Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Art of Dreaming

In the story of Alice and the Looking Glass, there is a conversation between Alice and the White Queen, where Alice is disbelieving that one could actually believe impossible things can be done. The Queen responded to Alice as though Alice was speaking nonsense; “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Dreaming in general only begets impossibilities, so we’re told, and yet we continue to dream. At some point, we are shuffled into life and the harsh realities that our frivolous dreams keep us from doing what is practical and necessary for survival. Dreaming, some would say, is for children to do as they sleep. Dreaming, I would say, is a lost art that few dare to practice for a minimum of half-an-hour a day.

One of the most central pieces to dreaming is the concept of belief; It’s part of the foundation. That’s why the stress is on believing the impossible and not simply imagining it. Anyone can imagine that a plane can fly, but will we believe that it can fly. That’s what the Wright Brother’s did. If not for their belief that we could find a way to fly, it would have stayed in the imagination of our minds, and the triumph of that generation’s explorations in aviation would have been lost.

This concept is often what fuels scientists as they seek answers to the variety of mysteries in our lives, but what about for us average folks? How can we put into practice believing the impossible for our lives, our friends, our families, and our communities? You have to start with knowing where you want to go.

The Cheshire Cat makes the statement about knowing where you want to go to Alice when she asks him if he can direct her towards which path to choose. She didn’t know where she needed to go, so of course, he couldn’t direct her one way or the other. We have to have a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is innate to our being and simply needing definition, and sometimes that purpose requires that we go on some kind of journey to discover it, but it is my observation that to know where one is going, one needs to know who they are; even if it’s only a hint to start with. I think Lewis Carroll was trying to find a way for us to understand these things through his parable of Alice’s wild adventures. He was retelling a story that has been ruminating since the dawn of time, and drawing us into the heart of not only dreaming, but realizing how dreams can come true.

Now, I think it’s important to remember that though we dream, we ought not develop a rigid expectation around how those dreams come true. Sometimes the dream is a means to inspire movement in our lives. There are many, many things I have been dreaming about since I was a little girl that have not been realized yet; some of what has been realized was not at all what I thought it would be. It’s even better. It’s better because I understand more fully who I am, and can better grasp where I need to go. It may be a funny looking road to walk on, but it will be full of adventure, full of the realization of those dreams I’ve had for so long, and full of more dreams to believe in. The same is true for all of us. If we weren’t made for this, none of us would find such a value in it or fight against its devalue. So, how do we move into a place where we believe the impossible? Just start believing. Believe in who you are. Believe in who God says you are. (You read that correctly. And btw, if you’re hearing negative things coming from “God” I would venture to say you’re not hearing the right voice...He says things like, beautiful, strong, intelligent, loved, wanted, powerful, gracious, kind, gentle, humble, full of wonder, inspired, etc. Anything else is bat poop.) Get excited about discovering the mystery of who you are. It’s part of helping to discover where you’re going. Dreams are there to help us see what we could not see by experience alone. We need to practice it so that everyone in our lives can benefit from the miracles we bring from living them out.

So, I implore you, make a list of impossible things that you’d like to see happen. Post them below, if you’d like, and let’s start practicing the Art of Dreaming. I believe. I believe. I believe.

1 comment:

dani said...

This is so true, and something I really needed to hear! We often associate dreaming with children, but I think this helps all of us change our minds about that. The dreams I had as a child, I still hold near. But believing I could achieve them was the impossible part.I dreamed about singing, and sharing my talent, love, and faith with the world. I dreamed of opening my own school, and having the opportunity to prepare another generation for life. I'm waiting patiently on God to lead me in the right direction when it comes to both of these dreams! I know he'll see me through it! So today, (thanks to you), I believe. I believe. I believe.