by Sarina Damen
Excerpt from "The Source of Life" - Published by Whirling Rainbow Publishing
What is Life?
LIFE - `The period or state of existence in the world as a living being. The time spent by an individual human, lower animal or plant, between birth and death.' - Webster Universal Dictionary.
`Our present understanding of what life is, is based very largely on the results of scientific activity. A scientific explanation is based on clear, logical thinking; the scientist tries to consider all the relevant observations available to him and in the most unbiased way as possible, come up with the most reasonable explanation he can. From time to time new observations may be made which do not fit the scientist's explanation; he may therefore have to try to account for all the evidence available.' . - Definition of life from "The Web of Life" a biology text book.
As we define life as something which only a breathing, growing, reproducing organism possesses, we scientifically observe that when a body dies, life ceases. This supposition seems reasonable enough, but recent evidence shows that consciousness can survive independently of the body, and continues to exist after the death of the physical form. In this age of advance medical techniques and the discovery of effective resuscitation procedures, many people are brought back from the threshold of physical death to report on their conscious experiences of life separated from the physical body - life after death. All religions are based on the conviction that life is eternal, and when the day comes that the mortal shell ceases to be of use, the soul is released into a new, more real, existence. Science, on the other hand, cannot commit itself to such a view until it is proven. Improved medical procedures have now provided science with the wonderful opportunity to study the possibility of eternal life.
In Dr Raymond Moody's book Life After Life, published in 1975, people from different backgrounds and religious convictions speak of life `out of the body'. These near-death recollections are so similar, regardless of the subjects’ spiritual beliefs or absence of religious faith, that this information has challenged the scientifically-accepted idea of death as an end to life. Subjects asked of their experiences found it difficult to describe the totality of what they saw and felt in this state, however they still managed to convey an existence of beauty, harmony and love. Since Dr Moody first wrote on this topic, many other researchers have come forward with remarkably similar findings, including those whose original objective was to disprove Moody's discoveries.
Recurring Elements of Near-Death Experiences (NDE's)
1.The individual experiences an uncomfortable buzzing: `I lost consciousness and heard an annoying buzzing, ringing sound.' 2.
2.The person is overcome by the sensation of moving rapidly through a long dark tunnel towards a bright light: `I found myself in a tunnel...of concentric circles.' 3.
`I went through this dark, black vacuum at super speed. You could compare it to a tunnel.' 4.
3 .The subject then becomes aware that they are outside their physical body, and able to observe the efforts of the nursing staff trying to revive their body: `I looked back and I could see myself on the bed below and there was no fear.'5.
`I could see all the doctors and nurses, as they worked on my body...' 6.
. `I viewed my body from the back and slightly to right side.' 7.
4. The individual realizes that they still possess a body, but of a different nature: `(My consciousness) felt as if it had a density to it, almost, but not a physical density...as if it were charged.' 8.
`I felt whole, and I felt that all of me was there.' 9
`The "I am" was there (out of body) and the physical body was just a shell.'10.
Following Dr Moody's original investigations, other researchers have observed similar features of near-death experiences. Research findings which further support discoveries revealed in Life After Life include a detailed analysis of patient NDE recollections by a medical specialist* who reported that during the NDE, while out of the body, "people would experience an amazing clarity of thought, as if they were alert and fully awake, not in their physical body but in a `separated self'. They felt the `essential' part of themselves had separated from the physical body, and that this part was able to perceive objects and events visually. During the NDE, the separated self becomes the sole `conscious' identity of the person, with the physical body remaining behind as an empty shell".
5. The spirits of dead relatives and friends, and sometimes entities who resemble religious figures, gather close to guide and comfort the individual:
`I was with an angel or God or somebody that I had total harmony with but total communication without saying anything...' 11.
`I could see mother and Christ...I took it to be Christ, long hair and what have you...long beard. They were both smiling.' 12.
`I was looking and there was Christ and he was standing with a very white robe. He had jet-black hair and a very black short beard. His teeth were extremely white and his eyes were very, very blue. He looked different from any pictures I had seen before. I could see all of my loved ones who had died, my mother, my father, my sister, and others.' 13.
6. The individual encounters a `being of light' who questions the subject non-verbally about whether they had loved others during physical life: `...the kind of love that makes me want to know if my neighbour is fed and clothed and makes me want to help him, if he is not.' 14.
The answer to this question came from within: `...they seemed to have seen for themselves what they should and shouldn't have done and to have judged themselves accordingly.' 15.
The being of light was not there to judge, but appeared to be merely present to support and guide those that had left their mortal shell through this evaluation period. It gave the impression that it loved the person despite their faults. The only marked difference between descriptions of this near-death episode was the assumed identity of this being of light. Some, but not all Christians, called this spirit Christ: `I felt the presence of a very powerful, completely loving being there with me all through this experience.' 16.
`A brilliant white light appeared to me. The light was so bright that I could not see through it, but going into its presence was so calming and so wonderful.' 17.
`The light's what was talking to me. The love which came from it was just unimaginable, indescribable. It was a fun person to be with! And it had a sense of humor, too...' 18.
The essence of the question asked by the being of light was the same in all cases: `What have you done with your life that is sufficient?' 19.
`What have you done with your life?' 20.
`How far had I learned to love?' 21.
7. To aid the individual in their evaluation, the events of their life were played back. The subjects also saw and felt how their actions, both selfish and unselfish, had affected others: `My life began to become a picture in front of me, and it seemed that I could go back to the time when I was still a baby, and the pictures seemed to progress through my whole life.' 22.
`My whole life was just going in front of me...and I kept thinking about all the different things I had done and perhaps I hadn't done.' 23.
`It showed me not only what I had done but even how what I had done had affected other people. I found out that not even your thoughts are lost. Every thought was there.' 24.
The idea that all thoughts are permanently `recorded' is supported by renowned scientist, Dr Darryl Reanney: `We must never lose sight of the fact that our past thoughts are "real" ... They do not cease to exist just because our awareness is locked in the present...(thoughts are) indelibly imprinted into the fabric of space-time.' 25.
There were certain things that I had done in my life that I regretted, and other things that I regretted that I had left undone.' 26.
Dr Moody observed that `when people saw any selfish acts which they had done they felt extremely repentant. Those events in which they had shown love and kindness, they felt satisfaction. The judgment...came not from the being of light...but rather from within the individual being judged.' 27.
This experience parallels the religious belief of the `Day of Judgment'. If this spiritual conviction is derived from the evaluation of life's activities and decisions at the gateway of death, it may be accepted that we are not judged according to the religion in which we believe or the number of times we attend church, but whether our words, actions and thoughts have been motivated by selfishness or have stemmed from love.
8. The individual comes to a boundary, the line between physical and spiritual life: `I saw a fence. I started moving towards the fence, and I saw a man on the other side of it, moving towards it as if to meet me.' 28.
`One side of the fence it was extremely scraggly territory, mesquite brush and generally a junky place you wouldn't want to be. On the other side of the fence was the most beautiful pasture scene I guess I have ever seen.' 29.
9.The person experiences complete peace and happiness: `Even the most beautiful moments of life would not compare to what I was experiencing.' 30. `It was a very calm, peaceful feeling.' 31.
`The most wonderful feelings came over me - feelings of peace, tranquillity, a vanishing of all worries.' 32.
`There was a sense of perfect peace and contentment; love. It was like I was part of it.' 33.
10. At this point, people are either told it is not yet time for them to live on the spiritual plane, or their love for another `still living' or sense of unfinished work draws them back to the physical dimension: `Whoever spoke said my work on earth wasn't over yet, that I had to go back to complete it.' 34.
`I felt as though I had been called back...through the love of my sister and my husband.' 35. `I was concerned about my children - who would take care of them.' 36.
`I really didn't want to come back. But I take my responsibilities very seriously, and I knew that I had a duty to my family. So I decided to try to come back.' 37.
`It was wonderful over there on the other side, and I kind of wanted to stay. But knowing that I had something good to do on earth was just as wonderful in a way.' 38.
Everyone who experienced NDE’s, returned from clinical death with no doubt that life continues after the demise of the body and found this incident altered their mindset and lives profoundly. All reported now believing that the physical life is a purposeful period in which a person must learn to love and care for others. These people, without exception, returned determined to live the remainder of their mortal lives according to this selfless criteria:
`I try to do things that have more meaning, and that makes my mind and soul feel better. And I try not to be biased, and not to judge people. I want to do things because they are good, not because they are good to me.' 39.
`When I look at people now, I feel that I really do love them, which is something I never felt before.' 40.
`Now I believe there's a lot more to live for than to just reach your final destination.' 41. `After you've once had the experience that I had, you know in your heart that there's no such thing as death.' 42.
`I don't feel bad at funerals anymore. I kind of rejoice at them, because I know what the dead person has been through.' 43. `I feel that we are measured a great deal by what we do for others. That we're all put here to help one another...the greatest law we have is love.' 44.
There have been a number of researchers who originally set out to prove that near-death experiences were only consciously or subconsciously manufactured responses to the distress of physical cessation. One such investigator was Dr Michael Sabom, a cardiologist who believed that he could prove these experiences were not real, by showing what people believed they experienced in their `out-of-body' state during the resuscitation, did not actually occur. He felt that they had probably seen the procedures on television, and later pictured the event as having happened to them while they were unconscious or lying semi-conscious on the bed, where they could hear what was going on in the room, and later reconstructed it as a visual event. After recording over a hundred interviews with people who had experienced NDE,
Dr Sabom began to check each patient's hospital file for the specific details of their resuscitation. Dr Sabom was astonished to find many people gave completely accurate descriptions of medical procedures used in their revival, such as details that had not been discussed with medical attendants, events that had been out of their visual field had they been semi-conscious, and procedures unique to their particular revival which were not likely to have been shown on any television programme or been known to the subject. The theory that these near-death experiences are drug-induced has been dismissed on the basis that accounts of the experience would be confused and random, and have no long term effect on the person's attitude towards life. Instead, these recalled episodes were clear, detailed and accurate in relation to their particular treatment and resuscitation of the body, with no substantial differences due to religion, age, education, sex or occupation.
Sarina Damen, author of "The Source of Life" is a Spiritual Counsellor and Life Coach www.sarinadamen.com