What’s your dream?

Nothing is to be clung to as in I, me or mine.
Buddha
563 B.C. – 483 B.C.

Most people have a secret dream, one they aren’t willing to share with many people. I want you to think about your secret dream. It could be a big home in the country, or an expensive car and the clothes and lifestyle that match it. For some people, their dream is a large sum of money in the bank.

Take a moment to think about your hidden dream, the one you’re reluctant to share. Most often, the secret dream involves a radically different lifestyle; it would be like arriving at a very desirable destination.

Are you on a journey to that destination? How much of your time and energy is tied up in the journey associated with your dream?

Well, here’s some bad news. Your dream will not come true. You may well get the big home in the country, the fancy car or loads of money in the bank. But once you get that, you’re going to realize that your dream is somewhat empty.

Here’s why. We focus on attaining material things: the house, the cars or the money. But what we truly desire is the experience we believe having those things will bring. Once we get the material things, we feel empty because we don’t experience the feelings we thought we would.

For most people, material things represent a sense of accomplishment: a feeling of importance and freedom from worry. But material possessions don’t provide those feelings.

We need to shift our focus from acquiring material things to achieving the experience we really desire. We can gain a sense of accomplishment by freeing ourselves from attachments to material possessions. We can gain a sense of importance by helping others, by making a positive contribution to the world.

When people list their goals, freedom is usually very near the top. But the more attached we are to material things, the less freedom we experience. Peace comes with absence of worry about material things. Greater material possessions don’t make us free: we spend more time and energy guarding and maintaining our possessions.

Your secret dream shouldn’t occur sometime in the future. Your life isn’t in the future: your life is now; it will always be in the present moment. Learn to live in this moment. Learn that freedom comes from giving up attachments to things, people and outcomes. A sense of accomplishment comes from doing for others. It’s not about getting things for yourself.

Arriving someplace more desirable at some future time is an illusion. This is it.
Jon Kabat-Zinn
1944 –

Copyright © 2009 John Chancellor

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