When Fyodor thought he was dying...

Fyodor Dostoevsky told the story of the time he was arrested by the czar, and sentenced to die. The czar played a cruel psychological trick on people who rebelled against his regime by blindfolding them and standing them in front of a firing squad. They heard gunshots go off but felt nothing, then slowly realized the guns were loaded with blanks.
The emotional trauma that went with the process of dying, without experiencing death, had a transforming effect on people. It certainly had an incredible effect on Dostoevsky. He talked about waking up the morning of his mock execution with full assurance that that would be the last day of his life.
As he ate his last meal, he savored every bite.
Every breath of air he took was taken with an awareness of how precious it was. Every face he saw that day he studied with intensity.
He wanted every experience etched on his mind.
As they marched him onto the courtyard, he felt the sun beating down on him and he appreciated the warmth of the sun as never before.
Everything around him seemed to have a magical quality to it.
All of his senses were heightened. He was fully alive!
After his captors removed his blindfold and he realized he had not been shot, everything about him changed. He became grateful to people he had previously hated. He became thankful for everything about life, but especially for life itself. Dostoevsky claims that it was this experience that made him into a novelist and raised his sensitivities so that he could perceive dimensions of reality never known to him. In the moments leading up to his death, he saw the world as he had never been able to see it before.

Live Like You Were Dying is about those moments.

PS Dostoevsky went on to write "The Brothers Karamazov" and "Crime and Punishment"- considered some of the greatest novels ever written.

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