Mindfulness – Real life stories series
We want to introduce you to this wonderful story as the first part of our new series of mindfulness related real life stories followed by practical mindfulness meditation exercises to help you live a more present centered and meaningful life.
This particular story takes us on a journey from near death to an incredibly enlightened life lived in the present moment.
A real life story – ‘How nearly drowning woke me up….’
There is much to learn from the author and I believe after reading his story you are going to have more insight into your life, as well as understand what you need to do to create a much more meaningful life for yourself and those around you.
Remember there is an energy much larger than us guiding us along a mysterious journey and there are many signs along the way that we can only follow if we are awake in the NOW.
About the author of this story
Craig Sim Webb is a widely traveled Speaker/Trainer/Author in applied psychology, communications, and optimal performance.
To learn about online teleclasses, outdoor adventure workshops and private counseling or corporate training, visit: www.craigwebb.ca
So without further delay here is Craigs real life story…
Wow…I’m Dying by Craig Sim Webb
Since childhood, I have always loved swimming, windsurfing, Scuba diving, rafting, kayaking and canoeing; if it has to do with water sports, you name it and I probably do it and love it.
A few months before I turned thirteen, I became the top 200M breaststroke swimmer in Canada for my age group. By fourteen or fifteen, I could swim two lengths of a 25-meter pool underwater without coming up for air.
Yet when someone once asked me what I thought the worst way to die was, I answered without hesitation – I most feared death by drowning.
It seemed like a strange contradiction, but I guess some things just are not logical, or at least not until we can see a bigger picture.
And so it happened that my new French roommate who guided rafting trips invited me along for a day on Quebec City’s nearby Jacques Cartier River.
It was fall, and the vibrant red, orange and yellow leaves highlighted against dark green pines smelled wonderful. They swayed in the September breeze under a warm autumn sun that sparkled off the river all around our raft.
The water was cool since the rafting season was nearly over. Without a doubt, the Jacques Cartier is a powerful, spectacular river.
After a couple of hours of white water wildness intermixed with friendly paddling chatter, the growing roar of a large oncoming rapid slowly drowned out our voices.
We grew silent and tensed excitedly as the frothing river vortex that was to change my life forever loomed closer. Our boat smacked the churning waters slightly sideways, ramming into the rushing white backflow of a huge souse hole.
The raft instantly folded like an upside-down taco and dumped most of its contents, including me.
I did not even have time for a breath before I was pulled under. I swirled about in the chilly, dark water.
My life vest propelled me toward the surface but my helmet bumped the underside of the boat. I felt a sudden stab of fear. I had no air and could not see which way to go to reach the boat’s edge, so I started heading forward, frantically trying to surface again.
Unfortunately, I must have been at one end of the raft heading toward the other end lengthwise, since it was near-impossible to see in the swirling water.
After frantically trying to pop up for air a few times, everything slowed. I do not remember even feeling the coldness of the water anymore.
A single thought washed over my whole awareness
Wow… I guess this is it – I’m dying!
Peace and Wonder
What was so surprising to me was how the gripping fear suddenly switched to an incredibly deep sense of peace, wonder, and intrigue about the whole situation. I stopped scrambling to get to the surface for a breath.
The experience had somehow become strangely very enjoyable. I guess I must have floated and swirled there for a little while. I don’t remember exactly what happened after that until somehow I was back in the boat.
I guess I eventually popped to the surface and got yanked up by someone on the raft. I don’t think my roommate guide ever even asked whether I was okay because she was too busy hauling others back into the boat and trying to steer.
Reflecting on the experience later, I began to realize that a subtle yet very profound shift had happened in those moments underwater. I was no longer afraid of drowning or really very fearful of death for that matter.
It was from that point on that very significant changes began to take place.
A Waking Dream
Many years later, after learning symbolism and developing the Lucid Living framework that I teach for more fully understanding important events, I now see the whole experience not just as a dramatic life moment but also as a powerful symbolic scenario of sorts that I call a ‘waking dream’.
That is to say that if one views the situation metaphorically, it is as though I was ‘baptized’ underwater in a sense, and freed from my fears of drowning and even somewhat of dying.
Traditional views of time might see the psychological and spiritual rebirth that I then started to undergo in my life as perhaps resulting from that event, yet as author Pat Rodegast writes…
“Life experiences are the outer symbol of what the soul wants to know.”
In other words, from a perspective free from linear, sequential chronos time, I would say that the waking event I just described was a ‘symbolic’ enactment in the physical world of a larger, deeper transformation that was already happening within me at other levels.
It was the visible tip of my inner catharsis iceberg, so to speak, and a signpost of the beginnings of a much bigger and deeper change.
A clearer understanding
When I shared this perspective with my highly respected colleague Dr. Raymond Moody whose books some of you are surely familiar with, he acknowledged that this was indeed quite a valid way to understand the event.
I will even venture to say that my future hopes and dreams for who I could someday become had somehow reached backwards across time, unconsciously guided me to Quebec City and sparked this momentous and rather grace filled life transition.
I feel much freer and fuller these days, and that awakening event became a key doorway in my past through which my present reality and fullness of life first really became possible.
Shortly after my powerful ‘submersion’ experience, school break began and I suddenly started remembering up to ten (!) dreams a day.
Yes, sometimes ten or more – and many of them often well past lunch and even into following days!
Curiosity took hold
This shocked and amazed me, yet I was very curious, so like a good little scientist, I started logging these dreams in a notebook to see what might emerge from it all.
Within a week of starting the notebook, I tried a mental technique one night that I had previously developed on my own for reminding myself of things, and I underwent the most incredible experience.
I later learned that it was called a lucid (i.e. conscious) dream. I knew during the dream that ‘I’ was dreaming, while my physical body continued to sleep soundly in bed.
The experience did not last long, but it truly astounded me, and made me realize that physical life is really just one station on a larger dial of experience.
The following months and years
In the weeks and months after that, more lucid dreams and many other unusual perceptions and other mind-blowing experiences followed that were shocking, very intriguing, and mostly way outside of everything I knew at that time.
These experiences radically and quite abruptly transformed and expanded my whole view of the world, of life, and of who “I” am.
To make a long and quite adventurous story short, I spent the years since then exploring various aspects of life that my traditional education did not train me in.
I volunteered at Montreal’s suicide action hotline and learned how to avoid reacting to stressful emotional situations.
Sometimes I would get repeat ‘troublemaker’ callers to laugh at jokes rather than getting caught in their anger or being led along by their false stories.
A couple of times at least I was able to get emergency help for people in the middle of a suicide attempt who may have otherwise lost their lives.
At 25, I traveled to Ecuador for 6 months to work as a third world development volunteer, and I discovered from an outside perspective what our culture is like – and it was quite an eye-opener!
For my education, I finished my physics degree and also continued to integrate my inner explorations with dreams into a more comprehensive view of objective and subjective science.
I also had the great blessing to have three guidance dreams that encouraged me to learn non-violent communication, and I am very thankful that I followed them.
That communications training, which I studied closely for 7 years, has been such a blessing.
It has not only immeasurably helped my personal and professional relationships, but the core perspective that it offers has also allowed me to be much more present and peaceful in tough emotional scenarios because it allows me to always see the true, beautiful intentions behind everyone’s actions and know without a doubt that we are all essentially good at heart, though occasionally stuck with rather poor strategies for trying to meet our needs.
Dealing with presence and mindfulness using Biofeedback
Another mind-body healing and optimal performance modality I have trained since college that helps a great deal with presence and mindfulness is biofeedback.
Specialized equipment that monitors breathing, heart rate, brainwaves, hand temperature and other physiological measures has permitted myself and clients to physiologically train skills such as focused attention, quiet mind, creativity, deep peace and presence, and much more.
For example, one very simple mindfulness technique anyone can use when stressful moments occur is to breathe deeply from the diaphragm six times per minute.
This breathing frequency affects the heart in a unique manner that helps to bring about mind-body harmony and a more centered perspective.
Don’t sit on the sidelines waiting
I realized early on that nobody else was really going to make my life the amazing adventure I hoped it could be, so I decided I would not sit on the sidelines waiting.
Many times I have felt lost, or been immobilized by fear. That I broke through these darker moments is often because I took initiative and moved forward ‘anyway’, pep-talking myself into finding creative ways to surmount difficult obstacles and empathizing with myself after major disappointments so that I could find the perseverance to pick myself up and continue.
Yet I must also acknowledge that there are far too many times to count where I have been supported by friends, family, or by other forms of the amazing grace that has so often helped me through.
Your inner GPS
What has really been most valuable is to have the “inner GPS” guidance that my dreams offer me every day as to what choices and projects will be the most fulfilling, how to navigate relationship challenges as well as possible, and essentially how to love myself as deeply as I now do, even with all my personal peculiarities and continuing challenges.
I have so much still to learn, but the inner dream/intuition compass has helped immeasurably to heal serious digestion troubles naturally, resolve painful relationship conflicts, write new songs, make very lucrative business decisions, and advance organically along my path of personal evolution.
I am very grateful to now be fortunate enough to enjoy the role of training both individuals and companies how to take more advantage of all the processes I have mentioned to improve health, peace of mind, team synergy, and personal and professional success, and also to be a performing/recording artist and corporate edutainer.
We must have courage to face whatever is present. –Jack Kornfield
Mindfulness meditation exercises for you to try
Below you will find specific quotes, meditations and practical mindfulness meditation exercises that you can use to awaken to the NOW and begin living the life that awaits you.
When we wake up and recognize that the present will guide us to where we belong, then and only then can you recognize the full potential that is patiently awaiting deep within your soul.
Mindfulness allows you to blossom and fulfill the dreams that you have been pursuing since you were brought into this world.
Exercise 1 – Meditation
Fear is merely an illusion fabricated by our ego to stop us from truly manifesting our true purpose and meaning in life.
All that is contained within us is within our reach when we decide to stop paying attention to the ego and travel forward with courage and faith in the Universe.
The ego’s foremost goal is to hold us back from peace and from living a fulfilled life. If you choose to follow the ego, you are abandoning the perfect life that is meant for you. If you choose otherwise you are in for an exciting adventure.
Do It Now
Only you can stop the unfolding of pure bliss in your life. It is you who allows the ego to sabotage your life.
And it is you who can throw the ego’s chains aside and run freely.
Shed these chains NOW and celebrate your new-found independence.
There is only one problem with saving your dream for someday. Someday will always remain in the future. – Anonymous
Exercise 2 – Meditation
Whatever your dreams may be, start to realize them Now. Give yourself what you deserve today.
If you dream to go to a tropical island, plan the trip. If you want to change careers, start the process. This life is yours and it is intended to be a magnificent voyage.
Open your mind and get rid of the fortifications that prevent you from experiencing your imaginings and soul-felt desires.
Begin to take action to live the life you are destined to live.
Visualize the results and goals, sense success deep within you, and truly recognize that you can have anything you yearn for as long as you have the passion and determination to discover your tremendous abilities and power in life.
Do It Now
Go forth Now and manifest all the dreams that your being desires.
Begin to visualize your dreams and use all your senses to feel and experience meeting your highest goals.
Your dreams will come true if you stop sabotaging yourself and let life guide you along the journey.
The unhappiest of mortals is that man who insists upon reliving the past, over and over in imagination—continually criticizing himself for past mistakes—continually condemning himself for past sins.” – Maxwell Maltz
Exercise 3 – Meditation
Freedom from the past is only accomplished by your own doing.
You and you alone have the choice and ability to either torture yourself for being human or forgive yourself for your mortality and imperfection.
This is when you will truly be able to live in the present moment where life really exists.
Forgiveness of yourself is necessary if you plan to have peace, serenity, and any form of genuine happiness. Allow yourself to heal the pain of the past and move along your course to tranquility and joyous living.
It is quite senseless to continue to permit the past, which cannot be changed, to dictate your present state of living.
If you feel the need to experience guilt, remorse, and regret, that’s fine; however, experience it once or twice, learn the lesson intended and move forward.
There is no productivity in feeling this pain 147,000 times over a 30-year period.
Do It Now
Forgive yourself, Right Now by writing down the details of how the past is chaining you there and taking life away from you each and every moment.
Discuss this list with someone you trust and then burn it as a sacred ritual and your rebirth will begin Right Now in this very moment.
The more you project the past upon the present, the more miserable and caged you will become. The fact remains that you did the best you could with what you had at any given time in the past.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. – Goethe
Exercise 4 – Meditation
There is no difference between you and all the other exceptional individuals throughout history who have achieved their greatest dreams and created the lives they imagined.
You have this innate genius within you that is waiting to be born and waiting to give birth to a transformation in your life and the world.
You have miracles housed within your being, and it is Now time to unleash them into the Universe.
Do It Now
If you can dream it, you can achieve it!
There are so many people in this Universe who keep their dreams buried within their beings. This is not fair to humanity or the world.
The Universe deserves to see and feel the product of your imagination. It is your duty to manifest that which will benefit the world. Wake up your unique genius and share it with all of humanity.
Let us know
Please let us know in the comments below how a near death experience or life changing occurrence has changed your life?
Has Mindfulness & Meditation also played a big part in changing your path in life?
What mindfulness meditation exercises do you use.
We’d love to hear any feedback….
Want to learn more about Meditation, looking for Tips? Check out our ‘How to start Meditating guide – Tips from the Experts’