Sometimes, when I lay upon my bed, and it is night, as the dark enfolds me, I sense the cold approach of death, and I panic. Suddenly, my bed is far too small, my sheets too heavy, and it seems as though the walls of my room bear down upon me. The ceiling looms above, then collapses, like a dead weight upon my chest, and I sit up to catch my breath; but I cannot breathe. I yawn, in a desperate attempt to expand my lungs, but I cannot draw anything into them. They are like withered sacks, dusty and shrunken, and useless.
I pace the room, to shake loose the thoughts that scare me, so as to gather my wits, and put death far from me. But it is always there. Still. Waiting, and watching. Counting my breaths greedily and smiling menacingly (it seems), lurking somewhere in the shadows.
“Death is natural,” I tell myself futilely. “Death is a transition, to a better place,” I argue. But I’ll have none of it. My arguments are hollow, unconvincing, and miss the point. “I don’t want to die!” And there it is—the foolishness of it is almost embarrassing. We all will die; so who am I to complain?!
In the silence of this darkness, where no one else is there—I am alone. And what is in there to meet me, but myself? And who is in there to greet me, but my future? And my moments tick on by, the moments of a far too short existence—far, too far along now—leading to an ending that is certain. But I am not alone, my friends. We are not…alone; though the darkness may be silent, and very quiet, as if there is nobody here but us.
The Breath of Life. In times like these, I call to the Holy Spirit. In my fear I pray for Life. And the Spirit of Life blows through me and comforts me, soothes my panic, and calms my labored breathing. Peace descends upon me. And gratefully, I can sleep without fear. Though death still watches over me, and I feel its presence as I always do, I no longer care. I have no new, rational answers for my fears, but instead, another’s presence fills me: Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, my love and my hope—my source and my breath—my life, and my eternal life.
One such night, after fear had split me, and then the Spirit had repaired me, I lay in a deep sleep. (And here, now, I only write what I saw, making no claims upon veracity.) Perhaps it is best to consider the following as a fiction, and to enjoy it as a possibility, or a simple fantasy:
I saw my body as if it had cracked wide open, although it hadn’t, and I saw another body within my body—and yet it was somehow still my same body—and this other body was made of light and not of matter. It emerged, or rather lifted, perhaps floating, though not precisely that, and it was shaped as I have always been shaped, and so I recognized it as myself. The world too, our Earth, was as though cracked open, and blazing with heat and light, as if on fire, yet not consumed.
Rings of light, like rays and waves flowed outward, emanating from a center, and they pulsed. And I found my new body shimmering as it lifted through these rings of light. And there was light upon light—reddish, and blue, golden and white. And I saw other bodies, a few at first, but then more, as my body was raised up through the rings. Great multitudes of beings dwelling together, and greater multitudes still, as I passed even higher.
I saw thoughts, like lightning, carry beings along. Thoughts which we generally consider as loving, moved faster than light, connecting persons together in fountains of joy, and creating ripples like laughter among them. Unloving thoughts, such as accusations and negativity moved more slowly, though still with incredible speed here, and they seemed to dull the beings who had them, turning their light into an insipid reddish-brown, and isolating them.
The rings of light, when viewed another way, appeared as enormous plates of glass, stretching off beyond sight in all directions. And their surfaces rose and fell pleasantly, and people rode upon these plates like surfers. Everything had form but not as I had known before, not like matter. It was a world of diamond—seemingly, as though our carbon world had ignited and compressed, and then expanded, and all bonds were now made of light and crystal.
I met a person there, whom I felt I knew, though I couldn’t recognize. And my heart burned with love and gratitude in his presence. A warm breeze encircled us as we spoke together, and my thoughts became pure and noble. With the wind, came great power, and I felt it strengthen me, with an ecstatic joy, and I felt my being expand immensely. All things were present and all things were now, as if everything that had ever been I could touch; and pure thought connected me to all things, and noble love connected me to all times.
And love was not a feeling, or an action, but a being. And my being was this love. Yes, all of our beings were simply love. But this love was not what we had previously known love to be, for here there was no absence of it anymore. How does one describe something, if it is everything? All light and life and substance—all were Love.