Don’t you give up your dreams. Spend your life in pursuit of them. It does not matter which ones come true and which ones don’t. The point is you will have lived a life pursuing what meant the most to you. We can look around us and see countless reasons to despair and also countless reasons to persevere.
Focus your attention on the things that make life worth living. Look at publications that uplift you. Read spiritual books that inspire you. If you watch television and movies, try to expose yourself to heart-opening, thought-provoking media. For goodness sakes, do not read the newspaper. We already know that the human condition is full of challenges. There is no need to compound those challenges by focusing our attention en masse upon the worst parts of our society. If you cannot let that go because you feel that your livelihood is connected to it, then be disciplined in what you read so that you only ingest the parts that you must and you will limit the negative effect upon your life.
Look for sources of information, which contain hope, love and possibility within them. Work to make your life better. Work to help the people around you and to make their lives better. If everyone did that, we would have a world of peace in a few weeks.
Be unapologetic in your positivity even in the face of dire circumstances. Even when it seems that there is no way out, insist that there is one and that you just cannot see it at that moment. Though you may not have an answer now, be secure in the knowledge that there is an answer to every question you can ask. You may need to develop patience to wait out periods of “darkness”. Know that the light always comes.
Do not misunderstand the Human condition and how difficult it is. It is challenging to be a human being because of the interplay between our own desires and the rules of The Uni-verse. We die, for example. That’s a tough one for us. We lose loved ones and must navigate through sadness, anger, jealousy and grief. These things are not a theory. We all experience them and we are here, in part, to support each other as we go through the hardest parts of our lives.
We are also here to celebrate each other. To look upon another person’s success with excitement and awe is a blessing. Do not let jealousy and envy overcome you. Be excited for other people who find success and, inspired by their example, continue to pursue the things that mean the most to you. Think how you feel when watching an Olympic athlete win a gold medal. Do you sit there thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe it is not me up there,” or are you in awe of the discipline that it must have taken for that person to get to that place. For me, it is inspiring to see someone obtain excellence, even mastery in something. That makes me want to become excellent at the things I am working on. Though we may never obtain mastery, it is our pursuit of mastery that matters.
When you do experience negative emotions regarding other people’s accomplishments, deal with them in the moment. How? See how your emotions are directly related to some work within yourself that still needs to be addressed. When you encounter envy, take it to mean that there is something you are being asked to do that you are not yet doing. It is the Uni-verse’s way of nudging you to put you “on task” and it actually has nothing to do with the person or situation you are envious of. With patience and humility, you can acknowledge someone else’s successes while at the same time using the feeling of envy to fuel your own efforts.
Do not be misguided in this world. Learn how to listen to your own heart. Develop an inner compass through the ancient practices of yoga, meditation and prayer. Learn about yourself. This will require you to be quiet and to focus your attention within. You will need to spend some time alone. This does not mean time in front of the television, computer or even lost in a book. I am speaking about time spent in quiet reflection, prayer and meditation. Do you know how to do these things? If you do not, then take some time to learn. The story of my life can be summed up as follows: on those days when I meditated and practiced yoga, I felt connected to what really mattered. On those days when I did not meditate or practice, I felt less connected to what really mattered. I do not know how to put this any more plainly. Start your practice today and you will find that the pursuit of your dreams, in and of itself, will become a wonderful, magical journey that is worth living for.
I say these things to you as a recovered drug addict who had lost myself completely to hardcore drug addiction.
There was a time when I could not imagine a day without using drugs. I was not really living. Each day was another experience of just how powerless I was to do anything of value for myself much less others. I wanted to stop and a thousand times I made that commitment, but it only resulted in more sadness and frustration.
Yet, somehow, even in the midst of my worst drug abuse, I never gave up my hope of learning to live a better life. I had no idea how this was to happen, but I still wanted it deep within. What I was missing was the pathway, support and love I needed to get better from the profound, unseen things that plagued me. When I was blessed with the right teachers and the willingness to listen to them, the light flooded into my heart and I found recovery.
Don’t give up your dreams no matter what happens. Keep trying. Keep looking. Persevere. Bring whatever positivity you can to the struggle and it will build upon itself. As the famous poet, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, “Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers.”
I wish that for you.
In Love and Gratitude,
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Tommy Rosen is a yoga teacher and addiction specialist. Check out his website here.