“Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.”
Many doubts surfaced when writing this book. However, this is a gift to my children, my family and my old and new friends, so I pushed through. I do not expect anything in return for writing about my experience, except perhaps a friendly conversation. While the events contained within are factual, I still had continual doubts of writing a book, especially about spirituality. Moreover, writing a book for my children, family and friends could also be misunderstood, especially in light of the controversial content. Yet, this book should be taken on face value. It is a story. The story is both simple and true. Whatever is a take-away from the story is left to the reader.
As I wrote my story, I realized that there is a plethora of books, YouTube videos, podcasts and articles about Near-Death Experiences (NDEs). Rather than aligning with the NDE movement, I have chosen to often refer to my NDE as ‘the event’ so that I can highlight the fact that the event was not a singular instance, but an ongoing unfolding of events – a multiverse, for the lack of a better term. An occurrence added depth and a rich color to my once sepia-toned life. The multifaceted nature of the event is something that we each share, even if our memory and recollection for similar life-altering occurrences has become weak. I hope the story also enriches your view of life as well.
If you had asked me prior to the event if I would write a book about spirituality in the future, I would reply that I could glue together snippets and re-interpreted parts about what I’ve learned throughout life about God, the spirit, and the hereafter in a work that would reasonably approximate a sixth-grade book report. No insult to smart sixth-graders either. The report would be a mental reflection of what I have read and assimilated, from the many writings of the Bible, Koran, and Buddhism. It would be written using content from heady intellect, and not the emotion of a vibrant heart. Critics of the report might kindly state that it was written to be reasonably useful as a brief compendium of new-ageism. I hurl at that notion. The event was never reasonable. It fell outside of everything logical and reasonable. However, here I am to report the unreasonable nature of the event to you.
It truly is without reason. The event gave me a peek into the many realms that exist and the collapsing of time into a myriad of the multi-dimensional landscape that exists, continually, for each of us. This multi-dimensionality is referred to by the suggestion of string theory and quantum theory. However, I will not be expanding on any heady or theoretical concepts, theories, or conjecture in this short book. I do not have the time nor, certainly, the depth of knowledge of physics to provide any reasonable discussion on these theories. I will not bore you.
Instead, I chose to write about one profound life, pulled from one of many threads, that I participated in during the event. During the extracted life, I was gifted four lessons that I will share with you. As I started to write the story, I thought – in school, you are given the lessons first, and then are given the test. In life, you are given the test first. The lessons then follow. Through this story, you will see that I was first given a large test of faith. The lessons soon followed.
I had ongoing doubts about what I could achieve in a book on spirituality. I was the quintessential left-brain American male. Logic ruled over emotions. When people would say something like “I feel that this is just not right…,” the use of emotion to overrule logic did not compute. As a left-brain logical thinker, I naturally fell into occupations that supported my thinking. I entered into the Information Technology (IT) career field. IT made sense to me. This does not. Events since the event turned my “left-brain-first” paradigm, literally, on its head.
Having a heart attack was confusing. It was excruciatingly painful. Terrifying. Somewhere in the midst of the terror, pain and confusion, I passed out. I slipped into an altered state of inexplicable heightened awareness. The event turned out to be a dynamic and seismic shift in my perspective about what life is. This life, the one that we share, is a selected instance in a multifaceted tunnel of options.
I have done quite a bit of reading on other Near Death Experiences (NDEs) since my event and the best way to describe what occurred for me was that I saw a landscape of all of the possibilities (events) and choices that we are given in each of our lifetimes. Each critical choice or event that we face can alter life’s course. For example, if I made the choice to marry one person in contrast to another, my life’s trajectory would have been uniquely different. The movie entitled “Sliding Doors” with Gwyneth Paltrow (1998) epitomizes one small event that of Helen Quilley who is terminated from her public relations job. As she leaves the office, she drops and earring in an elevator. When she rushes for the train in London’s Underground, the plot of the story splits into two stories: one where she makes the train and the second story where she misses the train. The event of missing or not missing the train creates two distinct stories. Each story has very different outcomes.
In each of our lives, we each have many key decision points that define a unique life-trajectory. This multifaceted flower of possibilities became starkly present in my NDE. During my time in the NDE altered state, I was able to relive a few decisions that I made and even the alternative paths that I did not make. This story is about one of the alternate paths and the resulting story that unfolded.
I returned to this life as abruptly as I had left. I hesitated on my return. The afterlife has left me continually sensing this world, as I never have before. I share one of the many realities that I became aware of after the event with you in this small book. In this particular reality, I embarked on an unexpected journey where I received four lessons. The messages were audible, concise, and each left me questioning and wanting more. The messages were given to me from varied locations around Northern Arizona. With heightened clarity, I was compelled to write each in my journal – word for word.
There are many facets to my journey beyond. This book is a mere sliver in a broad plank of spirituality that we each share. To this, I have used my writer’s prerogative to narrow and keep the storyline interestingly memorable in this book. At the same time, each lesson and the event are real and true to form. The lessons gave me a new perspective, as I hope they do for you. The life that I now live comes from a place of continual gratitude, happiness, and joy.
In summary, we each have the power to bring joy to our lives. This is without exception. We are responsible for uncovering as much happiness as we can muster for ourselves. No one else is responsible for our happiness. Profound happiness is a forgotten state of being that we have the opportunity to reinvigorate. Joy can intentionally surface in the stream of life. Individual and abundant joy can have a profound impact on the lives of others too. It is my hope that this humble book will leave you feeling inspired to seek happiness and joy.
Happiness can abound in your life. Think research and write about what each lesson means to you. Compare and contrast. Think about how you can offer another lever to help spring forth your happiness and happiness in others. When your happiness is ultimately found, do not hesitate to spread the word of joy. Please feel free to share these lessons with your children, friends, family, spiritual and community groups, if you wish. It is my prayer that you bask in a continuous stream of unending joy.