Third Afterdeath Encounter with Barbara (Astral Plane)AC 231: March 12, 2004 (Boston)
This adventure in consciousness began from a dream. I was in my car (motivation), on my way home (that is, to wake up and begin the day), when I ended up lost (not sure where I was, in terms of states of consciousness). Suddenly, I was heading in an unfamiliar direction for an unknown destination. I tried to turn myself back home. But somehow the unfamiliar direction was more compelling--a sign that there was work for me to do somewhere in Otherwhere.
Having made this realization, I stopped the car and got out. I was in the area of a park that had been closed for a long time. It had been bought recently by a private owner and would soon be open again, to be used by the public for recreation and education.
The park represented my recent decision to begin opening up again to more interesting uses of my sleep time than that of merely dreaming. I’d been closed to adventures in consciousness for a while because I was so busy with other projects. Now I ready to “own” (private owner) my ability to have such adventures once again.
The park resembled a place I visited years ago in New Mexico, the Echo Amphitheatre off of U.S. Route 84, just north of Abiquiu Dam. This resemblance symbolizes the tendency of dreams simply to echo whatever is going on in one’s life.
The color of the sandstone in the real-life Echo Amphitheatre is yellow. In the dream, it was red, a symbol of anger, an emotion that’s often echoed back to us in our dreams.
In my dream, the park needed some cleanup. It was full of litter--small stuff like cigarette butts that no doubt represents the minor irritations that I develop in response to other people’s often unconscious behavior. For many smokers, the act of smoking is a habit that they’re barely conscious of and which often annoys other people. Thus, the cigarette butts that littered the floor of the amphitheatre is a perfect symbol of unconscious behavior.
The idea that the park would eventually be opened again for recreational and educational uses indicates the appropriateness of my posting an adventure in consciousness such as this one, which derives (as we shall see) from my personal life, on the Internet for people who come to my website to read, enjoy, and learn from.
The basic purpose of my dreams is to help me identify and release my emotional reactions to the unconscious behavior of other people. I’ve learned that such reactions, which often involve anger, can stand in the way of my having adventures in consciousness.
Carrying negative emotions around with me can actually prevent me from passing through any of the numerous gates from the Dream Zone into Otherwhere, where such emotions tend to create a kind of pollution--since thought instantly creates experience over there. The purpose of these gates is to keep out the randomness of thought creation that results from negative emotions such as anger and fear.
In the dream, I tried to pull myself up a steep cliff by means of a rope--a hand-over-hand effort that seemed to involve brute strength (symbolizing intense concentration). But there was a finely woven net or mesh at the top of the cliff that prevented me from going any further. It was a strong as a chainlink fence.
I was trying to raise my level of consciousness to the point that would allow me to move from the Dream Zone into Otherwhere. But I wasn’t being allowed to pass through the Boundary Zone that lies between them.
As I returned to my car, feeling somewhat abashed, I discovered that I’d lost my credit card. I went back to retrieve it. Someone else, a young man, had been trying to climb the rope behind me. He had noticed my credit card on the ground and seemed to be considering the possibility of swiping it. But I got to it first.
I’d received a number of emails recently from readers of my books--often from young men who want to “learn the ropes” from me. How can they too get into Otherwhere? Unfortunately, I don’t often recall exactly how I got into Otherwhere from the Dream Zone. And I’m not usually able to make that transition under the motivation of any conscious decision or intent.
This portion of my adventure, which I was able to interpret as a dream, seemed to be saying that if I did have some method for getting into Otherwhere, or for getting out of body, people would try to appropriate it for themselves. They would imitate (echo) it and might encounter the same dead end that I did at this point. I should give myself credit (credit card) for not having used my own will to further my inner development in a similar way.
As the next part of my adventure demonstrated, if I’m drawn along by my need to learn and grow instead of an ego-based will to control the outcome of each night’s dreams in an attempt to get into Otherwhere, I’ll be much more successful. Adventures in consciousness can take many more forms than the waking self or ego is capable of imagining. I need to let my own experiences demonstrate the value of one’s being drawn along by one’s own growth needs rather than attempting to control the outcome of each night’s sleep.
So, in the dream, I got into my car and allowed myself to be carried along by the unfamiliar road to whatever destination my need for learning and growth would draw me toward. Eventually, I came to a motel perched on the side of a mountain. A river ran between the road and the motel grounds, which were very green. The river was running in the direction I’d been coming from, which meant that I must have been slowly ascending in level of consciousness without realizing it--just as in driving along the side of a river I can tell whether I’m ascending or descending in elevation by the direction of the river.
I crossed the river on a bridge and parked the car on the grass of the motel grounds between two small streams that ran straight down the side of the mountain, fed by melting snow at the top. There was also a parking lot with several cars and pickup trucks in it, just in front of the motel. But I was parked at a higher level. Most of the cars were running, as if their owners had stopped only briefly at the motel, perhaps to run in for something and then leave.
The motel reminded me of a place I’d gone in the Catskills some years ago for a friend’s wedding and reception. When I entered the function room of the dream motel, which was something like the one I’d remembered from my friend’s wedding, I was surprised to see Barbara, the deceased ex-wife of my best friend, Steve.
The other cars in the parking lot seemed to belong to people in the dance and performance community in Northampton, Massachusetts, where Barbara had lived. It appeared that Barbara was having a Dream Zone reception for her friends in honor of the one year anniversary of her death on March 31, 2003. Not everyone who made such a visit [to the astral plane] in their dreams would remember it. But some might pick up on it (hence the pickups in the parking lot). Because I was parked at a higher level of consciousness [mental or causal body], I would remember more of this visit.
Barbara was alone when I entered the function room. (Here of course was the goal and purpose--the function--of my adventure in consciousness.) I was quite surprised to see her. The last time I’d tried to visit her in nonphysical reality after her death [AC 226], she made it clear that she did not want to have anything to do with me. I was a persona non grata to her for the last few years of her life as a result of a number of deep disagreements between us which she took quite personally.
When Barbara turned toward me from looking out the picture window of the motel (her “window on” her surviving friends and family in physical reality?), she apologized for having been so furious with me while she was alive, and for “having led me on such a dance” by avoiding all the opportunities I’d tried to provide for us to share and work through our feelings toward each other.
Barbara came over to me and we embraced each other. Then we sat down together. I still had my arm around her. I was surprised at how beautiful she was. All the pain, tension, and aggressiveness that had been present in her somewhat angular face while she was alive was gone. She had a soft, compassionate, inwardly focused demeanor that contrasted sharply with her extroverted, high-energy stance toward life when she was still on Earth.
I remarked on the clarity of her complexion, which seemed to shine with an inner light. “See,” I said, “this is what happens when you quit smoking!” I never actually saw her smoke while she was alive. But I knew that she’d been a smoker earlier in life, and her ex-husband had told me that she continued to smoke occasionally during their twelve year relationship.
My remark drew a blank from Barbara. Then she smiled and said, “That’s not how things work here!”
I suddenly remembered that I wasn’t seeing her physical complexion, but a spiritual one. Then I noticed that Barbara’s expression seemed to be infused with humility and a gentle wistfulness and sense of remorse. Based on her strong judgment of self and others and difficulty with forgiving both herself and them, I never would have believed that such an expression was possible for her.
The most startling thing that I noticed about Barbara, though, was how much her face had come to resemble that of her ex-husband’s present girlfriend. From this, I knew that she had been watching their interaction and learning from it how she could have been with her ex-husband in a way that wouldn’t have driven him away.
Here I was, then, witnessing how Barbara had grown and changed, what she had learned in the year since her passing. I also learned that someone who has died can somehow open herself to the thoughts and feelings of those she has left behind to see how she is thought of, and by whom, near the anniversary of her death--and to show anyone who is able to perceive her in the dream state that she is well and in what ways she has grown since her passing.
Barbara had taken in a lot of spiritual and self-help practices while she was alive. I have little doubt that all of this work had been of use to her in the Afterlife. It must have helped her understand and heal the many deep emotional wounds she had acquired in life, which were often unconsciously self-inflicted--the results of mistaken assumptions about what other people’s treatment of her meant about her value and lovability.
I left Barbara with a little kiss on the cheek, which she accepted graciously--an attitude that surprised me, given how unfriendly she had been the last time I looked in on her in the Afterlife.
Upon leaving the motel, I passed a small room in which Barbara’s ex-husband and his present girlfriend were sleeping together. I tried to wake Steve up to tell him that Barbara was nearby and would like to see him. But he said, barely stirring in his sleep, that he was too tired to go. His girlfriend, who had also known Barbara, didn’t stir at all.
Once outside the motel, I went back to my car. A brilliant light from above seemed to be shining like the sun on the snow fields at the top of the mountain. The snow was melting rapidly and the water in the two streams on either side of my car had begun to rise. I got quickly into my car, fearful about what might happen next.
The two streams rose and rose. They overflowed their banks. The rising water gently picked up my car and carried it down to the river in front of the motel. The river then carried me smoothly back into waking life. I awoke with the usual feelings of joy and centeredness that I experience after one of my adventures in consciousness. But there was something more. All of the feelings that had been frozen up within me by the ten years of difficulties between Barbara and me had melted and released.
While writing down my adventure, I realized that the green space I’d parked on at the motel represents my growth needs. The two streams represent the two big blowups between Barbara and me that resulted in a desire on my part to withdraw from and distrust people. The ground where I parked was squishy, representing the unsteady emotional state that resulted from the years of treading on eggshells, trying not to upset Barbara when she, Steve, and I were spending time together. The river, it seems, was what I call an energy stream, a way of traveling between various points in nonphysical reality or, as in this case, between the Dream Zone and the physical world.
I started my journey back from the motel in fear about what the rising water might do to me, but had ended it in trust. When I awoke, I still felt that sense of trust, which will no doubt help me feel more open toward people than I’ve been in quite a while.