A Dream, Cosmic Experience Or Something Else
I found myself traveling on a road bordering a small midwestern town in nineteenth century Eurasia and came across a quaint single room wooden schoolhouse, nested in the most secluded part of town on a hill, crowned by large branches from an majestic oak tree. It was worn with age, hand built, with a heavy door that squeaked as I crossed the threshold. From the outside, it reminded me of the school in Little House On The Prairie by Laura Ingles Wilder.
Once the aperture was conquered, I was surprisingly aware of being alone in a gymnasium – initially cold and dimly lit like every high school gym when not in use. I had entered from a small side door tucked behind the top row of the bleachers and immediately noticed how the space inside was so much larger than the single room schoolhouse that I first approached. It seemed curiously odd. Even the small Harry Potter tents that opened into spacious ornate British living rooms flanked by imposing wooden libraries and the long rectangular dining tables seating dozens could not make sense of this spatial discrepancy gnawing at my rational sensibilities. Einstein’s Physics or Hawkings metaphysics could have never posited the reality I found myself in. I must be dreaming, I thought.
Soon, it dawned on me that this was not a dream because I was aware that I was “aware” although I also knew I was asleep in my bed, a rare occurrence when one is dreaming. Where was I? Scratching my head, my thoughts again shifted to the old schoolhouse I first encountered. Perhaps I was there to be taught or learn something as curiosity quickly consumed me.
From my perched vantage point, I became aware of the varnished wooden floor below delineating the dimensions of a basketball court. Memories of my high school days reading Shakespeare at 7:00 am, Algebra at 8am came rushing back, yet quickly passed. It was as if these vignettes from my past were all being replayed simultaneously, superimposed, and yet with such a new clarity that revealed to me one of my motivations in life.
In time, I had moved down the stairs to the floor seats. Instead of seeing the shiny varnished floor, the visage changed and I was gazing straight into outer space. It was like being in the shuttle bay of the Enterprise D, with nothing but a force field between me and the vastness of the universe. Oddly, I found myself standing perpendicular, looking down at the cosmic expanse.
“Jump” a voice whispered in my ear, “Jump.”
Without hesitation, I leaped eagerly with curiosity, not a shred of fear clouding what I was experiencing at that moment. I jumped!
Like Sandra Bullock in Gravity, I found myself completely surrounded by the cold emptiness of outer space, only without a spacesuit, conscious and free from material boundaries between me and “IT”. I don’t remember breathing – or was I?
The voice asked “What do you see?”
Absorbing the long gaze around me, the stars, the nebulas, the spiraling galaxies, the energetic emptiness before me was infectious. It was so expansive yet I knew I was restricted by what I thought only my eyes could see. Then like a lightning bolt of reason, it all became clear.
What I was perceiving was much bigger than the inflexible limitations imposed by my usual understanding of myself as nothing more than a physical body, biologically described as humanoid with two eyes, feet, limbs and a lone brain with which to think. I began elucidating what my sense of self would be if I could dissipate my limited concept of form. What would be left? How much more could I be capable of perceiving from such a naked moment? What grand mystery was I not now seeing? And why, immersed in all this, was I still thinking in such limited terms?
The voice said, “you’re thinking too much, simplify!”
Perhaps I was trapped inside a quantum paradox, created by my own identity as a physical being. Why limit myself by those boundaries and instead, explore the Universe solely as conscious awareness without form and by so doing, learn how to effect the cosmic forces that I was now part of. Perhaps, If I finally surrender the need for separateness so that I could joyfully merge without fear of losing my sense of self and become one with the cosmic and still be able to come back and remember the experience, presumably in my waking “conscious” state, how would it change me?
The voice said, “By becoming more aware of who you are”