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A shower of photons, December 31, 2015. (http://www.theallium.com).

A shower of photons, December 31, 2015. (http://www.theallium.com).

It was a strange place, this place of peace and comfort. To realize that at the quantum level, we each were all bundles of energy, that our bodies were but vessels that carried our real selves in our earthly years. That heaven was much, much more. Pearly gates and a white-bearded God? Nonsense! Try singularities and endless connections between the past, present, and future, between multiple universes and realities! We existed everywhere and in every time. There was no pain and no need, because we were everything and everything was in us and with us.

A high-resolution picture of the Pillars of Creation, in the Eagle Nebula, 7,000-light-years from Earth, via the Hubble Telescope, circa 1995, retouched January 5, 2014. (Armbrust via Wikipedia via NASA). In public domain.

A high-resolution picture of the Pillars of Creation, in the Eagle Nebula, 7,000-light-years from Earth, via the Hubble Telescope, circa 1995, retouched January 5, 2014. (Armbrust via Wikipedia via NASA). In public domain.

In this space and place, I met them. The ones that once left us behind. The entities who once lived in the earthly realm, whose bodies were decimated, whose minds had been wounded. It was here that I met Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Kindra Chapman, Samuel DuBose, Joyce Curnell, Ralkina Jones, Raynette Turner, Christian Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, John Crawford, and Jonathan Ferrell.

There were so many more bundles of light and energy in my presence that I felt myself cry. Not real tears, because while I could see and hear everything, I didn’t have any eyes or ears. I wanted to hug them all, but didn’t have any arms. I wanted to embrace them, but didn’t have any lips.

But there was one thing I could do. I merged my little bundle of energy with theirs. It was a joining more real and miraculous than anything I ever felt when tethered to Earth. I felt so alive, so free, so one with the universe. It was as if my material life was a nightmare and a dream, and this heaven the one true real.

In an instant, every feeling and thought I had merged with the feelings and thoughts of hundreds, if not thousands of other lights. And in that instant, the one question I had they asked and answered before I knew what my question was.

Don’t feel for dead. We are alive and well, and will be always so. Feel for the living. For theirs is a world of struggle and suffering.

They do not know who they really are. They do not know that their bodies are but machines, and their lives are not real.

In that singular moment, I understood. How could anyone in the living years truly appreciate the privilege of a corporeal existence when that is but only one form of life? If we as humanity could not know ourselves, how could we protect ourselves from ourselves?

I did get a glimpse, just a brief one, of another answer.

“To make our lives matter, fight for a better world. It doesn’t matter if you lose, but it does matter if you give up.”

As soon as that thought materialized, I woke up, sad to find myself in my middle-aged body, reconnected to my one quadrillion cells and Earth’s gravity and pressure.

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A collage of Black and Brown people killed by police and White vigilantes, February 2015. (http://thefreethoughtproject.com/ via Gawker.com).

A collage of Black and Brown people killed by police and White vigilantes, February 2015. (http://thefreethoughtproject.com/ via Gawker.com).

If I could, I’d want to meet all of the recent victims of police brutality and murder and White vigilantism and have a conversation. I would ask each of them only one question. Something like, “What did you want to get out of life?” or “What did you want your life to mean?” Because ultimately, that’s the most important question any of us can ask ourselves while we are alive in this physical world.

The structures that allow law enforcement agencies to assume those with Black and Brown bodies are criminals and undeserving of life pass those assumptions on to their individual police officers. The fourth estate does at least as good a job of passing these assumptions on to millions of ordinary civilians. The result is that thousands of us never got the chance to answer this most important question in our living years. If we cannot agree that this is a shame and a pitiful way to live, than we truly live in a nation in which Black and Brown lives (not to mention, people in poverty and others of different religions and ethnicities) don’t matter. For that — if for no other reason — is why we need Black Lives Matter, and we need Black Lives Matter to matter more, in the here-and-now linear world right now, in 2016.