spacerMarch 25, 2011

NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE AND WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM IT
By Rev. Dick Dinges

    Near-Death Experience is an occasion when someone’s physical body dies, but the person revives or is revived. Such an occasion is called clinical death in the medical field. This differs from biological death, from which theoretically the body cannot be revived. There are reports of persons returning to life hours after being pronounced dead. (There are also reports of persons experiencing many of the elements of an NDE but without being physically traumatized. In the literature this is called a near-death-like experience.)

    Thousands of persons have reported continuing consciousness during the time when the physical body was dead, or when they were outside of their physical body. Many of them reported that they continued to be present at the scene of the accident or operation, and that they observed minute details of the scene. After being revived, they told the attending medical personnel what they observed – to the astonishment of the medical personnel.

    The most striking occasion was when Pam Reynolds underwent brain surgery. She needed to have the blood drained from her brain for the operation. Her brain wave was flat. Yet she reported to the doctors what they did during the operation. She even described the tool that they used to cut open her skull. You can learn more about Pam Reynolds by going to http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research11.html and scrolling down.

    Polls indicate that millions of persons worldwide have had near-death experiences. Of the thousands that have been reported, there are some two-dozen features that are frequently described. Some persons may have only one feature, while others have had many. On the other hand, some persons do not remember anything from their experience. The common features include:

    • Consciousness from a perspective outside of the physical body
    • A cessation of physical pain
    • Heightened awareness of details of physical surroundings
    • Inability to communicate with persons still in their physical bodies
    • Seeing through walls
    • Passing through solid objects, including persons rushing to the scene
    • Knowing what persons on the scene are thinking and feeling
    • Communicating mind-to-mind with any spiritual beings present
    • Floating to the ceiling or beyond, or rising in the air if outside
    • Entering a tunnel. Some persons describe this as being sucked into the tunnel.
    • Seeing a Light at the end of the tunnel and traveling very fast toward it. Merging into the Light and feeling unfathomable love, unspeakable joy, and indescribable peace. Most say that it was a feeling of being home.
    • Seeing departed loved ones, who seem to be gathered for the arrival. The scene may be of a beautiful field with flowers that seem to be conscious, including colors that are alive. Cities of Light and Universities of Learning have also been described.
    • Seeing oneself as a being of light. Some NDErs looked at themselves while out-of-body. They still looked like themselves, but generally they were transparent and were glowing. Some persons, such as Juliet Nightingale, Andy Petro, and Reece Manley, saw themselves as balls of Light. Andy and Reece also saw a multitude of other balls of Light and knew these to be souls.
    • A life-review. Persons see and feel the impact of everything they ever did, not only as personal memory, but also from the perspective of everyone they affected. This often happens in the presence of a Being of Light, who does not judge, but only observes and accepts with unconditional love. It’s also common for a person to be shown that their actions affected many others indirectly through the ripple effect.
    • Lifepoints. Reece Manley has coined the word lifepoints for the experience of being able to re-live experiences in your life. This is different from a life review inasmuch as a life review is shown to the NDEr. Lifepoints seems to be under the control of the NDEr who choose which scenes to re-live.
    • Finding out one’s purpose in life. Some NDErs are told what to do when they return. Several persons were to write books. One famous NDE researcher and author, P. M. H. Atwater, was told to write three books. She has written about ten books so far. One of them, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Near-Death Experience, 2000, was the most comprehensive presentation in print of the many facets of NDE. That book has been updated and revised and is available under the new name, The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences, the Ultimate Guide to What Happens When We Die.

    Joanie Thurston, author of Possible Fatal, 2004, was told to return and make NDE common knowledge. Another woman I interviewed from Ohio, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that Jesus told her the purpose of her life, but added that Jesus also said she would not remember it in its entirety. He explained that if she did, then she might try to hurry up and get it done right away. If that happened, then it wouldn’t turn out right. It had to happen over time.

    Nancy Clark, author of Hear His Voice, was shown that everyone has a purpose, and that the puzzle of our existence moves forward toward completion as each person in the human family completes his or her purpose.

    • Having a sense of All-Knowledge. Some persons remember having had complete knowledge of everything. It’s as if the local human mind expands to join Universal Mind after leaving the physical body. This knowledge is generally lost upon returning to the human body. Some NDErs remember much of what they understood while away from the body. Mellen-Thomas Benedict was one of these. He asked to remember what he learned, and it was granted. Now he teaches as his main point that the earth – even the solar system – is a living system. He calls it Gaia Theory.
    • Interconnectedness. Some NDErs see the earth from a perspective of space. They observe energy patterns, and observe that everything is interconnected and interwoven, similar to a web. They understand that whatever we do affects everything else.
    • Planetary Visions. A few NDErs have been shown the future of the earth. Ken Ring brought this forth in his book, Heading Toward Omega. According to these reports, the future of the earth is secure, but life as we know it in our culture will change drastically. Also they say that the time is short before this happens.
    • Freedom. NDErs say that they could go anywhere or experience anything by just thinking about it. The desired result was instantaneous.
    • Many persons are given a choice about returning to live in the physical body they left behind. Some choose to return in order to see children or grandchildren mature. Others choose to return to complete a mission for the Being of Light. They do this out of love. Some persons are told that they must return. Often they object and insist that they are not going to go back. Nevertheless, they are sent back.
    • A tight fit. Some NDErs have described returning to the physical body as a squeeze. They felt like they were being crammed into a small space.

The After-effects
 

    • Think of a near-death experience as being immersed in Spirit. It’s memorable as being immersed in water is memorable. Only those who have been immersed will know. Also, NDErs bring back some of their “wetness,” including electro-magnetic interference, mind-to-mind communication, and energy for healing. The effect is similar to a needle picking up and retaining magnetism after being rubbed against a magnet. These dramatic residual effects of being in the Light wear off for many NDErs over time, which may be a few months.
    • NDErs affect nearby electrical appliances and electronic equipment. Some cannot wear wristwatches because the watches will stop working. The same watches will work if worn by others. If the NDEr works with computers, the computers will often fail. It’s as if the electrical systems of the NDErs were re-wired and charged with higher power.
    • The ability to sense the thoughts and feelings of others. This seems to be a residual part of the mind-to-mind communication that takes place in the spiritual realms.
    • Some NDErs return with healing energy. Tiffany Snow was told by Jesus that her purpose would be to “heal my people.” You can view her website at www.tiffanysnow.com. Incidentally, after seeing her life-review, Tiffany determined to return and “make a better movie.”
    • Homesickness. For many, there is grief of loss of being in that beautiful place that felt like home, and there is longing to go back.
    • Anger. Many NDErs are angry with the medical personnel who revived their bodies.
    • Suicidal tendencies. Those who experienced an NDE as the result of a suicide attempt are less inclined to try again because they know better. They say that they learned that life is to be fully experienced, and problems not resolved here will only continue. Suicide will only complicate the resolution. However, P. M. H. Atwater has noted that having an NDE doesn’t solve one’s problems on earth. She writes that some NDErs, whose lives were filled with tragedy and pain, do attempt suicide to get back to that beautiful place where they felt that they belonged.
    • Ability to return to the state of peace. Many NDErs are able to go back to that place of peace, love, and joy when they meditate. It’s as if they were thrust through a rent in the veil during their NDE, and the rent remains open for future experiences.
    • Loss of fear of death. NDErs may fear any pain that would be connected with dying, but they never fear death again.
    • NDErs generally believe that the purpose of life is for learning and loving. In the life-review, actions that felt the best were simple acts of kindness done to others. These could be further described as actions of unconditional love, unrelated to one’s profession or income.
    • The pain of recovery from physical injuries may be experienced for years. Life is not easy for many NDErs.
    • An increased sensitivity to medicines, so that a lower dosage will have the same effect.
    • Feelings of isolation. NDErs may feel uncertain and alone. They may not know that such experiences are common. Sometimes they try to tell others, but are told that they imagined it, or that they are crazy. Many persons have been committed to mental institutions because they told their near-death experience. Many have been given medications used to treat the mentally ill. Some have been fired from jobs. They have been rejected and condemned at churches.
    • Clarity of memory of the experience. NDErs retain clear memory of the thoughts and feelings they experienced during their NDE. This is unlike dreams, which fade over time.
    • Spiritual search. Some NDErs begin searching for their purpose in life almost immediately after their NDE, and they allow the values of the NDE to change them. Complete integration takes about seven years. Other NDErs set aside their experience and do not deal with it. They may ignore it for a lifetime.
    • Transformation. Those that choose to give attention to their experience place less value on material wealth, and emphasize spirituality. Many change vocations to become one of a variety of helping professionals, including social workers, teachers, and clergy. The Rev. Howard Storm, a UCC minister, was an atheist and a university Professor of Art prior to his NDE. He wrote his story in his book, My Descent into Hell and the Love That Brought Me Back. Such transformation is the trademark of a true NDE. Dreams and hallucinations do not have similar results.
    • Inability to fully describe what they experienced. NDErs say that there are simply no human words to describe what they experienced beyond the physical, including beautiful music, the intensity of the feelings of love, joy, and peace, and the beauty of the surroundings.
    • NDErs have said that the spiritual realm felt more real than this physical realm. Eben Alexander III, M. D. described it as hyper-real. Some have said it was like waking up from a dream. A dream seems real until we wake up, and then we know that we have been dreaming.
    • Increased appreciation for beauty in nature and respect for everything that lives.
    • NDErs generally find satisfaction in the simplicity of life. They like to live simply, and they appreciate every day.
    • Inner authority. NDErs no longer need anyone to tell them about God and spirituality. They find authority within themselves.

Theological Concepts

    Reports of near-death experiences confirm many concepts from the Bible, including, and possibly in addition to:
    • God is Light (I John 1:5). NDErs say that God appeared to them as a trillion suns. Some NDErs don’t see the Light, but experience a peaceful darkness.
    • God is Love (I John 4:16). Modify this to God is Unconditional Love. Bill Taylor, an NDEr, puts the two concepts together so that God is the Love-Light. He also says, “Love is the fabric of the Universe.”
    • We are parts of God. Andy Petro became One with the Light. He became the Light, yet he retained his identity as Andy.
    • We are loved.
    • We are never alone. Spiritual beings attend to us all the time.
    • Life continues beyond the physical. This includes both consciousness and identity.
    • Christ is the Lord, the advance Pioneer of our faith (Hebrews 11:2), and our Elder Brother (Romans 8:29; John 20:17).
    • The crucifixion was an intervention for humankind. The most significant NDE I ever read was reported in the newsletter of the Seattle, Washington IANDS Group (International Association for Near-Death Studies). Rebecca Morris, a drug-user, died of an overdose. She found herself in a place of darkness. She called for help. Jesus came. She asked him why he never came to help her before. He answered, “You never asked.” He showed her the scene of the crucifixion. Then he showed her a chart that had vertical red lines down the middle. He said that the chart indicated human history from the beginning to the end, and that the red lines marked the intervention of the crucifixion, which she had just witnessed. He added, “That happened so that humankind could get from the beginning to the end.” (After her NDE, Rebecca Morris became a social worker.)
    • Life on earth is valuable, but temporary. We read in the Bible that we are pilgrims here (I Peter 2:11).
    • Unconditional Love is the highest ideal for human behavior.
    • We will give account for all that we have done.
    • God does not judge. We judge ourselves. Ultimately there may be a Judgment, but the life-review seems to function as a learning experience for later opportunities to act differently (and to feel better about the impact we have made).
    • There are extremes within the spiritual realms that could be described as heaven and hell. My conclusion is that we create our future by the thoughts and feelings we generate.
    • Reincarnation. Many NDErs say that while their body was clinically dead they became aware of and were able to enter into many past and future lives.

Conclusions

    Near-death experience is a transformational experience, similar in aftereffect to religious conversion, out-of-body experience, life-between-life regression, and even alien abduction. The Apostle Paul likely had an OBE. He described it in II Corinthians 12. Strikingly, he wrote that he could not fully express what he experienced because there are no earthly words. What NDErs are able to express opens windows for our understanding of the spiritual realms, and enables us who still “see through a glass darkly” (I Corinthians 13:12) to know what lies beyond the physical.

    The near-death experiences of persons of different religions and of no religion include the standard features mentioned above. There seems to be a common spirituality that underlies humankind. Beliefs seem to have no importance except as a foundation for actions of love. I cannot recall learning of an NDE that included a test of beliefs to be accepted by God. Instead, NDErs say that God loves and accepts us all unconditionally. This compares favorably with the positive words of Jesus in Matthew 25:31ff regarding those who make it to heaven. It’s those who act compassionately toward persons in need. My interpretation is that we enter a heavenly state when we choose to love others unconditionally. The joy that accompanies such a state of attunement with God makes everything else insignificant. Jesus said as much in John 15:10 – 13, and he demonstrated it while on the cross. He forgave those who persecuted him. He loved people to the end. The writer to the Hebrews worded it this way: “For the sake of the joy that was set before him, Jesus endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).

Resources
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Near-Death Experiences, by P. M. H. Atwater, 2000.

The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences, the Ultimate Guide to What Happens When We Die, by P. M.H. Atwater, 2007.

    Virginia Beach Friends of IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies) hosts monthly meetings at which speakers who have had NDEs share their stories. Meetings are often on the first Saturday of the month from 10 – noon at the Association for Research and Enlightenment, 215 – 67th Street in Virginia Beach. E-mail notification of meetings can be received by request to RichardADinges@aol.com. Those without e-mail can call (757) 481-0061.

    Websites: The website for Virginia Beach Friends of IANDS is www.vbiands.com. The website includes announcement of upcoming speakers, a comprehensive Directory of VBIANDS Speakers, including many photos, summaries of what they said, contact and ordering information for VHS and DVD copies (It's almost a book in itself), and this summary paper, “Near Death Experience and What We Can Learn from It.”

    The library of Virginia Beach Friends of IANDS is housed at Fellowship of the Inner Light. The library includes books and tapes of many of our speakers. These may be borrowed for a donation. To see an alphabetical list go to http://www.fellowshipoftheinnerlight.com/sunday services.php.

    The same page of the Fellowship of the Inner Light web site features many 30- minute presentations by featured speakers of VBIANDS who spoke at the church on the Sunday following their Saturday presentation at VBIANDS. These speakers include P. M. H. Atwater, Reuben Beckham, Lori Biehler, Hazel Cassell, Nanci Danison, Cara Mayo, Andy Petro, Ken Prather, Stephen Redding, Chris Russell, and Barbara Harris Whitfield. Go to the page identified above and click on Watch Videos of Sunday Speakers.

    DVD, VHS, and audio-cassette copies of most past speakers are available for a donation of $10, plus $2 shipping and handling. They can also be borrowed for an unlimited time for a donation and the cost of postage. Available videos are listed in the Directory of VBIANDS Speakers described above.

www.iands.org. is the website for the International Association for Near-Death Studies. It’s scholarly and objective.

www.near-death.com is the web site of Kevin Williams, who explores every nuance of meaning of NDE and presents a wealth of information. Upon request he will also send a monthly NDE newsletter by e-mail.

www.nderf.org is one of three websites managed by Jody Long, JD, and her husband, Jeffrey P. Long, M. D. They present many accounts worth studying.

http://pmhatwater.com/ is the web site of PMH Atwater, a leading researcher and experiencer. She had three NDE’s in 1977, and since has written many books about NDE’s.




YOU ARE A HEALER

by Donna Kenworthy Levy

 

It is common practice in many religious traditions to pray for the sick, the bereaved, and the needy, believing that prayer can impact outcome in a beneficial way. These prayers can be ritualistic or created by an individual in the moment. They can even be wordless and take the form of a mental transmission of love energy.

I decided I wanted to use a non-verbal type of prayer for my elderly aunt, who was quite ill with a blood clot in her leg. Her doctors were concerned she would die within a day from the clot travelling to her heart or lungs. Her prospects did not look good.

I felt so helpless being 3000 miles away from Aunt Esther. In my desire to help her, I decided to send her healing by focusing energy toward her. Although some people can accomplish healing through prayer, I am more comfortable working silently, for I cannot concentrate on healing if I am talking.

I closed my eyes and visualized my aunt standing in front of me about 12 feet away. I raised my arms to receive divine energy, which is infinitely available merely for the asking. In my inner eye, I saw white light enter through the top of my head. I inhaled and drew the light into my heart. The more I inhaled, the more I felt the energy fill my chest. I then used my intention and sent the energy from my heart, coupled with my love for her, down my arms and into my hands. As I began to send the energy toward my aunt, I visualized the energy turning into pink beams of light. Directing the beams toward her right leg, I concentrated on filling her leg and then her complete body with pink love energy. I continued the healing until I felt she had received all the love I had sent her.

My aunt did overcome this health crisis. Did my sending her healing cause her to recover? I don’t really know with certainty, but I believe it helped. The higher self of the recipient of healing will make use of the gift of love in ways unknown to us. There are not only physical reasons one becomes ill but also spiritual and karmic causes of a health crisis. We shouldn’t feel that our efforts at healing ever fail, for the love is surely received.

I’ve noticed over time the more I heal - the more I send loving healing energy to others - the better I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. When we give healing to others, we heal ourselves. The practical use of this is to elevate your own spirit.  When you’re feeling down, send healing love to someone in need.  Yet, the greatest aspect of healing is that there is joy of having loved another.

 

I am writing this brief article to clarify to you what happens when we lovingly focus on sending healing energy to others.  I am a psychic, and I can feel the energy.  You may not be as able to feel the energy, so you may have wondered if anything was happening when you prayed.  Let me assure you that every prayer – even every thought – radiates energy, and it travels according to our intention to accomplish the purposes of our hearts.


 
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