Last month I had a dream where I found myself shuffling through an unfamiliar airport. I was unsure of my destination or where to find my gate, so I asked a TSA agent for help. The man glanced at the ticket and said “This is an international flight, you need to go to the other side of the airport”.
The dream continued, the airport transformed into an amusement park, and I never did find my flight. As the dream slipped away I felt a bolt of energy run through my system, like an intravenous dose of adrenaline was being pumped through my veins. I awoke with a deep breath and heard a voice from within my heart say, “Go to India”.
This didn’t feel like just a dream.
That message was unexpected to say the least, and I laid awake in bed invigorated until the sun rose. Over the next few days I was excited and nervous as the dream bounced around in my head, rearranging my plans for the spring. The outside world showed me signs everywhere I looked, guiding me toward India. The guidance of that voice was so strong, but my rational mind retaliated against such a flight of fancy with a list of reasons on why it was irresponsible.
After a week or so, I watched the fire lit by that dream start to fade as my rational mind tried to snuff it out. I knew I had to make the decision soon before my mind destroyed that vision. If I didn’t act quickly the idea would be buried, with a tombstone reading “just a dream”.
Many of us have struggled to find balance between our rational minds and spontaneous hearts. Sometimes our fears run so deep, guiding us subconsciously, that we can’t see things for what they are. That’s why it’s important to be aware of how fear and self-doubt may be masquerading as practicality or rationality in your life. Sometimes dropping into our hearts, and “out of our minds” is the only way to find the truth.
Walking in balance with grounded spontaneity is a powerful spiritual practice. It is important for us to rebuild that relationship between the mind and the heart, so that they aren’t in constant battle. Eventually, the heart can begin to gently guide the mind again.
Bestselling author and Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield talks about this symbiosis, “The ‘Jewel in the Lotus’ is the translation of the universal compassion mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum.’ While it has many meanings, one explanation of its symbolism is that compassion arises when the jewel of the mind rests in the lotus of the heart.”
In the end I realized which voice I needed to listen to, and it wasn’t the voice of practicality, but one of trust. So on Christmas day I made the leap and bought a one way ticket to New Delhi. The last time I followed such a dream, it led me to Southern California where I met my future wife, and reconnected with a lifelong friend. I’m excited to see what doorways this dream opens up.
What battle is your heart loosing to the mind? What fearful thoughts in your head are masquerading as practicality?