Dr. Bruce Greyson 


After
~a book excerpt~

John Wren-Lewis was poisoned by a would-be thief on a bus traveling across Thailand with his wife, Ann Faraday. After a while, Ann noticed with alarm that John was blue around the lips and she couldn't feel his pulse. She managed to get them a ride to a nearby hospital, where the doctors were not hopeful of saving him. Assuming that he had been drugged - a common tactic of thieves in that region - they gave him an antidote to narcotics, oxygen, and an intravenous drip. He revived about seven hours later, after a profoundly moving NDE, in a state of what he called "eternity consciousness." He described for me his heightened appreciation for life, which stayed with him for the rest of his life:

"Although I get more pleasure than before from 'good' experiences like sunsets, bird song, great art, pleasant people, or delicious food, I also get as much pleasure from things which in my old state I would have called unpleasant: for example, the Thai hospital room, or a very wet day, or a heavy cold. This last discovery that I could positively enjoy a cold not merely wallow in the indulgence of a day in bed but really get a kick from the unusual sensations in my nose and throat - was a big surprise.

"Around that time, I found that the tinnitus, the hissing in the ears from which I have suffered for some years, had changed from being a mild annoyance, which I could at best manage to forget at times, to a positively delightful sound, which I welcomed as an old friend whenever it forced itself on my attention. I also actually started to enjoy tiredness and the many minor pains that afflict a 60-year-old body."

Understanding that these experiences can lead people to approach every day as if it might be their last may help us to fill each day not only with obligations but also with joy, knowing that there might not be a second chance.

As poet Patricia Clafford put it, "The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work." Living fully in the moment doesn't mean never planning for the future or remembering the past. It means being fully in the present while you are planning or remembering, and letting yourself get completely engrossed in your experience of the moment.

* * *

From After: A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about Life and Beyond

by Bruce Greyson.
Copyright 2021 by the author
and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Publishing Group.