This time when I awoke, it felt normal, like waking up late on a Saturday morning in the summer with a breeze blowing through an open window. Without thinking, I stretched, just like you’re supposed to do. I opened my eyes and remembered that it had taken a lot of effort to imagine my body being there. I looked down and saw that everything was there, albeit a bit translucent.
“I guess that when Rene Descartes said, ‘I think therefore I am’ there was something to it,” I thought. I didn’t think it like a regular thought, but almost as though I was speaking my thought. Speaking it through my mind.
“Perhaps,” came a reply. “But in his case it was a bit egocentric.”
I stood up, which surprised me because in the same way that I was semi-transparent, there was no visible floor or ground on which I was standing. It was not invisible, but not quite visible, either. The best word I can use to describe the floor is “vague.”
“It’s solid enough for you to stand on,” came the next reply. “At least the you that you are for now.”
I realized that I was hearing these in my mind rather than my ears. “Who are you?” I asked in my mind. I strained to hear the answer, but realized that focusing on my ears would do no good.
“Just relax,” came the voice. “Let’s talk.”
“Works for me.”
“Where are you?” I asked. “Come where I can see you.”
“In time,” came the reply. “For now, let’s just talk.”
“Okay. If you won’t tell me where you are, at least tell me where I am.”
“When you decided to say that you are ‘here’ that was a pretty good description.”
“But not very helpful,” I answered.
“But very accurate. Where you are is not a place in the way that you think of places. There is no Google Map to describe where we are. No latitude, longitude or compass bearing. It’s just here.”
I waited without saying anything.
“Let’s say that you are in a state of being rather than a geographic location.”
State of being? “Am I dead?” I asked. My question seemed to elicit waves of an emotion I could only compare to amusement.
“No, you’re certainly not dead. In fact, you’re probably as far from dead as you could ever be.”
I took a breath, and it almost felt like real breathing. It felt good and was helpful. “So I’m not dead. I’m here. You’re somewhere nearby. I’m kind of a shadow of myself, which is good because that means that whatever this almost real thing on which I’m standing is strong enough to hold me.”
“Good! Very good!”
“What’s so good about it?” I demanded.
“Well at this point most people have a total panic attack or a complete meltdown. You’re just a bit frustrated because you don’t understand. Yet. Kind of like your first day in Statistics 101.”
My mind reached back to parts of my past that I prefer to ignore. It was exactly like my first day of taking Statistics. That was a horrible day. There were 200 freshmen in an auditorium, a professor who spoke exceptionally poor English, an extremely poor audio system and a textbook, written by the same professor in the same undecipherable language. I hyperventilated and almost passed out. Of course all this happened while I was sitting next to the cute girl that I was trying to get the courage to ask out. I don’t think I ever saw her again.
“How’d you know that?” I asked.
“I was there,” came the reply.
(To be continued)