It was a beautiful evening one of those you cherish because you know that the summer is just around the corner, so it is best to truly enjoy the soothing cool weather that is Spring’s gift. Sun was out, clouds a delight to look at, and the other drivers for the most part seemed to be in a good mood.
As I arrived at East Side Hospital I noticed that a man was entering with a dog that looked like a Golden Retriever. I figured it was a Seeing Eye dog and thought no more about it. When I arrived at the elevator I noticed the dog there with it’s what I supposed to be owner. The dog was truly beautiful, well taken care of, shining coat of fur and quiet; the way trained dogs are. I waked up and asked the man what the dog was trained for, since he himself was not blind. He told me that it was a “patient dog”, trained to be around sick people and hopefully to lighten their spirits, or simply to draw them out. Now Golden Retriever’s are very popular as pets, they are intelligent, gentle, and good with children and from what some of their owners tell me, very easy to train.
This particular dog, stood out for me from other trained dogs that I have had the privilege to come in contact with. This dog seemed very solemn, perhaps even a little sad but in a way that ‘seemed’ almost human. Its eyes were intelligent and wise in way that I am not used to seeing in dogs, even the most intelligent. There was no urgency to be petted, even from its owner. It allowed me pet it; the dog even came up to me for some more petting after I did my bit with it and withdrew. There was also a silence that seemed to emanate from it, a deep peace, centered, something I have not experience from any dog before. Of course perhaps I was just more observant because it was in a place where dogs are usually not allowed. Who knows?
These little experiences make me think, that perhaps the neat world I live in, where dogs and other things have their place, may simply not be the way things really are. Years ago I came upon a mother with her infant son which was probably one of the strangest encounters that ever happened to me, perhaps because I was taken completely off guard. An outsider would have thought nothing of this encounter, it seemed so normal. As I walked by I looked down at the child, with the usual smile that adults have for babies, perhaps a silly one, never seen my ‘smile for babies’ in a photo. The infant could not have been more than six months old, was perhaps a little younger. In any case, the baby looked up at me and made eye contact, real eye contact, the way you do with an adult. This was not my imagination. I stopped in my tracks, shook my head, turned around and went in front of the infant, squatted and looked more closely. The mother did not seem nervous but she was keeping an eye on me for sure. The child looked at me like it was an old friend; it smiled a real smile, its eyes wise, and seemed to be full of knowledge and compassion. I told the mother my experience and she started crying, she told me that one other man told her the same thing a few weeks earlier. What to make of this experience? I have no idea. In my world a baby can’t be wise, can’t know me, certainly can’t feel compassion, yet perhaps that is what I experienced. Again maybe it was a simple projection on my part for some reason. That baby was a perfect mirror for me to look into. Or I am just trying to find a comfortable niche to put this experience into?
I get the sneaky suspicion at times that perhaps I really do have it wrong. Or perhaps the better way to put it is; I am just scratching the surface, and while what I believe may be true, again it is only the surface. People have told me that they remember being born, and the information that they gave to their families was veridical. What do you do with that? If true, then our understanding of human consciousness is severely lacking and perhaps we should pay more attention to these experiences.
NDE’s, ADC’s, and other experience that people have usually do not fit into any secular, religious or set theological understanding of what happens when we die. Do we take these seriously? The easy answer is to make them all hallucinations, or a true favorite is, make them demonic. That way a broader picture does not have to be looked into. Perhaps Carl Jung is right. After he came back from his NDE that called this world “a place of boxes”.