birth of our first child last week was a gift in many ways, especially in how it helped me to realize how I get everything I wish for, though most of the time, I am too busy to notice.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate what I have or who I am or what I’ve done. It’s more like I’m so engaged in enjoying the experience that I forget to pay attention to what I am wishing for, hence the apparently random series of events that make up my life. Yet I’ve realized that nothing happens by accident. Our unconscious cycle of self-talk is behind everything we experience, which is what makes us half-asleep when we are awake.

When I am awake, I forget that I am dreaming, and it’s these dreams that create my waking experience. Most of the time it seems like things are randomly occurring, just like in a dream, but we are unconsciously at the controls. Dreaming is like the movie played by our unconscious and we are the projectionists. It’s easy to become so involved in the film we are watching that we forget that we are in control. And because energy flows where our attention goes, we act out the images we see and make them real.

So here at mid-life, I find myself fully awake for the moment, and realizing that I have been often unconsciously creating the beautiful dream called my life. Believing in the possibility of being a father at 43, motivated my wife (also 43) and I to have our beautiful daughter. As George Bernard Shaw said, “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”

I believe that most of us unaware of the power of dreams in the creative process. We pay little attention to them because they’re too different from what is. Our inactions, what we do not do, are often those things we dream of doing most. So our imaginations are severely curtailed by unconscious fears and doubts, which often compel us to abandon our dreams for practical reasons, and we end up driven by fear of failure rather than the joy of creating what we desire. What manifests is the un-inspiring, the muddling through and mediocrity; these are life’s consolation prizes.

When people say someone is “living the dream” I never quite know what this means. I guess it’s something like, doing what you love to do. But I think there’s so much more than just doing. To me it’s being the person you want to be with the people you love, in the place that you love, doing what you love (and hopefully being handsomely rewarded for it). This is not only the living of your dream, it’s the dreaming of your life.