I used to have dreams of death that would literally scare me awake. In my dreams, I have died a variety of ways. I’ve fallen to my death. I’ve been peppered with bullets. I have been attacked by vicious wild animals from rabid squirrels to grizzly bears that were far from being a gentle Ben. But for the last couple of nights I had a couple of dreams of death that gave me a new perspective on my relationship with the universe and my relationship with my spirituality.
Two nights ago, I had a dream that I was driving down the street in a Jeep CJ. I pulled up to the red light of an intersection getting ready to make a left turn. Two men were crossing the street in the crosswalk in front of the Jeep. They stopped to talk to each other right in front of me. I thought they were being jerks. When the light turned green they continued to stand in front of me holding their conversation. I turned the steering wheel a little harder and made my left by going around them. As I continued to go on my way, two men appeared in the middle of the street again. I drove by them as well. Like the first pair of men I just went around the second set. I looked up into the sky and there was a contrail of something headed straight down into the ground. Suddenly there was a huge explosion. It looked like a nuclear device detonated. A few seconds later it looked like the horizon was growing. A huge, fiery wall of sheer force was fanning out from the explosion point. Escape was impossible. I had only seconds to live. I blew a kiss to the sky and thought to myself, I’m coming home. When the wall of furious fire hit I was immediately consumed by the flames. I had an out of body experience. I could see inside the flames and I watched as my skeleton was charred to black inside the Jeep.
Last night I had another dream. It started off inside what I believe to be a Home Depot. I was in a gigantic home improvement store. I remember walking through the paint and wallpaper department. I was pushing an empty shopping cart. As I walked out the store the shopping cart was able to follow me. It was dark and kind of cool outside. The parking lot was sloped and as I walked down it the shopping cart hit me in my back. At the edge of the parking lot, I saw there was no place to park the cart so I turned around to push it back up the slope. Suddenly I heard two gun shots. I hadn’t noticed before but there was a young black teenager pretty close to me and he started ducking. Not wanting to be a target I started ducking as well. Two more shots rang out. I turned and across the street from the parking lot was an angry young man with a pistol pointed in my direction. He was wearing an oversized, red hooded sweatshirt and white sweatpants. He was yelling. He yelled at me that he hated my punk ass. I did not know who he was or why he would be angry with me. I fell to the ground. A bullet from his gun grazed my left shoulder blade and left buttock. The shooter was running towards me with the pistol extended and pointed at me. By this time I’m lying prostrated on the ground with my head his best target. His aim is bound to get better. I am about to die. My last thought was how much I loved my son.
At the end of both dreams I woke up. The typical reaction to me dying in my dreams would be a racing heart from a sudden rush of adrenaline. But instead of a racing heart I woke up as if I had experienced one of the most pleasant dreams ever. From what I understand death is a symbol of profound change. Death is nothing if not the most transformative change humans will ever experience. All we know from this side of the life/death portal is that people mourn when loved ones die. It’s typical to fear the loss of communication that comes with death. No one knows what, if anything, lies on the other side waiting for us. And fear of the unknown is one of the biggest fears of all. If I had these dreams a few years ago I would have been waking up with my heart racing and head pounding and gasping for air as if I had ran a marathon. But in these dreams I stayed calm.
While I am far from living with a death wish, I do understand that death is inevitable. It is a common law of nature. If something has a beginning, it too will have an end. Nothing at our plane of existence is forever. Everything changes. To resist change is to resist growing. To resist change is to resist progress and to resist proceeding down one’s spiritual path. Growth doesn’t happen without change. Transformation doesn’t happen without change.
No doubt my subconscious is trying to tell me something. At forty six years old, I’m probably going through some sort of midlife crisis. Like a lot of people, like many men, I’m probably trying to come to terms with the loss of my youth and the fact that there’s a good chance that the majority of my life years are behind me. Unable to turn back the clock and redo parts of my life already done I really have no choice but to look forward to my life. While others might don a leather jacket, bling, and a new sports car, I guess it appears that I might be ready for something a little more transformative in my life.