For the last three nights, I have had the same dream.
I have always had odd dreams - everybody does. I categorize my dreams in different ways. Many nights, I have lucid dreams and sometimes one such dream is nestled within another. Less frequently, but with enough occurrence to note, those nested dreams go on for several iterations. Over the years, I have learned to deal with these dreams.
Another type of dream - the one that is likely most common - are those GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) dreams. These, I think, are just the mind’s way of resetting itself. It empties the cache of unnecessary stored bits of data and reboots with a clean slate for the next day.
Sometimes, I have dreams of departed loved ones. In these dreams my loved one is usually trying to tell me something. If I pay close attention, I may understand their meaning.
At other times, I have a repeating dream. This happens on occasion, and I believe that these kinds of dreams are messages. Whether that message is from God or from myself, I don’t know. Do any of us really? But it is a message of some sort to me. Usually, that message is a warning.
For the last three nights, I have had the same dream. In each one a departed loved one has passed on the same message: “The answer is on page 88.”
What does that mean? If the answer is there, what is the question? Am I destined to forever play a game of cosmic “Jeopardy” where the answer is provided, but I must form the question? How can I know what that question is?
To figure this out, I turned my attention to the answer on “page 88”. But page 88 of what?
I looked to my own books. I opened “The Ordinary Life”, “The Ordinary Doll”, and the “The Ordinary Monster” to page 88. None of these seem apropos. They have nothing to do with events that are occurring in my life at this time.
I opened my book “A Collection of Monkeys” to page 88. Hmmm. . . this is a parable about men worshiping at the altar of self rather than some greater thing. It’s a warning about ego and selfishness. But if this is the answer, what is the question? Am I being selfish - if so how? I am guilty of pride? While the answer to those questions may be in the affirmative, they don’t seem applicable, here.
I still didn’t know the question and was uncertain as to the answer.
I turned to the internet and ran “page 88” in my trusty search engine. The hits poured forth, each and every one pointing to the Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book”. Sure, I like to drink, but I am not an alcoholic. Nonetheless, I read that page. It basically boiled down to one of the steps in the AA program and suggested that when one faces hardship in one’s life, he should turn to his Higher Power and pray: “Thy will be done. Not mine, but thine.” I guess it is a reminder to those in trouble that what will be, will be, and to roll with those punches without turning to the crutch of artificially induced stimuli. Good advice, but again, doesn’t seem to be applicable here.
The prayer got me to thinking. So, I turned to The Bible. It’s difficult to rely on page numbers for any religious text, especially one that has been around for so long. Page 88 of my version of The Bible directs me to the Book of Leviticus, Chapter 14, verses 20-57, and continuing with Chapter 15, verses 1 -12. Interesting. This portion of The Bible speaks to plague and how to handle it. Basically, the priest enters a house and looks for the plague. The house and those afflicted are quarantined until such time as the plague has passed and the priest has declared the house clean. It instructs on how to cleanse the house and what sacrifices to make to God to worship Him and pray for deliverance from the plague. So, what, if anything, does this have to do with my dream?
Maybe, I misinterpreted “page 88”. Maybe, it was about Psalm 88. I turned to that. Psalm 88 is essentially a dirge of a man’s woeful cries to God. On the one hand, he blames God for his troubles (think Job), but on the other hand he accepts God’s judgment. The message, it seems, in my mind at least, boils down to “Thy will be done”.
Interesting. Two of the “answers” on page 88 have come down to this message.
I then turned to the Koran. Page 88 of my copy is Surah VI, 112-122. Hmmmm . . . these passages seem to deal with Allah’s judgment and living in accordance with his precepts - an interesting corollary to page 88 of “A Collection of Monkeys”. These verses instruct in following Allah’s precepts without question. Another way of saying this is: “Thy will be done.”
Three times now.
I looked to the Tao Te Ching. There is no 88th stanza, so I turned to page 88. In my copy, this is the 43rd stanza which reads:
"The softest in the world
Surpasses the hardest in the world.
What has no substance
Can penetrate what has no opening.
Thereby I know the value of non-action.
The value of teaching without words
And accomplishing without action
Is understood by few in the world."
Is this yet another way of saying, “Thy will be done”?
After my research, I considered what it all means, if anything.
Is my subconscious warning me of potential doom? Are the clues there, but I refuse to see them except in the warnings of my dreams?
Is my loved one telling me that something is about to happen over which I will have no control, but to accept it and trust that it is part of the universal plan?
Is God trying to tell me His “will be done”?
If the answer is, “Thy will be done”, I still don’t know the question.
But if the answer is, “Thy will be done”, does the question really matter?