“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
The premise of Dream Gliding is that of predestination. We embark upon a pre-determined journey that ultimately will represent our life’s story. It is the great American novel written in our own hand and spoken in our own voice.
Dream Gliding is a pathway detailed in countless stories, myths, and songs. The refrain has been chanted for centuries, from the dawn of civilization and throughout history. Different voices sing the same song as we acknowledge a timeless spiritual contract, bonding us together in a collective unconsciousness of sameness: birth, death, war, peace, love, hate.
This message has been heard before. A host of inspirational writers and motivational speakers have successfully marketed their versions of Dream Gliding for attaining success and a meaningful life. They include, among others, old school teachers such as Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Og Mandino, and Zig Ziglar, and modern-day instructors Deepak Chopra, Stephen Covey, Anthony Robbins, and Eckhart Tolle. Their profound lessons have helped countless individuals turn their lives around. All of these contemporary teachings are echoes from the past. They are incantations that were voiced by high priests, shamans, and wise men for centuries. The message remains the same. There is nothing new under the sun; The drama of life repeats itself again and again.
Although we are mere grains of sand in the vortex of the cosmos, we are irreplaceable and awesome individuals. It is important to realize that we are not lone travelers but fellow travelers with shared chemistry, ancestry, and purpose. Carl Jung called it the “collective unconsciousness,” the apex where rivers of commonality flowed into a larger, more-encompassing ocean of humanity. Even with deep connections to family and community, we embrace and interact with a greater whole. We are interconnected to a larger existence; a universe within another universe, a world without end. The grand lesson is one of cooperation, mutual trust, and the understanding that we need each other for connection and joy. Dream Gliding is an opportunity to reap the rewards of this shared, sacred trust.
The process of Dream Gliding, like a cascading waterfall, should be an effortless, dynamic flow. It is the poetry of being, of existing, and seeing with the eyes of the soul. It is an odyssey where we lose awareness of self and discover our extraordinary place in the world. Dream Gliding is placing a philosophy into motion in a metaphysical flight. We embark upon our journey realizing not our specific goal, but our intrinsic direction
Footstep after footstep, we begin our journey. Dream Gliding is exciting, painful, and brief. We crawl through Mother Earth’s slimy muck, humble travelers on this majestic third planet from the sun, searching for meaning and answers. There are infinite secrets begging to be unraveled. These include questions pertaining to the meaning of life and the existence of God. The most important singular mystery is to determine our connection to the world: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is my sacred mission and my reason for existing?”
Existential psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom argued that although we have the freedom to shape our own lives, “meaning-seeking creatures” can only search for meaning indirectly. He wrote:
The search for meaning, much like the search for pleasure, must be conducted obliquely. Meaning ensues from meaningful activity: the more we deliberately pursue it, the less likely are we to find it. In therapy, as in life, meaningfulness is a byproduct of engagement and commitment, and that is where therapists must direct their efforts — not that engagement provides the rational answer to questions of meaning, but it causes these questions not to matter.
Engagement in a task brings about its own reward, and during Dream Gliding we become totally absorbed in our spirit. It is the instant where we disconnect from the past and future and become completely absorbed in the “now.” Like magnificent monuments of past civilizations, Dream Gliding becomes the moment of peak experience, embracing what others have deemed “God consciousness.”
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
How wise for Confucius to make that profound statement centuries ago. He knew that the process of getting started, of taking our first, tentative step, was the most fundamental part of any journey. It is the point where determination, confidence, and action overpower passivity, confusion, and fear. It denotes the need to change and, in doing so, to sacrifice, to reshape our inner self. Taking that initial step is never easy, as we are confronted with the fear of the unknown and a departure from our predictable and safe routine. Many people, draped in fear and self-doubt, never reach this initial point. They fail to realize that in order to make their lives more meaningful, and to bring about positive behavioral change, they need to take that first step.
The theme of leaving home and discovering our place in the world has been a popular subject throughout the ages. The Biblical Prodigal Son and Siddhartha are prime examples of this journey. The Prodigal Son tells the story of the obedient older son who stays home and works hard, respecting his father. The younger son, however, runs away to ‘a far country,’ squanders his inheritance and, at one point, lives among pigs. Upon his return, the younger son is welcomed back with a feast as the father reassures the older son, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:24)
Like Chinese Buddhist monk Hsuan Tsang, who, in the seventh century, embarked upon a 17-year journey of over 5,000 miles, similarly, Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha left home as a young man in the hope of gaining spiritual enlightenment. He began his journey as an ascetic wandering beggar before experiencing self-enlightenment.
All these stories share the commonality of leaving home, rebelling, defying parents, experiencing carnal pleasures, and eventual self-discovery Each has a predictable beginning, middle and end. Sheldon Cashdan, who teaches ‘The Psychology of Fantasy and Folklore’ at the University of Massachusetts, has identified the key variables of a ‘four-part journey.’ He believes that all fairy tales utilize these four stages to illustrate morality and also to help individuals deal with internal conflicts. In his book The Witch Must Die, Cashden describes:
1- the crossing, where the hero finds himself in a strange mythical landscape far removed from the human psyche,
2- the encounter, where the hero is confronted by a challenge to his journey, usually in the guise of a witch or evil wizard,
3- the conquest, which ends in victory over the evil entity, and
4- the celebration of good over evil.
In “Catcher in the Rye,” the timeless novel by J.D. Salinger, protagonist Holden Caulfield, much like Siddhartha and the Prodigal Son, attempts to find his place in the world. Caulfield is frustrated, alienated, and confused. He struggles to find his identity and, after recovering from a mental breakdown and expulsion from prep school, decides to spend a few days by himself, away from the “phonies.” His brief journey inside New York’s concrete canyons leads him to endless adventures with an old girlfriend, a former classmate, thugs, a prostitute, a questionable homosexual encounter, then back to the safety of his parents and his 10-year-old sister Phoebe.
Recurring themes of journey and self-discovery are not relegated to the realm of fictional literature but play out in real life. All humans are born with potential and great expectations. We have the ability to claim the throne. But, in order for this to happen, we must honor our contract. The most important lesson of Dream Gliding is to heed the message from previous generations. There is power in knowledge, and we need to be studious in our undergraduate role. We must express gratitude for the talents we have been granted and then multiply those talents. And too, we must begin our journey, choosing our direction, and following in the pathway of our sacred pact.
Maxim W. Furek has a rich background that includes aspects of psychology, addictions, mental health and music journalism. His book The Death Proclamation of Generation X: A Self-Fulfilling Prophesy of Goth, Grunge and Heroin explores the dark marriage between grunge music and the beginning of the opioid crisis. Learn more at shepptonmyth.com