Thursday, August 19, 2010

Near Death Experiences



Trish and Rob MacGregor did a post the other day on a Near Death Experience or NDE. It was a compelling story of a fellow blogger and her experience in her early 20's. My own fascination on this subject started in the 1970's with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and was responsible for a consummate shift in my spiritual foundation. Or maybe it began with the death of my mother. Either way, I have always sought answers when it comes to death and dying. I know I've written about this subject before, but it's been on my mind for several weeks. It seems many people that I know, or know of, are passing right now. Two of our best friends were just with his mother as she made the transition. My aunt a few weeks ago. Others are on my mind, as well.

One site that I found interesting was Mellon-Thomas Benedict's experience. He died, and remained dead for about 1.5 hours. This is one of the longest NDE's that I've read about. What seems interesting about his experience is that it also supports much of what science is beginning discover, especially having to do with the space between atoms. It also reinforces the Holographic Universe theory that I talked about in December of last year. Like most people who experience this phenomenon, he has a very different outlook on life now. Once very negative and judgmental, he now sees everyone and everything as perfect. Something that I found very comforting was his assertion that all is right with the world! He believes all of the bad things going on are just ushering in a new paradigm. Population explosion? Just getting to the point where there are enough people on earth to create a shift. Ecology? He sees the future with gardening and animal reserves being big. Which makes sense, if you think about it. We are all worried about the environment, factory farming, greed, etc. (I read this yesterday on how our thinking is changing, and how it is beginning to affect big conglomerates.) Why wouldn't that bring about changes in what people view as important to continuation? Humans are nothing if not inventive when it comes to survival.

I visited Amazon for new book titles. There are many available, but I didn't see anything that might shed new light on this subject, at least not for me. There was a time when I read everything available. But so much of what is written is on the experience itself, which I now take as a given. Like the profusion of UFO sightings, NDE's are too plentiful to just write off. Not to mention, most of the books are written by doctors who are on the front line when it comes to death.

I think the next step is going to be discussions on end of life issues. I think we are going to view the experience very differently in the future. Not only will we lose the fear, but may end up seeing it as something beautiful. I'm hoping that will be my personal experience.

It won't help those left behind, however. Grief is pervasive and all-encompassing. I don't see that ever changing. As I watched my husband's plane take off yesterday, right after reading about two plane accidents, I could feel that sense of vulnerability like a wet blanket around the shoulders. If we love, we're vulnerable. It's just that simple. I hope this post does nothing to increase your sense of pain, if you are grieving. It is merely me trying to find answers that could possibly bring some consolation.

I will continue to deal with the inevitability of death with my only weapon - intellectualization. Books are my touchstone, and usually help me see order in chaos. Whether or not they hold the right answers, I won't know for sure until it's my time. But until then, I take some solace in the experiences of those that have passed and been brought back. It seems we don't have anything to worry about. On the contrary, in fact.

Has anyone had this experience?

25 comments:

Leah J. Utas said...

I haven't had an NDE, but I've read of them and I spoke to a woman once who'd been dead a few minutes. Fascinating.
I wish we had a healthier view of death instead of denying it. Everyone dies. If we accepted that I think we'd be kinder to others, and kinder to ourselves and death with be as much of a celebration as birth is. I recall reading once that death here is birth there. That's what I go with.

Leah J. Utas said...

Dang.That's "would be" not "with be."

Nancy said...

Leah - I agree, 100%.

ellen abbott said...

My own feelings about death went through a big shift somewhere in my 30s and 40s when I was reading so much about NDEs and New Age spirituality and theosophy and channeling. I have come to believe it to be a transition, yes, death here birth there, birth here death there. I've never had one myself, where I died and came back though my sister did. She was in a terrible accident with injuries that should have killed her, did really. Her husband calling to her telling her not to leave halted her. It's sad for the ones left behind and sometimes for the ones going if they are not done here but death itself is not a terrible thing. I read once that it is not death that is painful but the struggle to live.

And it is inevitable. I don't understand religions who paint death as a dark and terrifying place or that divides the good from the bad when it is our ultimate end.

Nancy said...

Ellen - You said it so well! Maybe we can work on making it something we change in our lifetime.

Brian Miller said...

it really is intriguing to think of the possibilities of the next life...1.5 hours is a long time...wow.

m. heart said...

Nancy, you might be interested in reading this if you haven't already....
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/end-of-life-brain-activit_b_684176.html

susan said...

I was just reading about Mellon-Thomas Benedict's experience which I found fascinating. My only experience with post-death marvels was when I received sweet peas in February a week after my mother died - they'd been her favorite flower. They're a rarity in florist's shops at any time but none I called afterward had them.

Speaking of Amazon did I ever tell you about Robert Lanza's book 'Biocentrism'?

Lori said...

Very interesting and thought provoking post. I have known people that have had these experiences and I bleieve them.

Jeff D'Antonio said...

Never had a NDE, but I've seen enough evidence to convince me that there is more to this universe than what we can see and touch. I don't buy into the biblical notion of Heaven and Hell, but I am 100% certain that human consciousness, in some form or another, lives beyond the physical body.

Your brain is just a collection of cells, which themselves are just collections of atoms, which in turn are just collections of smaller subatomic particles - just as each subatomic particle is part of a larger whole, so are each of us a part of something infinitely larger.

I just hope we get to find out what it is when we die - if not, I'm going to be really pissed off.

Judy said...

When I was 20 I had what I call an “out of body experience”…. I wasn’t dying but was in great physical and emotion pain at the time, and cried out for God to help me. It’s impossible to put into words what my experience was but I felt myself rising to the ceiling, floating in darkness towards a brightest white light where I was surrounded, embraced by the feeling of love and peace and total acceptance. I liken it to, as a child being lost in the grocery store, and upon panicky searching each row for my mother, I see her and we run to each other in total relief. I do not fear death… it will be the sweetest homecoming every imagined.

Natalie said...

Like you, Nancy, books are my friends and my guides. I have been saying over at T and R's that it will be okay here on Earth, because I kept remembering all the NDE accounts I have read, and they ALL said that all is as it should be.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Insightful post, Nancy! I've got such a stack of books to read that I need a lifetime just to read.

The Good Cook said...

Nancy,

In the past week I have experienced "coincidences" that have only solidified my belief in the "after". I am broken, as you know. But every now and then a joyful moment, a memory, a feeling has come to surface - and I know he is here with me. Thank you for posting this. It helps. It helps to know that people believe - and that which we believe in opens the door.

I love that we are on this journey of enlightenment together.

Linda

d page said...

Besides my own NDE, my encounters with my daughter, my Lama, and my grandmother-- after their deaths--- have proven to me that there is a continuity of consciousness.

Jayne Martin said...

The book on the subject that influenced my thinking the most was "Many Lives, Many Masters." It helped me in healing after the sudden death of a good friend. I'm a believer.

Rob-bear said...

I never know what to "make of" these experiences when I read about them. I just know that life, our world, our universe, are far more complex and fascinating than a simple, mechanistic model would allow. I think of everything as being alive, dynamic — the kind of thing Benedict would experience, or the movie-makers of What the Bleep Do We Know?

Must check out your piece on the Holographic Universe.

Nancy said...

Brian - 1.5 hours is a really long time to be dead and then to come back!

m.heart - Thanks!

susan - Wow - your mother sent you flowers! That is amazing. Yes, about Biocentrism - because of you it is in my stack to read. Thanks.

Lori - The story goes that my grandmother had this experience in a dental chair. Evidently too much medication - and she found herself floating up to the ceiling. She had died by the time I was born, but she told this story to my aunt.

Jeff - I find physics so interesting. Hard to understand for a plebeian such as myself, but fascinating. I too, hope we find out when we die. Before we die would be better, but at least then!

Judy - That is a fascinating story! Wow. Emotional pain brought on an experience very similar to an NDE! It actually reminds me of a dream I had about a year ago - same feeling - like re-emerging with everything and everyone. I remember thinking as I was waking up - I'll never feel alone again.

Natalie - That's true, most say we have nothing to worry about - that love is what it is all about. Unconditional love for all of life.

Trish & Rob - I do too! And many are books that you have talked about. :-)

Good Cook - I had you in mind while writing this. You have been through so much - I can only hope the things you have experienced have brought some consolation. You certainly deserve that. I'm also glad to be on the journey with you. :-)

d page - You, too, have been so much. I'm not surprised you have had experiences. Sometimes I think people who experience great loss are given glimpses of things that not everyone gets to experience.

Jayne- That book had a huge influence on me, too!

Rob-bear - Beautifully put - everything is alive and dynamic, more than the mechanistic model we have known.

leilani said...

Nancy.. ever notice one of the first things people do when they see the Ocean? ... They throw their hands into the air.. why?? looking out over the ocean feelings of joy literally rise to the top of our heads.. thru our arms a up to our fingers.. Why? Our deep insides know the answer.. but we have spent countless years believing only what we can see, that knowing what we cant see has become latent.. your searching is a good thing.. it awakens the latent.. listen to your deep insides! =0D

DJan said...

I also have been fascinated with NDEs for a long time, and I have read enough to feel comforted that those we love are not gone. It reminds me of a book I read about Carl Jung, and when we was asked whether he believed in God and life after death. He said he didn't believe: he KNEW. Somehow that resonated with me.

Nancy said...

leilani - Thank you - I'm forever the seeker. Loved the example of people and their arms when they see the ocean. We are heading your way in a few weeks - can't wait to reconnect with the ocean. I'll surely throw my arms skyward! :-)

DJan - I remember that statement - it resonated with me, too.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"I will continue to deal with the inevitability of death with my only weapon - intellectualization."

I believe we all find a way to deal with death in our own way. Brings comfort, for sure. I can appreciate your method.

Nancy said...

Midlife - It's the only way I've found so far.

THE BAYFIELD BUNCH said...

My 91 yr. Dad is just now entering hospice care. Plan to make the 6 hour drive on Sunday to spend my last time with him on his final journey. I hope it will be a peaceful one. I am taking RunAway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown to read to him as it has a special meaning to me.
Thanks for this post, It's good to read that others are logical and do not continue the normal pat thinking.
See you soon,
Kelly

Pat said...

I have not had any NDE, but my family has suffered a lot of loss, and have had experience with those people coming back to us in dreams and in scents, etc.

I am interested AND believe in the afterlife.