• Paul D. Wilke

Something Else Entirely

The first thing I remembered was returning from the timeless blank of a medically induced coma. As I slowly drifted toward consciousness, my brain began to flicker back to life. In those last moments before waking up, I dreamed a little dream.

Suddenly, I was aware again and floating gently over a beautifully landscaped park. Scattered about were small gazebos decorated with colorful flowers. I noticed people serenely strolling from all directions toward the park's center. Most of them were older and wore clothes from different cultures and different eras; but oddly, I remember a lot of the men were sporting long beards and turbans.

In the center of this park danced a woman wearing a long, yellow, exotic-looking dress. She was on a pedestal, twirling in circles to music that seemed to be coming from nowhere and everywhere at once. It's hard to describe, but the music was like nothing I had heard before, more a tension-filled, melodic thrum than anything, urgent, yet beautiful. Hovering slightly above it all, I watched as those serenely strolling people reached the center where the woman was dancing, where they then quietly vanished. My turn was coming. As I drifted toward her, the urgency of that humming music increased. I knew I was about to vanish as well and wasn't afraid.

Then suddenly I woke up.

"Paul, can you hear me? Hello? You there? Stay with me now. Your wife and sister are here waiting to see you. You're at Broward Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. You've been very ill. Now just relax."

I was back. As far as I can tell, this wasn't any near-death experience, just a remarkably vivid dream cooked up by my drug-soaked brain, but one more soothing than the terrifying fever dreams from the start of the illness. I was already days past the danger point, but this trippy vision has stuck with me ever since.

You see, I now understand in a way I didn't before that the mind is a vast, mysterious expanse, the sub-conscious is like an ocean, and all of it is tapped into a wider reality that we cannot even begin to fathom. Consciousness is little more than a tiny island jutting out of this ocean.

Sadly, until then, I had spent my entire life wasting away on this desert isle of my own impoverished awareness, convinced that nothing more could matter. That's wrong, I know that now, and yet I can't say I'm any closer to understanding than before, just profoundly more humbled. I'm aware that I'm not aware of all that much in the big scheme of things; my ignorance could fill a galaxy, my knowledge a bucket. That will never change.

Anyway...I've never spoken of this to anyone, at least not until writing it down here. Why would I? How could I? At a certain point, words fail to convey meaning adequately. My clumsy attempts here to explain this experience (see above) prove that point.

Words connect us to each other like nothing else, but they are crude tools for conveying deeper meanings about hidden realities. That doesn't mean those deeper meanings and hidden realities are not there, my dear non-existent reader, even if we're too anesthetized to experience them in this hedonistic civilization.

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