These past couple of months I had a health emergency where I faced my mortality more intimately than I ever have before. I won’t go into medical details (I’d be happy to share privately), but while I’m very much on the road to recovery, this experience has helped give me a truer perspective of life’s purpose, more than I ever had in my life.
No matter how much we imagine or envision it will be like, when the prospect of death actually stares us in the eye, or even if it casually glances at us, our reactions will let us know whether how prepared we are. And if we’re not, the experience will tell us what adjustments we need to make in how we are living.
In my case, my experience gave me three powerful insights:
- I had less fear of moving on than I expected. There were a few moments of worry, but certainly not as much panic or dread at the prospect at death as I expected. Decades of tuning my mind through meditation and self-reflection seemed to have prepared me to the point where my knee-jerk impulse to hold onto my physical body has largely shifted to an invitation and acceptance of whatever Reality has in-store.
- There was certainly was some level of curiosity of post-death experience. In my journey, I’ve had some deep experiences through my practices that have given me glimpses of consciousness independent of my physical body. Though those experiences were cool in that I feel a certain clarity of the transcendent nature of consciousness, the actual possibility of finally relinquishing my physical body, and the freedom it offered, was an intriguing and exciting prospect.
- My regret if I moved on now was hardly that I didn’t attain what I wanted in life in terms of worldly achievements or social recognition. Nor was it that I made mistakes and errors in judgment. These only slightly mattered. My real regret would have been I didn’t complete the process of fully working through, and expressing, all that’s in my heart and mind. Clearing through these loose-ends is currently the sole focus for the rest of my life.
I’m not a fan of chasing down crises. I don’t believe we should seek out trouble. We should strive to live the healthiest, wisest, and most fulfilling journey we know how to. However, I believe the universe has a way of manifesting whatever we need to go through along the way.
The actual experience of looking mortality in the eye can make decisive our priorities and sharpen our perspective like nothing else. We have a finite window on this planet, so I hope we all are able to express what we are here on this planet to work through.
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