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Creative Nonfiction

Manijeh Khorshidi,

2021

Merchant’s Dream

It is the mid-nineteen century when a merchant in a town near in Iran has an astonishing and meaningful dream. A dream that changed his life and the life of his family drastically.

We all reach an age that we think quality. We purchase less but, we look for quality; quality purses, trips, books, and friendship. And this trait of wisdom is a byproduct of aging. I have reached that phase in my life. Therefore, I am in the market for having a quality dream and not confusing dreams. But how do I have that kind of a dream? Are there prerequisites to have such ones? Where can I purchase it, and what is the price I have to pay? Now I am thinking. It has to be a price to pay for having a meaningful dream.

The tales of the Saints' lives can be inspiring to many. Amazingly, they all had dreams, meaningful dreams. My favorite one is Jacob's dream about his son Joseph. This Biblical story is poignant and beautiful. Also, it contains metaphors, symbolism, and spiritual insights. A patriarch, Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, was a spiritual figure for Israelites. But the dynamic of his family has been a fantastic source for literature.

We see Jacob with twelve sons, Joseph being the youngest and his favorite one. What is it about Joseph that makes him the solace of his father's eye, and at the same time, the target of his brother's jealousy? His keenness of mind, honesty, concern about the poor, and faithfulness are among his qualities. At the same time, his unsurpassed beauty makes him the desire of every young woman in the region and has inspired many poets.

When Joseph is young, his brothers abduct him and leave him to die in the desert. They come back and tell their elderly father that the wild beast has killed Joseph. The grief of the father has no bounds. Jacob cries so much that he loses his vision. Then, he has a dream, the mother of all dreams. "My beloved son is alive," he says, "I have seen him in my dream." Inspired by his vision, he regains the strength to wait for the return of his son. Then, we see an epic reunion between the father and the son, which has touched even the pages of the Holy Books.

Wishing to have a good dream, I read and study about the world of dreams. I learn that dream is the language of the soul. Dreams are the communication between the conscious mind and the spiritual world. When we sleep, the soul does not go to sleep. Free from attending to the need of the body, it can seek spiritual discoveries.

Excited about the path that I have taken, I find a workshop in which the psychiatrist talks about science and spirituality. With a PowerPoint presentation, he reveals more insights on how to have better dreams. I hear the speaker tells us that the dream is about the dreamer only and not those in it. I never knew that. He continues saying that the more pure our heart is, we see more true dreams, rather than having confused dreams. Meditation and virtualization calm the brain and help us to have meaningful visions. He goes on encouraging daily meditation and even using the essential oil at night before going to sleep.

So far, I love all these explanations. They touch on the source of our dreams, and it seemed to me that I am getting closer to closing the deal on owning a good quality dream soon. Then it comes to the rest of the instructions, such as:

Going to bed before midnight because every hour of sleep before midnight is equal to two hours after midnight. No caffeine, no heavy meal, no TV, no phone, no cheese or chocolate before sleeping.

The reversal of all the above instructions is accurate in my case. Translation: I cannot quit having aged cheese and imported chocolate for the sake of having a good dream. Is that the price I have to pay? Quite disappointed, I conclude that I may never have one of those clear and inspiring dreams.

With passing days, I realize that these daily habits are all child play compare to the main requirement for having a good dream. That is to possess a pure heart. Thus, what I have to work on is my inner being and not necessarily be so much worried about the timing of consuming chocolate and cheese. Where is my understanding? Where is my discernment? Have I learned anything from these lectures?

Reflecting on the subject of 'pure heart' takes me on a journey to the time of the merchant's dream in 1847. He is a known merchant of his town and has a respectable home life and a successful trade. His kind heart and generous attitude have made him dear to the poor of the city. His wife and children live in comfort and with ease until that fated day.

It is springtime. The earth bursting with verdure and air fresh, laden with the aroma of roses in that land, life begins. The family is planning to go to the garden of Fin, a historical place and ancient palace, for respite and rejuvenation. The pool with its turquoise tiles and the streams originating from the mountain behind, running through the garden, murmur, this is a Persian garden. The cobbled stone paths lined with trees cuddled between the streams replicate heaven on earth, people say.

Since its completion in 1590, the garden has hosted many kings. The royalties of three dynasties walked through this garden, admiring its serenity and beauty. The ancient cypress tree, the abundance of green, and the pure air had famed the place. The architectural feature of the building reflects the care and the taste of the royalties during different times in history. The latest of these royalties are the kings of Qajar with their peculiar cruelties. The merchant and his family live at the time of this dynasty.

On that day, we see people are heading towards the garden to celebrate the arrival of spring. And it is time for the merchant and his family to leave too. But the merchant cannot be found. The children and servants look for him. Someone brings the news that he saw him walking purposefully and unaware of others towards the gate outside the town, the opposite side of the garden. The puzzled family does not know what to make of this change of plan.

The story goes that the merchant had a dream the night before. He saw his Spiritual Beloved coming to his town the next day, on the first day of the spring. This vivid dream bade him act immediately, to leave home and go to the skirt of the town. Hence he rushes to the gate wherein his dream he saw the Promised One in his faith. To his amazement, he finds out that another known and prominent merchant in that city is waiting there too. The two had a dream about the same Personage whose coming the Divine Books had prophecized. Thus, it is the gate, and there are two lonely merchants with their hearts

beating with the expectation of beholding the Countenance of their Beloved, whose face appeared to them in the dream.

Then, in spiritual ecstasy, the merchant witnesses what he had seen in his dream. The Promised One, riding on a horse, coming towards the city in the custody of the soldiers of Qajar king. They are on their way to take Him to a remote area in the northwest of the country. He immediately recognizes the One whom he had a dream about, and he proclaims his faith in that Manifestation of Light on that day. That love story and covenant became a turning page in the book of his family.

Persecutions and tyranny toward the merchant and his family almost began at the moment of that fidelity. The comfort changed to hardship. Waves of oppression heaped upon him and his descendants. But at the same time, enlightenment substituted dogma in his family. His vision became universal, and he saw humanity as a whole unit and not divided groups.

I often think about that spring day. What if the merchant had not had that dream? What if he had not gone to the gate? And instead, he had gone with his family to the garden of Fin? What if he had not professed his allegiance to his Beloved? What if? And what if? But he courageously followed his intuition and exposed himself to severe persecution. And here I am, the six generations in his family. The merchant is my third great-grandfather. And for that, I am grateful.

But here is the thing, I am not sure if my ancestor had the essential oil around or avoided having sweets and tea the night of the most vital dream in his life. But I am sure that he had one thing, and that is a pure heart.

July 21, 2021 02:42

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2 comments

John Filby
01:42 Aug 19, 2021

I liked the tying in of the ancestry to you at the end, big surprise. I enjoyed the idea that the protagonist had doubts about dreaming and also that giving up some comforts and enjoyments were not possible. These ideas and themes gave then story humanity and I thank you.

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15:17 Aug 19, 2021

Thank you for your thoughtful words.

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