Today on my walk I listen to a Podcast of a woman who had an NDE. In her NDE she experienced a few different things, but the one that really struck me, is that she and another being came back her body that had been severely injured in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq. She hovered above it, looking down at it, detached emotionally from it. She and this being decided what injuries she was going to be left with from the blast. As they hypothesized about losing the right arm and watching how that life would play out or having brain damage and watching how that would play out, each was greatly amused at the “fun” that life would be experiencing these things she had not experienced before. Eventually they settled on a set of injuries and when she came back into the body, those were the injuries she lives with this to this day. These are the injuries that would put her on the path that would give her the experiences she wanted to have.
The notion that we choose our paths through life comes up again and again in my studies and it is beginning to make sense to me. In fact it has become one of my best coping mechanisms even though I didn’t know about it until the last few months. The first thought that comes to mind when you hear this for the first time is “Why would I have chosen this?” I mean, why would anyone choose to be poor or fat or gay or to have a serious illness. Well, apparently to our larger selves, the selves we are when we are not confined to this body, life is all about experiences. We crave experiences. We crave spiritual growth above everything else. And that only comes through experience. Yeah, I do believe we choose these crazy lives, but to believe that I think you have to first step back and look at the bigger picture. You have to look at things from the perspective of your soul, not your ego and certainly not your body. Your ego and your body are designed for self preservation. They will do anything to seek pleasure and avoid pain. That’s how we survive. However, the soul has a different agenda. The body isn’t important. The ego is only there to help with the survival of the body and to make this experience complete. One of the things we feel here is fear. Another is separation. It’s all part of the experience and we need the ego to have that.
Stepping back to the bigger picture again. I think of it this way. As little kids when something bad happens it’s the end of the world. A little girl’s doll’s arm gets broken. The girl is devastated, crushed. Her world is over. The parent, from a different larger perspective, knows it’s just a doll. The parent knows the doll can be fixed, replaced and that the little girl will soon enough grow up and not need the doll anymore. The parent has empathy for the little girl. The parent comforts the little girl, but the parent is not nearly as upset as the little girl. In fact the parent is only upset for the little girl. The parent is our soul- the true us, the bigger part of us that can’t fit into this body or this experience. When we’re back there making our plans we know this life is but a moment, a blink of an eye. We know the payoff for these short, painful lives is worth if a million times over. But, when we’re here, we forget. We curse our souls, well I do, for making this stupid plan.
The interviewer made a quip in regard to the doll’s arm analogy. The interviewee joked “It’s just a doll.” Relating it to tragedy that befalls us, the worst possible one, the death of a loved one, he said “It’s just a human life.”. And really, it is that. Just one human life. Just one of your many human lives, perhaps thousands of human lives, you will experience.
What came to my mind was this. I can endure a bad day. I can endure a bad week. I can endure a bad month. Why? Perspective. I know every day won’t be this bad. I’ve had thousands of days before and I may have thousands in the future. One day is not a big deal. If I can’t go to the beach today because it’s raining, maybe I can go tomorrow because the sun will be out then. I’m trying to bring that perspective to this life. It’s not that big a deal if things don’t work out right now. It’s not that big a deal if things don’t ever work out the way I think I want them to in this life. 1.) Because I planned to have this experience, including the frustration, sadness and heartache and 2.) This life is like a day in the scheme of things. One day, in what may seem like a long time now, I will look back at this entire life like I look back at some of the worse tragedies contained in it and I’ll think “Yeah. That was rough, but it wasn’t so bad and I’m glad I went through it. I’m a better person for it.”
That day is not today. It probably won’t be tomorrow. But holding onto that hope makes today and tomorrow bearable.