Anesthesia, Like Sleep, a Loss of Consciousness (or Small Deaths)

Linda Gedde’s article “Banishing Consciousness: The Mystery of Anesthesia” looks at how anesthetists don’t know how exactly or what exactly anesthesia does to our consciousness. It’s similar to being in a coma. In fact, it’s a medically induced coma. It’s as if you die and come back to life. Speaking of her own experience going under, Gedda says, “For a brief period of time “‘I’ had simply ceased to be.”

“My experience leaves me with a renewed sense of awe for what anaesthetists do as a matter of routine. Without really understanding how, they guide hundreds of millions of people a year as close to the brink of nothingness as it is possible to go without dying. Then they bring them safely back home again.”

This reminds me of the Modeh Ani, a Jewish prayer one says in bed when they wake up.

“I thank you living and eternal King for giving me my soul back in mercy. Great is your faithfulness.”

It is based on the idea that when we fall asleep we are in a sense dead, but when we wake God restores our soul. We are restored by God as a new creation.

If we continue praying we’ll reach the Elohai Neshama where we pray “The soul you placed within me is pure. You created it. You formed it. And you breathed it into me.” If we are saying this in Hebrew we breath out the word “neshama”, exercising this gift of life from God. Life created with His breath.

A daily resurrection.

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