For thousands of years, death was a heavy door that nobody could pass through and come back and tell of their experience. But in the last few decades more have been made aware of a phenomenon that has come to be called near death experiences, or NDEs. In fact, this name may be inaccurate, since it occurs to people who are not just near death, but who are fully and truly dead, clinically speaking, but whose death is aborted, thanks largely to the modern resuscitation technology available in emergency rooms.
It cannot be explained away as a mere hallucinatory product of lack of oxygen in the brain, or any other such materialistic neurological account, since the returnee from death is coolly able to report observations made during the first stage of the NDE. This stage is the initial out-of-body experience. The soul-bearing subtle body pops out of the gross physical organism and finds that it can move at will, free of gravity, wherever it wishes.
The subtle entity often wanders around the hospital, overhears conversations going on in different rooms, discovers interesting objects, and sometimes watches with amusement all the efforts being made to resuscitate its physical vehicle. Later, after the death process has been aborted, the subjects will report on what they observed during their deaths, and this information has been found to be amazingly accurate. No merely hallucinatory brain event could produce such hard data.
My neighbor once had surgery and floated out of her body and noticed a ring on top of a shelf. After the surgery was over they received the ring which someone had been missing.
In the second stage of the NDE, the subjects enter a wormhole often described as a tunnel of light and are carried up, sometimes with the help of angels, into a higher dimension, where they encounter the Great Light. They receive from angelic guidance counselors a life review, a kind of report card on how they have been doing in the school of life so far, and a great deal of higher wisdom, as well as heart-melting supreme love, and are opened to a much more integrative vision of the meaning of it all. When they are sent back into the physical plane to continue with their lives, they are often disappointed and even traumatized at having to return to this primitive plane of lower consciousness and lack of love.
I have read several books on this topic. In Embraced by the Light, Betty Eadie was taught by guides she called her monks. When they said it was time to go back, she refused. Why leave the bliss and all knowingness of these higher levels to be in the pain and limitation of the body left behind. It was only when they assured her that the second her mission was fulfilled they would take her out of her earth body did she agree to return to the physical body.
Dannion Brinkley, in Saved by the Light, told of how he grew up being a rough bully. If a kid had crutches, he would kick them out from under them. He worked for the government killing political opponents in other countries. Then he got hit by lightning, and died. He entered crystal cities of light and got what he calls a panoramic life review. He not only felt the physical pain he caused others, but more importantly the emotional pain, as well as the grief he caused his victim’s family members. He was told that he should start doing hospice work to balance his karma. He started befriending lonely veterans all over the country. He died on the operating table for heart surgery from the damage from the lightning and again had a similar experience, but now the ending was totally different, he felt the love and gratitude from all the veterans he visited in hospice. He jokes that he helps so many people because he is selfish and wants to feel all those good feelings he shares with others after he dies.
Eban Alexander who wrote Proof of Heaven, was brain surgeon who got a brain infection and had no brain function in the brain’s cortex at all for over a week. He always thought NDE’s must be the brain’s experience as it shuts down, but he had no brainwaves at all, yet experienced many levels of heaven. He even floated on a butterfly with a female guide. Amazingly after he recovered, Eban, who was adopted found out that he had a sister, but she died a few years ago. When he saw her photograph he was amazed, it was the woman from the butterfly ride.
The Near Death Experience is clearly real, more real than life itself. It proves a number of things to us, if we are willing to let its reality sink in. One is that death is not the end. We are in a long-term process of life-death-and-rebirth. The wheel of rebirth is intended as a developmental process, in which we are to refine our consciousness until we are ready to graduate from this cosmic gear-wheel and enter higher levels of Being. So there should be no fear of death. We have been there, done that, countless times.
Second, it proves that our world is governed by a supreme intelligence Who is motivated by love, and that angelic presences are here with us, subtly guiding us, if we will accept this assistance. Third, it means that our current conventional values are completely out of alignment with the nature of reality, and this is the underlying reason for our current troubles in this world. Fourth, the capacities that we realize that we have at the moment of death we have now.
We can learn to use them now, while we are still alive. But to do this, we must become dedicated scientists of consciousness of real Yogis or enlightened beings.
Every person who comes back into their body after a near death experience is never the same. They see life through the lens of eternity. Every day is a gift and life is so ephemeral. Most of all the fear of death is gone, then they can really start to live and make the most out of the short time we have down here with the perspective of what is really important. Since people in NDE’s report the feeling of the bliss and the truth that God’s Presence is everywhere, we can tune into that fact, even while living in the schoolroom of time and space. We don’t have to actually die in order to experience that love and bliss.