Don’t follow your dreams
WTF? A coach, writing an article entitled “Don’t follow your dreams?” What next, a nutritionist telling you to eat processed food?
The coaching world is absolutely choc-a-bloc with articles and courses on how to smash your goals, make your dreams come true and change your world. All of them look so enticing! I mean, to the person who believes that their sense of discontent or unease comes from not living a life which is meaningful/to their full potential/wildly fabulous, of course it would make sense that following their dreams is the right thing to do. But that feeling of discontent or unease doesn’t come from there. And that’s why I’m writing this blog post. To challenge the belief that following dreams is going to lead to some promised land of lasting peace and happiness.
To put it as simply as possible – the feeling of unrest comes from the misunderstanding of who we really are. From believing ourselves to be finite, separate people. Believing ourselves to be 7.5 billion minds and bodies going around trying to get happiness from experiences of the mind and body. This approach is unsustainable, as the mind/body/ego can always come up with more things that we need in order to achieve happiness, thus preventing us from fully experiencing it. When we stop seeing ourselves as separate and isolated individuals and realise that we are all expressions of one consciousness, we lose the feeling of unrest. Without the conditions of our external life needing to change.
According to the Tao Te Ching – the Great Dao’s needs are very few and simple. It’s when we absorb the tradition of the social dao (or take on the expectations in our culture, as the ego) our needs escalate without limit, creating competition and strife. My interpretation is that the Great Dao refers to the one consciousness we all share. Understood in our westernised ways, if we stopped seeing ourselves as solo individuals, and instead saw ourselves as an expression of the one consciousness, following our goals would no longer seem as important. That doesn’t mean that we would drop them necessarily, but they would certainly take on a lightness, as we realise that we don’t need to be doing a particular thing, following a career, becoming a parent, running our own business (and so on and so forth) in order to be happy. This is hugely freeing, and interestingly, can mean our input into our pursuit of this goal actually gets better – because we don’t fear the risks we may have to take to get there. However, that’s just a happy outcome, not the purpose of looking more deeply at who we are.
There is another angle to consider. This Great Dao, one consciousness expressed as 7.5 billion humans, does have a few human needs. When you see yourself as one part of that whole, rather than separate to it, and feel the love that arises when thoughts of a ‘separate you’ drop away – what is important? Looking after the separate self, or looking after the whole? If everyone followed their separate dreams, who would collect the bins? Work the sewage treatment plants? Operate our vital, yet less socially desirable, services?
If everyone followed their dreams, would it work?
Is it working right now?
A few years ago, a friend gave me a small trinket with the words inscribed:
“There is no set path, just follow your heart”
Let your heart lead you home, to the understanding that you are not separate. When you see the absence of separation, there is no path, you are already happy – and what makes sense to you to pursue from there comes from wholeness, completeness. I’d trust that over the dreams of the ego, any day.
Want to know more about how I can help? Drop me a line or give me a call. A successful coaching relationship depends upon a great rapport, so it’s important to talk. I want to get to know you, see inside your world and we can assess how we’d go from there!