A Parting Gift
What's today's lesson? I asked my inner voice.
Today, imagine that you only have five days left to live.
What do you still need to accomplish? Do you need to forgive someone?
Do you need to tell someone you love them? And so on.
On September 26, 1987, I had another unusual lesson. It was one of those pie-in-the-face lessons, and it taught me a great deal.
I was cleaning up some broken bottles in the basement of an old building and I had cut my hand on the glass. The cut didn't look bad, but the glass was wet with some unknown liquid, so I decided to see a doctor anyway. After a short examination and blood test, the doctor told me that the liquid was a type of poison, and that I would die soon. He couldn't tell me how long I had to live--a minute or a month--but I would surely die from that cut.
As I left the doctor and walked back home, my mind raced. First I thought about what I would do in my last moments. I decided that there wasn't enough time left to do anything "significant." Then I realized that the really "significant" things in life are the little things and not the big ones.
I felt regret that I couldn't do all the things I wanted to do in life--not the big things, but the little ones. It didn't matter that I never took that big trip to Europe, but I felt disappointed because of all the little things I had decided to pass by, like the books that sat on my shelf while I had no ambition to read. I felt disappointed because I had so many opportunities to touch people's lives with joy, but I passed so many of those opportunities by. I felt disappointed for all the times I told myself, "There will be another time to do these things." My time was running out.
There was no fear. None.
I accepted the fact that I would soon die. Crying, wailing, moaning, and worrying wouldn't do me or anyone any good. What would happen to me when I died? I decided it didn't matter. After all, I would find out soon enough, and all the conjecture in the world wouldn't change that fact.
I thought about my friends. What would they do without me? I decided that it didn't matter, because they had no choice but to go on without me. Would they miss me? I realized that if they decided to miss me, that was their choice, and I couldn't help that. Can I ease their loss or pain over my death? I decided I couldn't because they chose their own emotions. I wouldn't want them to be sad because of me, but if they were, only they could change that fact. What did they think of my life and my life's accomplishments? I decided that my friends had already formed their opinions of me, and my current condition shouldn't change that-it's the life and not the death that makes the man. I decided that my accomplishments weren't nearly as important as who I was inside. I realized that nothing had changed. We always face the possibility of death, every moment we're alive. It's just that few of us look at the issue until it's too late. Most of us take a long, healthy life for granted, until it gets snatched away unexpectedly.
Finally, I embraced the possibility of my death wholeheartedly. I realized that I was creating my reality at that very moment, just as I had always created it in the past. Since I was creating my reality, I decided to live my life to the fullest, right up until the end. I knew I could even choose not to die, but should I? Since I had accepted my death, I decided to leave that decision up to my oversoul and peacefully accept what came.
So I went about my day as if nothing was wrong. After three or so hours, all my friends had found out that I had been poisoned. They seemed depressed and they didn't know how to handle it. It seemed pretty strange to me--after all, it was my death, my body, my moment of truth, my problem, and not theirs.
A few people approached me about my death. Most of the people who approached me were speechless. What could they say? What should they say? What could I say to them?
Most of them said nothing, but they sent me a message anyway: "I want to share this moment with you, to be close to you one last time. To tell you that I care. Even if I never said it before, I do love you." A few tried to tell me they were sorry. For what? For my decision? After all, my passing from this life would be a re-birth into a glorious new life. I didn't even question that fact.
I joined my friends for dinner. I didn't think about it as my last meal; I didn't think about death at all, but about life. I didn't think about when I would die, but about how much more of life I would allow myself to enjoy. When we were done with supper, we all talked and laughed while we were getting up from the table.
I felt a little bit funny. I stopped walking and my friends all stared at me, waiting, wondering. They all stopped talking and suddenly the room became quiet. I could hear and feel my heart beating. Thump, thump, thump. Suddenly there was a "click" and silence. My heart had stopped. I wasn't afraid. I wasn't in pain. I didn't panic. I tried to think quickly. What should I do? What final message can I give these people?
I felt very weak but there was no pain at all. I started to fall backwards but someone caught me and set me gently on the cold floor.
Then all hell broke loose, with people shouting and running around. They seemed panic-stricken. I was calm. They seemed terrified. I was sure. They seemed sad. I was happy. My body started to feel numb, and I started losing control of it. Quick! What can I give them? They all cared for me so much. What gift can I leave them with?
I was dying. Nothing physical is really important because some day you have to leave it behind. I decided the only important thing in life is what we get out of it, the messages, the truths, the wisdom, the learning, the fun. What was the most important of these messages? Love.
I tried to say it, "Love," but the message came out garbled, and there was too much noise, confusion and panic in the room. God damn it, anyway, this is important! "Love." "Love." "Love!" At last, the cherished word choked out of my dying body, but I wasn't sure that they heard or understood.
I struggled to gain more control over the body, but it was useless. As the people tried to convince my heart to beat again, vibrations swept over me, and I gently slipped out of body. This part was not new; I had slipped out of my body hundreds of times before.
Now the crowd didn't seem concerned with me; they were only concerned with that body that was lying on the floor. I realized that body had once housed me. What a concept. I felt like a camper watching his tent get destroyed from outside of it. I decided I couldn't do anything to help the crowd now, it was all up to them. It was over for me.
I watched them work on my body for a while, then I got bored with it all and left. I suddenly realized that my friends and I were a special spiritual task force for the Earth.
Somehow, I knew that there had also been a wonderful, silent astral counterpart to our group. They worked toward the same goal of spirituality, but from the other side. Even though I had never known it before, our two teams worked side by side, hand in hand. I decided that my next step should be to meet these people, and perhaps join their forces. I changed my frequency so that I would move toward their building.
I left my old friends to fend for themselves. No, I wasn't leaving them; I could never leave them. I was going to be with them. I would watch over them, protect them, and help them in our common goal. I would always be at their sides. I reached the door of the counterpart building, and I paused.
I felt happy because I was indeed alive, not dead. I felt happy because it was over; a man who is dead is indestructible. I felt happy because I didn't have to leave my friends. I could still be with them. I could still work with them, love them, help them, and watch their lives unfold. I could still send them my love, although in more subtle ways. I had the rest of eternity to regain all of those lost opportunities. Most importantly, I had given them my gift. One word: "love."
I hadn't entered death, I had entered life....
The dream ended and I woke up. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was still alive. The sun was shining and birds were chirping outside. Such a glorious new day. I was always told that if you died in your dreams, you would die in real life. Now I know that is definitely a myth. Death had been so wonderful, I'd like to do it again some time.