The Jungian analyst June Singer had two big dreams about death – she knew because of the emotion involved that the dreams were very important. The first took place when she was in training in Zurich and living there with her first husband, also a Jungian analyst, and her then teenage daughter.
‘I open a door to a bedroom just slightly, enough to see into the room. The room is bare of furniture except for one bed that is in the far corner. Around the bed is a strange glow, as if a bright radiance were emanating from it. Although the light is nearly blinding, I cannot help looking at it and trying to make out what is there. I realize that my husband and my daughter are in that bed. Apparently my husband sees me at the door, and he throws a heavy object at me, perhaps a shoe, which I take to be a sign that I do not belong there, the sight is not for me. I quickly close the door. I am shocked and trembling.’
June Singer says for years she did not understand the dream but it stayed with her. She felt cut off from some mystery, isolated and alone. Her husband died five years after the dream, and five years later her daughter. ‘So I was left outside the luminous place of death to which they had gone. I knew now that I understood the dream.’
The other dream she had of death came twenty five years before her actual passing in 2004. She was quite well but ‘the big dream’ led her to let go of any fear of death, and adopt a practice of letting go of all worries and concerns.
‘I am lying on a narrow hospital bed, perhaps a gurney such as they use to wheel a patient into an operating room. I am very comfortable. I notice that I am hooked up to all sorts of wires and tubes. It strikes me as strange that I should be in this place and in this condition and feeling very well, unusually well. I am relaxed and peaceful. But I feel weak, not in an unpleasant way, simply weak. I do not feel that I can get up, but then I have no inclination to do so. It is as if my strength were slowly ebbing away, and the realization comes to me that I must be dying. Oh well, I think, if this is the way it is, just let it happen and observe it carefully. You may not have another opportunity. I pay close attention to everything slowing down, my body, my thoughts. Yet I keep a keen awareness of a growing sense of calm and a very quiet pleasure, as it is to sleep in the arms of the Beloved. I feel my life slipping away from me and I feel myself slipping like a drop of water sliding into the sea. And then I am no more myself alone, but merged into the fullness.’
For June Singer this ‘big dream’ helped her shed a sense of self-importance, especially about her work – it helped her ‘learn to do a little less, do it a bit more slowly, do it with care, and do it with love.’
lovely extract of an interview with June Singer about the soul…