A Dream

by Petar Meseldzija

I don’t know if these words will be for you – the right words, on the right place, at the right time, or the wrong words, on the wrong place, at the wrong time, or any other combination in between these two extremes. You have to decide for yourself.

Some time ago I had a strange dream. I was walking along the steep path that led towards the hills and a mountain behind them, when I came across a man who was descending down the same road. When we approached each other he said:

“Hello there! It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it!

“Yes, a very pleasant day, a perfect day for hiking”, I replied.
“Every day is good for hiking, though not every hiking path is good for you. Talking about hiking, how is your latest painting progressing?”

I probably had that funny expression on my face of somebody who was suddenly struck by a great surprise, for a wide and friendly smile appeared on his face.
“Do we know each other, sir? How did you know that I was an artist?”

“Well, perhaps it’s my job to know. Sorry, I can’t tell you more about that”, he answered, and then quickly added, “ but there is something else I can and should tell you”.
“I know that you are enchanted by the technical side of creating Art and the impact it makes on others. Therefore I perfectly understand why you are on your way to the top of this mountain. This mountain, in fact, is not built of rock and soil, but of skillful drawing, lucid picture compositions, appealing color combinations, intelligent use of light and breathtaking brushstrokes. It contains  ideas of promoting your work and selling yourself and your art. Likewise it is partly composed of  the wishes that you might one day be able to say - I have worked for this or that prestigious company. And at last but not least, it contains hopes for filling your piggy bank with glittering coins, your ears with flattering compliments and your shelves with golden awards. 

You say “I am hiking on this road”. No, my dear, you are not hiking. The truth is that you are dancing the everlasting dance in a vicious circle. You are dancing a perilous dance of vanity and idleness. Above all, most of the time you are dancing to somebody else’s music. And although you claim that this music contains some notes of your own, it is still being composed and played by others. You might say after all: “well, I am just a dancer and need some music to dance”. But you are wrong, for you are much more than a mere dancer.

However, once you have finally climbed the steep and tricky slopes and have reached the highest peak of this mountain, you will discover that there is even a greater mountain in front of you. This mountain will be covered in mist, and although you will not be able to see the peak, you will sense its presence behind the curtains of fog. You will then know that there is a splendid peak that is waiting to be conquered by you. You will be attracted by this newly discovered mountain.  In order to reach its invisible peak you will have to rely on your own intuition and your previously gained insights. There will be no charts or maps to show you the way. You will have to create them for yourself. And because most of others did not dare to leave the comfortable position on the lower mountain peak, there will be not many whom you can turn to and  ask for advice.
And when you ( if you) reach this higher ground, there will be no one to witness your great achievement, except for the mountain itself. If you in the meantime did not manage to realize who you are and how good you are, you will be in trouble, my friend.”

“I believe I know these things; why you are telling this to me?”, I replied in an angry manner.
“Believing and knowing is not the same. Besides, who says I am telling it to you only?

He then lightly touched his hat and went down the road. I stayed behind puzzled by his words and asking myself who this guy was. The conviction that  I have previously seen his face quickly grew in my mind.
”Damn it” , I finally realized, “ it’s William Blake!”.

Then I woke up. My eyes fell on the book that I read last night just before I fell in sleep. The book’s title was: William Blake, The Complete Poems.

William Blake, painted by Thomas Phillips in 1807.