A few years ago I had the following dream:
I am in a line of people and we are all walking single file into a lake. There is no hurry. Everyone is calm and moving easily along. There’s a tranquil feel to the scene. I notice someone near the shoreline to my left, guiding and watching us as we enter the lake. I’m singing a song as I walk along. I become aware that I’m soon to enter the lake and it’s time for me to “toss off my song”. I notice there’s another line of people coming out of the lake so I toss my song off to one of them. My song is caught by some guy and he starts singing it. It’s still similar to the song I was singing, but it’s got this new guy’s own unique expression to it now.
This dream was incredibly powerful for me and I seemed to know even in the dream exactly what it meant. The lake represents death, or at least the afterlife, which also seems to be the state we’re in before we begin life. A friend of mine calls that place “the cosmic soup” — the place from which we are all born and to which we all return after we die.
The song represents my journey, my unique contribution to the physical world, the “note” I am to sing in the “symphony” of life.
The people going into the lake are the ones whose turn it is to die, to give up their song and move on to the next phase of the journey, whatever it is. The people coming out of the cosmic soup are the ones coming to life, the ones whose turn it is to take up their song and begin their journey on the earthly plane of existence.
I love that I toss my song off to someone just coming out of the lake. I am done singing for the time being, but my song is not lost. It will be taken on by someone who will add their own unique tone and expression to it. I like that it’s a man who catches the song; perhaps a deeper voice or more masculine presentation is called for now.
In the dream nothing is revealed about what was going on with the people (souls, energies) while in the soup. Not mine to know yet. That remains a part of the mystery life calls us to live in.
I like to think the dream means that I’ll get to come back again someday and have another go at life. Sometimes it seems like I’m just now getting wise enough to be able to contribute something worthwhile to the world and soon it will be my time to go. Other times it feels like there so much more to learn and do that it’ll take another thousand lifetimes before my evolvement could possibly be complete. Who knows? Not me for sure. I think I’ll hang with Jung and Rilke who both suggest it is more important to live into the questions rather than think you have the answers.
I told my brother this dream when he was dying in 2006. I had to write it down and read it to him because I couldn’t trust myself to be able to speak it. I wanted it to comfort him. It had been such a comfort to me. But I don’t think it did. He loved life and did not want it to be over. He wasn’t ready to stop singing. I can understand that. Life is a sweet song to sing. Often bittersweet, but sweet nonetheless. I’m not ready to stop singing either.
I do hope by the time it’s my time to go that I will be ready. I hope I can surrender to the final kiss of life with peace and an openness to whatever comes next.
Someone said to me recently in the midst of a loved one’s dying that they wondered if God didn’t often let death be accompanied by pain so that death could come as a relief, both for the dying person and for the ones left behind. I’ve wondered that too. We fallible humans have such an indomitable spirit that we have a hard time letting go, even when letting go is the only option. I will never be a fan of pain, but it helps me to think of it as something to help me stop clinging to a song that’s no longer mine to sing.
The recent illness and death of the friend I just mentioned led me to buy a book called Final Gifts. I was stunned when I opened the book and found the first chapter to be entitled “It’s time to get in line.” That kind of amazing synchronicity always trips my radar. Again like Jung I think those uncanny coincidences are likely not random. It’s like The Universe is tapping me on the shoulder saying “Hello. You might want to pay attention here.”
I always feel very affirmed and confirmed when a synchronicity like that happens. It’s like a surprise package has been arranged just for me! Maybe I read too much into it, but you’ll never convince me of that. To paraphrase a favorite humorist/philosopher/author, I do think The Universe is always conspiring to shower us with blessings. You only have to believe to make it so. And you only have to not believe to miss it.
Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying. By Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelly. Simon and Schuster: 1993.
Pronoia: How The Whole World Is Conspiring To Shower You With Blessings. By Rob Brezsny. North Atlantic Books: 2009.