When I was a child. I was in awe of the concept that a dream could come true, that I could travel to the edges of the waking world, pluck something from the imagination and then make it appear in real life, out of sheer desire, the idea shimmered with magic. But if you have ever tried to make a dreams come true, you realize that your beautiful, shimmering dream can so easily become a taskmaster, requiring hard work, dedication, belief, money, sacrifice, risk and lots of support. Sometimes the pursuit of dreams brings more disillusionment and brokenness than success. Learning the art of when to let go and when to hang on to a dream can be brutal. I don’t think any of us master this until we are around age 75, I am told, the letting go, that is. It is difficult, often, to let go of that which gives us a view of the mystique of the world, a world that seems so bent on the rational, logical and most prudent way. Dreams are not logical, they are mythological.
Life dreams emerge from the place where our mythical self lives, a land of risk, adventure and wonder, deep within us, just outside of our grasp, on another plane, an other dimension. We are so fascinated by the field of dreams that we engage in all sorts of practices to capture, study and understand them. We chase them furiously, like butterflies with a net, we spend lots of money on coaches, retreats and workshops that enable us to turn our dreams into reality, make our dreams come true. There is the whole field of learning to dream the dream of wealth, success, fame and love, make our wildest dreams evolve through the power of dream thinking. But when we finally glimpse something greater than what our own will, ego and drive produce, usually at the bottom of a so called “broken dream,” we realize we might be staring, at last, through a door-way at something sacred, the soul itself. Often, it is shattered life dream, that leads the way:
C.G. Jung said, “The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.” The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man (1934)
Perhaps the language of making our dreams come true or turning our dreams into reality is just another way of saying that we long to see our soul’s life become real in this world and we are completely at a loss as to how we make this happen. We also feel that we should be in control of such a thing as important as our soul and so we feel it should be something we ourselves can conjure or manipulate into existence, and once it’s here, we feel we should make a profit from it, because, after all, a profit is the only way to show that the business of catching dreams has real value and purpose. We feel we must make the whole endeavor have a tangible meaning, that our dreams should pay us something, give us a larger house, more money in the bank and less anxiety in the world about uncertainty. Just like everything else in our culture, dreams fail to make sense to us unless we can turn them into a commodity.
Yet, the true dream of the heart resists such exploitative measures, like nature, it thinks itself, it has its own narrative, it flies, leaps, evolves of its own accord, it only requires nurture to live. You may manufacture a slice of your dream life, turn a hint of it into the machinery of your great expectations, but it is difficult to do soul work as long as you insist that dreams serve your purposes, enslaving dreams to the world of production.
The business of dreams will promise us that dreams come true. But here is the hole in the sales pitch, the dreams of the heart are already true, we move towards the dream to become truer to ourselves. We move towards wonder, towards the realm of the myth we have forgotten, towards the story that is so much older than us. We belong to something greater than ourselves, we belong the great Dreamer, the Divine, the beauty, goodness and truth that is dreaming us. We move towards ambiguity and the very qualities of the dream, while keeping one foot planted on the earth, in order to move toward our soul’s life, the seed of the dream is in us, dreaming. We nurture a dream by nurturing the sacred within and bringing it back into the waking, working rhythm of our domestic lives. Too much time in each world, and we lose the enchantment of dreaming altogether, we lose our sense of what is really true.
It is perhaps only in our enslavement of a dream that a dream seems broken. Dreams cannot be broken, they exist beyond the category. It is usually our expectations that are shattered rather than the dream itself.
Perhaps this is why the ancients made dream catchers, to remind themselves that the realm of dreaming is sacred and the pursuit of dreams, a holy endeavor, requiring special equipment and rituals, perhaps they realized they were opening a door-way to the soul. It becomes important to remember that when we seek to play in the field of dreams, we are playing in a sacred space, a place of wilderness and awe, and this field of dreams may perhaps be the last place on earth where an idea can still run free. Maybe the point of dreaming is the dream itself, the miracle of wonder it produces in us. A dream is a thing worth nurturing and protecting, perhaps a true dream is a thing that can only be caught and lived from the heart.