Forget your Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawkins and the ‘when you’re dead, you’re dead’ theory and you can put aside most religious ideas as well, as I had a tiny insight into what may happen once I die and it’s changed the way I view life.
I spent four years subjecting myself to different experiences to see what kind of insights I could get and while I didn’t have a Near Death Experience, I did have some moments where I had to seriously question everything we’ve been taught. And I mean everything, from religion, to school, to society to even what our parents taught us. But when it came time to write a book about the entire experience, three major things jumped out at me, three things that we never do enough of, yet are so vital in leading balanced, healthy happy life.
- Imagination: As kids we’re told to sit up straight, eyes forward and stop daydreaming. That is one of the most damaging thing you can say to a kid because as we grow into adults we forget how to let our imagination guide our inspiration and motivation. Learn to lie on the grass and let your imagination run wild as it’s in those moments stress drops away, inspiration nestles on your forehead and you’re suddenly connecting to the wider universe. Be playful and boundless with your imagination as there are literally no limits in the universe, only the ones we put on ourselves.
- Creativity and self expression: Don’t put off doing that art course or cooking class. Find out what you love doing and just do it. It feels good to express your creative side and when you feel good, you make other people feel the same. People who don’t express themselves end up being uptight, hold negative energy in their bodies and become resentful of the world. So do some gardening, sing while cooking, take lots of silly photos, dance around like an idiot and let your creative side flourish.
- Love: I’m not talking about your dizzying falling head over heels in love kind of love; I’m talking about the unconditional love thing, where you are loved for who you are, with no expectations, no judgements, where you are accepted and loved unconditionally. And it’s a love that nurtures you, protects you, let’s you know you’re safe and most importantly you’re not alone. But where do you find this love? When you’re quiet and still, you can feel the love in your heart. It might be hiding behind layers of sadness and heartbreak, but it’s there. You can find it in meditation, nature, a walk along the beach, when you hug a tree or in the smile of a baby. It’s hard to get this kind of love from other people as they don’t know where it is either because they can’t see it in themselves so it’s best to rely on nature, small children and quiet moments.
I try and integrate these things into my everyday life, not always successfully, but it’s worth the effort, not just for myself but for the rest of the world. When I had the small insight that the afterlife, might well be full of love, creativity and imagination it filled me with a wonderful joy and made me more conscious about living a good life here and now.
Josh Langley is an award winning radio copywriter based in the South West of Western Australia and the author of Frog and the Well: Unconventional Happiness (Big Sky Publishing 2011) and Follow Your heart: Everyday Wisdom for an Extraordinary Life (Big Sky Publishing 2012).
He Illustrates the Frog and the Well comic strip and also writes about happiness and the meaning of life for various magazines and websites including Living Now, MIndBodyGreen.com, OM Times and Bubhub.com. His new book Dying to Know – Is there life after Death? (Big Sky Publishing 2014) is a humorous and insightful travelogue of his journey to find out if there really is life after death.