Sunday, January 26, 2014

Near Death Experiences: Coming Home to Ourselves

In the winter of 1982, during my senior year in college, I underwent surgery for injuries related to a car accident. Three days after the surgery, I recalled an experience that occurred during the surgery. I recalled a tense atmosphere in the surgery room just as I went unconscious from anesthesia.
The doctor's last words echoed in my head, and the next thing I knew I was sitting up in total darkness being greeted by a being whom I had never before met. During the experience, I felt an exchange of incredible love with the being. I felt completely at peace with this being and felt none of the pain of my injuries. I was surprised to have the complete use of my limbs, which were severely injured in the accident.
I walked down a long, dark hallway with the being at my right side. During this walk down the hallway, I had the feeling of a completion of my life. Everything felt right. It was the same feeling one has when finishing a good book. In the process of reading a book, one is totally immersed in the
individual pages being read. However, when one finishes the book, one’s understanding broadens, giving one a sense of the entirety of the book. I experienced that sense of entirety, although I did not recall experiencing a life review. What I remember was a sense of completion.
At the end of the hallway, we came to a great wall made of black and red bricks. Both of us stood before the wall and at that moment, I was gripped with an uncomfortable feeling. I was told to touch the wall. I did not respond. I was told to do so a second time and once more I did not respond.
At the third request of the being, he picked up my arm and hand and asked me to touch the wall. I replied, “If I do, will I die?” The being then, to the best of my recollection, laughed and said, “You know that death is just an illusion; life is eternal. Now, touch the wall, I cannot do it for you.” At that moment, I perceived my paternal grandmother on the other side of the wall telling me to
not touch the wall and to go back, that it was not time. I lifted my arm and hand out of the being’s hand and said “no.”
Instantly, I felt a physical rushing of my etheric body through empty space while being told I would completely heal. I opened my eyes in the recovery room of the hospital. As foretold, my body did fully heal. I was left bewildered by the experience. Slowly, a mild anxiety crept over me. Had I
rejected an offer of heaven? If so, would I be re-admitted later? It was at that point that I began a journey that has eliminated my fear of death and has piqued my interest in near-death experiences while allowing me to incorporate it into my work
Human beings have always been fascinated with death and the possibilities of what lies beyond it. It is currently not possible for us to know what happens to the human soul beyond death, since one must die and not return. Passing through the boundaries that separate the living from the dead has been an activity relegated largely to spiritualists and shamen. They have historically served as intermediaries between the world of the living and dead helping us to handle our grief.

Many of us liken the process of dying to process of going to sleep. We describe the corpse of an individual as appearing to be sleeping. A terminally ill individual is said to be going to his or her final resting-place. We even use a euphemism for euthanasia with our animals, “putting them to sleep.” All of this implies a final and terminal extinguishing of consciousness. As a society, to be realistic about death is to view it as an irreversible final experience. It is the quintessential end of consciousness and self-awareness.
It is becoming more widely known that there are ordinary people who may have journeyed very close to the boundary between life and death and may have even glimpsed the potential for life beyond death. People who are believed to have had a close brush with their own mortality while perceiving
life beyond our own Earthly experience are said to have had a near-death experience or an NDE.
The near-death experience is a self-reported encounter with death. During the experience, such people claim to have traveled to an apparent world beyond the one that we know of in this physical reality. They often return with the belief that they had died and were returned to this reality for
some reason that is not always clear to them. With the advent of modern technology for saving lives so close to the brink of death, reports of such incidents are on the rise.

People who have reported a near-death experience often have been pronounced clinically dead for some period. During that period, such individuals may have begun what could be considered the journey to the realm of life after death. They might experience a separation from their bodies, meeting with other beings, and a life review. These individuals, however, perceive that they are not able to remain in that realm and for various reasons will self-report an experience of being called back into their body. For obvious reasons, we may never know with certainty what takes place after death; however, those who say they have undergone a near-death
experience may be able to tell us what happens at the border of the frontier beyond this life.


Here is the interview I gave on the topic of NDE's on Compassionate Conversations