He is quite alone, out in the midst of a choppy sea, on a moonless night. Great thunderheads roll over him. Forked lightning burns the waves. I see him turn ghost white, then he is gone, under the dark waters.
The man in this dream was my closest friend in my last year at high school and my first years as an undergraduate. I had lost contact with him decades before the dream. I woke from the dream with the grim certainty that my friend had died.
When I returned to Australia to speak at a Mind, Body, Spirit festival some months after the dream, I was approached by a middle-aged woman I did not recognize until she told me she was my friend's younger sister. She was eager to know whether I had heard anything from her brother. She explained that he had developed a serious drug addiction and had been in and out of halfway houses for years until he vanished altogether. The family feared he had died of an overdose.
When I shared my terrible dream, we agreed that being struck by lightning in a stormy sea could be a metaphor for the effects of a drug overdose on the brain.
Life went on, the years passed, and then I met my friend again, in a waking dream, during my workshop on death and dying last weekend.
I had invited members of our circle to make a journey to the Other Side for "timely and helpful" contact with a person who has passed on. While drumming for the group, I had the sense of a beautiful angelic presence that had guided me on similar expeditions in the past. Gently but firmly, this spiritual guide led me to a person and a place that had not been on my itinerary.
I saw a wild thing in a cage, with matted hair, frothing at the mouth, a bestial creature that barely seemed human. I was horrified to recognize something of my friend. I understood that he was still trapped in his drug addiction. I had no idea how to proceed. It would surely be imprudent to try to release this ravening, unreasoning creature from the cage.
The thought came to me, This is not your friend, only the body of desire that confines him. With this thought, I saw a second version of my friend. He was beautiful. He looked the way I remembered him from the nights when we stayed up until dawn writing poems that we read to each other, and talking about Pascal and Nietzsche, Camus and Rilke. This second, superior version of my friend was translucent; I realized I was looking at his body of light. Why was it here, with the thing in the cage?
I then saw the cord of attachment between the two energy bodies. I knew what to do, because I have often found it necessary to help the living to detach from unhealthy connections of this kind. I pulled the energy cord out of my friend's subtle body as you might unplug an electrical extension cord. I was moved to tears as I saw him rising into the Light. The thing in the cage could be left to disintegrate, as heavy energy is meant to do after death.