I had a death dream


I’m standing on the deck of a boat of some kind. The sea is benign, but there’s a heaving swell which is making it tricky to tie up at the wooden pier. I’m thinking about how to get my little suitcase onto the pier, trying to assess the rhythm of the swells. I toss the bag but miss the moment by a fraction and it catches on something on the pier then tumbles into the water. I’m not too worried, thinking it will float and be retrievable.

Then I’m standing in the water, which now appears to be a kind of estuary. The bag’s still floating, but a swift current has caught it and is carrying it further out. Dogs are swimming out to it. (Varanasi flashbacks!) It’s moving faster than I can run. Then it moves into open, choppy water, becoming submerged, and I know it’s gone.

I stand there, trying to recall what was in the bag: clothing, a pearl necklace given by a beloved, a jump-drive holding all my writing and images of my artwork, a notebook, another book, or two. I’m unfazed. There’s no sense of loss or anxiety.

The dream ends.

During the day the thought arose again and again:  I had a death dream.

For surely dying must be just like that, like simply watching the little bag that holds your identity kit together – all the accessories and loved phenomena of a Life – float away on the outgoing tide of oceanic consciousness. The wild awareness that has been watching for that entire Life-time (and all others) simply continues to watch …