“You’re going home. You’re going back to the stars.”
I heard a voice tell me as I was slowly losing consciousness in the CAT scan machine. A peaceful feeling swept over me and I felt ready to embark on a journey back home – wherever that might be. It felt like my soul knew the way and something was about to guide me.
I’ve recently been finding myself in conversations about life and death. I am not too sure why, but a few people have asked me whether or not I believe in reincarnation or life after death. As I was explaining my near-death experience to someone, I began to realize I do not even know the answer to this question.
When I was slowly dying in the emergency room because of internal bleeding, I felt a sense that I was going home. I heard this voice reassure me that I was going home and going back to the stars -- where we all come from. I cannot put this experience into words since it is quite ineffable and there are no words to describe the feeling that I felt. All I know is that I felt at peace with death and I was excited to embark on this new journey that felt so familiar.
It felt like my soul knew the way. Something or someone was about to show me the way back home.
I woke up in the intensive care unit. I was so confused about what had just happened. Over the next few days, new emotions would emerge from within me. I felt confused. I felt lost and upset. I kept asking, “why am I still alive?”
This experience messed with my mind. It left me with so many questions. I felt like I had gone somewhere, but could not figure out where I went. I felt like there was still a piece of me floating around in the cosmos. I guess I came back here for a reason, right? It was like I was suffering from an amnesia from another life. There was just the smallest faint feeling left inside my body that continued to ask questions.
While this experience left me feeling high on life for a few months and also gave me a new appreciation for life, I eventually hit a cosmic rock bottom. The confusion began again. I was so curious and so hungry to know what happened that night of my snowboarding accident. The mundane began taking a toll on me psychologically. I could not focus on normal teenage things. My mind was occupied by these bigger existential life questions.
This cosmic rock bottom eventually led to some pretty heavy emotions. I thought about death often. That peaceful escape from the Hell that we have created here on Earth seemed appealing and welcoming. I began to detach from myself and felt that this world is not my home. I felt as if I belonged somewhere else. My soul was yearning for something more. I began of journey of self-exploration and self-discovery to help me better understand my relationship to the world.
I began seeking out novel experiences. Many of these experiences opened me up so much and helped to shed light onto some of my biggest questions. I stumbled across Transpersonal Breathwork, and really began processing my near-death experience. I relived parts of my accident and re-experienced the spiritual aspect of death -- transcending my body and getting a glimpse of the other side of this veil. Over the years I have switched my stance. This is life and world not Hell, but this life is a complete blessing and made of magic. Life is the most spiritual experience that you will ever experience and also be part of.
Is There an Afterlife?
While I can only speak from my experience, I would say that there is, but it is not a place where we go and hang out for a while. I have a profound sense that we go back to the stars. We go back to the source where we come from. Life is a training ground for souls to engage in deep transformational work. To understand what it means to be in a body. To embody our spiritual beliefs and put them into action.
After my accident, I felt confused why I was still alive. Today, I realize that I am alive because I decided to come back to engage in this learning process. We should not be asking ourselves, “Is there an afterlife?” We should be asking ourselves, “How do I prepare for this transition into death?” We only have so much time here on Earth, how are you going to spend it?
Our lives are much like the seeds in nature. Suffering and the darkness cracks the seed open. We grow tall. Some of us produce flowers and fruits. Some of us leave this Earth before we ever produce anything but a few leaves. We produce seeds, and then return to the Earth. And the cycle begins again.
To quote Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience."
This life is your opportunity to grow, learn, experience, and to engage in your soul’s work and purpose.
I am leaving this question semi-open ended because I think it is our job to really engage in the world to figure out what it means to be alive, not what it means to die. Death is just a transition into something new. What awaits on the other side is up to you.
How one prepares for death is how one live their life. And how one lives their life is how one prepares for death.
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