The UK is focused on the passing of the Queen’s companion Philip this week. At Inspire 360 our focus was on the death of a past student, supporter, and bright light Steve Shergold. It was Steve’s idea for us to host a conference event so that we could share ideas which are just beyond the scope of NLP with more people. These ideas included the fundamental nature of consciousness and its continuation after physical death. As a society we often shy away from discussing or thinking about mortality until we are faced with death. Personally, I think we should have a more open dialogue on this subject. With that in mind, and in tribute to Steve’s passing (he loved stories), let me share a couple of true stories with you.
In March 2015 fishermen in Utah, USA found a car half submerged and upside down in a river. It looked like it had left the road near a bridge. When first responders arrived and waded out into the icy water, they heard a woman’s voice softly calling them to “Help us, help us.” All the officers heard it and they got a surge of adrenalin, which despite the icy water helped them to right the vehicle. When they did, they found an unconscious 18-month-old Lily Groesbeck strapped to her car seat inside. Her mother Lynn was pronounced dead at the scene and had been dead for hours, most likely killed during the initial accident. The voice that the officers heard wasn’t captured by their body cameras, but their unified response to the voice was. The child survived.
In the spring of 1983 Jim Sevigny and a friend were skiing in the Alps when they got caught in an avalanche. They fell 600 meters and Jim lost consciousness. When he came back round, he could tell he was seriously injured. He had broken his arm, and although he didn’t know it then, he had also broken his back in two places and had internal injuries. As he checked his friend Rick, he could tell that he was dead. He wasn’t anticipating any rescue attempt, and because of the severity of his injuries, he just lay down expecting to die. After a few minutes he began to feel warm and waited for the inevitable loss of consciousness. However, instead he heard a voice over his right shoulder and in Jim’s own words, he felt a “presence”. The voice told him that he could not die and that he should get up. He said afterwards that he never saw anything, but clearly heard a voice giving him instructions and felt this strong presence. The voice directed him to pick up certain items, like a coat and water bottle and told him which direction to set off in. Throughout the day when he fell down the voice would tell him to get up and keep going. It even told him to take blood from his face and make arrows in the snow just in case other skiers came by, so they could find him. After some time and with night approaching, he sat down wanting to get into his sleeping bag and light his stove, but unable to do either because of his injuries. Again, he thought that this was the end. At this point he saw some skiers in the distance and his guide instructed him to call out for help. As he did so the presence left him. Shortly thereafter the skiers approached, and he was rescued.
Stories like these illuminated my path and sparked my curiosity to know more. Through my own experiences, and by taking the time to explore what physics really says about the nature of reality, I believe that consciousness is fundamental. It is your consciousness that creates the experience of a physical world. Rather than the physical world creating your experience of consciousness. What this then means is, it is not the apparently physical world that is eternal, instead it is you. Connections apparently severed in physical reality by someone’s death are remade anew as your consciousness transforms and continues. There is much that we still do not understand about our physical lives, a potential continuation of consciousness, and the purpose and meaning of our lives. But I believe that there is enough information, including scientific information, for us to begin to re-frame our conception of life and death. Live your own life as fully as you can. Grow into the best version of you that you can be. This is something I urge everyone to do and was something that Steve was doing up until his passing. Mourn others when it is time for them to stop being physical and loosen the grip of fear and finality around death.
“It is not death that man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” Marcus Aurelius