I visited my friend Jacob a couple of days ago. I had not seen him in over ten years and he had recently purchased a new home. As I walked up to his door, I admired the tall white columns and the pristine red and white brick facings that graced the entrance of the door. His last place was a small Philadelphia walk up that served as home for him and his cats.
Jacob answered the door and gave me a big hug. He looked much younger than I remembered. Two big tabby cats rushed to muzzle my leg and Jacob picked them up and ushered me in toward the living room. He offered me a cup of apple tea and cookies. I love apple tea.
Jacob was the person that introduced me to astrology. In the year 1986, I lived in Philadelphia. My girlfriend at the time was into astrology and she told me about a man that in her opinion was the best in the city. I was skeptical about the claim, but I went to see him just the same. At that time, Jacob wore a long beard and he looked like the spitting image of Merlin. He proceeded to tell me about my life, my profession, my dreams, and my ambitions. The only tool that he had was my birth information. He told me more about myself in forty minutes than I could have gleaned with all of my medical knowledge. I was impressed. From that moment on, I was determined to learn all that I could about astrology.
I bought every book, software program, and brochure I could on the subject. I consulted several leading practitioners of the art. I took classes at the local Astrological Institute in Scottsdale. The owner Joyce became one of my good friends. She later died of cancer, but before she passed, I had become a professor at the school. Imagine me teaching astrology and practicing medicine at the same time.
Jacob and I talked for a couple of hours about life, the universe, and things in general. He looked at my chart and I looked at his. We laughed about our collective inability to see the big picture of all that we had been through, even with our vaunted skills as astrologers.
Jacob excused himself and went into a back room. After a few minutes, he returned with a newspaper. He said, I need to show you something.
Jacob carefully folded the paper and lay it down in front of me. He pointed to the obituary section. He had two children and I was afraid that one of them had passed. He then pointed to a specific entry. I read the entry carefully.
Jacob obtained a Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago, and then his Doctorate in Communications from the University of Illinois.
Jacob looked at me and smiled. He said:
“I wanted you to know.”
At that moment, I realized that I was dreaming.
Jacob had created a dream and invited me into it just so that he could tell me goodbye. When I woke up, I rushed to my IPad and checked the facts of the obituary. Sure enough, he had died on January 13, 2010. He had passed away more than three years before the dream, but there he was happy, healthy, new home, enjoying….life.
My senses reeled for a few moments after I read the obituary. I told Kathy about the experience and she smiled. She knew that those things were not unusual for me. She wondered why I was surprised.
My first encounter with Jacob changed my life. My first book was entitled Signs of Mental Illness. It was a pithy tome that chronicled my research on mental illness and astrology. One of the first chapters in the book recalled my encounter with Jacob. That book, and my work subsequent to it, opened my eyes to the world of the supernatural in ways that I could have never imagined.
After meeting with Jacob in his new home, I realized that I could see him whenever I liked. Dead or not, our meeting was as real as any other that I experienced. There was no difference between his afterlife and his physical life in my dream. They were one and the same. Only the realization that I was in a dream brought the reality of my dreaming to light. Before that, it did not make a difference.
I want to say I will miss my friend and that I am sorry that I did not make his funeral. I want to say that we should have kept in better touch, that somehow, we should have maybe written a book together or something. I wanted to introduce him to my new children and tell him about my life in North Carolina.
But then, I remember that I had just done that.
I learned a good lesson a few nights ago. Death, life, memory, friendship, reality, they are only what we choose them to be. The Buddha said that reality is an empty particle of consciousness. What we choose reality to be is exactly what it becomes.
Jacob showed me that he still had the power to teach.