I recently finished reading, “Backwards: Returning to Our Source for Answers,” by Nanci Danison. It’s a fascinating read as the author describes what people have come to recognize as a near-death experience, but she refers to her adventure into the unknown as a “beyond-death experience.” Or that she experienced “temporary death,” which implies a longer time out of the corporal self and an ultimate return – with vivid memories of what happened.
Ms. Danison describes her experience lasting long enough to transform into a Being of Light, and merge with the Source – God. And being an attorney, she is able to articulately and analytically describe her experience in great detail.
She uses the term “backwards” because she says she discovered that many religious and societal beliefs are backwards, and because, metaphorically, we are really traveling backwards in our personal journeys – heading back to the Source that created us, and back to that fully awakened state of awareness we discarded when we entered the physical human form.
One of the things I find appealing about her book is that she uses very generic terms to describe the spiritual world and the afterlife. Something that many people may find appealing as they have soured on restrictive dogmatic language, and the limitations that are imposed by traditional religions through their texts.
Or maybe it was the multiple translations and alterations of those texts over time that have made them less appealing.
But regardless of what people describe as a close-to-death, near-death, or now, beyond-death experience, all of those returning to the living have described some form of the “life review.” Where in an instant, a flash, we see and re-experience all of our human existence.
Every single moment.
Ms. Danison even says we feel and experience every emotion and feeling we produced in others as a result of our actions. For some folks, especially if the person was narcissistic, that thought may be terrifying because they would actually have to feel emotion and empathy – for the first time.
It is an amazing concept. That we will review our entire life at the moment of leaving the body. And to what purpose? It sounds very organized and chronological, whereas now, I have resurfacing memories in a much more haphazard and disorganized fashion. And it makes me wonder if what is being described is merely a compressed version of what we’re doing in our living state.
The memories I’m re-visiting now are extremely vivid and yet there is no cohesion. I can’t always think of a reason as to why my mind traveled there. The event simply pops up in my head for no apparent reason as it is not connected to anything I’m doing in the present. Or maybe the connection is just so remote I don’t recognize it. Sometimes, I can piece a trail together. Where I was thinking about a certain event or topic and it traces back to that moment from the past.
More often, not.
The reason I’m pondering this is that we, or our minds, always seem to have trouble living in the present moment. In the here and now. We are constantly dancing back and forth between the past and the future in our thoughts. So, just for fun, imagine we are making our life review right now. In the present. That we are on the precipice of death at every moment, and we are engaged in this review and judgment of all of our past actions and experiences.
And when we come to the end, time’s up, we depart.
Of course, since we are still in corporal form now, as we remember, we are also creating new memories simultaneously. So we have more to remember. Will our thoughts ever catch up at some point? Maybe the challenge is to keep experiencing in the here and now so we will, in effect, keep on living.
Now there’s a thought for you.
Can we prolong earthly existence simply by living more fully and experiencing more? In a sense, figuratively at least, the answer has to be yes. But at some point, the physical machine we are riding in will break down. Just like those old cars rusting in the salvage yard . . .
I hope that whenever you do it that your life review is meaningful. That you will have experienced life to its fullest, and found and given, at some point, unconditional love.
Photo: I could actually pick any photo I wanted for this piece of writing today, as anything I’ve photographed would represent something from my past – a part of my life review. But I chose this one. The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone. Like our memories, the Spring is very vivid, colorful, and diverse. A vast expanse that can be called upon. A plain that is mist-like. Not always sharp in definition, but hovering in the background of our thoughts and dreams. What is real and what is imagined in such a increscent landscape of images?