You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘from-death-to-life’ tag.

At 2 A.M., I awoke to this dream:

I am watching a terrifying phenomenon: two planets, one populated, hurtle through dark space, slated to crash into each other. Certain extinction will occur. I wake up before this happens.

This dream constitutes what is called a big dream in Jungian analytical psychology; it surfaces from the collective unconscious, the deepest level in our psyche as discovered and mapped out by C. G. Jung in the early 1900s. The following is a tentative proposal of the dream’s intent.

It feels like I was a witness to this pending tragedy as well as a participant among the living on the populated planet, all-aghast by the approaching disaster that seems locked within its trajectory of annihilation. No one speaks. No one knows what to do.

Such a scenario reveals the divide in my unconscious, perhaps my instinctual need to survive vying against the inevitability of my mortality. It’s just a matter of time before the collision resolves the issue—Sort of like another Big Bang, only this time, boosting my spirit-in-subtle body into eternal life, so I believe.

Since I have been receiving hospice care, death’s terror has seldom bruised my awareness—dark feelings, to be sure, setting the stage, then passing. So this dream, together with others, continue cuing me into the future of the unimaginable. Each day has its lessons for spiritual growth.

I pray to be faithful…


“Death is the biggest change we face, so we need to practice change”—so says Ram Dass, formerly Richard Alpert, atheist and Harvard clinical psychologist. These words carry the weight of his 1967 conversion, followed by his second and ongoing conversion: the 1997 massive stroke with its expressive aphasia and paralysis of his right limbs. Its shock, he likened to Fierce Grace, a DVD that he published in 2001.

In this documentary, Ram Dass shows his disillusionment with psychedelic drugs that led to his conversion through Neem Kraoli Baba who renamed him Ram Dass, Sanskrit for Servant of God, and gave him the mandate: “Love my people. Feed them.” And for thirty years he taught, published, and counseled, attracting a worldwide following. All proceeds went to his foundations, Seva and Hunuman that still serve the blind in poor communities and publish spiritual materials around the globe.

Then came the stroke, followed by lengthy hospitalizations and rehabilitations, together with a brush with death. When Ram Dass was able to resume a limited schedule, he sounded different. Indeed, he had been “stroked” rendering him a consummate teacher of aging and death. His teaching and practice continue.

Ram Dass’s experience of “fierce grace” gives me pause. It suggests a tearing apart, a dragging down, a reversal of my way of living—such as happens with conscious aging, with its diminishments. Such wisdom is far beyond my grasp, yet ever fashioning my psyche in His likeness. I have only to participate in the daily dying.

“Death is like taking off a tight pair of shoes,” Ram Dass once quipped. It sounds so simple.





Sugar maple tree flames above me.

Trickster winds nudge single leaf from its mooring.

Like a gymnast, it sworls, down, down, down.

Then sticks to the glistening pavement.

Hairy veins, now empty of nutrients.

Musk steams from subsoil.

Stillness gawks.


Yet decay rejuvenates the cycle.

Spring will whisper under dove-gray skies.


Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: