A son tugged on his father’s sleeve, and said, “Tell me what spring training was like when you were a boy, and had to walk ten miles every day in the nice weather to get to the ball field.” The old man pretended to look far away, nostalgically, then finally responded, “All children have dreams-in-the-muscles of physical adventures they want to someday pursue. A few turn out to harbor longings of a different sort. Through their thoughts march a fragmented file of vague images that at first inspection seem unconnected to the honing of physical skills pertinent to survival. The core of their childhood dreams rests in the intangible realm of thoughts, rather than in the palpable world of flesh and bone.
Even before they have any idea of what is going on, or have words to describe the enigmatic images that present themselves, they nonetheless have a dream of someday playing in a certain big league, but one in which the game is carried out entirely in a man’s head; the game of UNDERSTANDING-WHAT’S-GOING-ON.
This sparse, far-flung band of unrecognized, unorganized, special-little-leaguers do not go to athletic coaches for instruction, but to parents, priests, rabbis and philosophers, who they quickly learn do not share their interest. Their public speech leads the young to believe they do, but private conversations prove otherwise.
Even the adults with the verbal appearance of interest in the matter, tell the youngster that no one really understands what life is about, and that all you can do is either: Trust in Allah/fate/ astrology/some-swami’s-teaching; or, resign yourself to the mental enjoyment of
the futile search therefore.
Once adolescent hormones have had their way, few of the early dreamers are left with much of a metaphysical nature on their minds: supporting oneself, parenthood, escape from ennui, and other features of routine adulthood soon occupy all available space in their minds.