Years after overcoming cancer, fear of death still looms large in my daily life. The thought of never seeing my daughter again, my husband, mother or father can quickly evoke a strong sense of grief — pain in my heart, an upset stomach and a deep longing.
What if death isn’t scary at all? What if death is a soothing and natural passing into another state of being?
Eben Alexander, M.D., with his staunchly empirical scientific background faced these questions while in a coma, when his brain’s ability to process empirical information shut down. Yet he vividly recalls his experience in a post-death world.
Dr. Alexander writes:
There is no scientific explanation for the fact that while my body lay in coma, my mind—my conscious, inner self—was alive and well. While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility.
But that dimension—in rough outline, the same one described by countless subjects of near-death experiences and other mystical states—is there. It exists, and what I saw and learned there has placed me quite literally in a new world: a world where we are much more than our brains and bodies, and where death is not the end of consciousness but rather a chapter in a vast, and incalculably positive, journey.
“I knew it!” I think when I read this. I don’t know how I knew it but I just do. I’m not saying that I’m a ‘know-it-all’, it is more a remembrance — like the feeling of weightlessness I feel during meditation or a sense of forever I might get while watching sunset. Afterlife stories make me hopeful because they help me remember the bigger picture.
I’m big on mnemonics, little things that help me remember stuff I’m always forgetting – like the bigger picture. Divine Amnesiac is my mnemonic for amnesia of the soul, forgetting that the sum of me is greater than my parts. I’ve used the phrase as the title for the memoir I’ve been writing the last few years and as I near completion of that story I realize it might not be my title at all, just a working title. I’ve considered that I’ve been using this working title all along as a mnemonic to remind me that the story I am writing is my soul’s journey.
What are some mnemonics that you use to help you through a rough patch, bad day or fear of the unknown?
Dr. Alexander’s book will continue to spark inspiration in me about what lies beyond our known world and what I can do to improve the quality of my life while I live it, this chapter anyway.