Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. ~ Carl Jung
What's happening on the inside, the private world where dreams awaken?
We compare the inner with the outer world of our dreams, and this creates desire. The main distinction between your inner and outer dreams is the time it takes toward manifestation. When you look inside, you can clearly see – are awake to – what you want. (Or if you cannot, then at least you know what you don’t want – even this provides some direction). What you want is already in the inner landscape. That is how you know it, and why you long for it. What frustrates us is when our inner dreams and goals aren’t manifested when it seems that they should be.
And this is just for those who dare to ask. How many of us actually ask ourselves what we really want? For some it is a given and the most important thing to know precisely that. For others it is hubris, and to say, “This is what I want,” is the same as taking that very thing away from someone else’s hands – as if there isn’t enough or there’s a universal rule that only some people get what they want while others may only take what they are given. Lao Tzu said, "He who knows enough is enough will always have enough." We may not get everything we explicitly ask for, but we also fail at 100% of the goals we never make.
Can you ask for what you want without being greedy, while saying and truly believing that "enough is enough"? Yes, you can. In fact, gratitude is the mood, attitude, or state of mind in which you'll spend a good amount of time if you want to meet more of your goals and dreams.
When we are not in the world of science but rather in subjectivity, there is no reason to believe what anyone else says. An interesting exercise you can try to see for yourself how making requests in gratitude works is to 1) make a list of all the things you truly want, and 2) rewrite each item on the list in a way that states you are already grateful to have it.
Take the following example of a list of dreams and goals:
I would like to speak a second language.
I would like to recover from sugar addiction.
I would like a new car.
Now consider doing the second step of the exercise:
I’m so glad I can speak two languages.
I’m grateful that I easily gave up sugar.
I’m so happy when I drive my new car.
Aside from gratitude, what is the difference between the first list and the second? The first has implications:
I would like to speak a second language . . . but I don’t.
I would like to recover from sugar addiction . . . but I’m still addicted . . . but it's too hard . . .
I would like a new car . . . but I don’t have one . . . and I may never have one . . .
Because working with what's currently in front of you can be discouraging - as Jung stated, you're still just dreaming and not awakening - it's much easier and more productive to work with the second list. It has very different implications, such as:
I’m so glad I can speak two languages . . . If I really want to be able to say this, I need to take some steps. I can’t just sleep with Langescheid’s German dictionary under my pillow and expect to know everything in the morning. I could start by taking a class, studying, going to conversation group, maybe even visiting Austria or Germany, eventually . . .
I’m grateful that I easily gave up sugar . . . If I really want this to be true, I need to eat healthy today. Maybe I can go for a hike to distract myself, or have some fruit, drink licorice tea, take chromium, make lemon mint tea . . .
I’m so happy when I drive my new car . . . Obviously I'm still driving my Ford Tempo, but I do want another car and I can just imagine myself in a Honda Fit! If I pick up a few extra shifts at work each month, soon I'll have a downpayment along with my trade-in. If they don't accept me at the new dealership, I'll ask my friend about that private lot where she got a loan. She said they had some nice cars and are reputable . . .
Does this work for everything, for every dream? Yes, it does, even though some may need a little tweaking if the dream goes against our or our world’s root assumptions. Think of root assumptions like principles of physics. For example, let’s say a person who was born without hands dreams of being a person with hands. This person can dream one day of having hands made like Luke Skywalker’s new hand in The Return of the Jedi. They may hope that hand transplants become more successful and they can try this surgery. Or they might want a functional prosthetic they don’t currently have. But if they decide to dream that they can grow a new hand like an iguana grows a new tail, they aren’t in acceptance of our world’s root assumption: people don’t grow new limbs to replace those they’ve lost.
Again, these are your dreams and your life. It is totally subjective. So, like I said, don't believe me. Experiment for yourself. And remember:
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. —John Anster, inspired by and translated from Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust