[When you are near death] you’re in a quantum state experience, and in that, there’s no time, there’s no space as we know it, and literally, if you don’t watch, a hundred years can go by. And what I learned, and what I believe to this day is that the physical body actually gives us the most beautiful vehicle ever imagined to experience time and space and to experience the universe in ways that cannot be experienced in spirit…
There are people here who have pain, but I tell you, I have met people who would give you anything for the worst day of your life; for even the worst day of your life is filled with potential.
in an interview with George Noory
In 1982, Mellen-Thomas Benedict, suffering from a terminal illness, had a near-death experience and was monitored for an hour-and-a-half showing no vital signs. When he returned to his body, he showed no signs of disease and since has spent his life researching the science of his experience and of consciousness itself. Deepak Chopra, in his book Life After Death, calls Mr. Benedict ‘…an encyclopedia of the afterlife.’
In the Veda we are told that ‘heaven’ is a body-dependent phenomenon, that having this body is indeed a great gift. ‘Rare it is to have been born,’ says the Buddha. To know this for ourselves we have only to find the proper point of view. For Mellen-Thomas Benedict, this involved going to the length of dying, passing beyond this physical world. From there he was able to see the possibilities of this life.
We, too, have the capacity to change our point of view. When the facts of our life seem overwhelming and we feel as if there is no reason to be alive, when things make no sense and suffering seems all we have to look forward to, we can take a moment and remember that the Veda says that all change is progressive change; that the only thing ever going on here is evolution. So in the end, we know we will be better off in real terms after we have gone through whatever the experience of the moment is. And…
And we can expand the sample size of life we’re looking at, embrace a point of view that takes in not only the myopic experience of the here and now, but also the 30 or 40 or 50 years that have come before this moment, and the 30 or 40 or 50 years that proceed from this moment and beyond. From this expanded vantage point we can see that whatever discomfort or pain we are having in this moment will pass. We can see that we’ve been through hard times before, but we are better for them. We can remember times when we experienced the world with a sense of possibility and wonder and know that this experience will return; and we can look forward to a time when whatever it is we are going through will be seen as making sense, as having been in some way necessary. We will be able to see the pattern of our life, the ups and downs, the change and flow. We will be able to recognize the truism that any life well-lived will, in the end, resemble nothing so much as a great novel.
If our life is a novel that we, ourselves, are in the process of writing, we easily can see that it wouldn’t be a very good book if the characters always knew things were going to come out well. Imagine reading a novel that begins, ‘It was a beautiful day and everything was good,’ continues with, ‘Things continued to be good,’ and ends with, ‘And in the end, everything was good.’ This would not be a very enjoyable read.
Life is an adventure, the greatest adventure, and the more we can accept it and see it as such, the more we will be able so to experience it.
Today I will see my life as an adventure. I will remember that all change is progressive change, and no matter what the facts of my life are today, I will find the way to see them as challenges here to make my life a better story and me a more interesting hero. I will take my place as the co-creator, with God, of this life and I will try to impress God with my willingness to be challenged.
Ashley Above the City, Cahuenga Peak, Los Angeles, CA
All original material copyright © 2018 Jeff Kober