That may have been the most intense—and definitely the most exhausting—dream I’ve had. I can’t remember what type of event my friends and I were participating in, but it was one with severe implications. We were all dressed in skin-tight, green body suits that looked like they belonged to superheroes: each suit had a defined six-pack and other muscularity, regardless of whether it was Carl or Paul wearing the it. Whatever the event (it seemed like a sporting match that we had been a long time preparing for. I think the outcome could have been one of life or death), I remember walking down a long, dark, and grey hallway during what was presumably some sort of intermission in play. I remember walking by Scotty, dressed in the green suit and laying exhausted on a bench underneath a flickering light bulb. I think I walked past Evan and Alix, also suited. Morale was palpitatingly low in the “dressing room”, and I knew what was going to come next (for something similar had occurred earlier on in the dream, but not to the same extent as what I’m about to describe).
Footsteps in a jog sounded behind me and I turned around to see a 6’2” silhouette wearing basketball shorts, t-shirt, and running shoes that I’m all too familiar with. I can’t recall the exact words to his speech, but Dave was rallying us with words of motivation and inspiration, exclaiming that it was impossible for us to give up. I felt goosebumps as the morale in the dressing room picked up. Knowing our dead friend was there to lead us was encouragement of the highest degree. I continued to watch as the jogging silhouette strode toward me. As he approached within a few feet of me, Dave’s face became illuminated with white light. He said, “hey man,” extended his hand, I grabbed it, and then I felt a gripping paralysis come over me. I felt imbued with the soul of another as though two spirits were contained within my one body. My thoughts ceased, my body remained motionless, the wind on my back was fast and cool, and I felt cold beads of sweat streaming down my spine. An all-encompassing white light engulfed my surroundings—brilliant, infinite white light—before darkness started creeping in, and I felt a touch of vertigo and the sensation of falling. Both the white light and the darkness disappeared, and I remained paralyzed with the image of a white sheet covered in green markings in front of my face. The cool wind and the cold sweat were ever present.
I tried to interpret the image—it looked like math equations or graphs. I was convinced Dave was trying to show me something: the answer to something perhaps. I struggled with all my might to break the paralysis; I just wanted to move. Suddenly, my mind regained control of my body and the wind on my back weakened in intensity, but the cold sweat remained. The image did too: a white sheet covered in green markings acts as the curtain in my Koh-Phangan bungalow, a place I had completely lost awareness of being at. I can’t stop contemplating the curtain and what Dave is trying to show me. In the dream, it was unquestionably Dave who visited me. Not an image of Dave, not a hallucination, not my memory, and not my imagination, but Dave himself. It was the most real he has ever looked.
The dream represents only the second time Dave has visited me (in his physical form, in his body) since he passed. The paralysis experienced was similar to the 5-10 times I’ve experienced sleep paralysis (a phenomena experienced by 5-20% of people) in the past: eyes open and imperfectly fixated on an object consuming my thoughts, and the complete inability to move any part of my body despite my efforts to stimulate every muscle inside me, and then the all-encompassing exhaustion that results when I finally restore the link between mind and body. The wind on my back could be attributed to the fan blowing above my bed, and the sweat to the fact that it is steaming hot inside my bungalow. I’m dripping perspiration as I write this. However, I can’t explain—in a “logical” or scientific sense—why the soft blowing fan felt like an 80 km/h wind. Another difference between this experience and the paralysis I’ve suffered in the past is that this time, the word “suffer” is inappropriate in describing it. While experiencing mind-body disconnection in the past, my thoughts and eyes have always fixated on an ominous shadow in my peripheral vision—what many sufferers of sleep paralysis describe as a sense of impending doom. The shadow seems to belong to an object or being of evil. But this time, while I did experience a tiny hint of fear, there was no shadow and there was no evil. Plus, my eyes were fixated directly on the image/object of significance, the curtain.
I’m now able to perceive what I looked like in the moments of paralysis from a sort of in-hindsight-out-of-body perspective: eyes wide-open and fixated, unblinking with seriousness and borderline being possessed while my body lay unflinching. It is a disturbing image to think about. And yet overall, I do not find this dream, this experience, or this reality disturbing. Nor do I chalk it up to sleep paralysis. I’ve never previously had a dream tie into the sleep paralysis, so I don’t see why that phenomenon would start now. This was a very real experience, an experience I shared with Dave, a palpable experience not exclusive to the dream world but also part of the physical world. I wonder if Dave just showed me his experience of death, for his greeting of “hey man,” followed by the offering of his hand was so simple, as though it were necessary simply to show me as opposed to trying to qualify or explain what he was about to do. All-encompassing white light, creeping darkness, paralysis in a fast, cold wind, the cessation of thought, vertigo, and the feeling of falling. Sounds like what someone falling from a balcony would experience to me.