Still Me


During the three days between finishing high school and attending graduation, my friends and I decided to go tubing down the river. After being on the river for many hours, we got to a small waterfall, which I was familiar with having camped next to it for a full week the previous year. During that week, we went over the water fall so many times that we got to the point where we could go over without holding on to the tube. The waterfall was relatively small, with a drop of maybe four or five feet. So I tell my friends, "Look, I can go over with no hands!" Big mistake! I hit the river below, fell over backwards, and entered the undertow of the waterfall.

Now when you get caught in the undertow of a waterfall, you're supposed to swim down and around. But when I was in that situation all I knew is that I had to reach the surface, so I attempted to swim up to the surface. The first time I tried, the force of the waterfall pushed me back down. I tried a second time, same result. At that point I knew I was in trouble, and probably had only one more shot at getting out. I tried a third time with the same result. The force of the waterfall/undertow forced me back down. I couldn't hold my breath any longer and I didn't have the energy to try again, so I inhaled.

As soon as I started to breathe water, my body began to slow down quickly and I realized that I wasn't going to escape. My last thought right before my spirit left the body was "Huh! Dying's not so bad after all!" There was just a moment of panic, then acceptance, and my spirit was out of the body, seeming to leave through the top of my head.

I had a brief glimpse from above, of my body suspended in the river, longish hair floating in the water. The next thing I knew, I was in outer space. There were no stars, just me and this glowing entity (my life). I call this entity the "space slug" because it had kind of an elongated aspect. It was every experience I have ever had. We experience reality in three dimensions tied together with time, which made it a four dimensional object. I remember thinking, wow look at that...four dimensions!

It should be mentioned that I was still me. I never once stopped being me, nor did I lose consciousness. All I really lost was my body. My body died; I went on, and I was still me.

So I'm out in this void, looking down at my life. I noticed that I could take in everything I've ever experienced in my entire life-- every tree, every wave, every chalkboard--all at once, and it didn't seem like all that much. It was what it was. I had the insight that we are so much more than we think we are. In a human body, our capacity for information is extremely limited compared to what we can handle in spirit form. I also noticed that some memories, or life experiences I should say, were brighter, or stood out from the rest. This inspired another insight: We live our lives for just a few special moments and the rest is really filler.

It seemed like I was just getting settled down to start examining my life in detail when there was a large sucking sensation, and I found myself back in my body. A friend coming down the river saw my hair floating in the water, and pulled me out by it. I coughed up what seemed like gallons of river water, then went down the river. I spent all night sitting by the campfire, taking very, very small breaths, as my lungs were pretty damaged by the water I had inhaled. But, I was with my basketball and football friends, so obviously I couldn't let anyone know that I was hurting. That's just how an 18 year old boy thinks!

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