Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Follow Thoreau With Your Dreams

A lot of people lost sight or had to give up their dreams over the past few years because of a failing economy and a weakened government. Perhaps, though, the real tragedy was our own attitude before the collapse: We expected, even relied on outside sources to attain our dreams...we relied on high paying jobs at careless corporations, relied on investors looking to make money, banks looking to take money, and we relied on our government (which was already in debt), but all these people and institutions had agendas of their own; they didn't/don't care about our pipe dreams and we can't expect them to. If we are talking about my personal dreams than I am the only one who truly cares about them and therefore the only one who can attain them, and if my dreams are so luxurious that it is impossible for me to reach them at least mostly "on my own" than that's my own fault for desiring so much. Greed is a tricky bugger. Now is the time to take back our dreams, take ownership of them, pare them down to the simple root of what we need to live happy, comfortable and peaceful lives and to take thoughtful steps to get there.

At the conclusion of "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau, he had the following to say about man following his dreams. I think it's interesting that after spending two years in the woods (leaving in 1847) he picked this as a key lesson he learned from his experience and that over 100 years later, the almost "Buddhist-like" advice he offers still holds true:

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."

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