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How Reflecting Can Improve Our lives

Reports of near death experiences in the emergency room are common.  Survivor accounts of these experiences are remarkably similar to the following:

In a typical near death encounter, a man or woman is rushed into an emergency room with a serious injury or illness.  The patient loses consciousness and soon her vital signs cease.  She is now clinically dead.  As the doctors and medical personnel work feverishly to revive the patient, a curious thing happens, the patient has an unexpected encounter with the afterlife.  The patient rises out of her body and above the commotion of doctors trying to revive her assumed unconscious body.

Meanwhile, the patient can see and hear everything that is going on. She can see her fleshly body being worked on from a higher vantage point.  However, the patient’s attention is quickly taken away from the ER by a darkness.  This darkness envelopes the patient.  The patient finds herself tumbling in a dark tunnel or vortex.  At the end of this tunnel, the patient is greeted by a “being of light.”  The patient finds herself overwhelmed by feelings of peace and joy.  Then the most fascinating thing occurs.  The patient is shown a review of her life.

This life review is given in a series of three dimensional pictures from birth to the present moment.  The patient’s life review takes place in an instant (sometimes only highlights are given).  The being of light does not conduct this review with judgement or accusation.  Remember there is only love on the other side.  The life review merely gives the individual a chance to reflect on what she has done with her life.  At this point, the being of light tells the patient it is too soon, and she must return to life.  In an instant, the patient awakens, anxious to relate her story.

While near death experiences vary from person to person, this example represents a typical report.  What’s important to this article is the “life review?”  Have you ever heard someone who experienced a brush with death say, “My life flashed before my eyes.”  This person is talking about the life review.

While this will happen to each of us upon death, we should want to be prepared for it.  We want to be able to say that we lived the best life possible given our circumstances.  How many of us can say that we are totally happy with everything we have done in the past?  If you can, that is great.  For the rest of us, I propose that we start doing our own life review while we are here on Earth.

Through the process of “reflecting,” we can conduct our life review on a daily basis.  Reflecting asks us to look back on our experiences without guilt or regret, and assess our behavior.  This is not suppose to be a painful experience.  It’s meant to give us a look at the behavior that has brought to where we are.  Reflecting is a powerful, life changing tool.  The greatest thinkers in history made it a habit to reflect daily on their lives.

Reflecting is something people typically do in their later years or near the time of their death.  That is fine.  However, I think it is better to start this process at an earlier age.  It gives one the opportunity to improve on his or her character.  That is the point in life.  We should always be striving to do better.  Reflecting helps us do just that.

Reflecting must be done with intention and in a quiet place.  To engage in reflection, we try to imagine the situations we have been in recently or in the far past, and ask ourselves some thoughtful questions.  We do this one memory at a time.

In reflecting on our lives, some questions we might ask ourselves regarding a particular event are:

–          Did I do the right thing?

–          Did I do my best?

–          Did I treat the person the way I would like to be treated?

–          Did I treat the person fairly and honestly?

–          Am I satisfied with the way I behaved in the situation?

–          Would I do something differently now if I were to find myself in a similar situation?

–          How would I do things differently?

These questions will help you in your in your physical journey.  And when it comes time for your “real” life review, you will know that you did your best.  That is not to say that the life review is about how well you did.  After all, your experience is your experience.  The life review is non- judgmental.  It is about what you have learned.

The questions I listed are examples. You will come up with your questions that are useful to you.  If you feel that you did everything right in a given situation, that is perfectly fine.  Let that one go and move on to the next one.  Don’t dwell on one situation for too long.  That’s not what reflecting is all about.  It’s about learning from our experiences so that we can do better the next time.

Don’t try to measure your progress.  There is no measuring stick for this process.  There is no standard to strive for.  We are all going at our own pace.  If you decide to do this, just do the best that you can.

By David Almeida

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