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The Journey


by
David Striar



Years ago I found myself struggling with the question of
what I should do with my
life. While I was drawn to the arts, especially to music and
writing, I felt the need for
a type of work that would more directly fulfill my
intellectual appetite as well as
provide a more direct means for helping people than I believed
even the most
socially conscious poet or musician could enjoy.
At the same time I neither believed in God, respected
religion or cared that I was a Jew. Then one night I
had a dream in which I found myself sitting at one end of a
small boat in the middle of a mountain lake. Surrounding the
lake on every side, with no buffer of land in between, were
the walls of the mountain. A somewhat
portly old man wearing a white yarmulke and a long white gown,
stood peacefully
at the other end of the boat, gazing down at me with a gentle,
fatherly smile. "David"
he said, "By choosing to become an artist you are running away
from your highest
potential." "But what could be more beautiful than the singing
of a bird ?" I insisted.
"Love is more beautiful" said the figure in white. "But I
love, beauty."
Though we continued with this debate for some time, in my
heart of hearts, I
suspected the old man was right. Therefore when he asked me to
accompany him on
a special journey, I accepted, though I felt anxious at the
idea of not returning home
to practice my scales.
This dream affected me in a profound way. First of all, I
realized as a result of the
dream, that despite my conscious convictions regarding the
existence of God and the
value of religion, some unconscious part of me appeared to be
engaged in a
dialogue with a being I couldn't help but recognize as
religious or spiritual in
nature.This insight permitted me in turn, to recognize that
the one way in which I
could truly unite the aesthetic, the intellectual and the
moral parts of myself, was by
following a spiritual vocation.
The journey referred to by the man in white was in fact, a
spiritual journey, in
which the wisdom and the power of the spiritual dream provided
the core of the
experience. The dream itself became, and continues to be, my
path, my teacher, my
rabbi and my muse. However, despite what appears to be a
suggestion from on high
that I give up the path of art, I didn't stop practicing my
scales or any other of the
other artistic disciplines to which I had devoted myself. I
simply decided to
sublimate, at least for the most part, my artistic nature to
the demands of a spiritual
vocation.
From this journey of the dream I learned much... about the
reality of the soul,
about the reality of God, about what it means to be a Jew. The
most important thing I
learned however, was the supreme importance of love. Again and
again my dreams
would remind me that the life of service, and there are many
ways of leading such a
life, is the most beautiful of all, more beautiful even than
the life of art for arts sake.
I have compiled some of the fruits of my journey into a
book, the title of which,
(no surprise), came to me in a dream. It is called...


"The Gospel of One Favorite Child."







Composed and illustrated by David Striar
Copyright 1997 by David Striar
All rights reserved