At first, there is nothing. I am in the midst of a void, with only my awareness as a companion. Time is nothing here, where ever here is. I panic at first, remembering that once I had 5 senses, and now I have none. It takes an effort, but I force myself to relax. Despite the lack of stimulus, I take comfort in a half-remembered mumble.
“I think, therefore I am.”
My panic alleviated, I settle into the reality I have found myself. As soon as I accept the terms of my existence, there is a flood of sensations that upend my settled peace. I see I am bodyless, only my awareness exists in this gray-scale world. A gentleman in suit and tie stumbles backwards from a crumpled heap on the ground. He clutches his briefcase tightly. His mouth opens and closes in a mockery of speech. He is unnerved by the sight of the cooling heap on the sidewalk.
At first, he was some distance from my point of view, from where my awareness was “viewing” the scene. I found myself drifting towards him as he contemplated the heap in front of him. A few arm’s length away, I realize that the crumpled heap on the sidewalk is his body. The man has died, quite suddenly, and fell in mid stride.
I observe this without emotion. I do not mourn the man’s death. I am not curious of the means of his demise. I have no sympathy for his spirit. And yet, I am still drawn to his shade. There is something about him that I find myself wanting to cling to.
He cries for a moment, just a brief moment. The weakness now indulged, he straightens his clothing around him. Spectral as he is, he is concerned with his appearance. He catches himself blindly repeating this act of life, and laughs. He doesn’t see me. He has no awareness of me. He looks at the spectral briefcase in his hand, and laughs even more.
Finally, my point of view settles. My awareness is now fixed to a point approximately a meter behind him, and slightly above. My attention is now fixed solely on him. The rest of the world begins to fade away. He looks at his cold body for one last look. He looks again, at the spectral briefcase he is holding, a transparent replica of the cracked briefcase on the ground. He places the spectral briefcase on the ground with deliberate motion. He knows he will not have use for it anymore. As he abandons this symbol of his life, it fades from view.
The world is still steadily fading. I realize that this shift is an effect of the dead man’s acceptance of his fate. He steps back even further from his remnants of life. A gentle smile slowly spread on his face. The world is very dark now. I can barely see the spirit. All of the physical is gone from view, replaced by the same void that I awoke in. He lifts his head upward, but his eyes are closed. Slowly, he raises his arms from his side, palms up. He is making the last mental shifts, separating him from his life. As his hands raise above his head, the void is pierced by a great shout of light.
The light is above us, stabbing the darkness of the void. Spears of bright reds, yellows, greens, and blues fall around us. He opens his eyes to the spectacle. Mouth agape with childish expressions of wonder and amazement. He speaks no words, but none need to be said. I see/know the speech of his heart quite clearly. He knows the light to be passage to a world beyond, an afterlife. His soul is gladdened and his heart speaks of it. The spears of light strip the physical world from us. No longer anchored, he begins to drift towards the source of the beams. I am still anchored to him, I rise along with him. After a moment of movement, I am suddenly mindful of being alive. That only my awareness is in this world. That in an other reality, my body lies sleeping under heavy blankets. I remember my name, the last discussion I had with my daughter, my plans for when I awake. I remember I am alive.
I attempt to pull my awareness away from the man’s spirit. Horror begins to creep from within when I realize I am stuck fast. I attempt to ask the man to release me. He doesn’t hear me. I attempt to force myself to wake up, to do something other than ascending into the light that draws ever closer.
Panic has now completely set in. Despite knowing that my body lies safely in my bed, I feel that my own soul is in this dead man’s reality. More than my awareness is rising to the light, my soul is stuck fast as well. The closer we get to the light, the further my body feels from me. I feel the connections to my body disconnect, bit by bit. My life, just recently remembered, begins to recede as the glare of the kaleidoscopic light pierces me more and more.
Finally, I surrender. If I ascend with this man, then I will die. I think of things I wished to do, but never completed. Apologies I should have said. Promises I wanted to keep. I ponder the few accomplishments I have. I hope my friends and family do not mourn over me.
The light is all pervasive now. I barely register that I am no longer connected to the dead man’s spirit. I should be moving away, but the light has a hold over me that I no longer care to disconnect. I’m going to die. And I am prepared to do so. What was before, no longer concerns me. I am going to die. And I am at peace.
I have forgotten everything. There is only light. Even the man’s spirit is gone from my awareness. I see/sense the source of the light. A globe of pure light that defies description. A concentrated ball of liquid light that dissolved everything that entered it. The man’s spirit enters my view again, the light flowing over him and taking him into itself.
When he entered the light, my movement stopped. No words were spoken. No apparition appeared before me. There was only an understanding sent by the light. “Not your time.” The liquid globe collapsed upon itself, leaving me in the same black void that I awoke in.
I wanted to cry from feelings of abandonment. I wanted to scream in anger and frustration. I wanted to wake up and feel my flesh again. Before I could gather my senses, I heard/felt a rush of noise and movement.
I looked around, trying hard to understand the scene before me. As I try to make sense of the conflicting information, I hear/feel knowledge flowing through me. “What you see is not what it is.” I let the words soak into my consciousness for a while. Finally, I understand the knowledge, and stop trying to make sense of the scene.
The world is colored in blues, grays, and deep mauves. There are people of various ages, various ethnicities, various modes of dress, all moving sinuously to unheard music. There is a wall made from blocks of light. It stretches far into the distance, and high above. When one of the dancing people get too close to the wall, the wall speaks out against the infringing person, ordering him (or her) away from the wall or face pain as punishment.
Everyone that is warned away from the wall, complies quickly. Everyone, except for one person. Despite the lack of red hues, it is apparent this person is a curly-haired ginger. Eyes half closed, freckles that dance on her face, a gentle smile beaming warmly on her face, she defies the wall’s warning and deliberately moves closer to the wall.
“Step away from the wall. Do not touch the wall. Return to the others. You have no place here. If you do not obey, harm will come to you.” The computer voiced warnings repeat constantly, gaining volume as she strides confidently towards the wall. Other dancers warn her, call to her to return to them. Some stop their frantic dancing to watch her.
She reaches out to the wall, which is now shrieking warnings and orders at her. Her hands touch the blocks. The light within reacts to her touch, glowing with a fierce brightness. The blocks themselves do not move, but the lights respond to her sliding fingertips, flowing from one block to another, fusing and splitting. The wall is silent now, enthralled to the ginger-girl’s flowing touches.
One of the dancers question the wisdom of her actions. The dancers are apathetic to the wall, seeing it as an inorganic device. Unmovable, it can not possibly know the bliss of movement. The delight of kinetic energy. Why waste time on something that can not possibly understand what you are doing?
She pauses. She turns her body but keeps her hands on the wall. She is wearing khaki cargo pants, tan tank top, black flip flop sandals. She has a loose necklace of small black beads swirling around her neck, with a matching bracelet. Her curly hair is thick, unruly from being bounced around from dancing, the ends tickling her neck. Silver rings adorn her fingers, some with stones, most without. Every time I see her eyes, they are a different color. No matter what the color, they are never threatening.
She smiles at the dancers, then returns her attention to the wall. Resuming her mesmerizing movement, her hands trace designs and patterns of light. “You think this is a thing, not a person. You see the height of the blocks, and think this wall is to keep us away. You hear the shrieks and think there is no soul within. What you see is not what it is. Until you stop seeing with your eyes, you will never see what is really here. Until you see what is really here, you will not be able to help. And isn’t that the core of our existence, of our knowledge? We strive to learn and learn and learn. But turn away all that doesn’t mirror ourselves.”
She paused in her motion, and turned to face me. Even though I wasn’t physically there, even though I was merely the passive observer, she turned and her multi-hued eyes fixated my attention even as her hands remained on the wall. She pressed hard on the wall, and to my surprise, I felt her hands pressing on my heart. The action and reaction confused me. “Some turn away all that doesn’t mirror ourselves. Some turn away all that doesn’t mirror what we wish ourselves to be. Even if it means turning our true selves away in the process.”
She turned her attention back to the wall, and committed herself to dancing with the wall with renewed fervor. Her words echoed in the deep parts of me, while I continued to be mesmerized by the patterns her trailing fingers left on the brightening blocks. Awareness of the other dancers fade as I slowly realize that I am feeling someone writing on my soul. I know that somehow, the ginger is telling me something. Something superficial and something profound. But I can not make sense of the light trails her fingers leave, or of the movements on my soul.
A whisper… “What you see is not what it is.”
A third pressure, upon my psyche, and I am pushed into deep sleep.