Living big dreams in the now
Most of us have dreams and visions, and I have a few that don’t let go of me. One such dream of mine is to build a place where people from around the world can experience deep personal transformation. In my mind, this place will be nestled in the lush nature of the Himalayas, and I’ll create it together with a community of people who resonate with my vision. We’ll build it based on permaculture’s regenerative principles of “Earth care, people care and fair share”, we’ll work synergistically with the local community, and we’ll live and work together practicing mindfulness and authentic communication. Now this is a very ambitious dream and it’s easy for me to slip into hopelessness, thinking, this is impossible considering where I am right now. I’ve just moved back to India and know a handful of people, and I’ve nowhere near the finances needed to establish something of this scale.
I think one of the reasons we find big dreams intimidating is that we tend to think linearly. For example, to make this dream come true, linear thinking would say I first have to acquire large amounts of funds, meet the right people, find the land where to build, and incrementally design and build this space. Going by this way of thinking, I may start saving money by working a job that isn’t necessarily connected to my dream, but is well-paying. I may also start networking online starting to look for like-minded people in the little free time I have, while living with people who may not be able to relate to my thoughts. Problem is, while I’m doing these things, I would very likely lose touch with the reasons why this dream is important for me. I might work hard and feel depleted in my job, and surrounded by people who have no common interests, I might start thinking that my dream is unrealistic, impractical, or even stupid.
Now a radically different way to approach big dreams is to start living a mini-version of your dream in the present moment. According to David Bohm, a renowned quantum physicist, we live in a holographic universe where each part is connected to and contains information about the whole. So according to this theory, how you live each moment has a profound influence on the whole of your life! So if you’re slogging away at a job you dislike, thinking you’re saving money for a future dream, you may inadvertently be writing the script for slogging away your life. Instead, what if you pause and ask yourself the questions- What about my dream is particularly important to me? Which of these aspects can I start living today with the resources I already have at hand? Once you find the answers, you could get creative and design one piece of the hologram in the present moment, which represents the entirety of the dream in miniature.
For example, when I asked myself the first question, I discovered that what’s most important to me about my big dream is to live in the midst of nature in the Himalayas, eat local food, practice permaculture principles of regenerative living in daily life, and practice coaching and holding retreats which transform other people’s lives. When I asked myself the second question, an option opened up for me. Though I cannot start my own retreat centre right away, I knew of a mountain eco-village, where I could volunteer and experience living in the midst of nature, eating local food, and practicing permaculture and regenerative living. I could start offering coaching sessions and retreats from there that would transform lives. And I could do that now!
Living my dream in miniature in the present moment has helped me stay connected to it. I wake up each morning with gratitude for the bounty of pure nature around me and have discovered that I truly enjoy it. I learn each day how to interact with a team of mountain village people, and I’ve started designing and learning from mini-projects related to regenerative living, such as building a spiral-bed garden for herbs and making cleaning products out of fermenting lemon peels, jaggery and water. I’ve been keeping my coaching practice alive by holding online sessions as well as in-person sessions with people visiting the eco-village. It’s also brought several challenges my way- for example, I need to hike 8 km up and down the mountain to have reliable access to internet! So I’m learning that the location where such a place is to be built is absolutely critical. The experience has also shown me that though I love interacting with people, I don’t enjoy coordinating organisational details. It’s too soon to predict where this life experiment will lead, but I can tell you that it’s teaching me where I reach my personal limits and where I need to grow and be more committed. And it keeps my focus consistently on my dream.
So my question to you is- which big or little dream have you been putting away, thinking now’s not the right time? Are you thinking that you have to first earn enough money, have more time, or meet the right people before you can start? What possibilities open for you when you ask yourself the two questions I’ve written above and start designing and living a holographic miniature of your dream today? Now remember, it doesn’t have to a big step for it to keep your dream alive. Even the tiniest version of your dream that fits into your current life will serve the purpose.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. Sharing your dream with others and your path forward can be vulnerable but extremely powerful, so I really hope you’ll do so!
p.s. Thanks to Shruti Bapna for the beautiful cover photograph