Not the End

Hey everyone, I have great news.

Life after death has been explained.

Kind of.

I recently read an article entitled “Near Death, Explained.” It’s a really interesting read; I recommend it. I was fascinated to read about people who research Near Death Experiences (NDEs), and what they’ve learned from case studies.

Quick note: I’m not going to get religious or spiritual, and I’m not going to offer my own opinion on what happens when we die. Just bear with me, you’ll see where I’m going with this.

Long story short, many people who have been clinically dead and then come back to life have shared similar stories of their experiences. Even though their brains are “off” and there’s no way they could possibly see or hear, this article tells multiple stories of people who were able to describe with detail exactly what was happening during the time that they were clinically dead. We’ve all heard of this phenomenon of out-of-body experiences, and it seems that there might be a pattern to them. People also shared stories of the classic light at the end of the tunnel, and being greeted by departed relatives and then led back into life by them as well. This type of story has been around for ages; how cool would it be if there was some validity to it?

Now, it would be incredible if we discovered what happens when we die. It would also probably be terrifying. One thing that’s for sure is that it would take people ages to warm up to the idea that there’s a definitive answer, if they ever did at all. But let’s forget about this idea of finding an answer for a moment and focus on one of the really unbelievable things this article brings up. Even when these people decidedly do not have the ability to move, see, hear, or understand what’s going on, they do.

You know adrenaline? Of course you do. It’s our magic switch. Adrenaline is what we get when we are so scared that our body actually biologically responds by giving us magic go juice. If we see something heavy fall onto somebody we care about, we get so freaked out that adrenaline gives us the superhuman strength to lift it up. If we care about an interview or a performance so much that we feel sick, those nerves tell our body to release adrenaline, and it makes us perform better than ever. The fact that adrenaline exists proves that when humans are provided with a challenge, we get stronger and better because of it.

Even when there’s no adrenaline involved, challenges still make us better. Think about going through some kind of rejection or break up. Didn’t you come out stronger on the other side? Maybe a little sadder, but certainly wiser. Humans are built to be resilient; if we weren’t, our species would have given up a long time ago. Let’s face it, life is really hard.

And what do you get at the end? Death. You went through all kinds of experiences, you worked on making yourself a better person, you accomplished so much and touched so many, and at the end you just die. When you think of it that way, of course we have religion. What else would give us hope in the face of such an unceremonious ending to what was a full and vibrant story?

And of course it’s going to take a tremendous amount of research to get to a point where it’s considered fact, but there’s this idea that even in death we humans go above and beyond. What do you do when you’re scared? You overcome. What do you do when something heavy falls on your loved one? You lift it up. And what do you do when your brain is turned off? You see. You see more than ever, in fact. And if you get the gift of coming back to life afterward, you are forever changed by the experience.

So whatever this means for science or religion or life or death, let’s remember one thing. Humans are built to last. We’re built to overcome. And we’re good at it, too. One of my favorite quotes used to be, “If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” Every challenge you encounter is not over until you’ve found a way to be better because of it. It doesn’t mean that you always get what you want, but it does mean that there’s no bad thing in life that is simply bad and nothing else. There is always a way to see road bumps positively, and there’s always a way to be better because of them. We can do it, because we are human.

nottheend

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