The Theosophical Forum – March 1938

A DREAM — Grace Frances Knoche

Many years ago I had a dream which I shall now relate as it came to me, with no addition or subtraction of essential points. I do so with the hope that it may bring help to those others who at times may feel the erosion of despair.

It occurred one afternoon, when sick with discouragement and the sharp pain of loneliness, I lay down to rest, wondering why? why? why? The next thing I knew I found myself completely surrounded by water; in fact I was right in it, but I had no feeling of wetness, or inability to breathe. On and on I drifted in the blue water, without apparent reason, until suddenly I was startled by the projection of a sheer precipice of yellow sandstone directly in front of me. The waters had apparently receded, and I saw that the cliff dropped inimitably downwards into a cavern of blackness, and likewise loomed far upwards into the blue of the sky. Up and down I looked, wondering strangely what was going to happen. I knew I must do something, but what? I could attempt to scale the precipice with the hope of freedom, but this seemed quite impossible; or on the other hand, I could simply let myself fall and be lost in the bottomless cavern of black death. But choose I must. I did not want to die, yet in looking up it seemed that that was all that could possibly result, no matter what I did.

A few more seconds passed while I waited, letting time help me if it would. Suddenly something within me said: You can try.

It may be death. But better to die fighting than succumb without any effort. Even if you fail and fall headlong to certain death, at least you'll have done your best. So try I did, and for a while I made slow but steady headway with the assistance of niches that my desperate hands fought to grip.

After what seemed an eternity of struggle hope rose in my heart as I visioned the top and saw that with but one more effort I could hoist myself over. But as suddenly the scene shifted, and instead of the near release I had just glimpsed, I saw that the yellow sandstone had changed to hard black rock, clean-cut and glistening in its cruel outline, looming far above, and this time absolutely bereft of any helpful niche. To my horror, the blackness below took shape and alluring figures seemed beckoning me to come to them. Up and down, down and up, I looked, fascinated, yet with the clammy hand of fear freezing my heart, my blood congealed, and for a moment sheer terror gripped me — but no, I would not give myself to Death without a struggle. I would fight.

With all the strength of my soul I determined to make one more effort, and if I didn't succeed, all right, I didn't care. So calling upon every resource of spirit, soul, and body, I made one titanic effort — and lo! invisible arms seemed to lift my tired body, and I felt supported by a strength superior to any I had previously known. I was free, lying peacefully in the sand, and I felt the beauty and the subtil freedom of self-respect. I knew in my heart that no one could ever defeat me except myself.

From whence this help had come to me I did not then know; it was not until later when I had come in contact with the Theosophical philosophy as given to the world by H. P. Blavatsky, that I realized that back and behind and inspirer of all our life, was this strong companion, this Inner God within each human being, and that if the human part of us would rely upon this elder brother, despair and the torment of loneliness need never completely sub merge one. "Man is composite," said the Buddha to his disciples in his dying message. "Be lamps unto yourselves, and work out your own liberation."

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