There are ways in which growing older has been a kind of contraction of the dreams I had as a child. Reality will do that to you. Well, reality and age. In my twenties, I lived in cold water flats. There are details about the numbers of showers I took and the quantity of my teeth that fell out which I should probably keep to myself. But I practiced guitar and wrote songs everyday and I lived the life of the warrior!
Every time someone paid to see us or booked a gig was a step closer to…to what exactly? Fame? Money? Probably not. Release, perhaps. After all, the goal of so much Buddhist practice is the shedding of samsara – God knows it felt like I was trapped on a wheel.
Kicked out of a flat, we (let’s not look too closely at that ‘we’) squatted in someone’s spare room. Kicked out of that, expelled from our band as a consequence of everyone else leaving in disgust, we fled the country and I moved into a bona fide slum full of criminals. People occasionally paid to see us. We ran again. I considered my options, cashed in my first degree for a masters in anything I could get funding for and jumped off the wheel.
I finished the Masters and jumped back on. But only half-heartedly. After a few spins, I jumped off again. A little while later, I rediscovered older dreams, older wheels. Now, I run in them still.
If a bodhisattva stays on the wheel for the sake of all sentient beings, what do you call a being who stays on the wheel for the sake of the wheel?
Hopefully, you call them a writer.
(Oh, the cloths of heaven? It’s a Yeats poem. It ends “But I, being poor, have only my dreams/I have spread my dreams under your feet/Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.” Look it up.)