Define Big Dreams

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Endure

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

What does “dream big dreams” really mean? The definition of “big” is: of considerable size, extent, or intensity.   While these three adjectives serve to provide a basic meaning, they can only be understood by way of comparison using a reference point or yardstick.  Context provides the subtle nuances that are lacking in the mere words – size, extent, intensity.

Humanity is small within the structure of the universe. The extent of our physical reach is limited by time and space. We live intense lives, but they are short compared to the duration of a star. William Butler Yeats once said, “In dreams begins responsibility.”  Perhaps “big dreams” are those that are universal, that endure beyond our timeline, foster a greater good and gives meaning to our existence.

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” 
 Albert Schweitzer

A Friendship

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Man & Nature

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau met in 1837.  Lucy Brown, who boarded at David Thoreau’s home, was the sister-in-law of Ralph Waldo Emerson. On April 9th, she introduced the two men who were destined to form a lifelong friendship.  Emerson was 34 and Thoreau was a 20-year old Harvard senior.  Both men were to become leaders in the transcendental philosophical movement that sprang up in the 1830’s and 1840’s, which spoke to the connection between man and nature. Perhaps the genesis of frugality comes from differentiating between wants and needs, desires and requirements.

We make ourselves rich by making our wants few.”

Henry David Thoreau

Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one’s self?” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Gift of Peace

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Peace

Peace allows us to pursue our purpose in life – to discover and explore what drives our creative and intellectual passions.  It is the one gift that we can give ourselves, irrespective of external circumstances.

Peace is the absence of anger:

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Peace is the absence of envy:

“Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others.  He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.”

Buddha

Peace is an open heart and a willingness to be a positive influence for good:

“The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart.  The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.”

Carlos Santana

Peace comes with Understanding

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Peace

“They are Man’s and they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance and this girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.” 
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Peace thrives on understanding and dies on ignorance.  The Dalai Lama is quite clear on this point:  “Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.”  Helen Keller declared: “I do not want the peace which passeth understanding; I want the understanding which bringeth peace.”    Ralph Waldo Emerson penned: “Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding.”

Understanding is not as easy as it seems especially when we live in a complex, diverse and fast paced world where value systems are being continually challenged.  But “lasting peace” is worth the effort.

 

Common Sense

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Have you ever noticed that common sense is not that common?

 

 

“Common sense is the genius of humanity.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Carry it with us…

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“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

When I travel, I can always gauge another person’s happiness and disposition by how they order a morning coffee.  Simply travelling a few hundred miles will not transform you – it just magnifies your character.