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Nothing Better Than Death: Insights from Sixty-Two NDEs

Nothing Better Than Death is a comprehensive analysis of the near-death experiences profiled on this website. This book provides complete NDE testimonials, summaries of various NDEs, NDE research conclusions, a question and answer section, an analysis of NDEs and Christian doctrines, famous quotations about life and death, an NDE bibliography, book notes, a list of NDE resources on the Internet, and a list of NDE support groups associated with IANDS.org – the International Association for Near-Death Studies.

The unusual title of this book, “Nothing Better Than Death,” was inspired by NDE experiencer Dr. Dianne Morrissey who once said:

“If I lived a billion years more, in my body or yours, there’s not a single experience on Earth that could ever be as good as being dead. Nothing.” (Dr. Dianne Morrissey)

Having read every NDE book I could get my hands on, I didn’t want to create just another NDE book. My motivation was to give readers a large variety of information about NDEs challenging both the seasoned NDE enthusiast as well as the novice. This book gives readers the means to understand the NDE phenomenon from the perspective of a large number of some of the most profound NDEs ever documented. My hope is that you will enjoy this book, my labor of love, and that you will be truly blessed by the heavenly insights within it.

Purchase “Nothing Better Than Death”

All sales and Royalties from this book go directly to IANDS.org:
Nothing Better Than Death Paperback Amazon.com $15.98

Paperbook: 340 pages
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation (October 2002)
ISBN-10: 1401064124
ISBN-13: 9781401064129
Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches

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Resources

Gilles Bedard’s Near-Death Experience and Music Research

Gilles Bedard is a near-death experiencer and specialist in contemplative music. From 1982 to 1997, he worked as journalist, concert, radio and record producer. His knowledge and expertise, combined with the thoroughness of his research, have made him Canada’s New Age music specialist and one of the genre’s most active proponents on the international scene. Through the years, Gilles has developed a unique way of working with music. After years of research and experimentation, he has created Inerson, a set of practices that enable people to develop their potential through music. His study of the psycho-spiritual dimension of death and dying has taught him that the sacredness of life is found in the simplest things of our everyday lives. Since 1990, Gilles has worked as counselor for near-death experiencers and has given individual and group workshops and seminars.

Table of Contents

  1. Gilles Bedard’s Near-Death Experience
  2. Gilles Bedard’s Analysis of NDE Music Based on His NDE
  3. A List of Music Approaching the Sound of the NDE

1. Gilles Bedard’s Near-Death Experience

The doctors at Sacré-Coeur hospital in Cartierville, Quebec, just north of Montreal, did not expect Gilles Bédard to live. Ravaged by a severe intestinal disorder for nearly five months, the 19-year-old five-foot, eight-inch Bédard weighed just 75 lb. on November 17, 1973, when he developed a 105º fever and lapsed into a coma. A priest administered last rites, and Bédard’s parents were at his bedside. But he recovered, and in the months that followed he had vivid recollection of his glimpse of what he calls an afterlife. Now 38 and living in Montreal, Bédard told deputy Chief Researcher Sharon Doyle Driedger that the experience has affected his life profoundly, leading him to his present career, as a producer of New Age music. The following is the account of his journey beyond death:

“All day long, I went in and out of a coma. Around 2 a.m., the doctors came and put me on my back to examine me. Then I saw a round light at the ceiling. I felt as if I were looking at the moon. Suddenly, I couldn’t see any walls. Then I saw myself from the ceiling. I was nine feet higher than my body and I was looking down at the people around me. It was very strange. I had never experienced anything like it. I could see myself, the people around me, the doctors, the nurse, my family, but I felt no emotion. It was just like watching television.

“In the blink of an eye, my vision expanded and I went into a place like a cosmos where there were twelve people standing in a half-circle. They were all pure white lights and they had no faces. Beyond them was a tunnel. I wasn’t afraid. I somehow knew these people although they weren’t family or people I could recognize. It was as if they were waiting for me. I asked them what was happening, and they told me, ‘You are not going to die. You are going back to Earth. You have something to do.’ I asked them what it was, and as soon as I asked it was as if I knew the answer. They said I would know what I had to do when the time came. At that moment, I could sense the future and I realized I had the choice to do what I wanted to do. I felt pure peace.

“What I remembered most is the music I heard when I was out of my body. It was fascinating. It was hard to tell how long the experience lasted. It could have been five seconds or half an hour. When I came back into my body, it felt very small. But it was OK. I felt calm, very warm. When I came to, around 5 a.m., I felt ready for a party. It was as if nothing had happened to me. I didn’t remember the experience at that time. But a month after I left the hospital, I had another one.

“During the night, I had a sensation of falling into a tunnel. Going into it, I knew I was about to die, but just before arriving at the end of the tunnel, I woke up. It was not a dream. It was real. And it was then that I remembered the earlier experience. After I left the hospital I felt secure, as if I were in a large protective bubble. I knew I could cross the street without looking and not be hurt.

“During my convalescence, I began to remember the special sound I had heard on the other side. It was slow and calm, like very deep breathing. At this period, I had a vision. I was with a sage in the mountains and we were looking into a valley and he said, ‘You are going to bring this music to the people.’ Then one day, a few years later, I heard the special sound on an album by Steve Roach, a composer of electronic music. I had always been interested in music. I played the guitar and performed in a small rock group with some friends, but after I discovered that album I turned to electronic music.

“Later, in 1988, I met Roach at a New Age music conference. There I found out that as a motorcycle driver, he had had a near-death experience. He said that when he wrote music, he tried to re-create the music he heard when he was in the light. I kept the experience to myself for a long time because I didn’t know who to tell and I didn’t want to be considered a freak. I am not afraid to talk about it now because people have heard about near-death experiences and it isn’t as shocking. It happened to me and it changed my life. If people don’t believe me, that’s OK. I’m not a salesman for near-death experiences.

“I’m an ordinary guy. I’m into reality. The near-death experience was not a mystical experience. It was a major step that helped in my life. It opened a new dimension for me, a new way of thinking. It changed my relationships with other people, with friends, with people near me, because I realized that it’s not other people who create your unhappiness. My near-death experience opened me to the possibilities of life. I know that I am going to live a long time. But I am not afraid of death now because I know what it is. People are afraid to die because they don’t know what’s there. But now I know that life will continue after death.”

2. Gilles Bedard’s Analysis of NDE Music Based on His NDE

Gilles Bedard analyzes the sound her heard from his NDE:

“Based on my experience, I would say that people usually have a romanticized view of the music heard during near-death experiences. That’s why most people think first of new age music, harp or soothing music. From the outside, it would seem like that, but the music experienced from within is deeper and more profound than that. When I first heard the music of Tangerine Dream (www.tangerinedream-music.com) (“Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares” from their CD called “Pheadra“) in 1974, I thought that was almost it. But ten years later, when I heard Structures from Silence from Steve Roach (www.steveroach.com), I recognized the sound I heard on the Other Side. The music of Steve Roach is by far the most accurate and closest to the real sound of the near-death experience. When you go to the source of that sound, you then find yourself beyond the emotional side that we usually associate with the music on Earth. In my twenty-five years of research, on the television and radio programs I was invited to, I played that music and hundreds of people ‘recognized’ this particular sound. This happened also at the IANDS conference.

“The music of Constance Demby (www.ConstanceDemby.com), especially the piece “Celestial Communion” from her album Set Free is the musical illustration of being bathed into the light. For many of the people who assisted at my conferences, that piece unfolded on many occasions, as a souvenir of the near-death experience for those who lived one.

“If you would like to explore the music of the near-death experience, here are some suggestions. These are a part of my workshop Sound Quest to Omega that recreates the near-death experience in music. Each listening has that power, if I may say so, to unveil forgotten memories. Each listening takes you beyond to the Source of the light. Some people who have never had a near-death experience and who came to my workshops, experienced a light experience through this music similar to the near-death experience, but without dying.”

3. A List of Music Approaching the Sound of the NDE

Here is a list of music which Gilles Bedard says approaches the sound of his near-death experience:

(1) To prepare yourself for the experience, listen to “Structures from Silence” by Steve Roach. It will convey to you the light within.

(2) For being in the presence of the light and feeling its energy, listen to “The Other Side” by Steve Roach from the CD “Dreamtime Return.”

(3) For being one with the light, listen to “The Unfolding” from Duality by Lisa Gerrard (www.LisaGerrard.com) and Pieter Bourke.

(4) For being bathed in the light, listen to “Celestial Communion” from Set Free by Constance Demby.

(5) For a glimpse of eternity, listen to “The Graceful Sky” from Cavern of Sirens by Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana (www.vidnaobmana.be).

(6) For remembering, listen to “Dante’s Prayer” from Book of Secrets by Loreena McKennitt (www.LoreenaMcKennitt.com).

“There is much music available to give you this feeling but first you must be aware of the cleansing and the sound quest to go beyond to the Source of the light in Sound. You have to go beyond the esthetic aspect of music to the source of the power of sound. This is what I’m doing in the workshops. People surrendering to the sound will themselves have a very deep experience.

“While giving my Inerson workshops over the last 10 years, I have seen powerful catharses and profound transformations in people. Some have commented that the workshop opens a door within them that not only shuts itself after they’ve crossed its threshold, but disappears behind, leading them to follow the call towards their soul within the sound. And once they have surrendered to the sound’s resonance, they find the courage and determination to travel the path of profound transformation unfolding in front of them, a labyrinth of choices and consequences.

“What I share with you through Inerson is a way to connect yourself, to attune your whole being to the sound current. Thirty years ago, I didn’t know what to expect from the sound, except that there was a direction, a call to follow. I was drawn towards that call. Over my years of listening, I’ve found a way to probe into the sound, to access and experience sacred inner realms, allowing myself to be touched by the unknown, to be surprised by the sound. The music, or should I rather say, the sound I heard in my NDE, and which is now an integral part of my life, is the expression of consciousness, the manifestation of the Void in the Light, the Sound Current, the breath of the Universe, the breath of God.

“I hope that this music will give you a glimpse of what I heard in my near-death experience.”

Be sure to read the article NDE and Music Research Conclusions.

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Resources

Near-Death Experience and Related Internet Links

Table of Contents

  1. Near-Death Experience Websites (A-Z)
  2. Survival After Death Websites (A-Z)
  3. Reincarnation Websites (A-Z)
  4. Out-of-Body Experience Websites (A-Z)
  5. Parapsychology Websites (A-Z)
  6. Transpersonal Consciousness Websites (A-Z)
  7. Mediumship Websites (A-Z)
  8. Religious Experience Websites (A-Z)

1. Near-Death Experience Websites (A-Z)

Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS), University of Virginia School of Medicine – (virginia.edu)
Horizon Research Foundation – (horizonresearch.org)
International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) – (iands.org)
Chicago IANDS – (chicagoiands.org)
IANDS NDE Radio with Lee Witting – (talkzone.com)
Journal of Near-Death Studies – (iands.org)
Seattle IANDS – (seattleiands.org)
Israel Near-Death Experiences – (israelnde.org)
Life After Life Institute – (lifeafterlife.com)
Light Stories Beyond the Explosion (Combat NDEs) – (lightstories.org)
NDE Accounts – (ndeaccounts.com)
NDE Accounts (Videos) – (youtube.com)
Near-Death Experience Experts and Researchers – (near-death.com)
Near-Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF) – (nderf.org)
Near-Death Experiencers Spiritual Retreat – (wmthost.com)
Near-Death Experiences and the Afterlife – (near-death.com)
Nour Foundation – (nourfoundation.com)
Royal College of Psychiatrists – (rcpsych.ac.uk)
Science and the Near-Death Experience – (scienceandtheneardeathexperience.com)
Scientific and Medical Network – (scimednet.org)
Skeptiko Near-Death Experiences – (skeptiko.com)
The Formula for Creating Heaven on Earth – (the-formula.org)
The Self-Conscious Mind – (selfconsciousmind.com)
Thoughtful Living: A Study of Near-Death Experiences – (aleroy.com)
Website of P.M.H. Atwater – (pmhatwater.hypermart.net)
Wikipedia Page: Near-Death Experience – (wikipedia.org)
Wikipedia Category: Near-Death Experiences – (wikipedia.org)
Yahoo Groups NDE Discussion Group – (yahoo.com)

2. Survival After Death Websites (A-Z)

A Lawyer Presents the Evidence for the Afterlife – (victorzammit.com)
Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies – (ascsi.org)
After-Death Communication (ADC) Project – (after-death.com)
After-Death Communication Research Foundation (ADCRF) – (adcrf.org)
AfterlifeData Online Database – (afterlifedata.com)
Afterlife Forums – (afterlifeforums.com)
Afterlife Research and Education Institute – (adcguides.com)
Afterlife Research Centre – (afterliferesearch.weebly.com)
Afterlife TV with Bob Olson – (afterlifetv.com)
Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment – (edgarcayce.org)
Esalen Center for Theory and Research – (esalen.org)
Gary Schwartz’s Website – (drgaryschwartz.com)
Greater Reality Publications – (greaterreality.com)
Ian Lawton’s Supersoul Spirituality – (ianlawton.com)
Institute for Afterlife Research – (mikepettigrew.com)
International Survivalist Society (ISS) – (survivalafterdeath.info)
Survival Research Institute of Canada – (islandnet.com)
Swedenborg Foundation – (swedenborg.com)
The Search For Life After Death – (thesearchforlifeafterdeath.com)
Your Eternal Self – (youreternalself.com)

3. Reincarnation Websites (A-Z)

Brian L. Weiss’ Website – (brianweiss.com)
Carol Bowman’s Website – (carolbowman.com)
Eric Weiss’ Website – (ericweiss.com)
Erlendur Haraldsson at University of Iceland – (notendur.hi.is)
In Another Life: Reincarnation in America – (ial.goldthread.com)
International Association for the Science of Reincarnation – (thescienceofreincarnation.org)
Jim B. Tucker’s Website – (jimbtucker.com)
Past Life Healing – (healpastlives.com)
Reincarnation Research — (reincarnationresearch.com)
Roger Woolger’s Deep Memory Process – (deepmemoryprocess.com)
Wikipedia Page: Reincarnation — (wikipedia.org)
Wikipedia Category: Reincarnation — (wikipedia.org)

4. Out-of-Body Experience Websites (A-Z)

Afterlife Knowledge – (afterlife-knowledge.com)
Astral Info – (astralinfo.org)
International Academy of Consciousness – (iacworld.org)
Monroe Institute – www.monroeinstitute.org
Out-of-Body Experience Research Foundation (OBERF) – (oberf.org)
Phase Research Center – (obe4u.com)
Robert Peterson Website – (robertpeterson.org)

5. Parapsychology Websites (A-Z)

Daily Grail – (dailygrail.com)
Dean Radin’s Website – (deanradin.com)
Exceptional Human Experience Network – (ehe.org)
Institute of Noetic Sciences – (noetic.org)
Integrative Energy Medicine Institute – (integrativeenergymedicine.com)
Koestler Parapsychology Unit – (koestler-parapsychology.psy.ed.ac.uk)
Parapsychological Association – (parapsych.org)
Parapsychology Foundation – (parapsychology.org)
Paranthropology Journal – (paranthropologyjournal.weebly.com)
Psi Encyclopedia – (psi-encyclopedia.spr.ac.uk)
Rhine Research Center – (rhine.org)
Society for Psychical Research – (spr.ac.uk)
Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) – (scientificexploration.org)

6. Transpersonal Consciousness Websites (A-Z)

Association for Transpersonal Psychology – (atpweb.org)
Charles T. Tart’s Article Library – (paradigm-sys.com)
Daryl Bem’s Website – (dbem.ws)
Global Consciousness Project (GCP) – (noosphere.princeton.edu)
Institute for the Scientific Study of Consciousness – (spiritualscientific.com)
International Transpersonal Association – (transpersonalassociation.com)
Metanexus – (metanexus.net)
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) – (maps.org)
NeuroQuantology Journal of Neuroscience and Quantum Physics – (neuroquantology.com)
New Dualism Archive – (newdualism.org)
PhilPapers Philosophy Bibliography Archive – (philpapers.org)

7. Mediumship Websites (A-Z)

Association TransCommunication – (atransc.org)
Ghost Circle – (ghostcircle.com)
WindBridge Institute – (windbridge.org)

8. Religious Experience Websites (A-Z)

Hermetic Resource Site – (hermetics.org)
Holy Books Archive – (holybooks.com)
Magis Center – (magiscenter.com)
Summit University Press – (summituniversitypress.com)
Tentmaker Ministeries – (tentmaker.org)
The Mystic’s Vision – (themysticsvision.com)
Theosophical Society – (theosociety.org)

Categories
Resources

Frequently Asked Questions About Near-Death Experiences

Table of Contents

  1. What is a near-death experience?
  2. How many people have had this experience?
  3. Why doesn’t everybody close to death have one?
  4. What causes a near-death experience?
  5. This is the nuttiest thing I ever heard.
  6. This sure doesn’t sound very scientific.
  7. Don’t near-death experiences prove that there is life after death?
  8. Are the people who have near-death experiences very religious?
  9. How do people react when they come back?
  10. Does a near-death experience really change a person’s life?
  11. I had one of these experiences, but no one told me I was in danger. Was my doctor lying to me?
  12. When my mother was dying, we thought she was hallucinating, but what she described sounds like a near-death experience. Could this be true?
  13. What if I have had a near-death experience?
  14. What if someone I know has had a near-death experience?
  15. Where can I get more information?

1. What is a near-death experience?

A near-death experience (NDE) refers to personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, total serenity, security, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, and the presence of a light. These phenomena are usually reported after an individual has been pronounced clinically dead or very close to death. Many NDE reports, however, originate from events that are not life-threatening. With recent developments in cardiac resuscitation techniques, the number of reported NDEs has increased.

Although most people who have come close to death say they remember nothing, a third or more may later report that “something happened” such as an NDE. There are also many factors that can trigger an NDE.

No two NDEs are exactly identical, but within a number of experiences a pattern becomes evident. Researchers have identified the common elements that define near-death experiences. Bruce Greyson argues that the general features of the experience include impressions of being outside one’s physical body, visions of deceased relatives and religious figures, and transcendence of egotic and spatiotemporal boundaries.

Kenneth Ring subdivided the NDE on a five-stage continuum. The subdivisions were: (Stage 1) feelings of peace and contentment, (Stage 2) body separation, (Stage 3) entering a profound darkness, (Stage 4) seeing an unearthly light, and (Stage 5) entering the light. Ring stated that 60% experienced Stage 1, but only 10% experienced Stage 5 of entering the light.

Many different elements have been reported, though the exact elements tend to correspond with the cultural, philosophical, or religious beliefs of the person experiencing it. The traits of a classic NDE are as follows

a. Feeling that the “self” has left the body and is hovering overhead. Sometimes a “silver cord” is seen connected to the body. Sometimes the person may later be able to describe who was where and what happened, sometimes in detail. Some people who were born blind can see while out of their body.

b. Moving through a dark space or tunnel and having a sense of timelessness. Sometimes the Earth can be seen from outer space.

c. Experiencing intensely powerful emotions, ranging from bliss to terror. Sometimes heavenly music is heard.

d. Encountering a light. It is usually described as golden, or white, and as being magnetic and loving; occasionally it is perceived as a reflection of the fires of hell.

e. Receiving some variant of the message, “It is not yet your time” from a heavenly being by means of mental telepathy.

f. Meeting others; may be deceased loved ones, recognized from life or not; sacred beings; pets; guides; angels; orbs; unidentified entities and/or “Beings of Light”; sometimes symbols from one’s own or other religious traditions.

g. A life review, seeing and re-experiencing major and trivial events of one’s life, sometimes from the perspective of the other people involved, and coming to some conclusion about the adequacy of that life and what changes are needed.

h. Having a sense of understanding everything, of knowing how the universe works.

i. Reaching a boundary – a cliff, fence, water, some kind of barrier that may not be crossed if one is to return to life.

j. In some cases, entering a city or library or receiving station.

k. Rarely, receiving previously unknown information about one’s life – i.e., adoption or hidden parentage, deceased siblings. Some bring back scientific discoveries. Some bring back knowledge concerning the future. Some bring back knowledge of past lives. Some bring back information concerning astrology.

l. Decision to return may be voluntary or involuntary. If voluntary, it usually associated with unfinished responsibilities.

m. Returning to life and to the body. Afterward, an increase in spirituality may be found. Often, dramatic changes within the person are discovered.

n. Some interesting facts concerning NDEs are: A group of people can die together and share the same NDE. Some NDEs have occurred when the brain is verified to be dead. NDEs have been occurring for thousands of years. They happen to people of all backgrounds: atheists, apostles, children, suicides, Buddhists, gays, Hollywood stars, Muslims, drug users, Jews, fighter pilots, psychics, alien abductees, epileptics, Christians, meditators, people having orgasms, and dreamers.

o. Most near-death experiences are pleasant, but others are deeply frightening. For additional information about frightening near-death experiences, contact IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies) for a special publication.

2. How many people have had this experience?

Popular interest in NDEs became widespread by Raymond Moody‘s 1975 book Life After Life and the founding of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) in 1981. The Gallup Organization and near-death research studies have estimated some 13 million adult near-death experiences in the U.S. Add children’s NDEs, and all experiences worldwide, and the figure would be much larger. Near-death experiences are uncommon, but not rare. Some commentators claim the number of near-death experiencers may be underestimated. People who have had a near-death experience may not be comfortable discussing the experience with others, especially when the NDE is understood as a paranormal incident or an experience of hell. NDEs are among the phenomena studied in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and hospital medicine.

3. Why doesn’t everybody close to death have one?

No one knows why some people do and others do not report a near-death experience under similar circumstances. Near-death experiences occur to sane and ordinary people all over the world, people of all religions, races, backgrounds, and ages.

4. What causes a near-death experience?

More than a dozen theories have been put forward to explain the near-death experience and its physical causes, but none of them singly or together fits all cases. NDEs have been described by some medical professionals in medical journals as brain anomalies such as (a) neurotransmitters flooding the dying brain, (b) hallucinations, (c) anoxia, (d) cortical dysinhibition, (e) right temporal lobe stimulation, (f) depersonalization, (g) memory of birth, (h) endorphins, (i) disassociation, (j) REM state intrusion, and even (k) Darwin’s theory of evolution. But NDE experts in the field of NDE studies have ruled out all such brain anomalies as being the cause of NDEs; even though the cause(s) of NDEs have nothing to do with the question of whether they are real afterlife experiences or not. Thus, the Afterlife Hypothesis may be the simplest explanation accounting for NDEs. Developments in quantum physics have made some brain anomaly theories of the NDE outmoded as the new physics can account for elements found in NDEs such as (a) quantum superposition, (b) non-locality, (c) a holographic universal interconnectedness, (d) the many-worlds and (e) many-minds interpretations, (f) the zero-point field, and (g) the concept of subjectivity just to name a few.

Clinical circumstances associated with NDEs include cardiac arrest in myocardial infarction (clinical death); shock in postpartum loss of blood or in perioperative complications; septic or anaphylactic shock; electrocution; coma resulting from traumatic brain damage; intracerebral hemorrhage or cerebral infarction; attempted suicide; near-drowning or asphyxia; apnea; and serious depression. In contrast to common belief, Kenneth Ring argues that attempted suicides do not lead more often to unpleasant NDEs than unintended near-death situations.

The distressing aspects of some NDEs are discussed more closely by Bruce Greyson and Nancy Bush. Karlis Osis and his colleague Erlendur Haraldsson argued that the content of near death experiences does not vary by culture, except for the identity of the figures seen during the experiences.

5. This is the nuttiest thing I ever heard.

Like other things which have no rational explanation at the present time, near-death experiences may at first seem “nutty.” A near-death experience is a genuine experience – an event which one individual experiences and remembers – and it has consequences, but it cannot yet be explained in terms of what we usually think of as “normal.”

6. This sure doesn’t sound very scientific.

Individual cases of NDEs in literature have been identified into ancient times including Plato’s account of Er. In the 19th century a few efforts moved beyond studying individual cases – one privately done by Mormon pioneers and one in Switzerland. Up to 2005, 95% of world cultures have been documented making some mention of NDEs.

Modern research of NDEs have recently involved the academic discipline of neuroscience as reported from the NDEs of Dr. Eben Alexander M.D. (neurosurgeon), Dr. David Eagleman (neuroscientist), Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor (neuroanatomist), and the research of Dr. Mario Beauregard (neuroscientist). But in the past, neuroscience in general tended to ignore NDE research because brain activity scans are not typically performed when a patient is undergoing attempts at emergency resuscitation.

Existing research is mainly in the disciplines of medicine, psychology and psychiatry. Interest in this field of study was originally spurred by the writings of Jess E. Weiss (combat veteran who collected near-death testimony from soldiers in World War II), Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (psychiatrist), Dr. George Ritchie (psychiatrist), and Dr. Raymond Moody Jr. (psychologist and MD). Moody’s book Life After Life, which was released in 1975, brought much public attention to the topic of NDEs. This was soon to be followed by the establishment of the International Association for Near-death Studies (IANDS ) in 1981. IANDS is an international organization that encourages scientific research and education on the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual nature and ramifications of near-death experiences. Among its publications are the peer-reviewed Journal of Near-Death Studies and the quarterly newsletter Vital Signs.

Dr. Bruce Greyson (psychiatrist), Dr. Kenneth Ring (psychologist), and Dr. Michael Sabom (cardiologist), helped to launch the field of near-death studies and introduced the study of near-death experiences to the academic setting. From 1975 to 2005, some 2500 self reported individuals in the US had been reviewed in retrospective studies of the phenomena with an additional 600 outside the US in the West, and 70 in Asia. Prospective studies, reviewing groups of individuals and then finding who had an NDE after some time and costing more to do, had identified 270 individuals. In all, close to 3500 individual cases between 1975 and 2005 had been reviewed in one or another study. And all these studies were carried out by some 55 researchers or teams of researchers.

Greyson and Ring developed statistical tools usable in clinical studies of NDEs. Major contributions to the field include Ring’s construction of a “Weighted Core Experience Index” to measure the depth of the near-death experience, and Greyson’s construction of the “Near-death experience scale” to differentiate between subjects that are more or less likely to have experienced an NDE. The latter scale is also, according to its author, clinically useful in differentiating NDEs from organic brain syndromes and nonspecific stress responses. The NDE-scale was later found to fit the Rasch rating scale model. Greyson has also brought attention to the near-death experience as a focus of clinical attention, while Melvin Morse, head of the Institute for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, and colleagues have investigated near-death experiences in a pediatric population.

Neurobiological factors in the experience have been investigated by researchers in the field of medical science and psychiatry. Among the researchers and commentators who tend to emphasize a naturalistic and neurological base for the experience are the British psychologist Susan Blackmore (1993), with her “dying brain hypothesis” and the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, Michael Shermer (1998). More recently, cognitive neuroscientists Jason Braithwaite (2008) from the University of Birmingham and Sebastian Dieguez (2008) and Olaf Blanke (2009) from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland have published accounts presenting evidence for the brain-based nature of near death experiences.

In September 2008, it was announced that 25 U.K. and U.S. hospitals would examine near-death studies in 1,500 heart attack patient-survivors. The three-year study, coordinated by Sam Parnia at Southampton University, hopes to determine if people without heartbeat or brain activity can have an out-of-body experience with veridical visual perceptions. This study follows on from an earlier 18-month pilot project. On a July 28, 2010 interview about a recent lecture at Goldsmiths, Parnia (internal medicine physician by training with specialty in pulmonology, critical care, and sleep medicine) asserts that “evidence is now suggesting that mental and cognitive processes may continue for a period of time after a death has started” and describes the process of death as “essentially a global stroke of the brain. Therefore like any stroke process one would not expect the entity of mind / consciousness to be lost immediately”. He also expresses his disagreement with the term “near death experiences” because “the patients that we study are not near death, they have actually died and moreover it conjures up a lot of imprecise scientific notions, due to the fact that [death] itself is a very imprecise term”.

The top peer-reviewed journals in neuroscience, such as Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Brain Research Reviews, Biological Psychiatry, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience are generally not publishing research on NDEs. Among the scientific and academic journals that have published, or are regularly publishing, new research on the subject of NDEs are Journal of Near-Death Studies, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, British Journal of Psychology, American Journal of Disease of Children, Resuscitation, The Lancet, Death Studies, and the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Some researchers have complained about the resistance of the scientific establishment to the implications of NDEs.

The first clinical study of NDEs in cardiac arrest patients was conducted by Pim van Lommel, a cardiologist from the Netherlands, and his team ( The Lancet, 2001). Of 344 patients who were successfully resuscitated after suffering cardiac arrest, 62 (18%) expressed an intraoperative memory and among these, 41 (12%) experienced core NDEs, which included out-of-body experiences. The patients remembered details of their conditions during their cardiac arrest despite being clinically dead with flatlined brain stem activity. Van Lommel concluded his findings supports the theory of consciousness continuing despite lack of neuronal activity in the brain. Van Lommel hypothesized how continuity of consciousness may be achievable if the brain acts as a receiver filtering the cosmic information bombarding it in a process where memories and other conscious information are stored just as radio, television and internet information existed independently of the instruments receiving it.

Van Lommel et al., reported that 62 of the 344 patients with cardiac arrest reported some recollection. Of these 62, 50% reported an awareness or sense of being dead, 24% said that they had had an out-of-body experience, 31% recalled moving through a tunnel, whilst 32% described meeting with deceased people. Moreover, while near-death experiencers commonly report feelings of peace and bliss, only 56% associated the experience with such positive emotions. No patients reported a distressing or frightening NDE.

7. Don’t near-death experiences prove that there is life after death?

Certainly this is a very popular interpretation, although there is no “proof” in a statistical sense and no consensus on what this may mean. A more cautious expression is that near-death experiences suggest that some aspect of human consciousness may continue after physical death. At this time, no one can demonstrate whether this is true. However, there is a “mountain” of scientific evidence suggestive of consciousness surviving bodily death include: (a) verified out-of-body perception suggestive of mind-body dualism, (b) NDE perception of people born blind, (c) the vivid retaining of NDE memories which are not possible with brain anomalies, (d) the dramatic after-effects resulting from NDEs which do not occur with brain anomalies, (e) unbiased young children having the same experience as adults, (f) scientific discoveries resulting from NDEs, (g) verified visions of the future given to experiencers, (h) their absolute conviction of their NDE being a real afterlife experience, plus the many supporting scientific fields of discovery such as (i) consciousness research, (j) deathbed visions, (k) dream research, (l) out-of-body research, (m) after-death communications research, (n) reincarnation research, (o) hypnotic regression, and (p) remote viewing. Note that this is an incomplete list.

8. Are the people who have near-death experiences very religious?

People who report near-death experiences are no better or worse – and no more or less religious – than in any other cross-section of the population. They come from many religious backgrounds and from the ranks of agnostics and even atheists. The experience seems more closely related to a person’s life afterwards than to what it was before.

9. How do people react when they come back?

A person who has just had a near-death experience probably has very mixed feelings. One person may express anger or grief at being resuscitated; another struggles to stay awake. Other typical reactions:

a. Fear that the near-death experience was a psychotic episode.

b. Disorientation because reality has shifted.

c. Euphoria, feeling special or “chosen.”

d. Withdraw to ponder the experience.

10. Does a near-death experience really change a person’s life?

Almost every near-death experiencer reports a changed understanding of what life is all about. The changes may be numerous and almost impossible to describe or explain.

Besides losing the fear of death, a person may also lose interest in financial or career success. “Getting ahead” may seem like an odd game that the person chooses not to play any more, even if it means giving up friendships. This can be hard on some families.

Becoming more loving is important to most near-death experiencers, though they may have difficulty explaining what they mean by that. They may seem to love everyone indiscriminately, with no personal favorites.

Religious observance may increase or lessen, but a deepened belief in God, or a “Higher Power,” is almost certain. People say, “Before, I believed; now I know.”

Some people find they have an increase in intuitive or psychic abilities. This is a common stage in Christian, Jewish, and other major religious traditions when an individual spends much time in deep prayer and meditation. If this becomes a problem, the IANDS office can suggest a source of information.

11. I had one of these experiences, but no one told me I was in danger. Was my doctor lying to me?

Probably not. The “near-death experience” was named in 1975 by Dr. Raymond Moody to describe the clinical death experiences of the people in his book, Life After Life. However, although being close to death is a reliable “trigger“, identical experiences happen under very different circumstances, even to people who are in no way ill. The best known are the experiences of saints and religious mystics. Deep prayer, meditation, and even mirror-gazing can produce events like near-death experiences, as can other kinds of altered states of consciousness.

12. When my mother was dying, we thought she was hallucinating, but what she described sounds like a near-death experience. Could this be true?

People who are dying often mention seeing a wonderful light or a landscape they want to enter. They may talk with people who are invisible to everyone else, or they may look radiant and at peace. Read the book by Maggie Callahan, Final Gifts, for more about “Deathbed visions.”

13. What if I have had a near-death experience?

You are not alone, and you have not lost your mind. A near-death experience is an extraordinary experience, but it happens to normal people.

You may want to tell the world about your near-death experience, or you may want to think about it, possibly for a long time, before trying to say anything. You will probably feel frustrated trying to find words to describe it, and fearful that no one else will understand. If you have difficulty with aftereffects, try reading P.M.H. Atwater‘s books, Coming Back to Life, or Beyond the Light.

When you first decide to talk about the experience, choose a person who is a good listener, someone with whom you are comfortable. Should they have difficulty with the idea, reading Dr. Raymond Moody‘s book, Life After Life, may help them feel more comfortable with near-death experiences. If you want to talk with another near-death experiencer, or someone who will not need too many explanations, contact IANDS for the name of someone reliable.

14. What if someone I know has had a near-death experience?

It is as if the other person has returned from a country you have never visited and cannot even imagine. The best thing you can do is listen. Simply being with the person and letting him talk will be more helpful than you may think; you are not expected to have answers or opinions. There are many interpretations of near-death experiences, and only the individual can decide the meaning of his/her particular experience.

A near-death experience is not a psychotic episode, but its effects are often powerful. Some people adjust easily afterwards, while others find the experience deeply troubling or are unable to get on with daily life. In these cases, professional help may be needed for the person to get back on track. If you need help finding a qualified therapist, IANDS may be able to suggest ways of finding someone trustworthy.

15. Where can I get more information?

Read the testimonies of the many near-death experiences and visit the IANDS website. A listing of books available on the subject is also available. Check your local library, or bookstore, for the title of autobiographical accounts of near-death experiences as well as for other book titles. Also, look for magazine articles.

There are IANDS-affiliated groups all over the world that meet regularly to offer information and support about near-death experiences, with more groups forming. Some are open to near-death experiencers only; others welcome the public. Ask the IANDS office whether there is a group near you. For members living where there is no group, IANDS networking service connects near-death experiencers and people with similar interests.

Categories
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Near-Death Experience Related Conferences

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  1. Search for Conferences
  2. Near-Death Related Conferences
  3. Consciousness Conferences
  4. Parapsychological Conferences
  5. Psychology Conferences
  6. Medical Conferences
  7. Science Conferences
  8. New Age Conferences

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Categories
Resources

Bibliography of Near-Death Experiences

Table of Contents

  1. Near-Death Experience Research Bibliography
  2. Personal NDE Testimony Bibliography

Titles are in alphabetical order.

1. Near-Death Experience Research Bibliography

Assante, Julia and Larry Dossey (2012). The Last Frontier: Exploring the Afterlife and Transforming Our Fear of Death. Novato, CA: New World Library.

Atwater, P.M.H. (2019). The Forever Angels: Near-Death Experiences in Childhood and Their Lifelong Impact. Rochester, VT: Bear & Company.

Atwater, P.M.H. (2014). Dying to Know You: Proof of God in the Near-Death Experience. Faber VA: Rainbow Ridge Books.

Atwater, P.M.H. (2008). Coming Back To Life: Examining the After-Effects of the NDE. Kill Devil Hill, NC: Transpersonal Publishing.

Atwater, P.M.H. (2007). The Big Book of Near Death Experiences. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publisher.

Atwater, P.M.H. (2003). The New Children and Near-Death Experiences. Rochester, VT: Bear & Company.

Atwater, P.M.H. (1995). Beyond the Light: What Isn’t Being Said About NDE: from Visions of Heaven to Glimpses of Hell. New York: Morrow, William & Co.

Bailey, Lee W., & J. Yates (Eds.) (1996). The Near-Death Experience: A Reader. New York: Routledge.

Basford, Terry (1990). The Near-Death Experiences: An Annotated Bibliography. London: Routledge.

Beauregard, Mario and Denise O’Leary (2007). The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul. New York: HarperOne.

Bellg, Laurin (2015). Near Death in the ICU: Stories from Patients Near Death and Why We Should Listen to Them. Appleton, WI: Sloan Press.

Bennett, Rita (1997). To Heaven and Back. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

Berman, Philip L. (1996). The Journey Home: What NDEs and Mysticism Teach Us About the Gift of Life. New York: Simon & Schuster Trade.

Burke, John (2015). Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Bush, Nancy Evans (2016). The Buddha in Hell and Other Alarms: Distressing Near-Death Experiences in Perspective. La Vergne, TN: IngramSpark.

Bush, Nancy Evans (2012). Dancing Past the Dark: Distressing Near-Death Experiences. Cleveland, TN: Parson’s Porch Books.

Callanan, Maggie (2009). Final Journeys: A Practical Guide for Bringing Care and Comfort at the End of Life. New York: Bantam.

Callanan, Maggie and Patricia Kelley (2012). Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness Needs… of the Dying, New York: Simon and Schuster.

Carter, Chris (2012). Science and the Afterlife Experience: Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

Carter, Chris (2010). Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

Dale, L. (2001). Crossing Over and Coming Home: Twenty-One Authors Discuss The Gay Near-Death Experience. Houston, TX: Emerald Ink.

Diamond, Debra (2019). Diary of a Death Doula: 25 Lessons the Dying Teach Us About the Afterlife. London: John Hunt Publishing.

Ellis, Ann Frances (2012). Revelations of Profound Love: New Insights into the Power of Love from NDEs. Tulsa, OK: Trail of Hope Publishing.

Ellwood, Gracia Fay (2001). The Uttermost Deep: The Challenge of Painful Near-Death Experiences. New York: Lantern Books.

Fenwick, Peter & Elizabeth Fenwick (1995). The Truth in the Light: An Investigaion of Over 300 NDEs. New York: Berkley Books.

Fenwick, Peter & Elizabeth Fenwick (2008). The Art of Dying: A Journey Elsewhere. New York: Continuum.

Fischer, John, with Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin (2016). Near-Death Experiences: Understanding Visions of the Afterlife. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Fontana, David (2016). Life Beyond Death: What Should We Expect? London: Watkins Publishing.

Fontana, David (2005). Is There An Afterlife?: A Comprehensive Overview of the Evidence. Hampshire, UK: Iff Books.

Gallup, George, and Proctor,W. (1982). Adventures in Immortality: A Look Beyond the Threshold of Death. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Gibson, Arvin S. (1994). Journeys Beyond Life: True Accounts of Next World Experience. Bountiful, UT: Horizon Publishers.

Gibson, Arvin S. (1999). Fingerprints of God: Evidences from Near-Death Studies, Scientific Research… Bountiful, UT: Horizon Publishers.

Grey, Margot (1985). Return from Death: An Exploration of the Near-Death Experience. London, England: Arkana.

Greyson, Bruce (2000). Near-Death Experiences. In E. Cardeña, S. J. Lynn, & S. Krippner (Eds.), Varieties of Anomalous Experiences. Washington, DC: APA.

Greyson, Bruce (2010). Near-Death Experiences. The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. Book 1 — Book 2. New York: Wiley.

Greyson, Bruce and Charles Flynn (Eds.) (1984). The Near-Death Experience: Problems, Prospects, Perspectives. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas Pub Ltd.

Grof, Stanislav (2006). When the Impossible Happens: Adventures in Non-Ordinary Realities. Boulder, CO: Sounds True Publishing.

Hagin, John C. (2015). The Science of Near-Death Experiences. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri.

Holden, Janice, with S. Avramidis (2015). Near-Death Experiences While Drowning: Dying Is Not the End of Consciousness. Denton, TX: University of North Texas.

Holden, Janice Miner, Bruce Greyson et al (2009). The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Kason, Yvonne. (2008, rev.ed.). Farther Shores: How Near-Death and Other Extraordinary Experiences Can Change Ordinary Lives. Toronto: iPublishing.

Keen, Leslie (2018). Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Kellehear, Allan (1996). Experiences Near Death: Beyond Medicine and Religion. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kelly, Edward, with Adam Crabtree (2019). Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Kelly, Edward, with Emily Kelly (2009). Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth (2014). On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families. New York: Scribner.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth (1999). Tunnel and the Light: Essential Insights on Living and Dying. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth (2008). On Life After Death. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts Publishing.

Laszlo, Ervin (2014). The Immortal Mind: Science and the Continuity of Consciousness beyond the Brain. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

Linn, Sheila, with Dennis Linn (2016). The Gifts of NDEs: You Don’t Have to Die to Experience Your True Home. Newburyport, MA: Hampton Roads Publishing.

Long, Jeffrey & Paul Perry (2017). God and the Afterlife: The Groundbreaking New Evidence for God and NDE. New York: HarperOne.

Long, Jeffrey & Paul Perry (2010). Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences. New York: HarperOne.

Lundahl, Craig, with Harold Widdison (1997). The Eternal Journey: How Near-Death Experiences Illuminate Our Earthly Lives. New York: Grand Central Publishing.

Moody, Jr, Raymond A. & Paul Perry (2011). Glimpses of Eternity: An Investigation Into Shared Death Experiences. Indianapolis, IN: New Rider Publishing.

Moody, Jr, Raymond A. (2005). The Light Beyond: The Extraordinary Sequel to the Classic Bestseller “Life After Life”. London, UK: Ebury Press.

Moody, Jr, Raymond A. (1999). The Last Laugh: A New Philosophy of NDEs, Apparitions, and the Paranormal. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Co, Inc

Moody, Jr, Raymond A. (1975). Life After Life: The Bestselling Original Investigation That Revealed NDEs. Covington, GA: Mockingbird Books.

Morse, Melvin & Paul Perry (1990). Closer to the Light: Learning from the Near-Death Experiences of Children. New York: Ivy Books.

Morse, Melvin & Paul Perry (2001). Transformed by the Light: The Powerful Effect of Near-Death Experiences on People’s Lives. New York: Villard Publishing.

Morse, Melvin & Paul Perry (2001). Where God Lives: The Science of the Paranormal and How Our Brains are Linked to the Universe. San Francisco, CA: HarperOne.

Osis, Karlis (1961). Deathbed Observations by Physicians and Nurses. New York: Parapsychology Foundation.

Osis, Karlis and Erlendur Haroldsson (1977). What They Saw at the Hour of Death. New York: Avon Publishing.

Parnia, Sam (2014). Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death. San Francisco, CA: HarperOne.

Parnia, Sam. (2007). What Happens When We Die?: A Groundbreaking Study into the Nature of Life and Death. London, UK: Hay House.

Price, John W. (2013). Revealing Heaven: The Eyewitness Accounts That Changed How a Pastor Thinks About the Afterlife. San Francisco, CA: HarperOne.

Ring, Kenneth (1999). Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind. Palo Alto, CA: William James Center for Consciousness Studies.

Ring, Kenneth, with Evelyn E. Valarino (1998). Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-Death Experience. Needham, MA: Moment Point Press Inc.

Ring, Kenneth (1993). The Omega Project: Near-Death Experiences, UFO Encounters, and Mind at Large. New York: Quill Publishing.

Ring, Kenneth (1984). Heading Toward Omega: In Search of the Meaning of the Near-Death Experience. New York: Harper Perennial.

Ring, Kenneth (1980). Life at Death: A Scientific Investigation of the Near-Death Experience. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan.

Ritchie, Jean (1994). Death’s Door: True Stories of Near Death Experiences. New York: Dell Publishing Company, Inc.

Rivas, Titus, et al (2016). The Self Does Not Die: Verified Paranormal Phenomena from NDEs. Durham, NC: International Association for Near-Death Studies.

Rogo, D. S. (1989). The Return from Silence: A Study of Near-Death Experiences. London: Aquarian Press.

Rommer, Barbara. (2000). Blessings in Disguise: Another Side of the Near-Death Experience. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications.

Sabom, Michael B. (1998). Light and Death: One Doctor’s Fascinating Account of Near-Death Experiences. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

Sabom, Michael B. (1983). Recollections of Death: A Medical Investigation. New York: Wallaby Books.

Sanders, Mary Anne (2007). Nearing Death Awareness: A Guide to the Language, Visions and Dreams of the Dying. London: Jessica Kingsley Pub.

Sartori, Penny, with Lee Nelson (2017). The Transformative Power of NDEs: How the Messages of NDEs Can Positively Impact the World. London: Watkins Publishing.

Sartori, Penny, with Julie Maisey et al (2014). The Wisdom of NDEs: How Understanding NDE’s Can Help Us to Live More Fully. London: Watkins Publishing.

Shushan, Gregory (2018). Near-Death Experience in Indigenous Religions. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Smartt, Lisa (2017). Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We’re Nearing Death. Novato, CA: New World Library.

Straussman, Rick (2001). DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research into the Biology of NDE. South Paris, ME: Park Street Press.

Sunfellow, David (2019). The Purpose of Life as Revealed by Near-Death Experiences from Around the World. Sedona, AZ: David Sunfellow Publishing.

Sutherland, Cherie (1992). Transformed by the Light: Life after Near-Death Experiences. Sydney, Australia: Bantam.

Sutherland, Cherie (1995). Reborn in the Light: Life After Near-Death Experiences. Sydney, Australia: Bantam.

van Lommel, Pim (2010). Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience. New York: HarperOne.

Vincent, Ken R. (2019). God Is With Us: What Near-Death & Other STEs Teach Us About God and Afterlife. London: White Crow Books.

Vincent, Ken R. (1994). Visions of God from the Near-Death Experience. Burdett, NY: Larson Publications.

Widdison, Harold A. (2011). Trailing Clouds of Glory: First-Person Glimpses into Premortality. Bountiful, UT: Horizon Publishers.

Williams, Kevin (2019). Nothing Better Than Death: Insights from Sixty-Two Profound Near-Death Experiences. Seattle, WA: Kindle Direct Publishing.

Williams, Kevin (2019). Nothing Greater Than Love: The Scientific, Psychological, Parapsychological… Evidence of the Afterlife. Seattle, WA: Kindle Direct Publishing.

Williams, Kevin (2019). Nothing Wonderful Than Heaven: Evidence of the Afterlife from Near-Death Experiences and ADCs. Seattle, WA: Kindle Direct Publishing.

Williams, Kevin (2019). Nothing More Important Than Others: Why Loving People Is So Important in Near-Death Experiences. Seattle, WA: Kindle Direct Publishing.

Willis-Brandon, Carla (2000). One Last Hug Before I Go: The Mystery and Meaning of Deathbed Visions. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc.

Willis-Brandon, Carla (2012). A Glimpse of Heaven: The Remarkable World of Spiritually Transformative Experiences. Guildford, UK: White Crow Books.

  1. Personal NDE Testimony Bibliography

Alexander, Eben with Karen Newell (2017). Living in a Mindful Universe: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Heart of Consciousness. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Books.

Alexander, Eben (2014). The Map of Heaven: How Science, Religion, and Ordinary People Are Proving the Afterlife. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Alexander, Eben (2012). Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Antonette, Josiane (1998). Whispers of the Soul: Journeys to the Other Side of Life. Mt. Shasta, CA: Josiane Antonette.

Atwater, P.M.H. (2011). I Died Three Times in 1977 — The Complete Story. Charlottesville, VA: Cinema of the Mind.

Barker, Tricia (2019). Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation. New York: Post Hill Press.

Black, Dale (2010). Flight to Heaven: A Plane Crash… A Lone Survivor… A Journey to Heaven and Back. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers.

Bloom, Allan (2018). The Republic of Plato. New York: Basic Books.

Brinkley, Dannion and Kathryn Brinkley (2009). Secrets of the Light: Lessons from Heaven. San Francisco, CA: HarperOne.

Brinkley, Dannion and Paul Perry (1994). Saved by the Light: The True Story of a Man Who Died Twice. New York: HarperOne.

Brubaker, Don (1995). Absent from the Body: One Man’s Clinical Death, a Journey Through Heaven and Hell. Los Altos, CA: Peninsula Publishing.

Bubulka, Grace (1994). Beyond this Reality: A Personal Account of the Near-Death Experience. Fresno, CA: Quill Driver Books.

Burpo, Todd, & Lynn Vincent (2010). Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven And Back. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Dennis, Lynnclaire (1997). The Pattern: Lynnclaire Dennis’ Near-Death Experience. Lower Lake, CA: Integral Publishing.

Dougherty, Ned (2001). Fast Lane to Heaven: A Life-After-Death Journey. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Co., Inc.

Dovel, Matthew (2003). My Last Breath: Matthew Dovel’s Near-Death Experience. Baltimore, MD: PublishAmerica.

Eadie, Betty (1999). The Ripple Effect: Our Harvest. Seattle, WA: Onjinjinkta Publishing.

Eadie, Betty (1994). Embraced by the Light: The Most Profound and Complete Near-Death Experience Ever. New York: Bantam Books, Inc.

Eby, Richard (1984). Caught up into Paradise: A Physician’s Account. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Farr, Sidney (1993). What Tom Sawyer Learned from Dying. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads.

Fenimore, Angie (1996). Beyond the Darkness: My Near Death Journey to the Edge of Hell and Back. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Hagin, Kenneth E. (1984). I Believe in Visions: A Fascinating Personal Story. Tulsa, OK: Faith Library Publications, Inc.

Jung, Carl G. (1989). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. New York: Vintage Books.

Kason, Yvonne (2019). Touched by the Light: Exploring Spiritually Transformative Experiences. Toronto, Canada: Dundurn Press.

Kircher, Pamela (1995). Love Is The Link: A Hospice Doctor Shares Her Experience of Near-Death and Dying. Pagosa Springs, CA: Awakenings Press.

Krohn, Elizabeth (2018). Changed in a Flash: One Woman’s Near-Death Experience and Why a Scholar Thinks It Empowers Us All. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Martin, Laurelynn G. (1996). Searching for Home: A Personal Journey of Transformation and Healing After a NDE. St. Joseph, MI: Cosmic Concepts Press.

McVea, Crystal, with Alex Tresniowski (2016). Chasing Heaven: What Dying Taught Me About Living. New York: Howard Books.

Moorjani, Anita (2012). Dying To Be Me: My Journey From Cancer, To Near Death, To True Healing. New York: Hay House.

Morrissey, Dianne (1997). You Can See the Light: How You Can Touch Eternity – And Return Safely. Tiburon, CA: Stillpoint Publishing.

Morse, Donald R. (2000). Searching For Eternity: A Scientist’s Spiritual Journey to Overcome Death Anxiety. Memphis, TN: Eagle Wing Books, Inc.

Moss, Robert (2014). The Boy Who Died and Came Back: Adventures of a Dream Archaeologist in the Multiverse. Novato, CA: New World Library.

Neal, Mary (2012). To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels… Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press.

Neihardt, John G. (1989). Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Oakford, David (2018). Soul Bared: A Metaphysical Journey. David Oakford Publishing.

Olsen, Jeff (2012). I Knew Their Hearts: The Amazing True Story of a Journey Beyond the Veil to Learn the Silent Language of the Heart. Springville, UT: Plain Sight.

Parti, Rajiv (2017). Dying to Wake Up: A Doctor’s Voyage into the Afterlife and the Wisdom He Brought Back. New York: Atria Books.

Piper, Don, with Cecil Murphy (2006). 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death & Life. Ada, MI: Revell Publishing.

Pittman, Howard (1999). Placebo: What is the Church’s Dope? Foxworth, MS: New Philadelphian Publishing.

Price, Jan (1996). The Other Side of Death. New York: Ballantine Books, Inc.

Ritchie, George (1998). Ordered To Return: My Life After Dying. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing.

Ritchie, George (1991). My Life After Dying: Becoming Alive to Universal Love. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing

Ritchie, George, & Elizabeth Sherrill (1978). Return from Tomorrow. Ada, MI: Revell Publishing.

Rogers, Sandra (1995). Lessons from the Light: In-Sights from a Journey to the Other Side. New York: Warner.

Rosenblit, Daniel (1998). Transformed By the Light: A Judgment Day Experience. Canada: Daniel Rosenblit.

Russell, Lynn K. (2020). The Wonder of You: What the Near-Death Experience Tells You about Yourself. Lanham, MD: 6Th Books.

Rynes, Nancy (2015). Awakenings from the Light: 12 Life Lessons from a Near Death Experience. Seattle, WA: CreateSpace Independent.

Sharp, Kimberly Clark (1995). After the Light: What I Discovered on the Other Side of Life That Can Change Your World. New York: William Morrow.

Storm, Howard (2000). My Descent into Death: A Second Chance at Life. Kansas City, MO: Harmony Publishing.

Sudman, Natalie (2012). Application of Impossible Things: A Near-Death Experience in Iraq. Huntsville, AR: Ozark Mountain Publishing.

Sugrue, Thomas (1990). There is a River: The Story of Edgar Cayce. Virginia Beach, VA: A. R. E. Press.

Suleman, Azmina (2005). A Passage to Eternity: A Mystical Account of a Near-Death Experience. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Amethyst Publishing.

Wallace, RaNelle, with Curtis Taylor (1994). The Burning Within. Detroit, MI: Gold Leaf Press.

Yensen, Arthur E. (1979). I Saw Heaven. Parma, ID: Eric Yensen.

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Jokes About the Afterlife

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my Grandpa did, in his sleep — not screaming, like the passengers in his car.

When I go to heaven, I want to see my Grandpa again. But he better have lost the nose hair and that old-man smell.

I sure will be glad when scientists discover a cure for Natural Causes.

When you die, if you get a choice between regular heaven or pie heaven, chose pie heaven. It may be a trick, but if it’s not, mmmmm boy.

If you go flying back through time and you see somebody else flying forward into the future, it’s probably best to avoid eye contact.

If you ever reach total enlightenment while you’re drinking a beer, I bet it makes beer shoot out your nose.

If God dwells inside us, like some people say, I sure hope He likes enchiladas, because that’s what He’s getting!

I just read a list of “The 100 Things To Do Before You Die”. I was pretty surprised that “Yell for help” wasn’t one of them.

I believe you should live each day as if it is your last, which is why I don’t have any clean laundry because, come on, who wants to wash clothes on the last day of their life?

My young brother asked me what happens after we die. I told him we get buried under a bunch of dirt and worms eat our bodies. I guess I should have told him the truth — that most of us go to hell and burn eternally — but I didn’t want to upset him.

If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is “God is crying.” And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is “Probably because of something you did.”

I hope, when they die, cartoon characters have to answer for their sins.

I guess the hard thing for a lot of people to accept is why God would allow me to go running through their yards, yelling and spinning around.

If you ever get caught sleeping on the job… slowly raise your head and say “in Jesus name, amen.”

We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can’t scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me.

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him… a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

The wise man can pick up a grain of sand and envision a whole universe. But the stupid man will just lay down on some seaweed and roll around until he’s completely draped in it. Then he’ll stand up and go, “Hey, I’m Vine Man.”

Probably the saddest thing you’ll ever see is a mosquito sucking on a mummy. Forget it, little friend.

If you’re ever giving a speech, when you start out, act nervous and get mixed up a little bit. Then, as you go along, get better and better. Then, at the end, give off a white, glowing light and have rays shoot out of you.

I bet the main reason the police keep people away from a plane crash is they don’t want anybody walking in and lying down in the crash stuff, then, when somebody comes up, act like they just woke up and go, “What was THAT?!”

Somebody should tell Forrest Gump that on the back of the box of chocolates it tells you exactly what you’re going to get.


Lying in a hospital bed, a dying man began to flail about and make motions as if he would like to speak. The priest, keeping watch at the side of his bed, leaned quietly over and asked, “Do you have something you would like to say?”

The man nodded to the affirmative and the priest handed him a pad and pen. The priest said, “I know you can’t speak, but write a note and I will give it to your wife. She’s waiting just outside.”

Gathering his last bit of strength, the man scrawled his message on the pad and stuffed it into the priest’s hands.

Moments later, the man died.

After administering the last rites, the priest left to break the sad news to the wife. After consoling her a bit, the priest handed her the note.

“Here are your husband’s last words. He wrote them just for you.”

The wife tearfully opened the note which read: “Get off of my oxygen hose!!”


Three men died and were taken by God to the top of a cliff. God said to them that since they had been such great outstanding citizens of Earth, they would be given one chance to become anything they desired.

The first man ran to the edge of the cliff and jumped into the air shouting, “I want to be an eagle.” Instantly he was changed into an eagle and soared off into the sunset.

The second man ran to the edge of the cliff and jumped into the air shouting, “I want to be a falcon.” Instantly he was changed into a falcon and soared off into the sunset.

The third man ran towards the edge of the cliff, tripped on a rock and shouted, “Oh crap.”


A man died and went to the gates of heaven where he met Saint Peter. Peter said to him, “I have looked at your Book of Life and you are welcome into heaven under one condition.”

The man replied, “Yes, Saint Peter. And what is that condition?”

Peter said to the man, “You must spell the word: love.”

So the man spelled the word, “L – O – V – E” then Peter admitted him into heaven.

As the man walks in, Peter tells the man to watch the gate until he returns. Peter had something to discuss with the Lord. Peter reminds the man that he must ask whoever comes to the gate, to spell the word.

After a short period of time, the man’s wife shows up at the gate.

“What are YOU doing here?” he demands of her.

“Well,” she said, “on the way home from your funeral, there was an accident and I died.”

The man told her, “Alright, but before you enter heaven you must be able to spell a word.”

“What word is that?” she asked.

“Czechoslovakia,” he said.


After a preacher died and went to heaven, he noticed a New York cab driver had been awarded a higher place than he.

“I don’t understand,” he complained to God. “I devoted my entire life to my congregation.”

God explained to him, “Our policy here in heaven is to reward results. Now, was your congregation well attuned to you whenever you gave a sermon?”

“Well,” the minister had to admit, “some in the congregation fell asleep from time to time.”

“Exactly,” said God, “and when people rode in this man’s taxi, they not only stayed wake, they even prayed.”


A priest died and went to heaven. There, he is greeted by a reception committee.

After having a whirlwind tour of heaven, he is told he can enjoy any of heaven’s available recreations.

The priest decided he wanted to read all of the ancient original texts of the Holy Scriptures to understand their true literary meaning. So he first learned all the languages necessary to accomplish this: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin.

After becoming a linguistic master, he went to the heavenly Temple of Knowledge and began to scrutinize the original Biblical texts.

All of a sudden, the priest could be heard crying out loud in the Temple. Angels quickly came to help him, only to find the priest huddled in a corner, crying and muttering to himself, “An ‘R’! They left out an ‘R’.”

One of the angels comforted the priest and asked him what the problem was. After collecting his wits, the priest sobs again, “It’s the letter ‘R’ … the word was supposed to be CELEBRATE!”


As soon as Mrs. Jones arrived at the gates of heaven, she looked for her husband who had died several years before.

“Excuse me,” she said, approaching Saint Peter, “but I’m looking for my husband. I wonder if you can help me.”

“What is his name?” Peter asked.

“Harry … Harry Jones,” she replied.

Peter stroked his chin, then said, “There are many souls here who have that name. What else can you tell me about him?”

Blurting out the first thing that came to her mind, she said, “Well, the last thing he said before he died was that if I were ever unfaithful to him, he would turn in his grave.”

“Ah!” Peter replied, “you’re looking for Pin-Wheel Harry!”


Three men died in a car accident and met Saint Peter in heaven. Peter told them, “I will ask you each a simple question. If you tell the truth you will enter heaven. But if you lie, hell is waiting for you.”

To the first man, Peter asked, “How many times did you cheat on your wife?”

He replied, “I was a good husband. I never cheated on my wife.”

Peter replied, “Very good! Not only will I allow you in, but for being faithful to your wife, I will give you a huge mansion and a limo for your transportation.”

To the second man, God asked, “How many times did you cheat on your wife?”

He replied, “I cheated on my wife twice.”

Peter replied, “I will allow you to come in. But for your unfaithfulness, you will only get a four-bedroom house and a BMW.”

To the third man, Peter asked, “So, how many times did you cheat on your wife?”

He replied, “I cheated on my wife about eight times.”

Peter replied, “I will allow you to come in. But for your unfaithfulness, you will get a one-room apartment, and a Yugo for your transportation.”

A couple of hours later, the second and third men saw the first man crying his eyes out.

“Why are you crying?” they asked. “You got the mansion and limo!”

The first man replied, “I’m crying because I saw my wife a little while ago riding a skateboard!”


Two men died and went to heaven. God greeted them and said, “I’m sorry, gentlemen, but your mansions aren’t ready yet. Until they are, I can send you back to Earth to be whatever you want to be.”

“Great!” said the first guy, “I want to be a famous movie star!”

“No problem,” replied God. “Poof.” The guy was gone.

“And what do you want to be,” God asked the other guy.

“I’d like to be one cool STUD!!!” was his reply.

“Easy,” replied God. “Poof.” The guy was gone.

After a few months, their mansions were finished and God sent an angel to fetch them back. “You’ll find them easily,” God told the angel, “One of them is in Hollywood and the other one is on a snow tire somewhere in Detroit!”


Ted Bundy, the notorious serial killer, died and was greeted by Saint Peter. Peter told Bundy he must choose between three hells.

The first hell is very hot and Bundy saw a lot of people burning in fire. The next hell is freezing cold and he saw people shivering and clamoring. In the third hell, Bundy saw people standing in crap up to their waist but they looked quite happy. They were drinking a cup of coffee and were chatting with each other. So Bundy told Saint Peter, “I choose the third hell where all the people are standing in crap up to their waist.”

So Peter admitted him to the third hell. Bundy then got a cup of coffee and felt quite comfortable. Suddenly, he heard a voice from a loud speaker saying, “Attention. Attention. Coffee break is over. It’s time to stand on your head now.”


Two buddies, Bob and Earl, were very big baseball fans. They attended every game they could; and spent their entire adult lives discussing baseball history. During the winter months, they analyzed every box score made during the baseball season. They even agreed that whoever died first, they would try to come back and tell the other if there was baseball in heaven.

One night, Bob passed away in his sleep. A few nights later, his buddy, Earl, awoke to the sound of Bob’s voice from beyond.

“Bob is that you?” Earl asked.

“Of course, it’s me,” Bob replied.

“This is unbelievable!” Earl exclaimed. “So tell me, is there baseball in heaven?”

“Well, I have some good news and some bad news for you. Which do you want to hear first?”

“Tell me the good news first.”

“Well, the good news is that, yes, there is baseball in heaven, Earl.”

“Oh, that is wonderful! So what could possibly be the bad news?”

“You’re pitching tomorrow night.”


Three buddies died in a car accident and went to heaven for an orientation. They are asked, “When you were in your casket, and friends and family are mourning over you, what would you have liked them to say about you?”

The first guy said, “I would have liked to hear them say, ‘I was a great doctor of my time, and a great family man.'”

The second guy said, “I would have liked to hear them say, ‘I was a wonderful husband and school teacher who made a huge difference in many children’s lives.'”

The last guy said, “I would liked to hear them say, ‘Look, he’s moving!'”


Forest Gump had a near-death experience which changed his life forever. He decided to go horseback riding one day. Everything was going fine until the horse started bouncing out of control. Gump tried with all his might to hang on, but was thrown off. Just when things could not possibly get any worse, his foot became caught in the stirrup. When this happened, he landed head-first to the ground. His head continued to bounce harder as the horse would not stop or even slow down. Just as he was giving up hope and losing consciousness … a thoughtful K-Mart manager came out and pulled the plug.


The day finally arrived. Forrest Gump died and went to heaven. Forest meets Saint Peter at the gates of heaven.

Peter told him, “Well, Forrest, it’s certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I must inform you that the place is filling up fast, and we’ve been administering an entrance exam to everyone. The tests are fairly short, but you need to pass it before you can enter heaven.”

Forest replied, “It’s sure good to be here. I was looking forward to this. Nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. Sure hope the exam ain’t too hard. Life was a big enough test.”

Peter said, “Yes, I know, Forrest. But, the test I have has only three questions. Here’s the first one: What days of the week begin with the letter T? The second question is: how many seconds are there in a year? The third question is: what is God’s first name?”

Forrest then went away to think the questions over. He then returns the next day to give Peter the answers.

Peter asked him, “Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers.”

Forrest replied, “Well, the first one, how many days of the week begin with the letter T? Shucks, that an easy one. There are two days of the week beginning with T: ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow.'”

Peter is amazed and told Forest, “That’s not the answer I was looking for, but … you do have a point though; and I guess I wasn’t specific enough. So, I’ll give you credit for that answer. How about the next one? How many seconds in a year?”

“Now that one’s harder,” Forrest told Peter. “But, I thunk and thunk about it, and I guess the only answer can be twelve.”

Peter replied, “Twelve? Forrest, how did you come up with twelve seconds in a year?”

Forrest replied, “Shucks, there gotta be twelve seconds in a year: January second, February second, March second …”

Peter interrupted him and said, “Hold on, Forest. I see where you’re going with this. I’ll give you credit for that one too. Let’s go on with the next and final question. Can you tell me God’s first name?”

Forrest replied, “Well, sure, I know God’s first name. Everybody knows it. It’s Howard.”

“Howard? What makes you think God’s name is Howard?” asked Peter.

Forrest answered, “I pray to Howard all the time. Our Father, who art in heaven, Howard be thy name …”


Three knuckleheads died in a car accident and appeared before the pearly gates. Saint Peter addressed the first one, “Before you are allowed to enter heaven you must answer this question. What can you tell me about Easter?”

The first knucklehead looked puzzled for a moment then said, “Oh, I know. That’s the holiday in the Fall when you stuff your face with on turkey and watch football games all day.”

“Wrong!” replied Peter as the first knucklehead disappeared in a puff of smoke. Peter then turned to the second knucklehead and asked him, “What can you tell me about Easter?”

“Isn’t that the holiday in December when you get gifts to people and decorate a dead tree?”

“Wrong!” replied Peter as the second knucklehead disappeared in a puff of smoke. Peter then turned to the third knucklehead who was trembling with fear. Peter asked him, “What can you tell me about Easter?”

The last knucklehead replied, “Well that’s the holiday that occurs in early Spring. It begins on the day Jesus was hung on a cross between two criminals and was made to wear a crown of thorns. He died and they buried him in a cave. Then they rolled a big rock over cave’s entrance to seal it. Then on the third day, the cave was opened and Jesus rose from the dead. So, every year, if Jesus pops his head out of the grave that year it means six more weeks of winter.”


While a preacher was giving a Sunday sermon, all of a sudden, there was a cloud burst. Before the sermon was over, one full hour of complete non-stop rain fell. Everyone began to evacuate when the whole church started flooding. However, the preacher just stood his ground and remained in the church in the ankle-deep water.

A man in a car drove by and shouted through the church doors, “Preacher, you better get out of there before you drown!”

The preacher replied, “Don’t worry. God will save me.” So the man drove away.

When the water was knee-deep, a man in a raft floated over to the church and yelled to the preacher, “You better get in here before you drown!” Despite this second warning the preacher stood his ground and replied, “Don’t worry. God will save me.” So the man rowed away.

The water was now waist-deep and a man in a power boat came to the preacher and said, “You better get out of there before you drown!” Despite this third warning, the preacher stood his ground and replied, “Don’t worry. God will save me.” So the man jetted away.

The water was now over the preacher’s head, so he climbed on the roof of the church. A man in a helicopter flew near and yelled to the preacher, “You better get out of there before you drown!” But the preacher stood his ground and replied, “Don’t worry. God will save me.” With that the helicopter flew away.

The water then became so deep that it covered the entire church and drowned him.

When the preacher appeared before God, he asked Him, “Oh, God! Why didn’t you save me from that horrible flood?”

God replied, “I sent you a car, a raft, a power boat, and a helicopter! What else do you want from me?”


A man died and arrived at the pearly gates. The Lord himself came out to greet him. The man asked the Lord about the nature of heaven and hell, to which the Lord replied, “Come, I will show you hell.”

Together they entered a large room where a group of people sat around a huge pot of stew. Everyone there in hell was starving and desperate. Each person held a spoon that could reach the pot; but each spoon had a handle that was too long, making it impossible to feed themselves. So, the suffering was terrible.

“Come, now I will show you heaven,” the Lord said.

They then entered another large room which was identical to the first: the pot of stew, a group of people around it, and the same long-handled spoons. But there everyone was happy and well-feed.

“I don’t understand,” the man said. “Why are these people happy and well-feed when the people in hell were so miserable?”

The Lord smiled, “Ah, it is simple,” he replied. “Here in heaven they have learned to feed each other.”


Once upon a time, a circus came to town where some blind religious leaders lived. In the circus was an Elephant, the most powerful and majestic of all creatures. The blind leaders decided to go to the circus to discover what the Elephant was like for themselves. It would be the first time they ventured from their high places of worship, so some circus clowns came and led them.

The first blind man, a Hindu guru, touched the Elephant’s eye and said, “The Elephant is very much like the third eye chakra which must be opened for enlightenment.”

The second blind man, a Buddhist monk, touched the Elephant’s ear and said, “No one can deny that the Elephant is very much like the sutra of palm leaves sown together on which the words of the Buddha were written.”

The third blind man, a Jewish rabbi, approached the Elephant and felt its broad and sturdy side. “I tell you the truth.” he said. “The Elephant is very much like the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem!”

The fourth blind man, a Gnostic theologian, felt the Elephant’s trunk. “No” he said. “The Elephant is very much like the snake of Wisdom in the Garden of Eden.”

The fifth blind man, a Catholic priest, reached out and touched the Elephant’s tail. “Not at all!,” he said. “The Elephant is very much like the string of the rosary.”

The sixth blind man, a Protestant minister, approached the Elephant and felt its tusk. “Why can’t any one of you understand,” he said, “the Elephant is very much like the spear that punctured the chest of Jesus on the cross.”

The seventh blind man, a Muslim cleric, reached out and felt the Elephant’s leg. “Not so!” he said. “The Elephant is very much like the date palm tree that Allah establishes in a sincere heart.”

The eighth blind man, a Philosophy of Atheism professor, approached the Elephant but couldn’t find it with his hands. “You are all wrong,” he said. “There is no Elephant here at all.”

Then the religious leaders began to quarrel fiercely amongst themselves until a fist fight broke out. Then a sideshow freak interceded and explained to them why they disagreed with each other. All of the religious leaders were partly correct; but because none of them could see the Elephant in its entirety, they were all incorrect. If only they could see how immense the Elephant actually was, their differences would disappear, and they would be in agreement about the Elephant. Then they could live forever in peace and harmony.

Categories
Resources

Notable Quotes About NDE Related Topics

Table of Contents

  1. Quotes about DEATH
  2. Quotes about NDEs
  3. Quotes about HEAVEN
  4. Quotes about LOVE
  5. Quotes about LIFE
  6. Quotes about RELIGION
  7. Quotes about SCIENCE

1. Quotes about DEATH

“I believe there are two sides to the phenomenon known as death, this side where we live, and the other side where we shall continue to live. Eternity does not start with death. We are in eternity now.” – Norman Vincent Peale

“You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life.” – Kahlil Gibran

“Despise not death, but welcome it, for nature wills it like all else.” – Marcus Aurelius

“God conceals from men the happiness of death that they may endure life.” – Marcus Annaeus Lucanus

“Death when unmasked shows us a friendly face and is a terror only at a distance.” – Oliver Goldsmith

“In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.” – Robert G. Ingersoll

“Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment.” – Dag Hammarskjöld

“Death is only an experience through which you are meant to learn a great lesson: you cannot die.” – Paramahansa Yoganandada

“If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.” – Kahlil Gibran

“And when the Earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.” – Kahlil Gibran

“To not think of dying, is to not think of living.” – Jan Arden

“It is worth dying to find out what life is.” – T.S. Eliot

“Life is a dream walking. Death is going home.” – Chinese proverb

“Eternity is not something that begins after you’re dead. It is going on all the time. We are in it now.” – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

“Death is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home.” – Francis Bacon

“Normally we do not like to think about death. We would rather think about life. Why reflect on death? When you start preparing for death you soon realize that you must look into your life … now … and come to face the truth of your self. Death is like a mirror in which the true meaning of life is reflected.” – Sogyal Rinpoche

“The last to be overcome is death, and the knowledge of life is the knowledge of death.” – Edgar Cayce

“Birth in the physical is death in the spiritual. Death in the physical is the birth in the spiritual.” – Edgar Cayce

“Death is nothing but an eternal change, an infinity, and the life hereafter begins right now.” – Jess E. Weiss

“Death is nothing else but going home to God, the bond of love will be unbroken for all eternity.” – Mother Teresa

“Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean.” – David Searls

“Either death is a state of nothingness and utter consciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another. Now if death be of such a nature, I say that to die is to gain; for eternity is then only a single night.” – Plato

“He who does not want to die should not want to live. For life is tendered to us with the proviso of death. Life is the way to this destination.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” – Rabindranath Tagore

“What we call life is a journey to death. What we call death is the gateway to life.” – Wayne Triplett

“Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.” – Walt Whitman

“Death most resembles a prophet who is without honor in his own land or a poet who is a stranger among his people.” – Kahlil Gibran

“We are all of us resigned to death: it’s life we aren’t resigned to.” – Graham Greene

“For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.” – William Shakespeare

“The grave is but a covered bridge Leading from light to light, through a brief darkness!” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“For any culture which is primarily concerned with meaning, the study of death – the only certainty that life holds for us – must be central, for an understanding of death is the key to liberation in life.” – Stanislav Grof

“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live you life in a manner so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.” – Native American Proverb

“Life is a great sunrise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.” – Vladimir Nobokov

“We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream; it may be so the moment after death.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.” – Rossiter W. Raymond

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” – Richard Bach

“I think of death as some delightful journey that I shall take when all my tasks are done.” – George Eliot

“Death is not the end, it is simply walking out of the physical form and into the spirit realm, which is our true home. It’s going back home.” – Stephen Christopher

“We are ignorant of the beyond because this ignorance is the condition of our own life. Just as ice cannot know fire except by melting and vanishing.” – Jules Renard

“Do you see O my brothers and sisters? It is not chaos or death, it is form, union, plan, it is eternal life, it is happiness.” – Walt Whitman

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” – T.S. Eliot

“A man is not completely born until he is dead.” – Benjamin Franklin

“O death! We thank you for the light that you will shed upon our ignorance.” – Jacques-Benigne Bossuet

“Death is just a change in lifestyles.” – Stephen Levine

“The truest end of life is to know the life that never ends.” – William Penn

“Thus all things altered. Nothing dies. And here and there the unbodied spirit flies.” – Ovid

“Every exit is an entry to somewhere else.” – Tom Stoppard

“Death … is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.” – Helen Keller

“We understand why children are afraid of darkness … but why are men afraid of light?” – Plato

“Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.” – A. Sachs

“We are born with two incurable diseases, life, from which we die, and hope, which says maybe death isn’t the end.” – Andrew Greeley

“The boundaries between life and death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where one ends and where the other begins?” – Edgar Allen Poe

“From dust thou art to dust returneth, was not spoken of the soul.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Afraid? Of whom am I afraid? Not death. For who is he?” – Emily Dickinson

“To fear death is nothing other than to think oneself wise when one is not. For it is to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not even turn out to be one of the greatest blessings of human beings. And yet people fear it as if they knew for certain it is the greatest evil.” – Socrates

“I have absolutely no fear of death. From my near-death research and my personal experiences, death is, in my judgment, simply a transition into another kind of reality.” – Raymond Moody

“Death in itself is nothing. But we fear to be we know not what, we know not where.” – John Dryden

“Men fear death, as children fear to go in the dark.” – Francis Bacon

“I’m not afraid of death. It’s just that I don’t want to be there when it happens.” – Woody Allen

“There should be no fear of death, for the death of the body is but a gentle passing to a much freer life.” – Helen Greaves

“It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we’re alive – to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“Death is simply a shedding of the physical body like the butterfly shedding its cocoon. It is a transition to a higher state of consciousness where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, and to be able to grow.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“I’ve told my children that when I die, to release balloons in the sky to celebrate that I graduated. For me, death is a graduation.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“For those who seek to understand it, death is a highly creative force. The highest spiritual values of life can originate from the thought and study of death.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“When we have done all the work we were sent to do, we are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our soul like a cocoon encloses the future butterfly.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

View these NDE Quotes also about: (a) Death

2. Quotes about NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES

“If I lived a billion years more, in my body or yours, there’s not a single experience on Earth that could ever be as good as being dead. Nothing.” – Dr. Dianne Morrissey, a near-death experiencer

“Death is nothing more than a doorway, something you walk through.” – Dr. George Ritchie

“I knew with total certainty that everything was evolving exactly the way it should and that the ultimate destiny for every living being is to return to the Source, The Light, Pure Love..” – Juliet Nightingale, near-death experiencer

“[The light] showed me that God is love. By spreading love, you make God stronger. By making God stronger, He can, in return, help you. He told me your love has to be unconditional. That is the only rule he really has.” – An Anonymous NDEr

“From the light we have come and to the light we all shall return.” – Josiane Antonette, near-death experiencer

“After you die, you wear what you are.” – St. Teresa of Avila

“One of the near-death experience truths is that each person integrates their near-death experience into their own pre-existing belief system.” – Jody Long, near-death researcher

“Although my near-death experience was nearly thirty four years ago, there is virtually not a day that goes by that I am not aware of making decisions based on that experience.” – Geraldine Berkheimer, near-death experiencer

“As each second passed there was more to learn, answers to questions, meanings and definitions, philosophies and reasons, histories, mysteries and so much more, all pouring into my mind. I remember thinking, ‘I knew that, I know I did, where has it all been?'” – Virginia Rivers describing her near-death experience

“I now feel that my life is totally guided by God … To me it was a case of total surrender and total freedom.” – Janet, near-death experiencer

“When snatched from the jaws of death, tooth marks are to be expected.” – Hal Story, near-death experiencer

“It [suicide] is like killing a plant or flower before it’s full-grown or before it’s served its purpose … The only thing that I can think and comprehend is that to try and understand reincarnation. That somehow, instead of evolving, you would regress.” – a quote from a near-death experiencer in Dr. Ken Ring’s study

“While the person who commits suicide dies only once, the loved ones left behind may die a thousand deaths wondering why.” – Anonymous

“I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness.” – George Fox

“I still live. Pretty.” – famous last words of Daniel Webster

“I knew that I was in a state of hell, but this was not the typical “fire and brimstone” hell that I had learned about as a young child. …. Men and women of all ages, but no children, were standing or squatting or wandering about …. Some were mumbling to themselves. …. They were completely self-absorbed, every one of them too caught up in his or her own misery to engage in any mental or emotional exchange.” – Angie Fenimore, a near-death experiencer

“The “hell” that I experienced was the pain, anguish, hurt and anger that I had caused others, or that I suffered as a result of my actions/words to others. “Hell” was what I had created for myself and my own soul through turning my back on unconditional love, compassion and peace.” – Tina, a near-death experiencer

“Hell is a state of being we create by being away from God until we choose to return to him. It is a state totally devoid of love.” – Sandra Rogers, near-death experiencer

“The only thing that burns in hell is the part of you that won’t let go of your life: your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away, but they’re not punishing you, they’re freeing your soul.” – Meister Eckhart

“I had a descent into what you might call Hell …. I did not see Satan or evil. My descent into Hell was a descent into each person’s customized human misery, ignorance, and darkness of not-knowing. It seemed like a miserable eternity. But each of the millions of souls around me had a little star of light always available. But no one seemed to pay attention to it. They were so consumed with their own grief, trauma and misery.” – Mellen-Thomas Benedict, near-death experiencer

“We are going to link up, hold hands, and walk out of hell together.” – Mellen-Thomas Benedict, near-death experiencer

View these NDE Quotes also about: (a) Out-of-Body Experiences, (b) the Silver Cord, (c) Hell, (d) The Void, (e) The Tunnel, (f) Orbs, (g) Afterlife Realms, (h) The Life Review, (i) Forgotten Knowledge, (j) Told Not Ready, and (k) Spirit Guides.

3. Quotes about HEAVEN

“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” – Thomas Moore

“The best way to get to heaven is to take it with you.” – Henry Drummond

“You grow to heaven. You don’t go to heaven.” – Edgar Cayce

“No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.” – Fra Giovanni Giocondo

“To appreciate heaven well it is good for a man to have some fifteen minutes of hell.” – Will Carleton

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” – John Milton

“For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” – The Gospel of John 3:20-21

“You’ll not be in heaven if you’re not leaning on the arm of someone you have helped.” – Edgar Cayce

“What springs from Earth dissolves to Earth again, and heaven-born things fly to their native seat.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Every charitable act is a stepping stone toward heaven.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“As much of heaven is visible as we have eyes to see.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.” – William Blake

“Think of stepping on the shore and finding it heaven, of touching a hand and finding it God’s, of breathing new air and finding it celestial, of waking up in glory and finding it home.” – Don Wyrtzen

“There are many rooms in the Father’s House just as there are many grades in school. The period of time we spend on Earth is but one grade of life. It is but a beginning.” – Robert A. Russell

“I believe all drunks go to heaven, because they’ve been through hell on Earth.” – Liza Minnelli

View these NDE Quotes also about: (a) Heaven, (b) Cities of Light, (c) Emotions, (d) Telepathy, (e) Temple of Knowledge, (f) Music, and (g) Homecoming.

4. Quotes about LOVE

“To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven.” – Karen Sunde

“The quickest way to change the world is to be of service to others. Show that your love can make a difference in the lives of people and thereby someone else’s love can make a difference in your life. By each of us doing that and working together we change the world one inner person at a time.” – Dannion Brinkley, near-death experiencer

“When we come to the last moment of this lifetime and we look back across it, the only thing that’s going to matter is ‘What is the quality of our love?'” – Richard Bach

“The only reality is God. There cannot be another and God is love.” – Linda Stewart, near-death experience

“Love as much as you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” – Anonymous

“Your religion is where your love is.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Love is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go, and it makes the end so easy.” – Louisa May Alcott

“Love is a sign from the heavens that you are here for a reason.” – J. Ghetto

“To love another person is to help them love God.” – Soren Kierkegaard

“Love cannot save life from death, but it can fulfill life’s purpose.” – Arnold Toynbee

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Love is most nearly itself when here and now cease to matter.” – T.S. Eliot

“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of Love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, humans will discover fire.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“Yes, love indeed is light from heaven; A spark of that immortal fire with angels shared, by Allah given to lift from Earth our low desire.” – Lord Byron

View these NDE Quotes also about: (a) Spirituality and (b) God.

5. Quotes about LIFE

“In each atom, in each corpuscle, is life. Life is what you worship as God … and earth is only an atom in the universe of worlds.” – Edgar Cayce

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

“Each of us makes his own weather, determines the color of the skies, in the emotional universe which we inhabit.” – Bishop Fulton Sheen

“He who understands nature walks close with God.” – Edgar Cayce

“Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher.” – William Wordsworth

“Day by day we are building for eternity … Every gentle word, every generous thought, every unselfish deed will become a pillar of eternal beauty in the life to come.” – Rebecca Springer, near-death experiencer

“Each soul enters with a mission. We all have a mission to perform.” – Edgar Cayce

“The spirit is life. The mind is the builder. The physical realm is the result.” – Edgar Cayce

“There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.” – Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on Earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.” – Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“From an endless dream we have come. In an endless dream we are living. To an endless dream we shall return.” – Andrea Kushi

“For life and death are one, and only those who will consider the experience as one may come to understand or comprehend what peace indeed means.” – Edgar Cayce

“When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” — Indian proverb

“The longest journey is the journey inwards of him who has chosen his destiny, who has started upon his quest for the source of his being.” – Dag Hammarskjold

“Nothing in life is to be feared, only understood.” – Madame Marie Curie

“Life is a quarry, out of which we are to mold and chisel and complete a character.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“All are but parts of one stupendous whole whose body Nature is, and God the soul.” – Alexander Pope

“The person who has lived longest is not the person who has counted most years, but he who has enjoyed life most.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” – Buddhist proverb

“It is within you that the divine lives.” – Joseph Campbell

“The soul is here for its own joy.” – Jelaluddin Rumi

“Dance as though no one is watching. Love as though you’ve never been hurt. Sing as though no one can hear you. Live as though heaven is on Earth.” – Jelaluddin Rumi

“The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced.” – Aart Van Der Leeuw

“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of being.” – Carl Jung

View these NDE Quotes also about: (a) Life, (b) Pre-Birth, (c) Earth, (d) Humanity, (e) the Life Review, and (f) the Future of Humanity.

6. Quotes about RELIGION

“The guides taught us that doctrine and creed and race meant nothing. No matter what we believed we were all children joined under one God, and that the only rule was God’s true law – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” – May Eulitt, near-death experiencer

“For love is as strong as death; ardent love is as unrelenting as Sheol. Love’s flames are fiery flames- the fiercest of all. Mighty waters cannot extinguish love; rivers cannot sweep it away.” – Song of Songs 8:6-7

“For sure, I tell you, whoever puts his trust in Me can do the things I am doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.” – Jesus Christ, Gospel of John 14:12

“The best religion is the religion that brings you closest to God.” – Rev. Howard Storm

“It is love, not religion, that creates spiritual growth.” – Sandra Rogers, near-death experiencer

“The purpose of religion is not so much to get us into heaven, or to keep us out of hell, but to put a little bit of heaven into us, and take the hell out of us. This has always been the greatest responsibility of religion.” – E. Stanley Jones

“Those … religions which claim some singular relationship with God, claim superiority over others, or exclude people for various reasons, go against God’s law that we love one another as we love ourselves.” – Sandra Rogers, near-death experiencer

“One good deed is worth a thousand prayers.” – Zarathustra

“God listens not to your words save when he utters them through your lips.” – Kahlil Gibran

“The conquering of self is truly greater than were one to conquer many worlds.” – Edgar Cayce

“By giving away food we get more strength. By bestowing clothing on others we gain more beauty. By donating abodes of purity and truth we acquire great treasures.” – Buddha

“There are innumerable definitions of God because his manifestations are innumerable.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death.” – Gospel of Thomas

“People who say they will first die and then arise are mistaken. If they do not first receive resurrection while they are alive, once they have died they will receive nothing.” – Gospel of Philip

“The accursed ones [the Gnostics] say ‘Certainly we also are able to become sons of God, just like that one [Christ].” – Bishop Alexander of Alexandria, fourth century A.D.

“If anyone asserts the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it, let him be anathema [excommunicated].” – Decrees of the Second Council of Constantinople of the Catholic Church, 553 A.D.

“Never the spirit was born, the spirit shall cease to be never. Never was time it was not, end and beginning are dreams.” – Bhagavad Gita

“Self-luminous is Brahman, ever present in the hearts of all. He is the refuge of all, he is the supreme goal … Attain him, O my friend, the one goal to be attained!” – Mundaka Upanishad

“We have no evidence whatsoever that the soul perishes with the body.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“One in all, All in one, If only this is realized, No more worry about not being perfect!” – Third Patriarch of Zen

“Behold, a sacred voice is calling you. All over the sky a sacred voice is calling.” – Black Elk

“As the moon dies and comes to life again, so we also, having to die, will rise again.” – San Juan Capistrano Indians of California

“You live on Earth only for a few short years which you call an incarnation, and then you leave your body as an outworn dress and go for refreshment to your true home in the spirit.” – Chief White Eagle

“All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of Earth. Humans did not weave the web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.” – Chief Seattle

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” – Isaiah 9:2

“Die happily and look forward to taking up a new and better form. Like the sun, only when you set in the west can you rise in the east.” – Jelaluddin Rumi

“When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the soul laughs for what it has found.” – a Sufi aphorism

“Be not fond of the dull smoke-colored light from hell.” – the Tibetan Book of the Dead

“I am borne away by the mighty and shining ones.” – the Egyptian Book of the Dead

“What we are looking for is what is looking.” – St. Francis of Assisi

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“All great truths begin as blasphemies.” – George Bernard Shaw

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” – Winston Churchill

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness, in a descending spiral of destruction. The chain reaction of evil must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” – Chief Seattle

“I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a manmade world.” – Helen Keller

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” – Albert Einstein

View these NDE Quotes also about: (a) Religion, (b) Soul/Spirit, (c) God, (d) Jesus, (e) Satan, (f) Astrology, and (g) Reincarnation.

7. Quotes about SCIENCE

“The unconscious psyche believes in life after death” – Carl Jung

“Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world. All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it.” – Albert Einstein

“The sheer volume of evidence for survival after death is so immense that to ignore it is like standing at the foot of Mount Everest and insisting that you cannot see the mountain.” – Colin Wilson

“The brain has not explained the mind fully.” – Wilder Penfield, MD

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” – Albert Einstein

“A mind stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

“When we attempt to imagine death, we perceive ourselves as spectators.” – Sigmund Freud

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

“Real science can be far stranger than science fiction and much more satisfying.” – Stephen Hawking

“Even a thought, even a possibility, can shatter us and transform us.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“Time and space are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live.” – Albert Einstein

“In order to more fully understand this reality, we must take into account other dimensions of a broader reality.” – John A. Wheeler

“A miracle is not the breaking of physical laws, but rather represents laws which are incomprehensible to us.” – G. I. Guirdjieff

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

“The modern tradition of equating death with an ensuing nothingness can be abandoned. For there is no reason to believe that human death severs the quality of the oneness in the universe.” – Larry Dossey, MD

“There are grounds for cautious optimism that we may now be near the end of the search for the ultimate laws of nature.” – Stephen Hawking

“I know no disease of the soul but ignorance, a pernicious evil, the darkener of man’s life, the disturber of his reason, and common confounder of truth.” – Ben Jonson

“It is strange, but true; for truth is always strange, stranger than fiction.” – George Byron

“I have yet to meet a single person from our culture, no matter what his or her educational background, IQ, and specific training, who had powerful transpersonal experiences and continues to subscribe to the materialistic monism of Western science.” – Albert Einstein

“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” – James Joyce

“Mind and intelligence are woven into the fabric of our universe in a way that altogether surpasses our understanding.” – Freeman Dyson

“All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force … We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.” – Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning Father of Quantum Theory

“Suddenly, from behind the rim of the moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate, sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth … home. My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.” – Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut and founder, Institute of Noetic Sciences

“Reality is not only stranger than we suppose but stranger than we can suppose.” – J. B. S. Haldane

“Perhaps there is a pattern set up in the heavens for one who desires to see it, and having seen it, to find one in himself.” – Plato

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“A full-spectrum approach to human consciousness and behavior means that men and women have available to them a spectrum of knowing -a spectrum that includes, at the very least, the eye of flesh, the eye of mind, and the eye of spirit.” – Ken Wilber

“Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world. The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same. Every wonderful sight will vanish; every sweet word will fade, But do not be disheartened, The source they come from is eternal, growing, Branching out, giving new life and new joy. Why do you weep? The source is within you And this whole world is springing up from it.” – Jelauddin Rumi

“The truth dazzles gradually, or else the world would be blind.” – Emily Dickinson

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Jung

“Although each of us obviously inhabits a separate physical body, the laboratory data from a hundred years of parapsychology research strongly indicate that there is no separation in consciousness.” – Russell Targ

“It gives me a deep comforting sense that ‘things seen are temporal and things unseen are eternal.'” – Helen Keller

“Do you remember how electrical currents and ‘unseen waves’ were laughed at? The knowledge about man is still in its infancy.” – Albert Einstein

“Not only does God play dice, but … he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.” – Stephen Hawking

“I believe there is no source of deception in the investigation of nature which can compare with a fixed belief that certain kinds of phenomena are impossible.” – William James

“Man can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown.” – Claude Bernard

“There is no reality in the absence of observation.” – The Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

“The visible world is the invisible organization of energy.” – Heinz Pagels

“There is only one thing more powerful than all the armies of the world, that is an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo

View these NDE Quotes also about: (a) Science, (b) War, and (c) Time.

Categories
Reincarnation Research

Dr. Michael Newton’s Journey of Souls Research

When Dr. Michael Newton (1931-2016), a certified Master Hypnotherapist, began regressing his clients back in time to access their memories of former lives, he stumbled onto a discovery of enormous proportions: that it is possible to see into the spirit world through the mind’s eye of subjects who are in a hypnotized or superconscious state; and that clients in this altered state were able to tell him what their soul was doing between lives on Earth. His book, Journey of Souls, presents ten years of his research and insights to help people understand the purpose behind their life choices, and how and why our soul – and the souls of those we love – lives eternally. His follow-up book, Destiny of Souls, is highly recommended as well. In May of 2004, Dr. Newton’s new book entitled Life Between Lives: Hypnotherapy for Spiritual Regression was released. Dr. Newton was also the founder of The Society for Spiritual Regression. The following is an excerpt from Journey of Souls describing the nature of the afterlife.

Table of Contents

  1. The Transition After Death
  2. The Levels of Soul Groupings
    a. The Beginner Soul
    b. The Intermediate Soul
    c. The Advanced Soul
  3. Returning to the Physical

1. The Transition After Death

There are souls who have been so severely damaged they are detached from the mainstream of souls going back to a spiritual home base after death. Compared to all returning entities, the number of these abnormal souls is not large.

There are two types of displaced souls: (1) those who do not accept the fact their physical body is dead and fight returning to the spirit world for reasons of personal anguish, and (2) those souls who have been subverted by, or had complicity with, criminal abnormalities in a human body. The first type we call ghosts. These spirits refuse to go home after physical death and often have unpleasant influences on those of us who would like to finish out our human lives in peace. These displaced souls are sometimes falsely called demonic spirits because they are accused of invading the minds of people with harmful intent.

Those subverted by criminal abnormalities do undergo separation in the spirit world, and this happens at the time of their orientation with guides. They are not activated along the same travel routes as other souls and will go into seclusion upon reentering the spirit world. These souls don’t appear to mix with other entities in the conventional manner for quite a while.

Because wrong-doing takes so many forms on Earth, spiritual instruction and the type of isolation used is varied for each soul. The nature of these variations apparently is evaluated during orientation at the end of each life. The relative time of seclusion and reindoctrination is not consistent either. For instance, I have had reports about maladjusted spirits who have returned back to Earth directly after a period of seclusion in order to expunge themselves as soon as possible by a good incarnated performance.

All souls, regardless of experience, eventually arrive at a central port in the spirit world which I call the staging area. Once past the orientation station there seems to be no further travel detours for anyone entering this space of the spirit world. Apparently, large numbers of returning souls are conveyed in a spiritual form of mass transit. Spirits are brought in, collected, and then projected out to their proper final destinations similar to a central terminal of a metropolitan airport that has the capacity to fly people out in any direction. The most outstanding characteristic of this world is a continuous feeling of a powerful mental force directing everything in uncanny harmony. People say this is a place of pure thought.

After souls arrive back into their soul groups, they are summoned to appear before a Council of Elders. While the Council is not prosecutorial, they do engage in direct examination of a soul’s activities before returning them to their groups.

Group placement is determined by soul level. After physical death, a soul’s journey back home ends with debarkation into the space reserved for their own colony, as long as they are not a very young soul or isolated for other reasons. The souls represented in these cluster groups are intimate old friends who have the same awareness level. Members of the same cluster group are closely united for all eternity. These tightly-knit clusters are often composed of like-minded souls with common objectives which they continually work out with each other. Usually they choose lives together as relatives and close friends during their incarnations on Earth.

2. The Levels of Soul Groupings

a. The Beginner Soul

There are two types of beginner souls: (1) souls who are truly young in terms of exposure to an existence out of the spirit world, and (2) souls who have been reincarnating on Earth for a long period of relative time, but still remain immature.

I believe almost three-quarters of all souls who inhabit human bodies on Earth today are still in the early stages of development. Souls end their incarnation on Earth when they reach full maturity.

The beginner soul may live a number of lives in a state of confusion and ineffectiveness, influenced by an Earth curriculum which is different from the coherence and supportive harmony of the spirit world. Less developed souls are inclined to surrender their will to the controlling aspects of human society, with a socio-economic structure which causes a large proportion of people to be subordinate to others. The inexperienced soul tends to be stifled by a lack of independent thinking. They also lean towards being self-centered and don’t easily accept others for who they are. Every soul was once a beginner.

b. The Intermediate Soul

Once our souls advance into the intermediate ranges of development, group cluster activity is considerably reduced. This does not mean we return to the kind of isolation that occurs with novice souls. Souls evolving into the middle development level have less association with primary groups because they have acquired the maturity and experience for operating more independently. These souls are also reducing the number of their incarnations.

These souls are at last ready for more serious responsibilities. The relationship we have with our guides now changes from teacher-student to one of colleagues working together. Since our old guides have acquired new student groups, it is now our turn to develop teaching skills which will eventually qualify us for the responsibilities of being a guide to someone else.

This is a significant stage for souls in their development because now they are given increased responsibilities for younger souls. The status of a guide is not given to us all at once, however.

As with many other aspects of soul life, we are carefully tested. The intermediate levels are trial periods for potential teachers. Our mentors assign us a soul to look after, and then evaluate our leadership performance both in and out of physical incarnations.

Only if this preliminary training is successful are we allowed to function even at the level of a junior guide. Not everyone is suited for teaching, but this does not keep us from becoming an advanced soul. Guides, like everyone else, have different abilities and talents, as well as shortcomings. By the time we reach the advanced level, our soul aptitudes are well known in the spirit world. We are given occupational duties commensurate with our abilities. Different avenues of approach to learning eventually bring all of us to the same end in acquiring spiritual wholeness.

c. The Advanced Soul

I believe that people on Earth who possess souls which are both old and highly advanced are scarce. A person whose maturity is this high doesn’t seek out a regression therapist to resolve life-plan conflicts. In most cases, they are here as incarnated guides. Having mastered the fundamental issues most of us wrestle with daily, the advanced soul is more interested in making small refinements toward specific tasks.

We may recognize them when they appear as public figures, such as Mother Teresa; however, it is more usual for the advanced soul to go about their good works in a quiet, unassuming manner. Without displaying self-indulgence, their fulfillment comes from improving the lives of other people. They focus less on institutional matters and more on enhancing individual human values.

The mark of an advanced spirit is one who has patience with society and shows extraordinary coping skills. Most prominent is their exceptional insight. This is not to say life has no karmic pitfalls for them, otherwise they probably wouldn’t be here at all. They may be found in all walks of life, but are frequently in the helping professions or combating social injustice in some fashion. The advanced soul radiates composure, kindness, and understanding toward others. Not being motivated by self-interest, they may disregard their own physical needs and live in reduced circumstances.

3. Returning to the Physical

There comes that time when the soul must once again leave the sanctuary of the spirit world for another trip to Earth. This decision is not an easy one. Souls must prepare to leave a world of total wisdom, where they exist in a blissful state of freedom, for the physical and mental demands of a physical body. Once back in the spirit world, souls have misgivings about even temporarily leaving a world of self-understanding, comradeship, and compassion to go to a planetary environment of uncertainty and fear brought about by aggressive, competing humans. Despite having family and friends on Earth, many incarnated souls feel lonely and anonymous among large impersonal populations.

The rejuvenation of our energy and personal assessment of one’s self takes longer for some souls than others, but eventually the soul is motivated to start the process of incarnation. While our spiritual environment is hard to leave, as souls we also remember the physical pleasures of life on Earth with fondness and even nostalgia. When the wounds of a past life are healed and we are again totally at one with ourselves, we feel the pull of having a physical expression for our identity. Training sessions with our counselors and peer groups have provided a collaborative spiritual effort to prepare us for the next life. Our karma of past deeds towards humanity and our mistakes and achievements have all been evaluated with an eye toward the best course of future endeavors. The souls must now assimilate all this information and take purposeful action based upon three primary decisions:

(1) Am I ready for a new physical life?

(2) What specific lessons do I want to undertake to advance my learning and development?

(3) Where should I go, and who shall I be in my next life for the best opportunity to work on my goals?

Once a soul has decided to incarnate again, the next stage in the return process is to be directed to the place of life selection. Souls consider when and where they want to go on Earth before making a decision on who they will be in their new life. While some spiritual locales for life selection are difficult for my subjects to describe, they use remarkably similar descriptions. He is told it resembles a movie theater which allows souls to see themselves in the future, playing different roles in various settings.

In this place of life selection, our souls preview the life span of more than one human being within the same time cycle. When we leave this area, most souls are inclined toward one leading candidate presented to us for soul occupation. However, our spiritual advisors give us ample opportunity to reflect upon all we have seen in the future before making a final decision.

After souls have completed their consultations with guides and peers about the many physical and psychological ramifications of a new life and body choice, the decision to incarnate is made. It would be logical to assume that they would then go immediately to Earth. This doesn’t happen before a significant element of preparation occurs. The space souls go to for this in the spirit world is commonly called the place of recognition, or recognition class. I am told the activity here is like cramming for a final exam.

One of the last requirements before embarkation for many souls is to go before the Council of Elders for the second time. The spirit world is an environment personified by order and the Elders want to reinforce the significance of a soul’s goals for the next life. Some return to their spirit group after this meeting to say goodbye while others say they leave immediately for reincarnation. Those souls getting ready for embarkation to Earth are like battle-hardened veterans girding themselves for combat. This is the last chance for souls to enjoy the omniscience of knowing just who they are before they must adapt to a new body.

Categories
Reincarnation Research

Dr. Kenneth Ring’s NDE Reincarnation Research

Amber Wells is a former student at the University of Connecticut and wrote a research paper based on her study of the near-death experience for her senior honors thesis under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Ring. Her paper was published in the Journal of Near-Death Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1 (PDF) in the fall of 1993. In her study, 70 percent of the group of near-death experiencers demonstrated belief in reincarnation. In contrast, a Gallup Poll found that only 23 percent of the general population endorse this belief. Previous research has indicated that, following a near-death experience, the group tended to exhibit a significant shift in their beliefs on a wide range of subjects including a general tendency toward an increased openness to the idea of reincarnation. Ms. Wells’ study was designed to examine the factors underlying this belief shift. The following are some excerpts from her study reprinted by permission.

Table of Contents

  1. Abstract
  2. Reincarnation Beliefs Among NDErs
  3. Interview Data: NDErs’ Belief in Reincarnation
  4. The Nature of Reincarnation
  5. Factors Underlying the Shift Toward Belief in Reincarnation
  6. Discussion
  7. References

1. Abstract

Several researchers have found that near-death experiences (NDEs) tend to increase belief in reincarnation. This study was designed to examine the factors underlying this belief shift. I used a questionnaire to compare the tendency toward belief in reincarnation among NDErs, individuals merely interested in NDEs, and a non-experiencer, non-interest control group. In addition, I interviewed 14 NDErs to gain insight into the factors influencing NDErs’ beliefs. NDErs’ reincarnation belief shift appeared to be due to (a) direct knowledge of reincarnation gained by some NDErs in the NDE itself; (b) knowledge of reincarnation gained through a general psychic awakening following the NDE; or (c) exploration of alternative perceptions of reality following the NDE.

2. Reincarnation Beliefs Among NDErs

Previous research has indicated that following a near-death experience (NDE), experiencers tend to exhibit a significant shift in their beliefs on a wide range of subjects, including an increased acceptance of others, a significantly greater belief in life after death, and a decreased emphasis on material success. These belief changes have also included a general tendency toward an in creased openness to the idea of reincarnation (Gallup and Proctor, 1982; Ring, 1980, 1984, 1992; Sutherland, 1992). It is this belief shift that was the focus of the present study. The question of what precipitates the shift toward belief in reincarnation has not yet been systematically addressed in the literature. In this study, I attempted to answer this question and, additionally, to determine if a consistent picture of the purpose and process of reincarnation would emerge from the accounts of near-death experiencers. Previous researchers such as Kenneth Ring have suggested that near-death experiencers’ increased openness toward the idea of reincarnation may be less a factor of the NDE itself than a result of life changes following the experience:

“Of course, there is no reason why an NDEr’s openness toward reincarnation must stem directly from his NDE. In fact, I am quite convinced that in many cases it is more likely to be a response to an NDEr’s reading and other life experiences following an NDE.” (Ring, 1984, p. 160)

Ring’s study also suggested that belief in or openness to reincarnation among NDErs was often accompanied by a more general endorsement of Eastern religions. This has also been noted in the work of Cherie Sutherland (1992). Other researchers (Twemlow, Gabbard, and Jones, 1982) found a similar shift in religious beliefs among individuals having not near-death experiences but out-of-body experiences. Thus it is possible that the NDE is simply one of many catalysts for an increased openness to reincarnation. In fact, it has been suggested that simply an interest in near-death phenomena can serve as a catalyst for many of the value changes expressed by NDErs, including an increased openness to the idea of reincarnation (K. Ring, personal communication, 1991).

If it is true that the NDE influences individuals’ reincarnation beliefs simply by causing them to consider new religions or spiritual ideas, then one would expect that individuals who exhibited an interest in the NDE would also be prompted to undergo a similar belief shift. If, on the other hand, it is something inherent in the NDE itself that leads individuals to consider the possibility of reincarnation, then one would expect that individuals who were merely interested in such phenomena but who had not experienced it themselves would have reincarnation beliefs that differed significantly from those of near-death experiencers and would instead be similar to those of individuals who have no such interest in NDEs.

In this study, questionnaires were used to determine the reincarnation beliefs of a group of NDErs, a group of subjects who were interested in near-death experiences but had not had an NDE, and also a group of subjects who were chosen to represent the general non-experiencer, non-interest population. Interviews of NDErs were also conducted to gain a deeper insight into the origins and structure of their beliefs concerning reincarnation.

3. Interview Data: NDErs’ Belief in Reincarnation

A review of my interview data revealed that 13 of the 14 NDErs either believed in reincarnation or were at least open to the idea. Seven of the NDErs I interviewed did not believe in reincarnation before their experience, but did believe in it afterwards. Four individuals did not believe in reincarnation before their NDE or afterwards. However, although these respondents did not definitely believe in reincarnation, they were at least open to the possibility. Two individuals had considered reincarnation prior to their NDE, but the experience led them to change the way they looked at it; one subject now believed in reincarnation on more of a collective level rather than as an individual process, and the other came to think about reincarnation more seriously and consider it more in depth following his experience. One subject did not believe in reincarnation before her NDE, and the experience had no effect on her views.

No strong common pattern of beliefs about the process or purpose of reincarnation surfaced in my interviews. However, a few commonalities were seen in some of the respondents’ answers. No one claimed to have gained any direct understanding of the nature or process of reincarnation during his or her NDE. Three of the 14 respondents, however, claimed a “sense” or “perception” during their experience of having lived before. Only one respondent claimed to have had a past lives review, in which she re-experienced events from a past life, during an NDE.

4. The Nature of Reincarnation

In response to the question about the general process of reincarnation, four respondents mentioned one consciousness separating into individual souls to be embodied in matter. One respondent took this idea further, to state that reincarnation takes place more on a collective rather than an individual level. In other words, she felt that a collective energy recycles itself through matter and that our sense of individuality is a product of our present incarnation only. One respondent believed that a higher power created a finite number of individual souls, some of which then are placed in human embodiments in order to learn lessons.

A strong minority of respondents, six of 14, saw individual choice as the initiating force behind the reincarnation process. Three other individuals mentioned karmic patterns or ties to other souls as influencing the reincarnation process.

Eight of 14 subjects mentioned learning or enlightenment as the main purpose underlying reincarnation. One respondent said:

“The spirit needs to embody itself in matter to experience it and learn. There are karmic patterns to learn lessons and to work spirit in matter.”

Another commented, “Life itself is a series of learnings. The lessons are universal, the two most important being truth and forgiveness.”

Ten of 14 interviewees believed it is possible to remember past lives, while two remained unsure and one saw claims of past life remembrances as most likely the result of fantasy.

Eleven of 14 subjects believed in the concept of karma or at least were open to it. Five of the 11, however, qualified their affirmation with further explanation of their beliefs:

“Yes, but not in that sense. We progress at our own rate to reach the light. If you do things that take you away from the light, then you are perpetuating your time here.”

“[I] don’t believe in karma as some people do – that it is pre-destiny. We have karma but we can change it.”

“Karma is misunderstood; it’s not just negative. Everything is karma, even thoughts.”

“Consequences carry over to some degree, but the emphasis is not so much on the physical act, but more on what is going on inside.”

“Definitely, but there are no rights or wrongs – it just is. We all have light and dark and we need to balance them out.”

When asked what goes on during the period between incarnations, seven subjects mentioned learning as the main activity of the soul. Four mentioned resting, rejuvenation, and/or connecting with God, and one subject indicated that individuals are involved in setting up the circumstances of their next life during this time. When asked if one’s personal awareness and sense of personal identity remained intact in the afterlife realm and for how long, two subjects answered affirmatively, one believing that the personality would continue forever and the other unsure as to how long this sense of “self’ would remain.

The majority of respondents, however, eight out of 14, gave more qualified endorsements of this proposition. Here are three examples of their responses:

“Not intact. The inner quality is there, the inner self remains, but the external aspect that may have seemed very strong is dissolved.”

“Individuality wasn’t the same there. I was the same as everybody and everybody was me.”

“Your spirit is always you. You are not the personality that you are on earth. In the other realm you are everything, light is everything.”

Finally, eight of the 14 respondents said that they felt the cycle of reincarnation would eventually come to an end. They indicated that at this point there would be existence as pure spiritual being and/or a merging with God. One respondent said:

“Then you exist as pure spiritual form, as a pure spiritual being.”

Another responded, “You become an integral part of God. When everyone reaches that point it is nirvana.”

Two of 14 subjects indicated that the cycle of reincarnation would probably come to an end for earthly embodiments, but that one would continue to incarnate into other realms or dimensions.

5. Factors Underlying the Shift Toward Belief in Reincarnation

A more definite pattern emerged in the subjects’ responses to the question about which factors led to the change in their reincarnation beliefs. Three causes for changes in beliefs in a direction favorable to reincarnation were mentioned.

One cause for this belief shift, for which I found only limited evidence in this study, is direct knowledge imparted during the NDE itself. Three of my 14 interview subjects claimed to have a “sense” that they had lived before during their NDE. For two of my subjects this factor would qualify as the main event influencing their reincarnation beliefs. One subject, however, had several NDEs and also exhibited a significant psychic awakening, involving direct information concerning reincarnation, following her experiences. She claimed to have had a past-lives review during one NDE, but did not indicate which one. Therefore, I do not know which came first: the direct reincarnation knowledge through her psychic awakening, or the past-lives review. Thus, I do not know for certain which was the influencing factor in her belief shift. However, because her post-NDE experiences were so many, so extensive, and obviously so influential in her beliefs, it is more likely these experiences, rather than her NDE past-lives review, that shaped her beliefs, and she is consequently categorized as such.

The second cause for the reincarnation shift was found in events taking place after the NDErs’ experience that seemed to be part of a general psychic awakening. This general psychic awakening has been documented by other researchers as well (Greyson, 1983; Ring, 1985). Ring presented this idea as his “spiritual catalyst” hypothesis, which implies that NDEs tend to lead to psychic development. For five of the 14 subjects in this study it was this psychic awakening following their NDE, rather than the experience itself, that provided them with direct knowledge of reincarnation. One subject explained:

“Before any of these events, I call mine kind of a two-part event, because I had the NDE in 1979, and then another car accident in 1985 that brought about what I call a kundalini awakening, which is similar to an NDE without the death part of the physical body. So, what happened to me is, before either of these experiences happened I didn’t believe in reincarnation at all … After these experiences what one of the things that happened to me was I started getting memories of my own past lives. A lot of times just spontaneously something would trigger it and I’d get this memory, and I see visions, and then I started getting them of other people’s lives.”

Two other experiencers noted similar phenomena:

“This didn’t come about from the experience but afterwards, since then. [I’ve received] messages, my brother-in-law [deceased] had a message … that his soul would be reincarnated into my sister’s son.”

“I had ongoing experiences after the near-death experience. In that after process I experienced souls. On one occasion it’s like I followed a soul, went through a process with a soul, in how they were reborn, how it came about that they were reborn.”

Finally, as the third source of the reincarnation belief shift, the NDE opened the individual up to greater possibilities in his or her perception of reality. It made them more willing to explore a wider range of spiritual possibilities, including reincarnation. This exploration was manifest in the form of reading, discussions with others, and personal reflection. Six of my 14 subjects fell into this category. One respondent said of her NDE:

“It opened up a dimension that I never really knew existed.”

Another commented: “It [his NDE] didn’t help me conclude anything, it just threw the doors of possibility wide open.”

Still another said: “I didn’t even know what reincarnation was before I had an NDE. It was afterwards that I was led to find out what it was. Some of the things I’m telling you [about reincarnation] came out in other conversations and some in the reading that I’ve done, and some just thoughts I’ve had. And it made total sense to me.”

And finally one woman I interviewed said: “[I] hadn’t given it [reincarnation] much thought before that [her NDE]. I was brought up in a fairly conventional religion – Catholicism. I was not a particularly practicing Catholic at the time, but more or less hadn’t explored much Eastern philosophy. After the experience, I did. I read a great deal of different philosophies, not just Eastern, but all of them, and found that it [reincarnation] was plausible.”

6. Discussion

In this study, 70 percent of the sample of NDErs demonstrated belief in reincarnation. In contrast, a Gallup Poll (Gallup and Proctor, 1982) found that only 23 percent of the general population endorse this belief, while 30 percent of my control group help views favorable to reincarnation. These data confirm the findings of earlier studies with respect to NDErs’ reincarnation beliefs. While I found that the near-death experiencer group exhibited a significantly greater tendency toward belief in reincarnation than my general public sample, I also found that my NDE interest group exhibited beliefs that did not differ significantly from those of the NDErs. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that there is nothing inherent in the near-death experience itself that causes the shift in experiencers’ beliefs about reincarnation.

Additionally, my data failed to reveal any consistent pattern among NDErs’ beliefs about the purpose or process of reincarnation. There were, as I already noted, many similarities, but no one “truth” emerged. Furthermore, the beliefs expressed by the NDErs in my study are not unique; they tended to follow the standard view of reincarnation as expressed in much of the New Age literature. By way of example, the following excerpts taken from Irving S. Cooper’s book, Reincarnation.: A Hope of the World (1979), are representative of this view and are quite similar to many of the statements made by my NDE sample:

“The chief purpose of reincarnation is education. To this end we are born again and again on earth, not because of any external pressure, but because we, as souls, desire to grow.” (p. 14)

“It is a universal process, and prevails not only in the human kingdom but throughout the whole of nature. Whenever we find a living form, the consciousness of that form is also evolving, using temporarily for that purpose the physical form in order that it may gain physical experience.” (p. 19)

“In each incarnation we have a different physical body, a different name, and may have different souls acting as parents, but these changes do not in the slightest imperil our individuality.” (p. 24)

“Reincarnation is not an endless process, and when we have learned the lessons taught in the World-School we return no more to physical incarnation unless we come back of our own accord to act as Teachers of humanity or as Helpers in the glorious plan of evolution.” (p. 47)

With respect to the question of what in fact underlies the reincarnation belief shift, I can offer three possibilities suggested by my data, but which would require further research to verify. First, in some cases, it does seem to be the NDE itself that influences one’s reincarnation views. Although I did not find extensive evidence for this in my study, it has been documented by other researchers (Morse and Perry, 1992; Ring, 1985). In those cases, individuals claimed to have received direct knowledge of reincarnation during the NDE itself. An example of this type of knowledge can be seen in a letter written to Ring by John Robinson:

“It is a matter of personal knowledge from what the Being with whom I spoke during my NDE told me about my older son, that he had had 14 incarnations in female physical bodies previous to the life he has just had.”

Ring has also heard testimony of this kind of direct knowledge in some of his interviews. One NDEr, whose account is recorded in Ring’s audiotape archives, commented:

“My whole life went before me of things I have done and haven’t done, but not just of this one lifetime, but of all the lifetimes. I know for a fact there is reincarnation. This is an absolute. I was shown all those lives and how I had overcome some of the things I had done in other lives. There was still some things to be corrected.”

Another NDEr whose testimony is included in Ring’s audiotape archives gave this account:

“I had a lot of questions, and I wanted to know what they [light beings she encountered in her NDE] were doing – why are you just kind of milling around here? And someone stepped forward … it wasn’t just one … I got information from a number of them … that they were all waiting for reincarnation.”

Additionally, in a case documented by Melvin Morse, a girl who had her NDE when she nearly drowned at the age of 7 reported seeing during her experience two adults waiting to be reborn (Morse, 1983).

Second, some NDErs may gain direct knowledge of reincarnation through other psychic or mystical experiences following their NDE. In this way, the NDE becomes a catalyst for openness to reincarnation through its ability to propel the experiencer into a general psychic awakening.

Finally, for other NDErs their experience serves mainly to spark their interest in various “New Age” phenomena that leads to often extensive outside reading and research. It makes sense that when one becomes open to the idea of life after death, the idea of life after life becomes much more plausible.

The fact that my NDE interest group exhibited reincarnation belief scores so similar to those of my NDE sample can be explained by two hypotheses. First, it is possible that some of my NDE interest subjects may have gained direct knowledge of reincarnation through other psychic or mystical experiences even though they have not had an NDE. Second, my NDE interest group may be very similar to those in my NDE sample who were prompted to explore “New Age” material following their experience. Both groups became interested in the near-death phenomenon, one group through direct experience and the other through unspecified means, and thus were led to explore the concept of reincarnation. My study is limited by the fact that I have no data on the factors influencing the beliefs of the subjects in the NDE interest group.

Future research would be well directed towards determining what it is about an interest in near-death experiences that promotes an openness to reincarnation, or if in fact both the interest in NDEs and openness to reincarnation are the result of some other factor or occurrence. Using a larger, more randomly assigned subject pool would also help to strengthen the findings.

7. References

Atwater, P. M. H. (1988). Coming back to life: The after-effects of the near-death experience New York, NY: Dodd, Mead.

Cooper, I. S. (1979). Reincarnation: A hope of the world. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House.

Flynn, C. P. (1986). After the beyond: Human transformation and the near-death experience Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Gallup, G., Jr., and Proctor, W. (1982). Adventures in immortality: A look beyond the threshold of death. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Grey, M. (1985). Return from death: An exploration of the near-death experience London, England: Arkana.

Greyson, B. (1983). Increase in psychic phenomena following near-death experiences (PDF). Theta, 11, 26-29.

Morse, M. L. (1983). A near-death experience in a 7-year-old child. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 137, 959-961.

Morse, M. L., and Perry, P. (1992). Transformed by the light: The powerful effect of near-death experiences on people’s lives. New York, NY: Villard.

Ring, K. (1980). Life at death: A scientific investigation of the near-death experience New York: NY: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan.

Ring, K. (1985). Heading toward omega: In search of the meaning of the near-death experience New York: NY: Morrow.

Ring, K. (1992). The Omega Project- Near-death experiences, UFO encounters, and mind at large New York, NY: Morrow.

Sutherland, Cherie. (1992). Transformed by the light. Life after near-death experiences. New York, NY: Bantam.

Twemlow, S. W., Gabbard, G. 0., and Jones, F. C. (1982). The out-of-body experience: A phenomenological typology based on questionnaire response (PDF). American Journal of Psychiatry, 139, 450-455.