Demons Tearing Your Life Apart

I was taken to the hospital on Wed (2/23) morning and do not recall anything from that day. I know that I was hooked up to a respirator and a bunch of other machines. When I first woke up I thought that I was dead and I had gone to hell. Seriously. I didn’t have much energy but with the little bit I did have I sat up in bed and ripped off IV tubes, wires, and anything attached to me. Then I looked at my nurse and said, “I’m dead.” She told me that I wasn’t dead. I collapsed back to the bed and don’t remember anything again for a few hours.

The next time I woke up I was in restraints which I was not happy about. Apparently, I also tried to punch a nurse. I couldn’t move and every hour a nurse came by to poke me with a needle – and there was nothing I could do about it. Sartre once said that hell was “other people” – I now know that hell is a personal creation all our own.

My own personal hell consisted in this scenario with the further terrifying realization that this would never end – it would continue on eternally. I had read up on eternity and understood, even when I woke up, that ‘eternity’ is not even a measure of time – it’s beyond time. An infinite number of universes could come and go and still be within the realm of eternity. It was truly horrifying.

I was finally conscious enough to recognize Chris standing by my bed (and who also called 911). It was only then that I realized that the doctors and nurses were not trying to hurt me; they were trying to help me. Like Bergson said, “The eyes can see only what the mind can comprehend.” Once I realized that I wasn’t dead, I began seeing friends and family in the room. They must have been there all along to help me. I was holding on and something in me didn’t want to die. Like Jacob’s doctor says in Jacob’s Ladder, “If you’re holding on and afraid of dying, you’ll see demons tearing your life apart. If you’ve made your peace, then the demons are really angels freeing you from the world.”

Even now, after only one week out of the hospital the inertia of life moves on. Those around me, full of the best of intentions, are locking the overhead bar into place and strapping me in. I can feel myself sliding back in my seat and I hear the familiar ‘click, click, click’ under my feet as the roller coaster begins its assent. I think I’ve been here before.

6 comments On Demons Tearing Your Life Apart

  • Matthew,

    I am glad to hear you are back here with us. I think there is likely still more for you to do before you have your peace.

    You have had a profound effect on me, yet we have never met in person. You likely will never know how you have affected me, but you have affected me none the less. In a “word”, you have helped me find my peace. You did it months ago (July 14 of last year, if my email history is to be trusted). I cannot thank you enough for that, but I know it is not my role to thank you.

    I have no idea what events brought you to this point, and, to be honest, I don’t think it really matters. I do feel, though, that I should share with you what has happened to me. Perhaps you can identify with some of my experiences, and perhaps I *can* return the gift you entrusted to me. I have rarely discussed these events to anyone, and never in these terms. So now I decide to relay them to you, on a public blog on the Internet.

    Some 16 years ago, I was well into my quest to discover the meaning to life, or at least as it relates to me. As part of my journey, I had begun experimenting with, among other things, LSD. Since my early childhood, I was a self-described “devout atheist”, and perhaps this part of my quest was part of some desire to find some personal meaning to my place in the world (although I would have denied that ardently at the time). Well, my journey took me to a reunion with my high school friends over Thanksgiving. Over that Thanksgiving, interestingly enough (given your reference to the movie, that is), we had just gone to an early screening of Jacob’s Ladder. That evening, after the movie, a group of us took a dose of LSD. Instead of the normal 10-12 hour trip typical with LSD, my trip lasted 5 days without literally any sleep, and ended with a week-long hospitalization in a psych ward, where I was tranquilized to sleep and placed on massive doses of antipsychotics.

    You see, this was the second of many times that I “died” (yes, it felt as a literal death each time). Since it was not the first, I do not think it was a subconscious replay of the events from the movie, although I am certain that one or more of the creative forces behind the movie had experienced the same things I experienced that trip. This wasn’t the first time, but it was far more intense, and lengthy, than the first time.

    After sobering up (I gave up drinking and all drugs), I “died” again two more times within the next year and a half. Both of the first two times, I had written it off as a bad trip. These next two times, I simply could not write it off as a bad trip. Something was happening to me that was far beyond my control, something I could not write off as a bad side effect of 100 micrograms of a special little molecule.

    After the last hospitalization, I received a new diagnosis of severe manic depression. This diagnosis comforted me greatly, for it provided options for treatment. These days, I’m not so sure that MD caused these events, although it seems a reasonable enough conclusion.

    Since 1991, I have “died” multiple times again, although each time since I have been able to avoid hospitalization. I remained lucid during each of these “deaths”, and have complete memories of each of them. Each time I have gained significant insights to myself. For that reason, I no longer consider these events to be negative events in my life. In fact, I now believe that these events were inevitable, and they have made profound contributions to my beliefs and even my very soul. They have shaped me, and I have become a better person for them.

    The most recent occurance happened only a few weeks after I found your website. I am certain this is the last one I will ever have. Through my last “death” (which lasted only about 10 minutes), and, in large part, due to the readings on your website and the additional research your website inspired in me, I now have my inner peace. I know why I am here. I know, in my mind, what the reason for life, the universe, and everything is. I no longer consider myself a “devout atheist”, although I would have a very hard time explaining exactly what I would consider myself these days (not that it really matters anyway).

    One of the primary lessons I learned from you (yes, really) can best be summarized by a quote that I imagine you are very fond of. “Follow the bliss”. I think that is very good advice. I do not pretend to know you well, but I imagine you to be very much like me in many ways. My human suffering came as a result of my efforts to make my life what I thought it should be. Instead, I need to stop trying to make, and instead try to follow. Follow the bliss. Amazing opportunities for everything that I want (or think I want) abound; all I need to do is be aware of them and to sieze them.

    I have often wondered to myself what my role in life is, if any. I have often wondered, even, if I am fundamentally a good person or a bad person. I clearly have also wondered if there is a God. I now have my answers to these things.

    This is my understanding. To borrow from Islam, “Allah akhbar”. God is great. God is everywhere. God is everything. There is no separation between myself and God. As such, it is hard to fathom a God as a separate entity. If God is everywhere and everything, then I am God. As such, the distinction between man and God is irrelevant. Additionally, my prior devout atheism is actually quite correct; if God is everywhere and everything, then God is not a separate entity or thing to be believed or disbelieved. As such, there is no distinction between any of the world’s religions. Each is merely a person’s personal understanding and experience with respect to God. You can just as easily replace “God” in these sentences with the principles of quantum physics. As a result, these observations, that God is great, can be seen in all the world’s religions. The distinction of Christ as The Son of God, as a part of God, is completely accurate, as God is everywhere and everything. Just as Christ *is* God, you and I are God. The same can be said of Buddha, Mohammed, Abraham, or of the Hindu gods.

    Synchronicity, as described by Rupert Sheldrake, is just a manifestation of this interconnectedness. As are our dreams, as described by Carl Jung. Spring theory and quantum mechanics are yet more observations of these things. Things happen in this world for a reason. Of that I am certain. It was not by chance that I was introduced to your website. It was not by chance that I watched Jacob’s Ladder before my first hospitalization. It is not by chance that I decided to visit your website tonight, after many months since my last reading of it.

    I have two take-aways from my experiences. The first is to follow the bliss. I now regularly remind myself to follow the bliss. The second is that we are all God, and that God is everywhere and everything. I–we–need to realize this, and to act as if this is the case. I believe all of the angst we are now seeing in the world would go away if we simply acted as if this were the case. If we, the citizens of the world, could act in this manner, the biblical world of Eden would be returned to us. Heaven truly is here on Earth, if only we simply would realize this.

    I no longer need to “die”, since the very reason I “died” each of the prior times was so that I could come to this realization. That is why I am certain I will not “die” again. It is also why, when my time comes, I do not think I will have any fear of my actual physical death.

    I hope this helps you or one of your readers. If not, that is fine, too. Hang in there. You’ve had a profound effect on the world, and the world would be a worse place without your company.

  • Flabbergasted. Simpleton, I know this was a message to Matt. I have never met you before. Although, if I had the opportunity to meet you I think it would be pleasure. This is awesome man and it speaks to me. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience(s). I lack the further education to reference Jung and Sheldrake other than what Matt has shared with me (many a time and put into my terms {simple}) but WOW. I feel as if I just read something from someone that is on the same page but with more experience and learning around these things. I have been there (confusion with God, religion and ‘experimenting’) and am working my way back slowly. As I said, I know I am being selfish with your post but thank you. Reminds me of some times eh Matt?

  • Honestly, if it spoke to you, then it was written for you. I think many things happen for reasons beyond coincidence. I probably got more out of writing it than anyone will reading it.

  • ‘I think many things happen for reasons beyond coincidence.’

    Agreed.

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