Most of us have heard stories of near-death experiences, also known as NDE. Maybe you’ve listened to someone on Oprah, read it in a book, or witnessed a close friend or relative walk through it. Hell, maybe you’ve had one of your own. My point is that when you read or listen to these stories, you hear many common threads.
Here’s a few… The highest purpose is unconditional love. Sacred service, or social justice activities and being in service to humanity become even more important. You aren’t just reminded or have a realization that we are all one, but you EXPERIENCE the interconnectedness of all life – like nothing you have ever known.
You discover you pretty much had a cognitive understanding of this oneness, and maybe even caught nanosecond glimpses in meditation, but I think it takes NDE to KNOW it. I digress… (also a lesson of NDE, squirrel moments are more common than linear thoughts).
Of course there are other common threads I have heard, read about and certainly found as I integrate my own NDE – threads around the nature of God, forgiveness and our place in the world. But even with all that commonality, I feel compelled to add to the list. I’ve discovered a few things I have yet to read anywhere. And maybe that’s because these are particular to just me… but I doubt it.
Keep in mind as you read, that these lessons are a little outside the box. These aren’t what you may hear in the “usual conversations” you’re accustomed to when talking about the meatier issues of life, death, the hereafter, oneness and ultimate reality.
A couple warnings/suggestions/codicils:
- If you are offended by profanity you should probably stop reading now.
- This is my experience – you may or may not relate. That’s ok, I don’t need you to.
- If you know anyone who has experienced a NDE, share this with them.
- If you didn’t smile or chuckle at least once, you may have missed the point or need some internal adjustment.
Lesson #1: “I” don’t make sense anymore
Every time I meet with someone who hasn’t seen me since being gravely ill, they naturally want to ask questions or comment. They say something akin to “I’m so glad to see you’re all recovered!” Or, “So, are you all better?” or “You’re all healed!” And my personal favorite, “So how are you doing?”
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the intentions and I am not dogging on anyone – TRULY. I just think you should know that I have absolutely no response to these – unless you are willing and have the time to sit down with a pot of coffee, or in some cases a fifth of Jack Daniels, for an existential conversation about what all those statements and questions actually invoke.
For starters, when you ask me “How are you doing?” just know I will look at you blankly because I have absolutely no idea. The question itself doesn’t even make sense. And the reason the question makes no sense is because “I” don’t make sense. Let me explain.
Something I have discovered in my research during my “coming back to life” phase, as I call it, is that there is often a general loss of “self” after a NDE. And it’s almost impossible to put into words for someone. Suffice it say, the “I” that once was, is gone, and maybe a new one emerges, maybe not.
What was once foreign becomes familiar, what was once familiar becomes foreign. Rationale of any kind tends to lose its logic, which is why metaphors don’t work, so don’t try to help my “understanding” by offering any. Making plans and dreams seems irrelevant, even though a few months ago it was quite normal, even exciting.
Each day I discover something that was once a passion or a belief, and now it’s not. And this isn’t like, “I remember when…” and the mind goes back years. I am talking days or weeks. It is mind blowing, and highly unsettling. It’s like waking up one day, and overnight a switch has been flipped. Even if you could find the switch, you can never “flip it back.” Not that you’d want to anyway, but you wonder if maybe you should “want to” even though there is no energy or desire for taking that route. By now I’m guessing you may be getting a micro idea of why “‘I’ don’t make sense” is so alive.
You can see your VERY RECENT self, and know she’s not here, and likely never to return. Yet, there are definitely elements of her that are unchanged, always present. The pure essence remains untouched, pure and intact. BUT, you realize that her relationship to that essence is changed. The challenge is discovering what’s real and what’s memorex. This takes time, patience, curiosity and courage.
Living in the present moment is really all there is – unlike anything you have ever experienced. Remember when you would stand at the edge of a canyon and shout into the wind? Hoping to hear the echo of your own message circle back to greet you like a wonderful stranger visiting your home? Well that space in between – that place where your own words have left you and your echo has yet to find it’s way to your door – is where you now live.
I would be happy to further explain this phenomenon, but since I barely understand it, I feel confident I probably won’t get you to understand it either. As you read this, you may think, “I get it,” or “I know what you mean.” Trust me, you don’t. Go with it. This is my new normal – very few will understand me and that’s ok cause I don’t understand me. Let’s do this together.