I died last night… in my dream, shot point blank in the face. Most unexpected and with no prelude to death, a stranger simply appearing before me with a gun in a public place. I had no time to react or resist. Only a split second of shock at the realization of what was happening before they pulled the trigger.
And I died then. My body below me, crumpled and marred. An empty shell that once housed my life.
I’ve never died before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I suppose I thought things would go black but they didn’t. Somehow, I watched the violence and carnage continue as the shooter picked his next victims. My friend, a stranger… I watched them fall. I waited for the horror I must be feeling at the scene in front of me, or the fear that accompanies danger but I felt only one thing… peace.
And I was momentarily baffled. Why didn’t I feel sadness or anger or terror? This was wrong, so very wrong! How could I feel tranquility in the face of such tragedy?? And suddenly I was struck with the reason… because there’s no place for emotion in death. Only peace. The body that lay below me on the ground, it felt emotions. But my mind, my conscience, my soul – whatever you want to call it – it did not. It just was. And I felt free.
I awoke then, startled and frightened, all of the things this body knows how to feel. My heart raced and I trembled at the vivid details of my dream and the realization I was dead a moment ago. My body now reacting to it in a way I couldn’t in slumber. Adrenaline coursing through my veins at the savagery enacted upon it. Tears stung my eyes at the death of my friend, at the senseless loss of life.
I lay there trying to compose myself. Reminding myself that dreams are our mind’s way of breaking down our lives into fragments it could absorb. Like a cow with its cud, that’s all this was. So what exactly was my brain trying to tell me then?
I tossed and turned for over an hour, trying to erase the images I had witnessed before consenting to logic that this meant something more than a possible farfetched premonition. My subconscious was talking to me, trying to tell me something it could not quite articulate and if I wished for quiet sleep again, I’d better figure it out.
I searched for that tranquil feeling of peace that enveloped me in my dream. For that same sereness in my mind and it dawned on me… how that calm came when I let go of emotions. How clear and acutely aware my mind could assess the situation and find peace in the impossible when I separated my mind from the body of emotions. Awareness without action. The outcome could not change but what could change is how I felt about it. Conscious yet not reactive.
And I thought about how often our emotions entangle us. Keeping us caught in situations we can’t change, yet we can’t let go. Trapping us like birds in a cage.
There’s peace in accepting what is and there’s freedom in letting go. It’s time to set my bird free…