I’ve been off cruising aboard Peanut for the last few weeks and It’s given me a lot of time to decompress and think and be. There nothing quite like warm sea breezes and a moonlit night to start wondering about your place in the cosmos. It’s been a good time.
It occurs to me that It’s funny to find oneself in a place without dreams, and I wonder if this is the universal way of things as we reach the denouement of our lives? I’m glad for the dreams, and that I’ve had the luck and privilege of having pretty much achieved what I set out to do. But dreams turned out to be funny things: we have this idea of what we want, where our paths should lead, but once we arrive we discover its not at all what we had imagined. This isn’t a bad thing as dreams work really well at motivating us to walk down unknown roads, but don’t expect to find your destination to be what you thought it would be, because, after all, you’ve never been there.
Dreams take us to all kinds of strange and wondrous places, just not the ones we expected, and in the end, that’s half the fun. But after striving and arriving so much, you eventually realize that there’s no more pursuing to be done.
T.S. Eliot put it thus: We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
But then what? I feel mature in a way that’s new to me, though that doesn’t mean I lack immature and foolish aspects to myself – character is always a work in progress. But I no longer feel like a kid, like someone much younger than my chronological years, which was the norm for most of my life. Perhaps that’s the ultimate role of dreams, to set you out into the world to gather the pieces you need to complete development as a full human being. Due to my personality and a rough start, I suspect I was very late to the game, but for all I know, deep down everyone feels over their heads in life.
So here I am, knowing the place for the first time. Profoundly changed and altered by all these dreams and experiences. What then? In myth, the hero returns to share his wisdom with his tribe, and I do that whenever I can, but frankly the world needs to make it on its own. There is nothing Eckhart Tolle or I can say will divert anyone from their path, their life choices. I have often turned to sages and wise people for advice, but in the end always chose my own way, because that’s what you have to do to really learn your truth.
I’ve often struggled with people who I see making mistakes, wanting to steer them on a more rational, productive course, but without fail it’s been a waste of time. People need to slay their personal dragons, despite what you or me have to say about it. If I shout, “watch out for the hole!” and you ignore me and fall into it, it’s because you need to for some reason, not because you’re too stupid to walk around an obvious pitfall. Somehow, we all need to learn own own way to avoid the holes, and usually that means an awful lot of tumbles.
So here I am, waiting and wondering what’s next when the notion of next has been shown to be antediluvian, and no longer relevant. Don’t get me wrong, I can choose to do many things, and probably will, but not out of necessity. Not out of searching or needing something. I want nothing, have nothing to prove, and desire nowhere to go.
So here I am wondering what it all means. Does this mean it’s time to shuffle off this mortal coil? Or is there another state of being where need or doing or action or purpose is immaterial? Life, as a biological entity, as a person in a human society, brings about all kinds of basic struggles regarding food, shelter, family, love, sex, career, procreation, community. This takes care of most of our lives, keeping us appropriately busy and engaged in our dreams, but when that is done, when we see it all as pretty banal undertakings, as mere practice for the big leagues, then what?
I deeply suspect that life is a kind of dress rehearsal, but for what, I still cannot tell. I sense it though, like a flicker on the edge of sight, a presence, or an idea. It’s close, but eludes me still.