Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Seeing John Wooden

Last night, I dreamed that I saw John Wooden in a local department store. He was barely over five feet tall and had a full head of dazzlingly white hair. Then I read in a magazine that he liked to ride a Hayabusa motorcycle, one of the fastest production streetbikes ever. Not bad for a ninety-five-year-old man. Later, I saw him again in a grocery store and told my grandfather (who died eleven years ago but will always live in my dreams). We looked for him together but couldn't find him. I was disappointed that we couldn't see him together, but happy and proud that I had seen him myself.

I don't know why I dreamed of John Wooden last night. I haven't read or heard anything about him for a long time. But I did watch a movie yesterday about a talented young black man being mentored by a reclusive great writer. Maybe that was the connection. John Wooden was not only the most successful and admired college basketball coach in history, but has also written acclaimed books of wisdom to guide young people and, for that matter, everyone through the challenges of life. One of my favorite quotes by him or, for that matter, anyone is: "Be quick but don't hurry."

Some say that we have a dominant archetype or personified symbol of some quality or set of qualities of great unconscious importance to us. Mine has been the "wise old man" for as far back as I can remember. But why did I dream of a hypercycle-riding John Wooden last night instead of, say, Alan Watts or Obi Wan Kenobi serenely dispensing sagacious aphorisms?

I've never been good at interpreting dreams, but I find myself looking more forward to them than ever when I go to bed at night and close my eyes.

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