Where the Future Lies

John: Picking up from where we left off yesterday (see Holding It Together), my dream shows how easily we can get lost in some pattern from the past that has no current meaning or usefulness for us.

In the dream, I’m returning to high school.

I’m apparently an older student, but I’ve decided that I don’t necessarily want to return like I’m an old fogey, or someone who acts like they’ve got it all figured out, because there’s something stale or stagnant about that. I know that every time I return to school after being away for a while, it’s going to have a different sense about it. There’s going to be a shift.

So what I do is go through the introductory part of the orientation, to get the feel of how this will affect me or how things have changed. Time has gone by and it might be slightly different in terms of how I take it in.

After doing that I go back through the door to where the new class of freshmen are. Of course, they’ve never been to high school before so they are full of anticipation as to how it’s going to be. There’s a certain excitement in the expectation and, as a consequence, there’s nothing that limits the potential – and I find that refreshing.

In fact, it doesn’t have any parameters around it, where it’s taken for granted in some sense because everything has already been figured out and put in its place. It’s a pleasure to be with something that exudes like this.

To help things along, because I do have a little understanding, I go through the door first as if I’m kind of clearing the way. On the other side I see the upperclassmen that I know, and I’ve known them a lot longer than I’ve known the freshmen.

I hear their voices and recognize people, but I’m holding back so that I don’t get pulled in to talk with them because my whole sense is that they feel stale and reserved and are just going through the motions in their return.

In other words, it doesn’t have the same level of excitement. It’s kind of a lackluster state, so I hang back and wait for the freshmen who are right behind me to come through because they’re more exciting and alive to be with and joyful and so on.

As I’m there, I’m pondering if it’s going to make sense to introduce the freshmen to the upperclassmen, or will the older guys be too stuck up to respect the exuberance and excitement of the freshmen?

What happens is that I wake up noting that I’m hanging back, waiting. I don’t want to be seen or recognized or pulled into the realm of the upperclassmen. I’m waiting for the freshmen to come through, and pondering if I can integrate their enthusiasm into an atmosphere to enliven it, or will the blandness of the familiar that the upperclassmen carry repress the fresh and eager anticipation of embracing life?

I’m familiar with the ways of the heart, with its euphoria for life, but also the way that other things can just go along with a process, putting in time in a lackluster way. So I look to that which is now and alive as if this is where the future lies.

The reason for this dream is to get me to shift from a way of life I know too well, I’m too familiar with, and is too predictable and, therefore, shut off from an aliveness that’s quickened, innocent, and teeming with excitement. Such freshness is actually infectious if I’m able to catch it and it’s able to make a difference with its euphoria in ways that I find interesting and touching.

This way of being has not yet been beaten up by life and needs to be guided in such a way that it doesn’t lose its flair. My concern is that this wonderful quality will get worn down into a pattern that is again lifeless. That would be sad.

In the past this sort of thing has been inevitable; can it be different this time?

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