DEATH EXPERIENCE. "My people perish for lack of knowledge." (The Holy Bible). This Examiner has researched the information of people who have had near death experiences. It cannot be considered hallucinations if the waking people, saw the same thing as the people surrounding his/her surgical or deathbed. The experience of a "near-death" experience is a phenomenon that should not be taken lightly. Here is what many have experienced:
According to David San Filippo, ABD, LMHC, June 1, 1994 in his work on the subject Near Death Experiences, "At the onset of the near-death experience, the individual may experience a sense of being dead, and surprise at being dead, yet will remain peaceful and have no feelings of pain. Following the peaceful awareness of being dead, the experiencer may have an out-of-body experience, a perception of separating from the physical body and moving away from the deceased body. The individual may experience a sense of moving through a tunnel, during the stage of entering into the darkness. As the individual passes through the tunnel, there may be an awareness of a bright light towards the end of the tunnel.
While experiencing the consciousness of the light, ethereal forms recognizable by the experiencer may be seen in the light. In the later part of the near-death experience, the individual may sense that she or he is rising rapidly towards the light into what she or he may consider heaven or another plane of consciousness. During this ascension, the experiencer may encounter a Being of Light reported to be, either God, another spiritual deity, or an energy form recognized by non-theists. The encounter with the Being of Light engulfs the experiencer with a sense of unconditional love that emanates from the Being.
During this encounter, the near-death experiencer may become conscious of having a total panoramic review of her or his life and may experience a sense of self-judgment when observing her or his life events in review. The judgment is not by the Being of Light but is a personal judgment by the experiencer. Throughout each of the stages, and particularly in the latter stages of the near-death experience, the individual may be reluctant to return to her or his former life."
The following five accounts below should prove to being very interesting and thought provoking to the reader:
1) Beginning with Carl Jung. Here is his account:
It seemed to me that I was high up in space. Far below I saw the globe of the earth, bathed in a gloriously blue light. I saw the deep blue sea and the continents. Far below my feet lay Ceylon, and in the distance ahead of me the subcontinent of India. My field of vision did not include the whole earth, but its global shape was plainly distinguishable and its outlines shone with a silvery gleam through that wonderful blue light. In many places the globe seemed colored, or spotted dark green like oxidized silver. Far away to the left lay a broad expanse – the reddish-yellow desert of Arabia; it was as though the silver of the earth had their assumed a reddish-gold hue. Then came the Red Sea, and far, far back – as if in the upper left of a map – I could just make out a bit of the Mediterranean. My gaze was directed chiefly toward that. Everything else appeared indistinct. I could also see the snow-covered Himalayas, but in that direction it was foggy or cloudy. I did not look to the right at all. I knew that I was on the point of departing from the earth.
Later I discovered how high in space one would have to be to have so extensive a view – approximately a thousand miles! The sight of the earth from this height was the most glorious thing I had ever seen.
After contemplating it for a while, I turned around. I had been standing with my back to the Indian Ocean, as it were, and my face to the north. Then it seemed to me that I made a turn to the south. Something new entered my field of vision. A short distance away I saw in space a tremendous dark block of stone, like a meteorite. It was about the size of my house, or even bigger. It was floating in space, and I myself was floating in space.
I had seen similar stones on the coast of the Gulf of Bengal. They were blocks of tawny granite, and some of them had been hollowed out into temples. My stone was one such gigantic dark block. An entrance led into a small antechamber. To the right of the entrance, a black Hindu sat silently in lotus posture upon a stone bench. He wore a white gown, and I knew that he expected me. Two steps led up to this antechamber, and inside, on the left, was the gate to the temple.
Innumerable tiny niches, each with a saucer-like concavity filled with coconut oil and small burning wicks, surrounded the door with a wreath of bright flames. I had once actually seen this when I visited the Temple of the Holy Toot at Kandy in Ceylon; the gate had been framed by several rows of burning oil lamps of this sort.
As I approached the steps leading up to the entrance into the rock, a strange thing happened: I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence, fell away or was stripped from me – an extremely painful process. Nevertheless something remained; it was as if I now carried along with me everything I had ever experience or done, everything that had happened around me. I might also say: it was with me, and I was it. I consisted of all that, so to speak. I consisted of my own history and I felt with great certainty: this is what I am. I am this bundle of what has been and what has been accomplished.
This experience gave me a feeling of extreme poverty, but at the same time of great fullness. There was no longer anything I wanted or desired. I existed in an objective form; I was what I had been and lived. At first the sense of annihilation predominated, of having been stripped or pillaged; but suddenly that became of no consequence. Everything seemed to be past; what remained was a ‘fait accompli’, without any reference back to what had been. There was no longer any regret that something had dropped away or been taken away. On the contrary: I had everything that I was, and that was everything.
Something else engaged my attention: as I approached the temple I had the certainty that I was about to enter an illuminated room and would meet there all those people to whom I belong in reality. There I would at last understand – this too was a certainty – what historical nexus my life or I fitted into. I would know what had been before me, why I had come into being, and where my life was flowing. My life as I lived it had often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and end. I had the feeling that I was a historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing.
My life seemed to have been snipped out of a long chain of events, and many questions had remained unanswered. Why had it taken this course? Why had I brought these particular assumptions with me? What had I made of them? What will follow? I felt sure that I would receive an answer to all the questions as soon as I entered the rock temple. There I would meet the people who knew the answer to my question about what had been before and what would come after.
While I was thinking over these matters, something happened that caught my attention. From below, from the direction of Europe, an image floated up. It was my doctor, or rather, his likeness – framed by a golden chain or a golden laurel wreath. I knew at once: ‘Aha, this is my doctor, of course, the one who has been treating me. But now he is coming in his primal form. In life he was an avatar of the temporal embodiment of the primal form, which has existed from the beginning. Now he is appearing in that primal form.
Presumably I too was in my primal form, though this was something I did not observe but simply took for granted. As he stood before me, a mute exchange of thought took place between us.
The doctor had been delegated by the earth to deliver a message to me, to tell me that there was a protest against my going away. I had no right to leave the earth and must return. The moment I heard that, the vision ceased. I was profoundly disappointed, for now it all seemed to have been for nothing. The painful process of defoliation had been in vain, and I was not to be allowed to enter the temple, to join the people in whose company I belonged. In reality, a good three weeks were still to pass before I could truly make up my mind to live again. I could not eat because all food repelled me.
The view of city and mountains from my sickbed seemed to me like a painted curtain with black holes in it, or a tattered sheet of newspaper full of photographs that meant nothing. Disappointed, I thought, ‘Now I must return to the ‘box system’ again.’ For it seemed to me as if behind the horizon of the cosmos a three-dimensional world had been artificially built up, in which each person sat by himself in a little box. And now I should have to convince myself all over again that this was important! Life and the whole world struck me as a prison, and it bothered me beyond measure that I should again be finding all that quite in order. I had be so glad to shed it all, and now it had come about that I - along with everyone else - would again be hung up in a box by a thread.
I felt violent resistance to my doctor because he had brought me back to life. At the same time, I was worried about him. ‘His life is in danger, for heaven’s sake! He has appeared to me in his primal form! When anybody attains this form it means he is going to die, for already he belongs to the ‘greater company.’ Suddenly the terrifying thought came to me that the doctor would have to die in my stead.
I tried my best to talk to him about it, but he did not understand me. Then I became angry with him. In actual fact I was his last patient. On April 4, 1944 - I still remember the exact date I was allowed to sit up on the edge of my bed for the first time since the beginning of my illness, and on this same day the doctor took to his bed and did not leave it again. I heard that he was having intermittent attacks of fever. Soon afterward he died of septicemia. He was a good doctor; there was something of the genius about him. Otherwise he would not have appeared to me as an avatar of the temporal embodiment of the primal form.
His vivid encounter with the light, plus the intensely meaningful insights led Jung to conclude that his experience came from something real and eternal. Jung's experience is unique in that he saw the Earth from a vantage point of about a thousand miles above it. His incredibly accurate view of the Earth from outer space was described about two decades before astronauts in space first described it. Subsequently, as he reflected on life after death, Jung recalled the meditating Hindu from his near-death experience and read it as a parable of the archetypal Higher Self, the God-image within. No matter what you call it, a higher self within or God... once touched, it does lead to insights and the belief that something lies just beyond our realm here on Earth.
Love truly is all there is in the final analysis. People who come back from these experiences all report the same thing and that is, "the golden rule still applies." Love still seems to be the underlying principle, which conquers all. It conveys hope, comfort, and a bridge to understanding, which should help us to live our life to the max. The spiritual connection, that feels the space between us should guide our hearts and minds to become better people. Isolation and disconnection are our enemies, while connection and love are the reality that God wants for all mankind. Love that flows through us like living water that fills the seas. It is true that God is love. Humans on the other hand, are filled with judgments and have lost their way. Greed has taken the place of understanding and healing. Hate, jealousy, violence, strife, fear and all manner of corruption have taken center stage and become the norm in our troubled society at large.
2) According to a 1991 Gallup Poll estimate,
13 million Americans, 5% of the population, have reported that they have had a near-death experience. Research has demonstrated that near-death experiences are no more likely to affect the devoutly religious than the agnostic or atheist. Near-death experiences can be experienced by anyone. According to Talbot, near-death experiences appear to have no relationship to "a person's age, sex, marital status, race, religion and/or spiritual beliefs, social class, educational level, income, frequency of church attendance, size of home community, or area of residence."
3) The Near-Death Experience of Mellen-Thomas Benedict:
In 1982, I died from terminal cancer. My condition was non-operable. I chose not to have chemotherapy. I was given six to eight months to live. Before this time, I had become increasingly despondent over the nuclear crisis, the ecology crisis, and so forth. I came to believe that nature had made a mistake—that we were probably a cancerous organism on the planet. And that is what eventually killed me.
Before my near-death experience, I tried all sorts of alternative healing methods. None helped. So I determined that this was between God and me. I had never really considered God. Neither was I into any kind of spirituality. But my approaching death sent me on a quest for more information about spirituality and alternative healing. I read various religions and philosophies. They gave hope that there was something on the other side.
I had no medical insurance, so my life savings went overnight on tests. Unwilling to drag my family into this, I determined to handle this myself. I ended up in hospice care and was blessed with an angel for my hospice caretaker, whom I will call "Anne." She stayed with me through all that was to follow.
Into the Light. I woke up about 4:30 am and I knew that this was it. I was going to die. I called a few friends and said good-bye. I woke up Anne and made her promise that my dead body would remain undisturbed for six hours, since I had read that all kinds of interesting things happen when you die. I went back to sleep. The next thing I remember, I was fully aware and standing up. Yet my body was lying in the bed. I seemed to be surrounded by darkness, yet I could see every room in the house, and the roof, and even under the house.
A Light shone. I turned toward it, and was aware of its similarity to what others have described in near-death experiences. It was magnificent and tangible, alluring. I wanted to go towards that Light like I might want to go into my ideal mother or father's arms. As I moved towards the Light, I knew that if I went into the Light, I would be dead. So I said/felt, "Please wait. I would like to talk to you before I go." The entire experience halted. I discovered that I was in control of the experience. My request was honored. I had conversations with the Light. That's the best way I can describe it. The Light changed into different figures, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, archetypal images and signs. I asked in a kind of telepathy, "What is going on here?"
The information transmitted was that our beliefs shape the kind of feedback we receive. If you are a Buddhist or Catholic or Fundamentalist, you get a feedback loop of your own images. I became aware of a Higher Self matrix, a conduit to the Source. We all have a Higher Self, or an over-soul part of our being, a conduit. All Higher Selves are connected as one being. All humans are connected as one being.
It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It was like all the love you've ever wanted, and it was the kind of love that cures, heals, regenerates. I was ready to go at that time. I said "I am ready, take me." Then the Light turned into the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen: a mandala of human souls on this planet. I saw that we are the most beautiful creations—elegant, exotic ... everything. I just cannot say enough about how it changed my opinion of human beings in an instant. I said/thought/felt, "Oh, God, I didn't realize."
I was astonished to find that there was no evil in any soul. People may do terrible things out of ignorance and lack, but no soul is evil. "What all people seek—what sustains them—is love," the Light told me. "What distorts people is a lack of love." The revelations went on and on. I asked, "Does this mean that Humankind will be saved?" Like a trumpet blast with a shower of spiraling lights, the Light "spoke," saying, "You save, redeem and heal yourself. You always have and always will. You were created with the power to do so from before the beginning of the world." In that instant I realized that we have already been saved.
I thanked the Light of God with all my heart. The best thing I could come up with was: "Oh dear God, dear Universe, dear Great Self, I love my Life." The Light seemed to breathe me in even more deeply, absorbing me. I entered into another realm more profound than the last, and was aware of an enormous stream of Light, vast and full, deep. I asked what it was. The Light answered, "This is the River of Life. Drink of this manna water to your heart's content." I drank deeply, in ecstasy.
Many people have experienced this and have amazing stories to tell. After intense research on this subject matter. The main theme is always the theme. All participants felt an all-consuming loving presence, which made them feel a sense of commonality and no judgments. The feeling that came over them was able to make them feel love, which understood everything. The connection that they felt to a higher universal force was very sustaining and miraculous in orientation. The light of life and of love filled the space. - By Carl Jung.
4) I died in the month of May. Twenty-four years old and it was my favorite month of the year. Flowers were in full bloom while dusty rains covered the desert sky. Stretched naked on the operating table with deep incisions splitting my entire abdominal cavity returning in death via the same manner as my birth; bloody and in the hospital. Life is constantly morphing from one moment to the next. Sometimes so quickly that we don't notice how everyday activities are taken for granted. Death changed my notion of time and my perception of life would never be the same. Intro to The Ascent. Most certainly there is life after death. I was given a gift after my near death experience at twenty-four.
5) At 3.30am, I woke from a fitful sleep in such pain that I could hardly breathe. I rang a button and asked a nurse for pain relief. The next thing I knew, a male doctor was slapping my face hard and saying ‘Wake up, stay with me.’ An alarm was ringing. The sound of people running from all directions filled the corridor. I remember thinking rather dreamily: ‘Oh dear, someone must have been taken ill.’ Another doctor felt the pulse in my neck and said: ‘She’s tachycardia.’ I knew this meant an uneven heartbeat — then I realized that the sick person was me. My bed was raced down the corridor by a team of doctors. I was hauled into the operating theatre, and by then I was in so much pain that I was gasping. Then my pulse stopped.
I felt my entire body being sucked up into a white light above I remained strangely aware of everything around me. All hell broke loose. I remember the entire medical team swearing. I looked up at the huge, bright-white light above my head, and fought to stay calm as I thought of my three children, who were back home asleep, unaware that Mummy was dying. I remember thinking: ‘By the time they wake up, I’ll be gone.’
I thought of Ray trying to tell them the bad news. I thought of little blond Charlie, who loved kisses on his cheeks, and I sent him a silent message. ‘Goodbye little boy, you’ll make someone a lovely husband one day.’ I thought of his twin, Archie. ‘I hope they tell you what a Mummy’s boy you were — and how you used to cry whenever I left the room.’
Then I thought of Ruby with her huge brown eyes and dreamy smile. ‘Be a good girl for Daddy and look after the boys. I so wanted to see you grow up.’ Death was beckoning but I was aware of everything around me. Suddenly, I felt my entire body being sucked up into the white light above. I found myself in a white tunnel — and I knew I had died. Away from the cursing of the medics and the bleeps of the machines, there was a wonderful sense of calm. Instead of awful pain, I felt light and clear-headed. I knew what was happening but I felt no fear. I knew I had to join my loved ones who were already on the other side. It was a tranquil and warm acceptance.
But I also became aware of somebody standing a few feet away from me. I turned, expecting to see my grandmother, who had passed away some years earlier. Instead, it was Ruby — wearing her new school uniform and with her hair tied neatly in bunches. I was pleased but mildly surprised. I’d never seen her in her uniform, and she’d never allowed me to put her hair in bunches. She smiled and took my hand. ‘Come with me, Mummy,’ she implored. I followed her down the white tunnel. She kept turning to check that I was behind her. ‘Quick Mummy,’ she urged. At the end stood a gate. I stopped, feeling an urge to walk back down the tunnel, where I was sure my beloved grandmother and other family members who’d passed away would be waiting to greet me.
But little Ruby was insistent. ‘Mummy, step through the gates NOW!’ Her urgency bought me to my senses. I stepped through it and Ruby slammed it shut behind me. The shock jolted my body — and I am sure it was at this moment that the defibrillator pads being used by the medics shocked my heart back into a rhythm. I remember nothing else until I woke up in intensive care. A masked doctor leant over me and said: ‘I’m sorry, but you are very sick and you’re not out of the woods yet. We need your next of kin at your bedside.’ Again, I thought of little Ruby and her first day at school, and I waved him away. Somehow, thanks to the experience of travelling through that strange white tunnel, I knew I would be OK. Hours later, Ray arrived at the hospital, bringing with him a photograph of Ruby he’d taken outside the school gates.
I stopped seeing the people that I didn't truly love. She was smiling proudly, with her new uniform and shiny shoes on. But what drew me to the picture was her hair. She had allowed her father to put her hair in bunches for the very first time. This was Ruby exactly as I had seen her in the white tunnel. I left hospital a week later, after a five-pint blood transfusion. The effects of the surgery were devastating. We were never able to have our much-wanted fourth baby. I lost two stone in weight and couldn’t walk properly for months — the blood loss had left me exhausted and anemic.
I had a huge scar running down my stomach. And as I was a freelance writer, we struggled financially for many months. But ironically my ‘death’ was to prove the turning point in my life. My focus had always been my children, and having to bid them goodbye made me realize just how much I wanted to be remain with them. We’d always had a nanny but now I wanted to be totally hands-on with my children. I wanted to be the one who held Ruby’s hand at the school gate. Also, up until this point, I had spent my life worrying about what other people thought of me. As I recovered, I made a pledge that half-friendships and fair-weather friends were no longer enough. I stopped seeing the people I didn’t truly love — and told the ones I did just how much they meant to me.
Ray and I had been married for nine years by then, and my experience reminded me that there was nobody else on Earth I wanted to be with. We’d always been devoted to each other but now we both realized just how lost we would be without each other. Two years after my surgery, I had found new friends, moved my family to a new house, and taken a significant pay cut so I could devote myself to cooking tea and managing every school run — never forgetting for a moment just how lucky I was.
After another year, I was fighting back tears of real emotion as I took the twins to school for their first day. They complained when I took photo after photo — but it meant so much to me that I was actually there. I will never be able to understand or explain what happened to me on that fateful day nine years ago. But I no longer harbour a fear about death. And at the same time, I have stopped being scared of life. I’ve never looked back since.
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These experiences should create a humility within us that allows us to see each other differently and perhaps more humanely. It puts everything we go through in or lives into perspective. All of the above poses a very valuable lesson and that is, why do we have to die to understand why we are here in the first place? What has pushed humanity to only see the beauty in life after we are already dead? Why can't we experience life to the max while we are still here? Shouldn't we be challenging the very reality we see everyday so that we can experience the divine in our everyday life? What keeps us from seeing each other as the Holy and worthy beings that we were put here to be? Our prayers must change to include the greater good of all of "God's children" and to remember that all of us have an absolute right and a purpose for being here and no one should have the right to take it away from us.
It is hoped by this examiner that all of the above stories should be an ever-present reminder in our everyday life that, we should learn to walk lightly on the Earth and with more humility than judgments. According to the Mohandas, “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” ― Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. "As soon as we lose the moral basis, we cease to be religious. There is no such thing as religion over-riding morality. Man, for instance, cannot be untruthful, cruel or incontinent and claim to have God on his side." "We must be the change we wish to see." "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."