From "Connected (with Abe + Isaac) — Volume 29"

Trigger warning: death. Also, perception, and the nature of reality.

I’ve been reading a book on near-death experiences (because John Cleese, of Monty Python and so many other wonderful projects, brought it up). That whole domain is interesting to me (“that whole domain” being “any consistent data pointing to patterns not considered in mainstream thought”), and I think I figured out why. In part, anyway.

For this book’s purposes, an NDE usually involves finding yourself outside of your body, in a moment where your body is shutting down. It’s an occasion of clear, vivid consciousness, in which you perceive your awareness to be hanging out around but not in your physical vessel.

Per the book, people who have experienced this generally describe that moment as being more real than anything in their life, before or after the experience. They’re very sure, very insistent about this. (The anecdotes align with the formal studies: the brain’s behavior during recollections of these experiences resembles brain behavior while recalling real, documented events from the person’s life, as distinct from memories of imagined events. The memories of their NDEs also remain vivid and consistent over time, in a way that resembles important, “provable” life events, and in a way that does not resemble recalled imagination.)

I picked up that laptop sticker up there sometime last year, in Hawaii. At the time, I was starting to play with the idea that this life we’re experiencing is, basically, essentially, a dream.

I’m about a third through this book, and the chapter I just just finished was a discussion of the “realness” of these experiences, from the perspective of those who have them. And I’m fricking fascinated by this. What might it mean, that so many people are consistently of the view that their extra-bodily experiences are realer than their bodily experiences? What might it mean, that physical life feels like a dream in comparison?

One of my favorite things to do, as a thinking creature, is to try on an idea and see how it fits. To not worry too much about mapping out the entire idea ahead of time, but to try it on, and see how life looks and works while wearing this idea.

And I gotta say, I haven’t found any real downsides to this one.

If life is a dream, then I get a say on what happens next.

If life is a dream, then I can afford to enjoy the crap out of it.

If life is a dream, then I can play with ideas, without fear.

If life is a dream, and if I can expect to have a few more decades in this one, then I can fully embrace a specific chosen path without worrying about the paths I’ve missed.

If life is a dream, and if I can point to a million wondrous things around me, then I am ecstatic at the possibility of what’s out there still.

If life is a dream, I dunno, maybe we all have superpowers.

I finished that chapter, sat back, and just grinned. A big, bright ol’ grin. Because hell yeah. Maybe this is all a dream, and if it is, let’s fucking go, let’s do everything, let’s make and play and lift each other up and rise, ourselves! Let’s leave behind what’s no longer good, forget it, leave it, let acceptance and forgetfulness do its thing and let’s crash into what’s new and alive and stunningly bright.

And if I end up being wrong, I’m pretty sure I’ll have ended up living the life I would have wanted, anyway.


Originally sent out via email

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