Perhaps the fastest (though not the pleasantest) way to journey to the “other side” is via an NDE or Near Death Experience. NDEs are a transformative event where the souls of temporarily flatlined stiffs leave their bodies, behold otherworldly dimensions and then are miraculously ushered back to their once lifeless bodies. Some say an NDE removes all fears about death and replaces it with an unshakably affirming knowingness, more real than anything found on Earth.
- Pinterest user Sally Klein, who had a near death experience when a blowfish recipe went terribly wrong, said of her NDE, “OMG. It was like you were permanently perfumed with pumpkin spice. Can you imagine? It was no longer seasonal. It was Pumpkin Spice fulltime! Fulltime all the time!”
- Comic Con fanboy Calvin Turlock said of his Marvel-ous NDE, “The Marvel Universe is real. Superpowers are real – I took down Dwayne Johnson.”
- Amazon boss Jeff Bezos recounted his NDE, “It was amazing. I compared my financial situation with the Almighty’s and it turns out I have more money than God…no wait. That was my regular life here on earth.”
When we go over to the other side it seems we all go where we expect ourselves to go. Hmmmm. What if we had no expectation? Where would we go then?
Whose Side Are You On?
Well currently we’re all on this side – at least for now. But eventually we’ll all be on the other side where we discover it’s all one; and there really isn’t, and never has been, an “other side.” Are we clear? NDEs are just the miraculousness of experiencing everything, everywhere, all at once. But is all this heavenly hyperbole really miraculous? – Meh. It’s only miraculous to us earthbound creatures pondering it all from this side.
It’s Just a Job
I’m sure the entities that superintend this cosmic function of bringing souls into and out of this world, don’t come home teeming with tender stories of mythic miracles like NDE experiencers do. More likely they come home smelling of the souls they’re shuttling back and forth all eternity – like a fishmonger might come home smelling of fish or a florist like flowers. It’s a hazard of the profession. Hustling souls in and out of the 3rd rock from the sun is just a job for some. This supposedly extraordinary bookkeeping process of managing departed souls (of which NDEs are probably just a kinked glitch in the system) is only a portion of the overall operating system of the universe and merely the bailiwick these superintendents oversee. (You don’t have to believe any of this, but it’s probably true anyway.)
We poor slobs however, marvel in wonderment at this-couldn’t-be-happening-to-little-ole-me experience. NDEs are not something special happening to you, for you. I surmise NDEs are just part of a process to move souls in and out of bodies around the cosmos. There’s no reason to feel special or anointed if it happens to you. Don’t underplay it either. Just consider it. You’re a big part of the whole shootin’ match whether you think you’re tragically inconsequential or fabulously magnificent. You see the truth doesn’t require your belief. And I mean that in a good way. You don’t have to believe in something in order for something to happen. For example, I don’t believe in Santa Claus, but I still get presents at Christmas.
On this earth, where we tend to get lost in the need to make permanent our personal identity, we’re regularly privy to maybe 2% of all the magnificence operating on the other side. Why this magnificence of the hereafter is so apparently distant and hidden from us I’ll never know. But it is – generally. The hereafter (hereafter referred to as the hereafter) is kinda like electricity. Most of us relate to electricity through on and off switches; barely cognizant of the humming transmission lines, generating plants and the eons it took to produce the gas, coal or oil (fossil fuels) firing them. The hereafter contains all the hidden electrical infrastructure. We aren’t allowed to see all of God’s electrical magnificence so we can stay focused on our jobs here on earth – whatever that may be. This model I present might not accurately describe matters, but it does provide 2 dimes – I mean “a paradigm.” That’s my 2 cents anyway. Moving on.
So What’s All the Fuss About?
There’s a lot of everyday so-called miraculous stuff that goes on in the afterlife (hereafter “the afterlife” replaces “the hereafter”). And what is on the other side in the afterlife? Well Near Death Experienc-ers report ecstatic states brimming with unimaginable connectedness, waves of understanding and a pervasively powerful feeling of enduring love. It dissolves the small you temporarily housed in your human temple. And to think people are still afraid of death. These stories brought back by the briefly deceased are very heartening and present a road map to navigating (or reassuming or remembering) the ether-scape of the spirit world from which we sprang. (Just words attempting to cast a net over an idea.)
No verbal or written description can capture the cosmos’s sublimity. It’s well beyond words. It’s, as they say, ineffable. It (the liberating unity or whatever you want to call it) must be experienced – like sex, swimming or Cheetos. You can write all you want about those 3 things, but until you experience them, you’ll never really know what it’s like to make love, jump in a pool or have orange fingertips all day. They say this is the only way for God to know itself – through our experiences – and that we’re all complicit in this when we entered these bodies to begin with. This has got to be bullsh*t. Right? Well it’s kinda not, even though it’s just words on a page.
Missing the Point – There is No Point, Per Se
So there’s that. All that afterlife malarkey I just described. And then there’s this: the life we’re actually currently living. It’s ironic that when we hold out for these more transcendent things like NDEs or out-of-body experiences, we sometimes end up missing out on our actual lives. It’s funny. Sometimes in our pursuit of Near Death Experiences, we get distracted from matters at hand and wind up having NLEs (Near Life Experiences). NLEs whereby we’re here, but we’re not really present. Against this backdrop of living our NLE, we mere mortals soldier on, just a heartbeat (or lack of a heartbeat) away from an NDE.
Leaving Your Body for Another Experience (You can always get back together later – right?)
You don’t have to be clinically dead to have NDEs, but there are risks in leaving one’s body when in deep contemplation. For example, in one extreme case, Guru Baba Ganouj passed on when he meditated so deeply that he had an out-of-body experience and, when he tried to return to his body, he couldn’t get back in. In 3 attempts he failed to identify all the bicycles in a cosmic CAPTCHA Code. The program thought he was a robot and BOOM – he got locked out. Well, enjoy the Astral plane Baba.
If you’re reading this I’ll assume you (like me) are an earthbound soul with high spiritual aspirations. In navigating this world I’ve experimented with out-of-body experiences. Though my aim is high, I’ve hit lower and so far I’ve only managed to muster some out-of-pants experiences. Well, at least I know a bicycle when I see one.
This Has Become a Very Popular Essay – It’s a Near Hit
The term NDE or Near Death Experience is really a misnomer – sometimes it’s a mrs.nomer or a ms.nomer depending on the wokeness of the audience. In any event, the term Near Death Experience is similar to the term Near Miss in aviation and they’re both wrongly applied. For example, when 2 planes almost hit each other, it’s called a near miss. But they didn’t nearly miss each other. They nearly hit each other. If they nearly missed each other that would imply that they hit. Therefore a Near Hit is preferable to a Near Miss. A Near Hit can also be defined as Blue Ӧyster Cult’s I’m Burnin’ for You, the follow up to Don’t Fear the Reaper. The reason it wasn’t as big a hit as the megahit Don’t Fear the Reaper was not enough cowbell.
This imperfect nomenclature carries through to Near Death Experiences. In some cases the individual is not Near Death, but is actually dead, and then returned to their freshly reanimated body. These events are really RDE’s – Real Death Experiences that are magically reversed.
♫In-A-Gadda–Da–Vida Baby ♫
Whether you’re a Buddhist or not, nearly everyone aspires to the transcendent state of Nirvana. I know I do. But if I never reach Nirvana; if I fall short and just get Nearvana I’ll be happy. Getting Nearvana is still quite a spiritual status. Nearvana gives you almost 80% of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of spiritual nourishment without sacrificing any of the long, long, boring years of meditation required to achieve Nirvana. Add in a ½ cup of milk and now you’re over 90% of the RDA for a nutritious spiritual breakfast.
But if somehow I never achieve Nirvana or get Nearvana, well then I’d at least like to get Near Vanna – Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune. She seems so nice and she really turns heads – and letters too. In any event, my pursuit of the vanas, be they Nir, Near or of the Ms. White type, looms large in my future.
We Think We Have to Get Somewhere
Spiritual paths don’t do us any favors with all their hallowed elaborations on inexplicable things. Many convey the fallacy that a worshipper needs to accumulate merit to deserve enlightenment or grace. I mean don’t behave like a schmuck, but don’t think any of your fondest hopes are far away – they’re just not in a form you’d expect. I know this clearly sometimes. Other times I slip into my human smallness – the l’il ole me adrift in a vast unchartered cosmos. I better stop pontificating here otherwise people will think I know something they don’t and build a religion around me. On the other hand it would be nice to be worshipped by something other than my cat Joan, who thinks the world of me.
So if you’re ever asked whose side are you on, you tell them, “Well I’m on our side right now, but I’d like to be on the other side too once in a while.” Meanwhile allow me to proffer the sagest advice I know. Women and children stay away from the Dark Web. Men, guard your catalytic convertors. And everyone else, don’t be fooled by gripping grievances, superficial appearances or orangey Cheetos.
A More Conclusive Epilogue (Cuz we humans need a little closure)
You can believe what you want, but when you die you are going to find yourself outside your spent body…SURPRISE. So try to become as self-aware now so when it happens you’re not overcome by giddy wonderment and dazed awe. You’ll still have stuff to do. Not in ways I can describe, but in ways that demand you don’t keep basking in all the healing lights or the company of your predeceased loved ones or Christ or Buddha or whatever you’ve imprinted on and expect to see. Go big. Make no demands and have no expectations and don’t take any of this stuff too seriously, because it’s much too important to be taken seriously.