Brand Designer & CEO, TEDx Timisoara

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What 3 things did you learn while you were in a near-death experience?

I am interested in finding out what are your 3 things that you learned from a near-death experience. Please state if you were in a near-death experience or not and what was it. Looking forward to read your answers...

  • May 18 2011: I was very sick for several years; cancer, chronic pain, stroke were the highlights of my health crisis; I almost died of septicemia from Chemo treatments, then from my massive stroke.
    Death is random; other cancer patients who were healthier than I, died, rich people with all their wealth at their disposal died. I have no idea why I survived this ordeal intact.

    1. I'm am no more significant than a leaf on a tree, I only hope my time on earth is a useful as a leaf.
    2. Live your life the way you want to live it.
    3. Find inner peace.
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    Apr 27 2011: 1. I am completely unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I will be gone and, not so terribly long from now, no one will even know I existed (not in a boohoo way, in a straight facts sort of way). When I die, my children go forward, the company doesn't fold.

    2. Therefore, I have a right to live my life for myself. NO ONE is going to do it for you, nor give you permission to do it for yourself. Living it for others may be in their best interest, but a critical mistake for you. I had been living a gray life of perceived obligation, wasting it. (I quit my job, exited my terminally unhappy marriage, took flying lessons, stepped onto new continents)

    3. Every day is an unearned gift. Life it delicious and must be LIVED, not plodded through. You MUST do the things you want to do in life. Travel. Fly a plane. Learn a language. Drink the good wine. Wear your special occasion clothes. It's Wednesday and you're alive. That's special enough.

    6 years later: I love the version of life I have created for myself.
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      Apr 29 2011: Dawn, I felt a little sad reading your post. Although I agree no one is going to live your life for you, and yes, life goes on when we are no longer part of it, but I would disagree that we are "completely unimportant in the grand scheme of things. WE ARE THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS....LOL. And if one lives their lives for them selfs, then yes, of course.....no one will even know you existed, cause...well....you were only living for your self. Maybe I read your post wrong. I don't blame you for quiting your job and leaving an unhealthy relationship. I have done both my self, and yes, it was the best thing ever!! But you can live for other people without being "obligated". I think when you truly love someone, obligation is a very small part of the relationship. And what better joy than to truly love someone.
      I do agree with you about every day is a gift and life must be lived. But I think the reason so many grandma's are loved is because they live their life for so many others. And who ever forgets a good grandma?? I would also hope to guess that this past 6 years of life you created for yourself has had a meaningful part in someone else's life, even if you don't think so. Cheers, Jim
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        Apr 30 2011: I must not be communicating effectively (or I'm wrong!).

        It is possible to live ones life for others to the point that it is a joyless existence. This is not the "grandmotherly" way of giving. It's an unhealthy way of living that will cause your body to turn on itself, creating a different exit for you.

        I think this putting self last way of living is a pitfall more common in women and particularly mothers.

        If we forget how precious we are, we don't honor our own gift of life. This self-last way of living can actually be an overinflated vision of self. We are not so critical to any aspect of this planet that it cannot do without us. For me, it was a mistake to live as if I was, to the point of neglecting self.

        Europe is filled with churches containing graves from many hundreds of years ago. There are catacombs filled with countless skulls arranged in decorative patterns. Each belonged to a person that lived and loved and worked and cried and laughed and had beautiful, full lives.

        In that sense, we pass and the self that was is no longer. Our skull can be arranged as art and those who loved us have been gone for hundreds of years themselves. As important as it is to remember that each skull was someones precious child, it is equally important to remember that, in the end, the memory of all but a very few is forgotten within a few generations.

        I did not mean that our loving acts are unimportant (especially grandmas)! But to live a life based on an obligatory perception of what I "ought to" do is not really a loving act.

        Modeling a healthy relationship, a happy family, and a balanced life for my sons has to be better than modeling a female life as one of joyless duty.

        Yes, we all are meaningful in others lives. Death is a starling solitary experience. I was speaking to the lesson of that for me.

        I'm not sure this ineloquent explanation is any better, but I think this is my best! My experience may not translate into something useful for anyone else!
        • May 17 2011: Dawn, I know exactly what you mean by "nothing matters." I experienced the same thing when I nearly died, and to me also it was a wonderful, joyful and liberating experience. What it meant to me was that life is infinite, there are infinite do-overs, and that liberation from obligation, ironically, helped me to find life for the first time, really. This first-hand experience of "nothing matters," far from leading me toward despondence, inspired me to live a full life of love.

          I also understand that we are significant in that we are the world, that is, we are OUR worlds, and there is no absolute reason to care about what is beyond it. Yet it is pleasurable to do so.

          There seem to be two kinds of selflessness: 1. out of duty and obligation, which just seems to increase misery despite good intentions and 2) out of true generosity that gives for the joy of giving, which fills your spirit and leaves you with yet more to give.

          Thank you for sharing your story.
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        May 19 2011: Jim and Aaron, does remembering a grandma resurrects her? If not what good it does? My grandmother was a typical grandma, kind, cute etc. but i think it is just a persona, everyone simply lives for themselves, there is no such thing called selflessnes as long as we are talking about humans. I am sure my grandmother was kind to me and her family since she didnt want to live an isolated, unsocial life, I doubt that she cared about what happens after her death. I'd rather live longer than to live short and be remembered through out history. If you program yourself to feel good, satisfied when you are generous you might as well feel a joy, but it isn't really different than a masochist perception, I am not saying your perspective is wrong though neither masochists' i am just saying that, you yourself decide what is satisfying for you, if Dawn is happy with her lifesyle, if Jim is happy with remembering his grandmother, if Aaron is happy thinking that his sense of self will somehow exist for eternity then all is good, i hope you guys won't regret your thoughts when you are close to death next time. As for myself i deny any form of self programming thus any belief as much as i can. Some people might think that this is a 'sad' point of view, but i don't recall being truly sad about anything or regret anything except the flow of time It is not like i would like time to stop flowing but i would like to remain through all that change and experience it. My only regret and sadness is that i won't be able to do it. This is what a near death experience reminded me(it wasn't something i didn't know though). Life is beatiful however you live it.
    • May 22 2011: Dawn,

      I had the very same experience. When you live your life this way you are more free to love or actually to be love, which benefits everyone
  • Jun 6 2011: My most recent near death experience was when I got robbed here in South Africa, one of the robbers stuck a knife to my throat, screaming demands of which I complied (probably why im still here).Anyways one thing I can guarantee is that my life did not flash before my eyes, I was too busy calculating different methods to escape that uncomfortable situation. But there were things I thought of almost immediately( during and after they were gone) 1.) My then-current girlfriend (my ex), the stuff we talked about wanting to do in the future, places to visit,who we were gonna be 2) My mom, I could see her face as the news baraged through her defenses and lastly 3) I saw my own funeral - believe me,its one experience you dont want to have.The leasons I pulled from that experience were simple 1) Relationships are first priority, family, lovers, friends the works, who you have shapes who you are (mommy,mommy - I thought that up all by myself) 2.) The Heroes die in South Africa, this is one place where unless you know kung-fu or own a gun, shut up and hand over you wallet and the keys and finally 3) I Has to learn me some kung-fu
  • Apr 27 2011: I don't know if this counts as a near-death experience. I was 11. I had an acute case of bronchitis. It was all I could do to drag air into my lungs and shove it back out again. I was exhausted from the effort. I had no breath left for speaking. It was as if someone had poured molasses into my lungs. I remember one particularly bad night when I was struggling to breathe and my mother came into my room and sat with me. I remember the look in her eyes of helplessness. I remember wanting to tell her to go back to bed because I knew she had to work...but I didn't have the breath left to say it. I also remember being so very glad that she stayed. I was not alone. By her staying there, I knew she would take care of me.

    The lesson I learned is that sometimes, you don't have to "DO" anything to be helpful. You just have to be physically present.

    The lesson I learned is that while medicine can help the body, it can't give you peace, comfort, or love.

    I also learned how terrifying it is to feel alone or helpless and how simple it is to ease that feeling in another.
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      May 2 2011: It may not count as a near death experience but it definitely counts. I hope I never forget what I just learned from you.
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    Apr 24 2011: 1) I realized I could die without really living my own life.
    2) Being alone is NOT the scariest thing.
    3) I realized that you can tell a lot about yourself when you are really are in a crisis (Its sort of like squeezing a sponge- you see what is really inside it when the pressure is on) and I learned that I kind of liked me.
  • Jun 3 2011: Chased by a wild elephant in a remote rain forest in Thailand. The things i learnt:
    1) Always travel with someone who runs slower than you.
    2) Elephants can run through forests as fast as the open.
    3) Always wear fresh underwear.
  • Jun 3 2011: Fell 8 meters and opened my skull on a rock, coma for 8 days. 1) Life is short 2) Friends are epic 3) The mind is an amazing healer.
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    May 16 2011: Hi Vlad...thanks for the question:>)

    21 years ago, I sustained a head/brain injury while horseback riding. After the injury and craniotomy, the body hovered between life and death for two days...I was not expected to live. In that time, the energy/soul/spirit left the body. When the energy came back into the body, it stabalized clinically, and I regained consciousness 10 days later. Once I lived, the medical prognosis was that I would never function "normally" again. Much later, as I explored this experience, which did not fit into my belief system at the time, I obtained medical records, visited ICU, and did quite a bit of research on NDEs to try to put my experience in some known context. Although it is a common belief and occurence in many cultures, western culture seems to have disconnected from the belief.

    I learned:
    1. I am everything and nothing...one tiny part of the whole universe.
    2. The energy that is the core of my being lives on when the body dies, and I have experienced reincarnation. (This was not part of my human belief system prior to the experience)
    3. Every moment on this earth school is precious, and offers an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve. We continually influence each other as we serve as mirrors for each other reflecting information back and forth. Each and every person, situation, thought, feeling, idea and opinion is important, providing information and opportunities to make choices in the way we live our lives.
    (While I have always percieved myself as an explorer on this earth school, the NDE and subsequent lessons reinforced and intensified the belief that we are all teachers and students)
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      May 18 2011: Dear Colleen. Wonderful comment and so close to what the ancient knowledge of reincarnation tells us. You might enjoy reading an essay on Death and Reincarnation which mirrors your experience. http://www.nariphaltan.org/death.pdf

      May God bless you. Anil
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        May 18 2011: Hello Anil,
        Thank you for providing the link for the essay, and other information. I enjoyed reading the essay, and connect with most of the information. I feel very connected with ancient cultures, and sometimes feel like a stranger in this earth school. However, I also know I am here for a reason:>)
  • Jul 5 2011: In 1994 I lived on the third story of an apartment building. I woke to the sound of a smoke detector. I went to the door and looked out my peephole. I couldn't see a thing. I felt the door. It was warm. I called 911 and they said that help was on the way. I went back to my door. I heard fire roaring up the stairwell. I felt the door again and it was hot to the touch. I knew I should not open the door. It was very difficult thing not to panic in that moment. I came close to freaking out completely, and then I felt a calming presence wrap itself around me. It was something that did not come from within me. I went to a window so I could get some fresh air. While I was waiting for the fire department to arrive I decided to grab a couple of things. Smoke had completely filled my apartment. I took a deep breath and ducked into my apartment. While trying to find my glasses I took a breath and got a lung full of smoke. I came extremely close to passing out. It felt like I was breathing in a feather pillow. I remember fighting with every fiber of my being not to pass out. I went back to the window and stayed there. My apartment started to get hot so I sat on the windowsill. Soon I felt my back getting hot. I climbed out my window and hung from it with my arms on the inside and my armpits on the windowsill. I felt one of my arms getting hot. I started hanging from the windowsill by my hands. After an eternity I felt white hot pain in both of my hands and shooting up my arms. The people on the ground were yelling at me to hang on because the fire department had arrived. I knew that I would not be able to hold on until they got to me. I decided to let go. I knew I was going to die (I didn't think it I knew it). I thought "OK God here I come" and let go. It was the most peaceful moment of my life. I fell three stories to the concrete below. I learned that I am not afraid of death, that something other than me was present, and that time is perception (time dilatation).
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      Jul 18 2011: WOW Erin! I feel lucky I was immediately knocked unconscious!
      • Jul 18 2011: That is lucky, if you could call anything about being in a situation like that lucky. My first thought upon landing (after a couple of bounces, surprised to find that we humans bounce) was, "Oh God I'm alive!" That was quickly followed with the much less grateful, "Ah $*** I'm awake!" Then I got to see my apartment flashover and watch everything I owned explode. That was kind of cool actually, though I was a bit annoyed because I had spent that afternoon cleaning. :-) Funny what goes through your head sometimes...
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          Jul 18 2011: Hi Erin,
          It IS funny what goes through the head sometimes...in hindsight! Although I was unconscious, and apparently not aware of my predicament at that point, they tell me that as they were loading me into the ambulance, I kept saying..."take me home...I don't have time for this...I have company coming for dinner".....LOL:>)

          Well, it's good your apartment was clean when it exploded. And I guess my expected company found somewhere else to eat that evening:>)
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    Jun 2 2011: A few months ago, I was diagnosed with a malignant spinal tumor; I had severe back pain for quite a few weeks prior, and I needed to get it checked out, though I never thought it would be symptomatic of something like a tumor. After four surgeries and an extensive interferon treatment, I am finally out of that hole, but I learnt much from the experience.

    Before the final surgery and the interferon, I was told that I had a 55% survival chance. Though it's not quite near-death, there wasn't a moment that passed without me worrying. I'm only 14... and the idea of all my dreams being crushed was unbearable. However, I did learn many things from the time I had, sitting with needles in my arms 24 hours every day. I suppose the top three things would be:

    1) The world is beautiful.
    2) Life is a gift- don't put it to waste.
    3) Don't ever not do something just because of fear.

    Before my health problems, I was a piercing pessimist; I was extremely cynical, did not trust many, and could not think positively often. However, sitting in a hospital bed and looking out the window changed that. Here I was, unable to move freely, unable to talk to my friends, unable to do what I love... and looking out the window and seeing so many happy people in the world showed me that there was no point in my pessimism. All of us are given a certain amount of years to experience whatever we want in this world; and criticizing everyone and everything only put that gift to waste. After I was let off the treatments, I went home smiling the entire way. I now try to keep a smile on my face every hour of every day, and be as friendly and adventurous as I can.

    It has worked wonders.
  • May 19 2011: My NDE was very different from many people's as I was aware it was possible it was going to happen and how, and the people I told were just doing their job thinking I was delusional. I was in a hospital, and the staff seemed distinctly barren of compassion or belief before it did occur. I knew they were over dosing me on medication and the next amount they had planned to give me was lethal and if I didn't continue to do what they asked, which I had been anyway, they told me they would force me to take it. So that day I reached out and essentially said goodbye to those I could that have had an impact on my heart and soul, and those who were unavailable, unreachable or distant I sent my heart out to in gratitude and for any healing we may need, currently or after my passing. Forgave the people around me, and those who were currently harming me, and made peace with my life I had lived and realized I had learned much and knew nothing; Loved greatly and was completely alone and in this I was ok and did not feel nearly as alone as I had in broken relationships with people I had expected love in return from, I had lived to help others effectively and ineffectively and each experience had been a blessing. I knew the people who had anger, hurt, or hatred towards me, did so out of ego & lack of self recognition, I was grateful I had been much stronger than my previous adversities had been, even when I saw myself as weak in the moment. I saw that my body though very strong, and healthy most of my life was extremely fragile under certain conditions, I found that even in my inability to defend myself with an authority I was relentless for justice for myself and others. That night as I took the dose of medications I knew that no matter what happened next as my heart slowed and my breathing became shallow, and my mind dimmed I had fulfilled a great deal of my "bucket list" in life and was wondering what things would be awaiting me, if any, as I took my last breath, & I knew I AM
    • May 26 2011: Beautiful. Thank you.
      ". . . Learned much and knew nothing; Loved greatly and was completely alone. . ."
  • Apr 30 2011: I woke up after being hit as a pedestrian by a large motorbike at speed, incased in a C.T machine. At twenty one years of age I had not been living a particularly spiritual or 'conscious' life, in fact I can safely say my existence had erred on the side of hedonism; however, the first thing I remember was being aware that a prayer learnt by rote in childhood was looping in my subconscious, as if on repeat...'our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name; your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil...amen.’
    Why? I cannot say for sure, but the feeling is I had touched the divine, and perhaps those words were the only way my human brain could process it. It is true that as time goes on the enormity of what I felt fades. Afterwards I was frustrated, where was the great truth I had learn? What was the great lesson? I can give no pithy phrase to sum it all up, but I believe that the trajectory of my life changed in some indefinable way.
  • Apr 27 2011: I lost power over the SFO bay at only 1000 feet MSL and didnt have time to think about anything except to line the aircraft up as close as possible to the bay bridge and then land into the wind. The only thing I do remember was the second before impacting with the water and realizing that I might not survive this. The next event was when the airplane flooded with water in a matter of 3 seconds and I had to take my last breath. At that point in time is when I had a very distinct and crystal clear vision of my 8 year old son sitting up in his bed and looking up at me as if I was up in the sky. I then became aware or calm enough to feel very carefully for my seat-belt buckle and the door handle knowing where it was in relation to the arm rest and successfully opening it. I truly believe the vision keep me from panicking. To this very day I feel the most important priority I have is to spend as much time as possible with my children.
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    Apr 27 2011: I had a prolonged heart attack that came in waves. At first I thought it was a headache. The pain grew worse with each wave until it was so great I was tempted to "let go" -- to die -- to escape the excruciating pain that would not end.

    My father died of a heart attack. He was playing golf but pretty much alone when it happened. So I always wondered what he went through. When the pain of my own heart attack was at its worst, I remember thinking, "now you know". That's the first thing I learned; what my father went through when he died.

    As I considered the irreversable decision to die, it dawned on me that, if I had the ability to choose, all was not lost and I should hang on. The motivation to continue was the intense feeling that I wasn't ready. I kept thinking, "wait -- I'm not finished yet, there's so much more...". Later I had to think about what that meant and refocus my life to do the things that might let me feel that I hadn't wasted my time here. That's the second thing I learned; that a lot of trivial things had accumulated and displaced the important ones.

    About a year before my heart attack, my wife survived a burst brain aneurysm; something few people survive. For several years after that and the heart attack, we both felt reborn. It completely revitalized our marriage with intense emotional energy. That shared experience is still a strong bond.

    The third thing I learned is that the effect of the gift fades over time. That gift was handed to us and it had a life-changing effect but in a way it was too easy. As the renewal fades, it's up to us to find ways to keep it alive. In a nutshell, don't waste the gift of life.
  • Jul 16 2011: In reading all your comments, I realised that I had a near death experience. Although no "physical" harm came to me, meaning that I wasn't in a coma or seriously injured, I guess that being raped at gunpoint at 15 can be considered a near death experience. Like some of you, I had no epiphany. Perhaps that is why I never thought of it as a NDE. Nevertheless, I felt like I was outside of my body observing the 'incident'. I can say though that I learned that I am a much stronger and resilient person that I would have ever imagined.
    Going through your posts reminded me of that. Thank you. :-)
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      Jul 18 2011: Dear Sara,
      I'm so sorry you had to learn about your strength in that way. You were physically harmed and injured, and it must have been a horrible, frightening experience. What you experienced may be disassociation. We leave the body and disassociate from the trauma we are experiencing. I appreciate you sharing your story, and I hope you are well.
      Colleen
  • Jun 13 2011: a friend of mine, my roommate and i were all held at duel gunpoint, and at one point they had loaded and cocked the gun right in front of us and put it to my friend's head and almost pulled the trigger but luckily she threw all she had at them at the last minute.

    i learned that death was a very real thing. of course i've always known it existed, but death, especially violent death, now hits me harder than it ever has.

    i learned that my mom was right, the murders do come out after midnight, haha. but no, in all seriousness i did learn that the world isn't what i thought it was. this was right after i had gotten my first apartment and i was growing up very fast.

    and then the most important thing i learned. right after it all happened, as soon as they left i thought to call my mom. and then i realized no matter what i say to her, or do, or anything at this point, it would not change what had just happened. i had never been so completely out of control of what was happening to me. that's a scary feeling, especially for the first time. that no matter what you do, nothing will fix or help or change what just happened. and i learned sometimes, that's just the way life is.

    learned a lot of rough lessons that night.
  • Jun 6 2011: Ah yes, ok - hear me out first - I watched Ric's talk yesterday. He's a good speaker, good for him - he learnt 3 things, I'm still wondering why he actually got to speak at TED though as the concept of life rushing before your eyes has been pushed by Hollywood for decades, nevertheless his story made people happy and maybe take note - so that is indeed great. I noticed he was a 'CEO' (basically he opened a company) so he's a leader, has confidence and knows how to talk to people, but not only this I want to know why it was HE who got to speak? He asked to, or was asked to by TED? He has contacts etc? There were many others in the plane, but I guess that's beside the point.

    What is a near death experience? Depends who you are and what your mind is like right? I have seen people go into hysterics over a spider, compared to others being calm in a 5 car pile up. How can you be sure you would have died if 'x' happened? In fact I know I have been in a near death experience several times, one including that car crash I mentioned - where two women were actually stretchered off in ambulances. And yes the last few seconds before impact went into slow motion for me - but maybe I am quite blaze (blazay) about these things as I know how easy it is to die. It could be a matter of inches between life and death, you don't have to be in a big event like a plane crash and become a celebrity because of it. I honestly think the hardest thing is dealing with a terminal illness - those who have/are - you have my utmost respect!

    I will say here I learnt the same thing as everyone else - family and the important things in life etc, but do I retain this each and everyday, honestly? no I don't - it does lapse from time to time. But past events have made me much more philosophical - and I feel great!
  • Jun 6 2011: The great news is that the heart (the emotional one) is ALWAYS able to mend, regardless of how we feel about it and whether we understand that or not. I too am a survivor of this condition of just over a year ago. In a separate event I had a physical near-death experience, and the sensation I had during those moments when I thought I was nearly dead was an amazingly complete and unemotional acceptance of EVERYTHING, including the process of dying itself. Interestingly, I think there is a parallel between the two. if I had applied a greater level of acceptance during the first one I could have avoided so much pain in that loss. This is a single lesson I learned that applies with multiplicity.
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      Jun 6 2011: " if I had applied a greater level of acceptance during the first one I could have avoided so much pain in that loss."

      That is pretty profound Andre, and after much pain I found it to be true as well.
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    Jun 6 2011: i spent 3years with a broken heart, with no will to live. so i guess it is a near-death experience.
    and i learned that it all ends up in how you make others feel, how do others make you feel, how it feels to make such actions.
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      Jun 6 2011: I think many people underestimate the living death that a broken heart can cause.
      I'm glad yours is mending.
    • Jun 6 2011: You've a strong heart. 3 years is a long time but obviously you became a better, stronger, not so vulnerable & a much more sensitive person from your experience.
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    Jun 5 2011: 1. Respect for life and death.
    2. A true appreciation for personal relationships.
    3. Inner Peace. To be able to sit in silence.
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    Jun 5 2011: I walked around for 10 months with a disease that kills approximately 65% of people wyho develop it within 5 months. By the time I sought medical attention (i.e. could not breathe, had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance), I was beginning to go into renal failure. Yeah. I thought I had flue, a cold, incipient rhumatism, this and that, so treated myself with over-the-counter drugs. My doctor, when he gave me his opinion of what I had (Wegener's granulomatosis, now called GPA or Granulomatosis with something- "...a rose by any other name...", eh?!), he noted I would be dead (not MIGHT be or COULD be) within two years. Did I have a traditional "light at the end of the tunnel" experience. No. What I had was a realization I was a dead man my doctors wer about to try to revive through drugs (Cytoxan and Prednisone) and an experimental procedure involving dialysis and phlasmapheresis. This was in December 2003-January 2004, so, clearly, it worked. What did I learn from the experience, in no partuicular order?

    1. That family and friends are more important than everything else in this world.

    2. That I can die, though I'd spent a life in denial of that basic biological fact.

    3. "Yes" or "no" answer most questions adequately well enough to let you move on to the next question. I used to waste lots of time worrrying out answers. Oftentimes I stumbled because I didn't ask the right question.
  • Jun 4 2011: I almost drowned in a pool when my friend dragged me to the deep end of the pool not knowing that I could not swim well. I swallowed so much water in the pool and was submerged in water each time my friend pushed me down while trying to go above water herself leaving me with a near death experience. I didn't know how to panic then and a thought came to me saying "this is it"? but I managed to struggle myself and survived. Ever since, I had phobia of swimming up till now. I learned a lesson that life can end anytime without your expectation. So, live life well whenever possible and love life and people. Peace to the world. Stop wars.
  • Jun 3 2011: After coding twice in the space of an hour; on 7-14-77, I learned three things: 1) The ineffable experience of feeling total bliss and oneness with...well...ALL, may well have been a neural/physical process of the brain and NOTHING else; 2) Life is at best, uncertain, and not even our next breath is guaranteed; 3) To live authentically, live fully and die well. Cause, we just don't know if we get to do it over again...maybe we will and maybe we won't. Peace!
  • Jun 2 2011: I was doing my studies in Belgium and was once invited for a birthday party quite far from my town. My friends and I were in 2 cars. I was in the second one, right behind the other at 140 km/h on the motorway. I must add that I was in front, in the passenger seat, rolling some herbs which are legal in Holland.
    Out of nowhere, smoke start coming out of the car in front and I just have enough time to notice a spark and heard a 'gun-like' shot. The next thing I remember is me breathing in GLASS. The reflex of rolling myself into a ball came afterwards. I did not saw any light or anything. I was just happy to be alive but still I could not figure out what happen, I was a state of shock for the next 5 to 6 hours. I forgot to add that the projectile from the other car came knocking the windscreen and seriously damaged it, to such an extent that passenger's side was blinded. The car in front was K.O.
    I am someone of indian descent and my skin's color is rather brown. My friends told that I was white that very night.
    I've learned to stay at a reasonable distance from vehicles in front of mine on the highway. Secondly life is short, it can go away in a jiffy, so well preserve it ,stay clean, be more responsible and always be on your guard cause dangers are all over however remember not to make it an obsession cause after all life is all about living(and certainly not at a high pace). These are words I often say to myself since.lol.
  • Jun 2 2011: In 2004 I received an electric shock. First thing that came to mind was so this is how I'm to die. 3 things I learned. Durations of Time are meaningless when something "big" happens to you. Time just stops. Second thing. That the human body can withstand a lot. Third thing. That there is something beautiful in focusing on the now - Not what I had for breakfast, not work, nothing. All that I had in my head at that time was the actual moment. Here we are the electrical current and I.
    In hindsight it was one of the most insightful moments of my life. I learned a great deal about myself.
  • Jun 2 2011: In 2001 I was on a solo concert tour in Texas and I had a bizarre and life-changing experience. Waking up at a friend's house after she and her daughter had left for work and school respectively, I found that I didn't feel well. Gradually, I lost language capacity, going through a phase of aphasia on the way (in which the wrong words came out of my mouth, completely unassociated with the concept I was trying to communicate — i.e. I pointed at a chair and said 'wedding'). My arms went numb for 20 minute intervals, and I became nauseous. In the emergency room I lost consciousness completely, and I remember vividly the sensation that my intellect, my mind, was receding. I had an almost three-dimensional experience of it as a ball of energy slowly moving away from me in a dark space. I was at peace, and watched it go. Only later, upon reflection, did it occur to me that 'I' did not reside in my intellect. It was the most tangible and clear experience of the existence of my own soul, spirit, essential being or whatever terminology one prefers, that I could imagine.

    The other powerful realization to come out of the experience was that it had been my hands and my words that had been taken from me, then hours later, returned. As a professional singer/songwriter and guitarist, my hands and my words are my primary tools. My sense of God doesn't allow for that kind of machination, and that's not exactly how I attribute this, but I couldn't help but have the sense that I was being reminded of the significance of being given these tools—hands and words. I felt as though I was being told "Now I have given these back to you. What do you intend to do with them?"

    The ER doctor, incidentally, diagnosed the episode as a "complex migraine." A migraine, it turns out, is not a headache, but a spasm of blood vessels in the brain. A complex migraine presents stroke-like symptoms.
    • Jun 2 2011: Well well well. I'm not doubting your integrity but would like to know the drug you were on before the trauma, please. Creative people are rarely good if out of drugs...my personal prejudice and opinion.
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    Jun 1 2011: During a near-drowning episode in San Diego: 1. Rip tides are strong. 2. When it is time to die, all fear will leave me; so why bother worrying about it until then? and 3. (in the 24 hours that followed) Never take a sedative and a laxative at the same time.
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    Jun 1 2011: I had a near drowning experience about 15 years ago. I was body surfing off a beach in Nova Scotia just after a hurricane and the waves were spectacular. I went out too far and was caught in a rip tide. Struggling to swim ashore against the tide I became totally exhausted. I said to myself "shit, you really f***ed-up this time; you're going to die out here".
    My focus became very small - just the sea around me, and I started to become very calm. I am ashamed to say that my thoughts were completely centered around my own existence in the water- I had two young children on the beach with my brother and a wife at home. With the calmness, my ability to think became much clearer. Instead of fighting the current, I started to relax, save energy and let my muscles regain some strength. I started to swim parallel to the beach until the current seem to lessen. I finally washed up on shore about 3/4 of a mile down the beach on some rocks. The joy at being alive, on land and re-connected to life was incredibly powerful, but it started to fade in several days.
    What did I learn?
    1 - fearlessness is not the absence of fear or conquering fear, but accepting your fear and acting anyway.
    2 - ego makes your world very small and isolated; it is a very lonely state.
    3 - our connection to life and to others needs work - never take it for granted. Our connectedness on an experiential level (not a virtual level), is assumed, but not always experienced - it is appreciated less then our so-called reality.
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    Jun 1 2011: In 1976, my appendix ruptured and the green bile was in my system for almost 2 weeks, by the time I was operated on. My body had turned green, as were the whites of my eyes and my joints were red, stiff and swollen.
    I died….woke up inside a coliseum, ancient roman-style.
    Everyone was in dark shrouds all around me, praying in a foreign-language….as was I, and I knew the language. It was not Latin, which I had some education on, but similar.
    My life was passing before my eyes and I was ‘praying’ for forgiveness with my head down, as was everyone else in the coliseum. (I was using another form of vision that did not include my physical eyes).
    In the center, was a large ‘stone?’-style chair/throne with a being of light sitting in it, and on either side, two more beings of light were in smaller chairs.
    All around the elliptical center, were I believe 24 beings of light standing.
    Then started the people like me, praying, but all were turned toward that center in worship and prayer.
    I was about 40 rows back or so, in this extremely large structure, so that there were many behind me.
    All of a sudden, it was as if it were my turn, or I was done lamenting/praying over my ‘unworthiness’ and that central ‘God’ looked directly into my heart and at me.
    I was instantly ‘fused’ into that being. I had my separate consciousness point, but I still had some sort of ‘being’ that was filled with this love and infusion of light, singing into every cell of my being that I was so completely loved. ‘All of me’ was completely loved and I was like an embryo in this being/God being fed and loved and nourished with the music of life.
    When God loved me like that, and the entire heavenly host’s were so happy to have me…..it was the most amazing feeling I have ever had before or since.
    ‘I was loved’…’every cell of my being was loved’. It was amazing.
    Soon I found myself walking in a garden with a ‘Jesus’ at my right side.
    The garden was all lit up on the inside and profusely emanating color
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    Tero -

    • +1
    May 30 2011: I was in a near death experience in the army. It wasn't a matter of millimetres or fractions of seconds, but there was definitely a threat to my life. During the incident, I just felt my hole body and mind hoping to prevent the situation and luckily, I managed to do so. Right after, I had to continue with the military practice so I obviously didn't have much time to stand there and think, but.. afterwards, I had this strong feeling of how instantly you can be swept off this planet. A feeling of perhaps respect to that factor, and a deeper understanding that life must be respected. (to our knowledge, you only have one).
    Additionally, it reinforced my ideas that war and killing in the name of war are dread-some and horrible affairs. I luckily only had to do my service as a conscript and mainly my activities were safe.
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    May 30 2011: Nice question though, and more relavant to those who are living in over populated country like India. to most of people here, In India, Accidents are very common phenomenon. People die because of accidents too often, and I think accidents kill more people than tobacco! that sound strange, but unfortunately its true. We are still trying to develop driving manners among people, but it will take next 50 years, and surely I will be gone till then. I have been into nearly death experience 2 times! and Believe me, I saw it coming, but I am happy to be alive here, though I am a very very safe driver, but you never know, there are lots of drunk people around, who just don't care about others lives and why would they, when something is in abundance, it loses its importance. Same is with India, where human life is of least importance for government than the so called growth. well I have learned few things, which I would like to share:

    1. No worry is bigger if you are alive, speically in India.
    2. Live for a cause, if you see death very closer, you will feel happy about moments spend on earth.
    3. If living in India, have an insurance premium half of your salary.

    and more importantly, keep your any close one involved in the cause, you were living, to take it forward!
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    May 29 2011: There have been a few occasions in my life where I was very close to death and what I felt in those moments was just how meaningless materialism really is. We are so blinded by what we think we have, the media, politics, and what not. When you experience a taste of death though, you forget about it all so fast that it's almost like it never existed in the first place lol. After that, if you are lucky enough to come back, you tend to see life in a very different light.
  • May 28 2011: PART 2>>>>

    but i was still too young to understand my luck, to understand i must have an angel on my shoulders or somehting. but then in grade 11, i went on vacation to British Columbia, to Columbia lake. me and my older brother nick and his friend had to share a golf cart when we went golfing, it was a 2 seater golf cart, so i was driving it, and nick was handling the gas. baddd idea. so on the 7th hole i think it was, he stepped on the gas as i was going down a small hill, then i turned to the right but the momentum was going down. the cart tipped over, i fell out the one door and the carts roof, about an inch thick, came crashign down on my back, my lower back. then he landed on my from inside the golf cart, luckily his friend was able to hop out safely, and nick was uninjured. i however was in immense pain as i stood up from the ground, my back hurt like hell. but me being stupid i finished my game of golf instead of saying lets go to the doctor, i did better in my 2nd half of the game becaus emy posture was so perfect, i couldnt bend over or anything. to this day i havent seen a doctor about it, although i should. my back could be cracked, it could have been broken, i could have became a paraplegic, my whole life could have ended at the age of 16...thats when life hit me

    thats when i realized how lucky i actually i am, and there are way more than 3 things you learn from something like finally realizing that you could have died. your whole life changes, i have some quotes i have written since i almost broke my back, many many many many quotes, on life, love, death, many differant things. i plan on writing a book about all my quotes, and others quotes who have helped me.

    (my quotes are on a differant computer)this is one of my favourite quotes:
    “To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing." dunno.....LIVE YOUR LIFE TO THE FULLEST
  • May 28 2011: I nearly died twice in my life, the first time was when I crashed my car into a small tree, about a mile away from my house in Connecticut. I was on the way home from a night out in NYC. To be honest, I was quite intoxicated. My car hit the tree head on, going about 60mph around a sharp curve. I came to and noticed that my car engine was engulfed in flames. The doors of my car wouldn't open and the windows would roll down. The next thing I remember, is that I was outside of the car, screaming for help. Luckily an old couple heard the ccrash and my sibsequent screaming. I, still to this dya, cannot tell you how I escaped from my car, later to find out that my car actually blew up as a result of the fire in my engine. If I would have not crashed into that tree, I would went straight into a lake. It just so happens, that the tiny tree I crashed into wasa black walnit tree, which has the strongest bark in the world.

    Ill also say that, my ignorance at the time and my feeling of being invincible, could not let me understand the magnitude of this event. I felt thankful for about a week after the accident and then it slowly faded away. If I can say any 3 things I've learned from my near death experience, it would be this...

    1. There is an order, a so to speak plan, as to why things unfold the way they do in this universe. I can say that maybe that tree was planted there and waiting for me my whole life.

    2. I can say that "God" has many times, tried to slap me in the face with signs to let me know that I am meant to do something great in this life and to get clean and sober and respond to my true calling. For I don't need drugs or alcohol to supplement what I can have by having a higher connection to the universe. So I like to think of it as, there are no warnings, only signs...

    3. Lastly, all I can say, is that our journey, in this life,but of surprises. Life is not meant for you to know what is going to happen. It is an unexpected adventure, at best....
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    May 27 2011: I nearly died from bone marrow infection when I was 7 and I nearly drowned twice later in my life while windsurfing.

    What I learned about life is this:
    1. Live your life so you have no regrets when you die.
    2. Everything is relative and almost everyone dies alone and unexpected so don't plan to far ahead.
    3. You are capable of anything.

    What I learned about dying is:
    1. Dying is a surprisingly logical and anticlimactic experience. You just go... "So that's it. That's how I go? How disappointing"
    2. Dying can't quell the human inquisitive mind. Each time there was always something I wanted to ask or know before the end.
    3. Dying is a very relaxing and peaceful experience. It's fighting for life that's stressful and traumatic.

    Oh yeah one more thing.
    It's better to die concious than to be sedated or in a fever delirium. After all it's the last thing you get to experience.
  • May 27 2011: I was held up at gunpoint, beaten and robbed about a year ago. This is what I learnt...

    1. There is power in prayer!
    2. No matter the situation, keep calm!
    3. If you think you're invincible, be stupid enough to try it!
  • May 26 2011: I nearly died while driving on a major highway. In an effort to avoid an accident from a car that nearly hit me from behind, I cut my wheel hard to the right to swerve out of the way. While I avoided getting hit, my two left wheels came off the ground and my car proceeded to rock back and forth nearly tipping over at 75 mph.

    I learned that:

    1) You don't get to choose when or how you die. I was 19 when this happened and everything could have ended then.

    2) A car with good safety features is worth having. Fear shouldn't control all of your decisions but it should inspire you to at least be prepared where it counts.

    3) I'm lucky to have good reflexes. The car caught the corner of my eye and I barely dodged it; thanks Genetics.

    Life is a strange thing; we don't know why we're here or what we're supposed to do, but something inspires us to make the most of it.
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    May 26 2011: 1.Life Is short and these human body's are less indestructible then we'd like to believe.2.I gotta stop wasting time watching any TV or investing time into distractions, and jump on my path to helping others and myself evolve.3. God Is PURE Conscienceness. 4.I have some pretty Ninja reflexes :Dmore times then one, cars and snowboarding mostly
  • May 25 2011: I had a cerebral haemmorhage and stroke following the rupture of two cerebral aneurysms nearly 5 years ago.What did I learn?1. Never accept traditional limitations imposed by your neurosurgeon - your brain is so plastic it is wondrous to behold.2. Life is short3. This dancefloor is massive so spin and dance to your hearts content
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    Jon Yeo

    • +1
    May 25 2011: 1. I am not afraid of death
    2. I am not afraid of life
    3. Im not done yet and commit fully each day to achieving my dreams.

    It took 10 years to realise my experience was even what people call an NDE. It took another 10 to realise above and how much time I had wasted in the mean time
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    May 23 2011: I went through a near death experience, and had much success in ending the crisis, with life and with excellent survival, without sequelae. I think the near-death experience, what I call a near-life experience, but do you see his whole life before your eyes in seconds, because your adrenaline is high, you recognize the danger. In fact, you change a lot since then, the effects of facing death in a definitive manner make you turn to the most essential things in his life. What would you do in the next 24 hours if he knew that the end of that range, you would die? This is one thing, but face it: what would you do now, if he knew he would die in less than a minute? Divinely complicated spectacularly creative, if you live out of that.
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    May 22 2011: 1) I've understood that I went thorugh the worst moment of my life and that all the best is ahead, because sometimes we need a strong event to understand how fortunate we are

    2) My family is there for me, was always there for me and will always be there for me. They are my angels that inspire and guard me, they are the people that will always be there, everyone else comes and goes (I had anaphilaxis and if it were not for my brother, I would not be writing this very message)

    3) Sound banal, but it made me understand how much I love life... it made me enhance the love of learning, love of the art that is life... living it every day as if it were the last, so that when I look back one day, I smile to all that I've done...
  • May 17 2011: I learned the importance of no resistance but flowing resting in the rythm of breathing. It is just a shift. Somehow there's a free will instant: to live or to die, very subtle. It is like getting a degree on mistery, but full of silence, celebration and wholeness. There's no separation among anything, all is ONE, my spark is just a tiny particle of that infinite space. It is not like swiming; it is floating, surfing waves without efforts.... and then the ocean. Peace in and peace out. Very important: being surrounded by love. It makes the experience a soft memory. Coming back is a little shocky, specially due to electromagnetic fields.

    Now I know I am big and small at the same time, that I am linked to all and alone at the same time. That I am not special but loved. That thing called creation is infinite unconditional love. Maybe that's why we use to say "rest in peace". It IS that, exactly.

    Just let the creator do through breathing. And trust with absolut confidence. It is just a shift through different stages. There's nothing to fear about. Even darkness is so whole, so soft, like touching silk.

    If there's a reason why I am here, I don't need to know it. I don't have any idea. I just feel life in and out, and rejoice and celebrate every moment in the eternal present tense.
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    May 17 2011: My near death experience is just that - near death - being there to support people who are dying. I have found myself in this situation thinking how sad it is that some people have no one to be with them during this time. What have I learned, well 1) make time and space for people in your life, 2) you can be brave enough to prepare for death, 3) nobody promised you a tomorrow - so value today.
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      May 17 2011: Jacqueline, Thank you for a very distinct and important perspective.
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    May 16 2011: Well ... only 3?... let me see...
    - When I was 17, Almost die after being hit by a car when crossing a street with my friends on a fryday night. The guy was drunk and mad, and I was lucky enough to fly by the air and crash against the floor with little injuries, I broke the car windshield with my back in the process and the car just ran away after that. Crazy accident just for being at the wrong place at the wrong moment. But I survived to tell the story and thank God every day for my legs. (But He had a surprise for me).
    - When I was 20, Almost die after hitting a rock with my head, with no helmet, in a very dangerous river while trying rafting without previous training... that was my time of extreme sports experiments in Colombia. And for sure, that was a stupid one. Just on time to aware my partners to NOT do the same. We made other tries in different sports, many successful ones ... that was a great time in my life. Some years of quick business, action and fun.
    - On 2000, working as an engineer, I almost die after falling 6 floors by an elevator shaft (yeah! ... six floors). I fell by the hole from the rooftop of a 10 floors building, when taking a picture, but lucky enough to stop over elevator's machinery which was stopped at 5th. On this 3rd story I survived as well, but now I'm using a wheelchair and living a new life. A good one!... more chanllenges but also more rewards, more problems bu also a more meaningful life. No regrets! ... just my second chance on earth (or maybe the 4th?...)
    Now I speak to people about leadership and motivation. and enjoy my life a lot. Yeah!... it's not easy but you have to take advantage of every moment and every day in your life, you never know when would be the last one. http://fabiopadilla.com/presentation-english/
  • May 13 2011: I never really thought that any of my experiences were "near death" until this moment: I was thrown, face first, into the windshield of a car and, while I lay on the curb, the gasoline pouring out of the car we hit did not ignite. I was hit by a car while riding my motorcycle and flew 40 feet into oncoming traffic. I was not hit again and the helmet that I wore that night (but had not the night before) had a nine-inch gash tore from the top of it. My face caught fire at a party at the beach one night - as I slapped at the flames, a dear friend grabbed my head and pulled my face into his own chest smothering the fire. I awoke one morning covered in blood and vomit - I could feel my skull through the gash in the back of my head from where I hit the edge of the dresser when I passed out. My fraternity brothers were good enough to duct tape paper towels to my head so I didn't bleed on the floor.

    What I have learned - here, right now, 25 or 30 years later - is that 1) There is no guarantee that I will be here tomorrow, so I must live today, 2) Life is fragile and needs to be nurtured and protected from carelessness, and 3) I will never exceed the limits I set for myself.

    My grandfather, who, in his own time and way, had escaped death many times, had a saying that he often repeated: "If you're meant to be shot, you'll never be hung." I always took that to mean that there is no way of knowing our end but that it is coming - do not fear needlessly but, instead, live with a sense of urgency.

    Thank you for your question and for the many heartfelt responses. Enjoy your lives!
  • May 5 2011: 1) Sometimes you can't always do it by yourself, and need God to pray to.
    2) Your true friends stay with you through adversity.
    3) Sometimes with horrible things come amazing outcomes.

    My near death experience was really recently when I was diagnosed with high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia. And there was definitely times when I thought that "This was it." Me and my mom would discuss death and though we cried our eyeballs out, we came to a decision where we were totally comfortable with dying. I felt at peace and felt that if it would happen it would happen. And that's when all your future and aspirations come crashing down.
    It was like someone pulling off a long bandaid off your skin because the feeling of invincibility you have as a teenager was just being ripped away.
    It showed me that time is the most precious thing you have. And I had to rely on prayer and trusting God, because I couldn't will my cells to fix themselves. It was out of my hands. I had to cry though being dropped like a bug with my "friends" and make and thank my real ones. But most of all, I had to thank God in a weird sort of way because the experience gave me new friends, a little maturity, and our family grew closer. I ended up getting a bone marrow transplant from my amazing little sister. Now we're pratically twins, bloodwise.
    So, I don't know, it sucked but it was worth it.
    That's the end of my rant... :)
  • May 5 2011: The things I realized after something that nearly killed me and the many years of recovery. While lying on a bed, waiting for surgery for two weeks, not able to move much, and was pretty much continously living with intense pain, I came to these conclusions:
    1. My life is mine. I no longer wanted to waste it living a life I didn't want. I didn't want a mediocre job with mediocre pay. I wasn't going to settle for this any longer. I wanted to spend my life on what I thought was important, not what other people thought. Other people's (negative) opinons just failed to matter any more. So I retired at 33 and worked out how I was going to make enough to live AFTER that, not before.
    2. I realized what mattered to me and what didn't. I dumped a lot of 'friends' and got on with things and people I enjoyed. I realized that life was short, and people could be taken at any time, so I made peace with my emotions (and some family), especially negative ones, and got on with life. I no longer feel the need to justify myself, for example.
    3. I realized that people should take what they have and do something with it, not just live but be alive, so I developed a life that mattered to me.

    This might seem selfish, but it isn't. More than twenty years later, I have a much fuller life and feel I am a much better person because of this.

    I also didn't have my daughter then, but do now. I suspect the same experience would have resulted in my focussing on her.

    Mortality is a serious design flaw.
  • May 4 2011: Or above as the case may be...
    This is a continuation of the NDE time dilation experience below.

    When in hospital some years later in need of multiple surgeries due to a 'mortality issue' as the doctors called it I had another set of experiences. I was in various hospital beds for five months while life and seasons rolled on outside.

    For three of those months I was in a foreign country away from friends and family (but for a few stalwart legends). In this time just before removal of my 'toxi-mega-colon' (their words) I had a potent dream. Its hard to communicate the setting to you. From what my routine had been (circus school) to what it became was stripping of all I had previously identified with. I didn't even eat meals anymore being fed through the nose, and without the distraction my mind and my spirit flourished despite my withering body.

    Perhaps you find this difficult to understand, but I really felt everything much more clrearly at times, peoples harsh spoken words around me were felt as fists on the chest, the palpability of the environment was enhanced to an amazing degree. One early morning I awoke from a dream with tears flowing down my face, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the dream I was having...

    It was a mix of image and concept, a kind of hybrid semi-unconscious perception and in it birth was a passing kiss of life... passing from lips expirant of the final breath to lips inspirant of the first, this perception was followed just shy of simultaneously with a perception of light entering darkness, which became sun rising increasingly higher over the crest of a hill, every particle of dust touched by that light inspired from that same source that first breath. I sat crying in that bed with the realest smile I think I ever smiled.

    It was more than the futility of speech can portray, it was a direct, unimagined experience full of emotion, but not particular emotion, I was smiling ear to ear, crying, utterly defeated yet held the kindom key.
    • May 22 2011: Meditation may help you to continue to have those experiences
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    Apr 27 2011: I was in an amazingly similar situation in 2007. As we tried to land I pictured my daughter, whom I was sure I'd never see again, and feared she would never forgive me for having chosen to put my life in danger by flying when I "should have been with her." I pictured my niece, who'd been born that morning -- and wondered what she would look like. I thought of my mom and once again went back to the idea that you can't understand what your parents feel for you until you have a child of your own.

    Got home -- quit a job I loved because I couldn't fly for what seemed like forever, tried changing careers and found myself back in a different way three months later. I found myself thinking about risks. The more I thought about not flying the more I realized I was living my life not to lose -- instead of playing to win. I was able to fly again and am a road warrior once more. One day I will tell my daughter what happened and walk her through what I'd decided to do and why. So to her and any anyone else I would say be careful making decisions out of fear, play to win and be gracious in loss. When you lose, don't lose the lesson. Live a whole life and be better -- be fully there -- for those around you.

    I learned a lot from that day -- it just took years to understand. And today I understood my fear wasn't of the plane coming down -- it was fear of falling down as a mother, fear of how I would be judged in the balance for my choices.

    And yes, Elias' comment that he didn't want to waste time on things that didn't matter with people who mattered rings true as a bell.
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    Apr 26 2011: My near death experience made me realize that time is all we have in this world, and it is one of the greatest gifts you have while you here, and spending it in love and peace is what it's all about. I also learned that most of the things we think are important, such as having a lot of money, or wild career, or a newest car is not something that defines you, and doesn't make you a good person. I also learned that this things I talked about should be daily repeated, because it's easy to forget them.
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    Apr 26 2011: can a ego death count? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ego_death
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    Jun 9 2011: well..., I had one ,at least i can say that,I experienced one when I had a horrible car accident 5 years ago, actually at the moment of the crash my body twisted so bad that I could hardly breath and i couldn't move my legs however, it happened that I just had a pelvic fracture and I got better in a month. The first moment was not actually that bad cause I thought I was death!!! anyways the fact that I couldn't walk and even take care of my own business for a month was the bad part. That's a great question you just asked but I have no answer for it ;( I learned ... nothing much :~ life sux
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    Jun 9 2011: Learned crying, learned sleeping disappointed, and learned how to borrow
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    Jun 7 2011: 1) Life is just a second
    2) How fragil we are
    3) Live every moment you can
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    Jun 7 2011: Question to everyone here:
    I notice that some people have a stark three point response and some write much more eloquently about the experience. My experience was so traumatic at the time and so stark that I have few words. Is it that some people have just had more time to integrate and philosophize about it or was it less traumatic?
    • Jun 8 2011: Debra - I wouldn't like to comment on how trauma is measured, but I'm sure it must be categorised by how and to what level it has manifested itself. I think the key point is the individual and how much trauma they 'allow' in, which would depend on their views, past, character etc.

      So I guess one could argue it's the level of trauma they go through in the first place, and by definition - the level of trauma directly corresponds to the level of affect, but as I said in my other post I believe trauma to be unrelated to the size of the experience - it's how the person handles it (whenever they do so - even if it's a significant time after).

      Once someone has trauma, how long they are left with it will no doubt vary significantly, but as time increases so does the chance that their answer will come to them. This time could possibly be reduced by actively searching, or with the help of friends.

      I like reading quotes, and for the last couple of weeks, I read several every morning which helps keep things in perspective, but I don't do this because of trauma, and I can say I haven't had significant trauma. I hope I never do, but it's true I often think what it might take for me to go over the edge - but I don't think anyone can know until it happens.
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    Jun 5 2011: I was choosing from among the commercials that I collected during my marketing education as excellent examples of their type for another question thread here on TED when I rediscovered this one and I thought it applied if perhaps tangentally to the topic here. I hope I am not too far off the mark:

    http://youtu.be/bZ2EKswyTao

    Sometimes art says a lot.
    Here's another to lighten your heart on such a serious topic and remind us all that love conquors all:

    http://youtu.be/VdcE0AKi_JU
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    Jun 5 2011: The closest I came to a near-death experience was when my friend was hit by a a drunk driver in front of me. (He survived the incident with a mild concussion and brushes luckily.) What I learned is 1. life can end at any moment 2. to learn like you will live forever and to live like you will die tomorrow 3. life is valuable

    Like you Vlad I am interested in this question and these answers below and have found patterns. However I need/want to do more research on more experiences from more people, before I give my opinion on what exactly it is people are experiencing during these moments.

    This conversation is valuable and everyone on TED should part-take and/or read the stories here.

    http://news.discovery.com/human/near-death-brain.html

    I found this article about why people experience what they do during near-death experiences and think it is of value here to everyone who participated and to all those who do not understand or believe in such experiences.
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    Jun 3 2011: Couple of years ago doctor mistakenly told that I probably have a liver cancer. My grandpa died of liver cancer 20 years ago and that made me quite scared. I knew that this type of cancer has no chance of recovery and has even minimum possibility to live more that 5 years. That time I was 35. The most critical idea I permanently got in my mind during those three months was : what it would be more important to do - continue everything as it goes and do my best to care on my kids future, or leave job, sell something and spend as much time as possible with kids travelling around the globe? What will be correct? Try to care on everything I am responsible to care, or get as much fun as I can?...

    After three month of consultations with different doctors, making hundreds of diagnostics, I went to Berlin clinic where has been told, that I do not have any cancer at all. But I still have not answer on those questions about what would be a mostly appropriate behavior.
  • May 28 2011: when i was 2 or 3 years old i was going down a slide, 3 teenagers came down after me and unintentionally landed on me and pushed me under the water, i almost drowned, i was so close to death, that was my fisrt memory of my whole life, having water come splashing out of my mouth in the pools medical center. i was very young so i dont remember anything else, and i was to young to understand what had happened.

    then when i was about 7 or 8, i was in grade 4 thats all i know, i was sitting watching tv and i started to have trouble breathing, my parents said if it gets worse we will take you to the doctor. it got worse. (what i was experiencing was a "croupe attack" which is basically an asthma attack but it is a 1 time thing and isnt a permanent life problem, it mainly affects children.) and so my parents decided to drive me to the hospital and on the drive i became very hot and very clausterphobic, making my breathing get heavier and making it harder to breathe aswell. last thing i rmemeber is screaming "no im too hot let me go" because me mom had a blanket wrapped around me, then i passed out in my mothers arms. obviously after that my dad who was driving didnt care to much about traffic lights. but no we ddint crash on the way to the hospital. i was lucky. the childrens hospital in calgary is alot farther than the general hospital, but my dad knew i wouldnt make it to the childrens hospital so he stopped by the general one,im lucky he did this, so i get taken into the room and they shock me back to life because my heart had actually stopped beating, i was legally dead because they didnt know exactly how long my heart had been stopped for, but i came back to life, and when i came back to life right afer they shocked me, my eyes opened for a split second, long enouph to see the light. then the light and the room came into focus, a doctor to my right and left, a nurse or 2, and a big white light right above my head. if i had gone to the childrens hospital, id be dead.
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    May 28 2011: I nearly experienced death when my bike got crashed into a roadside parked truck.I was in a hurry attending my classwork on time.I didnt even wear any protection helmet or so.That was my newly bought bike and so i'm new at riding bike.In that hurry ,on a single line state high way I tried to overtake a bus from the wrong side and unexpectedly a truck was parked over there,but,I thought I can make it and so I accelerated my bike,I know I'm attempting the worst mistake of my life till date.

    My friend brought me back to the world.I applied breaks,but they failed and I got crashed into the truck.My head got bumped into it and I got dizzy.Luckily my friend was unhurt,and the place accident took place was on the road to the medical center.That was a relief and I was so conscious all the way.The bike's front part was a mess and handle got struck into my left wrist. I was not sure about what was happening,but one thing striked me at that moment,I was alive and my friend was unhurt.This was all my mistake.My right eye got severely hurt and I was worried about that.The first-aid was completed and tests were made and the doctors declared no harm to my eye.That was a big sigh of relief for me.My wrist joint had two cracks and my hand was 'POP'ed,for 6 weeks.But I didnt have any savings to pay the hospital bills.All of my classmates took their part in paying those bills and cared for me .

    Till then I was so deppressed in my life,because I didnt get into the college I always dreamed of and I didnt made good friends or a partner till then.There was no one for me to share my feelings.I felt alone all the way till then.I didnt have a goal in my life,I always postponed everything and I thought there is always a tommorow.But, at that moment, all my thinkings were out of line and reversed.I was wrong all the way.I undergone some changing process for some days.Everything around me seems to be working in my way.I got THE LIFE in my life back.I'm the experiencing change in me right now.
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    May 26 2011: See recent books (not sensationalized):
    The near-death experiences of hospitalized intensive care patients: a five year clinical study by Penny Sartori
    Religion, Spirituality, and the Near-death Experience by Mark Fox
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    May 23 2011: I've had the pleasure of a person who is like my little sister return after 8 years in tokyo as english instructor.she was in her apartment on the 9th floor of her app building when the quake sirens started blaring,3 mins later and not even out the door she told me that she was thrown around like a rag doll,crying and screaming her heart out for it to "Stop"

    The one thing she keeps telling me over n over when we're on the wines is "I thought i was going to die and i was alone and nothing mattered anymore,not my job,not the things in my app,nothing,i was going to die and i had no family around me"

    She's home for good,i told her you're probaly safer in japan than here,she says she dose'nt care,shes home
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    May 22 2011: Unfortunately, I didn't had such experience.
    Unfortunately, because I think it is one of the most important things you can live.
    There is a lot of talks here where speakers say how it change totally there life, like if they begin a second life.
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      May 23 2011: Yeah man i see alot of people saying that too

      I didn't feel anything at all,no emotion,nothing for the young girl that was resuscing me or the people that were trying to help just a strange feeling of "Move" once away from the accident site and in the place of the second accident site i felt at ease and calm like "not a worry in the world"
      even to this day i keep wondering,i had a feeling of gratefulness?relief for the chick that hit my car that she was safe and alive,my friend thought i was Kooky since she almost wiped me out of existence but the overall feeling from those fatefull moments that night 13 years ago till now is i was meant to be there.

      Other than that,no great eye openers,no touching god,zero absolute.

      and i feel really alone no one has had the same or similar experience lol
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        May 28 2011: I was not thinking what you can feel on the near-death time, but all the time after that.
        For some people, it will give their fears and paranoia, but for others, and it is that it should be interesting to live, they decide to change their life, change their goals, ...
        They wonder what are the most important things they miss to do if they were dead, and they do it asap.
        So, they can live all their dreams, reach all their goals, ... and forget procrastination or other things that prevent their to do what they really like to do.
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        May 28 2011: Ken,
        Sorry you feel alone, and your experience is a little different than the ones I've explored, including my own NDE. Did you ever try quieting your mind, and going back to the time and place...a form of meditation?

        Nicolas,
        I think one of the greatest fears people have, is death. Once we face death, there is not too much else to be frightened of. I volunteered in a terminal care facility for 2 years, and the most difficult thing people faced at the time of their death was often regret. You are absolutely right Nicolas, in that we learn more about what is important because we are reminded that today could be the last day of our lives. No more procrastination. I don't think people need to face death, however, to fully live life. With awareness and mindfully living in the moment, we can learn to reach out and do those things in our world that are important to us:>)
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          May 30 2011: I've had many close calls with death,i was nine the first time,drowning is'nt fun,it's just that one is the one that stands out as different,it's the one that i've gone over n over n over for years,it's like a dream now,surreal,like.....did it happen?it's the coincidence factor thats all,dose'nt fly, too out of place,not like the other times.I used to work in a geriatric,obstetric,psyche hospital back in the early 90's as an orderly,mum was a rn nurse,so i know what you're talking about with those that are passing,some sadly passed in great pain.in my culture we are raised around death,we don't hide our children from it's inevitability,we keep our dead for five days and never leave the person alone cold,it's good for the children,helps them understand early what life is.
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          Jun 20 2011: @Collen, something you said struck a memory.. while working as a volunteer at a local Hospice, I found that death is perhaps the most feared thing on this planet, and also the most misunderstood. I learnt that in many cases of prolonged, terminal illness, the body actually knows its dying, and somehow this information is passed on the the dying person but often times, fear, guilt, the kind fuss of loving relatives and the hope given by well intentioned and sincere doctors who see death as a personal and/or professional failure prevent the patient from accessing the message and even invitation from the body, to go through the dying process as gently and as quickly as possible.

          I also learnt that even in the most painful of situations, death can be liberating to both the dying person and those actually involved in their care but not in the sense of release from pain or from the burden of caring for someone (although that still happens) but more of release from the little things we think are important in life but in the end come out to be just toys that we use to amuse ourselves. Education, Wealth, Status, Religious Rituals, Personal Convictions and Life Styles, perceptions of loss or gain and many more all crumble to dust and ashes. One is left naked,with little to hold onto other than the memory of the good things s/he did or the love they shared. Those who suffer most appear to be the ones who have little "good deeds" to reflect upon, or who feel no love.

          I don't know what those who die take with them from that experience of dying, but I can attest that in my experience, those who continue living often have a "new gift" with which to navigate the rest of their life with.

          Thank you for your post.
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        Jul 3 2011: Ronald,
        Thank you for your wise words as well:>)
        I think to experience a peaceful death, the mind, heart, body and spirit have to be on the same page with acceptance of the process. I agree that often times, doctors, loving friends/family with good intentions may unknowingly interfere with the peaceful process. I believe, based on my experience with death, that we take with us what we have learned in this earth school.
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    May 21 2011: When I was younger I almost died when I had my first asthma attack. Nobody knew what was going on with me, I couldn't move, couldn't breath, and spent the whole night this way. In the morning we decided to take me to the doctor, it took me a long time to get down the stairs, finally got in a cab, and the doctors took care of me. As the doctors were taking me, I could think of nothing but how much I loved a good night sleep and how much I loved to laugh (things I wasn't able to do at that moment). These are three things I learned:
    - Sleeping uncomfortably is no way to rest. I will enjoy my times of rest and keep them sacred.
    - Not being able to laugh or enjoy something humorous is torture, I'll live a life of laughter.
    - Not being able to breathe properly helped me take notice of how much I actually loved the things I did and took for granted (being able to go places, physical activities, recreational stuff, etc.).

    Thankfully those complications are gone, and I got some great stuff out of it, things I now love to love. I'm glad I went through it. Also, I don't know if this talk was brought up, but it brought some good thoughts on this subject.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/stacey_kramer_the_best_gift_i_ever_survived.html
  • May 19 2011: I had a medication induced heart attack while under medical care. I was given an over dose of medication and knew while I was loosing consciousness that I was dying. My heart beats at first were deep and felt like my heart was pounding through my bed to the floor until they grew further apart and my breathing slowed and became minimal and then i blacked out. I had a dream I had died or was dying, and then I decided no,... maybe someone else I know was, the person who came to mind was in a hospital as well having pregnancy complications. I woke up the next afternoon barely able to stand or walk without leaning on walls I could not hold myself up. after a visit to the bathroom and my eyes adjusting to the brilliant lights I could see my hair was different, weeks of grey roots had vanished like i had just dyed my hair, My nails had all grown completely evenly over night like I had been give a midnight manicure and pedicure, (i have never previously had naturally even nail growth), my skin seemed different on my face and on closer inspection, two scars I had, one since I was younger than 3 and the other since I was 11 had nearly vanished and were barely distinguishable there had ever been any marks. Next, leaving the restroom, I called the person from in the dream at the hospital they were staying. I said "I had a horrible dream last night and something terrible happened and had to call you to see how you are! Are you okay?" Their response confounded me, They said about themselves "I nearly died, they would have been able to save the baby most likely, but they tried giving me medication I couldn't take and my husband kept insisting as my legal guardian that they give it to me, and after they did I think I had a heart attack!". After telling her what had happened to me, and getting off the phone, I began to cry, I cried for two days straight. I was told too continue taking the medication as directed. I pretended to and did not, I am still in recovery, and grateful.
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    May 19 2011: I've fallen from our balcony from the 3rd floor when i was six, i couldn't correct my balance while falling and couldnt protect my head and a sharp rock slitted my throat open somehow, i have actually had the experience to hold my own trachea with my own hands which i guess is rare, while i was being transported to hospital with my throat open i've had a serious car accident, until that point i've remained concious. I was too young to think deeply about the experience by then but every moment of it while i was still concious remains vivid in my memory. And i've had two more life and death experiences in a few past years one due to violence one to sickness. what i've learnt? Nothing, i just confirmed that i was right about being an atheist and a materialist. What i know, i know; what i don't know, i simply don't know. Everyone in my family had really close calls, my mother actually died for a few seconds, she experienced serious amnesia due to severe concussion and brain damage and yet she remains an atheist too. I am glad i've been raised in a family which tries to learn and know things instead of simply believing things. We don't actually learn the value of stuff in their absence, we learn it when we think about them, and their absence simply encourages us to think about them. A person who gives time to him/herself to think about any and everything as much as possible, a person who seeks and desires knowledge above everything else, experiences less of a trauma in such cases since he/she would probably simulate such an experience beforehand especially if it is life-death related since it is a major concern for every human being, we are instinctually afraid of death and pain. It is not possible for a human to simulate every possible scenario though since our processing capabilities and lifespan is quite limited. There isn't anything like 'emptiness', 'nothingness' or 'void' even what we call 'empty space' isn't actually empty. It was only matter...it is only matter.
  • May 18 2011: Thank you, I learn more than before from your experience
  • May 16 2011: I have been experiencing this so many times since I joined the reconstruction process of Afghanistan and sometimes with few minutes’ difference in Kabul during explosions.

    1- I convince myself that I survived one chance and there won’t be another target this place again. So I drive from that street.

    2- I find out my survival cause and share it with others.

    3- I find out was the target me and intently or not.

    Shokrullah Amiri Kabul Afghanistan
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      May 19 2011: Yeah man that's telling it like it is.

      1. I woke up with a girl ontop of me pumping my chest,i threw her off me like she was a leaf,i saw my car,destroyed,windscreen had a bulge in it the size of my head,i had hit a concrete post,no one else was involved,i had this strange feeling that i was not to be there and to move fast,they were trying to restrain me,i threw them off me like twiggs.i managed to start it and drove it a kilometer before it seized,bits of my hair was stuck in the windscreen and the steering wheel was bent in a "U" shape.

      2. Not a scratch on me,nothing

      3. While i was standing there on the drivers side with the door open talking to a friend whom i had just seen not an hour before who was there to tow it back to his house,a white mazda hatch came around the bend and veered towards where we were parked and hit the drivers rear quarter,deflected and peeled my drivers door skin off and bounced off the drivers front qaurter before the driver righted herself and regained control,we were parked off the road,she returned unscathed and said she was reaching down for her macdonalds,i felt so sorry for her as my car was already totalled and told her to go home and not worry about it.the memory of her car passing me mere centremeters away was no crashing sound but a sound like rushing wings,something was definitely telling me something.

      My friend who witnessed the second hit thought i was dead,he said he saw me lean in a little just as the car passed,all i remember is that sound.
  • May 4 2011: I learned amazing things from what may be percieved as near death experiences;
    Almost drowning off the coast of cornwall I first experienced the time dilation and clarity that comes with immanent mortal risk. Time slows, but not in the way you mgiht percieve slow motion because when you do you imagine your mind slowing down too, but it doesn't, your awareness is peaked, these things happen together. Your awareness intensifies with your sense of mortality, your consciousness becomes very efficient.
    For me I was young, 12 or 13 years old and was body boarding where I shouldn't have been when a coralled crate came off the crest of a wave and knocked me underwater...from there I got pinned by a rope that was trailing those red floating bubble bouys that float in the sea, I'm not sure if they are for nets or markers...in anycase this pinned me by the neck to the sea floor. At first I struggled in panic but then in the moment I realised I had to take water into my lungs time slowed to barely a crawl and I had what seemed like a timeless moment in which to firmly decide my life was not overr and that there was a way out of it...the thought was not verrbal, but it was something like that, and immediately I knew what to do and took my knee and used it as a lever to free myself...I came coughing my lungs out on the beach, nobody had noticed a thing and my cousins laughed at me. I never told anyone else until years later.

    In a car accident later I experienced time dilation again, same cause and effect, but it was a false alarm, we were all fine luckily. Then I asked around about it and I found out some women experience time dilation when giving birth (is this true for any of you?). This is interesting. Two points of human experience where our awareness and experience of time are simultaneously altered seems to be at birth for mothers and at impending death for everyone else.

    I have one other experience of this sort, I will post below in a comment.
  • May 4 2011: Two years ago I broke my neck. Managed to make it and recover %100. I realized most people don't even understand themselves and instead focus on other people so they don't have to worry about how pathetic their own life's are. Society helps this a lot. Religion, social groups that people can place blame on. If people looked used their brains they could solve their own problems and make society better instead of mopping around in there mundane lives, not having a clue what their purpose is. I won't waste another day.
  • Apr 27 2011: Time is to precious to waste.
    All people are too precious to waste.
    God is with all of us always.
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    Apr 27 2011: I had an extremely high fever for a protracted time at age 22. During this illness, I thought that I had passed over. I was told I would meet my father soon (I did not know him as he died when I was two years old). Also, my husband would be with me soon, but he would be late. It was explained to me that after you pass, you get only the things you settled for in your life, and no more. At my young age it meant living in the poverty that I was raised in, settling for less than I would have wanted out of my life, and settling for an inferior afterlife, not harps and clouds, or ambrosia, more like the old neighborhood I grew up in. I actually went shopping at a market, a place that had not the best quality items. You didn't need money. You just had to settle for what you already had acheived, which for me was not much; I was a bit of a slacker.

    But, suddenly I was told it was not my time, I needed to go back, and I was literally thrown back into my sickbed. I didn't want to leave the pleasant place I had visited, but also I recognized I would never just settle for anything, and changed my focus in life.
    After I recovered, I completed graduate education, travelled, connected with family, met many different people, and took more joy in my time here, because it is so limited, and never missed the chance to do something new or different, take a new road, or check out the one less travelled. Every year I visit at least one new place for a vacation.

    This near-death experience happened nearly 40 years ago, and I never forgot the lesson learned at a difficult time. I never told anyone about it, either.
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    Apr 26 2011: I learned that the near death experience of my wife had little impact on the outcome of our marriage.
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      Apr 28 2011: Richard, your pain is palpable. Many of us have been where you are and believed that something sad was the end of the world. Time went on and we realized that what we thought was the end of the world transmuted into a rebirth. We are all just human and what works out for one of us is available to all. Hang in! It gets better.
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    Apr 26 2011: I really felt alive in a way that I had not before.
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    Sky F

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    Apr 24 2011: I learned that a car accident would be a cool way to die.
    I learned that near death experiences are not easily identifiable as such until moments after.
    I learned that merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.