On Dreams and Purpose

I was reading Paulo Coelho’s “Like the flowing river”when I realized that he often brings up the concept that man has a personal legend that needs to be fulfilled. He explains in his texts that a man may avoid fulfilling this legend for a time but should never dissuade from it, for doing so would make a person feel discontent – realizing too late his own purpose and depriving himself of the happiness of being able to accomplish the task. This legend manifests itself in a person’s interests and his/her own personal joy in fulfilling tasks that are similar or related to it. In other words, these are what people feel truly happy and content doing. In a way, it could also manifest itself in a person’s subconscious, like when a person constantly thinks about doing something and always feels unsettled, knowing that by the end of each day, they never got to doing it.

Every time Coelho brings this up in a passage, I can’t help but rethink that it could be a sign referring to my desire to work in the media while I abandon that dream to pursue what most people expect me to be: a lawyer.

Maybe it was a way of telling me that I’m choosing the path for my own happiness or misery, and I had to choose what I know could give me real happiness.

But, I think again. Fulfilling a personal legend does not only mean attaining that dream. It’s a purpose, and a purpose does not limit itself to the person who thinks about it, but extends to everything else that has contributed to that person’s growth. As such, this legend is not a selfish desire. It is about fulfilling a purpose that could help the world he grew up in, or the people in it, and attaining real peace until the end of his/her days.

When I think about it this way, my personal legend goes beyond what I desire for myself but may actually be something greater that I am yet to discover. And to understand this, I have to open myself more to possibilities and understand why things happen the way they do and how these could help me realize that purpose. Most of all, that great purpose does not necessarily mean doing something as bold as leading a country (although we can never underestimate the power of our inner legends). It may be doing something as simple as writing or talking to strangers, but its effects will go beyond the simplicity and may increase in magnitude as more people are touched.

A few short minutes after I decided to pause from reading the book in order to reflect, I’ve come up with a multitude of possible purposes or legends. I rapidly searched through the recesses of my memory for any fragment or indication of a leaning towards a passion I need to exert my energy on, or a frustrated dream that may help change people’s lives, or even a hobby I didn’t have much time to work on. Indeed, there are a lot of possibilities, and maybe years will go on and I’d still keep on searching. It is also true that maybe, these are all just in my head, an innocent dream or ideal that I, too, could actually do some good with my life. MAYBE.

But that wouldn’t mean I would stop searching. It will be better to keep on searching than to immediately stop, and just like most people, do what’s most convenient because that is what is expected. Doing the latter would be risking the possibilities of finding answers and the possibility of real fulfillment/peace.

So, I would continue doing everything I want and need to do. I will continue writing, drawing, dancing, shooting films, expressing myself, AND work on actually doing those activities that I’ve always wanted to do but never had the chance, motivation or strength to do so. Who knows, maybe one of them may help me in achieving that personal legend.

And, since I always think about things – contemplating, wondering, theorizing, dreaming, assuming and analyzing – it is best to document these thoughts and realizations through writing, drawing, or whatever that’s possible. This could be one of those purposes, we can never tell – at least, not yet. And, wisdom should not be kept hidden as much as these realizations, assumptions, dreams and theories can never stay put in my head – always demanding to be expressed else they never allow me to sleep. Maybe someone out there may be interested and would bother to read. Hopefully, that somebody will learn something in his/herself after reading or, at least, feel a recognition to what I am trying to express, and s/he will have a better approach to life. At least, if that happens, I know that I could achieve what purpose is laid out for me and that I could still touch people through my writing. And maybe, just maybe, by then, it would be one of those little legends I have managed to fulfil.


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