10/27/2012 10:50 am ET Updated Dec 26, 2012

Vivid Dream

What, at root, are your life dreams? How do you go about cultivating yourself to align with their manifestations? Is it possible to foster these heart visions and also stay present in the everyday?

We all have dreams, intentions, hopes, and aspirations for how we want to live, what we want to do, and who we want to be. The business of dream manifestation is indeed a growing conversation. Too often, however, our understanding of life dreams is flat, to say the least. So wrapped up are we in the snapshot of what our life dreams look like, that we lose touch with what our life dreams actually feel like. Ironically, what we strive for is precisely what has been lost -- the moving, breathing, expansive quality of experience inside our imagined dream picture. The even deeper irony is that the feelings of ease and fulfillment we aspire for and grant only to our dreams over there, are profoundly accessible feelings inside our lives right here.

When I was sick in 2007 and 2008, I felt my entire ecosystem to be rotten, poisonous, weak, vile, and toxic. All I wanted was out. I dreamt regularly of a radically different-looking life on an opposite coast, a cross-country fantasy with life turned inside out, upside down, just anywhere from where I was. Here's the analogy: A fish with her face pressed hard up against an aquarium glass, stranded on dry land, unable to return to her natural stream and the very real habitat where she belonged. I was literally a fish gasping and out of water.

It took a great while to figure out that the more I pressed my nose to the glass and the more preoccupied I became with what was happening inside that other world, the farther I was from joining the flowing current for which I longed. Only when I started sitting down in meditation and uncovering the truth of who I was inside of all the blinding misery did the pathway out -- or more accurately, the pathway to manifestation -- begin to reveal itself. The universe knew where I wanted to be, my spirit knew where I wanted to be, but my desperation for escape and my attachment to a dream of wellness and peace eclipsed my ability to heal.

To meet, manifest, or fulfill our dreams, we must accept where and who we are today. Life dreams are not hallucinations or fantasies that thrust us out of the present moment, but are instead about living in ultimate alignment with the truth of who we are in the present moment. There is nothing glossy or fabricated about this. Dreaming of and wishing for a life other than our own, without the gritty, earnest commitment to work in the middle of the life that is, breeds suffering, not uplift. I'm not saying that cutting out images, making a collage, and asking for a higher power to help us along the way isn't important. But in order to tune ourselves to our visions, we must accept ourselves deeply as we go.

The miracle of witnessing our dreams unfold happens parallel to witnessing our intimate messes do it, too. Eventually we see there is in fact no separation between our lives and the dreams that we have spun for them. The essential work of self-acceptance nourishes and merges with the realized dream. "Our hope," Norman Fischer writes, "is that we would get to the point where there would be no gap at all between ... our most sacred aspirations, and the way we come across and act in ordinary events every day. However imperfectly we manifest it, we hope to someday be able to do that, and we really understand it that way." How about it?

The parched but accepting fish gets thrown into the stream. The water receives her. Her life and vivid dreams are one and the same.

For more by Maggie Lyon, click here.

For more on the spirit, click here.