Living the Dream

There seems to be a tension between comfort and aspiration in our lives. We seek to explore, to grow, to achieve, yet we also desire security, safety and certainty. It’s clear, however, that we often have to sacrifice one to get the other. If we opt to remain in the comfort-zone, we may have to live with the inevitable feelings of being humdrum, run-of-the-mill and unexciting. On the other hand, if we dive for our dreams we’ll have to ready ourselves to brave the rocky road of uncertainty and opposition. Every significant achievement has its price tag.

In reality, we usually go for something in between. Decisions on where to pitch our life are largely based upon the prevailing social mood of the day. What is everyone else doing? What are the expectations of society? What will keep everyone happy? Breaking free of such barriers and pursuing our ‘inner calling’ is a tough job. As life responsibilities increase, it’s easy to get boxed in, sealed tight and shelved up. Shifting the daily routine becomes more and more taboo. Doing something different may be seen as unintelligent, rash and irresponsible. And even when there are no grounds for such accusation, we conveniently accept those opinions just to reinforce our comfortable life and maintain the status quo.

Life has its way of grounding us down. Very few people have a dream, even fewer seriously consider how to fulfill it, and only a rare soul actually has a decent shot. In an age where security, establishment and balanced prosperity have become the guiding beacons for our comfortable life, a pause for thought may be worthwhile. The Bhagavad-gita reminds us of a broader vision that needs to be etched into our consciousness. The inevitable laws of nature mean we come to this world empty-handed and we leave empty-handed. Everyone, without exception, is guaranteed to lose everything. Although our temporary constructed situations of life seem so real, they are all washed away by the ruthless waves of time. We’re building castles in the sand. It sounds counterintuitive, but I’m trying to invest quality time in developing this “vision of eternity”, hoping that it will make me a whole lot more dynamic in this temporary phantasmagoria.

As I wander around in the spiritual hub known as Vrindavana, I’m reminded of a local saying which is beginning to make more and more sense to me: “All reality outside of Vrindavana is actually a dream, and all dreams in Vrindavana are actually a reality.”

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