Ben Riggs shares the secret to abandoning the rat race and fullfilling your dreams.
“Everyone loves something, even if it’s only tortillas.” – Chogyam Trungpa
We all dream. There is nothing we can do about that. Dreams are love, unfulfilled, and it is our nature to love. The question is, “Will this love be intentional or will it get tied up in some mindless waste of time, like a job that sucks the life right out of you?”
There is an element of will power involved with love. Love has to be disciplined. In fact, to be disciplined is to be a disciple or devoted. We must become a disciple of our dreams. This means that when we find what we love, we must do whatever it takes to follow the movement of love. In this sense, discipline is a fidelity to truth, as it manifests within the context of our life.
Love is uncompromising. We must give our self wholly and completely over to it. Nothing can stand in the path of love—not relationships, not work, fear, pride, nor naysayers: internal or external. You may say, “I do not have time to paint, or go mountain biking, to write, or play music. I have to make a living.” But in fact, you do not have time not to love. Life is short.
True, many of us have families to support, and we want to provide the best possible life for our children, but we need to understand that the life we give our children is not the one we pay for, but the one we live. We must be sure that the life we are offering our kids by way of our example is not an automated life that reduces us, and consequently them, to just another cog in the wheel of an economic machine. Many of us seek gain for the sake of gain, and in doing so, make money our master. We follow it as we organize our lives around the dehumanizing patterns of behavior that lead to the acquisition of money. Then, we use the acquired money to purchase ‘things’ that require more money, which reinforces the automatized habits necessary for the production of more money. This is the rat race, the unavoidable consequences of which, are sickness and insanity.
The rat race is dehumanizing because it overlooks the value of passion and love. It uses fear to suppress the movement of love, transforming our passion into “unrealistic dreams.” To turn away from love is to turn away from life. It is to die. But this goes against most everything we were ever taught.
To love is to be who you truly are. It is to follow your heart.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
So do not worry, asking, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Matthew 6:25-34
Someone once told me, “Find what you love doing and figure out how to make a living doing that.” It takes courage to abandon your self to love—to abandon worry and blindly follow the stirrings of your heart. But it is also not an option. If you do not do it, your life will begin to unravel from the inside out. You will be prey to misery. So, if the courage is not there, I urge you to cultivate that courage. Everybody has to jump.
This is the path of the spiritual warrior.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but, as Chogyam Trungpa said, the willingness to move forward with your knees knocking. If we sit around waiting to pacify our fears, we may never move. So, how do you work with fear? Trust.
There is no how to.
To follow the promptings of love is be you, and no one has ever done that before. So, there are no real specific instructions or a starter kit. You really have to trust the movement of truth in your life, which brought you to where you stand for one reason: to jump!
It is the fear-driven, self-defeating mind that asks for reassurance. But none will be given—only darkness and uncertainty: she may say no, there may never be a big pay day. When jumping, there is no certainty. That is why it is a leap. Jumping isn’t about landing on your feet or getting it right. Everything happens in space.
The heart is always pulling you into space.
The universe is forever calling us back to who we truly are, back to our true Self. This calling is heard in our passion. Learning how to love, how to live a passionate life is the only way to effect change in a world that is generic and mass produced. If painting is your passion, then paint; if writing brings you joy, then grab a pen; if it is charity or service work that sets your heart on fire, then gift your Self to the world.
This is what it means to truly live. Everything else is death.
To love is to know that your life is not your own.