Laughter turns to panic. Somehow I know what’s about to happen.
I wake, gasping for air, feeling the back of my head where the bullet penetrated. Nothing. Again.
Multiple nights a week I used to have a reoccurring nightmare. The scenery and events changed, but the theme was always the same. Murdered; betrayed by my closest friends and family.
It started when I was eight. I dreamt about stumbling across a lost tribe in the jungle. They accepted me and we shared some laughs. I asked if I could bring my family, to which they agreed, and then I left to find my mother, father, and brother.
I returned shortly, only we were met with hostility. The tribesman fired their bows at us as we ran. There was a wooden fence knocked down, creating a ramp, and my family ran up it, but for me it was like a treadmill. I couldn’t get over it and I called for help. My family would all look back at me, look at each other, and collectively agree to leave me behind. Just as a barrage of arrows connect with my body, I woke in a panic.
I don’t know what caused this nightmare. I don’t know why I felt I couldn’t trust my family, but these types of nightmares continued, several times a week, until my mid-late twenties. The characters would be just my family when I was young, but as I aged, eventually my friends would play the role of betrayer.
Having constant nightmares caused me to do research on sleep and dreams. Though science doesn’t understand that much about dreams, plenty of people believe it is the subconscious mind communicating. I believe it is an emotional thermometer, letting us know how our mental health is.
Our brains are great at repression. It’s a defense mechanism people use to just get through their day, week, or life. However, the subconscious (unconscious) mind does not forget. It will let you know what you’re not dealing with.
How does that relate to heaven or hell?
What if heave/hell are eternal mind states?
That would mean at the moment of your death, when your subconscious mind takes over, would be where you reside, possibly for eternity (reincarnation is another conversation entirely).
If that were the case, then every night when you go to sleep, you’re practicing the afterlife. If you’re truly at peace, you dream. If you’re riddled with guilt or shame, you have nightmares.
I have read many religious texts, and they seem to share a common claim. “If you believe in me and accept me in your heart, you go to heaven.” They also have a set of guidelines to live by to get to heaven.
If you live by these guidelines, essentially being “good.” Then naturally, you’ll feel at peace knowing you’re living a “good” life. When you die, you’re subconscious mind will pump you full of so much DMT, sending you off to the most vivid, beautiful dream of your life.
However, if you live “bad” and feel guilt, or shame. Then you are never truly at peace because you know you’re not doing “good.” When you die, you’re subconscious mind will pump you full of so much DMT, sending you off to the most vivid, brutal, horrific nightmare drenched in anxiety of your life.
I still have nightmares from time to time when I let fear hold me back from striving for peace. However, through meditation, relaxation, reflection, and conversation, I have found peace. I’ve made great strides to get where I am spiritually, and I still have a long road ahead, but I am certain I will reach my heaven when my time has come.
Next time you dream, take notice. What is your mind telling you? Are you truly at peace? Or are you ignoring your mental health? Be well, my friends.