The first time I died, I was a toddler. Two-ish. Raging with fever, in an oxygen tent, with my parents' worried faces pressed up against the plastic. I remember lying back against the comfy hospital bed, floating consciously out of my body, so happy to return to a place without pain. I was fearless about the exit; it was more like a re-entry anyway.
But then I looked into my mother's eyes. I could see how much she loved me. Daddy too. And I just couldn't break their hearts.
So I stayed. And it's a choice I've had to make hundreds of times since then.
I came into the world with a frail connection. My body was ravaged with sickness frequently in those early years; pneumonia, mainly. It would have been enough to kill me without that choice to stay. The gift of those early struggles, however, is the memory of where I came from. I knew death meant relief. A homecoming. Reconnection with spirit that left me punchdrunk on the memory.
But I also knew I came back for a reason. That it's vital that I stay and do what I came to do. Whatever that was.
And so here I am. 40 years old and still romancing death.
It's such a fantastic irony that death is an almost universal fear. The truth is, death is our best friend. It's the most sacred part of our conscious journey. And yet it's the part we resist and avoid the most. That's by design, by the way - if we all really remember what it's all about, we'd be hard-pressed to stay here another minute. So consciousness set it up so most of us don't remember.
Until we do. And yet because that's not a popular opinion, those that do remember our eternal nature can easily be cast off as misguided, crazy, or idealistic.
If you still walk in fear around the idea of your mortality, just sit with the notion that maybe you are eternal. Don't just mull it around your noggin - take it deep inside, and start looking for yourself. If you make it a sincere intention to have the truth of consciousness revealed to you, the unraveling will begin. How long it all takes to expand within you is the great mystery. But we can't hide from who we are forever.
For now, just stay open. Keep asking questions internally. Have the courage to really look at death. And I promise, in time, you'll start to see the beauty. The incredible truth that all we ever do is just. . .go home.
"Death may be the greatest of all human blessings." - Socrates