Table of Contents
Paradoxically, it is when you dream you really wake up. When you have a dream – a life purpose – your whole being is energised. You don’t merely sleepwalk through life, but you wake up each new day ready to create the dream you are holding within you. You are ready to nourish, nurture and prepare for its birth into material manifestation.
Knowledge without application is like a seed which does not grow into a tree. If a qualified doctor did not treat, if a law student did not practice, or a designer did not design, of what value would that knowledge be? Knowledge causes us to THINK; next we need to structure those thoughts and create a DESIGN flow; finally we begin to manifest the design into our reality by taking consistent action, and we LIVE the dream. The design flow I have illustrated below is a cyclical process. Although you begin at point 1 and complete the circle at point 5, you can at any time choose to go back and rework on any aspect, whenever needed, and do the forward round again – much like the wheel – and with each rotation you move forward.
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As explained above, in a cyclical process you can’t really determine the point of beginning. None the less, I begin here because you need to clear away the old to plant the new. And this part of the process needs to be repeated several times initially. It is like clearing away the weeds, digging up, treating and getting the soil ready. In our life we need to clear away the old emotional baggage that is much like a heavy load that we lug around. When you hold on to emotional baggage, it does not matter how much you plan, work, meditate or pray – it will block a significant part of the Universal stream of peace, happiness and abundance that you wish to receive. Your energy becomes dense and heavy, so you will be sapped of life force energy. This makes it harder for you to move forward and make progress. You would much rather travel light. It feels great to be completely present and free from the chains of limiting blocks, negative patterns of thinking, past traumas, or habits that keep us stuck. A few ways that can help release:
- Do not be harsh with yourself for messing up. Everyone makes mistakes, and that shows you where you need to do inner work. Treat it like a stepping stone to success.
- Practice self-love (discussed in Chapter 7)
- Try to be more mindful of your negative thoughts and consciously replace them with positive thoughts and behaviours. You can try reframes and positive affirmations (discussed in Chapter 7)
- Try to break free of the constant chatter of the monkey mind – over analysing or nit-picking or putting your thoughts on a loop, only increase the load. Be selective not only in what you say but also of what thoughts you entertain. (discussed in detail in chapter 4)
- Declutter not only physically but emotionally as well. List the things in your space that has not been used for 5 years or more. It is time to let them go. Once you do that you will observe how light you feel. Likewise make an honest list of unwanted emotions that you have been lugging around – sense of betrayal, or failure; pent up anger, sadness, hurt or grudges; constant anxiety or pessimism; inability to trust or a lack of closure.
- Reflect on the list you have made and look at it without any judgment. Put it on a movie screen, one at a time, and watch it like a spectator. Notice the experience or incident that had caused the emotion in the first place. You may like to jot down whatever pops up in your mind.
Later on, you can take a look at what you have noted down and decide which incidents, experiences or negative thought or emotions you are ready to let go. The previous chapter discusses a few of the processes that are available to you. You can learn the do-it-yourself processes. Alternatively, you can work with a practitioner, who can help you identify and release the emotion much faster.
You can try out a little do-it-yourself process. Identify at least one positive aspect of the negative situation you have experienced. For example, if you have been betrayed, it has taught you to be less gullible. Keep the learning and let go of the negative feelings. Say, if you have missed out on parental love and care in your growing up days, because of whatever circumstances, it has taught you to be self-reliant. Treasure the positive aspect and let go of the grudges and insecurity. Practice self-love which will help you know that you are good enough and that you are loved. Get help where you need and set yourself free. You deserve to be happy and lead a limitless life, which fulfills and enlivens you.
Now that you have done the inner work – the digging up and throwing out of what no longer serves you, you are ready to visualize the life you would love.
Change Your Lens
As you start to envision, you have to make sure you change the old lens through which you used to see the world earlier. Instead of your fears and limitations see your possibilities, which are aligned to your deeper yearning.
Visualise with Clarity
In order to visualise your new story you need clarity of vision. If you wear incorrect glasses your vision is blurred. Similarly, if you drive a car with a windscreen, which is dirty after a storm, you cannot see the road ahead of you clearly. Where do you get started? What areas of your life do you desire to improve? You might look for success in your career, more financial abundance, finding the right partner, making a breakthrough invention, making a difference in the world, and so on. Here we are talking of holistic success and not the old-world idea of success where you only focussed on your career, suppressing or ignoring the other aspects of your life. You can do this little exercise for clarity:
- Close your eyes and inhale deep and slow, into your belly, and breathe out slowly. Pay attention to your breath. Do this 5 times
- You will notice your body is now more relaxed.
- You have your list with you; say it is career, money, soul mate, travel. One by one bring each of them to your mind’s eye. See it the way you want it to be. Visualise it for some time. Notice how you feel.
- The one that brought up the most positive feelings is the one that you should begin with. When we think only from the mind we are misled; feelings guide us better.
- When you start focussing on creating the area of your life that carries the most charge, other areas of your life are also impacted in a positive manner.
Change Your Story
Now re-write your story wearing your new pair of glasses. Assuming your perspective has gone through considerable change, see your life taking the shape you intend. See every detail of the story you want to create; the painting you want to draw; the garden you want to grow; the sculpture you want to sculpt.
Intention is like infusing life into your story. You direct the universal life force energy into the thought or the vision that you hold for yourself. When you set clear intention the thought or vision does not remain a mere day dream. It begins to grow a life of its own, and together you create your new reality. Whilst goals have a narrower focus, intentions have a broader horizon since they fuel your vision. You may set a goal of cracking the final examination in medical school with the highest rank. With that goal in mind you can set yourself up for the competition. However, whether or not you meet the goal your longer term intention is to become a doctor, working to uplift people from physical ailments and bringing back hope in those who have given up on life. Intentions move you towards your vision, crossing milestones on the way. So you can set smaller goals on your path to your bigger vision. Intention is a way of thinking and it leaves little room for a failed outcome.
The right usage of mental statements will empower your intention. If you want to see results you must pay attention to your self-talk. “I hope to become a doctor one day” is a weaker statement, than “I intend becoming a doctor”. Say, you love dancing and want to become a world class ballet dancer, and get to perform in Swan Lake or Giselle. Once you have a clear intention in mind, you can create short-term goals – weekly, monthly and yearly – so that you can get there in a span of time. How to set your intentions:
- Your intention should be practical, do-able and aligned to your vision.
- Write down your intention, preferably in a sentence. It should ideally be sensory rich and connect with your emotions.
- Say it aloud to yourself and see how it feels. If it fills you up with a good energy then you have worded it correctly.
- Share your intention with at least one other person to begin with. This makes you accountable to work on your intention.
- Make a daily ritual: write it down in your bed-side note book, before you go to sleep. First thing, when you wake up, repeat it in your mind a few times.
- Keep a subtle reminder for yourself, where it can insidiously seep into your subconscious. For example, you can keep a quote or an image that act as a reminder, as your laptop home screen.
- Now that you have set up your intention, let go of it. You should, most certainly, not be obsessive. Take your actions and trust that the rest will unfold in divine timing. Remember, intention is like the seed, which holds within it the potential of the tree.
If intention is the seed, then nurturing is like watering the seed. When you plant the seed in the soil, for many days, you simply keep watering the area where you have sown the seed. Since the seed is not visible, you highlight the area with a circle. Making a vision board, so that you do not forget the intention that you have planted, is like highlighting the area where you have planted the seed. Your dream is in its nascent stage, and has the potential to manifest into your reality, just as much as an apple seed has the potential to manifest into a fruit-bearing apple tree. Directing your flow of thoughts towards your dream, in a positive, loving and encouraging manner is like watering the seed. At this stage, you think of the initial steps you can take towards making your vision a reality; visualize how important that is to you and how it would make you feel when you realize the dream.
If the seed has been nurtured at this stage it grows into a sapling and emerges above the ground. Your efforts are now visible. Yet just like the sapling your dream is now in a vulnerable stage, since it is too fragile and tender. This calls for the second stage of nurturing. You will need to ensure the sapling not only receives sunshine and water, but it must be protected as well. Along with showering your vision with an abundance of encouragement, passion and positive thought, you will need to guard against the demons of doubt, impatience, fear, shame and other limiting beliefs. You will also need to protect it from the onslaught of other people’s opinions, attitude and judgements. However, do not shut off constructive feedback, and gather knowledge, training and information around the subject, because these are like manure and will help the sapling to grow into a robust plant.
“The seductions of power, and all the wealth, honour, and luxury it gives, seem a sufficient aim for men's efforts only so long as they are unattained. Directly a man reaches them he sees all their vanity, and they gradually lose all their power of attraction. They are like clouds which have form and beauty only from the distance; directly one ascends into them, all their splendour vanishes.” ― Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God Is Within You
Once the plant is sturdy and is fully developed, it needs lesser attention and grows organically and it is time to enjoy the fruits. Remember to share the fruits with others. However clichéd it may sound, but shared joy is indeed doubled. At this stage your goals and dream have manifested, and it is time to celebrate. It is time to step into the life you have created with much love and dedication. Never postpone your happiness to the achievement of your goals, because then you will feel only transient joy, fleeting away as you get ready to chase your next goal. Live and breathe through the whole process of creating with the sense of expectancy a mother has before giving birth. Although the months of nurturing the fetus can be fraught with various challenges, but the joy of bringing forth a new life outweighs any difficulties.
To live your dream you need to be alive to each moment that is offered to you. Do not fret about your next step; do not have regret for any past step where you have slipped, but be fully present to the moment, because the present is the fruit of your past action, and it bears the seed of your future tree. Remember this process is not linear, it is cyclical. Also life is organic not rigid – be flexible so that surprises don’t throw you off balance. Change the route when it leads nowhere, open new doors instead of standing in front of the old one hoping it will somehow miraculously open. From time to time, re-evaluate your dreams and goals – they are not set in stone. Take a closer look at them and decide if any aspects might be pruned away or tweaked. Goal-setting need not be a one-time activity. Evaluate your progress, re-adjust your actions if required, bring in new elements to create balance, when feeling stuck breathe in fresh life, and most importantly fall in love with this process of creating. Do not become vain about your accomplishments, or complacent with the luxury it has brought you, but remain humble and grounded in the awareness that the real treasures of happiness, fulfilment, peace are all within you. Reaping the fruits is not the end of the journey; it is merely the completion of a cycle.