Navigating the Dreamstate

218899_1804Question: The more I read about this, the more disconnected I feel from the people around me. It’s probably ego talking, but even though, not that long ago, “I” was one of “them”, it seems so stupid now to live life the way they do and not care about this tremendously important subject. But even besides that, I just find I can’t connect with others anymore, even worse than I was already unable to. They aren’t interested in that which moves me most, which fascinates me most.

I don’t think it need to be our values, ideas and opinions that connects us to other human beings. I think it’s the willingness to disengage in all of that and instead let life move on its own accord that allows for the most intimate form of connection to others.

But in order to do that one must first develop some basic trust. I’ve already written about moving from an intentionless place, but before you transition to that, here’s a quick primer on what you can start doing right now, from the top of my head:

There’s a basic conflict in the ordinary human way of being; between what one wants to do, and what one thinks he ought to do. When these two are in alignment, we experience effortlessness and flow – but when they’re not, we experience distress, anxiety and fear.

But we need to realize that our idea of what we should do is a terrible guide for navigating the dreamstate. It’s motivated by fear, not trust.

Instead, we can shift into another attitude – namely, that when the sense of  wanting to do something arises, we view that as the universe informing us of what we really should be doing.

In other words, we no longer let ourselves be guided by what we think we should do, but what we want to do.

Simple, right? Stop doing what you think you should be doing, and start doing what you want to do.

Now, sometimes it’s not so easy to tell the difference between these two. Sometimes we are so confused that we believe that our ideas of what we should be doing in fact are what we want to do, when they’re really not.

So, how do we distinguish between our ideas of what we should be doing and our ‘true’ desire?

Well, anything that suggests that you should be doing something, or having something, in the future is definitely not your true desire right now. So, if you think you should really be working towards getting a Ferrari, but right now you wanna sit in your couch, then your true desire is to sit in the couch, not having a Ferrari. And if these two are in conflict—for instance, you blaming yourself for being such a lazy bum—then you need to be a little more humble and show some respect for the wishes of the totality – cause right now, it wants to spend some time in the couch, and who are you to question that, right?

The key is to listen to what you want right now. Want to take a step in this direction? Want to say that particular thing? Want to think about this now? And if you don’t feel anything – if you don’t want anything in particular right now; then that’s the universe telling you to do nothing. It doesn’t matter if you’re standing by yourself in the middle of the dance floor, half drooling like an idiot – if something doesn’t come up, you don’t move.

And before you say it – if those bills are supposed to be paid, there will come a time when you want to pay them.

Now, if you’d let yourself be guided like this you’ll soon see a new way of being emerging. A way of trust, not fear.

And when you move like this you always know what to do, because you just do what you want to do, in this moment.

And once this become your new way of being you’ll now move from a place that allows  you to effortlessly connect with others (if the indication to do so arises)  – because any notion of what you should be doing are no longer obstructing the natural flow of things.

Sorta. Worth a try at least, right?

Further reading:

14 Responses to Navigating the Dreamstate

  1. Jim Rodney says:


    Some years ago I came across a related consideration that stuck with me. This person described how in the middle of an activity he would pause and say, “Am I enjoying this?” If he wasn’t enjoying it he would stop.

    We’re programmed from an early age to be doing stuff that we don’t want to be doing. I.e., “Going to school”. You’re made to get on a bus and be taken to a place you don’t want to be, interact with a bunch of other kids that you don’t want to be with and do a lot of boring stuff you don’t want to be doing. Further programming leads to induction into the “workforce”, continuing the “daily grind” of commuting to work, etc. And on & on.

    • Göran Backlund says:

      Pausing now and then and asking yourself that seems like an excellent practice! Thanks for sharing that.

  2. Tereza says:

    Hi Göran, thanks for your work, I like coming here. Planning to ask for the book for Christmas. But in the meantime I would like to ask you few questions. Do you have kids? Is it possible to do only what you want at the moment and without intention when you have little kids? I like reading blogs of people that have seen through illusion of I, but I always get stuck on this. I do not want be woken up during the night and nurse but baby needs it. And how to raise them in such attitude? They must go to school otherwise I would go to jail. And if they choose that they want to go to dancing lessons and I pay it, should I make them to go there even if they`re moaning. And how about when they do not want to brush their teeth in the morning or they want to hit their sister. All these little questions and when I concentrate on it during the day I end up not knowing anything. Thanks in advance for your answer, and sorry for my english (not native speaker).

    • Göran Backlund says:

      Hi Tereza,

      Yes, I have two kids! One is 4,5 years old and the other is a baby of 3 months. There’s no conflict here – of course you don’t wanna be woken up in the middle of the night – but once that actually happens, and you’re there in the moment, and your baby needs you, you realize that you do want to nurse her, right? The only problem here is a perceived conflict between your authentic want (which is, in the moment, to be nursing the baby) and some other overarching sense of wanting to stay asleep. All I’m saying is that, don’t keep telling yourself that you want to stay asleep when it’s obvious that your true desire is to nurse your baby!

  3. Tereza says:

    Thanks for your answer and for sharing:-) I have 3 kids:-) I understand what you’re saying. Thats true and I realize that thinking about something difficult is totally different to living it. But when they wake you up for 10 months 10 times a night, the sense of wanting to sleep is ruling your life :-). Ok, so what do I really want in the moment.
    Looking forward to your next articles.

  4. oolala53 says:

    I really don’t mean to be argumentative but just to understand: if I think I hate my job and would quit if I thought I would be taken care of without it, I have to stop telling myself that I want to quit because what is really true is that I am too afraid to experience what I imagine might happen if I quit, which means I actually do want to work.

    Or if a person is unwilling to do anything that gets him money and he ends up homeless, he actually wants to be homeless?

    I know it may sound spiritually (or whatever) naive, but it certainly seems like there could be a lot of misery from this. Don’t people want to do some self-destructive things? Or is there actually no such thing?

    Or does this all depend on having resolved the illusion of subject/object?

    • Ricardo Leclaire says:

      I think the point is misery is never inherent to whatever situation. It is thinking, it is interpretation. I see your point of course, but the supposed misery of being homeless is in the eye of the beholder.

  5. Nancy says:

    Looking forward to your answers to these nitty-gritty questions 🙂

    I’ll share that when I’m just ‘couch surfing’, tempted to feel guilty, I ask ‘myself’… “what tasks would ‘I’ like to be done by the end of the day?”. Then I turn my attention back to my current desire … being lazy 🙂 It’s amazing what ends up getting accomplished, without any seeming ‘planning’ or ‘intending’.

    Also, re: a job I “hate”, I’ve found that sometimes when I just put my attention on the task of the moment, I get engaged in it and stop ‘hating’ it. It seems that ‘something’ is telling ‘me’ that I hate it. I recently heard this: “It’s not getting the job you love, but loving the job you get, that counts.”

    This may not be appropriate, but I’ve found that inhaling ‘faith’, and exhaling ‘fear’, efficiently returns me to reality.

  6. Bad-Clown says:

    This is what the universe is tellin’ me right now!

  7. Agreed, Göran. But this (what you’re saying in the post above) works for you or I because we don’t have fragmented/traumatized psyches, so our desires cohere into a pattern which is more or less beneficial for nearly all involved. But what about in the case of someone who feels a desire, in the moment, to drink liquor to cover up unresolved trauma, and they feel that desire repeatedly — wouldn’t your guidance/advice in the post here lead them into a cycle of addiction? how would you modify your guidance in that case?

    • Göran Backlund says:

      Maybe. Or maybe the anxiety begins to lessen and there’s less need for self medication once life gets easier to navigate? Maybe the alcohol is a coping strategy that’s absolutely necessary at this stage in one’s life, because there’s not yet the tools in place to deal with the pain? Many people have had addictions that lasted for years, but then came out on the other side, whole again. It’s easy to say that whole drunk journey wasn’t necessary, but maybe it was? Or maybe I’m talking out of my hat, who knows.

  8. Nancy Sutton says:

    I want to add to the doing what we ‘don’t want to do’… as in the sleepy parent and crying baby.

    When I’m at work, and ‘feeling’ I don’t want to be here, doing this, etc… I want to be outside, etc’, I find that if I ‘see’ that feeling, then return my attention to the job at hand, and REALLY focus on it, slowly and totally, I become engrossed and I am happy to be doing it. Sure makes the day go quicker 😉 Hmmm…..

  9. Maury Lee says:

    Yes. This is exactly the way it works for me. I do what needs to be done when I want to do it. Yesterday I had a window problem. I didn’t really want to do it, but then I got bored with what I was doing and felt like taking a look. A few hours later the window was fixed.

    I was working and didn’t particularly like my job and didn’t have a strong desire to keep working. But I didn’t have an overwhelming desire to quit either. So, my attitude was that I’ll just keep working till I have a strong desire to quite. I was a couple years past retirement age so I new their was the possibility of getting laid off too.

    Well, I got laid off. My response? A blessing. I didn’t have to come home and tell my wife I quit. I just had to say I got laid off. Now, I do what comes to me to do, or don’t do unless I am moved to do it. It’s a simple flow. It works.

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