Reality never lives up to our fantasies. It’s never as good … or as bad either. But reality never lives up to fantasy’s billing, whether our visions were of sublime pleasure or impending doom. The fulfillment of our desires is never as good as we imagined … in fact, the feeling of pleasure may be less than it was when we were daydreaming about it. As for gloom and doom, things are never as catastrophic as our fears make them seem (a good thing to remember the next time you get paranoid :-).
Fantasy can inspire us, and our dreams can stimulate us toward trying new things. Creativity needs this, so some fantasy is excellent. But if we habitually seek refuge in some favorite fantasy (or two), it is likely that we are spending time avoiding some area of our real lives. Our favorite fantasies have much in common with belief systems that came down from ancient scriptures — they are rigid compared to reality. We get to be totally in control, which is what our lack of confidence craves, and seeking control is a large part of why modern humans resort to non-stop distractions, chit-chat, entertainments and daydreams.
The dance of life is too dynamic for much control — it is an improvisational work in progress, featuring important relationships. It is a dance hall full of uncertainty, miscalculations and missteps. It’s risky, always risky. Fantasy is easy, available and tempting. But too much indulgence and your ability to make the right moves at the right time, with any kind of rhythm, is compromised. When it comes to feeling good overall, trying to stay in control doesn’t work. C’mon … let’s practice our dancing!