My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.
We all have dreams – but how can we make them real for us? Below are several tools, inspirations and practices that I’ve found especially useful on my own quests. A dream doesn’t have to be to go anywhere (that’s just been my personal bent). I believe the techniques are common to everyone who wants to live a fulfilling life of the spirit, mind and body.
VISUALIZATION – you must see it to believe it
If you can’t imagine yourself living your dream, what chance have you got that it’ll ever become reality? Imagine yourself conducting a great orchestra, or hiking through the wilderness, or sitting absorbed reading the great literature of the world. Whatever your dream, it must first become your reality in your mind’s eye.
MONEY – it’s an important form of energy you have got to attract and harness
I’ve spend a good part of my life being afraid of money and when I had some I was quick to get rid of it — so it’s not surprising that money and I have often been uneasy companions or strangers. Yet money is an essential form of energy that’s necessary for almost any human endeavour.
What complicates everything are the emotions people attach to money. When I first arrived in North America from England in 1980, an American friend said to me, “Always remember, the attitude here is, “If you’re so smart why aren’t you a millionaire!” No wonder people will do almost anything to gain money.
To my understanding, it’s this hunger which is corrosive and debilitating. And, at the opposite end, fear of being tainted keeps many people from developing a sensible and balanced relationship with money. They run away and then wonder why they don’t have any.
If you want to realize your dreams, money must be an essential companion on your journey. So learn to become friends. You don’t spend every minute of every day with even your best friends (or lover) and so give thinking about money a break too. Respect money, value its abilities, be loyal but not slavish and you and money will be happy friends whose friendship add much to your life.
FOCUS – keep your attention of what you’ve decided is important and don’t get distracted by anything else.
Easier said than done. What I mean is, keep your vision on tthe stars that are guiding you, not the gravel under your feet. My Zen master, Ven. Samu Sunim, at the Zen Buddhist Temple in Toronto, used to teach about Great Mind and little mind.
Great Mind is the vision, the dream, the ambition. It’s what inspires us, stirs us to action, calls out all that is best in us towards achieving whatever it is we’ve decided is the most important for us. Ambitions don’t have to be big to be great; but they do have to raise our vision and our spirits, to call us up and ennoble us to fight.
It’s not too difficult to guess what “little mind” might be; a petulant voice, pretending to be a friend, who waits until we’re tired, bored or discouraged before whispering that whatever we want is impossible.
These an ancient Zen story about a master and his discipline walking through the mountains. After several days of walking in silence up and down the valleys, the master hears his discipline muttering to himself how tired he feels and that he just can’t go on. This is “little mind” at work – undermining our resolve, robbing us of the incredible energy and focus every human being is capable of producing. The master knows what to do – he’s the master after all.
Instead of avoiding the next village (which as monks they had been doing in order to avoid distractions), the master leads the way into its centre, finds the most beautiful young girl and kisses her full on the lips. The villagers are enraged that two monks should abuse their young women like this. They cry out and give chase with sticks. The master and his discipline run for their lives. And they run and run and run. Finally, three valleys later, the Zen master stops and turns to his discipline. “Are you tired now?” he asks him.
Always we have more energy, more stamina, more brain-power and more grit and resolve than we ever allows ourselves to believe.
Believe in yourself – you’re a human being,. For all our failings, homo sapiens is one of the most amazing and creative beings in this universe.
Celebrate being alive by living your dreams!
© 2008 Dennison Berwick. This article may be republished for noncommercial purposes, with full copyright attribution and notification to the author. Any other use is a violation of copyright.