Have you ever had a Near Life Experience (NLE)? I bet you have and if you haven’t, you probably know someone who has. I know I’ve had it. The opposite of a Near Death Experience (NDE), an NLE is a situation where someone almost lives. Instead of sincerely living life and being awake in its moments, they live life based upon the opinions and judgments of others and not their own experiences.
Many of us are sleepwalking through our lives. There is a Zen blogger who wrote about succumbing to NLE’s and described it as not living in the moment and being distracted by our own preoccupations. I completely agree with her but I also want to take the concept of an NLE deeper and a little sideways. I believe NLE’s also means that we have designed our conclusions about life and what it should be based on what we see on TV or read in newspapers and magazines. We are so quick to judge and form an opinion but how much of it is really our opinion and not one parroted by the more popular consensus?
When do we stop designing our opinions according to the latest news or stories in the magazine or newspaper? I’m including myself in this observation of following the crowd. I know I do, but I’m breaking free of it by forming and voicing my own opinions through my writing and art and really looking at things beyond face value. Waking up from an NLE doesn’t have to always mean taking your views publically like I have, but you can clearly show it by being an example. And yes, it can be scary!
Someone I know recently said that life has a habit of prompting us to act and many times it is through illness or a traumatic event. This prompt does not have to be life-threatening event but enough of one to threaten an existing quality of life. With a direct impact immanent, we snap out of our doze and begin to take an active role in our lives and find the courage to voice our particular opinions and beliefs. We begin to live according to our life’s voice and not the voices of others.
Don’t let illness or traumatic event become the motivator. Getting out of our NLE’s doesn’t mean extreme acts such as planning a pilgrimage to Tibet or hiking Kilimanjaro (unless you want it to be!), but it does mean stepping out of our comfort zones and not being afraid to form our own opinions and beliefs. Yes, it takes courage, but it is so worth it as I am learning while I continue to wake up to life and take things deeper. Join me!