We all have to be aware of our personal calling. Why are we here, what is our purpose, what makes us unique and what is it we are supposed to share? When you figure it out, you are filled with enthusiasm and passion; your questions fall short and the answers surface. But the older I get the less I see people living out their dreams. This constant feeling of imprisonment, trapped in the life they lead, thinking this is the way it's 'supposed' to be.
What happened to our curiosity,
the imagination that shined bright in our youth?
I talk a lot about conditioning but haven't taken the time to explain exactly what that means, so for better understanding, I will elaborate. The dictionary describes a condition as something that has a 'significant influence', it can be looked at as a determinant, a factor that decisively affects the nature or outcome of something. Conditioning is everything that has influenced us throughout our lives. It is a behavioral process whereby a response becomes more frequent or more predictable in a given environment as a result of reinforcement. Conditioning can also be looked at as the stories we were 'told to believe', without question. Conditioning is second thought, it is taking someone else's idea and making it your own; no analyzing or questioning, rather pure blind acceptance.
Whether we like to believe it our not, we (humans) are a bunch of animals. We are no different than Pavlov's Dog or the deer that come to lick the salt stick. We are conditioned by the environment we have been raised in. Our eating habits have been passed down from our parents, our personalities are transformed by the experiences we encounter and our desires are shaped by the society we are brought up in. Every advertisement you see, every TV show you watch, every song you listen to, all the love you make is subtly changing the way you think. The people you surround yourself with and the thoughts they provoke are undoubtedly affecting who you are.
What conditions you?
Most people are completely unaware of this natural process, lost in the idea that things are just the way they are because that's the way it is. It's when you start becoming aware of the process you realize you have control over the outcome. An old English Proverb says a man is known by the company he keeps. We are the average of the five people we spend most our time with. We are nothing more, and nothing less, than the environment in which we live; our life is a compilation of all we have been exposed to. Knowing this allows us to gain control and understanding of any situation; realizing that if we want something better, then we better do something about it. We better continually push ourselves to be involved with people who want the same things in life, surrounding ourselves with experiences that inspire and motivate us to grow and pursue our dreams.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
As a child we are asked 'what do you want to be when you grow up?' And for a while we are told that we should follow that dream, that anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it... but somewhere in the race to grow up we lose comfort in this idea. From childhood onward we become conditioned to believe that our dreams are impossible, they simply become a means to pass time in empty thought. As the years pass the layers of fear, guilt, and doubt accumulate burying our dreams in a mound of impossibility. We are conditioned to believe our only security can come from money, so much so that we put off our Dreams to 'make a living'.
I'm not saying everyone is lost in their 9 to 5 but many of us are just trying to get by. If you have found and followed your dream and live happily, I congratulate you. For those of you who have questioned yourself throughout this entire essay, I challenge you. I challenge you to dig deeper, notice your conditions, and consciously decide if the life you are living is the life you chose to live. Or is it rather the accumulation of societal expectation? Graduate high school, head to college, get a job, get married, make babies and once you've done all that maybe, if you make it there, you will retire. By that point you will be so exhausted by constantly trying to live up to what other people expect that your old, fragile soul will bask in sorrow. You will look back and say "I wish I would have".
I know I'm young, and I know I don't have attachments or a family or a house or anything else to 'hold me back'... but I also know that those are excuses stemming from fear. Fear of failure and fear of change. You only have one life and you might not make it to the end of today, so what are you waiting for? What is holding you back? What is your Dream, your Calling? If it were all over tomorrow, would you die with regrets? It is never too late to go after what you've always wanted.
Look yourself in the mirror and be true with what you see.. Are you where you want to be? Are you living your Dreams? Do you wake up excited for a new day or are you trapped in monotony? If you decide life is falling short, what is it you will do to change that? Our society has conditioned us to believe we are victims to all that happens to us, mere cogs in this empty machine... But how far from reality do we have to stray to see things how they really are. Find your inner child and ask him or her what is it that makes you truly happy. What fuels your fire, what makes you grow?
All we believe we will eventually see. What we think we will become.
Create the life you want to live and live the dream you have created. Once you decide to go after what you love, the Universe conspires to help you achieve what you are meant to be. Know that when you are doing what you love, you are inspiring others to do the same. Even though we are one in seven billion, one is still one. One person can make a ginormous difference. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha, and Jesus were individually one being. With their trust and courage they influenced millions and will continue to do so as long as humans roam. The life you lead will always and forever influence others, so do what it is that you love and do it with passion and compassion. The happier we are as individuals, the happier the world will become.
To persue ones dream is
ones only real obligation.
Let the night time thoughts come to life. Be creative and courageous. Let go of the fear and the doubt. Choose consciousness over conditioning. Forget about what is 'expected' of you and realize that you only get one chance to this life. Your body, mind, and soul is unique and made of magic. We have purpose, that is not a question... If you can dream it, you can do it. The only gap between a sheep and greatness is action.