Sometimes, on meditation retreats, I get impatient with my dreams. What I want is golden buddhas descending through the rose-coloured air, pointing the way and saying, ‘Yes, Paul Gapper, you are doing the right thing. Your presence here is exactly what is required.’ Instead, I have dreams about missing training sessions, going to the wrong place, arguing with friends.
But I know that I will come away feeling better: more in touch with myself, more contented.
Much of my life seems to be like this. No great signposts saying, ‘This Way in 300 Yards,’ just a feeling of satisfaction or dissatisfaction after the event.
There are more decisive moments. When I did my first writing course, I knew that I loved it and had to get on the one-year novel-writing follow-up. But day-to-day, I turn up with my laptop with a feeling it is probably the right thing to do.
Recently, after I hit a bump with my writing, a friend suggested I consider stopping. I said, ‘No, no. You keep turning up, keep turning up.’ Though I’m not sure I argued a particularly strong case for why. Just a hunch that it was probably better than giving up.
And, for a lot of the time, that’s pretty much all I have to go on.