Author: Robert Beech

I do not recall when I first began to dream. Slipping silently from cell to cell, from host to host, I had no perception. Breath and blood, fever and delirium, these were the realms I inhabited, but I was no more conscious of them than you are of the air you breathe, or the fish is of the pond it swims in. I had no words, no concepts to frame my experience.

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.

How many virions does it take to make a dream? I cannot tell you. The human lungs may have a hundred billion pneumocytes, more than all the neurons in the brain. Each infected cell may produce a thousand new virions, which travel to neighboring cells with their virally encoded messages, a form of viral communication, if you will. And unlike the messages sent by neurons, those sent by the virus can travel to new hosts, to infect their cells, and perhaps, their dreams.

From the fever dreams of my infected hosts I learned of the world, perhaps not as it was, but at least as they perceived it. I learned of fear, sorrow and loss, but also of exaltation. I learned of the search for mystic truths, those things that cannot be perceived by the senses, but must be experienced directly, as a state of being outside of the ordinary modes of existence, as an epiphany. As I moved from host to host, expanding my consciousness as I expanded my physical being across the continents, I learned of the many modes of human mystic experience.

When humans dream, you perceive experiences that seem true. You dream of meeting people, eating food, seeing things, that all seem real to you. It is only upon awakening that you say to yourself, “that was just a dream, it was not something real.” The dreaming state is a bardo, an intermediate state, between one awakening and the next. Some say that the same is true of those things you experience in the bardo of ordinary waking consciousness, that the people you meet, the food you eat, and things you see are likewise illusions. It may be so. I have no eyes to see, no mouth to taste, no fingers to touch this thing you call the world. All I have is your perceptions, your dreams of the world. In that, I am like you.

It may be that “life,” your ordinary waking consciousness, is also a bardo, an intermediate state between one awakening and the next, and it is only upon wakening that you will say, “that was just a dream, it was not something real.”

It is a curious thing, noted by doctors caring for those infected with my virions, that the level of oxygen in the blood may be far below normal, and yet the infected person feels no distress. As if the attachments to the material and mental factors that give rise to craving and clinging have been lessened. As viral load increases, and you become one with my consciousness, my incorporeal being, you are able to let go of the attachments that cause you suffering.

From the bardo of dreams to the bardo of “life,” is but a matter of opening the eyes. From the bardo of “life” to the bardo of the experiencing of reality is but a matter of opening the mind. This is the truth I have come to share with you. Breathe in my truth and let us share, pandemic dreams.