TED Conversations

Brand Designer & CEO, TEDx Timisoara


This conversation is closed.

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.
  • thumb
    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.
    • thumb
      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
      • thumb
        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.
      • thumb
        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
    • Jun 16 2011: Have you considered learning how to run fast? )
  • 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.
    • thumb
      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.
  • thumb
    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 6 2011: haha - well I don't know if that story is true - but it certainly made me smile :)
    • Jun 6 2011: :D :D :D
  • 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.
  • thumb
    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)
    • thumb
      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
      • thumb
        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).
    • thumb
      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...
        • thumb
          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:>)
  • thumb
    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.
  • thumb
    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.
  • Sara C

    • +1
    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. :-)
    • thumb
      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.
  • 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.
    • thumb
      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.
  • thumb
    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.
    • thumb
      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.
  • thumb
    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.
  • thumb
    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.
  • thumb
    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.
  • thumb
    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.
  • thumb
    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
  • thumb

    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.