The brilliance behind I am Legend, The Box, and others is Richard Matheson. What Dreams May Come is His Most Prized Work.
If you have read this book, the first part of this post will make sense, if not, please humor me because in order to embrace the meaning of Richard Matheson’s genius in this work, I would like to make a connection to everyone through personal experiences we have all had in like kind.
I could always tell when my kids were sick and what they had, at least within an unusual amount of success. When my oldest daughter was expecting her baby, I knew about it long before anyone else. It was more than a feeling, it was a “crossing over” sensation, as if I left the realm of time and I was sitting on the edge of ”all that is connected.” This is the first time I have voiced this. I did the same when my grandson was conceived. I knew. Even before my son did. I even left a little hinting at it in a blog without saying what the up and coming joy was going to be. This is only the beginning of what I “feel” in this regard. There are other phenomenons that come to me from a distant “gathering place”. When my friend is in peril, I call her and she asks how I knew. My pastor uses the same insight. I heard from him just before I ask for his help when my mom took a downturn and passed away, when my children are devastated and he wants to help the family through prayer, he writes an email in the middle of the week to ask if we need help. How does he know? When my friends are suffering a loss, he is there to ask. He always writes and asks how he can pray that day. His timing is beyond coincidence. There IS something more than what we see.
Finally, I took a class on psychic awareness and found that we all possess something. I always chalked it up to science; “Time is man made, quantum levels are at the root of communication without being in contact yet, our physical senses are limited and reality is beyond them.” I started reading more physics books, the scientific ones that give evidence and advances to the unseen realities. Brian Greene, Fred Adam Wolf, Paul Davies, all line my bookshelf over years of fascination with this psychic connection we all share. Some are atheists, some are not. On some level, it doesn’t really matter. What we are learning is that there are different planes of existence that work through different vibrations. Physics knows this.
I asked questions like “Why do we have self-sacrifice if our genes are our only dictates?” Biology alone does not always make sense. Where does loyalty come from in good men who would, in the pure physical state, run rampant and reproduce with every woman he sees? Where does this kind of loyalty come into play in pure biological survival? It doesn’t. There is something more. Morals oftentimes transcend DNA expectations for survival. Richard Dawkins could give it a listen.
How was Job told that the Earth hangs on “nothing” in a time when explanations were of turtles and elephants and Atlas holding up the heavy load? How is it perceived that the earth is circular in ancient biblical terms when the culture believed it was flat? Where is genetic memory stored? How is a prodigy, a prodigy? As a writer, I know that the book I have just written was already there. I was the instrument to its manifestation, nothing more. How many musicians have said the same thing? How do artists, who uncover the stone, get to the form within? Evidence for something greater than our physical selves is everywhere. I like to think that when I do a good deed, it comes from God, not my own “goodness”.
Once, I had a dream that was more. Not long after my mother left this plane and I grieved so immensely at her graveside, I begged her to let me know she is OK. She did. The next night I took a walk with her in a dream that was more vivid than reality. The colors were brighter, the sounds were detailed, her voice was specific, her mannerisms. Even some of the elements of what made her, HER came back to me, things I was beginning to forget. We talked and I remember thinking that the element of time was not even a factor. I couldn’t even say how long I was with her because it was infinite in a way I can’t even begin to describe. It was a definition of eternal that went beyond anything my senses could fathom or my voice can speak. At that point, I became an avid believer, doubtless, and positive that our lives are only a fraction of what is. Oh, I always believed in the possibility and live my life accordingly, but this time, the next day after my mother gave me this gift, all doubt was cast off.
Intuition is just that; a connection to something much bigger than ourselves. We all have it. The psychics who claim it as a gift are eloquent in their speaking and convincing in their words, yet arrogant in their claim because it is not unique or limited. Because we exist, we are all a part of it.
Are there soul mates? No doubt. I can name them all who are currently in my life.
Enter Richard Matheson and the book he has authored that he is most proud of. He dropped his unique and genius horror and stepped into real life eternity in What Dreams May Come. In this novel, outside of his mold, Matheson quenches our thirst for answers by drawing on the personal evidence that is in everyone’s life. His work is based on research and the bibliography that he dresses his manuscript with is testimonial. Some are New Age, some are Tibetan and there are many in between. Many! His evidence is universal and personal. The near death experiences can not be over rated in this piece. They dictate a lot of our beliefs in life after life. If the reader goes through the bibliography, they may find that some of his research are books we have already read in the past. I found 7 that are on my list of ”have read” and 4 that are on my book shelf. Like the claim of connection within his works, the books out there are just as bound to his truth.
I find it interesting that the man who influenced Stephen King the most, is the man who gives his readers the greatest calm in life and the greatest peace wherein we are not afraid to die. Indeed, this book has changed the lives of his readers, leading them into the exact opposite of horror.
The creativity begins on page one as a strange woman delivers a manuscript to the brother of the deceased who writes in first person. The entire work is this manuscript. But it is merely a manuscript, come to inform a loved one from the “other side”. The creativity doesn’t stop there. Underlying the entire theme is the concept of soul mates. This read is not only easy, it is fast because of the fascination that is a draw for anyone who wants to understand the deepest questions of existence. It answers questions for all religions and science while bringing both together in a way that validates it all. The reader is left with the possibility that death is not death but birth while living at the level of energy reduced to matter is the real death. Is it juxtaposition that we view leaving this life as death, when in reality, we are living a kind of death and await our birth when our body ceases to function?
These are the kinds of realities that we are presented with in Matheson’s work.
Enter Hollywood twenty years later in What Dreams May Come starring Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr. If you have seen the movie and feel like you don’t need to read the book, you might consider the stories are as different as if the main characters are separate individuals. Reading the text, it is apparent why the book is more powerful with the exception of visual effects. The story itself is different, the characters are different, the circumstances are different. One wonders why the titles are the same. It’s not the same story.
Whether you are Buddhist, Christian, or agnostic, this story gives pause and some real elements of validation. The accuracy of the near death experience in people I’ve spoken to and stories I’ve read are spot on in this work. Even the event of suicides coincide with the research showing that those who take their own lives live an experience different than other. Matheson’s account is perfect.
Intuition, creativity, prodigies, near death experiences, de ja vu, and other psychic phenomenon is clearly marked and given substance in this novel. Although I did see a leap of faith that can’t be as scientifically proven in reincarnation. There is still some scientific validity intertwined when the descriptions of vibrations and levels of existence are addressed . The low vibration of energy that gives us matter introduces us to our physical life. Mind is reality according to this novel. After reading some physicists explanations of quantum theory, we have to ask, “Is this possible?”
This is a book that you can’t put down. Matheson’s description of the arrogants who live in their own personal illusion of grandeur while hurting others is extended into the story in such an intricate way. The overall message is Christian and Buddhist. Love is the destination as we live our life toward perfection so that we can one day meld in with the divine. There is forgiveness at work and there is a raw awareness of the pain we cause others in our choices. If we live negatively, we die the same and that is the structure of our after life. We create our own Hell with the power of our mind and we create our own positive light with the same.