Dream, Vision or… What? Part Two

46037_1056302Some time after the meditation I wrote about in Dream, Vision or… What? Part One I was home on my own when I decided to meditate without the use of the tape. I had memorised the routine by now and was able to get into a relaxed state reasonably easily. I counted down and visualised myself walking through the expanded zero and imagined being in a parklike setting, sitting on a bench seat. Then the visualisation took on a life of its own, as if it were a dream, except that I was observing as well as participating. A figure appeared who I recognised as Jesus. As with the vision of my mother, I heard words spoken telepathically and he said ‘I am the way, the truth and the light. Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.’ With that an image of a façade appeared. It had no boundaries, but a doorway with a door ajar and opening inwards. I saw myself go through the doorway and found myself in a place of light. There was nothing at all, just a very bright but also diffuse, light, kind of like a light fog. I watched myself dance around joyfully, like a child, then sit in a cross legged meditation position and after some time had passed, get up and walk back out through the doorway. As I did so, I saw that the light was attached to me at the back, from my neck to my ankles and it appeared that I was pulling it with me. Suddenly a very strong vibration ripped through my torso from left to right. This was something I physically felt, it wasn’t part of the vision and the impression I had was of a kind of lightning bolt of energy piercing my body from somewhere outside of me.

At this point the scene changed just as happens in dreams and I saw myself at a bus stop, a bus came along and I got on and sat down. A man sat alongside me, who as it turned out would appear many, many times in future dreams and asked where I was going. I said ‘nowhere in particular, I’m just along for the ride.’

With that the vision ended. I was still in a meditative state and aware of what I needed to do but the deep state of relaxation had been broken. I gradually counted up to bring myself out as I had learned to do, then sat somewhat stunned. There was no feeling of peace and tranquility as I had experienced with the vision of Mum. I felt very disturbed and in fact my initial reaction was acute embarrassment. My first thought, as silly as it sounds, was ‘I hope nobody saw that.’  I had the feeling of having been totally engrossed in watching a movie in a theatre and feeling disoriented when the lights come on.

I was completely bewildered, Jesus was not part of my everyday experience. I had not attended Church in 30 years, apart from the occasional wedding. I accepted the existence of the historical Jesus but I considered him an ordinary human being, not the son of a deity, certainly not the product of an immaculate conception nor living out an eternal life somewhere in the ether.

I suspect the reason I felt so disturbed was because I knew at some deep level that it had the potential to challenge the belief system that had enabled me to cope with my life experiences, especially the many losses due to deaths. Now I regard that belief system as more of a liability than an asset, a coping mechanism that was inadequate to deal with the imminent death of my husband and all the life changes that would entail. Eventually I began a spiritual journey, which continues to this day and came to terms with my antagonistic attitude towards the religion I had embraced in good faith as a child and ultimately rejected, as so many of us do and for very good reasons.

Life was much too chaotic following the vision for me to do anything about it even if I had wanted to, but I did have a book on Near Death Experiences come my way and was astonished to read about the descriptions of light that people saw. It seemed similar to my experience although I didn’t have the other phenomena that went with an NDE.

Following Roger’s death, things seemed to accelerate and I began to have other strange experiences, including precognitive dreams and a great deal of what I can only describe as electrical activity in my body. It was becoming increasingly obvious that not only my world view but my nervous system was undergoing a considerable shake up. It all seemed to stem from the two meditation visions but my left brained approach was having a hard time making sense of it all. The visions on their own didn’t pose much of a conundrum, I could explain them to my satisfaction as dream like phenomena but the very physical nature of the vibration and its after effects was not so easy to explain.

I would eventually learn, through experience and investigation, that such phenomena are very commonplace with meditation and have been known about and actively cultivated, it seems, forever. As I write this on New Year’s Day 2014 it is seventeen years later and there is now an impressive amount of scientific research data into the effects of meditation and other methods of altering states of consciousness but as to the mechanism behind the effects, it seems like the more we know the deeper the plot thickens. How can sitting quietly and relaxing the mind trigger such an event? There was a time when I would have had the attitude that it is only a matter of time before science has it all figured out but that is no longer either a very satisfactory, or satisfying attitude for me.

As for the message that was given me, it took me a long time to understand that it was actually a response to an unconscious longing for an abiding sense of inner peace. That this experience came after the initial one where I had a palpable taste of that peace I feel was no accident. Life had seemed like a continual struggle for as long as I could remember. It just seemed that that was the way things were. Apparently I was being shown that there is another way but the package it was delivered in was not altogether welcome. Though I respected the ethical teachings of Jesus, I was very anti the religion he represented.

Eventually I would come across the Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas, one of the Gospels that didn’t make it into the Bible and which was only discovered in 1945 as part of the Nag Hammadi collection.  In that Gospel the ‘seek’ quotation is very different. Jesus is reported as saying ‘He who seeks, let him not cease seeking until he finds and when he finds he will be troubled and if he is troubled, he will be amazed and will reign over the all. ‘Troubled’ I could relate to and ‘amazed’ I could aspire to.

Something that puzzled me for a long time was the scene involving the bus ride and though I haven’t yet got to the stage where I feel I can just enjoy the ride, I wonder if it was perhaps a kind of precognitive dream that is still unfolding. I can live with that.

Dream, Vision or… What? Part One

When my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he took up meditation in an attempt to find peace with the situation and I joined him as moral support and in the hope that it would also help me cope better than I had been doing. He had brought home a tape from the Cancer Care Centre and it was basically a guided visualisation of going down in a lift, seeing the numbers of each floor in the mind’s eye and on reaching zero seeing the zero expand, imagine walking through it and visualising being in a tranquil scene. The tape would then go silent for a period of time and the voice would count up again.

At first I struggled mightily just to stay awake but after about six weeks the persistence paid off and I was able to relax and found the sessions quite enjoyable. One day I was in a relaxed state when I had a vision of my mother. Her face appeared to me as though it was above and outside of me and she looked very sad. She communicated telepathically to me ‘you don’t need to be here, Gloria. You’re needed back there.’ With that something relaxed even more deeply in me and I felt an incredible sense of peace such that when the tape finished I didn’t want to move. Roger had been on his stool in front of the lounge where I was sitting and after a while he stirred and glanced over at me. I smiled at him and he came and sat alongside me and we held hands with neither of us saying a word for a long time.

At the time I wasn’t coping very well and though I knew I wouldn’t do anything while Roger was alive, I wasn’t so sure about the future. I had always had a tenuous hold on life, even at the best of times and simply couldn’t imagine what I was going to do without him. I had no belief in anyone surviving death in any way, shape or form at the time and had no knowledge of altered states of consciousness and their effects. I presumed the vision was a kind of waking dream but the sense of peace it evoked had a profound effect on me in many ways. The suicidal thoughts abated and I eventually sought out a counsellor.

Roger’s impending death had brought up memories of my mother’s death and I realised I had never grieved for her when she died 12 years before because it had coincided with a very difficult and demanding period of our life. Eventually I was able to visit her grave for the first time and come to terms with much that had not been dealt with.

As far as what the vision meant, it didn’t change my belief that death meant anything more than peaceful oblivion and had no concept of it being anything other than an artefact of my imagination. The only explanation I needed was that it was like a waking dream and was happy to leave it at that – until the next meditation experience Dream, Vision or… What? Part Two really shook up my simplistic viewpoint.