The Space of Total Vastness by Emily Risner


“And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.” -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Shortly before my Grandma passed away, I was dreaming about her.  In the dream, she wanted me to promise her that I would do some of the things that were important to her.  The feeling cannot be described with words except that she seemed mercifully dependent upon my response.

It was like she was holding on until I could assure her that everything she wanted would be taken care of.  She was desperately worried, and her intensity of this matter was strongly received by me. In fact, it turns out that she was right regarding a few of the matters that she spoke of to me that early morning. Since then, I have had several more dreams of my Grandma, but this one was by far the most vivid.

Having dreams about the people who have passed away that I have known or loved, has not been the only form of communication that I have had with those who have gone.  I have had a few unique experiences when someone I knew in my past, but had not thought of or seen for many years has just popped into my head as clear as day, only to find out shortly after thinking of them that they had passed away.  

The most powerful dreams that I have had encountering loved ones have been in this place that I do not know what to call, other than ‘the space of total vastness.’  In this place of vastness, it is dark, as if you’re in outer space. When I have been in this space of vastness talking to a loved one whom is gone, we do not use words to communicate, instead we are telepathically able to converse using only our eyes.   It’s like an ultimate shared intelligence taking place. In fact, I have seen this dream as special or separate from the dreams where I am with loved ones who are no longer here, and we are using our mouths to talk. These dreams are very different from the dreams that occur in the vastness. 


For one thing, what the person says within “the vastness,” is far more meaningful than the dreams where we are together and talking in the material world. This doesn’t mean that I only value the dreams that are in the space of vastness, because I value all these dreams in different ways.  However, the feeling that I get from the space of vastness experiences is far superior to any, because it is so much more authentic, and there is a sense of knowing deep within my soul.

When my grandma came to visit me in a dream shortly after her death in this vast place, she looked beautiful.  She appeared to me as she was in her late twenties, or early thirties, and her hair was its original chestnut brown.  As we sat and “talked” face to face through our eyes, I felt a tremendous amount of love and mutual understanding between us.  She was different in this state than she was in her embodied one. My grandma always worried a lot, but here she was peaceful and serine, a sublime sort of ease was within her.  It was incredibly comforting for me to see her in this way, as well as validating that she was still able to reach me.

It will be interesting for me to see if after Doula Training to become an End of Life Doula and working with the dying, if I have any special dreams of the ones whom I work with.  These are confirmations to me that love moves beyond death.

Emily Risner is a student at Naropa University studying Contemplative Psychology with a concentration in Transpersonal Psychology, and also has studied Buddhist philosophies and practices. Before Naropa she studied Holistic Health and nutrition. She is currently studying with the Conscious Dying Institute and a level II Reiki certified, a meditation practitioner, and enjoys yoga.