Happiness, Philosophy

What Does It Mean, To Chase A Dream?

What does it mean to chase a dream? [Credit: Johannes Plenio on Unsplash]

What does it mean to chase a dream? A chase hints at desperation: I think of X-Factor contestants who feel they have a God-given talent, only to open their mouths and insult Simon Cowell. What separates the deluded from those who find success after multiple setbacks, because they didn’t stop believing?

All dream-chasing contains a seed of delusion, but at what cost? The chase implies the dream is moving away, that if you don’t follow, it’ll disappear. Perhaps the chase is the ego’s attempt to make a dream a raison de vivre, or a way of feeling worthy or special.

I’ve been chasing a dream for years. It’s a borderline obsession. I’ve felt flow, joy, affirmation, alignment, abundance, open doors. I’ve also confronted rejection after rejection, failed projects, and a constant juggling of priorities. Many times I feel like giving up. And I might. For a while.

But then I feel the pull of something and I return to the work, muttering under my breath how this is the last time. I surrender to the process. I let go of expectations and have gratitude for the dream for adding colour to life. Then I am no longer chasing a dream, I’m carried by it. 

What’s needed to stop chasing and to be carried? Is it surrender to God’s will, the divine plan? I didn’t place the dream inside of me, it just, sort of, appeared one day. Who’s to say it’s my dream, anyway? Who’s to say your dream is yours?

Reflections From The World

When a dream takes hold, it re-prioritizes your hierarchy of values. Each decision is refined by what has to be done. Often, this feeling is impossible to put into words. It’s a pull towards something. That something has a special quality, its presence is to be honoured.

Equally, the world reflects all compelling reasons not to chase the dream. They’re challenges of resolve along the way. My biggest internal breakthroughs have been in the background of silence, in solitude, in the unconventional. My most significant outward results arrived moments after I felt they never would.

The “light” of my chase so closely reflects the “dark” of mental illness that trusting the process sometimes feels like embracing insanity. Withdrawing from the world can be a fruitful spiritual pursuit or depressive-isolation. Entering the realm of imagination is a dance with creativity or anxious escapism.

There’s no blueprint for chasing a dream. It’s trial-and-error, fake it ‘til you make it, smile and wave.

Then there are relationships. I’ve communicated this pull towards something with mixed success. I’ve faced peer-pressure. I’ve been called selfish. I’ve been told I don’t care. I’ve cried at feeling misunderstood. I’ve met new people who struggle with my unavailability and old friends that get fed up.

My lifestyle and structure is my best attempt to maximise my talent, energy, and temperament, to give me the best shot. Along the way, I’ve sacrificed finances, social plans, security. But I am too self-aware to know what comes at the expense blindly chasing a dream. I know my capacity for spiritual bypassing or neglecting reality checks. 

And in moments of doubt, I’m left with a heavy thought: am I doing this wrong? There’s no blueprint for chasing a dream. It’s trial-and-error, fake it ‘til you make it, smile and wave. How do you know if you’re on the right path?

The Unknown Mystery Of Dreams

That’s the nature of chasing dreams. I don’t know. I have no idea if I’m doing this right. What I do know is that by some miracle my mind, heart, body and soul were transformed, and through that transformation, my dream became a part of me. It’s just there.

Do dreams challenge us to embrace life’s mystery? Is the reason to keep going because there’s simply no choice? That once you feel the dream carrying you, ignorance is futile? Can dreams be viewed like skylines, as aspects of nature?

The dream isn’t a destination but motivation to walk the path

Perhaps dreams are given, not made. Perhaps all we can do is honour them, chase or be carried. Perhaps there is a point where it all makes sense. Perhaps as life draws to a close, we’re presented with the purpose of our dreams in a grand reveal — this is it.

Maybe deep within the collective psyche, there’s an unconscious mechanism that pulls people towards a common goal. In order to act out what steps need to be taken, the individual cogs in the cosmic machine are given a vision by God, that which leads us, in the form of a dream.

The dream isn’t a destination but motivation to walk the path, to play our part, to accept our role in the divine play. Perhaps all dreams are synchronised in one universal dream, making their nature incomprehensible to a single mind. 

Maybe one-by-one, the dream chasers and the deluded influence the world in ways unknown but meaningful. The long-dead writer’s book inspires a musician to create a song that stirs a scientist to revisit a hopeless project that leads to the cure of the disease tomorrow’s generation will be saved from.

Dreams, Delusions, And Giving Up Hope

Some people never look at their dreams, for fear that attempting to make them come true and failing is worse than seeing them at all. Some dreams are buried in the alcoves of the heart. Other dreams crash into consciousness with force, only to be numbed into passivity because societal expectations deem them a bit silly.

Others see the dream and chase. There are those who neglect other areas of life, those who ignore the red flags, those who chase with stubbornness and rigidity, those who don’t give up when it’s so-obvious-they-should, those might look deluded or foolish.

All dream chasers, at some point, feel the pull of that something.

Yes, there is a risk of gazing far-off into the horizon and missing the beauty on our doorstep. Yes, the concept of chasing a dream can be packaged as millennial wishful-thinking, the product of a vivid imagination, a sense of entitlement, and the peak of the hierarchy of needs. 

But the existence of dreams within the soul, in moments of joy and despair, is evidence that there’s more to them than meets the eye. All dream chasers, at some point, feel the pull of that something.

Chase dreams, and the world reflects gifts, too. Those who understand. Those who see the dream and get the chase. Those who offer support along the way. Those who encourage when the dream has disappeared from view. Those who validate and laugh away thoughts of delusion.

And then they know this cannot be deluded or foolish, for that pull comes from somewhere special, and the delusion and the foolishness are pretending that place does not exist.

Do you doubt your dreams? Do you feel deluded for chasing dreams? Do your dreams carry you? Or have you hidden your dreams from view? Let me know below.

Published by Ricky Derisz

Spirituality Coach and Meditation Teacher devoted to understanding the human psyche and nature of consciousness. Undergoing a life-long process of minding my ego.

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