What guides us through life

What guides us through life?

Reflecting on dreams which so affect our life journey

The countless dreams that motivate and energise us give us our life direction each day. We need to know our guiding images to understand what is inspiring or frightening us, where we’re being reactive or compliant. We tend to view dreams as being positive, but some can be enormous, yet unconscious, burdens if they are driving us to fulfill another’s expectations.

We may find that we avoid our heart’s pain and tend to escape into a positive yet unreal space in our imaginations simply to cope. Yet, avoiding reality by creating and living in an illusion in our minds will ‘pop’ eventually and may well lead us into depression. We need to stop steering our narrow dreams only towards the pleasurable. We can end up living in an illusion if we do not broaden them to include the reality of pain. This isn’t easy, as in our imaginations we keep our fantasies going to feel good about ourselves. For example, we may dream of being young and attractive in order to avoid facing the reality of our aging bodies. Or, we may escape and imagine a perfect sexual union and thus find ourselves dissatisfied with the very real person God has put alongside us. We may say things like, “When I am rich or married…’ then I will be complete. It is an illusion to believe that money or another will solve all our problems. If we expect too much it can easily kill what we have been given.

Our dreams are not just where we are headed eventually. When we look at our day these are the dreams we are living. Dreams need to be an extension of our lived and very real lives. It is foolish, for example, to think we are going to be a famous pianist if we have not yet learnt the basics. What we are doing already gives us the parameters of what is possible. Our realistic dreams give us substance and guide us into what we are really passionate about. They will make us willing to risk taking the next step and grow in a new direction. They will help us decide what we are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve our goal. Fantasy will feel nice but will lead us away from taking this step and will prevent us from engaging with the day. Finding meaning is essential. Just existing doesn’t give us life. Each of us is so different and unique, and the world needs us to take risks in what really energises us.

So what do we do with our illusions? We simply see and admit those that have failed and own those that need to die. We have all seen people knocked down and get up. Disillusionment can be the best form of our learning, for we see the illusions for what they are. Our dreams shape us and help us become ourselves. We will all need friends with whom we can talk about our dreams and struggles. It is the real stuff of life that knits us together and satisfies us.

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