Author's note: If you decide to read this series, it needs to be noted that some components may be found to seemingly contradict each other. Other components may seem to be out of place, tangents that make little sense in the context of the whole. Others have become irrelevant, and some now seem incorrect, especially to me. At times I have considered revising, changing and deleting portions of this series. Instead, I have decided, or realized, it is important that all elements stand as they are. This series is about a journey, about the changes I have undergone and the evolution that has happened. For this reason, this series will never be revised or edited as it stands here, which the exception of some entries being rewritten for clarity or to afford additional details originally omitted.
--Keith J. Carlson
May 6, 2004
"Are you the reason I'm here?"
It is difficult for those who do not share in the experience to comprehend our way of life. To those who have not felt death, the near-death experience becomes a kind of mystical field of study on the level of astrology and witchcraft. Yet, for those of us who have travelled beyond "the light" and returned, life takes on new dimensions. As was once said to me by another who shared in the experience, "We see the world in different colors that others cannot comprehend."
The combination of certain factors in the near-death experience has a definitive impact on the course that is followed by the individual in question. There is a dividing line between two very different definitions of "near death." To perceive the light and to pass through the light is the most major line. Those who have seen the light return to their lives with a sort of affirmation and a feeling of knowledge and faith. Those who have passed through and walked upon the landscape of death are forever changed. Life can no longer be lived in the way it was lived before. Most things become small and trivial. The value of distractions is multiplied, as these distractions keep the mind from consuming itself.
"The life you left is no longer yours."
In what I have read and heard first hand, a common part of returning from the death experience is the sense that the life that once was is no more. Relationships with people that existed before the point of death unravel and sometimes disappear completely. As someone whose death was caused by suicide, this sense is increased. I am reminded that I chose to give up on the life I led prior to my experience with death. I am reminded of it constantly. Soon after my return, a horrible series of events drove a permanent wedge between my best friend of sixteen years and myself. Soon after, another series of events completely seperated me from the greatest love of my life. I was reminded that I was willing to surrender these people by taking my life and that I now had to travel another road.
"Everything is just the way it is supposed to be."
One of the biggest problems other people have with those who share in the death experience is our acceptance of elements of life, both good and bad. This is because we don't really see things as good or bad. It is all shades of gray. Many of us have memories of both the past and the future and tend to think many "moves" ahead, like some kind of human chess player. This terrible event that happens today is but a building block for something that will evolve in days to come. The death of a friend, for example, will make it possible for someone close to them to move in a new direction that will bring him somewhere he needed to go. This movement was impossible before the death of the individual in question. Everything is a lesson. Everything is a sign. Everything is but another piece of the road leading towards completion of the puzzle of one's life.
In my travels I have met a number of people who share in the death experience. Sometimes I seek them out and sometimes we come across each other by "chance." Not that I really believe in the concept of chance any longer. One man I met some years ago had been in a car accident and died as a result of head injuries suffered in that accident. Somehow he fought back and regained life in this frame of existence. Soon after he divorced his wife, bought a sports car and began travelling the country in search of something. Much of what he went through was misunderstood and labelled by family and friends as a "mid-life crisis." It confused and befuddled him because he could not escape the need to seek out certain things and gain an understanding of this life. Many who have experienced death become estranged from family and friends. One of the things I have so often tried to teach to those who share in the experience is that this is normal. It is generally the hardest part of the experience to deal with.
"I don't know how you can be so cold."
People have expectations in life, both of elements of their life and of the people they meet. Sometimes these expectations are so engraved in stone that they cannot abandon them under any circumstances. Those who have walked in the valley of death are different in this regard. The grounding that people need, the sense that there must be something to hold onto, no longer becomes essential. Once the person who has experienced death accepts him or herself as different than who they were before, this changes. As life changes, these changes are accepted rather than fought. Changes in fortune, employment, friends, lovers, and current events become merely mile markers on the road they travel. These things are meant to happen and everything has a reason. People talk about it. We live it. Fighting against the tide and crying over spilled milk is a drain on precious resources. The energy and focus must be turned forward and not backward. The collapse of a relationship where one's partner is crying in your arms has a different kind of impact on the individual who has been dead. There is empathy for the other person and yet little sorrow for oneself. The loss is necessary. The change is needed. We know that. It makes us seem very cold.
"You could never give me everything I want from you."
The motivation human beings have to seek out gratification of their personal needs is a strong one. Browse singles ads sometime and read about people and their demands for a partner. Financial security. Goal oriented. Career minded. Long-term relationship. Honesty. Devotion. It is a list of crap. Then turn the page to see those who don't have the good looks, fashionable clothes and new sports cars to bargain with. They want someone who will love them for who they are. They've surrendered to second best because they think it is all they deserve. Page after page of human sell-outs.
So few human beings really admit to what they really want. There is a sensation in a fast food culture to go out and shop for those things we think will bring us the happiness and stability we crave. I've been in love more than once. More than once I've had women profess their love for me. That love didn't put us together. Yet, that love still exists and it is always there. Once there was this woman named Christine. She convinced me to move to Orlando. She told me she was in love with me. When I moved she left me. Because she knew I could never give all my love to one person. Often I wonder if that is something anyone should do.
I am beginning a journey I stepped away from three years ago. I abandoned what I came back to this world in order to do. This is but the beginning.
This node is part of a series intended to provide first hand witness to the near-death experience. I believe this is why I am here on this particular website. As I return to the path I once knew, it will be reflected here. The reflection is important. It was a sign. dis/sid.