Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Life after death

Letter of a damned soul. Letter from beyond.--->
<---How many people die per day worldwide?

Everybody knows that someday will die. Someday must leave this world but, what happens with us, with our body, with our being? Is everything ends?
When a person dies the physical body ceases to exist.
However, the rest of his existence or consciousness continues.
The existence of the person minus the physical body is known as the subtle body and it comprises of the mind- causa (intellect) and supracausal bodies in scientific terms.

A near-death experience (NDE) is an event that happens when a dying person leaves his or her body and travels through time and space, gaining powerful new spiritual insights in the process and then returning to his or her physical body and recovering.

A near-death experience may occur either when a person is approaching death (suffering from a life-threatening condition that is worsening) or already clinically dead (after their heartbeats and breathing have stopped).
Most seem to occur after people die clinically, but then are later revived through CPR.

People who have had near-death experiences often report experiencing features that form a common pattern among the millions of people throughout history who have reported near-death experiences.
Scientists investigating near-death experiences have found that the pattern of what usually happens during them is consistent worldwide and among people of all different ages, cultural backgrounds, and religious beliefs, according to the International Association for Near-Death Studies.


People often describe their souls (the conscious part of themselves) leaving their bodies and floating upward. Actor Peter Sellers, who had a near-death experience after a heart attack, reported: “I felt myself leave my body.
I just floated out of my physical form and I saw them cart my body away to the hospital. I went with it ...

I wasn't frightened or anything like that because I was fine; and it was my body that was in trouble.” While having a near-death experience, people can see their physical bodies below, and they can watch everything that happens around their bodies, such as doctors and nurses working and family members grieving.
After they return to life, they can vividly describe details of what happened around their bodies, even though they were physically unconscious.

Traveling Through a Tunnel

A tunnel appears in the air and draws the souls of people into it, propelling them forward quickly. Despite the great speed at which they’re traveling, however, people report that they’re not afraid, but peaceful and curious while going through the tunnel.

Perceiving Changes in Time and Space

Those who go through near-death experiences say that they’re aware of profound changes in both time and space while they’re out of their bodies. They often report that they can sense time and space occurring all at once, rather than separately as it does on Earth.
“Space and time are illusions that hold us to the physical realm; in the spirit realm, all is present simultaneously,” said Beverly Brodsky who had a near-death experience after a motorcycle accident

Encountering a Light of Love

People report meeting a powerful spiritual being who appears in the form of a brilliant white light. Although the light that the being generates is brighter than any that people have seen on Earth, it doesn't hurt them to look at the light, and they don't feel uncomfortable in its presence.

To the contrary, people say that the being of light radiates love, which leads them to feel at peace about the journey they're going through.
People sometimes think of the being of light as a manifestation of God, and sometimes as an angel. They often report feeling intense emotions while enveloped in the light. One person quoted in the book Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences by Jeffrey Long, MD reflects: "A beautiful light drew me to itself; the light still touches me with awe, and tears come immediately."

Encounter with Angels and Deceased People

Angels and people who have died but knew the person having the near-death experience in some way while alive (such as family members or friends) often greet that person shortly after the brilliant light appears.

They all recognize each other, even without seeing each other physically. Tennis player Laurelynn Martin recounts in her book Searching for Home: A Personal Journey of Transformation and Healing After a Near-Death Experience: "I became aware of many spirits.
They surrounded, embraced and supported my journey with their gentleness, knowledge and guidance. I felt one of them approach from my right upper side.

This familiar presence came forward and my feelings changed to sheer joy when I discovered my 30-year-old brother-in-law, the one who had died seven months earlier from cancer. My essence moved to meet his essence.
I couldn't see with my eyes or hear with my ears, yet I instinctively knew that it was "Wills.'"
Sometimes, people meet a spirit who knows about them, but whom they don't know because the person passed away before they were born.

Undergoing a Life Review

People usually see a panoramic movie of their lives replayed for them, featuring every experience they had on Earth simultaneously, yet in a form that they can understand well.

During this life review, people can recognize how their choices affected themselves and other people. A person quoted in Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences states:
"Every second from birth until death you will see and feel, and [you will] experience your emotions and others that you hurt, and feel their pain and emotions. What this is for is so you can see what kind of person you were and how you treated others from another vantage point, and you will be harder on yourself than anyone to judge you."

Feeling Intense Emotions

When people perceive that they're in the process of entering in the future world, called heaven, they report feeling blissful, and they don't want to leave even if they have unfinished work to do on Earth.
However, the people who find themselves approaching hell during their near-death experiences report feeling terrified and urgently want to return to Earth to change their lives.

Sensing Sights, Sounds, Smells, Textures, and Tastes Vividly

Despite the fact that their physical bodies are unconscious, people who have near-death experiences report being able to see, hear, smell, feel, and taste more vividly than they ever could on Earth.
After returning, they often describe colors or music that are unlike anything they've encountered on Earth.

Gaining New Spiritual Insights

During near-death experiences, people often learn information that helps them understand what had previously been mysterious to them.
One person said in Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences that "all the secrets of the universe, all knowledge of all time, everything" became understandable during the near-death experience.

Learning That It’s Not Time to Die Permanently

Somehow, the people who go through near-death experiences figure out that it's not their time to die permanently. Either a spiritual being informs them that they have unfinished work they need to complete on Earth, or they come to a boundary in their travels and must decide whether to stay in the afterlife or return to life on Earth.

Returning to the Physical Body

Near-death experiences end when people's souls re-enter their physical bodies. Then they're resuscitated, or returns to life, and recover from whatever illness or injury had caused them to approach death or clinically die.

Living Transformed Lives

After a near-death experience, many people decide to live differently than they did prior to going through that experience. People who have returned from near-death experiences to their earthly lives are usually more kind, less materialistic, and more generous people than they were before, according to the groundbreaking near-death experience book Life After Life by Raymond A. Moody, MD.


Dr. Raymond Moody, a psychiatrist whose classic book, Life After Life, published in 1976, literally launched the whole movement into research on the phenomenon of near-death experience. Dr. Moody is a founding member of the International Association for Near-Death Studies. He is a professor of psychology at West Georgia College, and he is also the author of Reflections on Life After Life, and The Light Beyond. Welcome, Raymond.

Near death experiences are exciting and intriguing events that seem to miraculously provide glimpses of an afterlife.
But are near-death experiences miraculous spiritual trips into an eternal dimension, as believers say?
Or are they illusions produced by some other factor that’s part of the natural dying process, as skeptics say?

Throughout recorded history, millions of people have reported going through near-death experiences. Research from the International Association for Near-Death Studies shows that the pattern of what happens to people during near-death experiences is the same for all people, regardless of their different backgrounds, such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, culture, or religious beliefs. While some people report approaching heaven and others report approaching hell, the process by which they travel follows the same pattern.

A Common Experience

Well, a very typical pattern, or something that the patients commonly tell us, is that at this time when their heart stops beating, they have a cardiac arrest -- they have no heartbeat, no detectible respiration -- and very often their physicians will say something such as, "Oh my God, he's dead, we've lost him," or something to that effect.

The patients will tell us that from their perspective they feel more alive than ever. They say they float up out of their bodies, and they watch the resuscitation going on from a point of view immediately below the ceiling of the operating room or the emergency room, and they say from this perspective they can see exactly what's going on down below.

They can understand the remarks and the thoughts of the medical personnel who are around. They say after a time in this very unusual experience that they're having a great deal of difficulty understanding -- in effect, "How can I be up here watching me down there?"

It doesn't seem to make any sense to them-- after a while they realize that although they can see clearly and understand perfectly what's going on, no one seems to be able to see or to hear them.
So they undergo an experience in which they realize that this is something to do with what we call death, and at this point they experience what we might characterize as a turning inward of the sense of identity.
One woman described this to me by saying, "In this experience, at this point, you are not the wife of your husband, you are not the mother of your children, you are not the child of your parents. You are totally and completely you."

Believers say that the commonality of near-death experiences is evidence that they’re real spiritual events, while skeptics say that it simply shows some type of common biological process at work while people are dying.

The Phenomenon Of Death

What is it like to die?

Talking about death can be seen on the psychological level as another way of approaching it indirectly. No doubt many people have the feeling that to talk about death at all is in effect to conjure it up mentally, to bring it closer in such a way that one has to face up to the inevitability of one's own eventualdemise. So, to spare ourselves this psychological trauma, we decide just to try toavoid the topic as much as possible.

Death, though, is something which lies beyond the consciousexperience of most of us because most of us have never been through it.
If we are to talk about death at all, then, we must avoid both social taboos andthe deep-seated linguistic dilemmas which derive from our own inexperience. Whatwe often end up doing is talking in euphemistic analogies. We compare death ordying with more pleasant things in our experience, things with which we arefamiliar.Perhaps the most common analogy of this type is the comparison between death and sleep.
Dying, we tell ourselves, is like going to sleep.

Now, if death is only a dreamless sleep,] it must be a marvelous gain. I suppose that if anyone were told to pick out the night on which he slept so soundly as noteven to dream, and then to compare it with all the other nights and days of hislife, and then were told to say, after due consideration, how many better and happier days and nights than this he had spent in the course of his life-well, I think that . . . [anyone] would find these days and nights easy to count incomparison with the rest. If death is like this, then, I call it gain, because the whole of time, if you look at it in this way, can be regarded as no more than one single night.

Others prefer a different, but related analogy. Dying, they say, islike forgetting. When one dies, one forgets all one's woes; all one's painful andtroubling memories are obliterated. As old and as widespread as they may be, however, both the "sleeping" and the "forgetting" analogies are ultimately inadequate in so far as comforting us isconcerned.

Sleeping is a positive, desirable experience in life because wakingfollows it.
A restful night's sleep makes the waking hours following it morepleasant and productive. If waking did not follow it, the benefits of sleep wouldnot be possible. Similarly, annihilation of all conscious experience implies not only the obliteration of all painful memories; but of all pleasant ones, too.
So upon analysis, neither analogy is close enough to give us any real comfort or hopein facing death.

There is another view, however, which disavows notion that death is annihilation of consciousness. According to this other, perhaps more ancient tradition, some aspect of the human being survives even after the physical body ceases to functionand is ultimately destroyed.
This persistent aspect has been called by many names,among them psyche, soul, mind, spirit, self, being, and consciousness.
By whatever name it is called, the notion that one passes into another realm of existence upon physical death is among the most venerable of human beliefs.

In short, we are faced with two contrasting answers to our original question aboutthe nature of Death, Some say that death is annihilation of consciousness; others say with equalconfidence at death is the passage of the soul or mind into another dimension ofreality.

During the past few years I have encountered large number of persons who wereinvolved in what I shall call "near-death experiences"(NDE).
At first it was by coincidence. In 1965, when I was an undergraduate student studying philosophy at the University of Virginia, I met a man who was aclinical professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine.

I was struck from the beginning with his warmth, kindliness and humor.
It came as a great surprise whenI later learned a very interesting fact about him, namely, that he had been dead-not just once but on two occasions, about ten minutes apart-and that he had givena most fantastic account of what happened to him while he was "dead." I laterhear.:. him relate his story to a small group of interested students. At the time, I was most impressed, but since I had little background from which to judge; suchexperiences, I "filed it away," both in my mind and in the form of a tape recording of his talk.

After class one day astudent stopped by to see me. He asked whether we might discuss the subject ofimmortality. He had an interest in the subject because his grandmother had "died"during an operation and had recounted a very amazing experience.
I asked him totell me about it, and much to my surprise, he related almost the same series ofevents which I had heard the psychiatry professor describe some years before.

What has amazed me since the beginning of my interest are the great similarities in the reports, despite the fact that they come from people of highly varied religious, social, and educational backgrounds.

As I became more widely known for this interest, doctors began to refer to me persons whom they had resuscitated and who reported unusual experiences.
Still others have written to me with reports after newspaper articles about my studies appeared.
At the present time, I know of approximately 150 cases of this phenomenon. The experiences which I have studied fall into three distinct categories:

(1) The experiences of persons who were resuscitated after having beenthought, adjudged, or pronounced clinically dead by their doctors.

(2) The experiences of persons who, in the course of accidents or severeinjury or illness, came very close to physical death.

(3) The experiences of persons who, as they died, told them to other peoplewho were present. Later, these other people reported the content of the deathexperience to me.

Though the near-deathexperiences themselves are remarkably similar, both the circumstances surrounding them and the persons describing them vary widely. Accordingly, I have tried togive a sample of experiences which adequately reflects this variation. With these qualifications in mind, let us now turn to a consideration of what ma happen, asfar as I have been able to discover, during the experience of dying.

The Experience Of Dying

Despite the wide variation in the circumstances surrounding close calls with deathand in the types of persons undergoing them, it remains true that there is astriking similarity among the accounts of the experiences themselves.

A man is dying and, as he reaches the point of greatest physical distress, hehears himself pronounced dead by his doctor. He begins to hear an uncomfortable noise, a loud ringing or buzzing, and at the same time feels himself moving very rapidly through a long dark tunnel.
After this, he suddenly finds himself outsideo f his own physical body, but still in the immediate physical environment, and hesees his own body from a distance, as though he is a spectator. He watches theresuscitation attempt from this unusual vantage point and is in a state ofemotional upheaval.

After a while, he collects himself and becomes more accustomed to his odd condition. He notices that he still has a "body," but one o f a very different nature and with very different powers from the physical body he has left behind.
Soon other things begin to happen. Others come to meet and to help him. He glimpses the spirits of relatives and friends who have already died, and a loving, warm spirit o f a kind he has never encountered before-a being of light-appears before him.

This being asks him a question, nonverbally, to wake him evaluate hislife and helps him along by showing him a panoramic, instantaneous playback of themajor events of his life. At some point he finds himself approaching some sort ofbarrier or border, apparently representing the limit between earthly life and the next life.

Yet, he finds that he must go, back to the earth, that the time for hisdeath has not yet come. At this point he resists, for by now he is taken up withhis experiences in the afterlife and does not want to return. He is overwhelmed by intense feelings of joy, love, and peace. Despite. his attitude, though, hesomehow reunites with his physical body and lives.

Later he tries to tell others, but he has trouble doing so. In the first place, hecan find no human words adequate- to describe these unearthly episodes.
He alsofinds that others scoff, so he stops telling other people.
Still, the experience affects his life profoundly, especially his views about death and its relationship to life.

It is important to bear in mind that the above narrative is not meant to be are presentation of any one person's experience. Rather, it is a "model," acomposite of the common elements found in very many stories.
Despite the striking similarities among various accounts, no two of them are precisely identical (though a few come remarkably close to it.

The order in which a dying person goes through the various stages briefly delineated above may vary from that given in my "theoretical model." To give one example, various persons have reported seeing the "being of light" before, or at the same time, they left their physical bodies, and not as in the "model," sometime afterward. However, the order in which the stages occur in the model is avery typical order, and wide variations are unusual.

In general, persons who were"dead" seem to report more florid, complete experiences than those who only cameclose to death, and those who were "dead" for a longer period go deeper than thosewho were "dead" for a shorter time.

I have talked to a few people who were pronounced dead, resuscitated, and came back reporting none of these common elements. Indeed, they say that they don't remember anything at all about their "deaths."
Interestingly enough, I have talkedwith several persons who were actually adjudged clinically dead on separate occasions years apart, and reported experiencing nothing on one of the occasions,but having had quite involved experiences on the other.

Let us look at some of the common stages and events of the experiences of dying.

Ineffability. Impossibility to express it with words.

The events which those who have come near death have lived through lie outside our community of experience, so one might well expect that they would have some linguistic difficulties in expressing what happened to them.
In fact,this is precisely the case. The persons involved uniformly characterize their experiences as ineffable, that is, "inexpressible."

Many people have made remarks to the effect that, "There are just no words toexpress what I. am trying to say," or "They just don't make adjectives and superlatives to describe this." One woman put this to me very succinctly when she said:

"Now, there is a real problem for me as I'm trying to tell you this, because all the words I know are three-dimensional. As I was going through this, I kept thinking, "Well, when I was taking geometry, they always told me there were only three dimensions, and I always just accepted that.
But they were wrong. There aremore." And, of course, our world-the one we're living in now is three-dimensional,but the next one definitely isn't.
And that's why it's so hard to tell you this. I have to describe it to you in words that are three-dimensional. That's as close asI can get to it, but it's not really adequate. I can't really give you a completepicture."

Hearing The News

Numerous people have told of hearing their doctors or other spectators in effect pronounce them dead. One woman related to me that:

"I was in the hospital, but they didn't know :hat was wrong with me.
So Dr. James,my doctor, sent me downstairs to the radiologist for liver scan so they could findout. First, they tested this drug they were going to use on my arm, since I had alot of drug allergies. But there ..-as no reaction, so they went ahead.

When they used it this time, I arrested on them. I heard the radiologist who was working onme go over to the telephone, and I heard very clearly as he dialed it.
I heard himsay, "Dr. James, I've killed your patient, Mrs. Martin."
And I knew I wasn't dead. I tried to move or to let them know, but I couldn't.
When they were trying to resuscitate me, I could hear them telling how many c.c.'s of something to give me,but I didn't feel the needles going in.
I felt nothing at all when they touched me."

In another case, a woman who had previously had several episodes of heart trouble was seized with a heart attack, during which she nearly lost her life. She says,

Suddenly, I was gripped by squeezing chest pains, just as though an iron band hadbeen clamped quickly around the middle part of my chest and tightened.
My husbandand a friend of ours heard me fall and came running in to help me.
I found myselfin a deep blackness, and through it I heard my husband, as if he were at a great distance, saying, "This is it, this time!" And my thoughts were, "Yes, it is."

A young man who was thought dead following an automobile accident says, "I heard a woman who was there say, `Is he dead?' and someone else said, `Yeah, he's dead'."

Reports of this type accord quite well with what the doctors and others presentremember.
For example, one doctor told me: A woman patient of mine had a cardiac arrest just before another surgeon and I were to operate on her.

I was right there, and I saw her pupils dilate. We tried for some time to resuscitate her, but weren't having any success, so I thought shewas gone.
I told the other doctor who was working with me, "Let's try one moretime and then we'll give up." This time, we got her heart beating, and she camearound.
Later I asked her what she remembered of her "death." She said she didn'tremember much about it, except that she did hear me say, "Let's try one more time and then we'll give up."

Feelings of Peace and Quiet

Many people describe extremely pleasant feelings and sensations during the earlystages of their experiences. After a severe head injury, one man's vital signswere undetectable. As he says:
At the point of injury there was a momentary flash of pain, but then all the pain vanished. I had the feeling of floating in a dark space.
The day was bitterly cold, yet while I was in than blackness all I felt was warmth and the most extremecomfort I have ever experienced . . . I remember thinking, "I must be dead."

A woman who was resuscitated after a heart attack remarks:
I began to experience the most wonderful feelings. I couldn't feel a thing in the world except peace, comfort, ease-just quietness.
I felt that all my troubles were gone, and I thought to myself, "Well how quiet and peaceful, and I don't hurt at all.

"Another man recalls:
I just had a nice, great feeling of solitude and peace . . . . It was beautiful, and I was at such peace in my mind.

A man who "died" after wounds suffered in Vietnam says;
that as he was hit he felt a great attitude of relief. There was no pain, and I've never felt so relaxed. Iwas at ease and it was all good.

The Noise

In many cases, various unusual auditory sensations are reported to occur at ornear death. Sometimes these are extremely unpleasant.

A man who "died" for twenty minutes during an abdominal operation describes;
"a really bad buzzing noise coming from inside my head. It made me very uncomfortable .... I'll never forget that noise."

Another woman tells how as she lost consciousness she heard;
"a loud ringing. It could be described as a buzzing. And I was in a sort of whirling state." I have also heard this annoying sensation describe as a loud click, aroaring, a banging, and as a "whistling sound, like the wind."

In other cases the auditory effects seem to take more pleasant musical form. For example, a man who was revived after having been pronounce dead on arrival at the hospital recounts that during his death experience:

I would hear what seemed to be bells tingling, a long way off, as if drifting through the wind. They sounded like Japanese wind bells .... That was the only sound I could hear at times.

A young woman who nearly died from internal bleeding associated with a blood clotting disorder says that at the moment she collapsed; "I began to hear music of some sort, a majestic, really beautiful sort of music."

The Dark Tunnel

Often concurrently with the occurrence of the noise, people have the sensation of being pulled very rapidly through a dark space of some kind.
Many different words are used to describe t space. I have heard this space described as a cave, a well, a trough, an enclosure, a tunnel, a funnel, a vacuum, a void, a sewer, a valley, and a cylinder.

Although people use different terminology here, it is clear that they are all trying to express some one idea. Let us look at two accounts in which the "tunnel" figures prominently.

This happened to me when I was a little boy of nine years old. That was twenty-seven years ago, but it was so striking that I have never forgotten it.
One afternoon I became very sick, and they rushed me to the nearest hospital.
When I arrived they decided they were going to have to put me to sleep, but why I don'tknow, because I was too young.

Back in those days they used ether. They gave it tome by putting a cloth over my nose, and when they did, I was told afterwards, my heart stopped beating.
I didn't know at that time that that was exactly what happened to me, but anyway when this happened I had an experience.

Well, the first thing that happened now I am going to describe it just the way I felt-was that I had this ringing noise brrrrrnnnnng-brrrrrnnnnng-brrrrmnnnng, very rhythmic.
ThenI was moving through this-you're going to think this is weird-through this longdark place. It seemed like a sewer or something. I just can't describe it to you. I was moving, beating all the time with this noise, this ringing noise.

Another informant states:
I had a very bad allergic reaction to a local anesthetic, and I just quit breathing -I had a respiratory arrest. The first thing that happened - it was real quick - was that I went through this dark, black vacuum at super speed.

You could compare it to a tunnel, I guess. I felt like I was riding on a roller coaster train at an amusement park, going through this tunnel at a tremendous speed.

During a severe illness, a man came so near death that his pupils dilated and his body was growing cold. He says:

I was in an utterly black, dark void. It is very difficult to explain, but I felt as if I were moving in a vacuum, just through blackness.
Yet, I was quite conscious. It was like being in a cylinder which had no air in it. It was a feeling of limbo; of being half-way here, and half-way somewhere else.

A man who "died" several times after severe burns and fall injuries says;

I stayed in shock for about a week, and during that time all of a sudden I justescaped into this dark void. It seemed that I stayed there for a long time just floating and tumbling through space ....
I was so taken up with this void that Ijust didn't think of anything else.
Before the time of his experience, which took place when he was a child, one man had had a fear of the dark.

Yet, when his heart stopped beating from internal injuries incurred in a bicycle accident, I had the feeling that I was moving through a deep, very dark valley.
The darkness was so deep and impenetrable that I could see absolutely nothing but this was the most wonderful, worry free experience you can imagine.

In another case, a woman had had peritonitis, and relates:

My doctor had already called my brother and sister in to see me for the last time. The nurse gave me a shot to help me die more easily. The things around me in the hospital began to get further and further away.
As they receded, I entered head first into a narrow and very, very dark passageway. I seemed to just fit inside ofit. I began to slide down, down, down.

One woman, who was near death following a traffic accident, drew a parallel from a television show;
There was a feeling of utter peace and quiet, no fear at all, and I found myself in a tunnel-a tunnel of concentric circles.
Shortly after that, I saw a T.V. program called The Time Tunnel, where people go back in time through this spiraling tunnel. Well, that's the closest thing to it that I can think of.

A man who came very near death drew a somewhat different parallel, one from hisreligious background. He says;
Suddenly, I was in a very dark, very deep valley. It was as though there was apath way, almost a road, through the valley, and I was going down the path ....Later, after I was well, the thought came to me, "Well, now I know what the Bible means by `the valley of the shadow of death,' because I've been there."

Out Of The Body

It is a truism that most of us, most of the time, identify ourselves with ourphysical bodies. We grant, of course, that we have "minds," too.
But to most people our "minds" seem much more ephemeral than our bodies.
The "mind," after all, might be no more than the effect of the electrical and chemical activity which takes place in the "brain", which is a part of the physical body. For many people it is an impossible task even to conceive of what it would be like to existin any other way than in the physical body to which they are accustomed.

After his rapid passage through the dark tunnel, a dying person often has such an overwhelming surprise. For, at this point he may find himself looking upon his own physical body from a point outside of it, as though he were "a spectator" or "at hird person in the room" or watching figures and events "on stage in a play" or
"in a movie."
Let us look now at portions of some accounts in which these uncanny out-of-the-body epodes are described.

I was seventeen years old and my brother and I were working at an amusement park.
One afternoon, we decided to go swimming, and there were quite a few of the other young people who went in with us.
Someone said, "Let's swim across the lake." I had done that on numerous occasions, but that day for some reason, I went down, almost in the middle of the lake ....
I kept bobbling up and down, and all of asudden, it felt as though I were away from my body, away from everybody, in spaceby myself.

Although I was stable, staying at the same level, I saw my body in the water about three or four feet away, bobbling up and down. I viewed my body from the back and slightly to the right side. I still felt as though I had an entirebody form, even while I was outside my body. I had an airy feeling that's almost indescribable.
I felt like a feather.

A woman recalls;
About a year ago, I was admitted to the hospital with heart trouble, and the next morning, lying in the hospital bed, I began to have a very severe pain in mychest.
I pushed the button beside the bed to call for the nurses, and they came in and started working on me.

I was quite uncomfortable lying on my back so I turned over, and as I did I quit breathing and my heart stopped beating. Just then, I heard the nurses shout, "Code pink! Code pink!" As they were saying this, I could feel myself moving out of my body and sliding down between the mattress and the rail on the side of the bed -actually it seemed as if I went through the rail-ondown to the floor.

Then, I started rising upward, slowly. On my way up, I saw more nurses come running into the room-there must have been a dozen of them. My doctor happened to be making his rounds in the hospital so they called him and I saw himcome in, too.
I thought, "I wonder what he's doing here." I drifted on up past the light fixture I saw it from the side and very distinctly and then I stopped, floating right below the ceiling, looking down. I felt almost as though I were a piece of paper that someone had blown up to the ceiling.

I watched them reviving me from up there! My body was lying down there stretched out on e bed, in plain view, and they were all standing around it.
I heard one nurse say, "Oh, my God! She's gone!", while another one leaned down o give me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

I was looking at the back of her head while she didthis. I'll never forget the way her hair looked; it was cut kind of short. Just then, I saw them roll this machine in there, and they put the she a on my chest.
When they did, I saw my whole body just jump right up off the bed, and I he Ievery bone in my body crack and pop. It was the most awful thing!
As I saw them below beating on my chest a rubbing my arms and legs, I thought, "Why are they going to so much trouble? I'm just fine now."

A young informant states;

It was about two years ago, and I had just turned nineteen. I was driving a friend of mine home in my car, and as I got to this particular intersection downtown, I stopped and looked both ways, but I didn't see a thing coming.
I walked on outinto the intersection and as I did heard my friend yell at the top of his voice.

When I looked I saw a blinding light, the headlights of a car that was speeding towards us. I heard this awful sound-the side of the car being crushed in-and there was just an instant during-which I seemed to be going through a darkness, an enclosed space. It was very quick.

Then, I was sort of floating about five feetabove the street, about five yards away from the car, I'd say, and I heard theecho of the crash dying away. I saw people come running up and crowding around thecar, and I saw my friend get out of the car, obviously in shock. I could see my own body in the wreckage among all those people, and could see them trying to getit out. My legs were all twisted and there was blood all over the place.

As one might well imagine, some unparalleled thoughts and feelings run through the minds of persons who find themselves in this predicament. Many people find the notion of being out of their bodies so unthinkable that, even as they are experiencing it, they feel conceptually quite confused about the whole thing and do not link it with death for a considerable time.

They wonder what is happening to them; why can they sudden; see themselves from a distance, as though a spectator: Emotional responses to this strange state vary widely. Most people report, at first, a desperate desire to get back into their bodies but they do not have the faintest idea about how to proceed.
Others recall that they were very afraid, almost panicky. Some, however, report more positive reaction:: o their plight, asin this account:

I became very seriously ill, and the doctor put me in the hospital.
This one morning a solid gray mist gathered around me, and I left my body. I had a floating sensation as I felt myself get out of my body, and - I looked back and could see myself on the bed below and there was no fear.

It was quiet -very peaceful and serene I was not in the least bit upset or frightened. was just a tranquil feeling, and it was some thing which I didn't dread. I felt that maybe I was dying, and I felt that if I did not get back to my body, I would be dead, gone.

I have heard two other persons express exactly this same concern when they found themselves out of their bodies. Interestingly enough, both of them were also in the medical profession - one a physician, the other a nurse.
In another case, this concern took the form of regret. A man's heart stopped beating following a fall in which his body was badly mangled, and he recalls:

At one time-now, I know I was lying on the bed there - but I could actually see the bed and the doctor working on me. I couldn't understand it, but I looked at my own body lying there on the bed. And I felt real bad when I looked at my body and saw how badly it was messed up.

One man, a physician, tells how during his clinical "death" he was beside the bed looking at his own cadaver, which by then had turned the ash gray color consumed by bodies after death.

Desperate and confused, he was trying to decidewhat to do. He tentatively decided just to go away, as he was feeling very uneasy. As a youngster he had been ghost stories by his grandfather and, paradoxically, he"didn't like being around this thing that looked like a dead body-even if it wasme!"

At the other extreme, some have told me that they had no particular feelingsat all toward their bodies. One woman, for example, had a heart attack and felt certain she was dying. She felt herself being pulled through darkness out of herbody moving rapidly away. She says:

I didn't look back at my body at all. Oh, I knew it was there, all right, and I could've seen it had I looked. But I didn't want to look, not in the least, because I knew that I had done my best in my life, and I was turning my attention now to this other realm of things.
I felt that to look back at my body would be tolook back at the past, and I was determined not to do that.

Similarly, a girl whose out-of-body experience took place after a wreck in which she sustained severe injuries says;
I could see my own body all tangled up in the car amongst all the people who had gathered around, but, you know, I had no feelings for it whatsoever.
It was like it was a completely different human, or maybe even just an object ....
I knew it was my body but I had no feelings for it.

Despite the eeriness of the disembodied state, the situation has been thrust up on the dying person so suddenly that it may take some time before the significance of what he is experiencing dawns upon him.
He may be out of his body for some time, desperately trying to sort out all the things that are happening to him and that are racing through his mind, before he realizes that he is dying, or even dead.

When this realization comes, it may arrive with powerful emotional force, and provoke startling thoughts.

One woman remembers thinking, "Oh, I'm dead! How lovely!

"A man states that the thought came to him, "This must be what they call 'death'."

A young woman gave a very impressive account ofsuch feelings when she told me that;

I thought I was dead, and I wasn't sorry that I was dead, but I just couldn't figure out where I was supposed to go. My thought and my consciousness were just like they are in life, but I just couldn't figure all this out.
I kept thinking, "Where am I going to go? What am I going to do?" and "My God, I'm dead! I can't believe it!"

Because you never really believe, I don't think, fully that you're going to die.
It's always something that's going to happen to the other person,and although you know it you really never believe it deep down .... And so I decided I was just going to wait until all the excitement died down and they carried my body away, and try to see if I could figure out where to go from there.

In one or two cases I have studied, dying persons whose souls, minds, consciousnesses (or whatever'' you want to label them) were released from their bodies say that they didn't feel that, after release they were in any kind of "body" at all. They felt as though they were "pure" consciousness.

One man relates that during his experience he felt as though he were "able to see everything around me including my whole body as it lay on the bed without occupying any space," that is, as if he were a point of consciousness.

A few others say thatthey can't really remember whether or not they were in any kind of "body" aftergetting out of their physical one, because they were so taken u with the events around them.

Far and away the majority of my subjects, how ever, report that they did findt hemselves in an other body upon release from the physical one.
Immediately, though, we are into an area with which it is extremely difficult to deal.
This "new body" is one of the two or three aspects of death experiences in which the inadequacy of human language presents the greatest obstacles.
Almost everyone whohas told me of this "body" has at some point become frustrated and said, "I can't describe it," or made some remark to the same effect.

The various reports are also in very decided agreement about the general properties and characteristics of the new body. So, to adopt a term for it which will sum up its properties fairly well, and which has been used by a couple of my subjects, I shall henceforth call it the "spiritual body."

Dying persons are likely first to become aware of their spiritual bodies in the guise of their limitations. They find, when out of their physical bodies, that although they may try desperately to tell others of their plight, no one seems to hear them. This is illustrated very well in this excerpt from the story of a woman who suffered a respiratory arrest and was carried to the emergency room, where aresuscitation attempt was made.

I saw them resuscitating me. It was really strange. I wasn't very high; it wasalmost like I was on a pedestal, but not above them to any great extent, just maybe looking over them. I tried talking to them but nobody could hear me, nobody would listen to me.

To complicate the fact that he is apparently inaudible to people around him, the person in a spiritual body soon finds that he is also invisible to others. The medical personnel or others congregating around his physical body may look straight towards where he is, in his spiritual body, without giving the slightest sign of ever seeing him.
His spiritual body also lacks solidity; physical objectsin the environment appear to move through it with ease, and he is unable to get agrip on any object or person he tries to touch.

The doctors and nurses were pounding on my body to try to get IV's started and to get me back, and I kept trying to tell them, "Leave me alone.
All I want is to beleft alone. Quit pounding on me." But they didn't hear me.
So I tried to move their hands to keep them from beating on my body, but nothing would happen.

I couldn't get anywhere. It was like-I don't really know what happened, but I couldn't move their hands. It looked like I was touching their hands and I tried to move them yet when I would give it the stroke, their hands were still there.
I don't know whether my hand was going through it, around it, or what.
I didn't feelany pressure against their hands when I was trying to move them.

Other person states:
people were walking up from all directions to get to the wreck. I could see them,and I was in middle of a very narrow walkway. Anyway, as they came by they wouldn't seem to notice me. They would just keep walking with their eyes straightahead.
As they came real close, I would try to turn around, to get out of their way, but they would just walk through me.

Further, it is invariably reported that this spiritual body is also weightless.
Most first notice this when, as in some of the excerpts given above, they find themselves floating right up to the ceiling of the room, or into the air.

Many describe a "floating sensation," "a feeling of weightlessness," or a "driftingfeeling" in association with their new bodies.
Normally, while in our physical bodies we have many modes of perception which tell us where our bodies and their various parts are in space at any given moment and whether they are moving. Vision and the sense of equilibrium are important in this respect, of course, but there is another related sense.

These characteristics of the spiritual body which at first seem to be limitations can, with equal validity, be looked upon as the absence of limitations.
Think of it this way: A person in the spiritual body is in a privileged position in relation to the other persons around him.

He can see and hear them, but they can't see or hear him. (Many a spy would consider this an enviable condition.) Likewise, though the doorknob seems to go through his hand when he touches it, it really doesn't matter anyway, because he soon finds that he can just go through the door.
Travel, once one gets the hang of it, is apparently exceptionally easy in this state. Physical objects present no barrier, and moment from one place to another can be extremely rapid, almost instantaneous.

Furthermore, despite its lack of perceptibility people in physical bodies, all who have experienced it are in agreement that the spiritual body is none the less something, impossible to describe though it may be.
It is agreed that the spiritual body has a form or shape (sometimes a globular or an amorphous cloud, but also sometimes essentially the same shape as the physical body) and even parts(projections or surfaces analogous to arms, legs, a head, etc.).

Even when its shape is reported as being generally roundish in configuration, it is often said to have ends, a definite top and bottom, and even the "parts" just mentioned.

I have heard this new body described in many different terms, but one may readily see that much the same idea is being formulated in each case.
Words and phrases which have been used by various subjects include a mist, a cloud, smoke-like, avapor, transparent, a cloud of colors, wispy, an energy pattern and others whichexpress similar meanings.

Finally, almost everyone remarks upon the timelessness of this out-of-body state. Many say that although they must describe their interlude in the spiritual body in temporal terms (since human language is temporal), time was not really an element of their experience as it is in physical life.
Here are passages from five interviews in which some of these fantastic aspects of existence in the spiritualbody are reported first-hand.

(1)- I lost control of my car on a curve, and the car left the road and went into the air, and I remember seeing the blue sky and saw that the car was going down into a ditch.
At the time the car left the road, I said to myself "I'm in anaccident." At that point, I kind of lost my sense of time, and I lost my physical reality as far as my body is concerned-I lost touch with my body.
My being or myself or my spirit, or whatever you would like to label it-I could sort of feel it rise out of me, out through my head.

And it wasn't anything that hurt, it was justsort of like a lifting and it being above me . . . .[My "being"] felt as if it had a density to it, almost, but not a physical density-kind of like, I don't know, waves or something, I guess: Nothing really physical, almost as if it were charged, if you'd like to call it that.

But it feltas if it had something to it . . . . It was small, and it felt as if it were sortof circular, with no rigid outlines to it. You could liken it to a cloud . . . .It almost seemed as if it were in its own encasement .... As it went out of my body, it seemed that a large end left first, and the smallend last .... It was a very light feeling-very.

There was no strain on my [physical] body; the feeling was totally separate. My body had no weight ....The most striking point of the whole experience was the moment when my being was suspended above the front part of my head.
It was almost like it was trying todecide whether it wanted to leave or to stay.
It seemed then as. though time werestanding still.

At the first and the last of the accident, everything moved sofast, but at this one particular time, sort of in between, as my being was suspended above me and the car was going over the embankment, it seemed that ittook the car a long time to get there, and in that time I really wasn't too involved with the car or the accident or my own body-only with my mind .... My being had no physical characteristics, but I have to describe it with physicalterms.

I could describe it in so many ways, in so many words, but none of themwould be exactly right. It's so hard to describe. Finally, the car did hit the ground and it rolled or, but my only injuries were asprained neck A bruised foot.

(2)- [When I came out of the physical body] it s like I did come out of my body andgo into something else. I didn't think I was just nothing. was another body . . . but not another regular man body. It's a little bit different.
It was not exactlylike a human body, but it wasn't any big glob of matter, either.

It had form toit, but no colors. And I know I still had something you could call hands.I can't describe it. I was more fascinated with everything around me-seeing my own body there, and all-so I didn't think about the type body I was in.
And all this seemed to go so quickly. Time wasn't really an element-and yet it was. Things seemto go faster after you get out of your body.

(3)- I remember being wheeled into the operating room and the next few hours werethe critical period. During that time, I kept getting and out of my physical body, and I could see from directly above.
But, while I did, I was still in a body-not aphysical body, but something I can best describe as an energy pattern. If I had toput it into words, I would say that it was transparent, a spiritual as opposed toa material being.

Yet, it definitely had different parts.(4) When my heart stopped beating . . . I felt like I was a round ball and almostmaybe like I might have been a little sphere-like a BB-on the inside of this roundball. I just can't describe it to you.

(5)- I was out of my body looking at it from about ten yards away, but I was still thinking, just like in physical life.
And where I was thinking was about at mynormal bodily height. I wasn't in a body, as such. I could feel something, somekind of a-like a capsule, or something, like a clear form. I couldn't really seeit; it was like it was transparent, but not really. It was like I was just there-an energy, maybe, sort of like just a little ball of energy. And I really wasn't aware of any bodily sensation-temperature, or anything like that.

In their accounts, others have briefly mentioned the likeness of shape between their physical bodies; and their new ones.

One woman told me that while' out ofher body, "I still felt an entire body form,` legs, arms, everything-even while Iwas weight less."

A lady who watched the resuscitation attempt on her body from apoint just below the ceiling says, "I was still in a body. I was stretched out and looking down.
I moved my legs and noticed that one of them felt warmer than theother, one."

Just as movement is unimpeded in this spiritual ` state, so, some recall, is thought. Over and over, I' have been told that once they became accustomed to their new situation, people undergoing this experience began to think more lucidly and rapidly than in physical existence. For example, one man told me that while he was "dead,"; Things that are not possible now, are then. Your mind is so clear.
It's so nice. My mind just took everything down and worked everything out for me the first time, without having to go through it more than once.
After a while everything I wasexperiencing got to where it meant something to me in some way.

In a couple of instances, persons have reported that they had nosensation of temperature, while in most cases feelings of comfortable "warmth" are reported.
No one among all of my cases has reported any odors or tastes while outof their physical bodies.

On the other hand, senses which correspond to the physical senses of vision and of hearing are very definitely intact in the spiritual body, and seem actually heightened and more perfect than they are in physical life.

One man says that while he was "dead" his vision seemed incredibly more powerful and, in his words, "I just can't understand how I could see so far."

A woman who recalled this experience notes, "It seemed as if this spiritual sense had no limitations, as if I could look anywhere and everywhere."

This phenomenon is described very graphically in this portion of an interview with a woman who was out of her body following an accident.

There was a lot of action going on, and people running around the ambulance. And whenever I would look at a person to wonder what they were thinking, it was like a zoom-up, exactly like through a zoom lens, and I was there.

But it seemed that part of me-I'll call it my mind-was still where I had been, several yards away from my body. When I wanted to see someone at a distance, it seemed like part of me, kind of like a tracer, would go to that person.
And it seemed to me at the time that if something happened any place in the world that I could just be there.

"Hearing" in the spiritual state can apparently be called so only by analogy, and most say that they do not really hear physical voices or sounds.
Rather, they seemto pick up the thoughts of persons around them, and, as we shall see later, this same kind of direct transfer of thoughts can play an important role in the late stages of death experiences.

As one lady put it:
I could see people all around, and I could understand what they were saying.
I didn't hear them, audibly, like I'm hearing you.
It was more like knowing what they were thinking, exactly what they were thinking, but only in my mind, not in their actual vocabulary.
I would catch it the second before they opened their mouths to speak.

Finally, on the basis of one unique and very interesting report, it would appear that even severe damage to the physical body in no way adversely affects the spiritual one.
In this case, a man lost the better part of his leg in the accident that resulted in his clinical death. He knew this, because he saw his damaged body clearly, from a distance, as the doctor worked on it. Yet, while he was out of his body, he said;

"I could feel my body, and it was whole. I know that. I felt whole, and I felt that all of me was there, though it wasn't".

In this disembodied state, then, a person is cut off from others.
He can see other people and understand their thoughts completely, but they are able neither to see nor to hear him.

Communication with other human beings is effectively cut off, even through the sense of touch, since his spiritual body lacks solidity. Thus, it is not surprising that after a time in this state profound feelings of isolation and loneliness set in.
As one man put it, he could see everything around him inthe hospital -all the doctors, nurses, and other personnel going about their tasks.
Yet, he could not communicate with them in any way, so "I was desperately alone".

Many others have described to me the intense feelings of loneliness which overcome them at this point. My experience, all the things that I was going through, were so beautiful, but just indescribable.
I wanted others to be there with me to see it, too, and I had the feeling that I would never be able to describe to anyone what I was seeing.

I had the feeling of being lonesome because I wanted somebody to be there to experience it with me. But I knew nobody else could be there. I felt that I was ina private world at that time. I really felt a fit of depression then.

Or, "I was unable to touch anything, unable to communicate with any of the people around. It is an awesome, lonely feeling, a feeling of complete isolation.
I knew that I was completely alone, by myself".

And again, "I was just amazed. I couldn't believe that it was happening. I wasn't really concerned or worried like "Oh, no, I'm dead and my parents are left behind and they'll be sad and I'll never see them again."
Nothing like that ever entered my mind. I was aware the whole time of being alone, though, very alone-almost like I was a visitor from someplace else.
It was like all relations were cut. I know-it was like there was no love or anything. Everything was just so-technical. I don'tunderstand, really".

The dying person's feelings of loneliness are soon dispelled, however, as he gets deeper into his near death experience. For, at some point, others come to him to give him aid in the transition he is undergoing.

These may take the form of others pirits, often those of deceased relatives or friends the individual had known while he was alive.
In a greater number of instances, among those I interviewed, a spiritual being of a much different character appears. In the next few sectionswe will look at such encounters.

Encounter with deceased relatives or friends

Quite a few have told me that at some point while they were dying-sometimes early in the experience, sometimes only after other events had taken place-they became aware of the presence of other spiritual beings in their vicinity, beings who apparently were there to ease them through their transition into death, or, in two cases, to tell them that their time to die had not yet come and that they must return to their physical bodies.

"I had this experience when I was giving birth to a child. The delivery was very difficult, and I lost a lot of blood. The doctor gave me up, and told my relatives that I was dying.
However, I was quite alert through the whole thing, and even as I heard him saying this I felt myself coming to. As I did, I realized that all these people were there, almost in multitudes it seems, hovering around the ceiling of the room.

They were all people I had known in my past life, but who had passed on before.
I recognized my grandmother and a girl I had known when I was in school, and many other relatives and friends.
It seems that I mainly saw their faces and felt their presence.
They all seemed pleased. It was a very happy occasion, and I felt that they had come to protect or to guide me. It was almost as if I were coming home, and they were there to greet or to welcome me.
All this time, I had the feeling of everything light and beautiful.
It was a beautiful' and glorious moment".

One man remembers:
Several weeks before I nearly died, a goon friend of mine, Bob, had been killed.
Now the moment I got out of my body I had the feeling that Bob was standing there, right next to me. I could see him in my mind and felt like he was there, but it was strange.

I didn't see him like a physical body. I could see things, but not in the physical form, yet just as clearly, his look everything. Does that make sense? He was they; but he didn't have a physical body. It was kind of like a clear body, and I could sense every part of it-arms, legs, and so on-but I wasn't seeing it physically.
I didn't think about it being odd at the time because I didn't really need to see him with my eyes. I didn't have eyes, anyway.

I kept asking him, "Bob, where do I go now. What has happened? Am I dead or not?
"And he never answered me, never said a word. But, often, while I was in the hospital, he would be there, and I would ask him again, "What's going on?", but never any answer.

And then the day the doctors said, "He's going to live," he left. I didn't see him again and didn't feel his presence. It was almost as though he were waiting until I passed that final frontier and then he would tell me, would give me the details on what was going on.

In other cases, the spirits people encounter are persons whom they knew in physical life.
One man told of seeing during her out-of-body experience not only her own transparent spiritual but also another one, that of another person had died very recently.
She did not know this person was, but made the very interesting remark that "I did not see this person, this spirit, as having any particular age, at all.
I didn't even have any sense of time myself. In a very few instances, people have come to believe that the beings they encountered were their "guardian spirits."

One man was told by such a spirit that,"I have helped you through this stage of your existence, but now I am going to turn you over to others."

A woman told me that as she was leaving her body she detected the presence of two other spiritual beings there, and that they identified themselves as her "spiritual helpers."

In two very similar cases, persons told me of hearing a voice which told them that they were not dead yet, but that they must go back. As one of them tells it; "I heard a voice, not a man's voice, but like a hearing beyond the physical senses, telling me what I had to do-go back-and I felt no fear of getting back into my physical body.

Finally, the spiritual beings may take a somewhat more amorphous form.

"While I was dead, in this void, I talked to people-and yet, I really couldn't say that I talked to any bodily people. Yet, I had the feeling that there were people around me, and I could feel their presence, and could feel them moving, though I could never see anyone.
Every now and then, I would talk with one of them, but I couldn't see them.
And whenever I wondered what was going on, I would always get athought back from one of them, that everything was all right, that I was dying butwould be fine.
So, my condition never worried me. I always got an answer back forever any question that , I asked. They didn't leave my mind void.

The Being Of Light

What is perhaps the most incredible common element in the accounts I have studied, and is certainly the element which has the most profound effect upon the individual, is the encounter with a very bright light.
Typically, at its first appearance this light is dim, but it rapidly gets brighter, until it reaches an unearthly brilliance.

Yet, even though this light (usually said to be white or"clear") is of an indescribable brilliance, many' make the specific point that it does not in any ; way hurt their eyes, or dazzle them, or keep them, from seeing other things around them (perhaps'' because at this point they don't have physical"eyes" to be dazzled).

Despite the light's unusual manifestation, however, not one person has expressed any doubt whatever that it was a being, a being of light. Not any that, it is a personal being. It has a very definite personality. The love and the warmth which emanate from this being to the dying person are early beyond words, and he feels completely surrounded by it and taken up in it, completely at ease and accepted in the presence of this being. He senses an irresistible magnetic attraction to this light.
He is ineluctably drawn to it.

Interestingly, while the above description of the being of light is utterly invariable, the identification of the being varies from individual to individual and seems to be largely a function of the religious background, training, or beliefs of the person involved.

Thus, most of those who are Christians in training or belief identify the light as JesusChrist and sometimes draw Biblical parallels in support of their interpretation. A Jewish man and woman identified the light as an "angel."
It was clear, though, in both cases, that the subjects did not mean to imply that the being had wings, played a harp, or even had a human shape or appearance.
There was only the light. What each was trying to get across was that they took the being to be an emissary, or a guide.

A man who had had no religious beliefs or training at all prior to his experience simply identified what he sawas "a being of fight." The same label was used by one lady of the Christian faith, who apparently did not feel any compulsion at all to call the light "Christ."

Shortly after its appearance, the being begins to communicate with the person who is passing over. Notably, this communication is of the same direct kind which we encountered earlier in the description of how a person in the spiritual body may "pick up the thoughts" of those around him.

For, here again, people claim that they did not hear any physical voice or sounds coming from the being, nor did they respond to the being through audible sounds. Rather, it is reported that direct, unimpeded transfer of thoughts takes place, and in such a clear way that there is no possibility whatsoever, either of misunderstanding or of lying to the ligh.

Furthermore, this unimpeded exchange does not even take place in the native language of the person. Yet, he understands perfectly and is instantaneously aware.
He cannot even translate the thoughts and exchanges which took place while he was near death into the human language which' he must speak now, after his resuscitation.

The next step of the experience clearly ill traits the difficulty of translating from this unspoken language. The being almost immediately directs a certain thought to the person into mind it has come so dramatically.
Usually the persons with whom I have talked try to formulate the thought into a question. Among the translations I have heard are:

"Are you prepared to die?" "Are you readyto die?", "What have you do with your life to show me?", and "What have you, done with your life that is sufficient?"

The first two formulations which stress "preparation," might at first seem to have a different sense from the second pair, which emphasize "accomplishment."

However, some support for my own feeling that everyone is trying to express the same thought comes from the narrative of one woman who put it this way:

"The first thing he said to me was, that he kind of asked me if I was ready to die,or what I had done with my life that I wanted to show him".

Furthermore, even in the case of more unusual ways of phrasing the "question," it turns out, upon elucidation, to have much the same force.

For example, one man told me that during his "death," The voice asked me a question: "Is it worth it?" And what it meant was, did the kind of life I had been leading up to that point seem worthwhile to me then, knowing what I then knew.

Incidentally, all insist that this question, ultimate and profound as it may be inits emotional impact, is not at all asked in condemnation. The being, all seem to agree, does not direct the question to them to accuse or to threaten them, for they still feel the total love and acceptance coming from the light, no matter what their answer may be.

Rather, the point of the question seems to be to make them think about their lives, to draw them out. It is, if you will, a Socratic question, one asked not to acquire information but to help the person who is being asked to proceed along the path to the truth by himself. Let us look at some firsthand accounts of this fantastic being.

(1)- I heard the doctors say that I was dead, and that's when I began to feel asthough I were tumbling, actually kind of floating, through this blackness, whichwas some kind of enclosure. There are not really words to describe this. Everything was very black, except that, way off from me, I could see this light.

It was a very, very brilliant light, but not too large at first. It grew larger as I came nearer and nearer to it. I was trying to get to that light at the end, because I felt that it was Christ,and I was trying to y reach that point.
It was not a frightening experience. It was more or less a pleasant thing.
For immediately, being a Christian, I had connected the light with Christ, who said, "I am the the light of the world." I said to myself, "If this is it, if I am to die, then I know who waits for me at the end, there in that light."

2)- I got up and walked into the hall to go get a drink, and it was at that point,
as they found out later, that my appendix ruptured. I became very weak, and I felldown. I began to feel a sort of drifting, a movement of my real being in and out of my body, and to hear beautiful music.

I floated on down the hall and out the door onto the screened-in porch.
There, it almost seemed that clouds, a pink mistreally, began to gather around me, and then I floated right straight on throughthe screen, just as though it weren't there, and up into this pure crystal clear light, an illuminating white light.

It was beautiful and so bright, so radiant,but it didn't hurt my eyes.
It's not any kind of light you can describe on earth. I didn't actually see a person in this light, and yet it has a special identity, it definitely does.
It is a light of perfect understanding and perfect love. The thought came to my mind, "Lovest thou me?" This was not exactly in the form of a question, but I guess the connotation of what the light said was, "If you do love me, go back and complete what you began in your life.
And all during this time, I felt as though I were surrounded by an overwhelming love and compassion.

(3)- I knew I was dying and that there was nothing I could do about it, because no one could hear me .... I was out of my body, there's no doubt about it, because I could see my own body there on the operating room table.

My soul was out! All this made me feel very bad at first, but then, this really bright light came. It did seem that it was a little dim at first, but then it was this huge beam. It was just a tremendous amount of light, nothing like a big bright flashlight, it was just too much light.

And it gave off heat to me; I felt a warm sensation. It was a bright yellowish white-more white. It was tremendously bright; I just can't describe it. It seemed that it covered everything, yet it didn't prevent me from seeing everything around me-the operating room, the doctors and nurses,everything.

I could see clearly, and it wasn't blinding. At first, when the light came, I wasn't sure what was happening, but then, it asked, it kind of asked me if I was ready to die. It was like talking to a person,but a person wasn't there.

The light's what was talking to me, but in a voice. Now, I think that the voice that was talking to me actually realized that I wasn't ready to die.
You know, it was just kind of testing me more than anything else. Yet, from the moment the light spoke to me, I felt really good-secure and loved.
The love which came from it is just unimaginable, indescribable.
It was a fun person to be with! And it had a sense of humor, too-definitely!

The Review of life

The initial appearance of the being of light and his probing, non-verbal questions are the prelude to a moment of startling intensity during which; the being presents to the person a panoramic review of his life.

It is often obvious that the being can see the individual's whole life displayed and that he doesn't himself need information. His only intention is to provoke reflection. This review can only be described in terms of memory, since that is the closest familiar phenomenon to it, but it has characteristics which set it; apart from any normal type of remembering.

First of all, it is extraordinarily rapid. The memories, when they are described in temporal terms, are said to follow one another swiftly, in chronological order. Others recall no awareness of temporal order at all.
The remembrance was instantaneous; everything appeared at once, and they could take it all in with one mental glance. However it is expressed, all seem in agreement that the experience was over in an instant of earthly time.

Yet, despite its rapidity, my informants agree that the review, almost alwaysdescribed as a display of visual imagery, is incredibly vivid and real.
In some cases, the images are reported to be in vibrant color, three-dimensional, and even moving. And even if they are flickering rapidly by, each image is perceived and recognized. Even the emotions and feelings associated with the images may be re-experienced as one is viewing them.

Some of those I interviewed claim that, while they cannot adequately explain it, everything they had ever done was there in this review-from the most insignificant to the most meaningful. Others explain that what they saw were mainly the highlights of their lives. Some have stated to me that even for a period of time following their experience of the review they could recall the events of their lives in incredible detail.

Some people characterize this as an educational effort on the part of the being of light. As they witness the display, the being seems to stress the importance of two things in life: Learning to love other people and acquiring knowledge.
Let us look at a representative account of this type:

"When the light appeared, the first thing he said to me was "What do you have to show me that you've done with your life?", or something to this effect.
And that's when these flashbacks started. I thought, "Gee, what is going on?", because, all of a sudden, I was back early in my childhood. And from then on, it was like I was walking from the time of my very early life, on through each year of my life, right up to the present.

It was really strange where it started, too, when I was a little girl, playing down by the creek in our neighborhood, and there were other scenes from about that time-experiences I had had with my sister, and things about neighborhood people, and actual places I had been.

And then I was in kindergarten, and I remembered the time when I had this one toy I really liked, and I broke it and I cried for a long time. This was a really traumatic experience for me. The images continued on through my life and I remembered when I was in Girl Scouts and went camping, and remembered many things about all the years of grammar school.

Then, when I was injunior high school, it was a real big honor to be chosen for the scholastic achievement society, and I remembered when I was chosen. So, I went on through junior high, and then senior high school, and graduation, and up through my first few years of college, up to where I was then.

The things that flashed back came in the order of my life, and they were so vivid. The scenes were just like you walked outside and saw them, completely three-dimensional, and in color. And they moved. For instance, when I saw myself breaking the toy, I could see all the movements. It wasn't like I was watching it all from my perspective at the time.

It was like the little girl I saw was somebody else, in a movie, one little girl among all the other children out the replaying on the playground. Yet, it was me.
I saw myself doing these things, as a child, and they were the exact same things I had done, because I remember them.

Now, I didn't actually see the light as I was going through the flashbacks. He disappeared as soon as he asked me what I had done, and the flashbacks started,and yet I knew that he was there with me the whole time, that he carried me back through the flashbacks, because I felt his presence, and because he made comment shere and there. He was trying to show me something in each one of the seflashbacks.

It's not like he was trying to see what I had done-he knew already-buthe was picking out these certain flashbacks of my life and putting them in front of me so that I would have to recall them.

All through this, he kept stressing the importance of love. The places where he
showed it best involved my sister; I have always been very close to her. He showed me some instances where I had been selfish to my sister, but then just as many times where I had really shown love to her and had shared with her.

He pointed outto me that I should try to do things for other people, to try my best. There wasn't any accusation in any of this, though. When he came across times when I had been selfish, his attitude was only that I had been learning from them, too.

He seemed very interested in things concerning knowledge, too. He kept on pointing out things that had to do with learning, and he did say that I was going to continue learning, and he said that even when he comes back for me (because by this time he had told me that I was going back) that there will always be a quest for knowledge.

He said that it is a continuous process, so I got the feeling that it goes on after death. I think that he was trying to teach me, as we went through those flashbacks.

The whole thing was really odd. I was there; I was actually seeing these flashbacks; I was actually walking through them, and it was so fast. Yet, it was slow enough that I could take it all in. Still, the time span wasn't all that large, I don't believe.

It just seemed that the light came, and then I went through these flashbacks, and the light came back. It seems that it was less than five minutes, and probably more than thirty seconds, but I can't really tell you.

The only time I felt scared was when I was concerned that I wasn't going to be able to finish my life here. But I enjoyed going through this flashback. That was fun.
I had a good time going back to my childhood, almost like I was reliving it. It was a way of going back and seeing it which you ordinarily just can't do.

A young veteran describes his review:

While I was serving in VietNam, I received , wounds, and I later "died" from them, yet through it all I knew exactly what was going on. I was hit with six rounds of machine gun fire, and as it happened I wasn't upset at all.

In my' mind, I actually felt relieved when I was wounded I felt completely at ease, and it was not frightening. At that point of impact, my life began to become a picture in front of me, and it seemed ,at I could go back to the time when I was still a baby, and the pictures seemed to progress through my whole life.

I could remember everything; everything was vivid. It was so clear in front of me.
It shot right by me from the earliest things I can remember right on up to the present, and it all happened within a short time. And it was not anything bad all;
I went through it with no regrets, no derogatory feelings about myself at all.

The best thing I can think of to compare it to is a series of pictures; like slides. It was just like someone was clicking off slides in front of me, very quickly.

The Border Or Limit to go to afterlife

In a few instances, persons have described to me how during their near-death experience they seemed to be approaching what might be called a border or a limit of some kind. This has taken the form, in various accounts, of a body of water, a gray mist, a door, a fence across a field, or simply a line.

Though this is highly speculative, one could raise the question of whether there might not be some one basic experience or idea at the root of all of them.
If this is true, then the different versions would merely represent varying individual ways of interpreting, wording, or remembering the root experience.
Let us look at a few accounts inwhich the idea of a border or limit plays a prominent role.

(1) - I "died" from a cardiac arrest, and, as I did, I suddenly found myself in a rolling field. It 'seas beautiful, and everything was an intense green - a color unlike anything on earth. There was light-beautiful, uplifting light - all around me. I looked ahead of me, across the field, and I saw fence. I started moving towards the fence, and I saw a man on the other side of it, moving towards it as if to meet me. I wanted to reach him, but I felt myself being drawn back, irresistibly. As I did, I saw him, too, turn around and go back in the other direction, away from the fence.

(2) - This experience took place during the birth of my first child. About the eighth month of my pregnancy, I developed what my doctor described as a toxic condition and advised me to enter the hospital where he could force labor, It was immediately after delivery that I had a severe hemorrhage and the doctor had adifficult` time controlling it.

I was aware of what was, happening as, having beena nurse myself, I realized the danger. At this time, I lost consciousness, andheard an annoying buzzing, ringing sound. The next thing I knew it seemed as if Iwere on; a ship or a small vessel sailing to the other side of a large body ofwater. On the distant shore, I could see all of my loved ones who had died, my mother, my father, my sister, and others.
I could see them, could see their faces,just as they were when I knew them on earth. They seemed to be beckoning me to come on over, and all the while I was saying:
"No, no, I'm not ready to join you. I don't want to die. I'm not ready to go."

Now, this was the strangest experience because all this time I could see all the doctors and nurses, too, as they worked on my body, but it seemed as if I were a spectator rather than that person - that body-they were working on. - was trying so hard to get through to my doctor, "I'm not going to die," but no one could hearme.

Everything - the doctors, the nurses, the delivery room, the ship, the water, and the far shore was just sort of a conglomerate. It was all together, as if one scene were super imposed right on top of the other.

Finally, the ship almost reached the far shore, but just before it did, it turned around and started back. I did finally get through to my doctor, and I was saying, "I'm not going to die." It was at this point, I guess, that I came around, and the doctor explained what had happened, that I had had a post-partum hemorrhage, and that they had nearly lost me, but that I was going to be all right.

(3) - I was hospitalized for a severe kidney condition, and I was in a coma for approximately a week. My doctors were extremely uncertain as to whether I would live. During this period when I was unconscious, I felt as though I were lifted right up, just as though I didn't have a physical body at all.

A brilliant whitelight appeared to me. The light was so bright that I could not see through it, but going into its presence was so calming and so wonderful.
There is just no experience on earth like it. In the presence of the light, the thoughts or words came into my mind: "Do you want to die?"

And I replied that I didn't know since Iknew nothing about death. Then the white light said, "Come over this line and you will learn." I felt that I knew where the line was in front of me, although I could not actually see it.
As I went across the line, the most wonderful feelings came over me-feelings of peace, tranquility, a vanishing of all worries.

(4) - I had a heart attack, and I found myself in a black void, and I knew I had left my physical body behind. I knew I was dying, and I thought, "God, I did the best I knew how at the time I did it. Please help me." Immediately, I was moved' out of that blackness, through a pale gray, and I just went on, gliding and moving swiftly, and in front of me, in the distance, I could see a gray wrist, and I was rushing toward it.

It seemed that just couldn't get to it fast enough to satisfyme, and as I got closer to it I could see through it. Beyond the mist, I could see people, and their forms were just like they are on the earth, and I could also see something which one could take to be buildings.

The whole thing was permeated with the most gorgeous light-a living, golden yellow glow, a pale color, not like the harsh gold color we know on earth. As I approached more closely, I felt certain that I was going through that mist. It was such a wonderful, joyous feeling; there are just no words in the human language to describe it. Yet, wasn't my time to go through the mist, because instantly from the other side appeared my Uncle Carl, who had died many years earlier.

He blocked my path, saying, "Go back. Your work on earth has not been completed.
Go back now. I didn't want to go back, but I had no choice and immediately I was back in my body. I felt that horrible pain in my chest, and I heard my little boy crying, "God, bring my mommy back to me."

(5) - I was taken to the hospital for a critical condition they said was an "inflammation" and my doctor said I wasn't going to make it. I told my relatives to come because I wasn't going to be here much longer. They came, and gathered around my bed, and as the doctor thought was dying, my relatives looked like they we going farther away from me.

It looked like they were going back instead of me going away from them. It got dimmer and dimmer, but I saw them. I lost consciousness and didn't seem to know anything else about what was going on in the hospital room, but I was in a narrow,
v-shaped passage, like a trough, about the width of this chair.

It just fit my body, and my hands and arms seemed to be down at my side.
I went head first, and it was dark, dark as it could be in there. Imoved on through it, downward, and I looked up and saw a beautiful, polished door, with no knob. Around the edges of the door I could see a really brilliant light, with rays just streaming like everybody was so happy in there, and reeling around, moving around. It seemed like it was awfully busy in there. I looked up and said:
"Lord, here I am. If you want me, take me." Boy, he shot me back so fast it felt like I almost lost my breath.

Coming Back to the physical body

Obviously, all the persons with whom I have talked had to "come back" at some point in their experience. Usually, though, an interesting change in their attitude had taken place by this time.

Remember that the most common feelings reported in the first few moments following death are a desperate desire to getback into the body and an intense regret over one's demise. However, once the dying person reaches a certain depth in his experience, he does not want to come back, and he may even resist the return to the body.

This is especially the case for those who have gotten so far as to encounter the being of light. As one man put it, most emphatically: "I never wanted to leave the presence of this being."

Exceptions to this generalization are often only apparent, not real. Several women who were mothers of young children at the time of their experience have told me that, while for themselves they would have preferred to stay where they were, they felt an obligation to try to go back and to raise their children.

"I wondered whether I should stay there, but as I did I remembered my family, my three children and my husband. Now, this is the part that is hard to get across:
When I had this wonderful feeling, there in the presence of try light, I really didn't want to come back. But take my responsibilities very seriously, and I knew that I had a duty to my family. So I decided to try to come back."

In several other cases, persons have told that, though they were comfortable and secure in their new disembodied existence and were even enjoying it, they felt happy to be able to return to physical life since they had left some important task undone. In a few cases, this has taken the form of a desire to complete an unfinished education.

"I had completed three years of college and had only one more year to go. I kept thinking, "I don't want to die now." But I feel that if this had gone on just afew minutes more, if I had been with this light for just a little while longer, I wouldn't have thought of my education anymore, that I would've been taken up with the other things I was experiencing."

The accounts I have collected present an extremely varied picture when it comes to the question of the mode of return to physical life and of why the return took place. Most say simply that they do not know how or why they returned, or that they can only make guesses. A few very definitely feel that their own decisions to get back to the body and to return to earthly life were the operative factors.

"I was out of my body, and I realized that I had to make a decision. I knew that I could not stay out of my physical body for a very long period of time so-well, for others this is very hard to understand, but for me then it was perfectly clearly knew that I had to decide whether to move on out or to get back in.

It was wonderful over there on the other side, and I kind of wanted to stay. But knowing that I had something good to do on earth was just as wonderful in a way.
So, I was thinking, "Yes, I must go back and live," and I got back into my
physical body. I almost feel as though I stopped the bleeding myself.
At any rate, I began to recover after that."

Others feel that they were in effect allowed to live by "God," or by the being of light, either in response to their own request to be allowed to live (usually because the request was made unselfishly) or because God or the being apparently had some mission in mind for them to fulfill.

"I was above the table, and I could see everything they were doing. I knew that I was dying, that this would be it. Yet, I was concerned about my children, about who would take care of them. So, I was not ready to go. The Lord permitted me to live.

As one man remembers:

I say God surely was good to me, because I was dead, and he let the doctors bring me back, for a purpose. The purpose was to help my wife, I think, because she had a drinking problem, and I know that she just couldn't have made it without me.
She is better now, though, and I really think it had a lot to do with what I went through.

A young mother feels that:

The Lord sent me back, but I don't know why. I definitely felt Him there, and knew that He recognized me and knew who I was. And yet He didn't see fit to let me into heaven; but why, I don't know. I have thought about it many times since, and I believe that it was either because I had those two small children to raise, or because I personally just wasn't ready to be there.
I am still seeking the answer, and I just can't figure it out.

In a few instances, persons have expressed the feeling that the love or prayers of others have in effect pulled them back from death regardless of their own wishes.

"I was with my elderly aunt during her last illness, which was very drawn out.
I helped take care of her, and all that time everyone in the family was praying for her to regain her health.

She stopped breathing several times, but they brought her back. Finally, one day she looked at me and she said, "Joan, I have been over there, over to the beyond and it is beautiful over there. I want to stay, but I can't as long as you keep praying for me to stay with you. Your prayers are holding me over here. Please don't pray any more."
We did all stop, and shortly after that she died.

A woman told me:
The doctor had already said that I was gone, but I lived through it.
Yet; the experience I had been through was so joyous, I had no bad feelings at all. As I came back, I opened my eyes, and my sister and my husband saw me.
I could see their relief, and tears were pouring from their eyes. I could see that it was a relief to them that I did survive.
I felt as though I had been called back-magnetized back-through the love of my sister and my husband. Since then, I havebelieved that other people can draw you back.

In quite a few instances, persons recall being drawn rapidly back through the darktunnel through which they went during the initial moments of their experience.
One man who died, for example relates how he was propelled forward through a dark valley. He felt he was approaching, the end of the tunnel, yet just at that moment heard his name called from behind. He then was drawn backwards through the same space.

Few experience the actual re-entry into their physical bodies. Most report that they simply felt that at the end of their experience they "went to sleep" or lapsed into unconsciousness, later to awaken in their physical bodies.

"I don't remember getting back into my body. It was like I just drifted away, went to sleep, and then all of a sudden I woke right back up and I was lying in the bed.
The people in the room were, in comparison, where they had been while I had been out of my body, looking at it and at them."

On the other hand, some remember being draw speedily back towards their physical bodies, often with a jerk, at the end of their experiences.

"I was up there at the ceiling, watching them work on me. When they put the shockson my chest, and my body jumped up, I just fell right back down to my body, just like dead weight. The next thing I knew, I was in my body again".

One person recounted:

"When I saw them pick up my body and take it out from under the steering wheel, it was just like a swoooosh and I felt like I was drawn through a limited area, a kind of funnel, I guess. It was dark and black in there, and I moved through it quickly, back to my body.

And as I was being sucked back, it seemed that the suction started from the head, like I went into the head. I didn't feel that I had any say-so about it at all, nor even any time to think about it.
I was there,yards away from my body, and all of a sudden, it was over with.
I didn't even havetime to think, "I'm being sucked back into my body."

Typically, the moods and feelings which were associated with the experience lingeron for some time after the actual medical crisis has been resolved.

(1) - After I came back, I cried off and on For about a week because I had to live in this world after seeing that one. I didn't want to come back.

(2) - When I came back, I brought with me some of the wonderful feelings I had overthere. They lasted for several days. Even now I feel them sometimes.

(3) - This feeling was so indescribable. It has stayed with me, in a way.
I've never forgotten it. I still think about it very often.

Telling Others

It must be emphasized that a person who has been through an experience of this type has no doubt whatsoever as to its reality and its importance. Interviews which I have done are usually sprinkled with remarks to precisely that effect.
For example:

"While I was out of my body, I was really amazed at what was happening to me.
I couldn't understand it. But it was real. I saw my body so plainly, and from so far away. My mind wasn't at that point where I wanted to make things happen or make upanything. My mind wasn't manufacturing ideas. I just wasn't in that state mind.

And; "It was nothing like an hallucination. I have had hallucinations once, when I was given codeine in the hospital. But that had happened long before the accident which really killed me. And this experience was nothing like the
hallucinations, nothing like them at all.

Such remarks come from persons who are very capable of distinguishing dream and fantasy from reality. One man said:
"It was very interesting. It's just that I don't like telling people about it.People just kind of look at you like you're crazy."

Another recalls; "I didn't tell anyone about it for a long, long time.
I just didn't say anything atall about it. I felt funny about it because I was afraid that nobody would think Iwas telling the truth, that they would say,
"Oh, you're making up these things." One day, I decided, "Well, I'll see how my family reacts to it," and I told them,but never anyone else until now.
But I think that my family realized that I had been that far.

Others tried at first to tell someone else, but were rebuffed, so they resolved from then on to remain silent.

(1) - The only person I tried to tell was my mother. Just a little later I mentioned to her how I had felt. But I was just a little boy, and she didn't pay any attention to me. So I never told it to anybody else.

(2)- I tried to tell my minister, but he told me I had been hallucinating,
so I shut up.

(3) - I was pretty popular in junior high and high school, and I just floated with the crow: never anything new. I was a follower, not a leader. And after this happened to me, and I tried to tell people, they just automatically labeled me crazy, I think.

I would try to tell people this, and they would listen with interest, but then I would find out later that they'd go say, "She has reallyflipped out."
When I saw that it was just a big joke, I quit trying to communicateabout it.
I hadn't been trying to get across the idea that, "Gee, this strange experience has happened me."
What I was trying to say was that there was more we needed to know about life than I hadn't ever thought about, and I am sure they hadn't either.

(4) - I tried to tell my nurses what had happened when I woke up, but they told me not to talk about it, that I was just imagining things.

(5) - You learn very quickly that people don't take to this as easily as you would like for them to. You simply don't jump up on a little soapbox and go around telling everyone these things.

There is yet another reason why some are reticent to relate their experiences to others. They feel that the experience is so indescribable, so far beyond human language and human modes of perception and existence, that it is fruitless even to try.

Effects On Lives

For the reasons just explained, no one in my experience has built himself a portable lectern and gone out to preach about his experience on a full time basis.
No one has seen fit to proselytize, to try to convince others of the realities he experienced. Indeed, I have found that the difficulty is quite the reverse: People are naturally very reticent to tell others about what happened to them.

The effects which their experiences have had on their lives seem to have taken subtler, quieter forms. Many have told me that they felt that their lives were broadened and deepened by their experience, that because of it they became more reflective and more concerned with ultimate philosophical issues.

At this time - it was before I had gone off to college - I had grown up in a very small town, with very small - minded people, the people I was associated with, anyway. I was a typical high school fraternity brat.
You just weren't "it" unlessyou belonged to my fraternity.But after this thing happened to me, I wanted to know more.

At the time, though, Ididn't think there was a person who would know anything about this, because I had never been out of this little world that I was in.
I didn't know anything about psychology, or anything like that.
All I knew was that I felt like I had aged overnight after this happened, because it opened up a whole new world for me thatI never knew could possibly exist.

I kept thinking, "There's so much that I've gotto find out." In other words, there's more to life than Friday night movies and the football game.
And there's more to me that I don't even know about. And then Istarted thinking about "What is the limit of the human and of the mind?"
It just opened me up to a whole new world.

Another states;
"Since then, it has been on my mind constantly what I have done with my life, and what I will do with my life. My past life-I'm satisfied with it.
I don't think the world owes me anything because I really did everything I wanted and I did it theway I wanted to, and I'm still alive and I can do some more.

But since I died, all of a sudden, right after my experience, I started wondering whether I had been doing the things I had done because they were good, or because they were good forme. Before, I just reacted off the impulse, and now I run things through my mind first, nice and slow. Everything seems to have to go through my mind and bedigested, first.

I try to do things that have more meaning, and that makes my mind and soul feel better. And I try not to be biased, and not to judge people I want to do thing sbecause they are good, not because they are good to me.
And it seems that the understanding I have of things now is so much better.
I feel like this is because of what happened to me, because of the places I went and the things I saw in this experience.

Others report a changed attitude or approach towards the physical life to which they have returned.
One woman, for instance, says quite simply that; "it made life much more precious to me."

Another person relates how: "It was a blessing in a way, because before that heart attack I was too busy planning for my children's future, and worrying about yesterday, that I was losing the joys of the present.
I have a much different attitude now."

A few have mentioned that what they under went changed their concepts of the mind and of the relative importance of the physical body as against the mind.
This is illustrated especially well in these words of a woman who had an out-of-body experience while near death.

"I was more conscious of my mind at the time than of that physical body.
The mind was the most important part, instead of the shape of the body.
And before, all my life, it had been exactly reversed. The body was my main interest and what was going on in my mind, well, it was just going on, and that's all.

But after this happened, my mind was the main point of attraction, and the body was second-it was only something to encase my mind. I didn't care if I had a body or not. It didn't matter because for all I cared my mind was what was important."

In a very small number of cases, persons have told me that after their experiences they seemed to acquire or to notice faculties of intuition bordering on thepsychic.

(1) - Following this experience, it almost seemed as if I were filled with a new spirit. Since then, many have remarked to me that I seem to have almost a calming effect on them, instantly, when they are troubled.
And it seems that I am more intune with people now, that I can pick up things about them faster.

(2) - One thing that I think has been given to me, because of my death experience,
is that I can sense the needs in other individuals' lives.
Often, for instancewhen I have been with people on the elevator in the office building where I work, it seems I can almost read their faces, and tell that they need help, and what kind.
Many times, I have spoken to people who are troubled like this, and have ledthem into my office for counseling.

(3) - Since I was hurt, I've had the feeling of picking up people's thoughts and vibrations, and I can feel resentment from other people.
I have often been able topick up what people were going to say before they said it. Not many people will believe me, but I've had some really odd, odd experiences since then.

One time, I was at a party and was picking up other people's thoughts, and some people there who didn't know me got up and left. They were scared that I was a witch or something. I don't know if it is something I picked up while I was dead, or if it was there dormant and I never did use it until after this happened."

There is a remarkable agreement in the "lessons," as it were, which have been brought back from these close encounters with death.
Almost everyone has stressed the importance in this life of trying to cultivate love for others, a love of aunique and profound kind.

One man who met the being of light felt totally loved and accepted, even while his whole life was displayed in a panorama for the beingto see. He felt that the "question" that the being was asking him was whether hewas able to love others in the same way. He now feels that it is his commission while on earth to try to learn to be able to do so.

In addition, many others have emphasized the importance of seeking knowledge.
During their experiences, it was intimated to them that the acquisition of knowledge continues even in the after-life.

One woman, for example, has taken advantage of every educational opportunity she has had since her "death"experience.

Another man offers the advice, "No matter how old you are, don't stop learning.
For this is a process, I gather, that goes on for eternity."

No one that I interviewed has reported coming out of this experience feeling morally "purified" or perfected. No one with whom I have talked in my way evinces a "holier-than-thou" attitude. In fact, most have specifically brought up the point that they feel that they are still trying, still searching.

Their vision left them with new goals, new moral principles, and a renewed determination to try to live in accordance with them, but with no feelings of instantaneous salvationor of moral infallibility.

No more afraid to death

As one might reasonably expect, this experience has a profound effect upon one'sattitude towards physical death, especially for those who had not previouslyexpected that anything took place after death. In some form or another, almostevery person has expressed to me the thought that he is no longer afraid of death.

This requires clarification, though. In the first place, certain modes of death are obviously undesirable, and secondly, none of these persons are actively seeking death.

They all feel that they have tasks to do as long as they are physically alive and would agree with the words of a man who told me, "I've got quite a lot of changing to do before I leave here."

Likewise, all would disavow suicide as a means by which to return to the realms they glimpsed during their experiences. It is just that now the state of death itself is no longer forbidding to them. Let us look at some passages in which such attitudes are explained.

(1) - I suppose this experience molded something in my life. I was only a child whenit happened, only ten, but now, my entire life through, I am thoroughly convinced that there is life after death, without a shadow of a doubt, and I am not afraidto die. I am not.

Some people I have known are so afraid, so scared. I always smile to myself when I hear people doubt that there is an afterlife, or say, "When you're dead, you're gone." I think to myself, "They really don't know."

I've had many things happen to me in my life. In business, I've had a gun pulledon me and put to my temple. And it didn't frighten me very much, because I thought, "Well, if I really die, if they really kill me, I know I'll still live somewhere."

(2) When I was a little boy I used to dread dying. I used to wake up at night crying and having a fit. My mother and father would rush into the bedroom and ask what was wrong. I told them that I didn't want to die, but that I knew l had to, and asked if they could stop it.

My mother would talk to me and tell me, "No, that's just the way it is and we all have to face it." She said that we all had todo it alone and that when the time came we would do it all right.
And years later after my mother died I would talk about death with my wife.
I still feared it. I didn't want it to come.But since this experience, I don't fear death.

Those feelings vanished. I don't feel bad at funerals anymore. I kind of rejoice at them, because I know what the dead person has been through. I believe that the Lord may have sent this experience to me because of the way I felt about death.
Of course, my parents comforted me, but the Lord showed me, whereas they couldn't do that. Now, I don't talk about all this, but I know, and I am perfectly satisfied.

(3) - Now, I am not afraid to die. It's not that I have a death wish, or, want to die right now. I don't want to be living over there on the other side now, because I'm supposed to be living here.
The reason why I'm not afraid to die, though, is that I know where I'm going when I leave here, because I've been there before.

(4) - The last thing the light said to me, before I came back to my body, back to life, was-well, what it boiled down to was that he would be back.
He was telling me that I was going to go on and live this time, but that there would be a time when he would be getting in touch with me again, and that I would actually die.

So I know that the light will come back, and the voice, but as to when, I'm not sure. I think that it'll be a very similar experience, but I think a better one, really, since now I know what to expect and won't be so confused. I don't think I want to go back anytime soon, though. I still want to do some things down here.

The reason why death is no longer frightening, as all of these excerpts express, is that after his experience a person no longer entertains any doubts about his survival of bodily death.
It is no longer merely an abstract possibility to him, but a fact of his experience.

Remember that much earlier I discussed the "annihilation" concept, which uses
"sleeping" and "forgetting" as its models of death. Persons who have "died" disavow models like this and choose analogies which portray death as a transition from one state to another, or as an entry into a higher state of consciousness or of being.

One woman, whose deceased relatives were there to greet her at her death, compared death to a "home coming."
Others have likened it to other psychologically positive states, for example, to awakening, to graduating, and to escape from jail.

(1) - Some say that we are not using the word "death" because we are trying to escape from it. That's not true in my case. After you've once had the experience that I had, you know in your heart that there's no such thing as death.
You just graduate from one thing to another-like from grammar school to high school to college.

(2) - Life is like imprisonment. In this state, we just can't understand what prisons these bodies are. Death is such a release-like an escape from prison. That's the best thing I can think of to compare it to.

Even those who previously had some traditional conviction about the nature of the afterlife world seem to have moved away from it to some degree following their own brushes with death.

In fact, in all the reports I have gathered, not one person has painted the mythological picture of what lies hereafter. No one has described the cartoonist's heaven of pearly gates, golden streets, and winged, harp-playingangels, nor a hell of flames and demons with pitchforks.

So, in most cases, the reward-punishment model of the afterlife is abandoned and disavowed, even by many who had been accustomed to thinking in those terms. They found, much to their amazement that even when their most apparently awful and sinful deeds were made manifest before the Being of Light, the Being responded not with anger and rage, but rather only with understanding, and even with humor.

As one woman went through the review of her life with this being, she saw some scenes in which she had failed to show love and had shown selfishness.
Yet, she says, "His attitude when we came to these scenes was just that I had been learning, eventhen."

In place of this old model, many seemed to have returned with a new model and a new understanding of the world beyond-a vision which features not unilateral judgement, but rather cooperative development towards the ultimate end of self-realization.

According to these new views, development of the soul, especially in the spiritual faculties of love and knowledge, does not stop upon death.
Rather, it continues on the other side, perhaps eternally, but certainly for a period of time and to a depth which can only be glimpsed, while we are still in physical bodies, "through a glass, darkly."


Some people have a very strong, clear desire for death.
They may feel hopeless about the future, believing that things will never get better. Suicide may seem to be the only way of solving problems, once and for all, and ending the emotional pain of living.

However, a lot of self-destructive emotion, thought and behaviour is far more confused than this. Someone who feels that their situation and problems have become intolerable may see no alternative but to attempt to kill themself. Yet, they are likely to have extremely mixed feelings about this, and feel very afraid.

Someone who tries to take an overdose of drugs, or to cut a vein in their wrist, may know only that they can't go on with life as it is.
In the weeks beforehand, depression, hopelessness and irritability often build up their tension. Under pressure, people may become desperate, but may still feel confused.

They may less want to die than to escape an impossible situation, to relieve an unbearable state of mind, or to convey desperate feelings to others. Many may be past caring whether they live or die. The important fact for others to recognise is that, however wavering and confused the feelings may be, they remain life threatening

A young person relates the following:

Only when you know what it is like to feel depressed, to feel you are dying inside, can you know what it is like to be suicidal, to think that the whole dreadful, terrible, nagging, awful pain of it all might be swept away by a simple, single act of self destruction.

Is it the self-harming a behaviour suicidal?
A young girl ask for help and says:

I'm writing to ask for help. I'm a Muslim girl and when I was ten I was badly abused by a family friend. I've never told anyone. Since then I've kept myself to myself and have tried to take overdoses of painkillers. Whenever I'm at home with the family, I'm scared and feel lonely. I'd like to leave my family and start afresh. I'm over 18. What should I do? At the moment I feel like doing something I should have done years ago — to stab myself and finish with this burden for good .

Self-harm is most common among young women, especially between the ages of 15 to 19. Some people who self-harm may also suffer from eating distress, and some may have been abused as children. – by cutting, burning or scratching – in order to cope with overwhelming emotions and to release tension, so that emotional distress is transformed into physical pain.

They may have terrible feelings of guilt, shame and fear about what they are doing, and yet they may feel powerless to stop. People who deliberately harm themselves are not necessarily suicidal, however there is evidence of a link between attempted suicide and self-harming behaviour.

Whether or not death is the objective, self-harm is not about seeking attention or playing games. Like suicidal feelings, self-harming behaviour may express a powerful sense of despair, and should be taken seriously.

Have you ever interviewed anyone who has had a near - death experience in association with a suicide attempt?

If so, was the experience any different?

I do know of a few cases in which a suicide attempt was the cause of the apparent
"death." These experiences were uniformly characterized as being unpleasant.

As one woman said; "If you leave here a tormented soul, you will be a tormented soul over there, too."

In short, they report that the conflicts they had attempted suicide to escape were still present when they died, but with added complications.

In their disembodied state they were unable to do anything about their problems, and they also had to view the unfortunate consequences which resulted from their acts.

A man who was despondent about the death of his wife shot himself, "died" as a
result, and was resuscitated.
He states:
"I didn't go where my wife was. I went to an awful and dark place, where I heard voices of pain, weeping, complaints, and some terrible screaming came from everywhere . . . . I immediately understood the mistake I had made . . .
I thought, "I wish I hadn't done it."

A young girl had several quarrels with her boyfriend when they parted, she decided to commit suicide by taking pills.

She left me the following story so impressive:
"A higher power made me understand clearly where carries the suicide .All those who commit suicide must to know, that do not solve anything committing a suicide, further complicate their future life, your eternity.

It´s to say if suicide is by to retaliate, by hating, by causing harm to someone or by causing pain, suicide carries a terrible determination of eternal suffering in hell, where they will have to endure again and again, in repetition continues without stopping all the suffering of suicide.

Others who experienced this unpleasant "limbo" state have remarked that they had the feeling they would be there for a long time. This was their penalty for "breaking the rules" by trying to release themselves prematurely from what was, ineffect, an "assignment"-to fulfill a certain purpose in life.

Such remarks coincide with what has been reported to me by several people who "died" of other causes but who said that, while they were in this state, it had been intimated to them that suicide was a very unfortunate act which attended with a severe penalty.

One man who had a near-death experience after an accident give us more details on how we cherish our life and how bad it is suicide, he said:

While I was over there I got the feeling that two things it was completely forbidden for me to do:

-"would be to kill myself" and "to kill another person" . . . .

If I were to commit suicide, I would be throwing God's gift back in his face .... Killing somebody else would be interfering with God's purpose for that individual.

Sentiments like these, which by now have been expressed to me in many separate accounts, are identical to those embodied in the most ancient theological and moral argument against suicide which occurs in various forms in the writings of thinkers as diverse as St. Thomas Aquinas, Locke, and Kant.

A suicide, in Kant'sview, is acting in opposition to the purposes of God and arrives on the other side viewed as a rebel against his-creator.
Aquinas argues that life is a gift from Godand that it is God's prerogative, not man's, to take it back.

Suicide and mental illness

Studies have shown that over 90% of people who die from suicide have one or more psychiatric disorders at the time of their death. Luckily, there are ways to treat and control these disorders and potentially prevent suicide.

What bearing, if any, do the near-death experiences who have studied have on the possibility of reincarnation?

Not one of the cases I have looked into is in any way indicative to me that reincarnation occurs. However, it is important to bear in mind that not one ofthem rules out reincarnation, either.

If reincarnation does occur, it seems likely that an interlude in some other realm would occur between the time of separation from the old body and the entry into the new one. Accordingly, the technique of interviewing people who come back from close calls with death would not be the proper mode for studying reincarnation, anyway.

Other methods can and have been tried in investigating reincarnation. For example,
some have tried the technique of "far age regression."
A subject is hypnotized and the suggestion is made to him that he go back mentally to successively earlier and earlier times in his life.

When he reaches the time of the earliest experiences hecan recall in his present life, he is then told to try to go back even beyond that!
At this point, many persons begin telling elaborate stories about previous lives in earlier times and distant places.
In some cases, such stories check outwith remarkable accuracy. This has happened even when it can be established tha tthe subject could not have known in any normal way about the events, persons, and places he describes so accurately.


Of course not. Reincarnation is the belief in a string of returning to this life under a different bodies shape.

If it were true, my freedom would be useless and my decisions, struggles, efforts, sacrifices and sufferings in life would be worthless, I would have do it all again, over an over again.

St. Paul says:

"One dies only once and death is followed by resurrection and then the judgment of each person. If our hope in Christ is only for this life,
Are the most miserable among men "(1 Cor 15.19).


In our society The Bible is the most widely read and discussed book dealing with matters relating to the nature of the spiritual aspect of man and to life after death. On the whole, however, The Bible has relatively little to say about the events that transpire upon death, or about the precise nature of the after-death world.

This is especially of the Old Testament. According to some Biblical scholars, only two passages in all of the Old Testament speak unequivocally of life after death:

Isaiah 26:19: Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust for . . . the earth shall cast out the dead.'

Daniel 12:2: And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt i.e. the eternal damnation.

Notice that in both of these passages there is strong suggestion that a resurrection of the physical body will occur and that the state of physical deathis compared here, again, to sleep.

Still, as is evident from the preceding chapter, a few persons have drawn upon specific Biblical concepts when trying to elucidate or to explain to me what happened to them. For instance, it will be remembered that one man identified the dark enclosure he went through at the moment of death as the Biblical "valley of the shadow of death."

Two persons mentioned Jesus' claim, "I am the light of the world." Apparently, it was at least partly on the basis of that phrase that both identified the light they met as Christ".
One of them told me: "I didn't ever see aperson in this light, but to me the light was a Christ-consciousness, a oneness with all things, a perfect love.
I think that Jesus meant it literally when hesaid he was the light of the world."

In addition, in my own reading I have come across a few seeming parallels which none of my subjects have mentioned. The most interesting ones occur in the writings of the apostle Paul. Paul was a persecutor of Christians until he had hisfamous vision and conversion on the road to Damascus.

He says: Acts 26:13-26: At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, "Said, Saul, Saul why persecutest thou me?
It is hard forthee to kick against the pricks."

And I said, "Who art thou, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness, both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in which I will appear unto thee ...."

Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision . . . .
And as I thus spake for myself, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad."
But I said, "I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness."

This episode obviously bears some resemblance to the encounter with the being oflight in near death experiences. First of all, the being is endowed with personality, though no physical form is seen, and a "voice" which asks a question and issues instructions emanates from it.

When Paul tries to' tell others, he is mocked and labeled as "insane." Nonetheless, the vision changed the course of hislife: He henceforth became the leading proponent of Christianity as a way of life, entailing love of others.

There are differences, too, of course. Paul did not come near death in the course of his vision Also, interestingly enough, Paul reports that he was blinded by the light and was unable to see for three days afterward.

This runs contrary to thereports of those who say that though the light was indescribably brilliant, it inno way blinded them, or kept them from seeing things around them. In his discussions of the nature of the afterlife, Paul says that some challenge the Christian concept of the afterlife by asking what kind of body the dead will have: 1 Corinthians 15:35-52: But some man will say:

"How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?"

Thou fool. . . (of) that which` thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain .... But God give,' it a body as it hath pleased him, and to ever, seed his own body ....

There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one and the glory of the terrestrial is another....
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in ii corruption: It is sown indishonour; it is raised glory: It is sown in weakness; it is raised power: It is sown a natural body, it is raised spiritual body.

There is a natural body, and the is a spiritual body .... Behold I show you a mystery we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible.

Interestingly, Paul's brief sketch of the nature of the "spiritual body" corresponds very well with the accounts of those who have found themselves out of their bodies. In all cases, the immateriality of the spiritual body-its lack ofphysical substance-is stressed, as are its lack of limitations.

Paul says, for example, that whereas the physical body was weak and ugly, the spiritual body will be strong and beautiful. This reminds one of the account of a near-death experience in which the spiritual body seemed whole and complete even when the physical body could be seen to be mutilated, and of another in which the spiritual body seemed to be of no particular age, i.e., not limited by time.

I began to experience the most wonderful feelings. I couldn't feel a thing in the world except peace, comfort, ease-just quietness. I felt that all my troubles were gone, and I thought to myself,
"Well how quiet and peaceful, and I don't hurt at all"


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