Whose Dreams Are These?
The Union Path Podcast
"Whose Dreams Are These?"
One of the funny things about being an adult, about becoming an adult, about becoming a full version of a person, is really understanding, really knowing what we actually want. Because it sounds so simple, it sounds so easy, it sounds like it should be so automatic, but it actually in actuality, in practice, can be way more complicated, can be way more confusing than we would think it would be at face value. Because even if we're sure, even that we know what we want, there's always nuance to it. There's always a little bit of uncertainty to it. There's always something we don't actually know. Because embedded in this idea of knowing what we want is that we know everything that's possible and of course, we don't. The more awareness we apply to our lives, the more often we're surprised, the more often we notice something to not actually be true that up until that moment we were absolutely positively sure was true. That this is the greatest gift of awareness is that it expands our understanding, it evolves and increases our knowing of how our life actually works, how things actually are, who we actually are, and through this expansion, it ends up creating a very solid foundation, because the more aware we are, the more truly aware we are, the more these ideas are grounded in the truth, are grounded in what's real. And when we start building our ideas, our beliefs, our perceptions, our opinions on the truth, the more solid they are, the more resilient they are, the less insecure we feel, because we know our thoughts and opinions aren't built on something arbitrary, aren't built on something random, aren't built on something we just heard. Our ideas are actually built on something a little bit more solid and fundamental of things that we actually know.
But growing up in any culture, growing up in any system, it can be really easy to absorb and assume the desires of others, especially when it comes to ideals, especially when it comes to dreams that we pursue. It can be really easy to assume and absorb and pursue other people's dreams, to doggedly work to accomplish something someone else wants, to tirelessly make effort towards ends and goals and aims that aren't really ours, that we don't really care so much for. But it's easy to fall into the hypnosis of societal and cultural pressure, simply of repetition, that, living in a society, living in a culture, growing up in a family system, we tend to hear the same messages over and, over and over again, and the more we hear it, the more it gets reinforced. And then when that gets into our awareness, we start to notice it around us. We start noticing other people exhibiting and expressing these ideas, these sorts of behaviors, and then when we attribute success to these people, then that in and of itself becomes self-reinforcing. We assume other people are successful because they are living out the ideas that we hold of what success is. But of course, like a lot of things, this idea of success is actually completely personal. Everyone's idea of success is whatever everyone's idea of success is, and we can easily find in our life that our life can not be terribly enjoyable when all we're doing is pursuing other people's idea of success, other people's ideas of what is actually good, other people's ideas of what's actually meaningful and worthwhile. So at some point it's critical that we go through the maturing, the individuation of knowing and deciding what we actually want, what our dreams actually are, not just taking in and following what someone else says, not just doing what we've heard repeated over and over again, not just following through with the external pressures and expectations that we feel foisted upon us, actually deciding for ourselves, actually individuating, actually being an individual and making up our own mind what actually matters to us, what is the meaning of this whole thing? Why does any of this matter? What is any of this in service of? Ultimately, we are the ones who decide. Even if we accept someone else's belief system, even if we follow someone else's lead, that's still us deciding to accept and follow. We're always choosing. We are always choosing our own path. Even if our choice is simply to follow another, it's still always our choice. We're always the one making that choice.
And this idea of living out someone else's dreams, this idea of pursuing what someone else says is valuable, what someone else says is meaningful, what someone else says is successful, what someone else says is important and good, is that if we never challenged these ideas, then it's really easy for us to lose contact with ourselves, lose contact with our own life. That it's kind of an indirect way of living. We're not really living life as an individual. We're living life as a member of a larger group. We're hemming towards and adhering to the mores and the expectations of this group, when for anything to really be good, anything to really be useful, it should be able to stand up to a little bit of critical thought, a little bit of scrutiny, a little bit of questioning. That's how ideas and beliefs become durable. They attain their durability through being challenged, through being looked at, through us living the examined life, actually looking at ourselves, actually looking at our experience, looking at who we are, looking at what we do and asking ourselves how much of this is actually good, how much of this is actually me, how much of this actually matters. These are important questions. These are important questions in order for us to achieve a sense of wholeness. It's just an important part of getting to know ourselves. It's an important part of actually knowing ourselves is knowing what we actually want, because all of our effort, day in and day out, is directed towards what we want. Everything we do, we do because we want to.
This can get really complicated. This can seem like the opposite of the truth, especially in times where we feel really put upon. We feel like life has really dealt us a hand that we really don't want to play anymore, that we're desperate for change, that we just want to be different. Even in that circumstance, it's still us choosing to do all of the things that we are choosing to do, and maybe we feel we don't have any choices. Maybe we feel like these choices have been made for us, but it's still us choosing, or maybe we're intentionally avoiding making a choice. We're just going through life in autopilot, we're just being blown abound by circumstance, by going here or there following the loudest voice, following the path that's the deepest rut.
Well, that in and of itself is a choice as well.
Then choosing not to choose is a choice.
And then once we know this, once we acknowledge this, once we accept this, that choice in and of itself is inescapable, choice is inherent with life, choices, what we're doing all the time Then we realize the most liberating truth of all that if we're always choosing and our life experience is our life carrying forward those choices, those choices coming to fruition, those choices grouping and maturing and growing that we can always choose to make new choices, we can always choose to do something different.
And one of the best ways to create change in our life at least it's been my experience is to really first to do the work to understand what I actually want, because, again, I am living out, I am manifesting what I already want anyway, and as long as what I want is unconscious, then that linkage won't really be clear, then it'll feel like life is just happening to me, then it will feel like life is just this set of chaotic, random circumstances that, for whatever reason, even though things seem random and unpredictable, seems to be always kind of aligned against me, like I don't understand how it is that something can be random, yet I also seem to consistently lose. How?
does that work. This feels like a system that purports to be random and maybe even fair, but it's actually crooked in some way that's actually fixed. I'm living out a set of circumstances. I don't really want to, because the game I'm playing is somehow built to deliver to me precisely what I don't want. This is one of the best reasons to really expand our awareness on what we actually want, really digging down deeply and paying attention to what we do, the choices that we make, and endeavoring to understand why. Why are we doing what we're doing? Why are we not doing what we're not doing? Ultimately, the answer is because we want to, because we don't want to. It's always desire that's holding the steering wheel of our life. It's always desire that's guiding us.
This could be really complicated, really nuanced realization to sit with, because a lot of times we're doing things in an unconscious way, based on reasons around how we were raised, what's happened in our life up until that point. We can be doing really negative, really ineffective things. We can be working really hard in our life and not really having that much to show for it because ultimately, we haven't really connected with ourselves, we haven't really unearthed ourselves, we haven't really acknowledged and honored ourselves. We've been doing things for other reasons. That's one of the most useful things to become aware of.
To become aware of ourselves, to become aware of what we actually do, what choices we make, how we actually behave, is some of those motivations. Some of those agendas start to become clear. We can realize we've intentionally ignored what we've really been doing, what we really think, how we really feel, what the effect that we really have is on others, how much we actually honor and respect ourselves, how much we actually honor and respect other people, that our minds can be really good at hiding these truths from us. They can be really good at rationalization. They can be really good at distraction. That our minds can be master magicians of misdirecting us. Don't look over here, look over there.
We can do this to ourselves and our lives through distractions of all kinds. In our current society, especially our current media culture gives us endless opportunities to distract ourselves. That's kind of one of the funny things about these phones that we walk around with in our pockets and can endlessly scroll. It's that on some level, we never have to be bored again, we never have to be confronted with a full discomfort again, we never have to be subject to unvarnished and unfiltered reality ever again, because we can flood our senses with something different. We can flood the zone with different information, different sensations you never really have to face, never really have to feel how things actually are, what's actually happening. Because there are sometimes in our life where what we want, what we really want, is actually really inconvenient. It doesn't fit in with the momentum or the trajectory of our life. It would require to find some expectations, it would require acting against type, it would require doing something off-brand and it's undeniable that life does have a sense of momentum to it and there's something inherently frightening about breaking that momentum, about changing, about doing something different Worry that we'll never be able to recapture, never be able to re-accumulate, never be able to even get back to where we are now, on a different track. That's been through some blind luck or just this unique combination of circumstances that we've ended up where we are. And if we dare to defy these expectations, if we dare to do something different, then perhaps there's a punishment waiting, perhaps there's an exile waiting that the mind can play so many funny tricks with this fear of the unknown, this fear of change, this fear of things are being different, with the inherent assumption that difference, that change will always be bad, will always be worse, and of course we know that's that's possible. There's risk. Risk is real. If we dare to change, we might end up being worse off. We might end up being better off. We'll never actually know until we try, until we really try.
But this is a bargain all of us have to strike. All of us have to ask ourselves how important is it really that the dreams I chase are actually mine? How important is it really that what I value are things I actually value? How important is it to me really that my life is a reflection of what actually matters to me, what's actually meaningful to me, what actually nourishes me, what actually feels like the right life for me? Because we all get to choose. Again, this all comes back down to choices, and we're all choosing what we do constantly. Everything we do is a choice and we can have myriad reasons for why we make whatever choices we make, but we're always making them.
But in my opinion, for a certain kind of person, it's important, it's vital to actually connect with what really matters, to actually get down to the truth of what's actually important. Why am I actually here? What's actually meaningful to me, what's actually nourishing to me, what actually feels good, what actually feels right, and that there comes a point where I simply can't act against that anymore. That's kind of one of the funny side effects of this awareness is I become aware of things that I can no longer ignore. I can't pretend anymore, I can't act as if I can't follow and try to live someone else's life and not only pretend that it's mine but, even worse, pretend that it's good.
In what I want, I have to choose. I have to choose myself. I have to choose truth. I have to choose reality, because otherwise I'm just kidding myself. Otherwise I'm just fooling myself. Otherwise I'm just living a life that's artificial, that I myself am disconnected from that. Whatever desires I have, whatever I want. What I really want, what's actually underneath all of it is connection, is wholeness, is fullness, is something real that that matters more than anything, that I will take an ugly truth over a beautiful lie any day. That I can't abide deception. I can't abide manipulation. I can't abide going through life feeling like I'm participating in or perpetuating a trick, especially when I'm the one pulling the trick.
But we all get to choose this relationship for ourselves.
We all get to choose what matters ultimately. We all get to choose what we value. We all get to choose what we pursue. We all get to choose what we do and we all get to choose the reasons why we do what we do and we don't do what we don't do. And no matter how grandiose we build up these motivations and reasons to be, these are all just things we decided are important. But at a certain point, all of us have to choose how important truth really is. All of us have to choose how important reality really is. All of us have to choose what level we want to interact with in life how superficial, how deep, how trivial, how durable, how meaningful, how meaningless. We all choose. We all get to choose, and that's the beauty of it.
But I'll make the argument I would put forth that we can't really fully know ourselves until we fully understand what we actually want, until we fully know what our dreams are. And we fully know our dreams as our dreams, not something else, someone told us, not something we've inherited, not just following something because we have seen it on TV and movies our whole life, not just following something because we've been societally programmed or cajoled into being that way. Choosing for ourselves, choosing meaning for ourselves, based on what's actually important to us, arriving at meaning through our own awareness and as our awareness expands, as we really pay attention, we really listen, we really notice, we're really aware and we're really self-aware. We're not kidding ourselves. We're not kidding ourselves that we're a better person than we think we are. We're not kidding ourselves that we're more noble than we really are. We're not kidding ourselves that we're more impressive than we really are. We drop the act, we lay down the mask and, through our awareness, find a way to just be and know that that's enough. Give up the game of trying to be the most impressive one in the room. Give up the game of trying to be the most valuable one in the group. Give up all the little gains that fear and insecurity will try to get us to play and perpetuate and instead just be.
Choose for ourselves what actually matters, what's actually meaningful, what we actually want, because no one else has the exact same set of desires as we do. This is part of our individuality, this is part of our beauty as a person. We have our own individual desires. In my opinion, anyway, there's something beautiful in acknowledging this. There's also something beautiful in pursuing this. It's working to help those desires find expression, that what we really want, who we feel we really are deep on the inside, giving that part of ourselves a chance to breathe, a chance to be, a chance to speak, a chance to express, a chance to do in our lives, in the real world of directly connecting with ourselves on a very deep level and finding expression with and through this part of ourselves, and asking ourselves what we've been pursuing, what we've been following, what we've been doing.
Whose dreams are these anyway? And if they're not really ours, if they're not really important to us, and realize we're missing a fundamental part of life. We're missing out on the pursuit of what matters, we're missing out on the inclusion of what matters. We're separating ourselves from meaning, we're separating ourselves from fulfillment because we're not actually pursuing what would be meaningful of fulfilling to us, because, ultimately, no one else can feel fulfillment for us. No one else can feel meaning for us.
These feelings are entirely individual and they are whatever they are. For us, it's completely personal and, to the very least, since we have the ultimate freedom in our life to choose whatever we will, we might as well choose this, we might as well choose ourselves, we might as well choose meaning and fulfillment, whatever that means for us, and continue making that choice. Because as we pursue it, these ideas will expand as our self-awareness grows, as we really get to know ourselves, really get to know the real selves, beyond ideas that we've had implanted from other people, beyond the person we've been trying to be all along. When we really get to know who we actually are, and these ideas of meaning and fulfillment will naturally expand, because our awareness, our consciousness of ourselves is expanding as well and that when we connect our life, when we connect the choices that we make in the direction of our life with what's actually meaningful and fulfilling to us, then it really feels like we're getting somewhere.
Then it really feels like we're grounded to something real, to something true, and we can feel life start to give back to us instead of feeling like it's just something we're constantly giving to and not really getting much back. We can start participating in the economy of meaning by going after what's actually meaningful to us and finding along the way we contribute to the meaning of others as well, and through our own self-awareness. The deeper we go, the more we know, the clearer we get that naturally, we find our way to others. We find our way to unity. We find our way to community through our own self-awareness. We find a way to greater awareness through our own self-awareness, and we get to choose what we do. We get to choose what we value. We get to choose what we pursue.
And to live a good life, to live a fulfilling, meaningful life, it's important to pursue what actually matters to us. It's important to pursue ideas and beliefs that are actually ours. It's important to pursue what we actually want. It's important to know that the dreams we're chasing are actually ours.