A long time ago I had a dream. In it there was this bar in the center of eternity. There were a half-dozen of us sitting there drinking and waiting for something to happen. It was one of those dreams where you wake up and aren't sure if you are dreaming this world or that world. Years later I find myself wondering what it really meant. In my youth I had this dream of this bar floating around in outer space or some kind of cosmic nothingness. Then I died and came back in order to seek out a bar that they started building the day I came back. Is there a connection? Eventually I came to believe it is all connected.
Death can awaken dormant aspects of the soul.
I was born and raised to be a critical thinker and lived most of my life as a cynic whose life philosophy was, "If it can't be proven or shown to be real, I'm not interested." I left the church when I was 13 because I resented attempts to present beliefs based on faith as absolute truth. From that point on I would accept nothing without proof. Part of the misery and the spiral of depression that followed in my young adult years came from this. When things did not make sense the way that they were, I devoted time and energy to yelling about how they needed to change. The human quality was lost to me. I simply saw how things could be improved and if people did not improve them it made me angry.
The rationalist and cynical approach to all things was, in the end, self-destructive. Thinking on the most base level that all problems have simple solutions leaves out far too much. About a year before my death I had been engaged to a young woman named Justine. Getting married was a simple solution, in my mind, to all of our problems. She was unhappy with her home life, living with her dysfunctional parents, and wanted to move out. Because she was going to college and working part-time, Justine couldn't afford to move out on her own. I was working full-time and making fairly good money and could afford a decent place for the two of us. Her father would never have allowed her to move in with me unless we were married. This was the solution. It was a simple solution that on the surface made sense, and yet there was too much I either overlooked or ignored. She was young and just starting to explore the nature of her life and herself. We were not at that point where either of us could honestly say we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with each other. I just wanted someone to take away the loneliness and emptiness left by so many prior relationships that had gone wrong. When it didn't work out the way I wanted it to, I spiralled into oblivion. My life was empty because I had emptied it and I demanded that someone else fill up that emptiness.
This world is so complicated and so serious to those who have always lived here.
Everything had a simple solution and resolution, but they were always my solutions. I had trouble realizing that my solution didn't always work for other people. The frustration that came from others walking away instead of embracing my concept of what "should" be created a constant, gnawing depression. Because what I believed and felt was right was so often not what was right for others in my orbit I felt that my life was pointless. I was barricaded on an island demanding that others get behind my fortifications or get out. I was in jail. Everyone else was in the "Just Visiting" space.
It was nothing more than a dream. The only reason it was so intense and felt so real was because of all the drugs and liquor I swallowed the night before. Somehow I managed not to take enough to kill myself. I failed in that mission and have become delusional. Eventually these visions I'm having will leave and everything will go back to normal. I didn't kill myself, I just screwed my mind up so completely that I can't tell what's real anymore.
Reading old journal entries in the notebooks I used to write in in the days following my death brings up some interesting entries. I remember the denial and the insistence that it was all just a weird dream. As time passed, what I originally expected to fade only became stronger. Instead of denial I attempted to ignore the signs and messages that were coming in.
There had been a lengthy suicide note that I had written the day of my suicide. It explained my justifications and what I wanted done with the remnants of my life. After my roommate went to bed I placed it on the kitchen table. During my death experience I found myself floating through the house. I had just returned from the other side, from the desert of my soul, and was hovering over the kitchen table staring at the envelope that contained my note. I felt an urgency. I didn't want my roommate to discover the note when he got up for work in the morning. I stared at the envelope and wished it away, for I sensed that once I dropped back into my body I would be unable to act. The next day I didn't see the note on the table. My roommate said nothing to me about it. A week later I found it at the bottom of one of my desk drawers where only I would ever find it. I had never moved it, but yet it stashed itself away in a drawer. I had wanted it to go away and had been frustrated by my powerlessness to pick up the envelope while floating over it. Yet, I had moved the envelope. I just had no idea how.
Keep your hands on the wheel.
There is always a storm on the horizon.
There is always danger where you least expect to find it.
It was not my first real encounter with something happening that I could not rationally explain. It would not be the last. For months my roommate and I had joked about there being a ghost in the house. We heard footsteps going up and down the stairs between the first and second floors. Sometimes when one of us was alone in the house we heard someone calling out our name from either the top of the stairs or the bottom, depending on what floor we happened to be on. On the night of my death I encountered the ghost. It was a confused woman in a white nightgown. She was frightened and uncertain, trapped somehow in between worlds. As I floated towards her, words came out of my mouth with authority and certainty.
"This is my house now. You need to leave."
And she left and was never heard from again. The calling out of names stopped and the creaking footsteps up and down the stairs ended. I lived in the house for three more years and never heard from her. Later I would come to believe that I had saved her and that it was a sign related to my mission in life. She had been too afraid to jump forward to the next frame. Without my prodding she never would have moved on and would have been trapped in the house forever. I don't know how long she had lived there. The house we lived in was almost a hundred years old. A century of her kind of limbo is something unsettling to consider for someone who has crossed over to the other side.
Tried to run
Tried to hide
Break on through to the other side
It started to become impossible to attempt to explain all the things that were happening to me and around me through rational thought. There was a rationalism to it all, but it was a different kind of logic and reason. A leap of faith would be required and that would be followed by questions and answers. It would be necessary to learn a new way to process information, but I had been granted that ability somewhere along the way. A new kind of dream entered into my sleep. They were the kind of dreams that could not be ignored. It was as if I stepped into another world in my sleep and that world was giving me instructions.
It is all in the patterns.
They continue until you understand them.
They do not end until you break them.
Whereas there is a collection of messages that filtered into my consciousness from the "other side," each one has come to have a specific power. The study of the patterns of one's own life requires some form of objectivism that is generally not possible for those who cannot channel the universal consciousness. You must be able to somehow step outside yourself, otherwise you will rationalize and justify the patterns and find any means to deny that they are, in fact, patterns. This life is cyclical. The mistakes we make come around again until we learn from them and are then able to move on. Our imperfections and flaws cause the patterns. As human beings we cannot attain perfection, at least not within this frame of existence. It goes against the nature of this place. We are here to learn from our mistakes and therefore, to be without flaws would make being here pointless. Perfection would cause us to cease existing here.
Making "mistakes" is in your best interests. Avoiding mistakes and ignoring those you've made is not. They'll come up again like a playing card you keep stuffing back into the deck. Defiance in the face of your mistakes is counterproductive. Then again, we often recalculate what a mistake actually is. We're not talking about something bad you did that made someone cry. We're talking about things that create a negative energy drain on your spirit. Why is it that every time you start to fall in love you have an urge to head for the hills? Why is it that every time someone trusts you with increased responsibility you drop the ball? Why is it that every time you start to go on a diet you can't help but eat a tub of lard and a barrel of pork guts two days into the diet? There are millions of patterns in your life. The key is to determine which have been the most powerful, have had the most profound impact on you, and can be learned from. It comes down to focus.
"You look pale. Are you okay?"
The bar at the center of my universe was once populated with cute waitresses and sultry bartenders. It seemed to be an inside joke, as I've always had this weird fetish for things of this nature. They were part of the story. One night I was running an errand and planned to stop by for a couple of beers and some food afterwards. A couple miles down the road a tire blew out on my car. In a normal sense this was not a big deal. I was foolishly unaware of the fact that the spare was missing. I could have called for emergency road service, but decided instead to walk.
A memory of the future was disturbing me. I could not shake it. I walked away from my car because it had taken on a strange, negative energy. I knew something bad would happen soon and that the car was at the heart of it. I decided to test myself. It was two miles to the bar and another ten miles home. I would walk. I insisted. This was a test for something yet to come and it needed to be this way. When I got to the bar, Tina was working and seemed befuddled by why I was so upset. It was just a flat tire, right. No, I told her, it was more. It was a sign. I was running out of time and I didn't feel like I had gotten close enough to the reason why I was there. Doubt was returning and I was losing faith in everything. This was the test. With a blurry vision of what was yet to come I sat holding a beer and staring at the clock. Why was I here?
On that ten mile walk I found my faith again. I knew I could never really fail as long as I continued to believe. My car would destroy itself months later in a bizarre chain of events that left me without a job or any money. I would return to the bar at the center of my universe, taking the bus, and waited for an answer. It came. I still don't understand what it means.
"I've been dead.
This shit is easy.
Hell of a mantra, eh, Simone?"
I thought it ended there. It didn't. I had come to find three queens who taught me about a destructive pattern in my life. They dispersed almost simultaneously from the bar, taking new jobs or moving away. This, I believed, was the end of the story. It didn't end. The first queen reappeared as the attending nurse in the ward where my friend Don was being treated for his terminal leukemia. The second queen reappeared at her own funeral in January of 2003. There is a progression there. I believe the progression will involve a reappearance of the third queen. My interpretation of the pattern tells me she will reappear at my own death. I always called them the death queens. They seem intent on living up to their name.
"The transcendent can never be totally expressed or it would cease to be transcendent."
The lesson is still unlearned. As always, there is something I have overlooked. When the learning ends I will no longer be here. You have to make mistakes. You have to embrace them. There is no wrong road to enlightenment. There is only the road you choose. This much I know.
I am in the midst of a journey I stepped away from three years ago. At times it seems I walk the edge of insanity, but it is my definition of sanity that needs revision. Get together one more time. Just waiting in line for one of my kind.