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Sensing the Other World as We Grow Old

A strange experience has entered my consciousness in recent weeks, a distinct feeling that this world and the next are somehow the same or overlapping or unexpectedly close or even merging. It feels as if that the boundary between the two worlds - my present human reality and the "world" awaiting us after death - has become thinner or more permeable. Is this transparency part of aging? Sure feels like it.

I find myself feeling excited by this development, as if I could step into the next dimension of being as easily as going through a door, and that those who have predeceased me are still present in my life, watching, aware, concerned, commenting, encouraging. We are not far apart - we are always together.

This emerging awareness feels wonderful, like I am not alone, like I am held safely in an omnipresent loving consciousness pervading all worlds. While this is part of what I previously described as the Heaven-on-Earth experience, it now goes further, not only bringing Heaven's presence into my world, but my presence into Heaven. I "see" the other side - clear images of departed loved ones busy in the next realm (quite like those reported in Near-Death Experiences). I ask questions, share experiences, and enjoy remarkable conversations. Active imagination? Maybe but it feels like so much more. And suddenly, the idea of dying is much less disturbing - simply the next step across a threshold that I am already transcending. Death is a doorway - sometimes the step across is sudden and unexpected, like an automobile accident, and sometimes it is gradual like a terminal illness, when finally moving across is but a simple letting go.

But there is something else about this transparency between the worlds that I struggle to understand. What is it? What IS it? As the consciousness of the other side begins to permeate my consciousness, I feel like I am already across. And this brings to mind a recent dream I had. I dreamed I "died" but didn't realize it.

Mallow, my wife of 33 years, and I are in an older car, something big like back in the 60's. I am driving. I have to cross a wide road with cars coming in both directions, but not real busy, and I wait until it's safe to cross. Then we head toward Yosemite where my father built the family a cabin that burned down a few years after his death in a forest fire - the end of his "work" in the world. The road curves, it's winter, the ground now covered with snow. I drive up around the side of a hill. There seems to be several ways to go which I assume are just different lanes. I take the middle one, travel over the snow-covered hill and at the top can't see where any of the roads go and can't stop my descent down the other side. We start sliding, begin to pick up speed, and then the car's front end hits something under the snow. We flip over forward and suddenly all is quiet. I think I have to find a tow truck or crane to right the car but there is no one around and nothing in sight but snow. Though we are obviously upside down, it doesn't feel that way.

On awakening, I realize this is a dream of death - possibly even a premonition. What's especially interesting is that the "crossing over" isn't evident to me. First I "cross" a very wide road, easily transcending the "field of opposites" on the way to my father's destination (death), then the snow, symbolic of my life's final season, obscures everything, all the landmarks of my life. Though I thought I was still "here," I had actually died. I guess I needed the bump to get my attention. Curiously, Mallow was with me, which reminds me of song lyrics I wrote a few years ago:

"We travel this road together, lovers on a path, and our hearts have found a treasure more than any math could ever calculate, we cannot wait, now is the blossom of our very first date that held our fate, now is answer to the prayers that filled the air, now is the moment that we share."

After thirty-three years, we share everything - why not the intuition that death is not what we have been taught to think. And the dream makes me wonder if we sometimes die before we die, that is, if we implicitly and unconsciously let go of life without realizing it, setting in motion the calling of death. I have sensed this dynamic in the lives of others, perhaps it is universal.

So what does this expansion consciousness mean, this intuitive merging of the worlds? I believe it is part of aging. As age moves us to the boundary between worlds, we sense the presence the next world. Now Heaven steadily leaks into our world, changing our consciousness, preparing us to let go, and we "see" into its realm. Then one day we leave, we take the voyage, it's so simple.

With those loved ones whose death I have shared, I saw the boundaries dissolve between the subjective worlds of childhood memories, dream states, present reality, and the world beyond - each realm increasingly vivid and real, inter-permeating, and guiding the journey beyond. I think this same process happens all through the aging experience, growing ever stronger near the end.

This new awareness stirs multiple feelings in me - relief from this radical revisioning of death, trust in the journey across, joy in anticipating our reunion with loved ones, and excitement of an amazing new world of love awaiting us. I also find living in my present world to be increasingly interesting, filled with this new light of Heaven. In some way I am still struggling to describe, I am already there. This basket of intuitions is such a gift, and I realize that the snow of winter's "forgetting" is purposeful - it will allow us one day to move forward on our journey. Like stepping through a door that's already open.
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