Dream Barriers

“All men 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, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.”

                                                                                          T. E. Lawrence, 1922

Have you had this kind of a dream? A dream about a friend sitting near a window at the corner coffee shop and reading a magazine article about YOU. What is he reading? In your dream, you do your best to look over his shoulders to see. But the harder you try and closer you get, the alphabets keep receding away. You never really are able to decipher as you try again and again. Always with no results. Have you woken up from such a dream…… with a sense of loss?

Dreams can be so compelling at times. Compelling and stuck at the same place. As Alice discovers in Through the Looking-Glass when the Red Queen tells her, “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” So what is the purpose of dreams?  Do we use dreams to compensate for the under-developed parts of our waking life personality, as Carl Jung had theorised? Or are dreams merely a safety valve of our mind seeking clarity on the way forward?

I recall the movie Inception which operated in a three layered “dream within a dream” sequence. And the reason for protagonist Cobb to set up this situation was because he needed to break successive dream barriers to access deeper levels of victim Fischer’s mind and implant a specific thought. Cobb knew that implanting the thought into Fischer’s mind would bring clarity of purpose and the desired action and results. Inception made me reflect further. What prevents an enabling thought from entering the mind under normal circumstances? And why is it necessary to go down into deeper levels of the mind?

Which brings us to the aspect of dream barriers. As we dream with open eyes, we may not “see” these barriers coming up, shaping our thoughts and actions.

Dream:    If only I could get that CEO position.

Barrier:    I am not successful and good enough. I would be exposed.


Dream:    If only I could own that lovely villa on the beachside.

Barrier:    I may not be able to afford it. Also I really do not deserve it.


Dream:    If only I could handle my investment decisions wisely.

Barrier:    I do not have any skills or resources in that area.


Dream:    If only I could set up a successful business.

Barrier:    I don’t believe it is possible so why bother.


Dream:    If only I could give up my job and live the life of my dreams.

Barrier:    What will my family and friends think of me?


Do we see that most of the barriers are internal, all about me? Do we see that it all boils down to my beliefs? And these beliefs have been developing inside me from the time I was born, lying below the surface. And today, they are at the core of who I am, my thoughts, attitudes and behaviours. So every time, I dream up some desire, my lurker friend, the underlying belief, rears up to push me in the opposite direction, negating my resolve and ensuring my dream does not come true.

I am reminded of a workshop in which the instructor asked, “How many believe that it is possible to follow our dreams?” Most participants said, “Yes.” But when asked, “How many of you believe that you can make your dreams come true?”, only one hand went up. Do we see the gap between possibility and probability? This is the extent to which our beliefs can queer the pitch.

We need to be willing to tackle our limiting beliefs. Remember, it is these beliefs that create our thoughts and then actions. So like in the Inception movie above, could the trick be to delve deeper to examine our beliefs, let them go and in their place, implant positive, enabling thoughts into our ‘dreams’? And, what happens when we start developing a positive belief and thought structure? We improve our self esteem. We reduce our fear of failure. We have more courage to take responsibility of our actions.

So can we become Lawrence’s dreamer willing to act our dream and make it possible? And can we envision our dream with such clarity that we can read what is written about us in that magazine of the future? Are we willing to live our dreams……. and our future?

In Learning………..

Author: Shakti Ghosal

* A PCC Credentialed Leadership Coach. * A qualified engineer and a PGDM (Faculty Gold medalist) from IIM Bangalore. * More than three decades of industry experience spanning Engineering, Maintenance, Projects, Consumer durables, Supply Chains, Aviation and Tourism in the Gulf region and India. * Top level management positions to drive business development, strategy, alliances all around the globe. * A visiting faculty at the IIMs. *A passion to envision trends & disseminate Leadership incubation globally. * www.linkedin.com/in/Shaktighosal. shakti.ghosal@gmail.com . +91 - 9051787576

31 thoughts on “Dream Barriers”

  1. This is very well written! I look forward to reading more of your blog. I agree with you; we often hold ourselves back due to limiting beliefs. Identifying and challenging these beliefs may propel us forward, beyond the fear. Thank you for commenting on my blog. Keep inspiring!

  2. Dreams are so fascinating. Without moving physically, we can go round the world, experience things we would never do in waking hours, walk through walls, face fears and exhilaration. Why do we dream? Despite all the studies, all I really understand is that we know very little but, without sleep, we break down physically and mentally.

    I love the focus of your post on the self-imposed barriers you see to the realizations of “dreams” which can be wake-states of imagination that can be realized, you know? As I’ve aged, I have learned that you can make your dreams come true, but when you stop finding a way to dream, a goal to seek, you slowly begin to fade away. You lose drive, ambition, motivation – all important parts of self-worth. So, whether dreams are waking fantasies or slumbering trips abroad, if one believes, without obstacles, one can work toward their realization. The only thing I would suggest is if you do fulfill those dreams, do not ever let there come a time when you say, “the end.” 🙂

    1. Hi SD,

      At the outset, do accept my apologies for this late acknowledgement. For more than a week, I have been travelling with limited access to internet.

      I loved what you said about the need to continue to find ways to dream as the alternative is to wither and fade away. I guess this is why great leaders have always held this quality of visualisation which is another way to dream during periods of wakefulness.

      Cheers and God bless.


  3. Shakti, you make some interesting observations. I like Amy’s observations as well. And while I agree that our dreams are deeply personal as per Jung (my training), I’m also intrigued by the Tibetan Buddhists’ suggestion that dreams as well as waking reality are ‘bardos’ – realities brought about through projections of the mind. This is my latest intrigue 😉 Sogyal Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is a good read if you want to further investigate.

    1. Hi Bela,

      As always, your comment is so refreshing. Till now, I had been unaware of the Tibetan concept of ” Bardos”. So I would now try and locate Sogyal Rinpoche’s book.
      Thank you.


  4. If we have a dream we should atleast try to follow it before our spirits simmer down with too many “if” and “but”s.

    Fabulous post Shakti, it makes anyone with dreams think and judge him/herself.

    I believe in chasing dreams and failing but sometimes the “barrier” gets the upper hand.

  5. Hi Shakti, great thoughts, thanks for sharing. I do believe in making our dreams come true and in believing in ourselves. Nobody else will do it for us, it has to come from the inside for it to be powerful. I often write on that topic and I’d like to share with you my post “Daring to play BIG”: http://wp.me/p1E5MV-aV.

    1. Hi Sylvia,

      At the outset, do accept my apologies for this late acknowledgement. For more than a week, I have been travelling with limited access to internet.

      Thank you for your kind acknowledgement. Incidentally, I loved your post, great articulation and thought.



  6. Great one Shakti !! We are only just now really beginning to grasp the power of our thoughts to create ourselves and also the dangers of not thinking properly. I hope people realize soon it is our thoughts that will get us out of this illusional mess we are in. Thinking outside the box will be a requirement to any change. It is so hard to change beliefs when they have been a part of who we are our entire lives despite the fact they may limit us. That is great power indeed and whomever figures out a fool proof way of eliminating them will be a billionaire! Now get to work on that Shakti!! 🙂 Blessings….VK

    1. VK,
      Thank you for your acknowledgement as also your encouragement.
      As you say, it is much easier to espouse theory regarding changing underlying beliefs
      (what I have tried here!) than actually getting down to do something about it ( which I am still trying with only limited success!)

      Apprecaite you VK for all your support!
      God Bless!


  7. Woww Shakti!!

    Loved ur blog!! N it hits, bang on target
    N d barriers ure talking about hv to be destroyed by each of us!!
    If Tats not possible, we must at least come to an awareness that we are very much solely responsible for the lack of abundance in our lives! N ur blog just reinforced this awareness:)


  8. Very interesting read. I personally feel that that bit about dream barriers is true. For years I was working in a Government Ministry , working sincerely, but without any real joy. And whenever I thought of what I really wanted to do, a hundred reasons would crop up in my head to stop me from taking a decision to quit.. But then, as Soul Dipper puts it here, I started strongly dwelling on my dreams and I did get to where I wanted to be, teaching little children in an informal school that a few of us friends started together and I’m loving it. As Paulo Coehlo put it, the universe does conspire to make things happen if one strongly wants it:-) But why we dream while asleep, that is still a mystery to me . I like Soul Dipper’s house cleaning explanation:-)

    1. Hi,

      Love your Paulo Coelho quote, ” “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” in the Alchemist.It is so, so inspirational and as I read your comment, I see that you have embodied it.

      God Bless


  9. One of Jung’s suggestions that each character in the dream is an aspect of my personality appeals to my dream interests. Limitations become very clear with that point of view.

    In our Psychology studies, we learned the importance of dreams – as a mental house cleaning. With dream deprivation comes depression, axiety, etc. So I enjoy the clearing that takes place, the clarity that may be gleaned and the prospect that I may see my blockages.

    Vsualization is a powerful way to dream and seems to help elicit the feelings needed to support the event falling into place. I remember standing on the bow of a ferry feeling I was coming home before setting foot on this island. I thought, “Imagine being able to make this beautiful place my home and make a living by doing contracts elsewhere.”

    Turns out that is exactly what happened and I did very little towards it coming to fruition. Did the thought and the feeling stay with me as a rudder? Was their influence stronger than I realized? What motivated the first phone call with a contractual offer when I had initiated nothing?

    We are co-creaters. Sometimes I lead and sometimes I follow. I do trust the process.

    1. You are so right, Amy.

      I too love your insight about our dreams really being an essential attic clearing process. This would tend to imply that if we are prevented from dreaming, we may in fact stop “growing ” in life. I suppose that is why the good Lord created us so that the sub conscious part of our mind remains outside our conscious control, free to dream…… and do the necessary housekeeping whenever needed.

      And as you have so rightly pointed out, trust and faith are important in the fruition of any of our aspirations. Each of which starts as seeds in our dreams to grow into reality with time.



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