I am about to ask you a question that you have no doubt heard before, yet, as with all things possessing the ability to truly awaken, it bears repeating. If you knew your life was ending five years from now, would you still be doing what you're doing with it now?
The obvious answer to this question, for most, is of course a resounding 'no.' So why, then, having considered this, do the majority of us still fail to change even one thing, continuing on in endeavours we know are not fulfilling us?
Because, of course, this question doesn't belong in reality. Nobody hears this sentence and throws their cares to the wind, dropping everything to pursue their dreams with the unencumbered fervour of someone who has rediscovered life in the face of death. At best, it serves as a slight nudge in the right direction, being applied in some minor way in our daily lives. At worst, it is simply an embittering reminder of how dissatisfied we are, and how powerless we feel to change our life situation as it now stands.
Yet this does not keep us from dreaming — it just turns dreaming into something that needs to be prioritized. We will not die in five years. There is time. Sacrifices must be made, bills must be paid. There are mouths to feed, actual goals to attain and money to be saved. This is the stuff of real life. Ask any 'adult'. They will tell you. Yes, dream the dream, work towards it, just don't do it on company time.
Some of us hold fast, for a while. It's easy when you've still got more time ahead of you than behind. You never know what can happen. Anything is possible. Yet, as the days turn into years, the projection begins to fade. The past builds up, unfulfilled. The present remains so — nothing yet has worked out — and the future… maybe, but unlikely, until eventually we arrive somewhere in the final decades of our life, financially secure — finally! — and thoroughly stripped of our spirit. Rigid now with the experience of our unfulfilled dreams, we are left in the terrible position of defending our life choices and judging those of others. We cite, of course, all the rational, hardboiled things that we learned along the way as we were taught by this cold, cold world that we cannot have what our heart desires, that we must take what we can get, that we simply can't afford to truly care for people outside of our direct family, and that, ultimately, compassion is an extreme rarity.
We are the victims, in this scenario. Broken dreamers, the flames of the worlds we once thought possible extinguished in the unending bogs of so-called civilization. What happened? Why is it, exactly, that we find it so hard see our heart's intentions come to fruition? While very few will in fact drop everything in relentless pursuit of their dreams, as mentioned in the beginning of this article, it does not change the core truth that we are always at a place of choice. Every moment. So too will we remain there until the end. Yes, in many ways the present is a trap - all of the worldly things we require in order to live the way we do must be payed for, and therefore time must be sacrificed. And yes, there are endless examples of those who have risked it all and fallen terribly. This we know. The world is a hard place. No one's going to help us up.
What we fail to understand is the true nature of intention. Too often we relate intention to the future, to attaining something. When this is done, an attachment to the result develops, creating expectation and, thusly, setting us up for disappointment — or fulfillment — if only we get that thing. In this set up, the path becomes secondary to the goal, the self somehow incomplete without that which it desires. Often we impose time limits as well. If we fail to attain what it is we set our minds to by a certain point, we give up, change course, come up with a new idea, a new end goal to meet. If that is the case, then, I ask, how much did you believe in the original?
And yet, even the original idea — even a true intention of the heart — will set you up for disappointment if it is too static. The wonder of life is that there is no real way of knowing just what will show up, or how closely it may resemble what we originally had in mind. Intentions are like seeds. They must be let go in order for them to grow. Relinquished to the earth, to the world. Only then, through detachment, can we watch them come to fruition. Would it serve us to dig up the seed the day after it was planted so as to view its progress? Or a month later, to uproot the seedling in order to see how the roots are doing? Surely not. Yet neither does this imply neglect. It would not serve us to sow the seeds and then forget about them completely, either. In both cases, the fruit borne in the end will be of a lesser quality.
We must walk the middle path. It is there that we will find the ability to nurse our heart's intentions to abundance. Yes, oftentimes the process can take years, decades, and just where we arrive in the end may fail to resemble that which we had in mind. That's ok. Let go of it. Plant the seeds, tend lovingly to them as they grow, yet give them also the space to unfold as they will. Return to the moment, releasing the need for results, while continuing to set intentions forth. Doing so is a great exercise in faith, in the deep understanding that what we are setting forth is the truth, because we feel it, we know it to be true. We are not in need of any outside force to tell us so, or any manifestation of a particular result in order to justify our forward motion.
The tests will come, as they should. Remain in this place of 'understanding without evidence', and they will be overcome. Greatness — as our our world has labeled it — is built upon faith. Faith is found in the truth you — not society — know to be true. Everyone knows when they have found it. It's unmistakable. Do not allow the illusion of the world to lead you away from it. Where you are at now is exactly where you need to be. Release the seeds of intention in this manner, and you may just come to find yourself in a forest that has flowered divinely.