Shattered Youth Dreams

Reflecting on aging, death and dreams, I have just retrieved one of my youth photographs that I had lost. It resurrected memories of lost youth dreams. In the picture, I am with my best friends. We grew up together.

From up left, Stepthen, Kujo, Peter, Roger and Kizungu Down left, Mark and Olivier (Ven. Sangharakkhita).

From up left, Stepthen, Kujo, Peter, Roger and Kizungu
Down left, Mark and Olivier (Ven. Sangharakkhita).

This group was called ‘Cenacle Cosmique’. We had a ritual of meeting at the Mont Kigali mountain in a forest at the beginning of each year to set goals together. I had learned to set goals from Anthony Robbins’ book Unlimited Power. I was more or less the group leader. They were my students of Karate, although we were of the same age. By then, I was in the Senior National team, and they all aspired to be there one day...if wishes were horses, beggars would ride....

We had vowed to be the best, and strongest. We were young and had wild dreams. We all dreamt of America. It was a time when Bill Clinton was POTUS, when Michael Jackson was the greatest pop star, when America was really great.

Stephen, Mark and I dreamt of starting a Karate Club in the spirit of Sensei Fidel, whom we all respected from the depth of our heart. We all belonged to Tiger Club. I have not given up to that dream yet.

Along the way, when George W. Bush was in power and destroying Iraq, all of us lost the dream to go to America. Stephen went to Germany. I decided I was going to remain in Africa. Peter went to Belgium after a long odyssey through Greece.

Just as the Tathagata taught, change, old age and demise are as sure as death. Kizungu died. Mark had an incurable tuberculosis. His family put him in quarantine, and I could not take it. By then, I was working as a freelance consultant for the Institute of Commonwealth studies, University of London, on a research project with Professor Paul Gready.

I had money and I decided to take care of Mark. We meditated together and did Yoga, Qi gong and Tai chi. His condition improved for sometime, and then he relapsed. Then shit happened. A Christian pastor came to say prayers for him and upon learning that he has been doing yoga, he boldly and shamelessly declared that Mark has been bewitched by me, that he did not have tuberculosis.

Eventually, he died. His family hated me. Peter hated me. Stepthen became suspicious of me. Roger kept his distance. All my best friends abandoned me. But that only made me strong.

Roger was abducted by the secret police in Rwanda and has gone missing for the past two years. He is probably dead. Soon, I will be a stranger in a strange land, just like Abraham. I believe I will be blessed. But before, I have two important things to do before that: another Uganda workshop of Shadow Work for people who have asked me to redo it again, and a Shadow Work ritual for me to say goodbye to Africa, for some time. I will go to a hill in Fort Port, next to Crater Lake, facing the Ruwenzoli and Tooro Palace. There I will gain spiritual fortitude. Then I will head to the country of Sebastian Kurz, the young and inspiring Austrian leader.

A monk has no home and he should not form attachments to a place or people or things, because they invariably bring suffering. But I am not an arahant yet, and I have bonds to Africa, to people, to youth dreams. But alas, time shatter dreams.

And yet, nothing is truly lost....