This is a story about everyday practice, the kind of practice essential for active dreamers. It involves the importance of keeping a journal and of going back into old journals and seeing what "old" dream reports may tell us about what we need to know now. It involves precognition. It concerns how dreams rehearse us for death, in this case the death of a beloved animal companion. Most important, it reminds us that dogs love us no matter what, in every world.
I reopened a travel journal I was keeping in 2012. I regretted that I had failed to transcribe many of the reports, since my handwriting is almost indecipherable, even to me. Fortunately, the journal contained many sketches, and these helped to guide me to what might be most interesting for me today.
I smiled at a little drawing I made on March 5, 2012. It shows me following my little dog Pepper through an underground concourse. We are somewhere near Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. There is a sign that reads "Avenue of the Americas", indicating a staircase leading up to Sixth Avenue. This is an area I used to frequent in my earlier life as a bestselling thriller writer. One of my publishers had offices in that area, and I was on NBC's Today show in the studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza several times.
In the drawing, I am dressed for wet, blustery weather in hat and long coat. The remarkable thing is that my little dog is trotting ahead of me. He clearly knows where he is going. He seems to have taken the lead and may even be playing the guide.
I noted in the brief dream report that accompanied the sketch that I was "moved" by the dream that it left me with a sense of "wonder". My feelings stemmed from the contrast between the condition of my miniature Schnauzer in the dream and his situation in regular life. Pepper was very old. His senses were failing. He was nearly blind, could hear very little, and even his sense of smell was attenuated. He had trouble walking and controlling his bowels. Yet in the dream, he is in his prime, and even better than that.
I wrote these questions in my journal: Who is Pepper in the dream? What are we doing in NYC?
On the night of the dream, I was in Hawaii, leading a workshop on the Big Island. I wondered when I might next be at Rockefeller Center. I checked my events calendar and saw I was scheduled to lead a weekend workshop at the NY Open Center at the end of June, but the venue was downtown and would not ordinarily bring me to Rockefeller Center.
I ended my journal report with this motto, or bumper sticker:
Keep your senses in NYC
Three months later, Pepper died. Then I received an invitation to do an interview for Sirius XM. As I made my way to the radio network offices in Rockefeller Center, I remembered that Pepper had guided me through these passages months before. Confused at a certain point in the underground concourse, I turned the way Pepper had led me. When I entered the right lobby, they gave me a badge at reception. It read "Sirius Visitor", which delighted me because I have often felt I was dropped on this Earth from a distant star. I drew my own version with Pepper in the headshot. I found this, too, in that old travel journal from 2012.
Pepper has appeared many times since his death, in my dreams and in those of family members, always in fine form, sometimes clearly acting as a guide and night watchdog. Most recently he led me on a globetrotting expedition across Europe, en route to Benares. The holy city in India (also known as Varanasi) is not in my current travel plans, but Pepper may know something I don't. If I am in doubt which was to turn in an underground concourse, or on any other path, I hope my little dog will be looking out for me. I am glad to know that he is also with me, and those I love, on the roads of the Otherworld.
Notes for practice:
1. Keep a dream journal and review old entries.
2. Pay special attention to dream locations.
3. Recognize that dreams may be rehearsals for coming events, including death.
4. Be prepared to meet guides in many forms.
5. Remember that dogs love you no matter what, in all worlds.