Probably more than any other place on earth, at least that I know of, Byron Bay is a place where people come to live out their dreams. What these dreams are will be unique to each person. Some have got dreams of enlightenment, of creating a community with like minded friends, some wish to have kids in a safe environment, others just to hang out on the beaches and do yoga.
Many of us have a dream of enlightenment, of being out of the melting pot of emotions, thoughts and desires, of living in a state of “perfect” peace and harmony. This is all about another time and place, when we ‘achieve’ the state of being where we aren’t affected by things so much. I wonder if this very dream, which by its very nature is a wanting for something else, something other than what existence in its wisdom is giving to us to look at right now, is not in itself a barrier.
If we listen to all the masters down the ages, what we get again and again is to live here and now, that there isn’t any other place or time, ever. That even to say that one day, I will “get it,” that one day I’ll be “better” somehow, is a nonsense, because “one day” never comes if it is not now, and anyway how is it possible to be better?
We have dreams of the perfect relationship, living situation, work, tennis match or experience. In fact if we really look at it, virtually everything that we feel, desire or do in our lives relates to some dream or another. And in a way, all of these dreams arise out of our conditioning. We all want to live in love, to be loved, to feel that we are OK.
Unfortunately we have inherited, either genetically or through the conditioning we all were/are subject to, all the things that the masters have been talking about; conditional love, jealousy, competition, unworthiness, insecurity. These also show up in our dreams, and can be limiting, a kind of filter that life enters us through, with all experience seen in the light of how it affects the dream.
Someone who is conditioned to feel freedom in their hearts has no dream of freedom, and someone who grows up with no freedom but full security has no dreams around security. I wonder, if, as new age wisdom dictates we choose our parents with all the limitations/dreams inherent, we are just a dream of consciousness wanting to be experienced? That the very limitations that we struggle with are the very ones ‘consciousness’ has given us for the realisation of our purpose. Are we in fact just a part of the dream a la grande, the creme de la dream of consciousness?
What are our dreams? Are they illusions, wishes, utopian ideals, or are they simply the object of our longings that take us out of the here and now into some future where everything will be alright? Are they the driving force that gets us out of bed in the morning, or simply an escape from the daily realities? Some of us get so identified with our dreams that we lose the plot altogether, wandering around spaced out, never really here. Others are so rooted in “reality” that there is no space in their beings for anything which is not visible from where they stand.
In the 90s people started really looking at their dreams, and trying to live them. Sounds great, and can be, until you go a little deeper and see what those dreams often are. Whenever I go up towards Brisbane, and I see the godawful housing developments, all theses ugly little houses all clustered together, what strikes me the most is the poverty of the dream, that of all the dreams to live, these people chose that one. Other dreams, such as the beautiful MOs that people have manifest in their lives, speak of more abundant, more mature dreams.
Dreams can be a two edged sword. On the one hand they’re what brought man down from the trees, that got him/her building a house, a car, computers, allowing and nurturing love, that was behind every evolution, every incremental advance in technology and ways of being or healing, what’s behind every shift in the collective consciousness.
I always get goose bumps when I hear Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, or I tune into Nelson Mandela and his struggle and the dream that sustained him through his long dark days. Osho’s parting words, “I leave you my dream” continued his message that ignited so many people around the world, ignited their dream of a real way of living where the longings to be who we are, the longings to live in truth, in authenticity, in full nakedness and glory, can be actualised.
Dreams are also the tool of the visionary, the individual, who is prepared to stand against the tide of mediocrity that is the collective consciousness. Some dreams need patience and need to be nurtured, to be watered in much the same way as seeds need to be cared for. Some dreams take a long time to come to fruition, and it is easy to lose the plot, put them into the too hard basket. On the other hand, dreams can be limiting.
So maybe it is time to take all those dreams we’ve had out of the closet, try them on, see if they fit, if the style is still relevant, discard the out of date ones and bring the others into existence. If not now, when?
Published in the Here & Now magazine, February, 2000
By Mark O'Brien