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Near death

Near death

 

A near death experience or NDE is used to describe one very specific type of spiritual experience.  In effect it is what people experience when they almost die, or they die and are resuscitated.  Whether someone has a NDE when they are close to death seems to be tied in to how genuinely close to death they were.  Many people seem to suffer cardiac arrests or other life threatening events but are not in reality at risk from dying – those who have an NDE have been.  Some people, whose descriptions I found in the books I have listed in the Reference section, had even had their death warrant signed.  One lady woke up in a mortuary.

The experience has been used for millenia as an indicator of what happens on death, as people appear to go through much the same series of steps or stages.  Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century even collected descriptions of these experiences in order to prove that there was an existence after death.  It is perhaps interesting to note that all those who have NDEs believe implicitly in an afterlife and lose all fear of death. They ‘know’ the spiritual world exists and that their spirit continues.  This knowledge seems to also result in an effect on those who do survive longer with an increased interest in the meaning of one's own life - destiny, and in increased tolerance, compassion, love and acceptance of others. They also feel “more emotionally vulnerable and empathic, and often there is evidence of increased intuitive feelings”.

A poll conducted by George Gallup in 1982 in an extensive survey found an estimated 8 million near death experiences, so the experience is not uncommon.  In retrospective studies, between 43% and 48% of adults and up to 85% of children who had a life-threatening illness were estimated to have had an NDE. A random investigation of more than 2000 Germans showed 4·3% to have had an NDE at a mean age of 22 years.  Furthermore it has become more common as we find ways of saving people from death.  In effect, near death experiences are more frequent nowadays because of all the improved techniques of resuscitation. These people were dying and would have died, but they were brought back to life by technology. 

Dr. Bruce Greyson, professor of psychiatry and director of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia Health System
While near-death experiences (NDEs) were once thought to be rare, research now indicates that a third of those who come close to death, or approximately 5 percent of the American population, experience an NDE.

There are two types of near death experience, that which was not a result of a suicide attempt – I have called this the ‘normal’ near death and that which was – the ‘Suicide near death’.

Normal near death

 

The specific stages that characterise a normal  NDE are:

  • First an out of body experience – in which the person usually hovers at ceiling level watching what is going on.
  • Next a tunnel or more correctly a long vortex in which they are drawn up towards a pin point light.  In some cases the light is invisible to start with and the people only experience blackness, but eventually all get drawn up this tunnel towards the light.  Speeds vary, sometimes it seems slow, sometimes fast, some may feel they are going up, some that they are going down [like Alice in Alice in Wonderland].
  • Next they actually come out into the Light which is described as a time of enormous peace and joy.
  • They may also meet 'Beings of Light'.  These are actually  Spirit helpers taller than the person, ethereal, kindly.  Many people meet their Higher spirit.
  • They then may meet 'people'  - disembodied spirits [not souls] that they know  - mothers, fathers, grannies, friends - whose appearance has been reconstructed [from the software templates they had at birth] to make them recognisable.  This stage is characterised by them being in a sort of 'holding area', which is generally how they might perceive paradise.  Often it is a green place, with lush grass and thousands of flowers, with brilliant blue sky and wooded, warm, no houses, the occasional palace or temple, sometimes mountains or hills, occasionally a gentle warm wind.  Paradise in its archetypical form.
  • If they get this far and not all do – at this stage they are often told they have to go back and they return the way they came not enacting this stage.  But they may alternatively be given a life review which is a run through of their perception log.  It depends a lot on whether the review is of help to them at that stage of their life.  The Spirit helpers know they have to return but occasionally a review helps the person see what the next steps in life need to be – to understand their destiny.  Children hardly ever have reviews, not because their lives are too short, but because they are children still and don't need guidance on what to do next.  People are apparently given the choice occasionally on whether to go back or not, but the review is often used as a means of directing them on the predestined path.

The number of observations diminishes as we proceed through the stages.  This is a reflection of the number of people who get to each stage.  Any number have an OBE, very many go through the tunnel and even meet the Spirit helpers, but there are only a few that have a review or go to the holding area.

Suicide near death

 

I almost didn't include this section, because being a compassionate person who understands how desperate it can be for some people who do try to take their life, it seemed better not to describe the experiences of those who had tried to take their own life and nearly died, or who had died but were brought back to life.

But hiding this serves no one, and I think all those who are contemplating this route need to be aware of what might happen.  And we need to remember that amongst this group of people we have suicide bombers, who may find this interesting. 

The suicide completes the first two stages of the normal near death experience  - the out of body and the tunnel - but finds themselves in a completely different type of holding area to paradise.  Any relief or sense of peace they may feel is also simply a normal human reaction to having given up and found death – escaped [apparently] from the misery that was their life.

They do not get the true overwhelming sense of peace experienced in an ordinary NDE and they usually end up in a confused grey or murky void  - a sort of twilight zone.

If you would like to know what this holding area looks like see observation 002493.

Whilst universally characterised as being very unpleasant , suicide related NDEs found that whatever conflict or problem they had which they had tried to escape, simply followed them into death.  There was the further complication to this in that in their disembodied state they had no way to do anything about the problem and were obliged to view the perceptions that led up to their acts as well as the consequences

In Dr Raymond Moody's book he provides an example of a man who was devastated about the death of his wife.  He shot himself and 'died' as a result, but doctors managed to resuscitate him.  Before he was resuscitated however he found himself in 'an awful place' not where his wife was.

“I immediately saw the mistake I had made... I thought 'I wish I hadn't done it'”.

K Osis and E Haraldsson in “At the hour of death” showed that near death experiences are negatively correlated with drug related conditions.  In effect drug related near death experiences unfold like suicide attempts.

G K Chesterton – Orthodoxy
Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin.
It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life.
The man who kills a man, kills a man.  The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world.
His act is worse – symbolically considered – than any rape or dynamic outrage.  For it destroys all buildings; it insults all women.  The thief is satisfied with diamonds; but the suicide is not; that is his crime.  He cannot be bribed even by the blazing stones of the Celestial City.  The thief compliments the things he steals, if not the owner of them.  But the suicide insults everything on earth by not stealing it.
He defiles every flower by refusing to live for its sake.  There is not a tiny creature in the cosmos at whom his death is not a sneer. 
When a man hangs himself on a tree, the leaves might fall off in anger and the birds fly away in fury; for each has received a personal affront.

Who can get a NDE?

 

This maybe seems a silly question, because the obvious answer is those who nearly die, but there are any number of religious institutions that will make claim that only those who belong to their institution are able to get an experience of this sort, because only those who follow Mohammed or Jesus or whoever their leader is, is allowed into heaven.  Heaven is for believers and, it would seem according to their dogma, only their believers.  It is of course even more important as a question, as it is clear that this is indeed about the only indicator we will ever get of what happens after death.

Well, it would seem the religious institutions have got it totally and utterly wrong.

I will leave it up to Dr Kenneth Ring to summarise for me the findings of numerous researchers, who did proper sampled and carefully researched analyses into NDEs.

Life at Death – Dr Kenneth Ring
My impression during the course of this investigation and before I came to analyse these data, was that a respondent's religiousness, like other personal and demographic factors, just didn't seem to make much, if any, difference.
It certainly wasn't my judgement that this experience was more likely to be vouchsafed to persons who had been religious all along.  Rather it seems - and this is consistent with what other investigators have found or suggested – that religiousness as such mainly affects the interpretation of a near death experience, not its occurrence.
In short, those who are religious seem to be more inclined to give a religious construction to their experience, but they are not necessarily more likely to have one in the first place.

Everyone gets to heaven when they die – everyone.

Perhaps more interesting to me was that the believers in hell and promoters of hell had a high level of OBEs [not NDEs] involving hell, thus their belief in a hell often took them to it – those who induce fear in others find fear themselves – create demons and you get demons.

It is also worthy of note that those who had been through the NDE experience found religious institutions sorely wanting after their experience.

Life at Death – Dr Kenneth Ring
Although indifference or even contempt for organised religion is sometimes expressed by core experiencers, it is usually stated within a context that implies an overall religious tolerance for all ways of worship.  From this point of view, there is no one religion or religious denomination that is superior or 'true'; rather, all religions are an expression of a single truth.  It is the smug sectarian quality of some religious groups to which core experiencers tend to object

References

 

Of the books I have used, I particularly recommend Margot Grey's book because she actually had an NDE experience, so could write with some authority on the subject.  The other books I have used are principally of value because they contain case histories.  It is clear from the descriptions of a few of the other writers that they have never had a spiritual experience in their life and are at a loss to explain the subject – so the explanations seem mostly naïve and somewhat protracted.

I will also add that again because they have not had any sort of experience they occasionally use the evidence to push their own religious doctrine and dogma, which can be intensely annoying, as the spiritual world knows no such boundaries.  My selection of  observations should show that the genuine spiritual traveller simply feels one with whoever happens to be travelling with them – 'religion' never comes into it.  Anyone who has genuinely had a spiritual experience knows that religious institutions are the last place you turn to look for the 'the truth'.

Other books on the subject if you are interested to find out more are:

  • Life after life – Dr R A Moody [the definitive and first of the good research books on the subject, this is the book that started the interest].
  • Adventures in Immortality – George Gallup.
  • Beyond Death's Door – Maurice Rawlings.
  • The experience of dying from falls – R Noyes and R Kletti based on the research of Professor Albert Heim.
  • What happens when we die – Dr Sam Parnia.
  • The Truth in the Light – Dr Peter Fenwick – this is an excellent book with loads and loads of well researched case histories
  • .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6kDMl6N3C4

I would add a note here about Maurice Rawlings, which I think needs to be borne in mind.  Rawlings is a so called 'born again' Christian  - born again Christians have not actually been through the rebirth process, but simply undergo a sort of reconversion back to the Christian religion.  His survey is not unbiased and it is clear he seeks to find support for the Christian concept of heaven and hell.  What is perhaps of interest is that it is clear he finds  support for hell in the fundamentalist Christian community. Create a demon get a demon.

Observations

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