Dreams and Reality, which is which?

I read something that began an interesting thought trail that I thought would be worth sharing.  The excerpt was related to dreams and the comment was that it is only in our dreams that we are truly ourselves.  This prompted quite a bit of thought.

Are we really our true selves in our dreams?  Do we engage and create in our dreams as we truly are, without filters?  If we are, then who are we when we are awake?  Are we really ourselves or are we just projecting the persona that is either established for that audience or alternatively creating a persona that we believe the other person(s) needs to see. Each time we do this, how much of that is driven by our ego?  As you think about this, consider honestly how much of the real you is in the persona that you have developed with your partner, siblings, parents, relatives, work colleagues, people in stores, people at church (if you go), people in nightclubs, bars, on public transport.  In each and every one of these situations you adjust some element of your persona so that you are hopefully perceived in a certain way and usually with the intention of determining an outcome.  Then consider that everyone is doing this.

So what is really reality?  Is it your unfiltered dreams (where you are really you), or is it what we tend to think of as reality which is our awake state and no one is really showing who they are and what they really think, acting in a massive multi-layered ego driven tableau?

Think it through, it’s very interesting.  Let me know 🙂

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Top 5 regrets when you die

This is worth sharing.  Most of the time when I get these types of emails I trash them immediately because its always “send it to 10 people immediately or your right testicle will get elephantitis”. 

When I read it, I thought that this is probably the truth.  When I think about how many of the people I know (including myself), don’t think about this very much I realised it was worth sharing.  Read it and spend 10 minutes to really think about it.

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For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying. It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness. 

 
We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
-Frederick Koenig

I have now arrived in “The United States of Unconsciousness”

I had to smile yesterday on the Delta flight coming to the US when this song came up on the ipod.  How very, very true.

The group is – ‘The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy’ and the track is Called “Television Drug of the Nation”

Unfortunately I cannot embed the video into this post.  Watch it, because it is bloody good.

Egypt & Western Hypocrisy

As the pressure grows within Egypt for change, it is very interesting to take distance and notice the response from both the US and from Europe.  To say that the western world got caught with its pants down would be an understatement.

The US response of vocalising its support for an “orderly transition” – to what, would be a fair question and then Britain, France & Germany favouring “free and fair” elections, as long as that does not legitimise Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, makes for interesting reading.  This of course leads into an even more interesting situation.  The ‘need’ to be publicly seen to back the pro-democracy wishes of the Egyptian people do tend to tighten the vice on the west balls, because in doing so (which pro-democracy ideology requires), means that they are going to end up in very interesting ideological contortions should the folks in Jordan or Saudi Arabia decide that this is also a good idea.

It does make you wonder if liberty, human dignity and democratic freedom is limited by access to oil and support for Israel.  Of course not 🙂

Of course there are also the corresponding stories of how the Israelis are glued to the news channels watching events unfold.  Why would they be concerned?  After all for decades, they have demonstrated their respect for human rights, regional economic development & inclusion and there tireless efforts to bring together all the stakeholders, peoples and interest groups to build a much more stable and inclusive middle east. 

One cannot help but smile and remember;

“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7, KJV).

American Gun Culture

The recent shootings in Arizona have sparked many articles related to the ownership and use of guns within America.  Needless to say, not many folks are considering restricting access to firearms. 

It was interesting to note an article in the Economist that highlighted that in the 18 years between 1979 – 1997, more people in America died as a result of guns than all Americans killed in foreign wars since independence. It was 30,000 people per year. I found that staggering.

When you then consider a country like Switzerland where it is mandatory that all men of military age must have a military firearm in the house around 34 people per year are either killed or wounded with guns.

He who knows

“He who knows and knows that he knows, is a sage, follow him”

“He who knows not and knows that he knows not, is a seeker, teach him”

“He who knows and knows not that he knows, is asleep, wake him”

“He who knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool, shun him”

Spend a little time and think which of these categories applies to most of those around you at work, in the news, our leaders (self styled or voted) and acquaintances.