Editor’s Note from Tzivia Gover: Death is a topic that evokes fear or outright denial in many people. In this article Laurel Clark shows how dreams can help us confront, and come to peace with, this mysterious transition.
“I have absolutely no fear of death. From my near-death research and my personal experiences, death is, in my judgment, simply a transition into another kind of reality.” —Dr. Raymond Moody
Most people fear death. Although we know that death is inevitable, there is often a difference between what we believe intellectually and what we experience emotionally. Why is this so? It would seem that such a universal experience could be met with acceptance. Instead, at least in American culture, we often think of death as a failure. Some people don’t even want to talk about it.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, author of On Death and Dying identified five stages people go through in the process of dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The first stage, denial, is prevalent in Western culture. People with terminal illness are often counseled to “fight” the disease. Family members who learn that their loved one has a terminal illness may even be advised not to tell the person that death is imminent.
Being attentive to our dreams can be a tremendous help in understanding and even eliminating the fear of death. Dreams can awaken us to the reality that there is experience beyond the physical body. They can give us a taste of life on the “other side,” thus, stimulating curiosity rather than dread.
Dreams can give us comfort, helping those who remain alive to know that they are not really separated from their loved ones who die. They can also help to prepare us for their death. They can be a valuable source of guidance and encouragement.
Precognitive dreams, visitation dreams, and telepathic dreams awaken us to the reality of existence beyond the physical body. It is one thing to believe that there is an afterlife; it is another to taste the experience. People who have had near death experiences report a sense of peace, comfort and bliss, absence of pain, and a feeling of compassionate love on the “other side.” People who experience dream visitations from deceased loved ones report similar feelings.
Through dream states, we can aid one another and communicate with one another in ways beyond the reach of our (sometimes limited) conscious mind and brain. People who are aware of these “psi” dreams experience the profound realization that there is much more to us than we can see, touch, taste, feel, and hear with our physical senses.
The Peace of Death
I was married to a man who had juvenile diabetes. When he died at the young age of 42, I felt as if our time together had been cut short. We had only been married for six years and there was much of life we had never had a chance to share. John and I met through the School of Metaphysics, an educational institution where we were learning to develop our spirituality, to understand dreams, and to cultivate intuitive connections.
When the complications of diabetes finally took their toll, John withdrew from the physical (died) on September 10, 2000. A year later, on September 11, 2001, I decided that I was going to take a day off from work and spend it quietly by myself to complete a year of mourning.
I was driving to the closest town when I heard the news on the radio. “The second tower has been hit!” The announcer in an alarmed voice was reporting the second attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. That was the first I knew of the tragedy. I spent the rest of that day in a kind of stupor. Every place I went, people looked stricken, their faces ashen, their eyes glazed over. No one could believe what had happened.
I grew up just outside of New York City and have friends who live there. John’s oldest sister and her son live in Manhattan. I tried to call them to see if they were okay, but none of the phone lines were connecting. Everything seemed very surreal and it was impossible to make any physical connection with anyone I knew in New York.
That night, I had the following dream:
I dream that John is in New York, helping the people who died in the World Trade Center. I am so happy to see him. I ask him, “Are they okay?” He smiles this beautiful smile, full of light, and radiates love. “Yes!” he says. “They’re fine! Once they are out, they’re fine!” I know he means that once they are out of the body they are fine, with no pain because they are released from the bodily prison. I can feel the peace and exhilaration.
I woke up feeling relieved, peaceful, and happy. I knew that when John was alive he was always helping other people, so it made sense that he was still helping people on the other side. I also knew that this was a visitation, an actual communication from him. It helped me to be at peace and to be a calming presence for other people I knew who were extremely grief-stricken and outraged at what had occurred. It also helped me to ease my grief at John’s passing, because in the dream he could see, he was vibrant, and he was at his best, helping other people.
This dream is called a visitation. It is fairly common for people who have died to come to their loved ones in a dream, to “visit” in the inner levels of the subconscious mind. Most people experience visitation dreams as comforting and reassuring.
Before my husband died, his health was up and down. None of the doctors ever said how long John had to live; they were expecting that he would have a kidney transplant so no one spoke of him as being terminally ill. So his death came as a surprise. I wasn’t home when John died and I never had a chance to say goodbye to him.
We were both students of metaphysics and spiritual disciplines such as meditation, dream interpretation, lucid dreaming, and intuitive training. I had practiced telepathy with John and we had experienced a strong intuitive connection when he was alive.
So I believed that after John died he would come to me in my dreams. I was very disappointed when that didn’t happen right away. John was my best friend and I really missed him. I just wanted to talk to him, to say goodbye, to let him know that I loved him and hear him tell me that he loved me one last time.
For the first couple of weeks after his death I had difficulty sleeping and wanted to sleep so that John could visit me in my dreams! About a month after his death, when I still had not had a visitation dream, I decided that I would clearly ask John to come to me. Before going to bed, I wrote a long letter to him in my journal. I meditated. Then I wrote in my dream journal, “John, please come to me in my dreams.”
That night I had the following dream:
I am in a large auditorium. There is a ceremony on stage, like a graduation ceremony. I see John on the stage, wearing a baseball cap. I wave to him but I am not sure if he sees me. Later, someone brings me my Bible, which has been left on the stage. I open it and there is a heart, drawn in John’s handwriting. I cry, because I know it is him saying, “I love you.”
This dream was bittersweet. When I awoke, I knew that it was a visitation. I also knew that the reason John had not come to me in my dreams before this was that he was still getting used to his body in the inner levels. He was just “graduating” to his new stage of life after death. He couldn’t talk yet and couldn’t write. He could gesture and communicate in pictures.
I cherished this dream, because the feeling was very loving and peaceful. It helped me to respect where John was in his process of assimilation, and to be patient, to wait for him to be “born again” in the inner levels and develop greater facility using his new body.
How Intuitive Dreaming Can Help Us
Precognitive dreams and visitation dreams can help alleviate fear because the subconscious mind is omniscient and objective. The subconscious mind, or soul, views life from the perspective of learning. It does not judge experience as good or bad, pleasurable or painful, happy or sad. It accepts. It sees what is.
Learning to receive from the subconscious mind can help us to create a similar kind of objective, compassionate state of mind. Remembering and experiencing these dreams gives us a taste of our Real Self, the self that exists beyond the limitations of physical time, physical senses, and the accompanying pain or judgment.
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