Overcoming Fantasy On the Road to Living an Authentic Life
By Trevor Washington
The line between following our dreams and living in a fantasy world can become blurry when we never accept the present moment. The here and now is the only thing that we can count on, but it never seems to be enough.
One of the greatest and seemingly inhuman spiritual virtues is contentment. I say inhuman, because it seems to go against our very being. We strive as a species to constantly progress, every generation trying to be better than the one before. It would seem that the struggle to better ourselves is built into our very DNA. It is what has allowed us to thrive as a species. It very well might be what destroys us in the end.
But on a personal level, how do we choose to be happy, to be satisfied, when our brains are constantly fantasizing about a better life? And how do we temper that contentment with not giving up on our dreams?
One problem with the chasing our dreams mentality is that they are not even innate, but manufactured by the corporate complex. Everyone wants to be a pop star, a movie star, or the next great politician. We are constantly being bombarded by the cult of celebrity, and we forget about our own lives while feeding off the daily machinations of others’ seemingly worthwhile existence.
We first have to stop. We have to analyze what exactly makes us happy. We know that we are happy when our minds become calm. Basically we are happy when we are entertained. We are happy while eating, dancing, sleeping, or listening to a new song, because these events square us in the present moment. We lose our boredom even during traumatic or chaotic events for the same reason. We are in the moment. The future and the past fade away and we don’t even think about contentment or satisfaction because we are completely focused on what is happening in the now.
The secret to contentment is being satisfied while not doing any of those things. Knowing that happiness is a state of mind, we have to analyze and train our minds to be happy even while just staring at the wall, and waiting for the day to pass. We have to learn to be content while being scolded for something that may or may not actually be our fault. We have to learn to be satisfied while dealing with the stress of a job that may not have been our 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or even 15th choice.
Learning to be happy, to me, means giving up on fantasy; to respect the situation that we’ve been blessed with and to make the best out of it that we can. I’m not saying that we should give up on our dreams. But, I am saying that at some point, we have to stop waiting for something else to happen. At some point we have to realize that this is indeed our life.
If we don’t start to accept the life that we have, before we know it, our time here will have passed us by, and it will only be about what we should have done rather than being satisfied with the life we lived. We would die with regret. To die happy we have to train ourselves to be happy. We have to train ourselves to be content. Giving up on fantasy, we have to embrace our own reality, and know that we are indeed blessed.
– Don’t look, for you’ll never find me.
Written for the On Living and Dying series. If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more info here: 365 Days On Living and Dying. But first, leave a comment and let Trevor know how you feel about what he said.
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