I had a dream… no, not the Martin Luther King Jr. kind, though I do share his desire that people are judged on the content of their character and not the color of their skin.
No, my dream was that I was stuck in an Airport with my family and an unhelpful airline agent was not issuing us our boarding pass. It was not clear to me when our flight actually left, what the issue with our tickets was, or even what time it was currently, but my family was slowly spreading out through gift shops and restaurants, there was but one agent, and a long line behind me getting more and more impatient while security personnel, oddly European looking, hovered nearby in case I dare raise my voice too loud. It was a frustrating dream.
However, it was occurring while I was in a lucid state. I consciously knew it was a dream, I knew it was actually 3 AM, that I was uncomfortably laying in my bed and that there was no flight to catch. But I wanted to show that travel agent that I could get on that plane… yes, the imaginary one from my dream… I was invested.
It is odd what we often become invested in. Sometimes it is simply from habits. Once we invest enough time in something we want to ‘see it through’. We maintain an idea of how it will be. We project into the future a completion and vision of what that future will look like. Whether your a meth head stealing a TV with an idea of being high soon, or a CEO trying to save a company from a disastrous quarter, the base motivations are the same. Life is like X, and you want it like Y.
Investment is a two-edged sword. It is both a powerful tool to help accomplish things and a basis for a lot of unhappiness.
As we project out an idea of how our life will be we create essentially an imaginary idea. This is based on the past, but typically includes presumptions of how we want current things to change. This often results in two separate views of the future. One is actual reality. That is the way things actually are. The other is your expected reality. The way you wanted things to be when you reached this point in time and space.
Visualize this as a vector. From one point you have a line heading straight up. This is Actual Reality. A few degrees off to the side lets say at about 1 o’clock on a clock face, you have an equal distance line. This is your Expected Reality.
As these lines continue to diverge the gap between them gets larger and larger. It is this gap that we fill with disappointment, spite, disillusionment, and regret. The further these lines diverge, the greater the space to fill.
If we maintain an investment in our expected reality the gap widens. We must, therefore, maintain an integrity of mind and choose to invest in actual reality in progressing towards our imaginary future while ensuring we do confuse what actually IS with what we imagined.
We can aspire towards a future happily if we continuously reset our current view to be in line with actual reality. We must be invested in the change we wish to see, but not in the imaginary future we associate with it.