I have been thinking lately about a quote by T. E. Lawrence, known to many as Lawrence of Arabia. It goes like this: “All men [sic] dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men [sic], for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”
T. E. Lawrence is reminding us that not only does it matter how we choose to act moment to moment, it matters what we can and are willing to imagine with our choices. It matters what we can dream, what we can create in our imaginations. Can we, do we, engage in a rich imagination that can reach into the present and shape the life process?
I remember a particular lecture given by Yogi Bhajan in 1999. He spoke of upcoming events when the world would move towards ever increasing polarities. Tolerance and compromise would become scarce, and tragic events would happen that were unthinkable to each of us sitting there. His words seemed out of sync as we listened, but the unfolding of history has proven him right.
The future, Yogi Bhajan said, was in the hands of those who could lead with new ideas, new visions in education, environment, food, and the welfare of all beings. Nothing would change, he reminded us, if we only wished it so. Change comes from the one who can imagine vividly and the one who is willing to act on that vision.
There are no limits to what one can dream. Actions by comparison can seem small, tedious, even monotonous. Dreams require a constant attending to by the repetition of each moment’s choice; they need to be lived out in the consistent daily exchanges of this day and the next.
The world is in need of more dangerous dreamers. What is our dream for this planet and its inhabitants? And how committed are we to the persistent actions that make that dream possible?