I will emphasize here that when I speak of a dream in this way I am talking about a vision. Ford had a dream of transportation for all. Gandhi had a dream of a world free of apartheid. These are the sorts of dreams that are visions.
So how do we learn to dream big? The first step in dreaming big is learning to get our littleness out of the way. Our littleness is how we define ourselves. It is the work we do or have done, our relationship, the things we own, what our spouse and children do, any thought that defines us by our environment. For most of us this concept of who we are according to what we have is all we know. This is our littleness, even if we have a lot of it, this is our littleness.
Concepts and definitions of ourselves based on have and do, by their very nature are limiting. So no matter how big, materially, our dream may be it is not a big dream. It is a limiting dream. It is a goal. Goals are good to have but they are not dreams even if we dream about reaching our goals and the ‘good life’ they may confer they are still not dreams, they do not stretch our vision into the unknown. They are attainable and therefore limiting, they limit our potential rather than expand it and so keep us rigidly locked into an empiricists measure of reality.
A real dream, a big dream, must never find completion, by its very nature it exists outside the realm of “I can do that”. It will be the ever unfolding blueprint of a life filled with passion. And passion is integral to the realization of dreams. In fact a person cannot even begin to dream without first finding their passion.
We each have passion but can quickly lose touch with that passion as we become enamored by the stuff of life. When we are young the world around us makes a very big deal about the necessities, gifts and rewards we receive. Through association we naturally attach our appreciation to those things. Unconsciously we have invested in an idea that things give us pleasure. From that point on we have stepped onto a merry little roller coaster of ‘craving and gratification’.
The challenge before us is in breaking those associations. Things do not give us pleasure. Connection gives us pleasure; connection to life. It is the degree of connection we attach to an object that gives it value. If we perceive an object will give us more connection we have a greater desire for that object. We then set a goal to get it, often unconsciously. We strive for that thing and eventually we get it. We discover little feeling of connection from that new car, house or vacation. We feel disappointed, often blaming those who have provided it for us. We set new goals and discard the unfulfilling object, a memory of more empty dreams. Eventually we grow tired of this game, we lose our passion, often falling into chronic depression or other forms of physical and mental disease.
There are only two answers; death or discovery. No one reading this is interested in the former option. We want discovery, we want to rediscover our passion, we want to find what truly brings joy into our hearts. And as I said before that is connection! So it naturally follows that the dream which will bring to us fulfillment is a dream that incorporates the need or desire for connection.
The real trick with connection is that it can only be received through giving as it can only truly be given through receiving. To illustrate; have you ever hugged a person and received no participation, there was no satisfaction because there was no connection. Have you ever been given a gift of great monetary value from a distant acquaintance which had no meaning to you? Same thing. We must first be willing to make giving, not of things rather of itself, the focus of our lives. There may be times when our giving is not reciprocated but they will be few and they will direct us toward life enhancing action, because, beyond any doubt life favours connection. The nature of life, its primary core urge, is to make and celebrate connection.
Therefore your question for a fuller richer life is what and how do I want to give in order to make connection with life as a whole and why is that important to me? Your dream by the very nature of dreaming must only include doing and getting in relation to the vision of giving. If you identify this vision or passion first, your goals will naturally fall into their rightful place and your whole life will be a springboard to greater joy.
So have fun discovering and living your dream.