if you must dream

Years ago you told me that I could have the life I wanted by being present in the life I have. You have a tendency to baffle me with these Zen-like sayings you skim from those quirky little books you read.

You said people spend most of their waking moments in a trance, their minds anywhere but where they’re at. You said the mind has a tendency to jump back and forth from the past to the future.

One minute, you said, a person is looking backward reminiscing about the past or longing for the good old days.

You were having a wise moment with me, but of course, the moment you said that last line, I started singing Billy Joel in my head: ‘the good old days weren’t always good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems..’ You could tell I was distracted, but you carried on anyway.

You said if a person wasn’t thinking about the past, they were daydreaming or worrying about the future. The problem you said was they were missing the present moment and the opportunity to live life fully awake and aware.

You said most people are conscious robots drifting through life on autopilot. You urged me not to be a conscious robot.

You said live in the present – awake and alive – but if you must dream, be one of Lawrence’s dangerous men and act out my dreams with open eyes to make them possible. You stopped talking and I could tell you were waiting for a response from me.

All I could think to do was sing Billy Joel…’you should have known me much better…’Cause my past is something that never got in my way…Oh, no’…