The NDE could more accurately be labeled the “Nearest-to-Life Experience (NLE).” We shall see in this article that what is experienced by those who return to life after their escape from the clutches of the grim reaper are pretty much what we promise those who diligently engage in The Point of Power Practice and live in the awakened state of the present moment. In other words, death is a good thing, not what too many of us fear and imagine it might be. It’s time to discard our old and untrue beliefs about death in the context of the delusional P-B for the NLE experience at the heart of P-A.
And yet, as attractive as the benefits of both NDEs and the Simple Reality narrative are, humanity has shown little genuine interest in either. The seductive agenda of the false self has the bulk of humankind too mesmerized. We might believe that the NDE stories are true and we might be impressed by the insights and universal truths of past and present mystics, but most of us can’t seem to fit the good, true and beautiful pieces of a more wholesome worldview into the story of our personal jigsaw puzzle. We are somehow attached to finishing the painful reactive process of the life we started probably because we are afraid to risk letting go of what is familiar, what is tried and true, even though something deep within us knows that something is woefully wrong.
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
So let us see if we can revisit our previous beliefs, fears and judgments about death and arrive at the “right judgment” of our inner wisdom and let go of the old story. We had all better think twice before we put aside the evidence that we are about to read, it may be our last chance to awaken from our current nightmare.
It may not seem so but we are all on the same journey from the illusion of the phenomena “out there” (P-B) to the inner essence revealed by our True self in the context of Oneness (P-A) and only the details of our lives differ. “The inward journeys of the mythological hero, the mystic and the schizophrenic are in principle the same; and when the return or remission occurs, it is experienced as a rebirth: the birth, that is to say, of a ‘twice-born’ ego, no longer bound by its daylight-world horizon. It is now known to be but the reflex of a larger self, its proper function being to carry the energies of an archetypal instinct system into fruitful play in a contemporary space-time daylight situation.”
“One is now no longer afraid of nature; nor of nature’s child, society—which is monstrous too, and in fact cannot be otherwise; it would otherwise not survive. The new ego [True self] is in accord with all this, in harmony, at peace; and, as those who have returned from the journey tell, life is then richer, stronger, and more joyous.” Joseph Campbell has just described what he called the Hero’s Journey or what could have just as accurately been called a description of an NDE.
Now we begin the process of adding credible details and personal accounts to an experience we will all have with C. G. Jung’s personal experience of an NDE. “Among all the accounts of those who have reached the boundary between life and death, Jung’s is one of the richest. After a heart attack, on the point of dying, Jung felt as if he were floating far above the earth’s surface, and about to leave this planet. He knew it was all over, and although this feeling was painful, it gave him a great sense of satisfaction, because there was no longer anything to desire.”
When he realized he had to return to the world of the living, “he felt an unbearable oppression, which he called the ‘little box system’—the return to a life made up of small watertight compartments, an incomprehensible prison endowed with a hypnotic power to attract and ensnare.” Remember we just said that most of us are “mesmerized” by our current narrative and its resultant identity.
Jung remained in a near-death state for weeks and had many beautiful visions and experiences. “I felt as though I were suspended in space, as if I were securely cradled in the womb of the universe, in a measureless void, but overcome with an intense feeling of happiness.”
Psychiatrist Dr. Raymond Moody began to investigate NDEs in 1965 and by 1991 had talked to more than 2,000 people who had returned from the brink of death. One thing is clear about many people who experience an NDE is that they have had a paradigm shift. Their worldview, their identity and their behavior are not what they formerly were.
When most of us awaken from a dream we feel that we are entering a more real state often with relief if we had been having a nightmare. “It’s very much the same with these patients who almost died, because they’ll say that when they were ‘dead,’ they felt they were waking up into a higher level of reality than this one. Patients tell us definitely that these experiences do not have a dreamlike quality, that they seem very, very real.”
NDE experiences may be described as “real” but they are nevertheless clearly very different than the experience of the everyday lives most of us have. Remember that Simple Reality teaches that the highest human expression or behavior is compassion. Now back to Moody who had a friend, Jim, in medical school and they had remained friends into their psychiatry residency.
Jim revealed to Moody that he had an NDE when he was younger. Jim described the common experience of entering a very intense light. “He said that you can say ‘light’ or you can say ‘love,’ it doesn’t matter which.”
The aforementioned light is often experienced by those who have described their NDE as taking the shape of a “being of light.” “They say that the light, as it were, sort of condenses into a form and comes forward and they are in the presence of a being of incredible love, who, in effect, shows them a panoramic view of their lives.”
This life review is meant to be educational not an experience of karma or punishment. “They say when you see this review spread out around you, this panorama, if you see yourself doing an unloving action to somebody, you feel directly and empathetically the feelings that you brought about in the life of that person. On the other hand, when you see yourself doing a loving action, then you feel the good feelings that you brought about in the life of that person, and it’s a very immediate and direct learning experience.”
What effect do these and other NDE experiences have on the lives of the people who return after surviving an experience most of us dread? First of all, it’s important to note that most of those people interviewed did not want to return to “life.” Read this next story very carefully with an open heart and an open mind.
Dr. Fred Schoonmaker, a cardiologist at St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver, interviewed over 2, 500 people that he had personally resuscitated. He found that 60 percent of them had experienced an NDE. Now it gets interesting.
One of Schoonmaker’s professors of medicine at Duke collapsed in the hospital and “died.” When Fred resuscitated him he was baffled when his colleague yelled: “Fred, don’t you ever do that to me again.” That doctor later took Fred into his office to apologize. “I’m sorry I yelled at you. You know that I’ve never been a religious man, but I yelled at you because you brought me back to death, not to life. I was on the other side.”
Just as we all have a choice to choose to resist life with a reaction or to respond with equanimity to what is happening, in an NDE, many patients are offered a similar choice. Many of them say that the light says to them, “Well, you have a choice now. You can go back to the life you’ve been leading or you can come on with us.”
Dr. George Gallup, the pollster says that about 8 million American adults (as of 1991) have had an NDE experience. What is most intriguing and exciting about NDEs is the transformation that sometimes occurs in the person who experiences it. David Hawkins, who had a system for measuring levels of consciousness describes some of those characteristics. “The near-death experience is not local in setting. One enters a much grander and more splendid domain. An infinite, radiant love is always present. There is a distinct awareness that a state of revelation is occurring and calibrated levels of consciousness show a sharp increase. One sign of the experience is that the personality changes and results in transformation. These changes are often quite noticeable. Often, there is a major shift of attitudes and diminished interest in worldliness. The fear of death disappears. There may even be a shift of vocation.”
“Generally, there is an attraction to spiritual subjects as well as a marked lessening in the level of overall fear. This is reflected in greater peacefulness, grace, and the replacement of negative attitudes by positive ones. The transformation of personality may be quite profound in some cases. In others, it could only be aptly described as saintliness. Some people who have these experiences become healers and are drawn to the healing profession or ministries.” The experience, whatever it is, clearly influences many people to express their highest behavior, compassion and service to others.
Another revelation of NDEs has implications for the world’s religions. “The evidence from the near-death experience (NDE), for example, suggests that God is not vengeful, does not judge us or condemn us, and is not angry at us for our ‘sins’; there is judgment to be sure, but the reports appear to be in agreement that all judgment comes from within the individual, not from the Being of Light. It seems, in fact, that all God is capable of giving us is unconditional love.” That revelation should make our heart dance.
Many of us are beginning to understand the importance of the worldview of Oneness as the context necessary to succeed at the process of Self-transformation because it is our story that determines our identity. Obviously, NDEs call into question our conventional narrative (P-B). To say the least, the story and the beliefs, attitudes and values that give most of us our identities is not a healthy one and does not support the expression of our True self.
“British philosopher David Lorimer points out that the moral assessment that takes place in the life review provides NDErs with an experiential moral order that is based on ‘empathic resonance’ with other people, meaning the direct perception of an intrinsic interconnectedness and interdependence among all living beings. Near-death experiencers know firsthand how their thoughts, feelings and actions affect others. The ego-shattering effect of NDEs reveals the illusion of separate individual egos by inducing direct experience of cosmic unity.”
If we are not able to fit these new pieces into the jigsaw puzzle that is our current paradigm that’s OK. We have nothing to fear from either this life or the inevitable death of that vehicle we call our body. Find a comfortable chair in a quiet space, sit down relax and breathe my dear friends. “After their NDEs, fully 100 percent of the respondents embraced the idea that some form of life continues when the physical body dies.” Perhaps the truth is that the “grim reaper” is not so grim after all.