Perchance to Dream
For various reasons all of us hold secrets within ourselves: some act we may have done, some thought unspoken, even a wish perhaps. And for as many reasons we confide these things to no one. It may be for fear of social ostracism, embarrassment, ridicule, or even fear of punishment. But we do; we all do.
Among many conscious secrets in my possession is something that I have never admitted to friend or family. It was a dream I had at the age of twelve years. It was a dream so powerful that I remember it in great detail even now, thirty-eight years later. In most dreams we see ourselves as participants like in a movie. In this dream I was seeing things as if through my own eyes, I was not a character in the dream; I was seeing it happen as I see things in life, In the dream I found myself face to face with an absolutely brilliant light of a single consistency throughout. Within the light I could discern scores of colors that were indescribably beautiful, yet they all merged together into one brilliant glow! I recall feeling absolutely overwhelmed by the brilliance. Not in the sense of fear or dread or any such negative connotation. It was a very positive sensation of an airy, fresh, exhilarating feeling, At one point I could have sworn that I saw a figure or form within the light. It was in the light and yet was with the light. Separate but blended together but yet distinct in one all pervasive glow. The light had no boundary but I realized (or at least was aware) that the apparent edges of the light seem to extend in all directions. In a strange way I seemed to be within the light yet standing apart and observing it. It merely filled everywhere. And then from the flash and fury that was the light came a voice, It spoke to me saying "You will be the one to tell my story." I then awoke. And it was only then that I became frightened about it. I lay awake for some time thinking about it.
I am now fifty years old, Let's be realistic: a twelve year old boy is in the midst of a chemical crisis within his physical being that causes him a great deal of stress. Hormones are beginning to flow; his voice frequently cracks when speaking; and, odd hair begins sprouting here and there over his body. Strange thoughts and strange urges seem to pop out of nowhere. Dreams of grandeur (conscious or unconscious) are common. But this dream haunted me for some time afterward. Even today.
Personally, I find it irritating when T.V. evangelists or anyone for that matter reveal that they have been talking to God. There is a bumper sticker that I find somewhat sarcastically amusing that says "GOD IS NOT DEAD. I SPOKE WITH HIM THIS MORNING". However, I believe that in that dream the light was the Creator and he spoke to me. This irritation I feel when someone says they have been talking to God and he answered them is a direct result of my educational experience. And also from the fact that God cannot be "proved". My training, my logic tells me to trust only what can be measured and meticulously described mathematically. That if others can measure and meticulously describe whatever it may be and get the same results then whatever it is can be assumed to be real. To be true. And it can be used to build new facts. Or it can explain some question. How does one measure an experience? Or a dream? In reality an experience or a dream or a hope is only a thought process. And a thought process is the result
Of certain chemical reactions at the neuronal level. One can measure the weight of the miniscule chemicals involved. One may even mathematically represent the reaction itself; but the thought, the dream that results from the reaction, is beyond measuring. Beyond description. It may best be defined as the essence of the reaction perhaps. Actually any thought is but the residue of a chemical reaction. But so is water. So is hydrochloroic acid. So are the stars. So dreams are beyond technical description: where in the reaction does the dream spring into being? How much does a dream weigh? What are its dimensions? Impossible to answer. So in my logic I tend to dismiss its validity. Strangely though, thoughts and dreams can influence us as a species and as individual human beings.
And that dream haunts me still thirty-eight years later. It also produced a profound effect on my life. It has formed a conviction within me that every human life is and was in the end a search for the ultimate thought, the ultimate answer, the ultimate experience. Truth if you will. Yet each one of us sees the truth from their own personal perspective grounded in the experience of living life itself. And there is an unspoken belief that though seen from a thousand different perspectives, the ultimate truth will appear the same to all. Regardless of race, sex, vocation, political persuasion, belief system or any other aspect of the individual that makes him or her unique; every activity is a direct result of and an attempt to obtain some glimpse of the ultimate truth from which all else can be known. It may be described as a search for perfect joy: Freud, I think, was driving toward this same conclusion in his description of The Pleasure Principle. The error in his theory is that he seemed to imply physical pleasure and comfort alone. I believe that our real quest is to find the ultimate joy or pleasure that transcends the physical pleasure. One may seek physical pleasure but only within oneself in the hope that it may touch something deeper within oneself. That something deeper is the merging of the self with the oneness of nature. With the ultimate One.
Perhaps it is only a dream that all humans share that has no basis in reality. Yet, it may only exist in those dreams sprung from chemical activity. For the history of humanity is replete with the strivings of men and women to find some essence beyond the physical. But that dream of mine has been the underlying corner stone of my life. My life (as are all lives) has been a search for the ultimate truth. In a word, a search f0r the Creator. As a youngster I looked out into the night sky and marveled at it all. As an adult I delved into the chemical and physical make up of it all. And the thread running through it all -- who made this and why?
The voice in the dream presupposed that I already knew the answer to that thread for it commanded me to "tell" his story. His story! I didn't know his story! The voice never told me what the story was. I wanted to be a biologist and discover the common ancestor of man and the great apes. I wanted to be an astronomer and describe the universe. As it turned out I didn't even come close. I ended up as a General Practitioner with a big interest in astronomy and quantum theory. Let's face it, I am far from being even a semi-knowledgeable amateur in those fields; but they are truly fascinating fields on which to read. As it turned out, those fields of interest and my scientific education to prepare me for the practice of medicine also prepared me for a scientifically based conclusion that a supreme creator does exist beyond the packets of energy that form everything. All my past life experiences and I hope all my future life experiences (may there be many of them) combines with that now one true corner stone in my psyche to reinforce the conviction that God exists. Without that corner stone all else crumbles into a truly meaningless, unpatterned, non-repetitive chaos. Nothing else is if God isn't.
It just may be that something down inside every human being - some how, somewhere during his or her lifetime -- sends that message into consciousness: that the ultimate experience is in knowing that God exists. Perhaps humans feel that if one follows certain rules or chants some mysterious words one can experience or cornmunicate with this God. In reality it isn't really just believing God exists, it is experiencing that God exists. In the experiencing of it, one comes to know it.
To reiterate: regardless of one's station in life, regardless of one's uniqueness, regardless of the unimportant trappings of the world's belief systems, there is a common thread among all peoples. If one will look. If one will listen. There is but one conclusion-- one ultimate conclusion in all lives-- God does exist. And what I would want to tell about this God is this: a true caring exists between the Creator and the creation else one wouldn't hear from God at all. Thus, God loves. And because God loves, we are all compelled to be loving. Through love one connects the physical self with the Creator and to all other lives. Through love one begins to touch that ultimate joy.
So ridiculously simplistic. Almost too simplistic! My conscious mind, my educated neurons want to say that if all I've learned from all my schooling, all my life's experience is that a God exists then somehow maybe I've missed the boat! But there remains that something else from some unknown corner of my mind like some whisper from afar that as simplistic as it is the most profound influence on anyone's life (and thus on all lives) is in the experiencing that God exists. Nothing else about life or any experience within life or even life itself (!) can compare in importance to it.
The true search for God's existence is not found in textbook, microscope or telescope. These are merely inventions of mans that can aid in the search. Even the religious systems of the world are merely tools. The danger implicit in these tools comes from one's pride over what he or she may discover through their use and thus come to believe only as real what one can measure or describe with these tools. These tools cannot measure the essence beyond the physical. This essence can be found only in the quiet solitude at the end of a sleigh ride, or along the cool creek beds of the world. Or, perchance, in our dreams.
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