Near Death Experiences
Near death experiences (NDEs)
Near Death experiences teach us so about our Spiritual nature and also how to live this life.
Common things reported by people who have had them:
You are loved unconditionally
The purpose of life is to learn to love unconditionally and gain experiences
Total acceptance - no judgement. People are shown the moral perspective of thoughts and deeds, but always from a gentle and loving perspective: "You were only learning"
Time doesn’t exist as we know it
We are beings of light, and part of a single whole
Can you learn to love as unconditionally as you are loved?
What is an NDE?
These are experiences of generally expanded awareness when the body has just "died". Through illness or an accident, the heart stops, the brain closes down and the person then starts to perceive things that according to traditional neuroscience should be impossible.
A typical scenario would be a cardiac arrest patient leaving his body, seeing the commotion in a very impassive way, thinking thoughts such as "What are they worried about, I'm fine". They may see the attempts to resuscitate them. They feel a tremendous sense of peace and expanded awareness. Curiously many will feel at least initially, a dissociation of emotion from their loved ones, knowing that they will be alright, so it's ok to move on. They may meet a deceased relative who leads them through a tunnel into a bright light, where they might meet someone who represents to them, the divine. They may have a life review in which each action and thought is relived from all perspectives simultaneously. It happens quickly yet they have time to contemplate on any thoughts or actions, understanding the right or wrong, feeling the effects from the other person's point of view. They may choose to return, they may get a choice, they may suddenly be concerned about who is going to look after a child, or they may just be told it's not their time yet, and suddenly they return.
NDE's are not rare
A Gallup poll done in America in 1992 estimated that 13 million Americans had had NDE’s: About 740 per day and 4% of the population.
A powerful phenomenon
What we have here with NDEs is a phenomenon that has been written about since 400BC , instils profound and beneficial changes on those who experience them, personally or vicariously and is similar regardless of culture or religion. The NDEs of children who could not possibly have read anything about them are similar to those of adults. Blind people have similar experiences. Many occur under anaesthetic which is designed specifically to make people unconscious; they occur when the brain is clinically dead, in a state where hallucinations are just not possible. Scientists have recognised their existence and verified the parts of them that they can. The messages are simple, clear and consistent and make sense.
And there is no conventional explanation.
It was Raymond Moody who first coined the phrase in his book Life after Life in 1975, but the actual experiences have been going on since humans started “nearly dying”. Plato was the first to write about them, and reports have been in literature ever since: for instance, the Tibetan book of the death and Swedenborg in the 17th Century. Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort (who is famous for The Beaufort Scale of wind strength -"Force 9" "Force 5" etc) in 1849 described his experience as a young man of nearly drowning in Portsmouth harbour.
“From the moment that all exertion had ceased, a calm feeling of the most perfect tranquillity superseded the previous tumultuous sensations… though the senses were deadened, not so the mind; it’s activity seemed to be invigorated, in a ratio which defies all description… The whole period of my existence seemed to be placed before me in a kind of panoramic review, and each act of it seemed to be accompanied by a consciousness of right or wrong…
Raymond Moody interviewed about 150 people and identified patterns within the experiences. He found 12-15 things that were commonly reported:
Ineffability - words being totally inadequate for conveying their experience
A feeling of peace - without pain
An awareness of being dead
An out of body experience
Going through a dark space or a tunnel
The perception of an unearthly environment
Meeting and communicating with deceased people
Meeting a bright light
Panoramic Life review
Preview or flash forward
Conscious return to the body
Raymond Moody’s book sparked a plethora of research: Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, John Audette, Bruce Greyson, Kenneth Ring, Michael Sabom, Melvin Morse, Jeffrey Long, were amongst the first and more recently Pim Van Lommel and Sam Parnia.
The main point is that those who investigate NDE's come up with the same findings. Progressive studies report the same findings as the anecdotal reports.
The IANDS (International Association for Near Death Studies) was founded in 1978 which also funds research and produces a quarterly peer reviewed Journal of Near-death studies and independently Jeffrey Long founded the NDERF, (The near death experience research foundation). Jeffrey Long now has over 4000 accounts of NDE’s in his database.
Penny Sartori was a nurse whose interest was triggered by her experiences with patients. She went on to do a PhD in Near Death experiences and now gives talks and has written several books. After 8 or so years studying them she has this to say about NDE’s:
“The crucial point I want to make … is that NDEs undoubtedly occur and have very real, life-changing effects on those who have them. Further to that, the wisdom gained during the NDE can be life enhancing and have hugely positive effects on those who have not experienced an NDE – all we have to do is take notice and hear what these people have to say.
The biggest thing I have learned since undertaking my research is not about death but about life. With our current technology and consumerist, materialist way of life, we have forgotten the most important thing – how to live.”
Anita Moorjani’s NDE is one of the most well known and documented. The medical reports of her Lymphoma that she fought for 4 years are available on the web. She passed over and witnessed everything that was going on. She was even aware of her brother boarding a plane in a different country. She witnessed the procedures being done to her body, and the conversations the doctor had with her husband.
She met her deceased father who told her that it wasn’t her time yet. She said how lovely it was to be home, and this is so common. Most people report the feeling of being home, the increased reality, the sense of being woken up from a dream. His reply needs thinking about, so ponder on this: He said “but you always were”.
She was given the option of staying or returning. She saw the benefits of returning, so despite a tremendous desire to stay came back.
“Good morning Dr Chang” she said. The doctor was stunned. “How did you know my name”? When you came into the hospital you were in a coma, unconscious. “You were the one who drained my lungs last night”. Her husband also questioned how she could have known “He was the one who told you I only had hours to live”. “But that was in a different room 40 yards down the corridor”.
And what is particularly incredible is that after fighting this disease for 4 years. It was gone in 2 weeks and she was discharged in 5. When it comes back for a second time, Hodgkin Lymphoma is really hard to get rid of. I know. It’s what killed my wife, so for it just to clear up and go so quickly is nothing short of miraculous. But think about what made it go. A dramatic change of mindset certainly, but in essence nothing more than a change of mindset.
Anita herself says that she now knows what caused her illness. It was the fear of living caused by the cumulative effect of various experiences in her life.
Her message is that we are loved unconditionally. Life is a gift. Live it to the full, fearlessly. Love yourself as well as others.
Science can’t prove all of this type of experience but it can and has provided overwhelming evidence for some of it. There are so many accounts of the patient accurately describing what went on in the operating theatre. The latest research by Sam Parnia published in 2014 involved the clinical observation of patients undergoing cardiac arrest. 40% showed awareness of things around them when technically it should have been impossible, and one had a fully blown NDE and was able to describe the events which happened and which were fully corroborated. His brain had shut down. He was clinically dead.
Showing yet again that consciousness exists separately from the body.
One of the common features is that the experiences that they have can’t be put into words. There are no words to describe it. The human brain is not capable of understanding some of the concepts, and many feel there is no point even in trying to describe it.
Sean Maddens’ experience is as involved as any and has the most amazing messages.
“Imagine a being, of pure light, thousands of times brighter than the sun; whose countenance is pure love. And once surrounded by this being's light and love, you become a part of this being - eternally and irrevocably united in some way to this wonderful light. Imagine a being whose sole concern is for your welfare and your every need: who will 'wipe every teardrop' from your eyes and surround you in immeasurable peace and bliss. A being who radiates perfect knowledge of you and of all mystery. A being of infinite majesty and yet humble enough to entertain our presence and sincerely care for us as no human could..”
He was out running one evening and ended up on a narrow country road with cars speeding past in the dark. So he tried to get off the road and into a field. He tore his arm lengthways up from the wrist on barbed wire.
“I saw a beautiful orchard and beings…
..As I neared the beautiful orchard, I came to a cold stream, I knew as if being told, I can never come back if I cross this stream, I didn't like my life so far, so I battled against it fiercely but found I couldn't cross it. “
He then met a being of light.
“It [the light] started to envelope me with love. It was alive! It spoke to me, it worshipped me and everything
about me. I said about prayers to St Augustine and it wasn't interested, it didn't want to know how many Hail Marys I had said but only
"How much love was in my heart?"
"How was my spiritual life on Earth?"
For a week or two I could see in the dark I had the light talking to me and I could read the thoughts of people around me. The memory is irrevocable, cannot be effaced, but always inspires; and helps to heal the injuries of life's trauma. Evil wasn't what people normally see as evil, instead the dirt of people was their anger or spite or because they were envious.
“The light is all there is and we are all made of it. There really is only one person and that's the light. Ego may seem to say "I exist too" but the ego is only an idea of separation from the light, which in my NDE showed me that we are all one with it. One day everyone will realize this.”
Rachel here, was in the process of giving birth, when she lost a lot of blood. She says:
I briefly hovered over my newborn baby, hoped she'd remember me, then I was travelling.
It felt like I was shooting through a tunnel, but I couldn't see any sides to it. It was dark, but illuminated. I was not alone; I could sense a presence with me. I was tumbling, forward/upward at an unfathomable speed. It felt like wind. All throughout me. Inside of me. I likened it at that age to being on a roller-coaster, that rushing feeling. It was wonderful. I felt so light, so free. Simultaneously, I experienced this fully and watched myself experience this with clear vision from a little distance. I can still see myself tumbling if I concentrate on the memory.
As if I were staring at a giant screen that filled the whole of every which way I turned. The 'movie' was my life from (start of life) to death, every minute of it, every event I had ever experienced. I watched it and I relived it. It was at this point I realized that time did no longer appear to me as it had in my body. It was as if I were projected into a moment, or dragged through time, backwards before forwards, to re-feel. I witnessed at this point, the sexual abuse I had experienced and suppressed as a young child, as well as out of body experiences I had at this time and at night when I was lying in my bed. I could see myself flying out of body and I remembered.
I watched my own poor mistakes and learnt from every re-living. I watched myself as a child, bitten by a guinea-pig and in shock, half launch it onto the sofa. I felt shame at this time. Because I felt the fear of the guinea-pig. No one condemned me. I was asked only, what I had learnt. I was comforted at this time. Consoled and reassured. I had learnt so much. How big an impact my seemingly small actions had on a large scale. How my choices and behaviour rippled through the lives of countless others. How the Love I showed spread like wildfire. How the way I mistreated others, deeply hurt and affected them and also how that pain, fear and confusion would then impact the lives of others too. In the 'time' I spent in this re-living, I developed a deep gratitude for many things. The experience of life for one. The people and the hearts that had touched my soul in beautiful ways and the fragility of being human. (Rachel F NDE)
What people say about NDEs:
Christine Stewart: “My belief is that if everyone had an NDE there would never be another war, no one would starve or be the victim of violence and greed would become a thing of the past.”
Jules Lyons : “I often think that if every single person on earth had an NDE tonight, and ventured to the world beyond, then tomorrow morning, we would all wake up to the dawn of a very different world here on earth.”
Penny Sartori: "They teach us how to live".
The Message of NDEs
The message is similar from most NDEs. We are all connected. This life is about learning to love unconditionally. It is the little things that matter: The joy you give to others by spontaneous acts of kindness, as these are things you do without thinking. They are manifestations of the love we have within us.