This article introduces my readers to the modern phenomenon of Near Death Experiences, or NDE’s, and ponders the question of whether or not a new religion, or at least a new form of spirituality, might be emerging from the wisdom and insight of accumulated accounts of NDE’s.
Near Death Experiences: Something Old, Something New
Now that modern medical technology has been able to resuscitate more people and bring them back from being clinically dead than ever before, Near Death Experiences, or NDE’s, are becoming quite a phenomenon as more and more people open up and tell the world about what they saw and experienced while they were clinically dead. The first person to really study and document the phenomenon of Near Death Experiences in the modern era was Raymond Moody, PhD, a clinical psychologist, who published his findings in a groundbreaking book entitled, Life After Life. What he found was that the Near Death Experiences of many of his case study subjects were remarkably similar, and shared many elements in common: the tunnel, the Being of Light, and so on. Many other near death researchers followed in Dr. Moody’s footsteps, and before long, more and more near death stories started coming to light.
Yet, believe it or not, the whole idea of Near Death Experiences is nothing new. Most famously, Plato, at the end of his Republic, tells the Myth of Er, about a soldier who was wounded on the battlefield, went to the other side to view souls who were both coming into as well as departing from earthly existence, and returned to tell the tale of what he saw. Although there is no solid proof or documentation as to exactly where Plato got this story, it is conceivable that there were indeed individuals, even in ancient times, who somehow passed over to the other side and returned to tell the tale. Otherwise, for the vast majority of individuals, both then and now, the other side, or the realm beyond death, is a place from which no one ever returns. Yet, this whole Myth of Er story is echoed in other ancient myths about gods and goddesses who descended into the underworld, or the land of the dead, and returned back to the land of the living. Even Jesus is said to have descended into Hades to rescue lost souls there.
“O death, where is thy sting?” goes a line from one of Paul’s epistles. Nevertheless, death, and what may lie beyond it, has been used as a kind of fear mechanism to keep Christian believers in line – through fear of everlasting torment in the fires of hell and eternal damnation if Christian beliefs are rejected. The after death state is envisioned in stark black and white binary terms as being either heaven or hell, with nothing in between. But is it even realistic to believe that the after death state, if it in fact exists, would be so stark and binary when there are so many perplexing and bewildering shades of grey, and so many complex moral dilemmas that we encounter here in our earthly existence? Instead of endless speculation about what may exist on the other side of the veil that separates life and death, modern medical science, through NDE’s, has opened up a doorway, a portal if you will, to actual empirical experiences of the other side, with the body of recorded Near Death Experiences providing a vast compendium of first hand experiential eyewitness knowledge about what the after death state is really like.
Proving the Reality of Near Death Experiences
Many scientific skeptics theorize that NDE’s are mere hallucinations caused by a dying brain that is severely deprived of oxygen and struggling frantically to hold on to life. Many who are of a conventional scientific bent unquestioningly accept this explanation without further thought, and dismiss the whole phenomenon of NDE’s out of hand. But this whole dying brain theory has serious problems and drawbacks when one takes a deeper look at NDE’s and the evidence for them with an open mind. The evidence that blows holes in the dying brain theory is as follows:
If NDE’s were really caused by the hallucinations of a dying brain that is trying to hold onto life and consciousness at any cost, then one would expect almost all, or nearly 100 percent, of patients who have returned from a state of clinical death to report having had NDE’s, but this is not the case. NDE researchers report that only about 20 percent of those who have come back from a state of clinical death have reported NDE’s. Even if one allows for an additional portion or percentage of people who had NDE’s, but who, for one reason or another, were hesitant or unwilling to report them, that doesn’t begin to approach the nearly 100 percent that one would expect with the dying brain theory.
But beyond this initial statistical analysis of NDE’s, there is another reality that is borne out by many case studies of those who have had NDE’s, and that is the phenomenon of veridical experiences while being clinically dead. What is a veridical experience? It’s when the patient accurately reports details of specific things that happened during their Near Death Experience that they had no way of knowing if their consciousness was connected to their bodies, or, worse yet, totally absent in the total absence of any vital signs. The whole phenomenon of veridical experiences while being clinically dead is actually a very common feature of NDE’s; if NDE’s were merely hallucinations of a dying brain, then how could the accurate reporting of things seen and heard while clinically dead be possible? There are many veridical experiences during NDE’s that have been reported in the literature, which have included the following:
Many NDE patients have accurately reported the details of conversations that the doctors and nurses had while working to revive the patient, who had no vital signs at the time. And when the patient returned to report the details of these conversations, or to ask the doctors and nurses further questions about these conversations, many of the medical workers were quite amazed, or even embarrassed that the details of these conversations had been heard. This alone indicates a level of clarity, consciousness and lucidity that rules out hallucinations.
One of my favorite veridical experiences connected with NDE’s is the case of the man who, while clinically dead, floated up to a place above the roof of his hospital to report that there was a single, solitary red sneaker or tennis shoe that had somehow made its way up onto the roof. At first, the medical personnel didn’t believe his story, but later, when they went up onto the roof, they saw the shoe and were amazed. This clearly shows that the soul, or consciousness, is spatially or locationally totally independent of the body during Near Death Experiences, and can operate and experience things at a considerable distance from the physical body.
Perhaps one of the most amazing Near Death Experiences ever recorded is the case of Pam Reynolds, a musician who was not only clinically dead and without any vital signs, but whose body also had to be refrigerated to a very low temperature while surgeons cut her skull open and operated on a brain aneurysm. Most people who have commented on her NDE have reported that Pam was accurately able to report that the rotary circular saws that the doctors used to cut open her skull looked like electric toothbrushes, but sadly, they leave out the most veridical detail of all: Pam Reynolds was a trained musician who had the gift of perfect pitch, and when she came back from her NDE, she reported that the humming sound that the whirling saws made while they were cutting open her skull was a “D” above middle “C” – and this was accurately verified by investigators after she reported this. Who else but Pam Reynolds, with her gift of perfect pitch, would have been able to report that after her NDE?
Theories and Models of the Mind and Consciousness
What is the mind, or that part of us that thinks? Is it exactly the same as the brain, or can it exist apart from it? And what exactly is consciousness, or the Soul? Is consciousness merely an epi-phenomenon of matter, produced by the myriad electrochemical reactions occurring in the brain, and its millions of functioning neurons? Since ancient times, sages, seers and mystics have been aware of a core Witness Consciousness within man, which has been called by various names – the Soul, the Self, the Nous or psyche – that core “I Am” presence within man that is not the brain, the mind or the body, but which has its own separate and eternal existence, untouched and unconditioned by matter. Materialistic scientists have theorized that the mind and consciousness are absolutely dependent on the physical brain, and absolutely connected to it, and that that the consciousness that we experience is an epiphenomenon of matter, or a secondary byproduct of electrochemical reactions occurring in the brain. If this is indeed true, then when the body, and the brain die, consciousness must cease to exist.
Near Death Experiences, and the veridical experiences of the clinically dead, are proving the materialistic theories of reductionist science to be false. If someone who is clinically dead can lucidly experience and witness things that occur around them while they register absolutely no vital signs, or if they can report on things they have witnessed while floating up above their bodies, or at a considerable distance from it, then science needs to rewrite its theories of consciousness and cognition. Whereas previously, scientists have considered that it was the brain that was the producer of consciousness, Near Death Experiences are proving that the physical brain is merely a sensory / motor transmitter and receiver for consciousness and its impulses that originate outside the brain, and which can exist independently of it. This has come to be called non-local consciousness in the parlance of many of those who are involved in the field of NDE research and investigation.
Common or Shared Elements of NDE’s: A Basic, Natural and Universal Objectivity
Besides the veridical experiences I discussed earlier, which provide particular, case-by-case verifications of the reality and objectivity of Near Death Experiences, the sheer prevalence of common or shared elements of NDE’s really impressed researchers into NDE’s and has seemed to provide a kind of baseline of universal, shared objectivity. If NDE’s were hallucinations or fanciful delusions, the kinds of experiences reported would be “all over the map” with few if any common elements, but this is clearly not the case. Of course, not all those who have NDE’s have reported every single one of the commonly shared elements, but these elements, as well as the usual patterns regarding their sequencing, seem to suggest that there is a basic transitional process from one level of existence to another that we commonly call death. If the various commonly shared elements were all there in everyone’s NDE, there would be rigid uniformity that would also lead researchers to doubt their authenticity, but as it is, there seems to be enough shared elements to suggest that there is a basic outline or structure for the process of dying, as well as elements and experiences that are particular to each case, that remind us that each one of us is an individual with our own particular situation and path in life.
So, let us proceed to examine these commonly shared elements of Near Death Experiences, and what they can teach us about the Soul, or Consciousness, as well as the overall process of dying:
Exteriorization: I Am Not My Body
One of the first things that happen in an NDE is the phenomenon of exteriorization. All of a sudden, the individual feels great, and a lot better than he or she has in a long time. That is usually when they find themselves hovering or floating up above their body, able to view all the goings on in the hospital or operating room with absolute objectivity and lucidity; they can even go off to places more remote, and still retain the same clear, conscious awareness. This proves that the Soul or consciousness within us is not connected to the body, nor to the brain, as modern reductionist science has all too often postulated. It is at this stage of the NDE that veridical experiences most commonly occur, usually in the form of witnessing or overhearing candid conversations that the medical personnel in attendance thought were confidential among themselves. This phenomenon of floating up above one’s body and looking down on it is also common to those who have had OOBE’s or Out Of Body Experiences. If you are not your body, then what are you? In the words of an old Vedic chant: “I am He, I am He, Blessed Spirit, I Am He!”
The Tunnel: Sailing On Up to Heaven
The initial exteriorization phase of the NDE usually comes as quite a shock, particularly to those who don’t believe in life after death, or life beyond bodily consciousness, but once they grasp what has happened to them, they realize that they are totally free and independent of their body. This naturally leads to the tunnel phase of the Near Death Experience, in which the individual feels like they are being sucked up through a long, dark tunnel towards a looming light above, which they usually recognize as being heaven. There may be other spirit beings who come to greet the individual during this phase of the NDE, which may also include relatives who have passed on. This feeling of being sucked upwards through a long tunnel has also been experienced by those who have had Out Of Body Experiences, or OOBE’s, and is intimately connected with the Sahasrara, or Crown Chakra, which lies at the top of the head, which is a common place for the Soul to exit the body at death, with the other two points being the Ajna Chakra, or Third Eye in the middle of the forehead and the Medulla Oblongata at the back and base of the skull.
Wait – didn’t the Soul leave the body in the initial exteriorization phase? Rather than leaving the body, the initial exteriorization phase can be interpreted as a non-localized transcendence of bodily consciousness, leading to the realization that one is not one’s body. The tunnel is where the Soul or consciousness really leaves the body, kind of like a genie being popped out of a bottle. The tunnel phase, although common, is not reported by everyone who has an NDE; many just go straight from the exteriorization phase to a fuller awareness of the spiritual level of reality that surrounds them, and move right on to subsequent phases of the NDE. It has been my distinct feeling, through my studies of spirituality and natural healing, that every individual Soul has a unique and distinctive relationship to their body. Therefore, when that relationship is severed or undone at the moment of death, the way in which this occurs, and the experiences that come with it, can also be quite individual and varied.
The Tunnel phase of the NDE, and the Crown Chakra that is intimately associated with it, all relate to the crucifixion accounts in the Christian gospels – Jesus is forced to wear a crown of thorns, and many paintings of Jesus have him looking upwards towards this crown of thorns. Jesus is crucified on Mount Golgotha, the Mount of the Skull, and anyone who has been to the Holy Land, and who has visited this place personally can tell you that, from the side view, it does indeed look like a skull. This is the Christian Mysteries’ way of encoding the spiritual reality that the Soul leaves the body at death through various subtle apertures in the skull, which is common knowledge to all who have done a deeper study of yoga and meditation. This can happen even in a yoga class, especially under the guidance of an expert yoga teacher. In the final Corpse Pose relaxation phase of the class, you can actually detach enough from bodily consciousness to experience what yogis call Chid Akasha, or the outer space of consciousness. Just focus inwardly on the Third Eye and step backwards, exiting through the Medulla Oblongata at the rear base of the skull. It’s kind of like an astronaut going out for a space walk.
The Being of Light: A Universal Archetype of Divinity
Most accounts of Near Death Experiences tell of a Being of Light. For most Christian individuals, this Being of Light is identified as Jesus Christ, although some might see the Being of Light as God Himself. A Hindu might see the Being of Light as Krishna, a Buddhist as the Buddha or Kwan Yin, and so on. The point is that the Being of Light takes on whatever form or personage the individual considers to be most holy and divine. The Being of Light seems to be a near universal element in most people’s Near Death Experiences, and his adaptability to the particular name or form of divinity that the particular individual most reveres suggests a Monistic conception of deity – that a single Divine Source or God of All can manifest in different names and forms to different individuals, depending on their own particular religious background and conditioning. One thing is common to all individuals’ perception of the Being of Light – that he radiates total divine love and acceptance.
The Being of Light is usually the central figure in what is generally called the Life Review. The main events and milestones of the individual’s life are reviewed, with the Being of Light asking crucial questions to elicit spiritual wisdom and insight from the individual – but this is done in a totally loving and non-judgmental manner. The central themes seem to be: What did you learn from the experience? and, How loving were you? Many individuals returning from NDE’s report that the Being of Light didn’t speak to them verbally in the usual sense, and also report that not only did they experience their own emotional reactions to the crucial life experiences that were reviewed, but that they were also able to experience the feelings and emotions of the other persons involved in a kind of deep empathy. Through the things that they experienced in their Life Review, guided by the Being of Light, those who have had NDE’s have been able to pass on a lot of spiritual wisdom and insight to others who hear their story; I do believe that a new kind of deep spirituality is emerging from the accumulated insights of these accounts. Perhaps, someday soon, an NDE Bible will emerge in the form of an authoritative compendium of NDE accounts, and what they have to teach us morally and spiritually.
Although the vast majority of NDE accounts have been positive, pleasant and uplifting, there have been some negative or gloomy accounts as well. Many of these have been cases of attempted suicide; this may have been due more to the negative expectations that the individuals had of what awaited them, conditioned by the strongly negative moral stigma that Christianity, the dominant religious teaching of our culture, places on suicide as the willful rejection of God’s gift of life. Another interesting case of a negative experience is the case of Howard Storm, who was doing quite well for himself at the time of his NDE and making a good living as an art professor. Outwardly, he was doing pretty good, but inwardly, his spiritual state left a lot to be desired, as he had abandoned the original piety and spirituality of his youth. His NDE started with being entrapped by negative entities who started to pick away at and mutilate him, leaving him in a state of pain; he finally came to the realization that these entities had been otherwise normal people just like him who had slowly descended into a state of destructive machismo, negativity and cynicism after death. Luckily, he was able to escape his predicament by reciting a prayer from his youth and calling on Jesus, who came to save him. What Howard Storm’s NDE showed me is that it’s not one’s outer life or accomplishments that count; it’s the inner game, and one’s inner state of consciousness and spiritual / moral nature.
The Spiritual Physics of the After Death State
Spiritualists are fond of saying that death doesn’t make a saint out of a sinner, nor does it make a wise man out of a fool. The main thing that happens at death is that one loses one’s physical body; in one sense, that is only a minor change, in that it does nothing to change the essential moral nature and state of consciousness of the individual, but in another sense, it brings on major changes, as one enters a new arena, a whole new ball game, with vastly different rules of the road, so to speak. It would be fair to say that all the big problems of life in the physical world, such as physical survival, health problems and having to support oneself to make a living, are non-problems on the other side, where life supports itself and manifests spontaneously. When one loses the physical body, one is freed from its burdensome encumbrance, but at the same time, one loses a lot of the physical challenges that serve to strengthen and mold one’s character, as well as the guiding structures of family, workplace, profession, etc… that play such an important part in our lives on this side of the veil.
The Law of Attraction is quite a big thing in New Age circles, where those who are inclined towards spiritual materialism look upon it as a magic key to having all their “gimme the goodies” dreams fulfilled. In other words, the Law of Attraction states that whatever you hold in your mind and consciousness strongly and persistently enough eventually comes to pass, and you wind up attracting to you that which you have envisioned and desired. Although too many New Agers are blinded by spiritual materialism in their interest in the Law of Attraction, this law also works in other ways that they seldom consider or appreciate. Regarding the after death state, the good news is that the Law of Attraction works on both sides of the veil that separates life and death; in other words, it is a universal spiritual law. The bad news, or the news that can be either good or bad, depending on how you handle it, is that, without the impediments of hard, solid and inert matter to hold it back, which we experience in this physical world, the Law of Attraction works instantly. Just think of or envision someone or something on the other side, and whamo! It is there, or you are immediately drawn towards it. And so, if we don’t at least begin to learn how to hold our hearts and minds steady in this life, it will by no means be any easier to learn this on the other side, and we may wind up being whimsical free spirits flitting first this way, then that. We may desire and attract things immediately, on a whim, but never stop to consider how worthy that which we are attracting is or how valuable it is to us.
And so, it may very well be that the disembodied Soul begins to yearn after a while for a return to the solid guiding and grounding structures of the physical world, as well as its inevitable challenges, as a necessary impetus for the further molding and strengthening of its spiritual resolve and moral character. It begins to envision a spiritual mission for itself, as well as a suitable family setting and other extenuating circumstances that will place it in a good position for taking on and hopefully fulfilling the mission that it sets for itself. And so, the discarnate Soul is gradually drawn back into physical embodiment. In so many ways, life in the physical world and life on the other side are the Yin and Yang complementary opposites of each other, and one can begin to see how the cycles of birth and death that define the Soul’s evolutionary journey through many incarnations can take shape. Perhaps death is the cure for life, which gives all souls a subliminal death wish for release from this veil of tears, but just as likely, physical life and embodiment could be the cure for the after death state, providing tough lessons to strengthen one’s moral character and resolve that the Soul simply can’t get on the other side.
What is an almost universal element or aspect of Near Death Experiences is a feeling of great and overwhelming spiritual freedom and joy after being liberated from one’s body. The fear of death is removed, with many NDEers making comments like, “I didn’t know that death could be this good!” In addition to being liberated from the physical impediments of one’s body, many NDEers also report a great expansion of knowledge and consciousness, as the faculties of the Soul are liberated from the limitations of the brain and the physical sense organs. If death, or the transition from bodily existence and consciousness to the discarnate or disembodied state can be such a joyous and euphoric release from physical bondage, so to speak, then what is it really like going the other way, from the perspective of the soul that is entering physical embodiment, or taking physical birth?
Some authors have written about this in books about the inter-carnational state between lifetimes. If death is such a joyous release from the tremendous challenges, burdens and hardships of physical existence, then going the other way must be a very daunting, even frightening, prospect for the incarnating soul about to take birth, facing head-on the prospect of physical life, with all its “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, as Shakespeare so aptly put it in Hamlet. By taking on the great limitations and impediments of a physical brain and sense organs, their access to knowledge and perception will also be severely limited, which, in so many ways, could be likened to “flying blind.” Of course, after a whole lifetime of being so attached to bodily consciousness, the soul facing death, or the prospect of suicide, may feel a lot better about those slings and arrows, and prefer them to the possibility that death might bring with it, from our physical perspective in this life, total annihilation and nothingness. Indeed, physical life and the disembodied, after death state are the polar opposites of each other.
The Return, or Going Back
Just when the NDEer begins to think, “Gee, I really like being dead – yeah, I could really get used to this!” he or she is told, either by the Being of Light or some discarnate relative on the other side, that their work in the physical world is not yet finished, and that they need to go back. They can either take this hard, as a big let-down, which is what often happens initially, or they can accept that verdict with spiritual maturity and resolve, with a renewed commitment towards making the most of their remaining time on earth. Of course, what is gone is the fear of death – in fact, many NDEers have even expressed a great anticipation of their final, joyous return to the after death state when death finally comes for them. Most NDEers report a great shock upon re-entering the body, which is not only with its great heaviness, burdens and physical limitations, but also with considerable pain or discomfort, if the individual was suffering from a terrible or life threatening illness or infirmity. In addition, many NDEers also bring back with them something from the other side, usually in the form of heightened psychic or intuitive capabilities. Many also make radical changes in their lives, usually away from career or life paths that are not spiritually fulfilling to those that are more in line with what they discovered to be their Soul’s purpose during their NDE.
NDE’s and Out of Body Experiences
The NDE, or Near Death Experience, usually occurs when the Soul leaves the body during a state of clinical death, in which there are no vital signs present, and the medical or para-medical personnel are working hard to resuscitate them. In other words, in the NDE, the Soul usually leaves the body out of physical necessity. But certain individuals have the ability, which is either spontaneous or innate, or acquired, to leave the body without the extenuating circumstances of clinical death, either spontaneously or under their own volition. This out of body travel in the absence of clinical death or being nearly dead is called the Out Of Body Experience, or OOBE; it is also called Astral Projection or Astral Traveling, as when the Soul leaves the physical body, it usually does so in its Astral body, which is a subtle sheath or body covering the Soul that usually has the appearance of the physical body, but is not made of solid matter. Regarding the experience itself, there are many similarities or parallels between the NDE and the OOBE, with the main difference being no life review and no being told that they must return; returning to the physical body is a given for OOBE’s since clinical death or near death has not occurred.
Of course, the physical necessity or provocation of being clinically dead or near dead brings on the NDE; OOBE’s suggest that our Soul or consciousness is not fused inseparably to bodily consciousness, even while we are alive, and that, under certain conditions and circumstances, the Soul or consciousness can leave the body, even at will. I mentioned earlier that detaching from bodily consciousness and stepping outside of it was possible even during the final corpse pose relaxation phase of a yoga class; some may even be able to learn how to leave their bodies in deep states of meditation. Or, it can be a spontaneous ability that one has, that comes upon one unbidden or uninvited, under certain conditions; this ability can often be more pronounced during one’s youth or early childhood, as Jesus commented in the gospels on how close little children are to the Kingdom of Heaven. A more grounded, worldly outlook on life usually comes after the first square of the planet Saturn to its natal position, at around age seven. The dream state is also a common portal into OOBE’s, and this is even more true if the individual has the capacity for lucid dreaming; the truth is that the connection between the Soul and the body is the most loose and tenuous during the dream state, which can often be used as a kind of springboard towards leaving the body. Those who have inclinations towards or the ability to leave the body will be appreciative and know what I am talking about; those who don’t, and whose consciousness is firmly rooted in the body, will dismiss what I am saying as pure nonsense or hogwash.
It seems to me that it is much easier for scientific skeptics to dismiss OOBE’s as being unreal than they can with NDE’s, especially if there are verified veridical experiences connected with the latter. The NDEer can point to his medical records and say, “Look – I was clinically dead for ___ minutes, yet I was alive, and had all of these experiences, some of them veridical or provable, while I was supposed to be dead – I was dead, yet I was very much alive in Spirit!” A good point, perhaps, but formal psychic research studies are also being conducted on Out of Body Experiences, which, when done consciously and under one’s own volition, is often called Remote Viewing. And one’s physical body and its faculties don’t have to be in a suspended, trance-like state for this to happen, as a kind of split level dual consciousness can also be achieved. In this sense, there are no hard and fast dividing lines between OOBE’s and other forms of psychic ability, like clairvoyance. As Paramahansa Yogananda was fond of saying, nothing escapes the peerless gaze of a saint.
NDE’s and Deathbed Visions
NDE’s and OOBE’s prove that the Soul or consciousness is not solidly and irrevocably tied to the body; under certain conditions and circumstances, the Soul can detach itself from the body and leave it. Another special condition or circumstance under which the connection between the body and the Soul, or consciousness, is also loose and tenuous is as the aging individual gradually approaches the point of physical death, or the Soul’s final separation from the body. This phenomenon, which has been called Deathbed Visions, often occurs in nursing homes, and is often dismissed as the fantasies and hallucinations of a senile brain that doesn’t function right. I remember visiting my aging grandfather, who had been a lifelong Presbyterian minister, at his bedside in a nursing home one day; he was going on and on about going into the woods to the log cabin of a lady who had not heard anything about modern science – and science was anathema to his conservative religious worldview – and how pleasant this little trip had been. Heck – what was that but a deathbed vision?
There is a very good book available in which two scientific researchers, Drs. Karlis Osis and Erlendur Haraldsson, PhD. have put together on deathbed visions, based on evidence from hundreds of case studies of dying patients and their deathbed visions. As with Near Death Experiences, there are cases in which the dying subject, through their deathbed vision, provides veridical information that was unknown to those in attendance at the deathbed at the time of the vision, such as a loved one who comes to greet the dying individual who is believed to still be alive by relatives present, but who has only recently died, unbeknownst to the attendees. A common phenomenon, note Osis and Haraldsson, is that the dying patient, right before or during their final deathbed vision, feels better than he or she has in a long time and passes on soon thereafter. Deathbed visions are but yet another piece of evidence of the Soul’s ability to transcend bodily consciousness. I have read this book, and highly recommend it; it is entitled, At the Hour of Death: A New Look at Evidence for Life After Death.
Books and Resources for Further Study
If you want a grand, overarching overview of the whole Soul / Mind / Body interface, and how it all happens from a subtle and spiritual point of view, I could recommend no book that is better than Dr. Richard Gerber’s Vibrational Medicine, which has been through numerous editions and printings now. This is an essential volume that should be in the library of everyone who is interested in Near Death Experiences, and how the immortality of the Soul, and its relationship to the body works, as no book, in my opinion, explains it better. The book discusses little known scientific experiments done in Asian countries on the acupuncture meridian system and how it develops in the growing fetus, for example, that will literally blow your mind. But even more than this, it explains, better than any other book out there, the spiritual biology and physics of the Soul / Mind / Body interface and how it works, even to the extent of explaining, beyond the reductionist models and paradigms of modern biomedicine, how the miracle of Life is possible, and how the body, consisting of corruptible physical matter, is vitalized and held together by the spiritual life forces emanating from the Soul and the subtle astral and etheric bodies. It is also a great introduction to subtle energetic or vibrational forms of healing like acupuncture, flower essences and homeopathy as well.
If you are interested in meeting and connecting with those who have had NDE’s, and listening to them talk or lecture about their experiences, I would suggest that you become a member of IANDS, or the International Association for Near Death Studies, and attend their conferences. Their website is www.iands.org . To find books on NDE’s, go to amazon.com and google up Near Death Experiences, and you will get a whole host of books, with most of them being written by the experiencers or NDE survivors themselves. There are also YouTube channels that feature videos on Near Death Experiences, as well as life beyond death, which I highly recommend that you watch. One such channel that features excellent interviews with NDEers is Melissa Denyce’s excellent channel, Love Covered Life. I present you with her excellent interview with Howard Storm, whose NDE I discussed earlier, parts one and two, which are embedded below:
Courtesy of Melissa Denyce’s YouTube Channel, Love Covered Life
Conclusion: O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?
Thanks to the phenomenon of Near Death Experiences, and NDEers coming out and speaking about their experiences as never before, we now have the opportunity, some two thousand years after the Apostle Paul first wrote those words, to say again, “O death, where is thy sting?” The main difference is that now we have a great body, corpus or compendium of firsthand accounts of what life on the other side is actually like from those who have actually been there, and have returned to tell people about what it is really like. For some two thousand years, all we had to rely on were mainly theology and religious dogma; now we have actual experience. As Jimi Hendrix asked us, “Are you experienced?” For NDEers, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”