Chances are, at some point you might have canceled your dreams. Someone probably told you that desires were wrong. You’re supposed to stomp out desire, have no preferences, and be unattached.
But then you probably got caught up in another loop: desiring not to desire. Which really sucks, because then you don’t just have these pesty desires to worry about, now you’ve got to worry about not desiring on top of that.
I’m going to guess that hasn’t worked for you very well if you’re still reading this.
You were born to desire
The nature of being human is to desire and to have all sorts of preferences, likes, and dislikes. Part of living is an exploration in moving through the contrast and discovering what those personal preferences and dreams are.
But somewhere along the way you were told that it’s not okay to be who you are; that what you are right now isn’t acceptable and that you need to become something. So that led you to think that your desires are wrong, or that they’re the cause of your suffering.
Desires are not the cause of suffering. Unfulfilled expectation causes suffering. And the problem now is that you automatically assume that your desires aren’t okay or won’t be fulfilled, and that’s why they cause you pain. There’s nothing worse than having a desire born within you and to automatically feel a response that it is not possible, or that you shouldn’t have it.
So that’s why you canceled your dreams.
That’s why you thought that maybe the way to happiness is to not have any preferences. To have no desire. To become kind of like an unphased stone-woman that is always content, no matter the circumstances.
Well, we already know that that probably isn’t working very well. Because you can’t stop having desires. You can’t change your own nature.
So, what if we could find a way to uncancel our dreams?
Give yourself permission to desire again
A long time ago, before you were told that desires were wrong, you followed all of your desires freely. It was then that you were joyful and undomesticated. You didn’t worry about whether or not your desires were right or wrong. Most of the time when you followed your desires and did what you wanted to do, you were happy and fulfilled. And even though sometimes you followed your desires and things didn’t turn out the way you had expected, you were okay with that. It didn’t make you think that what you thought was wrong, or that it wasn’t okay to do what you want. You just moved onto the next joyful exploration on your path.
It may have been a long time ago and difficult to remember, but if that’s the way things once were for you, then you know it’s possible for it to be that way again.
The problem is that your heart and mind have become divided. They used to work together to help you achieve your desires. But now the voice of practicality is drowning out the heart, and it can’t compete for your attention.
Realigning your heart and mind
You’re going to have to find a way to guide your heart back out of the dungeon it’s been put in, and reform its proper relationship with your mind.
I struggled with this problem for a lot of years. I thought it was better to stomp out desire, to cut the throat of desire. I made it my enemy and thought getting rid of it was the only way to find happiness.
After all, if I had no preference, anything could make me happy, right?
As you can guess, that didn’t work very well. I sacrificed my happiness for a long time before I found a way to reconnect my heart and mind.
When I started talking to other people about the way I created this reuniting, it became really apparent to me how many people out there were struggling with the same thing.
Last year, it led me to me to write Reclaim Your Dreams, so I could help people with this problem. The positive feedback I got from it was overwhelming, and I was thrilled to see how many people put into practice the counterintuitive advice I shared in it. By giving up, undomesticating themselves, and redefining the way they related to desire, people started reclaiming their dreams.
But some of my ideas about the most effective path to making this work changed in the past year and a half. So I’ve spent the past month revising, expanding, updating, and making this guide even more powerful than ever before.
So, now I want to offer it to you here. If you want to…
- uncancel your dreams
- start following a heart-centered path
- and do something that makes you come alive
… then this is guide meant for you.
Want to feel supported by creative heart-centered energy? Read this guide!
So many people let peices of themselves die, while they let parts of the wider society live within them. We so easily give up the original spark inside, and follow the cultural memes.
this explains the folly of zen teaching quite well
This was one of your best blog posts I’ve read (IMO at least).
“Desires are not the cause of suffering. Unfulfilled expectation causes suffering…. There’s nothing worse than having a desire born within you and to automatically feel a response that it is not possible, or that you shouldn’t have it.”
When my friends ask how I remain motivated to pursue my dreams, I always tell them that desire doesn’t cause suffering, believing that you can’t have what you desire is why a person suffers. That as long as I believe and put forth action toward my desire, its gonna come to me. Its only a matter of time.
I always read your posts regularly and am a big fan of your unconventional way of thinking. Unfulfilled desires are causes of our pain and sufferings. Desiring is not the main problem , BUT depending on fulfillment of any desire before we can be happy is the problem. Detachment is the art of following your karma, your desires but still not getting attached to them while we do all the hardword and put all the required efforts, but still be content from within knowing that this desire is not a reflection of our successful living. What I mean is desiring to be good at something is not harmful, but depending on its fulfillment to feel happy and successful is. Because what we desire today, we achieve tomorrow, becomes ordinary day after. This process goes on and on until we realize we have wasted lot of time in petty things..
Ed Akers says
This is such a great post. Most of all I like the heading, “Give yourself permission to desire again”. We should all not believe we have limits, but open out eyes continuously to opportunities.
Courage to follow your dream is easier said then done. If your dream isn’t as loft as few, i think its easier to believe. But you can’t take advice from a person who has minimal financial growth, next to a internet millionaire. It easy to say follow your dream, but only when you achieve an BIG dream, can you really give this type of advice out. Great post…Just an observation.
Early Conner says
This post showed how you stand out in the huge crowd of motivators with your balance between gentleness and presenting truth and incentive.
The ability to find the root of a problem that so many experience and refine the direction from where the root started to grow is impressive.