Beware What You Wish For

Follow dream

Consider this: what if dreams were meant to ruin us? 

I’m not talking about snooze-dreams, but rather our deepest yearnings.  “I have a dream!” kind of dream.  What if these dreams that lurk inside us were luring us to the perfect defeat?  The kind of defeat that gives us what we’re really after. 

Where do dreams lead?  Where are they meant to lead? 

My dreams, for instance, have taken me to Africa and India, to ashram and witch doctor and to careers in hydrology, filmmaking and writing.  But that’s only the glossy part of the story.  My adventures all end in disillusionment.  When they don’t, I probably haven’t ventured far enough.

Every trip includes a coming home – the longer gone the more unsettling the return.  My returns usually end in culture shock.  (This culture is pretty damn shocking!)  What good’s a trip if it doesn’t wake us out of habit and conventional thinking?  What good’s a career if it doesn’t teach us the ultimate futility of being a know-it-all? 

What good, ultimately, is succeeding, if it only leaves us content with where we are?  

We nurture our dreams, believing that our destiny lies on their far side.  Which is true.  But we get attached to the dream and remain unconscious of its empty aftermath.  In my experience, aspirations end in emptiness.  (You can kiss my aspirations!) 

If we keep our eyes open long enough, all our efforts ends in emptiness. I call that the perfect defeat. 

It would appear that not everyone recognizes this paradoxical end-all of ambition.  We don’t like defeat, nor do we really understand paradox.  It leaves us in uncomfortable limbo.  So let’s take it a step further:

The perfect defeat puts us “beyond defeat”.  It takes the duality out of things. 

You likely don’t know this but the “PJ” in PJ Reece derives from “Parajayo”, which is the Sanskrit name given to me a long time ago by an Indian teacher. 


It means “beyond defeat”.  

I remember when he gave me my name, he said, “Now, who is there to be defeated?”

If it’s true what that old man said, and if it’s true what I’mtrying to say here, then all our efforts have a more profound goal than we ever imagined. 

And it gives delicious new meaning to the old adage: 

“Beware of what you wish for.”

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  1. McGoo says

    Do you mean challenge? Something that is absent from one’s current life drama, something somewhere else in a different time (future) in a different realm (imagination)? Oh, those dreams. I understand those to be the conundrums that present themselves as ‘dreams’ because they cannot be realised in the present, e.g. I just had to go to England to find out that it was not possible to live there. I couldn’t see it from where i was actually standing (in Canada) so I had to play out my idea of life somewhere else in order to discover for sure and put an end to speculation, whether it was possible or not. If that’s what it takes to discover what it is you really need to know, then I say, dream on. It’s worth it.

  2. says

    It’s “the secret life of dreams” — their purpose to help us discover “what it is you really need to know”. Thanks for that.

  3. Sarah says

    The dream sparks the journey, and as we all know, joy is in that journey, not the end. Having a new dream rising as the preceding one is completed is as close to contentment as I shall ever be.

    Thanks for the Sanskrit!

  4. says

    A further word on the Sanskrit, Sarah: Parajayo actually means “the opposite of victory” or “defeat”. My full Sanskrit name is “Veet Parajayo”, which translates out as “the opposite of the opposite of victory”… or beyond defeat. And that exhausts my knowledge of Sanskrit.

  5. Avi Weiss says

    Some people have more dreams and goals then others and I think the amount of dreams one has, indicates nothing to do with motivation. Motivation to pursue your dreams can take all sorts of forms depending on the dream itself and the identity of the individual. Speaking as someone who often feels unmotivated I’m relieved to hear the echo of ‘frequently accomplishing your dreams may make you more busy then you need to be’. This may sound as if I read it off the tattooed calf of a teenage girl (because i did) but: “Life’s a journey, enjoy the ride.”

  6. says

    I agree: “Life’s a journey; enjoy the ride.” Absolutely. The key is to keep enjoying it when it you get bucked off. Few of us are able to accept the bad with the good. The Stoic philosophy comes in handy at these times. Enjoy — no, love! everything. Even not being motivated. Whoever has the talent to enjoy even negative space… that’s the person I want to have coffee with.

  7. says

    Ah! Your splendid insights recall for me a line by the poet, Wallace Stevens. I have a sneaking hunch that if one were to remember or hear this line while dreaming, one would wake up! so to speak…

    “The ultimate truth is to know that what we believe in is a fiction and to believe in it willingly.”

  8. says

    This believing and dancing with the fiction is called the “leela”. Am I right? It’s all a play. Play along! Living savvy like that — no need to beware anything anymore. Arrff!

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