The essential work of life

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I met a man once who’d had a near-death experience, he almost drowned. He was very happy going down the tunnel of light into the great embrace of love that he perceived to be drawing him. Presumably he was thrashing around in the water physically trying to survive, but actually, in the depths of his consciousness, he was having a great time. Anyway, he got the message that it wasn’t his time so he came back. He came back first of all without a fear of death, and that changed his life, but also with a conviction that he had a work to do, he had something to complete. And he was a bit anxious about what he should do with his life now. I think he was thinking primarily in terms of what kind of job he should do or where he should live, various external aspects of the work he should do, but I think what he needed to find was the interior meaning of that work. What he needed, what we all need, is to find ourselves. That is the essential work of life.

Laurence Freeman, OSB


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