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Near-Death Experience of Space, Time, and Consciousness

Jack H. Hiler, Ph.D., J.D., is the author of the book, Near-Death Experience of Space, Time, and Consciousness: How the World Was Created and Functions (2019) and the author of a series of papers in the Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research (2019). Based on many thousands of out-of-body experiences associated with the near-death experience, and correspondence of the experience to principles from Relativity Theory and quantum mechanics, the nature of existence and the role of consciousness are analyzed and a theory is proposed. This theory hypothesizes that there is a universal field of consciousness in which the individual consciousness (spirit and soul) functions both in life and in eternity, before and after an Earth life. Whereas standard science holds that the material reality we observe is fundamental, and regards consciousness as an epiphenomenon or unreal, Dr. Hiller’s theory proposed here explains why consciousness is fundamental, and supports the material reality we normally perceive.

Dr. Hiller has an unusual breadth of knowledge across psychology, math, computers, and physics. He started out as a bench level scientist in the Department of the Army, after having earned his Ph.D., and having served as a private in the Marines, and in the Army as an officer with a Captain’s rank. Dr. Hiller was eventually promoted from GS 13, 14, and 15 to super grade as the Director of the Army Research Institute (ARI) Training Systems R&D Lab, and as Associate Director of ARI which he ran from 1986-96. At the time, the Training lab was the world’s largest with around 120 in-house Ph.D.s and a comparable number working on supporting contracts. The ARI has drastically shrunk over the years. In 1996, Dr. Hiller was promoted to the Director for Human Systems Integration (HSI) in the Pentagon where he had policy and budget review oversight for all human related research and studies, along with another super grade position with protocol of a two-star General. Dr. Hiller retired from the Department of the Army in 1998. In 1999, Dr. Hiller went to work for Northrop Grumman Corp as a senior scientist and was promoted after a few months to Division Chief Scientist with about 1,500 computer programmers and many Ph.Ds in information sciences, electronics engineering, math, and physics. After a few years, Dr. Hiller was honored as Distinguished Technical Fellow. Dr. Hiller retired in 2010. The following is an overview of Dr. Hiller’s book, Near-Death Experience of Space, Time, and Consciousness: How the World Was Created and Functions, his Frozen Time Theory (FTT), and his recent NDE research.

Table of Contents

  1. Frozen Time Theory (FTT)
  2. Universal Consciousness Underlies All of Reality: a Tripartite Domain Theory
  3. Possible Enablers and Barriers to Dimensional Perception
  4. Analysis of the Differential Perception of Time in the Second and Third Domains
  5. Definitions of Now
  6. An Absolute Limitation to the Rational Analysis of Experience, Consciousness, and World Origin: the Principle of Interior Unknowability
  7. Review of Carlo Rovelli’s Book: The Order of Time
  8. A Postulate Set Governing Existential Knowledge
  9. What is Consciousness?
  10. A Theory of Knowledge: The Transcendental and the Mundane

1. Frozen Time Theory (FTT)

Frozen Time Theory (FTT) reports discovery of a reliable, but surprising, feature of the out-of-body experience (OBE) reports associated with traumatic near-death experiences (NDE). At the instant of a severe trauma, such as a heart attack or violent vehicle collision, the suffering individuals report being puzzled about what has happened, as they are suddenly viewing their environment from a different perspective. Typically, they are now located above their body, so that they no longer see through their eyes, but see from a different location. There was no apparent transition in consciousness or conscious perception to cue separation of consciousness from their body leading to their confusion over what had just happened. The lack of any distinctive transition for consciousness and conscious perception from the normal bodily state to consciousness and conscious perception during the OBE strongly implies that it is not the brain itself that is generating conscious experience. They also then start to notice that the nature of their sight has changed, as they can see through objects, can focus to the atomic level or out to the cosmos, and see in 360 degrees. Individuals who have been born blind also report experiencing this remarkable manner of perception. Realization develops that they have been effectively knocked dead, but still remain conscious.

A striking feature of OBE perception is that all entities observed exhibit consciousness, not only relatives and friends who have passed, and angels, but rocks, grass, flowers, trees, animals — even water. This experience is consistent with the ancient philosophy of panpsychism.

One of the great mysteries remaining for the psychology, neurology, and philosophy of perception is termed the issue of qualia, i.e., how can we perceive different qualities such as vision with different colors, sounds, and fragrances, but do so without the brain exhibiting differential structures for processing information after the senses have transduced energies to electrochemical energies in neurons. In the frontal lobes, where we believe perception is present, no differential structures or processes are found there corresponding to the differential qualities of perception. The FTT hypothesizes that the consciousness experienced during the OBE exists in a field or domain of consciousness in which individual entities share their existence without boundaries. Thus, FTT hypothesizes that perception during normal perception for the body and brain occurs not in the brain itself, but in the consciousness (soul) that had been attached to the normal body. The differential qualities of perception are dependent on how the field of consciousness functions, not on the brain producing the qualities of perception we experience.

One of the most interesting features of the OBE is the feeling that time no longer runs, and during the OBE it is reported that they have simultaneously viewed past scenes, their current environment, and future scenes. In addition, all entities viewed, including their own “body,” glow with the appearance of being made of light. The FTT relates the absence of time running, i.e., frozen time, with the formulation of Special Relativity that photons do not experience time. Thus, FTT hypothesizes that time during the OBE translates to a fourth spatial dimension, such that the past, present, and future correspond to differing locations in the domain of consciousness.

2. Universal Consciousness Underlies All of Reality: a Tripartite Domain Theory

In the FTT, I had accepted from the NDE reports that there existed two realities, our normal domain of reality associated with the paradigm of materialism, and an alternative domain of experience characterized as a field of consciousness in which all entities experienced appeared to be made of light, and time did not run.

An obvious question was about how these two domains might be related. Were they causally independent of each other, even if somehow correlated across time, or might they even be causally linked? Based on the NDE reports and the curious phenomenon of quantum entanglement, what Einstein spoofed about as “spooky action at a distance,” I inferred that our material reality was connected to the domain of consciousness. The NDE reports reliably stated that all thought of movement was capable of instantaneity, so if entangled particles existed in the domain of consciousness as well as the material domain, their instant communication would be accounted for.

Another question was about the possibility for a third domain. Was there anything that might have preceded the material and consciousness domains? The hypothesis that seemed best was that there initially existed a domain of pure consciousness in which nothing else existed, not light, not space, not time. This initial domain might be termed, in common with most religions, as God. This speculation is in fact consistent with the Old Testament according to which all that existed at first was God alone. God’s first act of creation was light. After light, He created the firmament, or material world. Thus, a tripartite domain theory was formed that is consistent with NDE reporting and the Old Testament. The relationships among the three domains are shown by the Venn diagram below. God is represented as Domain 1; the world of consciousness which includes light is the 2nd Domain; and the physical world we occupy is Domain 3.

3. Possible Enablers and Barriers to Dimensional Perception

The FTT and Tripartite domain papers acknowledge that our ordinary perception in our material domain separates time as an abstraction with space having three extended spatial dimensions. But in the second domain, as defined to be filled with consciousness and entities made of light, it was hypothesized that time also exists as an extended spatial dimension, so that different times in the material domain would correspond to different locations — without time running. This paper analyzes why common sense regards time in the material domain to have a different character than space. The analysis keys off of Edward Abbott’s clever Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions satire. It is argued that, while common sense regards space as perceptible, but time is regarded as an imperceptible abstract concept only, when time is termed “duration,” perception of time and space are equally abstract, and equally perceptible for the objects of sense-perception in the material domain.

4. Analysis of the Differential Perception of Time in the Second and Third Domains

This paper analyzes how perception of time progression (i.e., time is perceived to run) occurs in the material 3rd Domain, but does not occur in the 2nd Domain of consciousness to which the 3rd Domain is connected. The argument is made that perception of time depends on the domain being experienced.

5. Definitions of Now

In philosophy and psychology, some argue that only “now” exists, the past has forever gone, and the future is yet to be. Given the importance of “now,” alternative definitions are presented and discussed.

6. An Absolute Limitation to the Rational Analysis of Experience, Consciousness, and World Origin: the Principle of Interior Unknowability

After working for approximately a decade to produce a defensible theory for how the world came to be, I realized that I had made zero progress. I questioned why that effort was entirely futile, and came to an interesting conclusion — the question itself implied an observational framework external to a Creation event, but scientists could never in principle locate externally as “privileged observers” to be able to see what happened. Thus, a new postulate for the metaphysics of creation was defined. This postulate was termed the Principle of Interior Unknowability (PIU). It was argued that the PIU stands on two legs of support. The first leg is an analogy posed about fishes born in a fish tank having no opportunity ever to locate outside of their tank. From their interior location in the tank, they (or scientists in the material world) would never be able to learn where it came from or how it was made; the same argument applies if the world were instead conceptualized to be infinite with no boundaries. The second leg is a conjectured analogy with Kurt Godel’s Theorem of Undecidability, developed while he was working on his Incompleteness Theorems. This leg of the argument for the PIU reasons that postulates, axioms or assumptions based on internal observations of our world, applied to mathematically model its creation, are susceptible to creating a paradox (historically known as the Liars Paradox) by self-reference. To escape the potential for producing a valueless or misleading paradox, information would have to be gathered external to a system to be used for modeling its creation. Nevertheless, as pointed out by my friend Neil Siegel, a great deal of scientifically valid and useful information may indeed be acquired within the material world, despite the barrier to knowledge acquisition about creation postulated by the PIU.

7. Review of Carlo Rovelli’s Book: The Order of Time

Loop quantum gravity physicist Carlo Rovelli published an entertaining book that explained his preference for denying the utility of a time variable in physics, and even in psychology. This book review identifies points of agreement, but notably points of disagreement.

8. A Postulate Set Governing Existential Knowledge

In an earlier chapter, 6., the Principle of Interior Unknowability (PIU) was defined as a postulate which excluded any possibility for scientists to observe the conditions of the origin of the world, or to be able to infer from information collected within our material world how the world was constructed with any certainty, or “where it might have come from.” In this chapter, three additional Postulates are defined. One of these concerns the nature of existential reality, and states there are two domains for knowledge exploration: (1) the material domain in which we normally perceive the world, and (2) the domain of consciousness that underlies consciousness and conscious perception that may become available during the NDE/OBE or by meditation. This is the Postulate Governing Existence (PGE). The PGE defines the consciousness domain as fundamental. The third postulate is the Postulate Governing Knowledge (PGK) which defines knowledge to be incorporated in consciousness. As was also explained in Chapter 2 on Universal Consciousness, all individual entities possess consciousness, and “”knowledge” is information incorporated into their consciousness. The fourth postulate affirms DescartesMind-Body Dualism that mind and brain ordinarily communicate, despite being different in kind. This is the Postulate for Mind-Body Dualism (PMBD).The set of four postulates governs the nature of Existential Knowledge (EK). With the EK as a set theoretic foundation, the potential for extra-sensory phenomena is explainable. We may summarize that the nature of any and all knowledge about existence, EK, is a function of PIU, PGE, PGK, and PMBD.

9. What is Consciousness?

A brief historical review of the concept of consciousness is provided from the perspectives of philosophy, psychology, and neurology. The weaknesses in traditional analyses of the nature of consciousness are explained, followed by a synthesis of consciousness (with mind and soul) based on the previous eight chapters. The 2nd Domain of consciousness is recognized as the foundation for how the 3rd Domain of materialism functions. It was concluded that the reality of what consciousness is and how it is known denies any useful ability to define it by reference to objectively observable experience, so it must be regarded as an indefinable, primitive term.

10. A Theory of Knowledge: The Transcendental and the Mundane

Knowledge is analyzed to fit two main classifications: (1) the Transcendental idealized forms as described by Plato, and (2) the mundane experiences generated by the body/brain living in the material world. Knowledge of each of the two types is examined for how it is acquired (from the 2nd Domain) or learned by sense-perception experienced in the 3rd Domain. Knowledge learned through life in the 3rd Domain is unreliable because of imperfections in our sense-perception mechanisms, and because memory storage and retrieval are prone to intervening learning distortions and aging processes. By contrast, knowledge acquired directly from or while in the 2nd Domain is perfectly accurate and not subjected to any aging process because time does not run in the 2nd Domain.

11. Conclusions

Overall, the text argues that Creation and “consciousness” fundamentally exist beyond the boundaries of conventionally acquirable scientific knowledge. The specific arguments employed made use of analogy and the Liar’s Paradox to support an out-of-bounds conclusion defined by the Principle of Interior Unknowability (PIU), and appear to be novel for the metaphysics literature. The NDE reports demonstrate a high degree of perceptual consistency for the OBE experience, such as time no longer perceived as running, all entities perceived to be made of light, and actions driven by thought perceived as instantaneous; all of these perceptions were found to be consistent with Relativity Theory and quantum mechanics. A theoretical foundation was laid for the reality of paranormal phenomena. It was found from the review of over 4,000 NDE reports available on the NDERF.org and IANDS.org web sites that the NDEs were dominated by experiencing the light and love of a God Creator, even for those who were agnostic or atheist before their NDE. Based on these NDE reports and the neo-Platonic concept of Transcendental knowledge having been provided to the human conscience, a proposed code of conduct was included in the Annex. The quest to develop knowledge about Creation and consciousness ends in a conclusion that, by our being immersed in them, they are not ever directly observable by us as material beings. However, conventional science is plagued by those who either seek to deny their existence, or instead seek to scientifically describe and explain them, whereas the PIU shows that both of such opposing perspectives are wrong.

12. Dr. Hiller’s Near-Death Experience Study

On February 3, 2020, Dr. Hiller completed an NDE study involving an analysis of the most recently archived NDE reports (62 total) on NDERF.org to develop a sample frequency estimate for experiencing God, Jesus, and other major religious figures. As a side note, when Dr. Hiller discusses OBE reports, he tends to report the experience as “experience” instead of as “perception.” He states the reason for this distinction flows from how he proposed to solve the issue of “qualia” in perception, following Eben Alexander‘s reporting about his OBE as experiencing everything as his being a part of everything, as opposed to how we look at things as separated observers in this material domain to achieve perception.

A Frequency Analysis for a Sample of NDE Reports

An analysis of the most recently archived NDE reports (62 total) on NDERF.org at was performed to develop a sample frequency estimate for experiencing God, Jesus, and other major religious figures. Nine categories of information were defined for coding as representing an experience or not:

  1. Agnostic, atheist, New Age, or nothing before the NDE
  2. Christian affiliation
  3. Non Christian to include Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist
  4. Experience of a mystical light
  5. Experiencing God as a huge zone of light that enveloped the spirit
  6. Experiencing God as a being with personality
  7. Experiencing Jesus as a personality
  8. No experience of light or a deity, just an OBE
  9. A hellish experience.

Results

Unfortunately for “purely clean” scoring, these categories proved not to be mutually exclusive, as multiple elements were reported for the experience; for example, in one report there was a mystical light at first, then it developed into a huge zone of brilliant light recognized as God, and then Jesus was also experienced, so 4., 5., and 7. were scored.

One unanticipated finding was a glaring disproportion of NDEs for those who did not profess belief in God. According to a 2017 USA research estimate by Pew reported by The Atlantic 63% definitely believe in God regardless of religious affiliation, leaving 37% who do not or are uncertain. A recent academic study estimated that 26% of Americans do not believe in God. So, it’s fair to set 37% as a baseline estimate of the agnostic/atheist percentage. In this sample of 62 NDE reports, 56% were agnostic or atheist or not willing to commit to belief in God (category 1). A test to estimate if 56% is statistically significantly different from 37% (using 26% would have produced a higher level of statistical significance) yielded a Z value (2.6) which is significant for a reliable difference at a probability of less than .009, which is a stronger result than the .05 level generally used to decide if there were a reliable difference. Thus, it appears that NDEs are more frequent for those who did not already have belief in God, implying that they were getting a wake-up call for a life course correction.

There were four Muslims in this sample. Two experienced only a mystical light, and the other two had an OBE without an experience of God. Muhammad was not experienced.

There was one Buddhist and his experience was in category 5 of immersion in a huge zone of light that produced “incredible joy.” He did not see any image of Buddha, but decided it was apt to label this light as Buddha.

Jesus was reported to have been experienced by 13% (including one by the only Jewish respondent), while God was experienced (from categories 5 and 6) by 29%, with two experiences as personal. There were two hellish experiences reported.

One striking result was the dominance of category 4, the experience of mystical light in which they were immersed by 63% of the reports. I interpret this as support for the Tripartite Domain theory (see Near-Death Experience of Space, Time, and Consciousness) theorizing that the 2nd Domain (which is Heaven) is a universal field of consciousness functioning as a medium for light, with all entities existing in this Domain manifesting as forms of light.

Conclusion

This pilot study appears to warrant further research to increase the sample size and scope of investigation about the perceptions and implications for deities occurring in near-death, spiritually transformative, and out-of-body experiences.

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Dr. Richard Eby’s NDE and the Second Coming of Christ

Dr. Richard E. Eby, D.O., F.A.C.O.O.G., D.Ed., Ph.D. (1912-2002) was a nationally recognized osteopathic physician, gynecologist, professor and surgeon with a very successful practice. In 1972, Dr. Eby accidentally fell from his three-story apartment landing head-first resulting in a profound NDE. While experiencing the wonders of paradise, Dr. Eby met Jesus Christ in all his glory and had a long conversation with him. Jesus told Dr. Eby that he must enter a ministry of healing others; and that he would be alive when Jesus’ Second Coming occurs. However, Dr. Eby died in 2002 and apparently the Second Coming has not occurred. With Eby’s prophecy an apparent failure, skeptics and fundamentalists Christians alike labeled Dr. Eby a “false prophet” and questioned his entire NDE. This article presents my arguments why Eby is not a false prophet, nor is his prophecy a failure, and includes a detailed account of his amazing NDE testimony.

Table of Contents

  1. An Overview of Dr. Richard Eby’s NDE and ADC with Jesus
  2. Why Dr. Eby’s Testimony About the Second Coming of Christ May Be True
  3. Dr. Eby’s NDE and His Long Conversation With Jesus
  4. A Detailed Description of Dr. Eby’s Spirit Body
  5. A Detailed Description of the Heaven Dr. Eby Experienced
  6. Dr. Eby Returns to His Physical Body

1. An Overview of Dr. Richard Eby’s NDE and ADC with Jesus

In 1972, Dr. Eby was leaning against a railing at a Chicago apartment building when the support gave way, plunging him three stories, landing headfirst. As his mortally injured body was loaded into an ambulance, Eby had a near-death experience of “the most exquisite place entirely without shadows.” Fascinated with his ethereal, white-robed body, he was able to give the most detailed description of the spirit body this webmaster, Kevin Williams, has ever read – including the observation of having no genitals which is an observation a professional gynecologist would be concerned about. His description of heaven as an luminescent realm with indescribable music, beauty and exotic fragrances is also one of the most detailed descriptions of heaven I have come across. While experiencing the grandeur of paradise, Eby met Jesus Christ in all his glory and had one of the longest conversations with him I am aware of. In this article, you can read the transcript of their conversation and his NDE excerpted from Dr. Eby’s book, Caught Up Into Paradise. Eby’s NDE ends with him hearing his wife calling out for him to return. Eby opened his eyes to excruciating pain and found himself laying in a hospital bed. From a glowing cloud floating above him, Jesus told Eby he must now enter a ministry of healing others.

Fully recovered, Dr. Eby toured Israel in 1977 and had the opportunity to visit Lazarus’s tomb. While in the depths of the illuminated tomb with a group of other people, the lights inside the tomb mysteriously failed. During the following chaos, Jesus appeared to Eby again, stating that, whereas Eby had seen heaven, Eby would now see hell. Jesus gave him the following commission: “You must be able to tell them. They can choose between heaven or hell, but tell them that I died to close hell and open heaven just for them.”

With that, Dr. Eby was suddenly transported to hell; and, for the next two minutes, he endured the horrors of hell with its cold, rot, and isolation. As a result of this startling visitation, Eby traveled the world with his wife Maybelle, proclaiming God’s grace and healing power. In 1978, Eby closed his medical practice in order to follow his full-time ministry calling. His after-death communication (ADC) with Jesus in Lazarus’ tomb is recounted in Eby’s follow up book, Jesus Told Me to Tell Them I Am Coming. Further miracles are recounted in this book which also details Eby’s national exposure from his appearances on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and the attention generated by the miracles – both physical and spiritual – accompanying his encounters with the sick.

As mentioned previously, Eby’s NDE is also unique in one more important point. During his conversation with Jesus, Eby was told he would be alive when the Second Coming of Christ occurs. But on December, 26, 2002, Eby died from a protracted illness of which he tried to stay alive as long as he could. Apparently, neither the Rapture nor the Second Coming has occurred. With Eby’s prophecy an apparent failure, skeptics and fundamentalists Christians alike concluded Eby to be a false prophet; and therefore, put his entire NDE into question. But I, the webmaster of this site, do not agree with this assessment as you will find in this article. It is quite possible Jesus has already returned through reincarnation and is alive today. There is strong Biblical and extra-Biblical evidence of Jesus teaching reincarnation as the real interpretation of bodily rebirth known as the “Resurrection of the Dead.” Jesus often preached in parables to hide their higher spiritual meaning from the uninitiated. There is also evidence of the Bible having several levels of interpretation. With this in mind, we should evaluate Dr. Eby’s testimony with an open mind and understand the possibility that God works in mysterious ways.

2. Why Dr. Eby’s Testimony About the Second Coming of Christ May Be True

If we accept subjective NDE testimonies such as Eby’s at face value, we can conclude that the second coming of Jesus has already occurred. Otherwise, Eby’s testimony would be a false testimony showing Jesus speaking a falsehood in an NDE. However, I have a strong reasons to believe Eby’s testimony was not false and that Jesus has returned – not by appearing in the clouds as described in the highly symbolic Book of Revelation and gospels suggest – but by means of reincarnation. It seems obvious to me that Jesus would enter into this world the same way he did the last time, through human birth. This reaction to this idea among certain Christians is one of hostility. Because it suggests the reality of reincarnation rather than resurrection. It shouldn’t be thought strange that Christ would return this way, after all, reincarnation was a widely held belief in Jesus’ day, even among Christians and Jesus himself. I have no doubt that Jesus told Eby that he would return before his passing and I have no doubt that it happened just as Jesus said it would. Some Christians will just have to accept that Jesus is here already just as he told Eby. It shouldn’t be difficult for a Christian to believe “reincarnation” to be the correct interpretation of “resurrection.” There is strong Biblical proof that the early Christians and Jesus taught reincarnation. There also exists a history of reincarnation beliefs among the early Christians. The true meaning of “resurrection”, as believed by many early Christians, is not the same as the widely-held meaning as it exists today.

For these reasons, there should be no reason at all to believe Eby’s testimony about Jesus is false.

Eby’s NDE is unusual in another aspect in that he uses much of his own religious bias to describe his experience. Jody Long, an researcher with NDERF, points out the following fact: “One of the near-death experience truths is that each person integrates their near-death experience into their own pre-existing belief system.” This important truth must be kept in the back of one’s mind when reading these different accounts.

The following is his testimony concerning his encounter with Jesus from his book Caught Up To Paradise.

3. Dr. Eby’s NDE and His Long Conversation With Jesus

I gasped! Suddenly in a new body in a new place with new life, I was ecstatically joyful: no pain, no tears, no sorrow, no memory. Nothing but incomprehensible peace and infilling love. All was perfection. I stood awestruck in a new weightless body, translucent and floating. Total love enveloped and perfused me! What peace!

Then THE VOICE: unmistakably sovereign, majestic, divine! None other can ever compare. It seemed to originate within my head, speaking from me, yet to me. With the authority of God, it thundered across a great valley in which I had just landed: “Dick, you’re dead!”

The voice of my Creator was speaking! It explained how I had gotten to heaven in timeless speed; and above all it established an intimacy between us which is called divine love. I was his child, Dick! Never had I been more excited. Truly I was in heaven’s paradise, in Jesus, with his mind in me. We were as one!

I invite each reader to share with me the following descriptions of how Jesus spoke with me in paradise, in hell, on Earth, and through his book. He specifically commanded me to tell such things, saying:

“These are the last days before I return for my body of believers. I am coming for them soon!”

He explained that he would be giving some of his children (when “available”) many documenting evidences to validate his prophecies.

“I need eyewitnesses of my glory and truth now. You are but one. Go, tell them, tell them, tell them! There is but little while until I come for my body of believers.”

Everything was bathed in shadowless light, with a baptism of love. Then it hit me! I WAS AT HOME! MY REAL HOME! I BELONGED HERE where the presence of Jesus enfolded me.

I was momentarily speechless with the ecstasy of it all! Then I realized that Jesus’ voice had declared me “dead.” Yet I was totally alive. He really had meant that only the former body and its imperfect mind were dead. A glance down the gorgeous length of my valley ended my silence: I heard my self shout: “Jesus, where am I?”

Instantly, before I could complete my query, that same voice in a tone of gentle thunder echoed within my head: “Didn’t you read my book?”

He was speaking to me (in fact, in me) with a speed greater than lightning, and in a language of sweet purity unlike anything that an earthly tongue could utter. I gasped again. I had HIS MIND, impossible as it seemed! Every word clearly meant exactly what was being said. We seemed to have a joint mind: I would ask, and he would answer. The speed of this communication in such a MIND is hard to describe in human terms. Perchance I can now liken it to a printed page on which the questions being typed have the answers typed upon them, line upon line, at the same time, instantly.

Jesus began his answer: “If you had read my book you would have known all the answers. Before I ever told my disciples to preach my good news, I promised never to leave nor forsake them. As I sat outside the temple I disclosed my impending death and my return to glory as being necessary for their ministry. Then I would transfer my power to them by sending my Holy Spirit into them from Pentecost onward. He would take my place in and among them on Earth as another Comforter! I gave them a certain promise:

“I am going to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there may ye be also.

“I had already explained to my followers that my Father had made them one in me, as I was one in the Father. That makes us inseparable, as ONE.”

Jesus paused as though the next thought on his mind pained him greatly.

“My son,” he resumed, “as it is written in my book, on the next day I was arrested, tried, and crucified for claiming identity with Jehovah. At my right hung a dying thief who stopped ridiculing me when he noted the sign over my head: ‘KING OF THE JEWS’ He believed it when he looked into my eyes, and called over to me: ‘Master, remember thou me when you come into your glory!’

“My book tells you that I immediately promised him: ‘This day shalt thou be with me in paradise!’

“The thief heard me before the centurions broke his legs so he would die immediately! My beloved disciple, John, also heard me as he stood near my bleeding feet. I then asked him to take my mother home with him because he could explain what I had said to her and the disciples.

“I gave up my spirit to my Father as soon as I announced to the crowd, ‘It is finished!’ Then I was free to prepare paradise for that repentant thief in heaven. This is my home here in the third heaven with my saints. You are in paradise this day!”

Jesus had answered my first question! I had instantly sensed that I was in heaven upon arrival there, but now I knew which part this was! I had so much more to ask about this new home.

To be talking with the Creator of the universe, mind to mind, in this paradise, was unspeakably exciting. Questions flooded through my new mind.

“But Jesus,” I blurted out, “Tell me your definition of paradise. It is obvious that I am in heaven with you because everything is so perfect. Tell me more!”

As he replied, his regal voice seemed to bubble over with excitement and joy and love. I sensed his pleasure at having a child of his come home this day: “My child, didn’t you read my book? I was so careful to explain that I would prepare for each of you in the heavenly places, an abode with me. I even arranged for my disciples to watch me ascend into the heavens, enfolded in my Shekinah glory cloud. I assigned two angels to meet them there outside of Bethany to reassure them that I would return in like manner. And I will do so!

“Later I allowed my chosen lad, Stephen, to see me seated at the right hand of my Father in heaven, just to prove to his executioners that I was there, alive! Saul had ordered the stoning. He was holding Stephen’s clothes. It shocked him to hear Stephen shout with ecstasy at seeing me. You see, I had plans for Saul that would require me to blind him with my light and later be stoned to death at Lystra so I could catch him up to this third heaven and show him the unspeakable glories of heaven. He would be instantly persuaded from then on that absolutely nothing could ever separate him from our love. After he saw paradise, I told him to write about it, and I changed his name to Paul.”

As Jesus talked, I became increasingly startled. The speed of his “heaven-language” was incredible yet totally clear within my head. At the same instant he was obviously replacing the needed memories which death of my original brain tissue had erased. Later, as we walked and talked that day I discovered that he also placed upon my new mind the very questions which I should ask! Only by asking him the proper question could he give the needed answer!

After he returned me to life on Earth I checked his book to find confirmation of this truth: sure enough, there it is: Jesus’ earthly brother, James, had written to us: “Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss.” Also, St. Paul nailed down the fact by writing: “We know not what we should pray for as we ought … but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us.” What a lesson for us on Earth! For us the Spirit prays, and for us Jesus looks upon the heart to find our true need!

“Now, my Son, to answer your question: Paradise is a holding tank for the souls who have accepted me as their savior simply by faith in my having laid down my life to redeem them from the curse of sin. I prepared a new place for each of them, as I had promised. It is one of my gifts of mercy and grace, that their joy may be full! Here they become one with me, completing the talents which I gave each one so that each can function as a distinct member in my body.

“Paradise is also my heavenly school for perfecting the saints. You must be taught how to become priests and kings in my kingdom so as to teach others to worship My Father in spirit and in truth. I am your teacher renewing your mind to comprehend the greatness of our unsearchable riches of grace and mercy and love for all.”

He paused from his exciting explanation to let me gasp.

Another query burst from my mind to his: “Do you mean, Jesus, that each of your children in paradise has a separate place just for his particular enjoyment?”

Jesus replied: “Yes, my son! Didn’t you read in my book that I would go to prepare a PLACE – not a commune, nor a kibbutz; not a tenement nor a tract house? It would be a place fit for providing the abundant joys and fulfilled dreams and talents of each child, as a new creature, My joint heir! Each person is unlike any other, except that I am in each one, perfecting, teaching, sanctifying. Each of their abodes reflects the perfection of the purposes and promises for which I prepare my people and places!

“I know my sheep, just as they know my voice. I made them. Heaven is so large that I have unlimited space for each one’s paradise, a place of his own. This is just a tiny portion of heaven. I have limitless plans. I think of paradise as my sheepfold; I am its gate!

“This is your paradise. It is what you could not fashion for yourself, so I did it for you. That was my promise. It is your temporary abode for now!”

I was stunned with excitement. This huge valley of celestial beauty was mine? The perfection of its forests, flowers, meadows and mountains was awesome.

But even so, the presence of Jesus in and about me was more important right now. I must ask another question that sudden formed.

Surely this great valley (among whose meadows of flowers I found myself standing) looked to be permanent. Yet Jesus had stated that it was a temporary abode, a holding tank! Four-pedaled flowers with their golden throats extended up into my legs, apparently as oblivious of my presence, as I was insensitive to theirs. Nothing seemed at all temporary.

In amazement I asked: “Jesus, what is temporary about this place, my paradise? It seems timeless to me!”

Jesus replied: “Didn’t you read my book, son? My Father’s plans are even greater for you than this. I explained that he is preparing a body of new creatures, which I have called members. This is the place where the souls of you who die before that BODY is completed are being assembled. Each member has an assignment to perform once I join him to me, the Head. Each day more members are being added as my earthly children surrender themselves into my arms. One of these days my body of true believers will be completed to my Father’s satisfaction.”

He paused as though the joy of that thought had overwhelmed him for the moment.

“My Father assures me that the time is yet a little while, but very little. Soon he will call those already in paradise to surround me as we descend from this third heaven to the first heaven around the Earth. The souls of all my saints will be instantly clothed in their new resurrection bodies, as will the living saints on Earth who rise to us in the glory cloud! At the sounding trumpet they all receive new bodies and rise to meet us in the air. We return as my body to my throne room with the Father. Now do you understand why I called this place a temporary abiding place? Do you grasp what it will mean to be one with me and the Father in your incorruptible bodies? My book states that I assumed mankind’s sin so you ‘might be made the righteousness of God’ in me!”

I can clearly recall how Jesus’ voice paused at this moment. He was savoring an anticipation too intense and private to be revealed. Was he pre-living that moment at which he would enjoy the victory which his Father would give him as the eternal reward for his own long-suffering? His own sting of death would be swallowed up, and he would be the omniscient Head of a completed and compliant body for whom he had shed his blood on a terrible cross. He would reign as KING of the Jews after these days of grace. Then his thoughts returned to me.

“My son, when that time has come, my Father will call to me. The applause of the heavenly hosts will be deafening; they too have been awaiting that day, ever since they announced my birth to the shepherds at Bethlehem so long ago. Scoffers will gaze with fear and wonder as my angelic hosts watch me fulfill my promise to my earthly body of believers at my soon return to Earth.

“My book records the many signs which will precede my coming for my family. I tried to explain those events to my disciples, very carefully. I promised them that I was leaving my Holy Spirit as a comforter to instruct them as they studied my word, and to tell them of the things to come. I want my children to be informed about our plans in advance. I want them to be filled with my joy. After all, they are mine: I created them and bought them back from satanic slavery. I told them that I would come for them so that we could be together forever. My Father wants them all to believe Me.”

His lightening-fast discourse ceased. I surveyed my paradise and this new body that floated!

I glanced at my wrist to note the time, since there was no sun in the sky. My wrist had no watch on it, nor was there any telltale evidence of a watchband. In fact, the whole arm and body was of a beautiful, glowing, semi-transparent material without mar or scar. I gasped to realize that this was ME! (I would ask Jesus more about it later.) A strange sense of timelessness gripped me. It was simply awesome!

I exclaimed: “Jesus, what happened to time, it seems to have vanished!”

His disbelief at such a silly question in paradise was evident in his voice as he replied with loving restraint: “My child, the book tells you clearly that all things seen or unseen, felt or unfelt, are my creations. Without me nothing was made that was made. Originally there was nothing at all but the everlasting God in whom I am the Creator. That included what is known as ‘time’ in the universe of the firmament. Remember? I named myself the ‘Alpha and Omega,’ the beginning and completion of all things. Remember? I took my beloved John to heaven one day to foresee the fulfillments of my promises. He was so overwhelmed at seeing me that I had to introduce myself again as the ‘Amen, the Faithful, True Witness,’ and the beginning Creator of the creations of God! I had taken him ahead in ‘earthly time’ to the ‘day of the Lord’, the time of my victory over the works of Satan. We exist here in that timelessness, the eternity of God, the kind of life that does not perish! It is our gift of love, ‘eternal life!'”

The simplicity of his explanation left me shaken. All that I could think was, “Of course!” Jesus had quietly restated that only the most high God could create anything. Neither an idol nor a man could do so! For every reason conceivable, no one less than God could make a universe without raw materials or divine intelligence. History and common sense prove that especially ‘eternity’ itself!

Expanding love and praise exploded within me as I sensed the immensity of the person who was talking to me so gently.

“You are wonderful, Jesus. You do not think or act or promise in terms of ‘time’, do you? Therefore your thoughts are unlimited. You can see all things as having happened already, even before they occur. That is how you can plan all events and creations to work together for the good of Your BODY and the glory of you, our Head! Even this paradise you made for me was prepared before I would arrive, wasn’t it? You planned and planted all these fantastic trees, flowers, and grasses in my valley in advance of my coming here today, didn’t you?”

As if wreathed in smiles at my comprehension, he replied:

“Verily, my son! That is why I am the Truth, since no one but God could be. I am showing you now that what I said in my book about death and paradise, and even about my promise of you and me being together as one in eternity, is the truth. I and my word are one also. Again I emphasize that I have written only truth in my book. I have begged my people ‘to ask and seek and knock’ as evidence of their earnest search for my everlasting love. So few ever do. Even my disciples failed to ask. I had to chide them by stating, ‘Ye have not because ye ask not!’

“I even made it very simple for them by promising if any two would agree upon a request, I would answer. I already had prepared the right answer in advance; by faith they were to accept it. That is how my Father, our Spirit and I have arranged for all things to work together for those who love us. I told them to abide in me so that whatsoever they would seek would be our will to give.”

Then Jesus paused as though disappointed in something.

“Oh that my children on Earth would believe me! Oh that they would trust my word, and would talk with me! I gave them the model of how to pray; it is childlike because it is the expression of confidence. ‘Our Father,!’ He is the hallowed God, the only God who can help; the only God who loves them and listens. I told them to request that ‘his kingdom come and his will be done on Earth.'”

That means now. Their mouths speak it but their hearts doubt it. How can he answer if they do not worship in spirit and in truth?

“My gift is eternal life which has to start on Earth where they need its cleansing power, and where we need our good news of salvation accepted. Oh that my people would start their lives with me there so they could live abundantly and not perish! Why do they want to wait and wait until it is too late?”

His voice seemed to drift off into a fog of sadness. I sensed that he was reliving a Gethsemane of agony where he had foreseen a world of people rejecting his way to share their lives with him. It had made him bleed!

He had explained about timelessness, so it now seemed a good “time” to inspect this paradise of mine a bit more closely. Nothing so grand could be imagined as a “walk” with Jesus who could answer the swarms of questions forming in my new mind.

“What a view! What a place Jesus had prepared!”

I hung stock-still suspended in weightlessness a few feet above the flowered meadow. The ecstatic release from gravity in this new body was part of the permeating peace which surrounded me. Without time, I had no need to hurry.

Music surrounded me. It came from all directions. Its harmonic beauty unlike earthly vocal or instrumental sounds was totally undistorted. It flowed unobtrusively like a glassy river, quietly worshipful, excitingly edifying, and totally comforting. It provided a reassuring type of comfort much like a protective blanket that whispered peace and love. I had never sensed anything like it. Perhaps “angelic” would describe it.

This music was “sounding” within my head, not from an eardrum. Obviously it was not airborne. Most unusual to me was the absence of any “beat.” Then I realized that without “time” this heavenly music could have no beat which is a measure of time! I was hearing harmonic perfection, undistorted by any interposed medium between me and its source, as heard mind-to-mind. I could wait no longer to ask: “Jesus, tell me about this wondrous music all about me. Who is the composer? How is it made? From whence does it come? It is gorgeous!”

I was not disappointed when he began his answer by again asking me: “Didn’t you read my book? Repeatedly it exhorts my children to praise me with music from strings, trumpets, timbrels and voices. It is and was the prime communication of worship and praise and thanksgiving. Since I am the Creator, I am the composer of heaven’s music which you are hearing.”

Music became the resulting harmony from all of our creations, both of matter and energy. All resonated in unison with us. The elementary form was of and from and in ourselves. I might explain it as a triad of sub-electronic energy particles with and around which We constructed everything in our universe. The wave-forms we called light; whereas the material-forms we called dust of the Earth and water and air. Out of these, and into these, we created animals and birds and fishes and vegetable life to support them. Over these we created a mankind to supervise them as our appointed custodians made in our special image to act for us on Earth!

Jesus hesitated as I tried to capture the immensity of his explanations.

“You must understand, my son, that original creation mirrored the composition and perfection of Person-God. All creation vibrated in unison with us! There was total accord and harmony everywhere as the whole creation was resonating with and in God!

“Each separate thing or being thus carried out an appointed task in our scheme for the universe. A heaven-form of music resulted as even the stars sang in their appointed circuits. Here in paradise you are hearing these melodious vibrations directly upon your new mind, undistorted. On Earth you heard distorted sounds through the air waves. Throughout heaven the music flows from my throne, uninterrupted, undefiled, and peace-giving.”

Jesus paused again.

“My book tells of the time when Lucifer’s rebellion in heaven changed some things. He sought to usurp my Father’s throne, assume his position as the most high God, and to rule the universe. For that blasphemy Lucifer was cast from heaven to Earth; in fact, I saw him fall as a bolt of lightning! In a tantrum of hate and rage over being deposed so fast he and his fallen angels disfigured our perfect Earth. It became void and uninhabitable. For punishment befitting his enemy of God, Lucifer was given a new name, Satan, since he was the self-appointed ‘adversary’ of the Almighty. Anything that God had made, Satan would attempt to destroy from then on. As Lucifer he had been created the highest angel about the throne, one of his assignments and talents being the chief musician in charge of worship and music. In his rebellious anger he set about destroying harmony on and in the Earth from then on. That is why the Earth where he operates now is out of harmony with God’s other creations. In my book we call this disharmony ‘sin’, because it defies God’s will that even the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament show his handiwork.

“But be of good cheer, my son. The Father has permitted me to overcome Satan’s world system of sin, and to destroy the works of Satan, and to re-establish righteousness in the hearts of my friends. Eventually in his chosen time he will restore all creation as it once was, in him!”

It was clear enough that God’s “heaven-music” was ever-present as a permeating reminder of the purity and power in its Creator. As God’s methods of communication are headlined by music, even so is Satan’s method of distorting its language to deceive through his “rock”! Jesus had clearly implied already that one of his final missions would be to destroy the very “works of the devil” which include all music that fails to honor the Lord. Messiah promised to destroy any disharmonies which Satan uses to lure and deceive innocent children into the pits of hell!

The music around me suddenly seemed louder. I rushed to a nearby tree and grasped its trunk to my ear: it was “singing.” I lifted my right elbow to my head; it too emitted the same joyous, beatless melody. Excitedly I stopped to pick some flowers, and found them already in my hand. They too were “playing” the tune.

This bouquet in my hand made me gasp in wonderment for two reasons: it was so suddenly there in my hand without my having as yet picked it, and it was so exceedingly beautiful! I had merely thought about a bouquet, and there it was, ready for my inspection.

I was now gazing at stamens and pistils and calyces of transparent gold. Lengthwise through them I could see down into their stems. It was my first moment to see an example of heaven’s liquid transparent gold? Such a thrill to share its beauty!

Then I noted the stems which filled my palm! Soft as velvet, and devoid of moisture, yet so alive! The pure-white petals, four to each flower, were identical, flawless, and picture-perfect. They seemed to be internally energized since all were emitting light of appropriate color.

I blurted out (mind-to-mind): “Jesus, I do not understand. I just decided to pick some flowers. They are already in my hand. I can see transparent golden centers, and their stems are waterless. I also sense that I am speaking with You through a new mind, with which I receive immediate answers!”

Jesus replied: “My son,” came the reply, “you are discovering how my mind works. Here in paradise I have given you a portion of my MIND with which we communicate. You just discovered one of its properties: a thought in heaven instantly becomes an act or a fact. DIDN’T YOU READ MY BOOK? In it I told my children that ‘ye have the Mind of Christ’ when you are in me. On Earth they too seldom use it. Here in paradise it is the only mind. The earthly mind died with the carnal body; it was an enmity to me! Flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God; only a righteous mind is present in heaven.

“Here I speak mind-to-mind in my heaven-language. My word immediately performs my will. It is truth! To create, I think, and it is done. Of course, Satan has no power to interfere in this heaven.

“I hung the stars in space to tell of my protection and promises. When I wanted an earthly family to fellowship with me, I thought of God’s image, and it became a man who would live with life-flowing blood. I thought of animals, fish and birds: there they were, ready to eat the foods which I had carefully prepared for them that day. Even now, when I wish to bless my people, the power of my thought provides and transmits my blessings anywhere I send them.

“My book tells mankind that my thoughts are not as his are: his are vanity and evil and against Me. They come from the mind of unsaved man. There is no power in such thinking. To me it is an abomination.

“Because I am the righteousness of God, My thoughts are precious and unlimited. Just as this paradise is far above the Earth, so my thoughts are of peace and of goodwill toward men. My power sheds my love on them!

“When I created something new, I did not need evolution! I AM THE WORD. I am all that my Father needed to form, all that is seen from things not seen! Satan detests me and everything I created, so he used a theory intended to blaspheme my power: a lie and deception. He still does. There is no truth in him anyway. He knows better: he was among the first and highest creations, but he fell through his overwhelming pride to an eventual eternity in hell which was prepared for the punishment of him and his worshippers.

“My son, your mind in paradise works with the power of mind. I give that very special privilege to all the children of God!”

Jesus changed the subject: “You were amazed at the gold in the flowers. I enjoyed watching you discover that heavenly things are of a material unlike the dust of the Earth. Our gold is pure and transparent and eternal. My light shines through it. I created it that way as a gift to my Father! It bespeaks his perfection.”

Jesus hastened to explain more. “You were wondering about those ‘dry’ stems. My book would have told you that because of sin. Satan lied and did deceive Eve, and then Adam, into sinning against their Creator-God. In heaven, which includes paradise, there are no gases such as hydrogen and oxygen from which I made water on Earth. On Earth it is essential to maintain life. It is a substitute for what we have here, LIVING WATER! Earthly water has become polluted. Living water is always pure. It flows from my throne. One drop can last for eternity. Remember? I told the woman at the well that she should ask of me a drop of that living water. She was so excited that she sent a crowd of her friends running to meet me!

“Earth’s water has been so dirtied by man that I will someday have to destroy all of it, and remake the old Earth with a new one without even a sea!

“My son, you know that everything in all of heaven is sustained by MY LIVING WATER. Your flowers are one example which I let you discover so that you would ask me for an answer. Your flowers are watered from my throne through my Spirit. You noted the absence of any fallen leaves. My living water prevents leaves from dying; it does not evaporate! All forms of life here is maintained by my light and my living water. Both are pure and eternal. I told you in my book about these leaves: they are for the healing of the nations! And I told you that I would be the light of heaven, and no curse can exist in my light!

“At the time of creation, we ordered each life form to multiply ‘after its own kind,’ including new mankind. We made them male and female so that their union in procreation would mirror the bond of loving unity which exists between the Father in heaven and his family on Earth. That is my Father’s greatest love! He even had me shed my blood and die in order to re-establish that relationship as an eternal gift!

“My son, the time is coming when Satan will be bound in a bottomless pit for a thousand years awaiting his banishment into eternal punishment in a lake of fire! His reign of terror on the Earth will have ended. No longer will he be allowed to corrupt the minds and families of man. His worldwide rule over the nations will have been suddenly ended. I will rule instead! As I told you in my book, with Satan gone I will create a new heaven and Earth and a new city, Jerusalem. My peace and grace will abound (instead of every kind of sin and hate as have existed on Earth since Babylon because man chose to worship the devil). The whole universe will then be set free to worship the righteous God.”

Five years after this conversation with me, Jesus re-appeared to me in Lazarus’ tomb with an amazing command: “Go tell them what I explained to you in paradise when I let you die for a while!” [1]

[1] Note: This was a mystical experience Dr. Eby had while on tour in Israel while he was inside of Lazarus’ tomb.

I have been attempting to speak and write words ever since of that fantastic moment, but no human language is at all adequate. However, I pray that some words here have been meaningful to someone. Jesus promised that he would see to that! (This is his story too.)

4. A Detailed Description of Dr. Eby’s Spirit Body

Suddenly, as the risen Lord paused in his explanation of future glories in a righteous universe, I realized that the new body I had in this paradise had not once signaled its presence to my mind. I had been oblivious of its existence while Jesus was talking. And yet it was “me”, and vitally alive. This raised another question.

These events in paradise had occurred with such lightning-like speed that I had not inspected my totally comfortable new body. It was unbelievable, as was everything else up there!

I was recognizable as “me.” My shape, size, and appearance would indicate that I had been changed suddenly into an unmarred, unscarred, weightless “me.” This was Dick Eby in some new form! My amazement grew with each part that I inspected. Never had I seen anything like it. Was I “in” a new body, or was I “the” new body? I could not tell.”

To this day I do not know; neither did St. Paul who sagely described his similar experiences as “unutterable,” not knowing whether he was “in or out of the body.” He said that it was “celestial.”

Its material fascinated me. Obviously of a substance peculiar to heaven, it was modestly glowing, transparent to the direct gaze, yet semi-solid at times. Looking down at my feet, I was shocked to see myself not touching the solid ground, although I had felt a thud when I had suddenly arrived there. I hung gracefully above the lush grasses of this meadow. I noted stemmed flowers with glowing white petals standing quietly within my legs up to the kneecaps. I saw no muscles nor nerves, no vessels nor bones, just that homogeneous glass-like “spirit-matter”! Obviously these flowers ignored my presence, just as I did not feel theirs. Reflexly, I feared lest I had damaged these heavenly flowers by landing upon them; I would lift my right leg off them. Before finishing my thought, the leg was raised, and the flowers remained motionless and perfect. I gasped. My thought had lifted the leg as it was being simultaneously “processed.”

I heard myself think: “That’s exciting; I will lower my leg back over the flowers and see what happens.”

Nothing was felt; not a petal moved within my leg. It was amazing.

The ecstasy of being “free indeed” in a new place and a new body made me feel like a spirited calf loosed from a stall. I decided to run around my paradise and learn more about it and me. At the thought, I was running without touching the ground. Although my legs were in motion, my speed changed with my thoughts. I came to a tree and passed throughout it without feeling anything. I kicked my feet through the grasses, bushes, and bed of flowers; nothing was disturbed. They simply passed through my legs with no resistance. I was rapidly learning that a “spirit body” and this heavenly vegetation are not of any earthly substance.

I stopped running to inspect my own body more closely. It was homogeneous. As I gazed through it I was surprised to see no organs. It apparently functioned without members of differing secretions and excretions! It was immediately logical to me that in heaven there is no need for a body to ingest, digest, transform, reform, nor to “process” foods or waste! In heaven there is no polluted water nor air nor chemical to attack the spirit body. There is not even an unclean thought to be rejected!

This new spirit body had no restrictions imposed by an outer or inner environment of solids, gases, or waste. What excitement! I was enjoying dashing effortlessly around the huge valley floor of flowering meadows, and up the mountainsides to the stately, symmetrical “cedars of Lebanon” (as my mind was silently naming them).

I tried to cast my shadow across the underlying fields as I swooped along. Everything was so brightly lit. It seemed abnormal not to see shadows so I flailed my arms: nothing. The light of heaven was coming from no one source, but was emitted everywhere in appropriate colors. Each bit of vegetation seemed to contain a light source of its own. So did I.

Reflexly I raised my arms in thanks and adoration for my Lord’s love in showing me heaven’s wonders which were mysteries to me. As I bowed my head, I noted a glowing pure-white gown which somehow I had not seen when I looked through it in search of organs! I was awed by its total weightlessness and silky softness. My raised arms had parted its overlapping folds for the moment, revealing me as a neuter (i.e. no sex organs)! This came as a shock, although I had not felt surprise at the absence of defects or scars. This alteration was so unexpected!

“Lord Jesus, why am I now a neuter? I was a man.”

Jesus replied: “Yes, Dick, you were always a man, a child of God who returned our love by telling others of the good news about me. Remember? You read in my book the very first order I gave to Adam and Eve? ‘Be fruitful and multiply!’ I told them to replenish the Earth, not heaven. Again I told the Sadducees (who did not believe in a resurrection) that they ‘knew not the scriptures’ when they speculated about wives in heaven. I explained that after the resurrection all would be like angels who do not marry nor raise families. Everything in heaven is created or re-created into perfection! It is all in my book. None other is truth!

“In fact, everything that my children need to know about how God thinks and works and judges and rewards, either before or after the cross, is already in my book. That is why I commanded mankind to ‘engrave my words upon their hearts,’ and to pass them along from generation to generation. I wanted everyone to hear and know just who I AM, the Messiah, their one hope of salvation, their most high God.”

I checked my body again: truly celestial! Its senses were too keen to describe.

Weightless, painless, instantly responsive. Comfortable and totally peaceful. Unaware of any disharmony elsewhere. Thinking with the mind of Christ. Sensing that I was IN him somehow.

He had said so clearly: “I and the Father are one.”

He had prayed so fervently: “… that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they may be also one in us!,” the Father declared it done!”

5. A Detailed Description of the Heaven Dr. Eby Experienced

The very contemplation of experiencing this fulfillment of being in paradise with the risen Jesus was unutterable. To know that I, in this spirit body, was actually in some glorious sense in him for eternity staggered even the imagination of my new mind. It was so obvious that Dick Eby had not of himself merited any such glory.

Events in paradise were occurring unbelievable fast. Thoughts and actions there seemingly vie with each other to be completed instantly. The environment of heaven with its timelessness, weightlessness, and lack of all earthly confusion and stress results in a type of “joy” unattainable in this world system. I simply stood (floated) quietly, peacefully, entranced in an experience which only a living, loving God could have arranged for his followers!

Jesus all this time seemed to be a component of myself, of my spirit body and of my mind. He must have been amused at my near-delirious joy while inspecting the place he had prepared for my pleasure.

“My son, you seem to be enjoying the freedoms of heaven! You looked surprised especially over your spirit body which is so different from your former one. That is one reason that I had allowed it to die so that I could reveal to you another truth which my book contains. You now know that my book is true when I promise complete healing as part of salvaging my sheep from sin. I had to prepare an incorruptible body to replace the fleshly one that had been cursed ever since Adam disobeyed me in the garden.

“In order not to break my own verdict, I had to sentence Adam’s seed to ‘surely die’ because he followed Satan’s advice. I had to leave the seeds of death in his flesh. My book says that I can and will mend man’s body when it will result in glory to my Father; but I do not give ‘divine’ health to the carnal body: only to the spirit or resurrection form. Death of the dust-body (not the human spirit) is still a divine decree. Only through rebirth of the spirit in a new creation (which will transform man completely) can an incorruptible body be attained, fit for eternal existence in and with me! I made that fact so clear by dying and arising in my new body! I was the example. I told my disciples that they would follow me in that newness of life. A few understood finally, after seeing me ascend to heaven!

“My Father empowered me to act as ‘a quickening Spirit’ in order to raise the dead, in body and spirit. Remember? I told that secret to Mary and Martha: ‘I am the resurrection and the life!’ Then I demonstrated how my Father had given power to me (for his purpose) when needed. They watched, and they believed! YOU are here now because I passed you from death unto life!”

Already this paradise of marvels had supplied enough wonders! Any earthly dreams about “heavenly mansions” had been corrected and surpassed. No memories of Earth remained with me except the ones which Jesus was obviously implanting in my new mind in order to understand what he had to tell me. His mind-to-mind conversation from within me was unbelievable precise as to meaning, and as fast as lightning. What a teacher!

I just stood still, surveying the peace-filled valley, quiet except for the background music that flowed through and around everything. The brilliant light of heaven filled the “sky” without hurting the eyes of my “spirit body.” No sense of fatigue or need for sleep existed in this body. There was no “time”, no “daylight” savings! No hurry, hurry.

Then I noticed something amazingly delightful: I was bathed in a delicate perfume, totally “heavenly!” I had been smelling it all along, but was too excited to stop and sniff its absolute loveliness. It seemed to permeate the landscape and me. I imagined that whatever it was, it was certainly fit only for a king!

“Jesus,” I exclaimed, “What is this perfume? Do angels use it? Where does it come from?”

Silence. I repeated the query. Still no answer. Perhaps the Lord would answer later? (He did! But not in heaven).

Hearing no answer, I turned my gaze toward the far end of my valley. Again I gasped at its grandeur. Tall rolling hills stretched into the distant sky, skirted at their feet with green meadows trimmed in white and gold flowers. My mind was reminding me of Jesus’ comment about “lilies of the field” whose adornment surpassed the elegance of Solomon.

I was peacefully examining a cluster of intriguingly lovely lilies (kind unknown to me) when an unexpected strangeness suddenly seemed to crush me.

(I had been enjoying my paradise all this time; the reality of being “at home” had become a normal situation which can best be described as an immersion into total peace, unending and perfect!)

It was as though a subtle “change in plans” had now occurred: my perfect peace seemed to “crack.” An unexplained restlessness crept into me, and a memory formed in my mind for the first time: Where is Maybelle, my loving, lovely wife on Earth? We were so close that she must have died too. She must be up here in her very own paradise. I must find her and take her a bouquet of these lovely flowers. She would so enjoy them. Where do I find her? I feel so lonesome.

6. Dr. Eby Returns to His Physical Body

I looked away from the flowers at my feet, just as a narrow path suddenly parted the lush grass, as if a rushing blade had mowed a strip from my feet to the far end of the valley. Just as suddenly we both were running along (but just above) this pathway. I shouted to Jesus: “What is happening? Where am I headed? Why do I suddenly remember my Maybelle? I must find her!”

Jesus replied: “My son, fear not! You remembered about her because I put it upon your mind that she was part of you. I wanted you to understand why my Father and I made marriage something very special. I wrote in my book a warning: ‘Let no man put asunder what God has united!’ We were planning the earthly family to be as close-knit as is our heavenly family, like a mirror-image!”

Just then I noted that our speed along the path was rapidly accelerating, and that a curve to the right was visible far ahead where the path disappeared into a pass.

“You are feeling ‘incomplete’ all at once because your other half is ‘missing’. We made the two of you one! I want you to experience something right now in paradise with me which you could not sense elsewhere! I am letting you feel ‘intense hurt’, the hurt of lonesomeness, such as I have felt from being separated from my earthly people for so long! Remember? I told Adam that it is not good to be alone as a man! Since he was made in our image, the same applies to God.

“We chose a family once: We espoused Israel and Judah as the wife of Jehovah. She and we would walk and work together to bring down the idol worship of Satan’s nations who rejected their Creator.

“But our wife Israel chased after other gods, and played the whore and ‘slept’ with Satan. Jehovah (who includes me) had to obey his own laws, so we gave her a bill of divorcement. We had to chasten her until she would repent: otherwise we would be breaking our own rules! Since then she has not yet repented, and is still wandering like lost sheep.

“I am lonesome for my people to come home to me. I even came to Earth to win them back, but they said ‘Away with him! Crucify him!’ I left them a promise that I still love them. After all I even died for them. I promised that I would restore my divorcee and would wash her filthy rags of whoredom white as snow. I would make her my new bride adorned in a pure white wedding gown with jewels. As a wedding present I would reestablish her nation on Earth to be a blessing once again (instead of the stumbling stone). I must be her king on David’s throne! And soon!

“The Father and I have felt so neglected all these centuries without the love we sought to enjoy with our family. Can you now imagine how we hurt as I await my body and my Father waits to remarry a penitent wife as our new bride? I am letting you feel that sense of separation!”

Only the rush of our speed could have turned my attention away from Jesus’ profound statements. The bend in the path was approaching in the distance, so Jesus hastened to finish his lesson in marriage:

“My son, the most important earthly gift meant to reflect the inseparable bond of love which unites us with our sheep in our fold! We become ONE with them, just as we intend marriage to make one out of two on Earth! That is what happens when a man and his mate let us put them together. I said so in my book which is my love-letter to our family on Earth.

“Oh that my people would turn back now to God! My Father is unwilling that any should perish, but very few listen to us. Their eyes and ears are sealed over by sins which they enjoy. It simply makes our search for the lost ones all the more intense! I have prepared and promised them unsearchable riches in our presence; in fact everything that I have received from the Father I have willed over to them, jointly! I want my body of believers completed very soon, so that the bride can be united in us at the marriage table! I am their lamb. If only my people would call on me, I could answer them now! Do you sense my loneliness? I am ready; why must they tarry?”

I was about to respond when the pathway above which was speeding took a sharp right turn into a narrow valley. As I swooped between its foothills I gasped at a familiar voice that echoed from somewhere far ahead:

“Dick, were are you? Follow my voice. I need you!”

Like a bolt of lightning-speed I was suddenly being shot forward. Her voice became louder and louder. I was being sucked forward as if by a huge vacuum and then, into total blackness and blankness! No voice, no nothing. I had been sent out of paradise. Why?

I would learn later. Plans had been changed! Maybelle had been frantically praying for a miracle: and Jesus had answered!

In God’s planning, my time in paradise had fulfilled what he wanted to accomplish for me there. He had left Maybelle on Earth to accomplish for her another purpose!

It would take many months for us to be shown how the horror of her day of widowhood (with its blood, sirens, and questionings, and waiting, and shocking hopeless reports) could possibly be “to the glory of God!” The numbing sudden loss of her loved one had initially erased from her mind the details which require immediate answers at such a time of accident. So she prayed:

“Help me, Jesus! I don’t know what to do!”

And then it happened.

[Dr. Richard Eby’s NDE ends here.]

Categories
Articles Science

Religious Interpretations of Near-Death Experiences

Dr. David San Filippo is a licensed mental health counselor, a certified disability management specialist, and a certified cognitive behavioral specialist who has been working in human services for more than 25 years. His counseling and consulting service specializes in helping adults overcome issues related to personal development, trauma, grief, and vocational rehabilitation. His intellectual properties company deals with human and artificial intelligence by combining the collective knowledge of human intelligence and dynamics with modern computer technology to produce software products designed to enhance people’s personal and work lives. His educational products consist of the workshops and seminars that Dr. San Filippo offers for human growth and development. His website contains a library section which is an outstanding resource for general research in human science in the areas of philosophy, psychology, sociology and theology.

Table of Contents

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Near-Death Experiences
  4. The Phenomenology of the Near-Death Experience
  5. Models of Near-Death Experiences
  6. Transpersonal and Reductionist Theories Concerning Near-Death Experiences
  7. Out-of-Body Experiences
  8. Children and Near-Death Experiences
  9. Attitudinal and Personality Changes Following Near-Death Experiences
  10. Religious Beliefs Concerning Death, Afterlife, and Near-Death Experiences
  11. Agnostics and Atheists
  12. Buddhism and Hinduism
  13. Islam
  14. Judaism
  15. Christianity
  16. Mormonism
  17. Conclusion
  18. References

1. Abstract

Interpretations of near-death experiences are influenced by religious and psychosocial teachings about death and afterlife beliefs. Different religious beliefs have resulted in the formation of numerous religious groups who have fostered their own interpretations of death, afterlife, and the immediate transition period between life and afterlife. This essay provides an overview of reductionist theories and for the plausibility of transpersonal theories of near-death experiences. The essay then provides an overview of the human consciousness of what seems to be life after death, religious beliefs concerning death and afterlife, and interpretations of near-death experiences by different religious groups. This essay contends that religious interpretations combined with the contemporary work on near-death experiences and the arguments against reductionism provide grounds for the plausibility of the transpersonal theories concerning near-death experiences.

2. Introduction

A near-death experience is a conscious experience in which the individual experiences a sense of being detached from the physical world during the process of physiological dying. Individuals may experience their own physiological dyings and deaths and at the same time become aware of their disembodied existences in an altered state where they may experience a sense of peace, a separation of consciousness from the body, entering darkness, seeing a light, meeting spiritual entities, having a panoramic life review, and a sense of judging their lives (Moody, 1975; Morse, 1990, Ring, 1980). Near-death experiencers are generally positively affected by their experiences and their confrontation with death seems to give more meaning to the individual’s life (Kalish, 1981). Near-death experiences could be considered “transpersonal” experiences due to their nature of transcending the usual “personal” physical and mental realms of human consciousness. Transpersonal experiences are those incidents that are of the highest or ultimate human potential and beyond the ego or personal self (Lajoie & Shapiro, 1992, p. 90).

In order to evaluate near-death experiences effectively, it is necessary to have an understanding of personal beliefs concerning life after death. According to Kellehear & Irwin (1990), the interpretation of the near-death experience may be related to the social conditioning and beliefs of the experiencer, such as interpreting the experience in relationship to the experiencer’s religious beliefs concerning life after death.

Numerous surveys have documented that the majority of people in the United States believe in life after death (Kalish, 1981; Kellehear & Irwin, 1990; Klenow & Bolin, 1989, Rodabough, 1985). Psychologist Charles Tart (1991), in his article, “Altered States of Consciousness and the Possibility of Survival of Death“, discusses his belief that humans regain some type of consciousness after death. He states:

“The direct experience of existing and experiencing in some form that seems partially or fully independent of the physical body is relatively common in various altered states of consciousness, and this kind of experience constitutes the most direct knowledge of survival an individual may have” (p. 37).

Past-life researcher Brian Weiss (1988) reports there are experiences of what seems to be life after death, as reported by many of his subjects, and that the different experiences and concepts of the subject’s lifetime, involving religion and death, can influence the individual’s understanding of death and afterlife.

Religions involve group practices of similar religious beliefs. An individual’s personal religious beliefs are experienced within the individual’s consciousness and may be related to others through various religious practices. Through social participation individual beliefs may be formed and heightened. Religious beliefs may both provide explanations for unexplained phenomena and communicate the essence of human transpersonal experiences.

Interpretations of near-death experiences can be influenced by religious beliefs in life after death. The effects of religious diversity may not only influence the interpretations of near-death experiences but also may account for some of the differences in the descriptions of encounters with incorporeal entities, the setting of the experience, and in the activities reported during the experience. Religious beliefs can provide references to explain the “difficult to explain” experiences associated with a near-death experience (Foos-Graber, 1989; Kubler-Ross, 1991; Moody, 1975, 1977, 1988; Ring, 1980, 1982). Most reported near-death experiences appear to support many philosophical and religious theories of what is anticipated in life after death such as communion with incorporeal beings and the existence of afterlife polar planes of good and bad, heaven and hell.

It is the intention of this essay to provide a review of the near-death experience phenomenon and the beliefs in life after death of some religious denominations who have reported near-death experiences, as well as their interpretations of these experiences. The essay will conclude that these religious interpretations, combined with contemporary near-death research, and arguments against reductionist interpretations provide grounds for the plausibility of transpersonal theories concerning near-death experiences.

3. Near-Death Experiences

Near-death experiences appear to be a universal phenomena that has been reported for centuries. A near-death encounter is defined as an event in which the individual could very easily die or be killed, or may have already been considered clinically dead, but nonetheless survives, and continue his or her physical life (Moody, 1977, p.124). Reports of near-death experiences date back to the Ice Age. There are cave paintings, in France and Spain, depicting possible after life scenes that are similar to reported scenes related to near-death experiences (Zaleski, 1987). Plato’s Republic presents the story of a near-death experience of a Greek soldier named Er. In this account, the soldier is killed in battle and his body is placed on a funeral pyre. Just before he is to be cremated, he awakens and tells a story of leaving his body and traveling with others to a place where they were all to be judged (Plato, 1928). Historical figures such as Carl Jung, Thomas Edison, and Ernest Hemingway have also reported their own near-death experiences (Jung, 1961; Moody, 1977, Zaleski, 1987). Modern researchers, such as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Raymond Moody, Kenneth Ring, and Melvin Morse, have provided modern accounts of near-death experiences. Through their research, they have been able to provide phenomenological evidence regarding these experiences as altered states of consciousness, and qualitatively demonstrated that the great similarities between the different reports of these experiences are not a result of chance or accident.

According to a 1991 Gallup Poll estimate, 13 million Americans, 5% of the population, reported they have had a near-death experience (Greyson, 1992). Research has demonstrated that near-death experiences are no more likely to affect the devoutly religious than the agnostic or atheist. Near-death experiences can be experienced by anyone (Moody, 1975, 1977, 1980, Morse, 1990; Ring, 1980, 1985). According to Talbot (1991), near-death experiences appear to have no relationship to “a person’s age, sex, marital status, race, religion and/or spiritual beliefs, social class, educational level, income, frequency of church attendance, size of home community, or area of residence” (p. 240).

Near-death experiences have been recorded in folklore, religious, and social writings throughout the world. Reports have been recorded from societies such as Native American, Tibet, Japan, Melanesia, Micronesia, Egypt, China, India, Africa, Australia, Europe, and the United States (Greyson, 1992; Mauro, 1992). According to Ring (1980), there does not appear to be any relationship between, on one hand, an individual’s spirituality and religious practices, and on the other hand, the likelihood of experiencing a near-death experience or the depth of the ensuing experience.

4. The Phenomenology of the Near-Death Experience

Near-death experiencer consistently report similar experiences. According to Talbot (1991), “One of the most interesting aspects of the ND phenomenon is the consistency one finds from experience to experience” (p. 240). Although most near-death experiencers may not experience all of the traits associated with near-death experiences or in the same order, experiencers consistently report similar experiences. The following is a constructed description of the content of a near-death experience representing most of the major traits:

At the onset of the near-death experience, the individual may experience a sense of being dead, and surprise at being dead, yet will remain peaceful and have no feelings of pain. Following the peaceful awareness of being dead, the experiencer may have an out-of-body experience, a perception of separating from the physical body and moving away from the deceased body. The individual may experience a sense of moving through a tunnel, during the stage of entering into the darkness. As the individual passes through the tunnel, there may be an awareness of a bright light towards the end of the tunnel. While experiencing the consciousness of the light, ethereal forms recognizable by the experiencer may be seen in the light. In the later part of the near-death experience, the individual may sense he or she is rising rapidly towards the light into what he or she may consider heaven or another plane of consciousness. During this ascension, the experiencer may encounter a Being of Light reported to be either God, another spiritual deity, or an energy form recognized by non-theists. The encounter with the Being of Light engulfs the experiencer with a sense of unconditional love emanating from the Being. During this encounter, the near-death experiencer may become conscious of having a total panoramic review of his or her life and may experience a sense of self-judgment when observing his or her life events in review. The judgment is not by the Being of Light but is a personal judgment by the experiencer. Throughout each of the stages, and particularly in the latter stages of the near-death experience, the individual may be reluctant to return to his or her former life.

Although most near-death reports are positive, in that they are pleasurable experiences, there are some reports of negative or “hellish” type experiences. The reports of negative near-death experiences appear to be rare. Of all the reported near-death experiences, a 1982 Gallup poll estimated that less than 1% are considered to be negative, hellish, and frightening experiences. The negative near-death experiences are reported to contain similar traits as positive experiences but are associated with a sense of extreme fear, panic or anger, a sense of helplessness, and possible visions of demonic creatures (Moody, 1988, p.25, 27; Staff, 1992 p. 1-2; Horacek, 1992, p. 3).

Many individuals who have experienced a near-death experience claim a fuller understanding of their religious or spiritual insights and their impact on their lives (Moody, 1988; Peay, 1991; Ring, 1985). They report feeling closer to God after their near-death experience. Ring (1980) comments:

“The way in which post-incident religiousness reveals itself among core experiencers is primarily in terms of an inward sense of religion: They feel closer to God, are more prayerful, are less concerned with organized religion and formal ritual, and express a sense of religious tolerance and religious universalism. It isn’t clear that their belief in God per se grows stronger, although it is clear their religious feeling does. Following their incident, they are significantly more inclined then non-experiencers to be convinced there is life after death” (p.173).

The effect of this spiritual awakening on the experiencer is a more positive attitude towards life, a lack of fear of dying, and a sense of service towards others (Moody, 1977, 1980, 1988; Ring, 1980, 1985).

5. Models of Near-Death Experiences

The phenomenology of the near-death experience can be described by reporting the various stages of the experience, the characteristics or traits of the experience – which occur during various stages of the experience, by the constellations or related conscious experiences associated with near-death experiences, or by the experiential grouping of stages, traits, or constellations of the experiences. Experiencers may experience some or all of these stages, traits, consciousness, and types. The stages of near-death experiences relate to the experiencer’s sense of progression towards a destination. The traits are associated with a sense of consciousness or knowledge concerning the activities within the near-death experience. Noyes and Slymen (1978-79) and Sabom (1977) further categorize the stages and traits of near-death experiencers into constellations and group types to analyze further the phenomenology of the near-death experience. The statistical analysis of the data presented in the Ring (1980, 1985), Evergreen (Lindley, 1981), and Noyes and Slymen (1978-79) studies, and the research of Sabom (1977) demonstrate the consistency of these models of classification of near-death experiences.

Kenneth Ring (1980) has devised a model of the stages of near-death experiences recognized by near-death experiencers. The stages are:

Stages of the Near-Death Experience

  1. A sense of peace at the time of death.
  2. A sense of separation from the body.
  3. A sense of entering into darkness.
  4. Seeing a bright light.
  5. A sense of entering the light

Raymond Moody (1988), identifies nine distinguishing qualities, characteristics or traits that have been associated with near-death experiences and may be perceived within the stages of the near-death experiences identified by the Ring study. The Moody defined near-death experience traits are:

Distinguishing Qualities and Characteristics of the NDE

  1. A sense of being dead.
  2. A sense of peace and painlessness.
  3. A sense of separation from the physical body.
  4. The sense of passing through a tunnel.
  5. A sense of an encounter with recognizable ethereal entities, such as family, friends, angels or religious personages. These spirits may appear to be enveloped in light.
  6. A sense of rising rapidly into the heavens.
  7. A sense of an encounter with a Being of Light which emanates unconditional love. This being has been described as God or Allah.
  8. An experience of a panoramic, total life review and sense of self-judgment about one’s life while bathed in the unconditional love of the Being of Light.
  9. A sense of reluctance to return to the world of the living.
  10. A sense of a compression or absence of time and sensing no restrictions of space but a freedom to go where the experiencer chooses.

According to a study performed by Noyes and Slymen (1978-79), near-death experiences can be classified further into three consciousness constellations of the type of event: (1) mystical, (2) depersonalized, and (3) hyperalert. The mystical type includes a sense of harmony and unity, color or visions, and a feeling of great understanding. Depersonalization relates to the loss of emotion, detachment from the physical body, and an altered sense of the passage of time. The hyperalert constellation refers to the experiencer’s sense that his or her thoughts are sharply defined, vivid, and accelerated.

Sabom (1977) also has divided near-death experiencers into three experiential group types: (1) autoscopic, (2) transcendental, and (3) mixed experiences. The autoscopic experiencers include the individuals who have experienced the sense of leaving their bodies, having out-of-body experiences. The transcendental group include individuals who have a sense of entering into a “spiritual realm”. In the mixed experiences, the near-death experiencer may experience a mixture of autoscopic and transcendental experiences (Moody, 1988). Regardless of the methodology used to classify near-death experiences, the anecdotal nature of the near-death reports are similar and consistent between experiencers (Moody, 1977, 1988; Morse, 1990; Ring, 1980, 1985).

6. Transpersonal and Reductionist Theories Concerning Near-Death Experiences

Near-death researchers Moody (1975, 1977, 1988), Morse (1990), and Ring (1980, 1985) suggest that near-death experiences are related to a state of consciousness, separate from the physical body, which occurs at the time of death. Near-death researchers have collected hundreds of phenomenological descriptions of individual near-death experiences and have statistically correlated the occurrences of the stages and traits associated with these experience. The consistency of near-death experience reports provide support for the theories that these experiences are not a result of hallucinations or mental dysfunctions. Individuals, regardless, of age, race, religion, or national origin have reported similar experiences during a near-death episode. The chi-square method of statistical analysis has been used by near-death researchers to determine if the similarity of events reported during the near-death experience, by experiencer, are a result of chance or are to be expected elements of the near-death experience (Morse, 1990, Ring, 1980, 1985). The chi-square method is a non-parametric statistical test used to determine the statistical significance of the difference between the frequencies of reported outcomes with the expected frequencies of outcomes. In other words, did the events reported in near-death experiences happen by chance or can the events anticipated (Borg & Gall, 1989). The statistical significance of near-death research provides that the similarity in the reports of near-death experiencer do not happen as a result of chance but are consistent phenomena of the near-death experiencers (Morse, 1990; Ring, 1980, 1985, Rodabough, 1985; Sabom & Kreutziger, 1977).

Some theologians, medical practitioners, and psychologists do not believe near-death experiences are paranormal experiences. According to Moody (1988), some theological, medical, and psychological theorists attempt to explain near-death experiences as physical or mental phenomena that has more to do with brain and neurological-biological dysfunctions associated with the dying process.

Researchers such as Sagan (1979) and Siegel (1981) attempt to debunk the near-death experience by stating it is a result of a chemical reaction within the brain during the dying process. They postulate that as the eyes deteriorate following death they produce the bright light reported to be seen during the near-death experience. The tunnel effect and a sensation of being out-of-body is believed to be caused by the chemical reactions in the body during the death process (Moody, 1988, p.178). According to researcher Ronald Siegel (1981), “The descriptions given by dying persons are virtually identical to descriptions given by persons experiencing hallucinations, drug-induced or otherwise,” (p. 65). Carl Sagan (1979) states that some of the near-death experiences can be associated with “a wiring defect in the human neuroanatomy that under certain conditions always leads to the same illusion of astral projection/out-of-body experience,” (p. 47). According to Moody (1988) and Morse (1990), some researchers attempt to explain near-death experiences as the mind’s defense against the fear of dying, that the mind creates positive images of an afterlife in order to control the fear of dying.

Many near-death researchers regard three consistently repeated reports as providing credibility for the transpersonal theories that near-death experiences are the expression of an altered state of consciousness separate from the physical or mental realm of human existence having a profound impact on the experiencer’s life. These reports thus are crucial to cite in responding to the theorists who attempt to debunk the near-death experience as a transpersonal phenomenon. These three factors reported are:

Reports That Provide Credibility for the Transpersonal Theory of the NDE

  1. Consistent reports of out-of-body experiences of individuals who sense they separate from their physical body during the near-death experience and can observe their body and surroundings from a detached position.
  2. The consistent reports of near-death experiences of children are similar to those experiences reported by adults.
  3. The attitudinal and personality changes of the near-death experiencers following their experience (Moody, 1988; Morse, 1990; Ring, 1980, 1985).

The following discussion of out-of-body experiences, children’s near-death experiences, and the post-experience attitudinal and personality changes of near-death experiencers, suggest reasons why the reductionist or debunking theories are implausible.

7. Out-of-Body Experiences

During an out-of-body experience, experiencers report leaving their physical body and viewing their body and other activity from a detached, uninvolved perspective. Upon recovery from the near-death experience, many experiencers recall details of medical procedures being performed on them that they had no prior knowledge of the technique. Some experiencers report traveling to other locations, other than the place where the body may be lying “dead.” The out-of-body experiencer is then able to report things he or she may have seen during the out-of-body experience, and there is no other logical explanation for the source of this knowledge (Eadie, 1992; Moody, 1988; Morse, 1990; Ring, 1980, 1985; Ritchie, 1978; Zaleski, 1987). An example of this experience is a story told by a very near-sighted woman. During her out-of-body experience, she reports that she was first lying on an operating table with the anesthesia machine behind her head. She then became aware that she had detached from her body and was able to see, without difficulty, the equipment identification numbers on the anesthesia machine. These numbers were out of her normal visual range and behind her body’s head. She then floated up to the top of the room and noted how the top of the light fixtures were dirty. After her recovery from her near-death experience, she returned to the operating room and was able to ascertain that the numbers she had seen on the machine were correct and that the light fixtures were in need of cleaning (Ring, 1985, p. 42-43). This experience supports the belief that near-death experiences involve separation from the physical body and mind.

Studying the out-of-body phenomenon leads to doubt about the beliefs of those who attempt to debunk the theory that near-death experiences are transpersonal experiences transcending the physical and mental realm of human consciousness. The knowledge the experiencer gains during the out-of-body experience, in most cases, could not have been learned by any other method other than by a consciousness detached from the physical body (Moody, 1988; Morse, 1990; Ring, 1980, 1985). The ability of experiencers to report things and events they had no prior knowledge of provides for the plausibility that the out-of-body experience is a transpersonal event and not a psychological response to dying.

8. Children and Near-Death Experiences

Young children have reported having near-death experiences. Their reports are similar to adult near-death experiences even though they may not have had time to be enculturated with the same socio-religious beliefs regarding death as adults, or developed a fear of death through their psychological development. Children report having out-of-body experiences, passing through a tunnel, and encountering spiritual forms during their near-death experiences. Of interest are the reports of children who meet spiritual entities that are later identified as deceased relatives whom the child could not have known prior to his or her near-death experience (Moody, 1975, 1988, Morse, 1990).

The accounts of young children’s near-death experiences suggest the unlikeliness of the debunking theory that near-death experiences are the mind’s psychological defense towards dying. Children who have not had time to learn of their mortality do not usually fear dying. According to Frank (1982) and Anthony (1967) children, until between the age of five and seven, consider death to be reversible and generally do not have a fear of dying. They, therefore, do not have a need to create an afterlife experience, such as is experienced in a near-death experience, in order to overcome a fear of dying (Moody, 1988; Morse, 1990). Furthermore, following near-death experiences, children share similar after-effects of the experience as adult experiencers. They grow to have a sense of purpose and direction in their lives, and as they mature, do not develop a fear of dying (Morse, 1990).

9. Attitudinal and Personality Changes Following Near-Death Experiences

According to Wilson (1987), the real importance of the near-death experience is in the after-effects it has on the life of the experiencer. The usual psychological and spiritual after-effects of a near-death experience consist of changes in personality and values and an attitudinal change towards religion and death. There is a heightened sense of appreciation of life, especially of the world of nature and of other people. The near-death experiencer achieves a sense of understanding of what is important to him or her in life and strives to live in accordance with his or her understanding of what is meaningful. Consistently reported after-effects of near-death experiences are the lack of fear of death, an attitude of unconditional love and service towards others, and the desire to seek knowledge (Kalish, 1981, Moody, 1977, 1988; Peay, 1991; Ring, 1980).

According to Ring (1985), many near-death experiences act as a catalyst to a spiritual awakening for the experiencer:

“What is noteworthy … is the particular form this spiritual development takes in many NDErs – i.e., the real significance of the NDE here may not be simply that it promotes spiritual growth as much as the kind of spiritual growth it promotes” (p. 144).

This awakening appears to move the experiencer toward what Ring (1985) calls a “universalistically spiritual orientation” (p. 145). He defines universalistically spiritual orientation as consisting of:

Definition of Universalistic Spiritual Orientation

  1. A tendency to characterize oneself as spiritual rather than religious, per se.
  2. A feeling of being inwardly close to God.
  3. A de-emphasis of the formal aspects of religious life and worship.
  4. A conviction that there is life after death, regardless of religious belief.
  5. An openness to the doctrine of reincarnation (and a general sympathy towards eastern religions).
  6. A belief in the essential underlying unity of all religions.
  7. A desire for a universal religion embracing all humanity (p. 146).

The long-term positive effects the near-death experience has on the experiencer’s life gives evidence for supporting a plausible argument for the transpersonal nature of the near-death experience. This aspect of the near-death experience has not been addressed by reductionist theories in the literature reviewed. The profundity of the after-effects of a near-death experience on the experiencer’s life have not been able to be achieved through pharmacological or psychological methods. Most of the sensory nature of the near-death experience can be induced through drugs or hallucinations but the positive change in the individual’s personality and attitudes do not appear to be capable of replication (Moody, 1988; Morse, 1990; Ring, 1985). Ring (1980) reports these after-effects appear to remain with the individual for the remainder of his or her mortal life.

In the first part of this essay, I have reviewed some of the contemporary near-death research and some of the arguments against the plausibility of the reductionist theories and for the plausibility to transpersonal theories explaining near-death experiences. In the following part of this essay, religious beliefs concerning death, afterlife, and near-death experiences will be discussed. This discussion will provide commentary regarding the similarities between different religious beliefs and experiences concerning death, as well as between religious interpretations of near-death experiences.

10. Religious Beliefs Concerning Death, Afterlife, and Near-Death Experiences

Polls and studies support the assumption that the majority of people believe death is not the end of one’s existence but rather a transition from one life to another (Gallup & Castelli, 1989; Kellehear & Irwin, 1990; Klenow & Bolin, 1989). Different religions have provided belief structures supporting the religious and social needs of practitioners. Rituals and sacred writings support the various religious interpretations of what death is and what it will be like in the afterlife. However, even with the differences in religious beliefs, there are similarities between many different religious groups regarding afterlife beliefs. One similarity among religious groups is the belief in an afterlife following physical death. Another similarity is the presence of “the two polar images of life after death – the abode of the righteous, heaven or paradise, and the place for the wicked, or hell” (Grof & Grof, 1980, p. 13). These polar images are also recognized by many near-death experiencers.

According to Hick (1980), a belief in the immortality of the spirit has been present in most religions for centuries. The belief in a life after death is one of the oldest concepts of human history (DeSpelder & Strickland, 1983). Proving the immortality of the human soul has been the objective of many philosophers, theologians, and scientists. Freud (1961) stated:

“Our own death is indeed unimaginable, and whenever we make an attempt to imagine it we can perceive that we really survive as spectators.”

Hence the psychoanalytic school could venture on the assertion that, at bottom, no one believes in his own death. Or to put it in another way, in the unconscious everyone is convinced of his or her own immortality (p. 154). Many beliefs in life after death have concerned a non-physical transition into a serene spiritual world with encounters of other deceased people and possible religious figures. There may be a judgment or accounting of one’s life with a final disposition of the individual spirit following the period of judgment or personal assessment.

Near-death experiences and the reports of a consciousness of life after death have been provided by members of Buddhist, Hindu, Islam, Jewish, Christian, and Mormon religions, among others. Agnostics and atheists also have reported near-death experiences even with their predisposed lack of belief in anything greater than personal self and this life. The following are brief commentaries regarding the beliefs concerning death, afterlife, and near-death experiences within these religious and irreligious frameworks.

11. Agnostics and Atheists

Agnostics believe it is impossible to know whether there is a God or life after death. Atheists believe there is no God and no life after death and that death is the cessation of the existence of the individual.

Agnostics and atheists have reported having near-death experiences. These experiences are similar to the reports of individuals who have professed a spiritual belief prior to their near-death experience (Moody, 1977; Rawlings, 1978; Ring, 1985). Agnostics and atheists report achieving an altered state of consciousness in which they have experienced some or all of the traits Moody attributes to a near-death experience. Most agnostics and atheists interpret their near-death experiences as a glimpse of life after death (Rawlings,1978; Ring, 1985). Prior to the near-death experience, they did not believe in life after death. As a result of the experience, most agnostic and atheist experiencers eventually move toward a more spiritually guided life with a new found belief in life after death (Rawlings, 1978; Ring, 1985, p. 151). Maurice Rawlings (1978) reported he did not know of any agnostic or atheist individual from his research who, after experiencing a near-death experience, remained convinced of there being no God, no life after death, or nothing else beyond the material existence.

12. Buddhism and Hinduism

Buddhists believe that upon death, there is rebirth to another life. Death is accepted as inevitable and not feared. The believer’s actions in this life will determine his or her level of rebirth. Karma is the force created by the actions of the individual – the effects of actions. Good karma, which is achieved by compassionate actions in this life, leads to a higher existence in the next life. Nirvana is reached by achieving an understanding of the nature of reality. This must be discovered through the experiences of other dimensions of human consciousness (Klein, 1991, p. 103).

According to Buddhist cosmology, numerous, hierarchically arranged heavens exist along with eight hot and cold hells. The individual spirit exists in one of these realms, based upon the karma created in the previous life, until reborn into another life. This cycle continues until the enlightenment of nirvana is achieved (Klein, 1991).

According to Swami Adiswarananda (1991), in the Hindu religion, death comes as a break in the continued events of life and brings about a change in the form in which the spirit resides. Hindus believe the afterlife is a passage of time in a heaven or hell, dependent upon the karma built up in life. The judgment about one’s life is based upon the karma the individual created in his or her past lives. The rebirth of the spirit into the next life, through the transmigration of the soul, is determined by the developed karma and the individual’s last thoughts in the present life. An individual’s search for eternal happiness and immortality results in the rebirth of the spirit in different bodies until the spirit learns that happiness and immortality are not a result of the fulfillment of desires but are attained when all desires and needs are no longer important (Adiswarananda, 1991; Elb, 1906). According to some Hindus, the various religious faiths are “different paths to reach one and the same goal – union with God as ultimate Reality” (Johnson & McGee, 1991).

There are reports of Chinese Buddhists having near-death experiences (Kellehear, Heaven, Gao, 1990). Becker (1981) suggests that near-death experiences may have been responsible for part of the development of Pure Land Buddhism in China. A Hindu report of a near-death experience relates how the experiencer entered into heaven on the back of a cow (Ferris, 1991).

According to Mauro (1992):

“East Indians [Hindus] sometimes see heaven as a giant bureaucracy, and frequently report being sent back because of clerical errors,” whereas Japanese experiencers report seeing symbolic images, such as “long, dark rivers and beautiful flowers” (p. 57).

During the near-death experience, the Buddhist experiencers have reported seeing the personage of Buddha, and Hindu experiencers report seeing Krishna (Rawlings, 1978; Ring, 1980; Talbot, 1991). The difference in Buddhist and Hindu reports of near-death experiences is predominately associated with the afterlife setting and the personages the experiencer reports encountering.

Buddhist and Hindu near-death experiencers may report different interpretations of the specifics of their experiences; however, the experiences are consistent with other stages, traits, constellations, and group types reported by near-death experiencers in other cultures and religions. Some members of the Buddhist and Hindu religions interpret near-death experiences as providing afterlife visions similar to visions ascribed to some Eastern religious experiences associated with death and afterlife. Becker (1984) comments “that ancient Japanese Buddhist meditative and deathbed visions closely parallel modern American near-death and deathbed visions” (p. 51). The Tibetan Book of the Dead (1973) describes the Bardo, the three stages of the transitionary “disembodied state” following death. In the first stage, the departed have visions of the “Blinding Clear Light of Pure Reality.” In the second stage, the departed encounter a succession of “deities.” In the third stage the departed is judged based upon past deeds by the “Dharma Raja, King and Judge of the Dead” (Grof & Grof, 1980). These stages are similar in content to other reported near-death experiences from other religions and cultures. These similarities include a movement through levels – such as passing through a tunnel, visions of pure light, meeting incorporeal beings, powers of astral projections or out-of-body-experience, and a judgment about one’s life (Becker, 1985).

13. Islam

Death, in the Islamic faith, is the cessation of biological life and the resting of the spirit, in the grave, until the Judgment Day. Some Muslims believe “good souls” see visions of God, and the wicked see the hell awaiting them. From the time of death to the time of judgment, Muslims believe the spirit remains in a state of “dreamless sleep,” with the exception of possible visions of eternity (Galloway, 1991; Johnson & McGee, 1991).

Faith in an afterlife is based upon the belief in the oneness of God and the belief in a day of resurrection and judgment for all regardless of religious belief. At that time, the spirit will be judged based upon its deeds in life, and allowed either to enter into Paradise and be with God, be thrown into the Fire for a period of purgation, or condemned to everlasting punishment in the Fire. Most Muslims believe that non-Muslims can reach Paradise only after a period of purgation (Johnson & McGee, 1991; Smith, J. 1991).

Muslims have reported having near-death experiences (Flynn, 1986; Rawlings, 1978). Muslim near-death experiencers report seeing and meeting recognizable spirits (Flynn, 1986; Rawlings, 1978). This conforms with the Islamic tradition that the souls of the faithful, in paradise, welcome the “incoming souls” and with other reports of visions of people awaiting the newly deceased (Holck, 1980; Moody, 1975, 1977; Morse, 1990; Ring, 1985). In Muslim near-death experiences, the Being of Light is identified as Allah, whereas in other religions the light might be identified as God (Ring, 1985).

Some Muslims interpret the near-death experience as a possible glimpse into life after death due to the similarity of the experience with the religious visions of Muhammad and their expectations of life after death (Ring, 1985; Zaleski, 1987). An Islamic myth describes Muhammad’s “Night Journey” as his experience of passing through the realms of the afterlife where he encounters spirits who have died, has a vision of heaven and hell, and communes with Allah (Couliano, 1991; Grof & Grof, 1980, Zaleski, 1987).

14. Judaism

The Jewish religion generally emphasizes the current life, and not life after death. Although Judaism recognizes that the life of the spirit does not end at the point of bodily death, it is the Jew’s responsibility to focus on a meaningful life and not speculate on life after death. According to Elb (1906), the Jewish Bible states that actions taken in the present life will reward the righteous and chastise the wicked. It does not specifically address the concept of an afterlife. Even though the Jewish Bible does not directly address immortality, traditional Jews believe immortality will bring the resurrection of the body and soul, followed by the judgment of the worth of their lives by God. The Reformed Jew believes resurrection involves only the soul. Jews believe they live and die only once (Ponn, 1991).

Since there is no discussion, in the Jewish Bible, of afterlife, there is no official Jewish religious opinion regarding life after death. However, according to Ponn (1991), many Jews believe human souls will be held accountable before God for what has been accomplished in the current life. After death, many Jews believe they will be reunited with family members in heaven. Their belief in God’s caring nature disavows a sadistic punishment in hell. Entrance into heaven is accomplished by righteous living and repentance. Heaven is considered a place where anxiety and pain is ended (Galloway, 1991; Johnson & McGee, 1991).

There have been a number of reported near-death experiences by members of the Jewish faith. Barbara Harris, a practicing Jew, reports having had several near-death experiences since 1975. Harris and Bascom’s (1990) book, Full Circle: The Near-Death Experience and Beyond, is a narrative of Harris’ near-death experiences. Jewish people who had a near-death experience relate similar observations and experiences as the experiences of other religious-spiritual believers. During the near-death experience, individuals report being in the presence of the Being of Light and judging their own lives (Harris & Bascom, 1990). This experience is similar to the Jewish belief that what is important in life is the attending to the responsibilities of living a meaningful, productive life. Many near-death experiencers report being met by family members. These reports are consistent with the Jewish belief that after death they will be reunited with family members in heaven (Galloway, 1991; Johnson & McGee, 1991; Moody, 1975, 1977, 1980; Ring, 1980, 1985).

15. Christianity

Modern Christians are united in their belief that Jesus is the son of God and that there is an afterlife. Upon death, Christians believe they come before God and are judged. According to Smith (1991), “Following death, human life is fully translated into the supernatural domain” (p. 355). Fundamentalists and conservatives interpret the Holy Bible (1952) literally and believe there is a specific heaven and hell and only Christians are admitted to heaven. All others are condemned to hell. Other Christians interpret Biblical scripture more symbolically, taking into consideration the language and culture of the time when the Bible was written. Heaven and hell are viewed as a “condition,” such as happiness or peace, rather than a specific place. Regardless of whether the afterlife beliefs are interpreted conservatively or liberally, the Christian believes he or she dies only once and, after death, the spirit is judged and then exists in an afterlife for eternity (Galloway, 1991; Johnson & McGee, 1991). “It is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Near-death experiences appear to be familiar paranormal occurrences to Christians. Bechtel, Chen, Pierce, & Walker (1992) reported that 98% of the clergy they surveyed were familiar with near-death phenomena and that almost half of them have counseled parishioners who had a near-death experience. As with other religious interpretations of the near-death experience, Christians also report encounters with religious beings such as Jesus, Mary, or angels (Flynn, 1986, Moody, 1977, 1988; Morse, 1990, Ring, 1980, 1985). Experiencers report similar out-of-body experiences, meeting recognizable spiritual entities, movement toward a bright light, and a sense of being in the presence of an energy of “unconditional love” while the experiencer judges his or her life (Moody, 1975, Morse, 1990).

Some Christians refute the near-death experience as being a demonic deception. They believe the entire near-death experience is a trick of Satan to pull believers from the teachings of Christianity and lead them into sin (Harpur, 1992). Other Christians interpret the near-death experience as a glimpse of an after death state that may exist prior to the afterlife judgment by God. Near-death experiences and experiences similar to the altered state of the near-death experiences are recorded in the Holy Bible (1952). These experiences are not reported as being evil or sinful. The scripture writers have recorded visions of bright lights, life reviews, the presence of the unconditional love of God, and visions of heaven and hell from Biblical individuals who have been close to death (Morse, 1990; Rawlings, 1978). In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Paul records a “vision” he had. This vision resembles the content of a near-death experience. It involved Paul being “taken up to heaven for a visit” and “hear[ing] things so astounding that they are beyond man’s power to describe or put in words.” Near-death experiencers consistently report the difficulty of verbalizing what they experience. The effect of this experience, on Paul, was a personal confirmation and assurance of his work (Hunter, 1985; Living Bible, 1971).

According to Flynn (1986), to many experiencers:

“The near-death experience affirms the uniqueness and centrality and indispensability of Christ, but in a universalistic way that does not negate or diminish the value of other religious traditions…[It will] break through sectarian and other barriers and shine a laser beam of Light on the true essence and meaning of Christ for all people” (p. 80).

Ring (1985) supports Flynn’s comments, in his conclusions regarding the universalistically spiritual orientation of experiencers following near-death experiences. He found that following a near-death experience, the Christian experiencer “gravitated towards a religious world view that may incorporate and yet transcend the traditional Christian perspective” (p. 147).

16. Mormonism

Death in the Mormon religion is not considered to be the end of existence of the individual but the beginning of a new existence as the same person. Mormons believe they have always lived and will always live as the same individual, “never as someone else or in another life-form” (Eyre, 1991, p. 139). Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints are saddened by the death of a loved one but are comforted in the belief that upon death the spirit is united with God in a spirit world, continuing to progress in knowledge, and await the coming of other family members, the resurrection of the physical body, and the final judgment. A belief in an afterlife is an essential part of the faith of the members of the Church of the Latter-day Saints.

In Mormonism, only “sons of perdition” – former believers who betray the church – are destined for eternal punishment. All others are assured at least an entry into a lesser Paradise, called the “telestial kingdom,” where one spends eternity apart from God. The most faithful attain the “celestial kingdom,” where they commune directly with God and eventually may themselves become gods and populate new universes with their own spiritual offspring. The Mormon Church is the only church that has a “safety net.” Any spirit that has not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ in life will, before Judgment Day, will be given a chance in Paradise to hear it, and if the spirit accepts the teachings, it will receive equal blessings from God (Staff, 1992, p. 74).

The judgment reported by Mormon near-death experiencers is essentially a self-judgment. This self-judgment is similar to the reported life reviews and self-judgment reported in near-death experiences. Experiencers report seeing a panoramic review of their entire life and then judge their own actions while awash in the “unconditional love” of the Being of Light. After the judgment, the spirit dwells with others most like it (Eyre, 1991). As with many other religious groups, Mormon near-death experiencers consistently report meeting with deceased family members, and being in the presence of a being of light which they call God. However, some Mormon near-death experiencers report two events that appears to be uncommon with non-Mormon experiencers. They report they are requested to do something in the world, when they return to life, by the personage(s) they encounter during their experience. They also report receiving religious and other types of instructions from the “other world” beings (Lundahl, 1982).

According to Lundahl (1982), members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints report a high number of near-death experiences per capita of their religion. The high number of reported near-death experiences is probably due to the social values of the Latter-day Saints which encourages individuals to share their near-death experiences much more openly than most other social groups (p.166). Mormons interpret near-death experiences to be part of their religious beliefs and a glimpse of life after death.

17. Conclusion

In this essay I have discussed the contemporary work on near-death experiences and some of the arguments against the plausibility of reductionist theories and for the plausibility of transpersonal theories of near-death experiences. I have also provided an overview of the human consciousness of life after death, religious beliefs concerning death and afterlife, and interpretations of near-death experiences by different religious groups. I believe the consistency between numerous reports of near-death experiences, regardless of religious beliefs, and the similarity of the near-death experiences to reported religious experiences, provide plausible arguments for the transpersonal theories of this experience.

Throughout history Buddhists and Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Mormons have all reported having near-death experiences. These experiences are similar to some of the visions or journeys into the afterlife described in some of the sacred texts of their religions. The descriptions of the near-death experiences by members of these religious groups are believed, by many, to be a glimpse into life after death, and appear to be consistent with each religious group’s interpretation of the afterlife. However, there are some religious leaders who do not believe the experiencer has been indisputably dead and returned to life when he or she reports having a near-death experience. These leaders interpret these experiences as being pre-death visions of a transitory state prior to the individual’s final death and judgment.

Due to the subjective nature of near-death experiences there can be no conclusive proof that these experiences provide visions of life after death: however, the reports of out-of-body experiences, the near-death experiences of children, and the notable changes in the near-death experiencer’s life following his or her experience support the possibility of the validity of this theory (Moody, 1988; Morse, 1990; Ring, 1985). Because of the transpersonal nature of near-death experiences, it is sometimes reported that it is difficult to describe the experience in words. Near-death experiencers report there are no appropriate words to accurately describe their near-death experiences. They therefore interpret the experience using words, phrases, and metaphors reflecting their religious-cultural backgrounds and experiences.

The near-death experiences of individuals of various beliefs are consistent with many religious beliefs concerning life after death and do not compromise the foundations of their religious traditions. The descriptions of the mystical, depersonalization, and hyperalert constellations of near-death experiences and the autoscopic and transcendental grouping of these experiences appear to closely relate to the levels of heightened sense of consciousness associated with some religious rituals. However, the shift from an organized religious practice to a universalistically spiritual orientation may have an effect on the religious practices of some experiencers. Many choose to practice their new sense of universal spirituality within their earlier religions; however, many near-death experiencers move toward a religion more congruent with their new found knowledge, or choose to practice their spirituality through irreligious rituals and practices.

According to Ring (1985) many near-death experiencers attempt to incorporate their new sense of spirituality into their lives. This removes some of the limits of religious parochialism. To many experiencers it becomes less important to be a member of a specific religious group than to practice a more spiritual life not based upon specific religious doctrine. However, some experiencers chose to remain or become active in an organized religion in order to practice their new spirituality. It is therefore important for there to be an openness by religious groups towards individuals who report near-death experiences and not condemnation of the phenomenon as religious heresy.

18. References

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Categories
Articles Science

Why the Fear of Death Is Irrational

Someone with death anxiety emailed to me the following question, “I am terribly afraid of death right now. I don’t really know why. I’ve never been afraid before. With so many different NDE versions, all claiming to be the one answer, how could any of them really be?” This article addresses this concern.

Each person’s NDE testimony is their own personal experience of a reality that is far more dynamic than physical reality. Detectives know that if you ask several eyewitnesses of a robbery, for example, you will not get exactly the same story and some may even be contradictory or erroneous for various reasons. The reasons why near-death experiences are so different from each other are the same reasons why experiences in this world are different (although there are a large amount of similarities). I have a web page that gives a more in depth discussion on why NDEs are different.

The question as it exists today is whether the NDE is an actual afterlife experience or dying brains mass hallucinating tunnels, light, and being told it isn’t time yet. Looking at this from a scientific view, which is somewhat limiting, the only conclusion is that there is no scientific evidence that NDEs are actual afterlife experiences. Perhaps it is impossible to obtain scientific proof short of someone bringing back from an NDE the sandal of Jesus, for example.

Even if researchers scientifically confirm that people are actually seeing and hearing things far from their physical bodies, this only proves, in my opinion, that conscious awareness can expand from the body to witness remote events. It is not evidence that consciousness can survive death. And even if doctors began performing “flatline experiments” like in the movie “Flatliners” (where would doctors voluntarily undergo clinical and brain death and be revived to recount their NDE) and scientifically verify that the experiencer was conscious while brain dead and observed events far from their body, I still don’t think this will be enough to call it “scientific proof” of an afterlife. The fact is the NDE of Pam Reynolds is probably the closest anyone has ever come to providing such proof.

Here is a good website by The Campaign for Philosophical Freedom that gives good reasons why the scientific establishment of today, who ignores the evidence for survival, resembles the Church leaders who ignored the evidence that the world is round.

(By the way, the website just mentioned is an excellent source for information on the scientific effort to verify the survival of consciousness after death. There motto is: “Scientific proof of survival after death has existed for over a century. The Campaign for Philosophical Freedom is working to increase public awareness of the existence of scientific proof that we all survive the death of our physical bodies irrespective of religious beliefs.”)

Here is another excellent article by The Campaign concerning how quantum physics has proven the existence of a multi-dimensional reality.

And then there is Victor Zammit’s outstanding website A Lawyer Argues For The Afterlife which presents very good evidence.

Although there may never be evidence that satisfies the minds of orthodox scientism, I believe very strong evidence will be discovered that will convince most people that consciousness survives bodily death.

This aside, the circumstantial evidence in favor of survival after death is so overwhelming that the proverbial ball is really in the skeptic’s court. We don’t have to explain anything. Millions of people having NDEs can’t be all wrong. It is the skeptics who must come up with proof that it is only a brain thing. So far, all the skeptics’ arguments do not fit the scientific facts.

I have the following web pages that list some of the most fascinating evidence from NDEs that suggest they are much more than only a brain thing. Here they are:

NDEs and ScienceNDEs and Quantum TheoryNDE Afterlife EvidenceSkeptic’s Corner

Personally, I am convinced that our consciousness survives bodily death. This is my belief which is based on a mountain of circumstantial evidence (see above). Not much faith is required when the circumstantial evidence is there. NDErs don’t need any scientific or circumstantial evidence to believe in an afterlife because they actually experienced it. I have never been to France but I know it exists because of what I have read and seen on TV. Perhaps it is the scientific method that needs questioned here.

As for the fear of death, it is completely natural and valuable to have because it is part of our “fight or flight” mechanism that has evolved over millions of years to help humans to be at the top of the food chain. However, there is an affliction called “death anxiety” that some people have that can interfere with their life. This can be treated the same way that all anxieties are treated, that is, with medicine. There is a wealth of websites on death anxiety and they are worth visiting.

Of course, everyone is tremendously afraid of pain and suffering. Everyone is afraid of death to some degree, but some people have death anxiety so bad that they have trouble functioning in life. It wouldn’t hurt to tell your doctor about it also.

Also, the overwhelming opinion of those who have died and had an NDE is that death is not painful. I have reports from people who were shot, run over, drowned, drug overdose, committed suicide, illness, burns, etc.. and the overwhelming opinion is that trauma to the body immediately causes your brain to produce morphine-like chemicals that eliminates the pain. And NDErs generally say that any pain they had was very brief. There are even NDEs where a person is yanked from their body before the trauma happens so they don’t feel a thing. Read Norman Paulsen’s NDE. This phenomenon is not uncommon. It is my opinion that this phenomenon happens to people in deadly plane crashes and other very traumatic catastrophes.

But even philosophically, having an unnatural fear of death is not rational. This is because there are only 2 options when it comes to death and both of them are good.

Option #1:  There is no survival after death.

If this option is true, then at best you will have an NDE that ultimately results in oblivion – the end of everything. And is this option so bad? Suppose at death there is no NDE but absolute oblivion. Then, you won’t be around to fear it. It would be the “blessed end of everything.” This option only means that there is nothing gained after death. It is irrational, I think, to be sorrowful about something we were not given, in this case life after death. I think of life after death as being “the icing on the cake”. We should probably live our lives if we were going to die tomorrow anyway. And if it is the blessed end of everything, then we won’t be around to think about it. It is just that there is nothing gained and nothing lost.

Option #2:  There is survival after death.

If there is survival after death, then we can have our cake and eat it too. If there is survival, the question is whether life after death will be heavenly or hellish. I am convinced that the same principle found in life also applies to the afterlife. Life is what you make it. We can kill someone and end up in prison. Or we can do good things and live contently. I believe this principle applies to heaven and hell. So, if any fear is justifiable, it would be the fear of going to hell. But, if you are not a criminal why worry about it? It is not the just who fears the law.

In conclusion, here is the cost/benefit analysis of death:

No survival —-> nothing lost and nothing gained

Survival ——–> nothing lost and something gained

This means that death is a “win/win” situation. Either option is a winner. Granted, the option of survival after death would be preferred. So, by this formula, there is no rational reason to fear death.

Concerning the need to have “faith,” faith implies the possibility of doubt and a state of doubt can be miserable. Knowledge implies certainty. And when it comes to NDEs, it is based on solid knowledge and facts rather than faith. If a million astronauts go to Mars and say that there’s Martians living there, I would be inclined to believe them. If a million people experience death and then say there’s life after death, I would be inclined to believe them just the same.

This said, it is still a good idea to keep an open mind on this and remain a true skeptic (holding to the possibility that there isn’t life after death). Probably the important thing about NDEs is how their impact on society right now. The concept of unconditional love is certainly something the whole world should learn about. Everything else (religious, scientific, metaphysical dogma) is like debating “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin.” There is a lot of problems with dogma because, more often than not, they only create limits to an open mind.

For this reason, one can make the case that the only thing that is really important is loving others, loving life, and loving everything. Faith and knowledge can change, but love is worth keeping and cultivating. Even the Bible says that love is greater than faith. Having faith in religious dogma, instead of having a healthy skepticism, can lead to disaster, in my opinion. For example, that pastor named Paul Hill who was just executed for killing an abortion doctor. This guy was such a religious zealot that he turned into a devil.

My own religious experience has been one of constant evolution. I change my mind all the time. Being manic depressive, I mean this literally. The only thing that is constant is love. This is why I always council people to “follow your heart” because the head is subject to greater change in my opinion. Suppose a person believes there is no afterlife because of having a healthy skepticism. Such skepticism does not really change anything about life. Right now, it is this life that matters and it is love really makes the world go around. The problem is that some people are so sure there is no afterlife that they treat people badly. This kind of situation is probably the only real “sin.” But not believing in an afterlife shouldn’t change things.

A man named Don Morse wrote an excellent book about his death anxiety, NDE and research into the many theories and beliefs about the afterlife. It is entitled, Searching For Eternity and it is well worth reading.

In conclusion, here are some words of wisdom concerning the fear of death. Perhaps it will help.

“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)

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

“In the light of the near-death experience, death is nothing more than the illusion of separateness and finality, and those who can believe in this vision of death, like near-death experiencers themselves, lose all fear of it, for how can you fear that which does not exist?” (Dr. Ken Ring)

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Articles Science

Why Near-Death Experiences Are Different

Skeptics argue that if near-death experiences (NDEs) were correct descriptions of actual afterlife experiences, these descriptions would corroborate with each other no matter what the background of the experiencer. As if scientists would expect aliens visiting a random location around our planet to return with corroborating descriptions of their experiences. Therefore, the skeptic argues, because NDE descriptions do not corroborate with each other, NDEs are not actual afterlife experiences. But if NDE descriptions were identical all around the world, it would make more appealing the notion of NDEs being nothing but human brains experiencing the same “dying brain” hallucination. It would be suggest that NDEs are “hard-wired” experiences which occur when the brain is dying. But because they are different, this shows NDEs are not “hard-wired” experiences, but rather dynamic experiences — like life in general.

NDEs are very similar to lucid dreaming — an experience of virtual reality where all things are mentally possible. And just as one person’s dream is different from another, so do differences between NDEs correspond with reality. NDEs are very private, personal experiences – as private as a person’s clothes, hair color, language, size, etc. What a person experiences subjectively in an NDE is attributable to many factors: the NDEr’s psychology, personal biases, background, etc. — not just culture. One of the truths of the NDE is how each person integrates their NDE into their own preexisting belief system. Everyone is unique; and everyone is experiencing the world in a way that is absolutely unique to anyone else in the universe. The same is true for NDEs and those who experience them. Reality exists in the mind of the beholder. In ordinary life, we create our own reality from the actions we take and the thoughts we think inwardly. NDEs apparently are no different.

Table of Contents

  1. The differences of NDEs defined
  2. The similarities of NDE defined
  3. People have different needs
  4. People have different perspectives and perceptions
  5. These differences correspond with physical and afterlife reality

1. The differences of NDEs defined

I classify NDEs according to the general category as: positive or negative. My opinion is that people who are primarily motivated by positive influences such as love, joy, and peace generally have positive NDEs. People who are primarily motivated by negative influences (such as hatred, anger, and fear) generally have negative NDEs. There are a many exceptions to this, but I am confident that such a categorization is sufficient.

Positive NDEs have similar aspects. A typical example involves an out-of-body experience (OBE) followed by traveling through a tunnel toward a very bright light. At the end of the tunnel, deceased loved ones or “Beings of Light” often appear. Sometimes, one particular “Being of Light” is identified either as God, Jesus or other religious figures, an angel, or even their own “Higher Self.” This being induces them into a life review in which their entire life can be instantaneously observed. Afterwards, the experiencer reaches a boundary of some kind which they cannot cross. Here, they may be given a choice of returning to physical existence or progressing into the afterlife. They are often told, “It is not yet your time to die” or, “Your mission is not yet completed.”

Negative experiences also have features that are similar. These kinds of experiences often involve people finding themselves in some hellish condition, sometimes corresponding to an object of interest such as a physical addiction, a sexual obsession, a person still living, or some negative influence. Negative experiences are often rescued by a higher spiritual Being of Light, sometimes by a loved one or sometimes by a religious figure. Once rescued, they are shown their entire life in review. They are then given the same choice as those who have positive experiences: to either stay or return. Many negative experiences often end up transforming into positive ones, which strongly suggests these negative states of consciousness are temporary and not permanent.

Whether the experiencer is an atheist or a religious person, American or Chinese, a child or an adult, gay or straight, their experiences are more similar than they are different. Despite all the differences between them, it is the similar aspects that are noteworthy. These similar aspects are of great interest to researchers because they demonstrate a pattern which is repeated over and over again by different people in different cultures during different periods of history.

It should be noted that it is not the reality of these experiences that is questioned by skeptics. It is the reality of them being an afterlife experience that is questioned. Using the scientific method, these experiences can be proven to be valid. In the laboratory, NDEs can be induced using right temporal lobe brain stimulation, the application of hallucinogenic drugs, or extreme gravitational forces. These laboratory experiments prove the NDE to be valid. Whether it is a valid afterlife experience is another matter altogether. Nevertheless, the similarities between them suggest a reality based in scientific experimentation.

2. The similarities of NDEs defined

The similarities among NDEs are too great to be ignored. My own research has revealed the following statistics representing the similarities among 50 experiences:

69% experienced overwhelming love
65% experienced mental telepathy
62% experienced a life review
56% experienced a tremendous ecstasy
56% saw God
46% were given unlimited knowledge
46% experienced different afterlife realms
46% were told it was not their time to die
44% were shown visions of the future
42% went through a tunnel
37% met Jesus Christ
31% received and remembered forgotten knowledge
27% experienced fear
21% described having a homecoming
21% were told of their past lives
19% experienced some form of hell
17% saw a “City of light
13% saw a “Temple of Knowledge
10% saw spirits dwelling among living people
6% resulted from a suicide attempt
0% saw a Devil

As indicated above, 46% of them were told in various ways it was “not their time to die.” Because such a large number of them were given this message, it suggests that it has an objectivity based in reality. It is equivalent to 46% of NDErs report being told “life is but a dream” during their experiences. The cryptic nature of the message combined with being heard by so many experiencers gives its strong credibility as to being an objective experience.

3. People have different needs

Many differences can be found in NDE reports. For example, this website profiles a person traveling throughout the universe in their NDE. Another person toured a “temple of knowledge.” Another was shown the future by thirteen light beings. Another was given a guided tour of the afterlife by her deceased dog. Another was shown the Earth from the perspective of being in outer space. Another experiencer traveled back in time to witness the crucifixion of Christ. Another was told her suicide would result in her reincarnation. Another met her future, and yet unborn, son. One man was molested in hell and then rescued by Christ. One woman experienced the ecstasy of God until she could take it no more. One man experienced a “God of wrath” then a “God of love.” One woman identified the Being of Light as the basic pattern behind the atom and all things in the universe. One man saw the Being of Light changing into various personalities such as Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, and then a mandala of human souls. Another saw the Being of Light as her Higher Self. The differences go on and on. However, despite these differences, all of these experiences are generally the same in that they contain many common aspects.

An interesting concept explained to one person during an NDE is how the afterlife appears to people in the way they need it to appear after death. This explains why the Being of Light appears as Christ to some people and as an angel or Higher Self to another. It also explains why people experience different things during their NDEs. People experience different things because people have different needs. These needs are met at the time of death.

In my opinion, these differences suggest that someone who expects to flutter about with winged cherubs playing harps and singing hallelujah after death is allowed to do precisely that until they realize that this is certainly not a real heaven. Others might expect to spend all their time in eternity in prayer and glorification – until it is clearly demonstrated to them that this is a fantasy-to-be-abandoned. Even those who are convinced by their religious leaders that they will be tormented in hell-fire are given a hellish experience for the purpose of education. This suggests the initial phase of the death experience is transitory and merely a preparatory phase where people are allowed to face their illusions in order to teach them important lessons about themselves.

The basis of this concept of “getting what you need” is the fact that everyone does not need the same things. This concept assumes that a person’s NDE happens in a way they can understand and learn from. It is the idea whereby a person may experience, as an example, judgment from God during their life review only to later learn in the experience they were the one, not God, doing the judging. The life review has been described as the most enlightening experience of a person’s entire life and the single most educational experience. This concept suggests those who experience a life review do so because they needed to experience it.

4. People have different perspectives and perceptions

One of the reasons why these experiences are different can be explained by the great mystic Meister Eckhart. In the NDE movie, Jacob’s Ladder, Meister Eckhart is quoted as saying:

“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. If you’re frightened of dying and you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. If you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels freeing you from the Earth.” – Meister Eckhart

To ask whether this is literally true or not misses the point. What it does is illustrate an important fact about people’s perspectives and perceptions and how several witnesses can observe the same thing but come up with different testimonies. One real example illustrating this point involves the tunnel aspect of the NDE. Most NDErs describe traveling through the tunnel as a very beautiful and pleasant experience. However, some experiencers have described this same tunnel experience to be horribly frightening. This demonstrates the fact that one man’s heaven is another man’s hell. It also demonstrates the quality of the NDE depends on the NDErs themselves. In other words, beauty IS in the eye of the beholder.

What a person experiences can be attributed to many factors: the NDEr’s psychology, personal experiences, background and culture. Even the very archetypal pattern of the NDE itself is a factor determining what one experiences in an NDE. These factors may have a different amount of influence from one person to another. For this reason, it may be virtually impossible to determine beforehand how a person will react to an NDE and what they experience.

Everyone is unique and everyone experiences the world in a way that is unique to anyone else in the universe. In the same way, people react to their NDEs in different ways corresponding to their own inner makeup. For example, while the vast majority of NDErs return with a firm belief in some universal force, such as God, they often define this force in a way dependent upon their own psychology, personal experiences, cultural and religious biases.

Jody Long, a researcher with NDERF, points out, “One of the near-death experience truths is that each person integrates their near-death experience into their own pre-existing belief system.” This important truth must be kept in the back of ones mind when reading these different accounts.

One religious tenet states, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

This tenet is an eloquent way of stating this same thing. The world of the NDE has been described as the realm of pure mind where all things are possible. It is possible that if a person desires a mansion after death, they will get it. Or, if a person desires food after death, they will get it. Within some NDEs, there is evidence to suggest those who expect nothing after death will probably not be disappointed. That is, until something changes their mind into believing that life is everlasting and continuous. Because people are what they think, people must be careful about what they think because it is quite possible they will get it in the afterlife.

Because of the variations in human understanding, there is certain to be a lot of variations in human experiences. Beauty may not be the only reality existing in the eye of the beholder. Current quantum physics support the notion that ALL reality is in the eye of the beholder. The NDE is no exception in that people create their own reality.

In ordinary life, we create our own reality from the actions we take and the thoughts we think inwardly. The NDE appears to be no different. Einstein’s theory of relativity suggests that all things are subjective and relative. In the realm of quantum physics, it is possible for absurdities to exist. This is because reality is dependent upon the observer’s “frame of reference” or unique perspective. This corresponds with the concept of reality being in the eye of the beholder. For this reason, I believe the quantum realm is identical to the realm defined by the NDE, that is, of the mind.

Quantum physics suggests one cannot truly define reality because when they do, they start setting up limitations to it – limitations that can be broken. From this concept, one can conclude that beliefs limit an open mind. The physicist Fred Alan Wolfe has stated the laws of the universe may simply be the laws of our own minds. Perhaps when we try to define reality, we may not really be getting closer to its actual definition. Perhaps all we really define is our own perception of reality. Keeping an open mind about all things being possible might be as close as one can get to this concept without setting up limitations. Like the mysterious particle of light in quantum physics, when one tries to define it, one changes it. Maybe it is merely our perception of the light that is changing, rather than the light itself.

A case in point can be found in Pastor Howard Pittman’s NDE. He was first taken before a “God of wrath” who condemned and judged him as being unworthy. Rejected, he left the presence of God, but decided at the last minute to return to ask God a question. This time he finds a “God of love” filled with sympathy for him.

I suspect the reason Howard Pittman saw a “God of wrath” immediately after his death was due to this simple reason: For thirty-five years, Howard Pittman preached a “God of wrath” as a minister. During his NDE, a “God of wrath” is what he expected and what he perceived. It is how he interpreted his vision of God. Others have initially felt being judged by God or a group of light beings. Usually they realize that they were the one doing the judging. In Howard Pittman’s NDE, I suspect he was judging himself as well and it translated into the perception of being judged by God. This “perception is reality” concept demonstrates what quantum physicists have been preaching for years. In my opinion, if this concept is true for the physical universe, it is a small step to imagine it being true for the spiritual universe as well.

NDErs often say everyone is on a path toward spiritual progression of some kind. Some have expressed the idea that all paths lead back to God. Perhaps negative experiences happen in order to bring about spiritual progress in people. Edgar Cayce, one of the people I profile on this web page, said we are constantly “meeting ourselves” whether in the physical world or the spirit world. Our thoughts and actions are constantly returning to us. One religious tenet puts it: “A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7)

Our lives are primarily the result of our own past actions and thoughts. NDEs generally show that people are not forced to heaven, hell, or anywhere. Our destiny is totally up to us. However, we are given these choices by a Higher Power. It may be debatable whether this constitutes a violation of our free will or constitutes a helping hand to get us on the right path. It may be both. Perhaps we are predestined to choose our destinies. Perhaps to act against the will of God is the same as acting against our own selves. The case may be made that nobody goes against their own will. Even if they could, it is just not a very smart thing to do.

In many experiences, Christ appears; but he does not appear in all of them. Again, one might jump to the conclusion that if NDEs are real afterlife experiences, Christ would appear in all of them. However, there is evidence to suggest the reason Christ appears in many NDEs in western civilization is due to the dominance of Christianity in the west. In Buddhist countries, people meet Buddha. In Hindu countries, the god of death may appear. Jews may meet the Messiah. This suggests that at death, people carry all their perspectives and religious biases with them. It also suggests the NDE is often described in context of one’s own religious perspective.

Everyone is unique when it comes to religious, psychological, educational, cultural and personal background. Nevertheless, the NDE reveals a person’s afterlife experience does not depend exclusively on their religious beliefs or lack of them. Atheists often encounter a God in NDEs, for example. A person’s afterlife experience may depend mostly upon his or her inward spiritual nature rather than any other factor.

Just as there are many possible spiritual experiences of various degrees of intensity within a person, the NDE also reveals the existence of many different afterlife experiences. These afterlife experiences can be extremely different from one another. One can see many of these experiences of heaven and hell being played out right here in this physical world. Some people “rot in prison” while others have a feast in lavish mansions. Some people are suffering in mental institutions while others are on a Rocky Mountain high. Some people are suffering addicts on skid row while others are in the ecstasy of sexual intercourse. Such spiritual experiences more than likely exist in an even more abundant manner in the world of the afterlife.

Because one’s afterlife reality is dependent upon his or her inward spiritual condition, personal background and perspective, this explains the existence of so many different spiritual experiences of NDEs. This also explains how some people are “rotting in prison” on the outside but experiencing the very presence of God on the inside. It also explains how some people are experiencing a living hell while living in luxury and surrounded by worldly comforts and pleasures.

Some people erroneously believe one must have a certain religious affiliation, or believe in God, to have a pleasant afterlife experience. However, even in this physical world, one does not have to be religious to experience love and happiness. In the same vein, to have a pleasant afterlife experience, one does not have to be religious. NDErs state it is not the religion one professes with their lips that matters. It is the spiritual condition of their inner nature that matters. People who are primarily motivated by fear, anger, hatred, and evil, will generally find themselves together with like-minded people after their death.

A case in point is the NDE of Dr. George Ritchie. Ritchie saw an afterlife place where people were locked into trying to satisfy some physical desire but were unable to do so, thereby creating their own “society of the damned.” It should also be pointed out that as it is in the physical world, these hellish conditions are temporary. People who are primarily motivated by love, peace, or happiness, will find themselves together with like-minded people after death. The old saying holds true: “Birds of a feather flock together.” This probably explains why families and friends tend to stick together in NDEs as well.

5. These differences correspond with physical and afterlife reality

The bottom line is the NDE can be said to be a very private and personal experience – as private as a person’s clothes, hair color, language, size, etc. While these differences in humans do exist, and their NDEs reflect this, it can still be said the underlying reality is that when comparing NDEs, it is like comparing apples and oranges. While they are different from each other, are still basically the same. NDEs are NDEs despite their differences.

Although there are many differences in NDEs, there is one concept appearing in an overwhelming number of them that make it practically universal. The concept is that what matters most in life is how much love you give and receive. Many experiencers say this is really the determining factor between having a positive experience or a negative one.

In conclusion, the differences in NDEs suggest to me they are a real afterlife experience. These differences are important because they show the afterlife to be dynamic rather than static. The same can also be said about life in general. The NDE appears to be just as dynamic, if not more dynamic, than our physical experience. If all NDEs were exactly identical, it would make the dying brain theory more appealing. It would mean the NDE is only an experience that comes from a “hard-wired” component in our brains. But because they are different, this suggests they are not “hard-wired” experiences, but rather a dynamic afterlife experience. In general, what you get out of life is what you put into it. The same is probably true of the afterlife.

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Articles Science

A Theory Accounting for the Occurrence of All NDEs

A number of theories have been offered to account for the occurrence of near-death experiences (NDEs). The large majority of them suffer from a common problem which is a narrow focus on a single physiological condition. A second problem is that there are good arguments against each of them. For example, a widely quoted theory is that NDEs result from an insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. However, Sherwin Nuland (1994), a surgeon, pointed out that: “When the brain has been starved of oxygen for longer than the critical two to four minutes, its injury becomes irreversible.” (p. 40)

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Theory That Accounts For the Occurrence of All NDEs
  3. The Spirit Mind “Takes Charge”
  4. Support For the Free Will of the Spirit Theory
  5. Questions For Skeptics
  6. References

1. Introduction

There have been many NDEs during which the brain was starved of oxygen for a much longer time than the critical two to four minutes without the near-death experiencers (NDErs) suffering any noticeable brain damage. Another serious short-coming of that theory is that it fails to account for the many NDEs that have occurred when the brain was not being starved of oxygen.

Concerning theories that NDEs are produced by hallucinogenic drugs, Peter Fenwick, a neuropsychiatrist, was quoted as saying:

“The difficulty with those theories is that when you create these wonderful states by taking drugs, you’re conscious. In the near-death experience, you are unconscious. One of the things we know about brain function in unconsciousness is that you cannot create images and if you do, you cannot remember them … But, yet, after one of these experiences (an NDE), you come out with clear, lucid memories … This is a real puzzle for science. I have not yet seen any good scientific explanation which can explain that fact.” (6)

One could advance the theory that whenever any one of the many physiological conditions that have been associated with NDEs is present, the body sends signals to the brain that are perceived in the brain as the body being in great danger, and an NDE occurs. While such a theory includes a wide variety of conditions that are often associated with NDEs, it does not account for NDEs that occur under circumstances in which the body is obviously not in any danger. P.M.H. Atwater (1994), in quoting the results of a survey by the International Association of Near-Death Studies (IANDS), reported that 37 percent of 229 responders to an IANDS questionnaire had their NDEs:

“… in a setting unrelated to anything that could be construed as life threatening.” (p. 90)

The current afterlife theory is based mainly on the belief that NDEs are real. Those who accept that theory are much less concerned about the causes of NDEs than they are about what happens during the NDE and how the lives of many NDErs are transformed in the years following their NDE. A major problem with the afterlife theory is difficulty in providing hard evidence to support it. Critics of the afterlife theory say supporters provide little evidence to support it other than thousands of anecdotal reports of NDEs, which are often referred to as “pseudoscientific” evidence.

Probably the most unusual of all people who have ever had one or more NDEs was Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), a celebrated psychic during most of his adulthood, and who was said to have had about 14,000 NDEs through self-hypnosis. (3) A plausible theory should account for Cayce’s multitude of NDEs, which evidently occurred on demand. A few people have reported having multiple spontaneous NDEs, or perhaps more appropriately, out-of-body experiences (OBEs), seemingly without an underlying cause, and they believed at an early age that everybody had such experiences. Jerry Gross reported that he had multiple spontaneous NDEs as a child and learned to confide only in his grandmother, who also had multiple spontaneous NDEs. (8) Charles Tart was asked by an unidentified young woman to be studied in his sleep lab in order to learn more about her frequent spontaneous NDEs. (13) I’m not aware of a current theory that includes an explanation of the causes of multiple NDEs that occur while the experiencer is undergoing self-hypnosis and frequent spontaneous NDEs, or OBEs, that seemingly occur without a cause.

2. The Theory That Accounts For the Occurrence of All NDEs

A plausible NDE theory should not only include an explanation of what leads to an NDE in some people, it should also include an explanation of why the majority of people do not have an NDE when they are in the same circumstances as those who do have an NDE. An example of such a theory, which is an afterlife theory, is what I call the “Free Will of The Spirit” theory. It is based on the ideas that each of us has a spirit form (soul) with a spirit mind that had free will prior to entering our physical body, it has free will during its stay in our physical body, and it has free will after it departs the body during an NDE, and at some point near death.

In a critique of Susan Blackmore’s “dying brain” theory, i.e., NDEs result from dying brain cells, the unidentified critic stated that:

“What requires an explanation is HOW the spirit interfaces with the body and WHAT causes an interruption or severance of this connection.” (14)

With respect to what causes a severance of the connection between the physical body and the spirit, the free will of the spirit theory leads to the obvious conclusion that the severance is caused by the spirit – it has free will and it can depart the physical body whenever it deems it advisable to do so, for a wide variety of reason, or simply because it chooses to do so.

It is important to note that spirits’ free will does not enable them to choose early in the NDE the type of NDE (heavenly, hellish, combination hellish/heavenly, or neither heavenly nor hellish) that they will have. Certainly, if spirits had such a choice, very few, or none, would choose to have a hellish NDE. Neither can spirits choose such things as whether or not they will go through a tunnel toward a bright light, meet certain beings, have a life review, hear beautiful music, see sparkling cities, and visit beautiful meadows during the NDE. How, or by whom, aspects of the NDE such as these are determined is another missing piece of the NDE puzzle.

With respect to how the spirit interfaces with the body, the physical brain and the spirit mind evidently interface in such a way that whatever the physical brain experiences, learns, and feels, the spirit mind also does those things because once the spirit separates from the physical body, NDErs report that the spirit mind functions much as the physical brain functioned prior to the NDE. The reports of NDErs indicate the spirit mind possesses the same knowledge the physical brain possesses (but it sometimes gains much new knowledge during the NDE), the same personality – including a sense of humor, feelings of anger, fear, and love, an inclination to argue, and a desire for adventure. Tom Sawyer stated that during his NDE, he had all of his five senses, which were heightened, and all of his personality characteristics. (12) Other NDErs have concurred on these points.

3. The Spirit Mind “Takes Charge”

Most people believe that spirits never go OBE while the body is living and then depart exactly at the right moment prior to actual death. While the majority of spirits evidently do that, the reports of thousands of NDErs indicate that isn’t the case with many others. As indicated above, some spirits choose to go OBE only once prior to actual death–resulting in only one NDE. A few others choose to go OBE a few times before death – resulting in an equal number of NDEs. Very few choose to depart dozens, hundreds, or thousands of times prior to actual death — as did Jerry Gross‘, the unidentified student’s, and Edgar Cayce’s, all of whom were mentioned above.

A spirit may choose to depart the body for various reasons and under a wide variety of circumstances, such as, when the physical brain is experiencing extreme fear, when the spirit mind senses the physical body is in a life-threatening situation from an impending accident, or immediately after the accident and severe injuries have occurred to the physical body, when drugs such as ketamine and LSD are being used, whenever the brain is being starved of oxygen under any circumstance (such as loss of blood, smoke inhalation, and near drowning), when the brain is undergoing electrical stimulation, preceding seizures, during moments of sexual and religious ecstasy, when it is being coaxed in some way (as it might be during self-hypnosis and meditation), or for other reasons.

As their OBE is getting underway, many NDErs reported they were very surprised upon realizing they were OBE and the body below them was their own. Some also reported they were very surprised when they realized the severe pain they had been feeling prior to the NDE was gone and had been replaced with a feeling of well-being, peace, and contentment. Some reported they couldn’t understand why they were unable to communicate with medical personnel who were working frantically on their body to save their life. Many reported they were also surprised when they realized their concept of time no longer existed. Surprises such as these are good indications the spirit mind had assumed control, or had superseded the consciousness of the physical brain, prior to or at the beginning of the NDE.

Probably the most convincing evidence that the spirit mind has superseded the physical brain can be found in the unexpected movements of NDErs during the early part of their NDE. Many NDErs have reported movements such as these:

“Suddenly, and without warning, I found myself floating above the light fixture near the ceiling.”

“I found myself out in the waiting room and my parents were there.”

“Then I found myself outside the building.”

“I felt myself moving toward a small white light in the distance and I somehow knew that was my destination.”

If we don’t accept realistic reports of unexpected movements such as these as evidence there is a spirit mind, and it has superseded the conscious mind (but the conscious mind is a willing partner), then we find ourselves in the position of needing to explain how the large majority of NDErs are in almost total agreement in relating such movements and thoughts during the early stages of their NDE.

Although the physical brain and the spirit mind interface in such a way that they almost work as one, the memory of the physical brain occasionally comes to the forefront. For example, many NDErs reported that upon first seeing a light being they identified as God, the light emanating from Him was brighter than one can imagine, or describe, and they had concern that such a bright light would severely damage their eyes. They either soon realized that, in their spirit form, they didn’t have physical eyes, or they quickly found that the extremely bright light did not cause “eye” problems. Thoughts such as these are indications that the memory of the physical brain is present during the NDE.

Soon after reaching heaven, many NDErs think:

“I’m home! I know I’ve been here before. This is where I belong, and I never want to leave!”

The spirit mind is surely the only type of consciousness that can make such claims.

4. Support For the Free Will of the Spirit Theory

Edgar Cayce, through one or more of his thousands of NDEs, learned that:

“Souls were given the power of free will so that they would not remain simply a part of the individuality of God.” (3)

Some NDErs offered support for Cayce’s belief in telling about their sojourn to heaven. While there they learned that spirits they met in heaven had free will, and one way the spirits exercised their free will was by choosing the parents of the child whose embryo, or fetus, they would enter. (Williams, p. 112) The NDErs also found out they had free will while engaging in instantaneous telepathic communication with beings they met in heaven. Some reported they were given the choice of staying in heaven or returning to their physical body. David Oakford was strongly encouraged to return to his body but he wanted to stay in heaven. He was finally allowed to choose, and he said it:

“… was really the hardest decision I would ever have to make … Without the free will to return, I would not be here doing what I am doing.” (11)

There are many other NDE reports that indicate the spirits of NDErs had free will and they exercised it. Most of those reports involved heavenly NDEs. Cecil, age 10, said:

“I had the feeling that if I went with them (three beings) there would be no coming back ….”

He exercised his free will and chose not to accompany them. Another being then asked him:

“Why do you hesitate?”

Cecil replied, “Well, there’s some things I want to know first.” (4)

David Goines, at age 13, reported:

“… [the light being’s] hands stretched out to me and a voice said, ‘Will you come unto me?’ I said, ‘No, I still have many things I must do.'” (7)

Jeanie Dicus reported:

“He (Jesus) kind of grinned, I guess I was amusing him, and he answered, ‘You want to be reincarnated?’ ‘Hey, give me a break,’ I yelled (only I made no sound). ‘I just died. Don’t I get a chance to rest?’ [Jesus said], ‘Take it easy, hold on, it’s alright. You can change your mind at any time.'” (5)

Rene Turner was told that her time to die had come, but she was so concerned about who would care for her seven-month-old child that she resisted the beings who gave her that news. She expressed her strong desire to return to her body, but the beings persisted. She reported that:

“Finally, my hysteria (caused by her dilemma) was calmed by a higher spirit who seemed to envelop me in love. My guides were instructed to allow me to return.” (Williams, p. 43)

Reports such as these reflect the spirits of NDErs did have free will in that they had many opportunities to make choices. They not only felt free in making choices, when they met with resistance, they sometimes argued to get their way, and sometimes they got it.

Melvin Morse (1990) stated that he:

“… reexamined a generation of scientific research into higher brain function and … found that the soul (spirit) hypothesis explains many “unexplained” events. It explains out-of-body experiences, the sensation of leaving the body and accurately describing details outside of the body’s field of view. Events … (that) are virtually impossible to explain if we do not believe in a consciousness separate from our bodies that could be called a soul.” (p. 258)

For those who accept “pseudoscientific” evidence, such as the above, the free will of the spirit theory enables us to answer questions such as these:

(1) Why do some people have one or more NDEs and others have none?

(2) Why do some things “trigger” an NDE in some people and not in others?

(3) Why do a few people have many spontaneous NDEs?

(4) Why do NDEs occur under such a wide variety of conditions?

(5) How can NDErs claim to have traveled to nearby and far away places and telepathically communicated with other beings in some of those places?

(6) How can NDErs gain information during an NDE (that later turns out to be true) that they could not have gained any other way?

(7) Why do some NDErs, upon reaching heaven, feel they have been there before and have come back home?

5. Questions For Skeptics

It is easy for those who reject thousands of anecdotal reports, such as those above, to assert that NDEs aren’t real and then feel their belief relieves them of the responsibility of having to consider pertinent questions related to NDEs. However, the descriptions of NDEs, by both adults and children, are now so numerous, so consistent in so many respects, and so compelling that they can no longer be casually dismissed. Those who embrace a physiological, or other non-afterlife theory, need to explain how their favorite theory helps to answer questions such as these:

(1) How can NDErs form much more vivid images during an NDE when the physical brain is believed to be unconscious than are formed during consciousness?

(2) During the early stages of an NDE, most NDErs see their physical body in the exact position and circumstances in which it actually is during their NDE: lying in a bed, under water, in a wrecked vehicle, being loaded into and transported in an ambulance, undergoing surgery, etc.? What is the explanation for that?

(3) Why do many NDErs report that, upon reaching what they believe to be heaven, they have the feeling they have been there before and have come back home?

(4) One would expect many adults and children NDErs to be either in great awe or fear upon meeting beings that they are certain are God and Jesus (or other major religious figures). Very few adults and children have reported that to be the case. Instead of being in awe or fear, the large majority of NDErs reported they felt overwhelming love in the presence of those beings. Furthermore, an examination of their NDE reports showed their telepathic communications with those awesome beings to be very normal or ordinary. How can these things be explained?

(5) Why is it that a large majority of NDEs, including those of atheists and other non-believers, involve common afterlife beings, places, and events, such as God, Jesus, deceased relatives, heaven, hell, and reincarnation?

(6) Decades after having an NDE, many NDErs remember it as clearly as if it “happened yesterday.” How can that be explained?

Those who believe the growing mountain of “pseudoscientific” evidence is not convincing, and believe NDEs are not real, are also asked to provide an answer to this question:

What kind of consciousness has a motive and the ability to create in the spirit mind extremely vivid but phony images that are so realistic that the human brain later perceives the phony images to be so real that major life-changes are made by NDErs because of those images?

Surely, neither the physical brain nor the spirit mind has anything to gain from creating such realistic, very vivid and long-lasting phony images. Neither does the devil – if there is such a being.

6. References

(1) Atwater, P.M.H. (1994), Beyond the Light, New York, Avon

(2) Benedict, Mellen-Thomas

(3) Cayce, Edgar

(4) Cecil’s NDE

(5) Dicus, Jeanie

(6) Fenwick, Peter

(7) Goines, David

(8) Gross, Jerry

(9) Morse, Melvin (1990). Closer to the Light, Boston, G.K. Hall.

(10) Nuland, Sherwin (1994) How We Die, New York, Knopf.

(11) Oakford, David

(12) Sawyer, Tom

(13) Tart, Charles

(14) Unidentified Critic

(15) Williams, Kevin (2002), Nothing Better Than Death, Xlibris.

Categories
Articles Science

The Survivalist Interpretation of Recent Studies into the NDE

The following article is by Titus Rivas reprinted by permission from: The Journal of Religion and Psychical Research, 26, 1, 27-31. January 2003. Photo: Courtesy of the Psi-Encyclopedia.

ABSTRACT:  There is serious evidence for veridical perceptions during the stage of flat electroencephalogram (EEG) in so-called near-death experiences (NDEs). This paper addresses common counter-hypotheses for a survivalist interpretation of these experiences. The only possible alternative which would account for veridical NDEs is the false memory through retrocognition-hypothesis. It is shown why this alternative is less parsimonious than a straightforward survivalist interpretation of NDEs.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Near-Death Experiences and Materialist Theories of the Mind
  3. Bibliography
  4. Acknowledgements
  5. Reprint Request Information

1. Introduction

The near-death experience recently gained an increased scientific respectability by the publication of an article in The Lancet authored by Dr. Pim van Lommel of the Rijnstaate Hospital at Arnhem (the Netherlands) and his collaborators (Lommel, et al. 2001). Their prospective work with cardiac patients who were successfully resuscitated after cardiac arrest, resembles similar research by Dr. Sam Parnia at the University of Southampton and his colleagues (Parnia et al., 1998).

Both Van Lommel and Parnia have concluded that NDEs are real and that they cannot be explained by physiological or psychological causes (alone). Moreover, they have both accepted the implication that consciousness is not destroyed when our brain activity ceases, but that there is a continuity beyond brain coma and therefore probably after brain death as well. Consciousness does not ultimately depend on brain activity for its very existence, which makes it downright irrational to take for granted the idea that it would be obliterated after the brain ceases to exist as a physical system.

Materialists (I mean the non-reductive ones who accept the reality of consciousness during physical life) generally see consciousness as an epiphenomenon or correlate of brain activity. For the question of survival, it is therefore sufficient to show that there is no ultimate existential dependence of the mind on such brain processing. The theory of ultimate mental dependence on cerebral functioning is refuted by the survival of consciousness after the cessation of (cortical) brain processes, regardless of whether that cessation is temporary or final.

2. Near-Death Experiences and Materialist Theories of the Mind

If it can be shown that consciousness is present even though the brain processes which following materialist theories are supposedly known to be responsible for it have ceased, those materialist theories can safely be considered as inadequate. Now, apriori there can be several responses to the challenge that is posed to materialism and epiphenomenalism by the recent NDE-findings:

a. Methodological scepticism:  This is the usual response by skeptics whenever they are confronted by results that go against their (unquestionably closed-minded) world view. However, as the scientific reputation of the researchers involved in the recent studies certainly seems impeccable, and as their work has been accepted as worthy of publication in prestigious journals such as The Lancet, it may be safely assumed that the standard skeptic objection is simply baseless in this case. Research into NDEs cannot be dismissed anymore as being pseudo-scientific.

b. Flaws in the specific interpretation of the results:  Some critics, such as C.C. French think that the findings of these studies should not be interpreted in a survivalist manner. It certainly seems to be the case that some individual patients are fully conscious during a flat EEG, but they really are not. The memories of the NDE they claim to have had are simply false memories (French, 2001). This can be further elaborated in two ways:

(1)  Patients who claim they have had an NDE simply suffer from some kind of self-deception. They never experienced anything like it, but they just believe they did. At a subconscious level, they have constructed a fantasy accompanied by images and feelings, and they project this fantasy into their memory as if it concerned a real experience of the (imaginary) event while it occurred.

(2)  Claimants of NDEs did indeed have a real experience before they came to, but not during their flat EEG. It happened during the seconds or minutes before they lost consciousness or during the last few moments before they fully awoke from their coma, and it was temporally distorted in their memory as if it really took place during the flat EEG.

Against both these criticisms researchers stress that patients are reported to have had veridical impressions of events that took place inside but also outside the room that contained their physical bodies and during the stage in which their brains showed a flat EEG. Therefore, any hypothesis that claims that these people simply deceive themselves must account for these experiences. It is very convenient for skeptics that such experiences, which seem clearly related to extrasensory perception (ESP) as studied by parapsychologists, are still quite controversial for many scientists, so that they are obviously tempted to dismiss them out of hand. However, the evidence for such veridical experiences (or memories of experiences) is growing and its quality is also increasing (Ring, 1998; Rivas, 2000; Abdalla, 2002). So unless we wish to remain hard line skeptics at any cost, it seems wise to take them very seriously.

What are the implications of real veridical experiences related to events that happened during a flat EEG? In psychical research we know two categories of ESP that relate to a time factor. First, there is precognition which in this context would boil down to an experience of an event which took place during the stage of flat EEG before that experience took place. In this case it would mean that a patient does not precognitively experience an event which – according to the false-memory theory – (unlike, say, the case of a Dunne-effect type of dream) he will eventually experience through ESP while it is taking place, because the theory holds that there would be no awareness of any events whatsoever during the stage of flat EEG. More importantly, the precognitive experiences should occur before the patient loses consciousness or at least before he enters the stage of flat EEG, whereas he should lose all memory of having had such a precognitive vision after he has come to.

Therefore, I personally cannot take this very far-fetched possibility seriously and I think we should be confident in dismissing the precognitive variant of the false memory theory.

The other time-related form of ESP is called retrocognition, i.e. knowledge acquired through ESP of past events. The retrocognitive variant of the false memory hypothesis interprets memories of veridical experiences during the stage of flat EEG as follows. Patients with an NDE subconsciously use ESP to get knowledge of past events which happened during their coma, and project that knowledge into their false memories during the last moments before they regain consciousness. The theory needs to hold that all patients with veridical experiences during their flat EEG were somehow motivated to create a fantasy and include in that fantasy false memories of real events through the aid of retrocognition. This means that during the moments between their flat EEG and their awakening from it, some patients are subconsciously motivated to use retrocognition to deceive themselves about their lack of consciousness during their flat EEG.

Retrocognition is a very strange hypothesis for NDEs, because it implies that a patient would not use ESP to perceive events that happen between the stage of flat EEG and complete awakening, but would instead focus on events that have already taken place. It cannot explain cases of NDEs in which there is paranormal perception of events that took place during flat EEG but also of events which occurred during the awakening process itself and in which such a perception is experienced by the patient as part of a coherent and continuous stream of consciousness.

An even more fatal weakness of this theory is that it uses a very unmaterialistic concept – retrocognition – to uphold a materialistic theory. Even if it were true, it simply could not be defended by a (reductive or non-reductive) materialist, at least not in the mainstream sense of this term. By its very nature, the retrocognitive false memory theory needs to be part of a broader radical dualistic theory about the mind-brain relation. It might be defended by the so called “animistic” school of thought within the parapsychological tradition, which promotes the explanation of possible evidence for survival after death in terms of ESP (or psychokinesis). However, it is very ironic that even a hard line animist like Hans Bender (1983, page 148) concluded that the ESP needed to explain veridical experiences during NDEs is in itself suggestive of survival after death.

In any case, if veridical memories of events during flat EEG are taken seriously, we must leave the realm of (conventional) materialist theorizing about mind-brain relations. After that, we have to ask ourselves which theory is simpler or more parsimonious: a dualist theory which holds that the memories of events during flat EEG are false memories, constructed via retrocognition, or a dualist theory which holds that such memories simply are real memories based on real experiences. As dualists, we can no longer consider the real memory theory as less parsimonious just because it would imply survival, because – as even animistic champion Hans Bender acknowledges- at least some form of survival is implied by any serious radical dualist (and therefore also any animistic) theory. Therefore, I conclude that the false memory-theory is simply more complicated (i.e. less parsimonious) than necessary. In order to avoid the conclusion that consciousness survives death, it needs to postulate a mechanism which is only plausible within a parapsychological theory which ultimately implies at least some form of postmortem survival of the mind. So it really is a theory which is more complicated than a straightforward survivalist theory. It implies both survival and a strange, unknown kind of retrospective falsification of memory through retrocognition.

Therefore, in my opinion, we should only adopt the “false memory through retrocognition”-theory after it has been empirically shown that memories of NDEs must generally be false. It’s the animists (or moderate survivalists) who have to show the (radical) survivalists wrong in this case, certainly not the other way round. It’s just a question of parsimony. The radical survivalist theory is the most parsimonious exhaustive interpretation of NDEs and it can be falsified by evidence for a more complex theory such as the “false memory through retrocognition”-theory.

c. Adaptation of mainstream materialistic neuropsychological theory concerning the present-day registrability of neural activity needed for consciousness

The last materialist response (defended for example by Karl Jansen, a psychiatrist known for his attempts of artificially producing experiences which resemble NDEs) to the recent evidence for NDEs is that the memories are indeed real memories, but that a hypothetical residual and as yet non-measurable level of brain activity can still account for them (Abdalla, 2002). Of course, the veridical memories of events that took place in or outside the patient’s room during his flat EEG, are usually ignored by this theory. If they are not, they should be seen as mental activities which can be “embodied” in unusually low-leveled brain activity.

The problem with this theory is that there is (by definition) absolutely no evidence for it. Theorists seem to be quite content with pointing at unsuitable analogies such as certain types of sleep EEG, but no acceptable close empirical parallels have been presented so far. For instance, during most vivid dreams there is rapid eye movement (REM). As Pim van Lommel points out, if we accept NDEs as real experiences during flat EEG, we also have to accept that patients experience normal, full-blown and even heightened conscious mental activity in them. If critics want to explain this away by a still unknown type of residual neural activity, they have to present parallels which involve normal (lucid) or heightened conscious mental activity and which can at the same time be satisfactorily explained by known residual neural activity. Otherwise, we must conclude that the theory is based on nothing more than unfounded speculation! It is not forbidden to look for immunizations of a cherished, well-founded theory against apparently falsifying results, but such immunizations should of course be plausible and based on acceptable data. As far as I know, there is no serious evidence for the residual cerebral activity-theory as a counter theory for survival. That is precisely the reason that Pim van Lommel (personal communication) simply rejects it as having no scientific basis.

3. Bibliography

Abdalla, M. (2002). Cardioloog Pim van Lommel haalt bijna-dood ervaringen uit het donker. Paravisie, 17, 13-27.

Bender, H. (1983). Zukunftsvisionen, Kriegsprophezeiungen, Sterbeerlebnisse. Munich: R. Piper Verlag. French, C.C. (2001). Dying to know the truth: visions of a dying brain, or false memories? The Lancet, 358, 9298, 2010.

Lommel, P. van, Wees, R. van, Meyers, V., & Elfferich, I. (2001). Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands. The Lancet, 358, 9298, 2039-2044. Parnia, S., Waller, D.G., Yeates, R., & Fenwick, P. (2001). A qualitative and quantitative study of the incidence, features and aetiology of near death experiences in cardiac arrest survivors. Resuscitation, 48, 149-156.

Ring, K. (1998). Lessons From The Light: What We Can Learn From the Near-Death Experience. New York: Insight Books. Rivas, T. (2000). Herinneringen aan een periode tussen twee levens. Prana, 120, 33-38.

4. Acknowledgements

I’m grateful to Dr. Pim van Lommel, Anny Stevens-Dirven and Pieter van Wezel, MA, and Dr. Donald R. Morse for their useful comments.

5. Reprint request information

Send reprint requests to:

Titus Rivas, “Athanasia”, Darrenhof 9, 6533 RT, Nijmegen, The Netherlands titusrivas@hotmail.com

Categories
Articles Science

Soulmates and Consciousness: New Understanding from NDE Research

The following article is by Jody A. Long, J.D., from the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF), webmaster of : www.nderf.org; www.adcrf.org; www.oberf.org; P.O. Box 23367, Tacoma, WA, 98093, (253) 568-7777 home; (253) 831-3008 cell; or (253) 572-1330 work, email: blueheron78@yahoo.com

Reprint requests may be sent to Jody A. Long, J.D. at the above address.

ABSTRACT:  This is part one of an ongoing study on Soulmates. Those who experience a near death experience frequently talk about the importance of relationships. This study an introductory article on Soulmates that gives background information on consciousness. Discussed is the big picture of how consciousness studies, NDEs, and relationships are related to the Soulmate study.

KEYWORDS:  near-death experience; soulmates; soul mates; consciousness, relatives, soul, religious figures, soul cluster group

For purposes of this study, Soulmates is defined as “a loving relationship involving positive co-creation and manifesting spiritual growth” (Long, 2002). The focal points of this definition are that love is manifested through the relationship and that each person is able to grow in consciousness as a consequence of the relationship. The definition used for determining a near-death experience (NDE) is:

“A lucid experience associated with perceived consciousness apart from the body occurring at the time of actual or threatened imminent death.”

All people who have an NDE, experience a separation of consciousness from their body, whether they are aware of the actual separation or not. Experiencers also experience a fairly consistent set of circumstances and emotions that they report after resuscitation. Since the study of NDE is so connected to consciousness, a foundational understanding of consciousness is vital to the study of NDE. The study of consciousness is integrally connected to the way we process information on Earth. Moreover, information processing is the golden key to unlocking some of the mysteries as to what our purpose on Earth may be, what our true human nature is and what we might be capable of achieving with these new understandings.

As a bit of background, at the IANDS annual conference in 2000, Dr. Jeff Long and I gave a presentation on our research findings regarding Soulmates. I recently started to write up the presentation. One of the main questions I wanted to find out is if, by including the new data, the results of the study would still hold. It turned out that we had over two times the data as when we started. Every question analyzed had such a wealth of information contained in each sub-category that it was impossible to just write-up the Soulmate presentation. Therefore, I have chosen to write a series of papers based upon the new data and then write a culmination paper on soulmate understandings incorporating the findings of the separate papers.

For the study, NDEs were collected via a web form questionnaire on the website www.nderf.org and the resulting answers were analyzed (Long, 2002). From these patterns certain principles were derived that led to the unifying theory of spirit defined as the development of the soul in the process of returning to our natural spiritual state.

Soulmates is a necessary component of soul development. Experiencers identified the most important principals as:

  1. That everything and everyone is connected;
  2. Recognition that the other side is home;
  3. Unconditional love;
  4. Support from both sides of the veil for our soul development;
  5. Lessons on reconnection; and
  6. That Soulmates is one aspect of individuals feeling connected to a supreme creative being.

These principals were derived from the most commonly reported elements concerning relationships. Questions reviewed were those asking about encounters with beings (familiar and unfamiliar), comments about relationships, emotions, feelings, interconnectedness, and universal purpose or order.

Therefore, the series of papers will analyze answers to the questions of what beings were seen on the other side, what experiencers perceive as our purpose on Earth, what changes they made after returning to Earth, and explore the emotional content of the NDEs. Concepts derived from these papers will, in turn, be used to sum up the NDE perspective on Soulmates as reflected against the backdrop of consciousness studies because how we process information is key to integrating NDEs with our Earthly reality.

Consciousness

One aspect of consciousness is how we process information. Most people think that our memories are stored in the brain, much like a hard drive in a computer with 100% available recall. Many cannot understand that if a person claims to have consciousness apart from the body and the brain is flat lined, how can a person recall their NDE? This is a good point, but easily understood when one understands the nature of memories, the way we process information, and the way we recall that information.

There have been several recent studies on consciousness. One current theory is that consciousness is where the memories are stored, not in the brain as previously thought (Berkovich, 2001). Berkovich is in the forefront of scientists who is exploring the theory that as an information storage unit, the brain cannot possibly hold all the information that is required to function in our society. Consequently, scientist are considering the alternative that the brain is more of an accessing unit much like a radio receiver. The actual storage place is somewhere else, and NDEs would strongly suggest that place is the consciousness that survives the body.

Recent findings have shown that we typically store information as a core memory attached to an emotion and then file it in a concept area in the brain (Ornstein, 1991). When we retrieve our memories, we are programmed to “fill in the gaps.” Therefore brain memories rarely are 100% totally accurate. Even Freud noticed that memories are stored by attaching emotion to them (p. 89). Emotions organize how we store and access information in the brain.

Recalled memory will be reconstructed using the brain preference for order and stability. The memory will have a certain order to it and will generally be re-told in a way that subjectively makes sense to the individual. Analogous to a computer hard drive, we retrieve the memory chunk of information, by accessing a particular emotional “directory” in a certain part of the brain. Then the memory chunk is connected to one or several information chunks and the brain makes up the most logical story to connect the separate information chunks. This means that the information is integrated into an existing subjective framework of reality.

That being said, the experiencers typically report life reviews that contain every thought, deed, and how we made others feel. Vivid NDE examples, also noted in the landmark NDE Dutch study by van Lommel, contain memories during physical death of events categorized as veridical perception (van Lommel, 2001, p. 2043). Experiencers were accurately reporting events they witnessed while in the out of body state during the time they coded. They couldn’t possibly know what the doctors, staff, or relatives were saying in the same or another room. Nonetheless, experiencers were privy to actual conversations and events. Dr. Ken Ring‘s study showed that blind people can see during their NDE (Ring, 1999). There are reports from child experiencers that can recall NDEs like they happened yesterday. The youngest NDE reported to NDERF was at age 18 months old. The woman stated, “These experiences have stayed crystal clear and as fresh as when they occurred.”

These reported events cannot be explained by conventional “brain” theories, such as brain chemistry, anoxia, random firings of a dying brain, false memories, or wishful thinking. The model that best fits the data would suggest that the stream of consciousness that leaves the body does act like a computer hard drive with 100% memory recall. This is unlike the way the brain processes routine information. When consciousness returns to the body, it takes years to have those intense memories of the NDE to funnel through to the brain and to be integrated with the current Earthly reality framework (van Lommel, p. 2043).

My hypothesis is that NDE is such an intense experience that it may create access to consciousness memories and therefore imprints in the brain in a manner similar to what is known as a “flashbulb moment” (Ornstein, p. 88). Flashbulb moments are times when the brain takes a picture of a particular instance; usually occurring in times of heightened sensory and emotional input or life-threatening moments. These memories are then ingrained in the brain and the person can recall the event like it happened yesterday. This type of memory is much different than the way we store and recall routine information. I would suggest that duality exists between brain and consciousness (mind) because both serve two very different but necessarily integrated functions.

The NDE is almost always reported in terms of a highly emotional experience. Perhaps via the mechanism of emotion, consciousness (and the memories contained therein) is more readily accessed by the brain. Most of the time, the NDE recollection is so far outside of mainstream reality experience, that it may well take years for a person to process the NDE memory and integrate it into their existing reality framework in a manner that it can be communicated to self and others.

With consciousness and the way we process information as the backdrop, we can look at the way experiencers process information, reintegrate it into their lives, and springboard the process into a spiritually transformative event. As mentioned above, experiencers typically will report their experience in terms of emotion and relationships. For many, this integration will change their focus from an Earthly, material world to that of spiritual and relationships. Therefore, this information processing may well be a major component of consciousness that survives the body. Further study is necessary to understand what types of information are retained and what part of the experience motivates the experiencers to change which behaviors on Earth. Some of the new soulmate research will yield clues that answer some of these questions.

References

Berkovich, S. (2001) www.nderf.org

Berkovich, S (2001) www.arxiv.org

Berkovich, S (2001) www.seas.gwu.edu

Berkovich, S (2001) www.seas.gwu.edu

Long, J. and Long, J. (2002) www.nderf.org, www.adcrf.org

Ornstein, R. (1991) The Evolution of Consciousness, The Origins of the Way We Think, Simon & Schuster, New York NY.

Ring, K. and Cooper S. (1999) Mindsight: Near-Death and Out–of-Body Experiences In the Blind, William James Center for Consciousness Studies.

van Lommel, P. et al. (2001) Near-Death Experience In Survivors of Cardiac Arrest: A Prospective Study in the Netherlands, The Lancet, 358, 2039-2042.

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Articles Science

Sex, Drugs, NDEs and Quantum Physics

Justin Nobel, B.Sc., M.A., M.S. (www.justinnobel.com) is an award-winning freelance journalist who operates Digital Dying on the Internet. Justin explores death, across history and around the globe. In 2012, Justin interviewed Kevin Williams, the webmaster of this site, by phone and the following is an edited transcript of that interview. I took the liberty to expand on the questions asked of me from the first interview.

JUSTIN NOBEL:  Kevin Williams runs a popular near death experience (NDE) website, www.near-death.com. “I no longer have any doubt that life goes on after death,” says Williams. Is it really possible to float above your own body? Does consciousness live on after death? Are all our brains and the entire universe just a hologram? Digital Dying recently spoke about these matters with Kevin Williams, who runs one of the web’s most popular sites on near-death experiences. What’s a near-death experience like?

KEVIN WILLIAMS:  There may be succinct stages experienced such as going through a tunnel, having a homecoming with loved ones in heaven, experiencing a life review, and a marvelous encounter with a being made of divine light and love. Some people observe heavenly temples, universities, and cities of light. Some people are given visions of the future, such as, what would happen to surviving family members if the person decided to stay in the light and not to return from their NDE. Some people are shown the future of Earth based on current probabilities or they are given a great amount of spiritual knowledge in an effort to foster change on Earth. NDEs are as very dynamic – if not more dynamic – than any experience on Earth. People have described the experience as more real than any physical reality. By comparison, humans appear to be going about their business on Earth in a kind of trance while conscious awareness on the Other Side is far more developed: 360 degree vision, communication by means of telepathy, instantaneous travel, a realm where thoughts are deeds, etc. Some people have even received advanced scientific knowledge from their NDE leading to new discoveries. Some people are not able to recall the great amount of knowledge given them after their NDE, while others are allowed to retain them. People having NDEs often return saying our entire world system is upside down: the raising and teaching of children should be society’s highest priority while the pursuit of materialistic things and pleasures should be last. Some people are shown their past lives on Earth. Other people might experience time travel and “re-remember” events experienced from before they were born: forgotten knowledge. Death is just a “body problem” where we enjoy life unrestricted by a physical body. Death has been described as like taking off an old coat you have been wearing for a very long time.

JUSTIN NOBEL:  What typically triggers a near death experience?

KEVIN WILLIAMS:  The most transcendental ones are caused by triggers which bring people closest to physical death such as cardiac arrest. You can also experience them through mediation, hypnosis, psychedelics or even sex. I profile one woman on my website who has out-of-body experiences when she has sexual orgasms. Dreams can trigger an NDE also. Many people don’t realize this but when we dream at night we actually enter various realms of the afterlife. Every night we go back the spiritual realm – our true home – otherwise life would be intolerable. We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

JUSTIN NOBLE:  More insights can be found in the article “Dead But Not Dead, Fantastic But True Stories of Coming Back from the Grave.” Kevin, have you ever had a near-death experience?

KEVIN WILLIAMS:  Not in this lifetime. However, when my mother was killed in an auto accident in 2001, two days later she interrupted a dream I was having. In the dream, I opened a door and ran into a room. Then lo and behold, there was my mother sitting on a couch in a kind of heavenly waiting room! The moment I saw her, I experienced a wonderful miracle – something I never experienced before or since. When I saw her, I immediately awoke – except I still in the dream! I knew I was really seeing and talking to my mother and that I was still in a dream. I later learned this phenomenon is called a lucid dream. I said to her, “Mom, you’re not dead!” She replied that she had yet to contact my younger brother. Then I woke up knowing I had just communicated with my mother from the Other Side to tell me she was still alive. I phoned my sister days later to tell her about it and discovered she had exactly the same dream on the exact same night. Her response was also the same as mine, “Mom, you’re not dead.” This phenomenon is known as a “veridical dream.” This after-death communication with my mother was my own personal validation that consciousness survives death. Before this experience, I was sure there was an afterlife based upon NDE research alone. But after this experience, I have absolutely no doubt that life goes on after death. People who have NDEs realize this also and nobody can tell them otherwise. NDE studies also show that a person does not need to have an NDE to benefit from them. Merely reading enough NDE testimonies is enough for many people to gain the same spiritual benefits NDErs do. This is one of the main reasons I built my website.

JUSTIN NOBEL:  When did humans first begin having near death experiences?

KEVIN WILLIAMS:  Plato was the first person in Western Civilization to describe a near-death experience in his book Republic where he describes a tale involving a soldier called Er. Er was killed in battle and was about to have his body burned on a funeral pile when he revived. The experience he described while dead is remarkably similar to modern NDE testimony. Er observed some souls descending to Earth to be reincarnated and observed other souls ascending to higher spirit realms. You might say Plato was the father of the near-death experience in the West. But hundreds of years later, Tibetan monks were reading a religious text called the Tibetan Book of the Dead which is based partly upon Tibetan NDErs called “delogs.” So it took thousands of years for scientists in the West to slowly but surely climb and overcome the mountain of ignorance reaching for the summit of enlightenment and attaining the peak of scientific understanding only to see Tibetan monks who have been sitting there for millennia.

JUSTIN NOBEL:  How does the idea of God fit into a near death experience?

KEVIN WILLIAMS:  The word “God” has so much “baggage” attached to it that it’s practically meaningless. But when I refer to God or divinity, I don’t mean a big Old Man on a Throne. In the physical realm, I believe divinity is best understood as “Mother Nature” or panpsychism. I believe the NDE evidence shows life itself to be divine. Mathematics is the language of God in the physical and quantum physics is the science of God. At the spiritual level, I believe the evidence shows divinity is best understood as being similar to the all-pervasive “Force” described in the movie “Star Wars.” NDE research reveals the existence of a hierarchy of afterlife realms or dimensions where souls can experience God in various degrees according to this hierarchy. The lower afterlife realms are where God is less obvious and where there is a lesser manifestation of divine light, love, and life. The higher the soul moves up this afterlife hierarchy, the more the manifestation of God become greater and more obvious. As souls, we are working our way up this hierarchy with the goal of attaining at-one-ment with the divine. I believe the evidence suggests the physical universe we currently inhabit to be roughly in the middle of this afterlife hierarchy. This means we are already in the afterlife right now; and that, as human beings, we are halfway to heaven. If this is true, then it explains why the manifestation of divine light, love, and life in this universe is not so obvious. People who have experienced divinity in higher afterlife realms by means of an NDE have described “God” on the Other Side as being like the air we breathe here on Earth. God’s presence is felt everywhere in the higher afterlife realms and is so obvious you can’t deny it. However, materialistic scientists do not accept subjective or personal experiences as proof of anything scientific even though Einstein once eloquently stated, “the only source of knowledge is experience.”

JUSTIN NOBEL:  Another great article along these lines is, “How Different Religions Around the World Deal with Death.” Kevin, how does faith determine ones’ ability to have a near-death experience?

KEVIN WILLIAMS:  It doesn’t matter what your belief system is to have an NDE. People from all walks of life have reported them. And when it comes to having a positive or hellish NDEs, it doesn’t seem to matter what your belief system is or how you die. What matters most on the Other Side is how you lived your life and how much have you loved others unconditionally. Love is the key because love is God. Love is the “glue” holding everything in life together: from the atom to the solar system, to the galaxy and the universe. So it doesn’t matter whether you are an atheist, a priest, a Buddhist, or even a Satanist; the only thing that matters to God is how much love you have expressed toward others. It is apparent to me from NDE studies that the “force” of love is somehow the solution to the physicists’ Grand Unifying Field Theory and the Theory of Everything. The divine power of love is the life force holding everything together and bringing all things to light. Unconditional love is the closest thing we can experience to heaven and to the divine. It is the kind of love that goes beyond the physical and is spiritual. People who have NDEs describe the love felt in the higher realms as unlike any love experienced on Earth. Love in this physical realm is more closer to erotic love than divine love. The level of divine light and love manifested in these realms depends on what afterlife realm you’re currently in. Our universe is merely one of these realms.

NDE research also reveals atheists have just as many positive NDEs than religious people. In fact, NDE research suggests a person’s belief system is not a big factor in determining whether their NDE is positive or hellish. For example, my uncle is a retired radiologist and a devoted student of astronomy and evolution. He doesn’t believe in a God at all, but I know he “worships” the “higher power” in his own way through his devotion to studying nature. And who can say he is not more religious than many practicing religionists? After all, Edgar Cayce once put it this way, “He who understands nature walks close with God.” I believe there is a lot of truth in this quote. NDE testimony overwhelmingly describes God in natural terms of light, life, and love.

JUSTIN NOBEL:  What does quantum physics have to do with near-death experiences?

KEVIN WILLIAMS:  As I mentioned before, mathematics is the language of God in the physical. There is also evidence that quantum physics may one day prove mathematically how non-physical consciousness survives bodily death. It is not difficult to view consciousness as an energy which can neither be created nor destroyed. Consciousness is supreme when it comes to NDE studies and quantum mechanics. There is evidence from physics, psychology, philosophy, parapsychology, and religion [1], [2], [3], and [4] suggesting consciousness is not localized in the brain and that it transcends the physical realm. There is also sufficient evidence in my mind to accept a theory of quantum mechanics where our consciousness perception of objects causes the collapse of light waves to light particles which is how we see things. The things we see “out there” are not really as solid as we perceive them. It’s kind of an illusion because all physical objects are composed of atoms consisting mostly of empty space where the nucleus and electrons are very tiny. It is the enormous energy of the atom itself which makes objects look and feel solid. Therefore, because atoms are filled mostly with energy in empty space, it is not difficult assume we are mostly composed of “spirit energy” So there’s a dual nature to reality and this duality explains why our consciousness can be separated from our physical bodies.

Consciousness is something akin to the airwaves of a radio station. You can destroy a radio but you haven’t destroyed the airwaves where the music is playing. So there appears a difference between the mind and the brain. We are not our brains. We are not merely physical beings. There is more to us than just the sum of our parts. This theory of the brain, called the “Holonomic Brain Theory” is part of an even larger concept called “Holism” and the “Holographic Principle” where the universe can be defined as having the properties of a hologram. Our brains seem to act like hologram-generators which is how we see things in our mind’s eye. And if the universe and everything in it is a hologram, this would explain why our consciousness sometimes seems to be in line with other people’s consciousness. It would also explain a plethora of paranormal phenomena such as telepathy and even NDEs and OBEs.

In the bizarre realm of quantum mechanics, two particles can become “entangled” and interact with each other – no matter how far away they are from each other – even if they are separated by billions of light years. This fact caused Einstein a lot of headaches and he referred to this phenomena as “spooky actions from a distance” because nothing can travel faster than light. Yet, because two particles can interact with each other faster than the speed of light, it suggests that two particles can be connected no matter how far apart they are. This fact supports the emerging holographic paradigm of all atoms in the universe being connected to all other atoms in the form of a hologram.

JUSTIN NOBEL:  Will science someday be able to explain the afterlife with a simple equation?

KEVIN WILLIAMS:  Quantum physicists have discovered the so-called “God particle” recently – also known as the Higgs boson – the elusive particle which bestows mass on all other particles. This last “piece” of the cosmic puzzle in the “Standard Model” of particle physics is a major development. The Standard Model incorporates other possible theories in physics supporting the existence of a quantum nature of consciousness. If the mind relies on some quantum mechanism, then it’s possible consciousness is not limited exclusively or localized to the brain and skull. Evidence for the existence of quantum processes in warm and “wet” biological systems are growing every year. There’s a major scientific study going on right now trying to determine whether under scientific controls patients can observe events while “outside” of their body. There’s a mountain of “circumstantial evidence” supporting this; but the problem is that this kind of evidence is considered subjective – subject to a person’s own interpretation – and science demands objective evidence. Unfortunately, the scientific method is unable to quantify conscious experience. In other words, the mind has not explained the brain fully. It’s why science is having so much trouble keeping up knowledge attained from mysticism and spirituality. It appears to me that the fields of science, psychology, philosophy and religion are quickly approaching a point of merger and neither field really likes it.

JUSTIN NOBEL:  What does the future hold for humans?

KEVIN WILLIAMS:  From all the evidence I have come across, someday in the future humans will evolve to such an extent they will be able to walk on water, control the weather with their minds, and possess great psychic abilities. Through the process of evolution-reincarnation, enough souls will be born into this world from the higher realms bringing with them the so-called “kingdom of God” on Earth – the “second coming” of Christ and the thousand years of peace – the final incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu – the World to Come and the Hebrew Messiah – the arrival of the Maitreya Buddha – a close encounter of the “alien/angel” kind – whatever you want to call the coming “quantum leap” in the evolutionary progress of humanity. Souls from the lower spirit realms will not be permitted to reincarnate at this time to allow this “Golden Age” to come. After this Golden Age (of Aquarius), souls from the lower spirit realms will once again be allowed to reincarnate; and by then, the world will be in a better position to school them.

But before this Golden Age arrives, the evidence suggests there will some kind of major “catalyst” to spark major changes on Earth and humanity – some kind of global disaster – whether it be global climate, nuclear war, pole reversal, or an asteroid/comet. I believe that, at least in the Bible, the evidence tilts toward an asteroid/comet which will force people to stop killing each other and start helping one other. Many cities will disappear around the coastlines of the world, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s the end of an old paradigm and the beginning of a new paradigm where people will become much less technological and much more spiritual and closer to nature. There will be great loss of life, but it is our Mother Earth purifying herself from humanity’s transgressions upon her. Through it all, humanity will continue to evolve and reincarnate while paradise on Earth is ultimately attained. Once a person has reached their evolutionary goal on Earth and has completed their “mission from God,” the soul has earned its way to move on to higher “schools” – afterlife dimensions – in God’s gigantic “University.” You might say everyone is working their way up God’s “Corporate Ladder” – the “many abodes of our Heavenly Father” as Jesus mentioned – towards the goal of attaining with the “Godhead.” Whether this progression lasts forever, I don’t know. But we – as human beings – are constantly moving in and out of these other dimensions of reality through our dreams, meditation, daydreams, and out-of-body experiences.

Categories
Articles Science

The Science of Life Discovered From Lynnclaire Dennis’ NDE

Near-death testimonies often include an encounter with a heavenly “Light.” But to my knowledge, no experiencer other than Lynnclaire Dennis (www.mereon.org) has ever brought back a detailed scientific description of the Light’s complex geometric structure and movement. First presented in her 1997 book entitled The Pattern, Lynnclaire described in detail her amazing NDE and description of this Light. Many years have passed since I first learned of her profound NDE and it remains one of the most transcendental NDEs I have ever come across. Her NDE testimony has graced the “Exceptional NDEs” section of my website from its very beginning. We continued to stay in touch over the years and I continued to follow her work hoping what she brought back from her NDE would develop into the scientific discovery we now know it is – the very science of life and living. So when she invited me to write the Preface to her new book, Discovering Your Youniverse and Living Plan Be, I jumped at the opportunity.

From the very beginning, despite her religious upbringing, Lynnclaire courageously refused to give this Pattern of Light the ambiguous label of “God”. She prefers to simply call it “The Pattern” and describes it as an all-connecting pattern of Light – a three-dimensional mandala representative of time and space, and the energy generating matter. Because she experienced The Pattern as pure Love, she has always maintained this to be the reason why Love is all that matters. In simple terms, The Pattern is a knot; but not just any knot. The Pattern is the simplest and most profound knot as you will discover in this article.

While Lynnclaire was still investigating The Pattern, she met Nechung Kuten of Tibet who is the spiritual advisor to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He told her The Pattern is a “terma” – a Tibetan word for “a hidden treasure meant to be disclosed to the world at this time.” Following his advice, Lynnclaire published her NDE testimony and then took this geometric Pattern to the world of science. Nechung Kunten knew scientists would have the knowledge to confirm what the Pattern might be – a viable candidate as “the Source of all creation” leading to a possible solution to the Theory of Everything – the unifying principle of the realm of quantum physics. So without denying her otherworldly experience, Lynnclaire placed The Pattern’s geometric structure into the hands of such scientists as a gift to humanity and the world. I have done extensive research into The Pattern and what follows is my perspective on how this gift is currently changing the world.

Table of Contents

  1. Lynnclaire’s NDE and Mission in Life as a Catalyst for Change, for Love
  2. The Geometric Shape of The Pattern as the “Mereon Matrix”
  3. Mereon as an Archetypal Solution to the “Theory of Everything”
  4. Mereon and the Pattern of Synchronicity
  5. Bringing Mereon into Scientific Reality
  6. The Sequoia Symposium: Calling the First Scientific Dialgoues to Explore the Pattern, the Mereon Matrix
  7. The Ongoing Academic Scientific Investigation of the Mereon Matrix
  8. Mereon as a Template for Modeling Human Clinical Molecular Genetics
  9. Mereon is Applied to Map the Formation of Matter Since the Big Bang
  10. Mereon as the Foundation for a New Educational System
  11. Mereon and the Emergence of Cymatic Science using the CymaScope
  12. The Mereon Matrix; Unity, Perspective and Paradox” is Published by Elsevier, the World’s Leading Provider of Science and Health Information
  13. “Discovering Your Youniverse and Living Plan Be” and How This Work Applies To You
  14. “A Footprint In Eternity” About the Mereon Investigation from 2002–2014
  15. Links and Resources
  16. References

1. Lynnclaire Dennis’ NDE and Mission in Life as a Catalyst for Change, for Love

On January 15, 1987 while hot-air ballooning in the Swiss Alps, Lynnclaire Dennis along with her fiancée and a friend who was piloting their balloon, unwittingly climbed to an altitude of 17,000 feet causing Lynnclaire to lose consciousness resulting in perhaps the most important NDE ever documented. During her NDE, Lynnclaire encountered an incredibly beautiful and loving Light she instinctively understood to be “The Pattern” of all life. In her book, The Pattern, Lynnclaire explains what she saw:

“And then, in one ephemeral glimpse, I saw the Pattern, the single strand of the tapestry I knew was the essence woven through matter in every reality. Its design was so complexly simple that I knew it could only have been fashioned in the exalted intricacy of infinity. Seeing the Pattern, I knew I was looking at life itself. It was light; it was time and space. It was the energy of all matter, the heart of all that mattered. It was the very essence of all being. It emanated from Source, illuminated to my mind by “the Source behind the sun” as it moved in perfect harmony with all the universe. As I prepared to meld into the Source of Light and absolute Love, I knew with all my being that the Pattern was the core of all substance. I knew that the MUSIC emanating from the Pattern was the song of my heart, a testament of unconditional Love. The single step I had taken was the first in a dance that would take me into the single point of Infinite Light, which contained the power of Love that would forever illuminate my mind and heart.”

During her life review, Lynnclaire was informed of her mission in life – a rare occurrence in NDEs – because often the experiencer is told they cannot know it or that they will be made to forget it upon return. In Lynnclaire’s case, a Being of Light she refers to as “The Presence” reveals to her a special mission she was to perform:

“The last person to walk on the stage of my life was a man unknown to me … Although I was certain this was not someone I knew, I could feel him at the depths of my soul. He began to speak, communicating directly to my heart. The message he shared that day was engraved on both my mind and my soul.”

‘Lynnclaire, you will be a catalyst for change, for love. You will bring forth, hold, and honor remembrance. You will bring to conscious awareness the realms, realities, and remnants in order that the spirit may remember the dance.’

“I knew this was Truth … Yet, when he turned to leave, instead of following the others and walking off the stage through the door to my left, he turned toward the right. As I watched him return through the doorway from which he had entered, I clearly recall thinking this was important. Since that day I’ve identified him as ‘The Presence.'”

When Lynnclaire was resuscitated from her NDE, she knew this Pattern of Love and Light had changed her life forever. But what she did not yet know was how this transcendental Pattern was going to change the world.

On February 7, 1987, three weeks after her first NDE, Lynnclaire had a second NDE that was more profound than the first. In her first NDE, she was “hauled back” to Earth “against her will”; but In her second NDE she was allowed to make a choice while in eternity. At this juxtaposition of time and space, she made a conscious decision to return to her body, having no idea it would take four long and arduous years to remember exactly what it was she had seen. Over the years she would have to put all her pre-existing beliefs on the “back burner” – the most difficult belief to put away was her reluctance to trust the mystical aspects of her own being.

Then in 1991, Lynnclaire began having exceedingly clear, vivid and absolutely real recurring lucid dreams that would propel her back the Other Side to view The Pattern again and again. This brought more subconscious memories of The Pattern into her consciousness. She writes:

“Through my dream state, I had again made a sojourn into another realm, a dimension that usually remains invisible unless a divine light illumines its presence… In my dream, I moved toward the light, heading for the end of what I knew was the same tunnel I had voyaged through four years before… Leading me gently by the hand she (her guide) assured me that I had nothing to fear and I knew that I was not going to die… Hand in hand, my guide and I ventured to the end of the tunnel where we looked out into the universe. It was there, standing on the precipice of eternity, that I saw the fields of time and space merge. There, poised on the edge of infinity, I again saw The Pattern – a matrix that was somehow singular yet as vast as the stars.”

Lynnclaire’s life review and aftereffects of her NDE indicates she is on a mission to be a catalyst for Love. Her NDE validates how positive change is the by-product of this Love. I have no doubt her role in the future of this planet will be significant as it is already turning out to be the case. For several decades now, Lynnclaire and her team have spent time understanding how The Pattern can solve problems in quantum physics, mathematics, psychology, politics, and education. There are also implications of other possible solutions that are, quite frankly, mind-boggling.

2. The Geometric Shape of The Pattern as the “Mereon Matrix”

In developing the science behind The Pattern, Lynnclaire and others gave The Pattern the scientific name of the “Mereon Matrix“, hereafter referred to as “Mereon”. The source of the word “Mereon” was derived from “Mer-eon” where “eon” is a reference to “epoch” – a measure of time. “Mere” in English means “small” and is French for “mother” which gives Mereon a feminine connotation similar to “Gaia”. Implicit in “Mereon” is the word “merry” as in being full of joy. “Matrix” is a mathematical term referring to an array of numbers, symbols, or expressions.

While Lynnclaire’s NDE is remarkable in and of itself, what is even more remarkable is how she was able to accurately map such a structure as Mereon in its complexity as visualized in 3D animations. Her experience with Mereon is unparalleled in how scientists have reconciled it with proven laws and theories of mathematics and physics. Their conclusions suggest the potential of a unique energy source arising from Mereon’s toroid field.

In 1995 Lynnclaire’s description of Mereon’s geometric structure became of interest to top scientists around the world who were interested in its unique knotted topology and the geometrical structure it generates. Dr. Louis H. Kauffman, the world-renown mathematician and knot theorist from the University of Chicago, joined Lynnclaire as the second principle investigator. Dr. Kauffman’s research includes knot theory’s relationship with quantum theory, statistical mechanics, algebra, and combinatorics. He and others view Mereon as an algorithm that can used to generate a large number of both living and non-living systems whether they are physical, mathematical, or philosophical.

A scholarly book about the Mereon Matrix written by Lynnclaire and her team was published in Elsevier, the world’s leading provider of science and health information. In this book, the authors presented the “First Principles”, Mereon translated into twelve functional terms. Their goal was to define a rigorous General Systems Theory and in the process demonstrate it to be “universal”. Finding a connection between Mereon’s geometry and physics is remarkable, especially because it originated from Lynnclaire, an individual having no knowledge of geometry, knot theory or science. The Mereon knot’s polyhedra structure originating from her NDE reveals Lynnclaire’s greatest ability is in Pattern recognition; In particular, the Mereon Pattern.

In general terms, Mereon has the shape of a trefoil knot which “lives” on a torus (a donut-like shape.) In specific terms, Mereon as a whole is a dual polyhedra: one polyhedron inside another. The inner most polyhedron is diamond-like; has 144 triangular faces and grows to 300. In its dynamics, light emerges from 48 vertices. The outer polyhedron is watery, akin to a bubble; it has 120 triangular faces and grows to 180 faces. In the space between the two polyhedra, the energetic interconnection between the two, ties into multiple Pattern knots.

The 120/180 polyhedra Mereon defines 10 tetrahedra; five cubes; five icosahedron; five octahedron; one dodecahedron; five rhombic dodecahedrons; one rhombic triacontahedron; and one scaled icosahedron that “hides” the entire Matrix. With every “breath” Mereon produces ten dodecahedra.

In my view, much of this is compatible with the knotted pattern believed to define 10-dimensional space in Superstring Theory which is one of the candidates of the so-called Theory of Everything. Furthermore, Mereon unites all the building blocks of nature – not just once as described above – but twice. It is also noteworthy how one perspective of the Pattern resembles the atom as drawn and described by the great Danish physicist Niels Bohr. Mereon instantly transforms the concept of the awesome power of the atom, which the world has long feared, into the Source that generates the forces we know that holds everything, including atoms, together. That this Source can be called Love is truly remarkable.

There is an overwhelming consensus among experiencers, including Lynnclaire, that Love is supreme. Love is the Source we came from; and where we return to after death. As Lynnclaire says, “Perfect is what we are, not something any of us can do. Learning to be loving is, for me, what life is all about.” I couldn’t agree more. I view life as an opportunity to understand divine perfection, goodness and love in action. Life is certainly a “school” and the important lessons are learned through understanding relationships as the Mereon Matrix makes clear. Think about how a simple smile has the power to start a chain reaction that changes the whole world. Lynnclaire has learned that Love defined as “Understanding realized through diversity” is essential to Unity. It’s product is how we can spread love throughout the world. The opportunity to spread love to others is to understand that transformation begins at home by first loving ourselves. The principles defined in the Mereon Matrix can help us learn to love ourselves and others while improving our lives and changing the course of history for the better. The simple secret to improving humanity is to make “loving the Universal” the measuring stick to measure our attitudes and actions.

For more information about the geometric structure of The Pattern, visit Robert W. Gray‘s excellent article entitled Lynnclaire Dennis’ Geometry: The Pattern.

3. Mereon as an Archetypal Solution to the “Theory of Everything”

When viewed from multiple perspectives, The Pattern reflects mathematical symbols and the iconic symbols of the major world religions. According to Dr. Kauffman:

“The fact that you can see many different forms in it as you turn it around makes it very beautiful for teaching purposes. You can say to people, ‘Here is something that if you look at it one way shows you the Star of David, and if you turn it another way shows you the Yin-Yang, and if you turn it again you see the crescents sacred to Islam, the symbol for infinity, and the conventional image of an atom. And they’re really all the same thing.’ Mathematics is slowly teasing out those kinds of patternings by stepping carefully and slowly through various structures that give rise to puzzles. Those puzzles become centers of attention for people, and from them we begin to understand how everything is knitted together in the universe.”

Lynnclaire’s revelation of Mereon as a pattern of love and universal connectivity is certainly proving to be true. Her long assertion that “spirituality and science are one and the same” is in accord with other NDE experiencers who are also returning with scientific discoveries. Indeed, Mereon is a catalyst for bringing about spiritual and scientific unity. The co-authors of The Mereon Matrix published by Elsevier consider Mereon to be a bridge linking physics and metaphysics, human conscience and consciousness.

Historically, one of the most significant mathematical discoveries was the Platonic Solids, a well-known class of geometric shapes and polyhedra named after the Greek philosopher Plato in whose writings they appear. These Platonic Solids, along with the Kepler Solids, are the fundamental geometric solids for which all other geometric solids are subsets. Researchers discovered that all of these solids are also fundamental to Mereon’s structure.

The science behind Mereon is in harmony with Pythagoras, perhaps the first great mathematician, who believed the cosmos is divided into 10 heavens based on the perfect number 10. In Jewish mysticism, God’s entire creation is composed of 10 emanations of Light from the 10 utterances of God “Let there be” to create the world by the perfect order of 10 along with a hierarchy of 10 angelic realms and the law of the 10 commandments. The Biblical prophet Enoch in his writings (2 Enoch) mentions that he ascended through the 10 heavens. In Buddhism, there are 10 levels of realization toward enlightenment and 10 directions of the Buddha’s light to ten Buddha-realms. Christian Gnostics believed in a cosmology of 10 heavens which they based on information from the NDE of the Apostle Paul which they recorded in their scriptures (see The Apocalypse of Paul). In Islam, an oral tradition exists where Muhammad journeyed through 10 heavens which was more than likely an NDE because of his wife’s statement that Muhammad’s body remained with her the entire time. America’s so-called “sleeping prophet”, Edgar Cayce, learned from his thousands of self-induced out-of-body journeys how our solar system’s 10 major spheres (Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are three-dimensional representations of invisible higher and lower dimensional afterlife realms.

4. Mereon and the Pattern of Synchronicity

When I wrote the Preface to Lynnclaire’s book, “Discovering Your Youniverse and Living Plan Be,” I decided to give it the title of “Synchronicity” for two reasons. The first reason is because Lynnclaire’s life is filled with synchronicities; and from my perspective, this reveals she has a continual connection with the underlying Source that gives rise to the forces of nature. It reveals she is “caught up” in the flow of an intelligent and benevolent universe. The second reason comes from a personal and deeply meaningful experience I had involving a synchronicity intersecting my life with Lynnclaire’s.

For those of you who are not aware of the term “synchronicity“, it is a concept developed in the 1920s by Carl G. Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist and NDE experiencer. Synchronicity is an experience of two or more events that are meaningfully related, but are apparently not causally related; and are viewed as a meaningful coincidence. Jung developed the phenomenon of synchronicity after meeting with Wolfgang Pauli – a Nobel Laureate who made important contributions to the development of quantum mechanics. The physical basis of the phenomenon of synchronicity is that time can be viewed as a dynamic connective link of patterns expressed every single moment with equal patterns around the world aligning with each other. Pauli extended this principle to the whole cosmos which can be perceived as one great system of patterns at equilibrium. In theory, whenever you move an object, you change the entire universe in all-encompassing synchronicity.

My synchronicity with Lynnclaire came about in 1997 after reading her first book The Pattern (which I highly recommend reading.) Her book and experience so astonished me, I spent a lot time afterward talking about it with my parents. They were more than skeptical about NDEs at the time and concerned about my obsession with them. Shortly after talking with them, they went on vacation to Monterey Bay, California. Upon returning home, they sat me down and told me about an incident that occurred while they were there. The incident they described was as stunning to me as much as the incident was stunning to them.

While shopping in the city of Carmel they wandered into a book store and there, to their great amazement, was Lynnclaire getting ready to make a presentation about her book The Pattern. Their vacation intersected with Lynnclaire’s one and only book tour. Their experience of synchronicity was a turning point for my parents as they began to take seriously what I had been telling them about NDEs.

5. Bringing Mereon Into Scientific Reality

Lynnclaire first experienced the Pattern during an NDE in 1987. She spent the next four years struggling to regain her health and remember The Pattern she experienced. This culminated in a lucid dream (auspiciously on February 14, 1991, Valentine’s Day) after which she was able to fully recall and draw the Mereon Matrix as a Trefoil Knot. That same year she began using the knot as a model to understand the flow of time and to gain perspective relative to relationships and social organizations. Through a series of amazing synchronicities, she spent the 1992-1994 living in a monastic retreat where she was able to fully reflect upon Mereon and her purpose in life before setting out to do what would seem impossible to most people: launch a scientific investigation into Mereon. In December of 1995, Lynnclaire began a quest to recruit scientists to quantify Mereon which she knew had important scientific implications. She sent letters to the directors of every supercomputing center in the U.S., one of whom was Dr. Tom De Fanti, an internationally recognized pioneer in visualization and virtual reality technologies. As the director of the pre-eminent supercomputer center at the University of Illinois, the Electronic Visualization Lab (EVL), he recognized the picture she sent was a special knot. De Fanti then contacted Dr. Louis Kauffman who became captivated by Mereon as a knot he had never encountered before. So he contacted Lynnclaire and after their first meeting the scientific investigation began.

In March of 1997, Kauffman and Lynnclaire presented Mereon at the University of Illinois before the American Society for Cybernetics. According to the imminent cyberneticist and systems theorist, Gregory Bateson, Cybernetics is a branch of mathematics dealing with problems of control, recursiveness, and information, focusing on forms and the patterns that connect. Dr. Bateson, whose lifelong search for the pattern of patterns connecting all other patterns, once said, “The pattern that connects is a Pattern of patterns.” One of the most profound discoveries of Mereon is that it is indeed “the Pattern of patterns.”

6. The Sequoia Symposium: Calling the First Scientific Dialgoues to Explore the Pattern, the Mereon Matrix

When the scientific investigation grew to a critical mass, Kauffman and Lynnclaire and three others co-founded the Sequoia Symposium. In March of 1998, the Sequoia Symposium’s first formal conference was held in the San Francisco Bay Area to investigate Mereon. An impressive group of fifty scientists and theorists from many disciplines came from around the world to attend the conference. The meetings continue to this day, although the last “formal” Sequoia Symposium was held in 1999.

Robert W. Gray is a mathematician, physicist and recognized expert in the geometry of Buckminster Fuller, the renowned architect, systems theorist and futurist who coined the term “Synergetics“. Gray immediately saw a correlation between Mereon’s system of complex polyhedron and Fuller’s geometric forms and designed software that generated animated proofs validating Mereon’s geometric precision. Since 1998, Gray has modeled thousands of images revealing how Mereon unites the fundamental, geometric building blocks of nature. Lynnclaire’s book, The Mereon Matrix, shows specifically how the core center of Mereon matches the theories regarding the atomic nucleus.

Main Conclusions Drawn From The Sequoia Symposium

  1. In reference to sound and light, Mereon is a complex, dynamic, spinning and vibrating geometric form.
  2. Mereon’s dynamic structure reveals the presence and simplicity of multiple realties.
  3. Mereon is a “breathing” living structure and may be the blueprint of consciousness.
  4. In reference to physics, Mereon’s 120/180 triangular facet structure may be the “mother” of all physical matter.
  5. Mereon suggests a bridge between science and metaphysics in how substance, symbol and process are one.
  6. Because the knowledge of Mereon originated from an NDE, this has implications for the human understanding of life and death.
  7. Dialogues about Mereon continue on a regular basis around the world involving many academic and scientific disciplines.
  8. Mereon defines all the fundamental forms, the building blocks of the universe.
  9. Mereon includes cultural, philosophical, mathematical, and religious symbols. It is universal.
  10. Mereon charts the complex dynamics of living and non-living, life-like, systems.
  11. The multi-disciplinary knowledge gained from Mereon fulfills Albert Einstein’s vision that “the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.”
  12. Mereon is a catalyst for developing new theories about how the universe works.
  13. The mathematics of Mereon’s spheres can be described as connected spiraling rainbows producing the Music that Lynnclaire heard during her NDE and continues to hear.
  14. The fact that the “prime frequency” of Mereon – derived from the mathematics of Mereon’s dynamics – generates the same geometric knot in water is mind boggling to researchers who are now exploring the Mereon Matrix’s relationship with sound, light, time, matter, and gravity.
  15. Mereon is an articulation of fundamental creative processes on both the microscopic and macroscopic scale including those involving human beings. In this regard, we might consider the human being to be a microcosm of the universe.
  16. Because of its scaling factor, Mereon may be leading us to an understanding of what Lynnclaire calls a “DynaVerse”: a meta-multiuniversal system.
  17. Mereon reveals the Unity behind apparent diversity.
  18. The investigation of Mereon includes and exceeds mathematics, science and art. This agrees with Albert Einstein’s view that, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”
  19. Mereon provides a deep understanding of the relationship between a chaotic system and an observer.
  20. The re-discovery of unity and the space residing behind all conflict provides humans with the power to transform.
  21. Mereon compels us to examine what is going on in our world; showing us how to innovate for new solutions.
  22. The implications of Mereon’s existing and potential applications are practical and are already making a positive difference in this world.
  23. Mereon offers us a new beginning. Lynnclaire states: “Mereon is pure Gold; every point, plane, layer and angle is based in the ratio known as the Golden Mean, the Divine Proportion that guides all creation. But it’s even more: Mereon defines a rational Golden Ratio, a repeating fraction. As she weaves through all life, Mereon shows us how health, physical, emotional, psychological, instinctual and spiritual follows this beautiful geometric dance. The intention of the Mereon Legacy CIC, a UK based nonprofit, is to generate benefits that improve the quality of life for humanity and the planet. By expanding understanding we can live and share a common purpose, living the unity that Mereon implies as we explore our innate and unbreakable interconnection.”

7. The Ongoing Academic Scientific Investigation of the Mereon Matrix

In January 1999, The Sequoia Symposium met at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. There Lynnclaire, Louis Kauffman and others presented Mereon to a group of mathematicians, physicists, philosophers, medical personnel and other professionals. These scholars were gathered for the purpose of understanding Mereon’s intricate geometry in decoding the basic structure of the universe and in searching for the grand unified theory of physics. Along with its scientific applications, members of the Symposium believe research into Mereon’s structure might led to a higher awareness of the Earth as a whole system whose ecology is best understood as a living organism rather than a repository of natural resources to be exploited. Foster Gamble, the President and co-founder of the Thrive Movement, envisions practical applications of Mereon including:

  1. The creation of stronger building materials and structures with less consumption of resources.
  2. Achieving breakthroughs in the understanding of cellular and molecular structure, promoting healing and possibly preventing the formation of tumors.
  3. Incorporating the same energy principles of harmony from Mereon into our lives for better human relations by applying them to psychology, interpersonal communication and the human connection of love that is the heart of our essence.

Foster writes, “Lynnclaire is a walking commitment to that evolutionary imperative for humanity, and serves as a leader toward that purpose, stepping up to fill whatever role is most effective in that moment. She acts in the world with great compassion, astounding intuition, and a grounded professional sense. I have no doubt that this is why she was shown the Pattern, and why she came back to live here a while longer.”

Dr. Ashok Gangadean, Professor of Philosophy at Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, commented that, “The Pattern is the key to our survival, healing, wellbeing, and human flourishing.”

8. Mereon as a Template for Modeling Human Clinical Molecular Genetics

In 2000, Peter McNair and Jytte Brender McNair joined the Mereon Team. Peter McNair, an MD with a doctorate in Medical Science, is a specialist in biochemical pathology. Jytte Brender McNair brought a scientific focus relative to theoretical and practical aspects of research in biochemistry, computer science and medical informatics. Following his work experience with the Mereon Team, Peter McNair worked as director for a diagnostic laboratory in clinical genetics where he realized there were separate models for particular specialties in molecular genetics. He asked his wife, Jytte, to see if the Mereon process might be used as a model that could help organize the vast amount of information within the field of genetics. Her investigation in 2008-2009 demonstrated that it could. Peter and Jytte McNair then became authors of a study on genetics called ATCG to apply the Mereon system as an information model in clinical genetics which exceeded all expectations. Mereon’s seven functions and its fractal principle were applied using the latest original molecular genetics literature as the source of domain information. ATCG was elaborated through all seven functions with each further explored through its micro-functions. Mereon was extremely useful as a modeling tool because it constantly forced the team to pose specific questions with respect to the topics inherent at different micro-functions. This allowed the team to search for answers in the literature using an iterative and incremental modeling process. Upon completing the project it was concluded that Mereon as a template for modeling human molecular genetics met and exceeded what the team anticipated.

9. Mereon is Applied to Map the Formation of Matter Since the Big Bang

The second law of thermodynamics states that if there were no generating, driving, creative “force” of energy/information behind the Big Bang flowing into this universe, the pattern structure of our universe would have decayed. And although mainstream scientists generally avoid quantifying the nature of this driving force arising outside of spacetime, it is safe to assume such a creative force exists and is the force behind our universe of patterns and geometry. Mathematicians simply refer to this force as “pregeometry” while physicists refer to it as “pre-space” or “void“. Since ancient times, people have referred to this force as “God”. In near-death studies, experiencers such as Lynnclaire have described this creative force as a nonlocal, spaceless and timeless dimension that is the source of all creation including knowledge and consciousness. Jung and Pauli have defined the foundation beyond spacetime as “archetypes” or formless patterns which become meaningful symbols for those who consciously become aware of them.

Concerning consciousness, the brain itself is like a dynamic pattern recognizer whose primary function is to convert the patterns it receives into electrochemical feedback to the body which alters the body’s behavior. Recognizing patterns and symbols is what the brain does best. In ancient times, the symbols used for numbers and letters were considered sacred and closely connected to patterns existing beyond the physical world. In modern times, science uses mathematics to study the patterns of nature without really focusing on the WHY the universe operates on mathematical laws and patterns. From a NASA probe (WMAP) launched in 2001, cosmologists now believe the shape of the universe is finite with the geometry of a 3-dimensional torus (a doughnut shape) composed of interpenetrating levels. The torus shape is a vortex and has fractal characteristics to it. It is the most common shape found in nature. In mathematics, the area of specialization dealing with patterns such as the torus is known as knot theory. Kauffman believes knot theory may be the best way to find the underlying reality between the universe and patterns found within it.

If a torus is divided into regions, then it is always possible to color the regions with no more than seven colors so that neighboring regions have different colors. Arthur Young, who viewed the universe as a process purposely set in motion, believed the seven-colored regions of a torus might correspond to seven steps in its three-dimensional process. Other even more basic sources of the principle of seven expressed in three dimensions may be realized when processes such as the “Laws of Form” as developed by Dr. George Spencer-Brown are studied further. The Laws of Form, at once a work of mathematics and of philosophy, emerged from Spencer-Brown’s work in electronic engineering and mathematical logic around 1960. Spencer-Brown referred to the mathematical system of Laws of Form as the “primary algebra” and the “calculus of indications.” Laws of Form have influenced Kauffman who modified and extended its primary algebra with interesting consequences. Kauffman’s research into how Mereon is brought into three dimensions agrees with Lynnclaire’s description of it as a universal symbol of the energy of creation which she experienced as pure love.

In 2007, Neville “Nick” Woolf, Emeritus Professor in Astronomy from University of Arizona, joined the Mereon Team and began working to identify the sequential functions of Mereon. He was the main force in developing the team’s first scholarly peer-reviewed article. It was published in Foundations of Science and is entitled “A Framework Linking Non-Living and Living Systems: Classification of Persistence, Survival and Evolution Transitions.” This article describes the fundamental processes of Mereon as a method to analyze and improve the survivability of all systems, living, non-living or organized groups. The article predicts how Mereon has the potential to be applied to areas of research including: the exploration of the origin of life, the search for life beyond Earth, a better understanding of the process of evolution, and a better way to understand and correct social systems not functioning well.

In 2011, Woolf gave his first presentation of the origin of life entitled, “Living and Non-Living Dissipative Systems“, using Mereon to map the development of life beginning with the Big Bang. Woolf presented his perspective on this work to packed audiences at the Carnegie Institute, NASA and the SETI Institute.

For more information on Mereon and the origin of matter: life, learning and survival, read the Mereon Institute’s article on “A Perspective on Origins“.

10. Mereon as the Foundation for a New Educational System

To say that Lynnclaire is passionate about education is an understatement: not only of children, but for adults, to become Lifelong learners. In regard to social applications using Mereon, Lynnclaire’s prime concern and priority today is to bring coherence to educational systems in crisis around the world. Her approach to education is in line with Socrates’ view that the purpose of education is to “kindle the flame.” In 2003, seeing how schools extinguish this flame by putting children in a “one-size-fits-all” box, Lynnclaire used Mereon to articulate a way to revision learning. She designed a program called “BeLonging” which begins with reviving the hearts and minds of teachers and then shifts to the social dimension of the classroom. While teachers facilitate learning, the “game” she developed allows students to both learn and lead by accepting responsibility for an array of tasks that make their learning environment workable and fun. A key advantage of BeLonging is that it does not infringe upon the curriculum: the formal dimension of the learning environment.

In 2004, Lynnclaire’s BeLonging program was introduced into schools in Italy with great success. It is now in its 10th year of operation. BeLonging promotes diversity, open-mindedness and fosters unity. After visiting the Lynnclaire’s educational program in Italy, a businessman from Switzerland named P. Schenker stated, “BeLonging is to education what Google is to the Internet!”

In 2005, Lynnclaire designed a program for a class of thirty-three high school seniors in Germany. After finishing the course, their burning question was “Why wasn’t our entire learning experience like this?”

Using the Mereon process, what Lynnclaire refers to as a technology of Mindfulness, she also articulated an applied model for business renewal and development that focuses on an array of competence leading to conscious cooperation.

11. Mereon and the Emergence of Cymatic Science Using the CymaScope

Lynnclaire is one of many NDE experiencers who describe hearing transcendentally beautiful, heavenly music during their NDE. Lynnclaire was blessed to be able to remember this music and it still brings tears of joy to her eyes. She originally described this music as emanating from The Pattern and used words such as: “sublimely perfect, a celestial symphony of angels, the song of the universe, the Music of the Spheres, a resonant vibration coursing through her essence, a song whose mystical tone her entire being knew and sang, playing on unseen instruments of peace, the song of her heart and a testament of unconditional love.” Insights from other experiencers about this heavenly music includes: a revelation that the universe was created using the tools of music, harmony, and balance; and that everything is kept in place by this all-pervading vibration of God. Perhaps the most interesting aftereffect from NDE is that she has the rare ability to see sound. Her special gift is powerfully evident in much of her art work which she describes as ”Essence Illumined”. Painting the inexplicable has kept inner world vibrant through her many healing experiences.

Lynnclaire has long held The Pattern to be a living structure generating tonal frequencies that are important to the dynamic balance of the planet. This agrees with the ancients who believed there is something about tonal music that puts it in tune with the entire universe; thus making it a real source of healing and regeneration.

In August 2012, the Mereon principle investigators initiated cymatic research meeting with John Stuart Reid who invented the CymaScope – a technology which imprints sonic vibrations on the surface of ultra-pure water. Because vibration underpins all matter, the implications of the CymaScope’s results affect every branch of science. Using Reid’s technology and skills, the team’s long ambition of making the invisible Mereonic realm visible in water through sound was realized (see this video). The visible patterns of Mereon observed in the CymaScope agree with Robert Gray’s modeling. Mereon’s exact vibrational patterns are clearly visible in 3D beneath the water’s surface.

For a profound meditational experience, watch the video of Mereon appearing in water.

For years, people have called elements in Lynnclaire’s unique style of art “Christmas ornaments”. You can see how she captures the same geometric patterns that appear when viewing Mereon through the CymaScope by visiting Lynnclaire’s Mereon Art Gallery.

12. “The Mereon Matrix; Unity, Perspective and Paradox” is Published by Elsevier, the World’s Leading Provider of Science and Health Information

Lynnclaire once said that she has Ph.D.’s in chutzpah, tenacity and audacity. This was proven true in May of 2013 when her book entitled The Mereon Matrix: Unity, Perspective and Paradox was published by Elsevier – the world’s leading provider of science and health information. This scholarly work gives scientific and academic researchers the basics of a universal system. The fact that it took 601 pages, a quarter of a million words, 1500 images and 45 animations to present the basics of Mereon, makes it clear that the complexity of the science behind the Mereon Matrix is as deep as the Mereon Trefoil Knot is simple. While this book is intense, Lynnclaire and her co-authors address many serious problems facing humanity today and suggest how Mereon can help us make innovative resolutions and solutions.

In The Mereon Matrix, Lynnclaire makes the case that because natural and social sciences are linked, Mereon can help renew nature through social transformation. Mereon offers to be a scientific tool to synchronize man-made systems with natural systems. Mereon proves that everything is connected and participating in a cycle of cycles. Mereon allows decision makers to evaluate the consequences of their action before they act. It reveals the process to establish a connection to other patterns, a Pattern of patterns. The Mereon process is humanity’s link with the creative process at the heart of the universe. Mereon demonstrates that life itself came from non-life. Using the Mereon process, we can understand all aspects of a system and its relationships with other systems.

Mereon shows how chaotic experiences in our lives are symptoms of change happening within and without. Building relationships requires constant cultivation of its foundations. Mereon allows people to reconsider the nature of space and time by allowing them to understand their past actions in relation to their current realities. It allows us to make predictions about our future to plan and act in advance.

The will to survive, along with the ability to change, creates social transformation. Mereon is a natural method for analyzing the current state of our planet and society. It can find solutions and build on innovative technologies. It reveals how everyone is an active participant in the world’s ultimate fate and how it can help us make important decisions regarding what must be done to survive and determine the best way to do it. Mereon reveals that everyone is critical in this process. Scientists with multiple disciplinary backgrounds with the will to unite with other such scientists can make a powerful difference. Things change when a critical mass of such people chooses to use their power to influence society. Their actions can create a ripple effect felt around the world.

Mereon reveals how positive transformation can lead to sustainable harmony. As a tool for discovery, it can identify common values and refine them when needed. As an organizational tool, it makes diverse actions unite to create sustainable change. But the first step is uniting our inner lives with our outer lives. Internal unity is the key for harmonious relationships. Mereon allows us to create mutually beneficial solutions that are critical to help us conserve limited resources. Solutions which are not mutually beneficial can lead to disorder and oblivion. Our greatest threat is not from outside our planet, but from within human beings. Man-made processes that damage our environment are wreaking havoc on the health of this planet and humanity. An event once viewed as unlikely can unleash a series of unpredictable and catastrophic changes. Events such as droughts and economic collapse are just two examples. People in high positions of power have lacked the moral will to legislate critical changes needed to prevent disastrous human behavior before it is too late. It is time for societies to bring about positive actions to prevent these disasters. Scientific information must not support an agenda that benefits a “privileged” few. Mereon can help scientists make decisions based upon unifying principles before their action is taken. Mereon’s stabilizing nature allows a balancing point where a system extends its resources to its boundaries and then maintains this connection until the system gives “birth” to an optimal state.

Lynnclaire presents a strong case that although nature and science may be at a tipping point, what is needed is a turning point in social processes. The toroidal nature of Mereon shows how all resources in an optimal system must be distributed equally. Otherwise, when any part of a system breaks down, the entire system is at risk. We must bring social and scientific processes together to create new ideas to benefit society. People with strong social influence must come together to identify shared values to ignite a mutual vision. To create new technologies, we must remove those things which block us from finding mutual understanding. We can do this by cultivating transdisciplinary cooperation to create new types of communication. Ground-breaking discoveries come from such cooperation. Lynnclaire has witnessed how even elementary school children using Mereon principles can resolve problems and create remarkable new solutions. Competent groups of people where everyone “fits in” can quickly evaluate options based on historical data. They can then use the best method to perform actions that ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

Because Mereon reveals how diversity is fundamental to unity, it provides a way for diverse people to come together to solve and evolve. It requires communication that prevents exploration from being locked away in places for only a few, as in many universities and research centers. Mereon originated from an “outsider” of academic circles – Lynnclaire Dennis – a non-scientist with no training or understanding of mathematics. This demonstrates how a single person who is “outside” of the system can have a direct impact upon the entire system itself. Her experience with Mereon led her to understand how conscious cooperation requires the following traits:

  1. Have solid values on which to ground a clear vision.
  2. Have a will to set aside, temporarily or permanently, past dogmas if they are invalidated.
  3. Have the courage to accept your experience no matter how others might view it.
  4. Have a readiness to share and accept responsibility for an ongoing vision and doing so with open-minded individuals who were able to learn, unlearn and re-learn from one another, especially those who think differently.
  5. Have an ability to retain that knowledge and work together.
  6. Have the tenaciously to have it implemented wisely.

Near the end of Lynnclaire’s Epilogue, she writes:

“The Mereon Matrix is an innovative model of learning and relearning; of reconciliation and renewal that allows your work, whatever it is, to be measurable, important and personally significant. As a conscious collective we are the answer we seek. A union of intention, honoring uniqueness and recognizing fundamental sameness the Mereon Matrix introduces a new Monad: a unitive concept behind many long-awaited ‘messiahs’. Survival, another name for ‘salvation’, is up to us and means bringing all our scientific ideas down to Earth for earthly good … In this ending, you have arrived at a turning point; and what is next is up to you.”

13. “Discovering Your Youniverse and Living Plan Be” and How This Work Applies To You

What Mereon reveals about science and technology, is as compelling as what Lynnclaire’s new book, Discovering Your Youniverse and Living Plan Be, reveals about our life and humanity. This new book provides us a way to end humanity’s collective insanity. It is a simple book which outlines a simple way to make life choices. In this book, Lynnclaire fulfills another important purpose in her life in bringing heavenly matters down to Earth; and that is to make this profound knowledge accessible to everyone. Her program, “Living Plan Be” is as simple as it is meaningful – like the harmony and interconnectedness people feel when viewing her artwork. In this new book, you will discover how Loving is really the only thing that matters; how the first person you must love unconditionally is yourself; and that by applying the simple process described in her book, you can become catalyst for positive change: for Love. Lynnclaire’s experience inspires the courage it takes to remember and honor your own experiences as you identify your values and vision. As you bring conscious awareness to all your realities, you will understand and move with what she has long called “The Dance”.

Discovering Your Youniverse and Living Plan Be presents Mereon to the average person, those who want to understand it from a personal perspective based on the science. It begins by answering today’s existential questions such as: “What’s in it for me?” and “Why should I care?” In her book, she defines an Absolute Axiom:

“You and I, a toad and the pond scum it swims in, a dirt-rimed rock and a flawless diamond are all made of exactly the same stuff. Everything including the invisible matter that pervades our universe is made of stardust, hologramic embers that were emitted from a single cosmic sparkler. Life emerged from nonlife, and nothing being different save the difference in how each form of matter arises out of this primordial stuff. Your uniqueness is due to the fact that, like every form you are uniquely arranged, the atoms that make you are distinctively informed by discrete elements that came together at a different time and space than anything else.”

So simply put, the answers are:

  1. All forms are defined by the Mereon process which means that you are a part of the Mereon process and Mereon is a part of you.
  2. Mereon reveals how what works for you, and what works for someone else, actually works in the same way. That difference does not mean different.
  3. Mereon reveals two more life-changing reasons for you to care:
  4. You are unique and must decide for yourself what works for you.
  5. It shows how you can make what you love, work well for you!

The scientific discoveries uncovered in the universal nature of Mereon are profound. Changing your own life is the first step toward a healthy future. It is critical for developing new sciences, new transformations in education, new business models and solving environmental challenges. As you discover your “Youniverse”, experiencing the unity that exists between your physical and spiritual realities, you move closer to Home: your place in the universe.

14. “A Footprint in Eternity: Evidence of Mother Nature’s Form & Fingerprints Imprinted in a Near-Death Experience” About the Mereon Investigation from 2002–2014

Given that Mereon is all about Time, it perfectly understandable how Lynnclaire winds back and forwards through time once again beginning with retrospection. Starting from the lofty realm of a physics meeting at Cambridge University in 1998, Lynnclaire will take you on a round-the-world journey from Europe to Africa, across India and China. As you make this journey with her, you will understand how her experiences deepened her willingness to stick with the scientific approach as the only avenue that might possibly validate the gift she brought back from her NDEs. These books are a starting place where you can quietly hear what Lynnclaire describes as a wake up call to humanity. She says:

“My desire is this: whether it’s turning a page in a book; attending a presentation; participating in a workshop; training in a course to learn to facilitate this process; or gazing through the universal window into a piece of art, you’ll join her on the Path of Transformation. By revisioning our lives, sometimes with every single breath, we can then walk and work side-by-side as we awaken and bring this Dream to Life in real-time.

“May transformation bring you the joy of connections as the world unites on this evolutionary journey. Through loving experiences we move beyond fear, hatred and competition to experience the mutual respect that is inherent within our amazing diversity. The peace we desire, inside and out, is not the mission; it is the by-product of love, the result of mindful compassion.”

15. Links and Resources

Arthur M. Young Links:

Arthur M. Young Home Page
Arthur M. Young Wikipedia Article
Arthur M. Young Multimedia
Amazon.com Books by Arthur M. Young
Halexandria Article on Arthur M. Young
Jeffrey Mishlove’s Article “An Appreciation of Arthur M. Young”
YouTube Vidoes on Arthur M. Young

Buckminster Fuller Links:

Buckminster Fuller Institute
Buckminster Fuller Wikipedia Article
Buckminster Fuller Wikipedia Category
Amazon.com Books by Buckminster Fuller
Notes to R. Buckminster Fuller’s Work by Robert W. Gray
PBS Documentary (American Masters) on R. Buckminster Fuller
Stanford University’s R. Buckminster Fuller Digital Collection
Synergetics (Fuller) Wikipedia Article
YouTube Videos on Buckminster Fuller

Gregory Bateson Links:

An Ecology of Mind: A Daughter’s Portrait of Gregory Bateson (website and film)
Amazon.com Books by Gregory Bateson
Edge Magazine “Gregory Bateson: The Centennial”
Gregory Bateson Wikipedia Article
Gregory Bateson WikiQuotes
Institute for Intercultural Studies: Gregory Bateson
Oikos International Association Profile of Gregory Bateson
YouTube Videos on Gregory Bateson

Louis H. Kauffman Links:

University of Illinois, Chicago Faculty Home Page
A Double Helix Trefoil
Fourier Knots and The Pattern
Louis Kauffman’s Blog
Louis Kauffman Wikipedia Article
Pattern, Sign and Space
YouTube Videos on Louis Kauffman

Lynnclaire Dennis’ The Mereon Legacy CIC Links:

Mereon Home Page
About Mereon
A New Understanding of the Heart: A Living Pattern Match
A Pattern of Patterns
BeLonging: Education as Transformation
Mereon Square Online Store
Principle Investigators and Research Team
Redefining “Gold”, Proportions & Rational
Social Transformation: ReVisioning Our LifeCourse
The Mereon Blog: Perspectives
The Mereon Matrix
The Mereon Legacy CIC
The Mereon Matrix: Unity Perspective & Paradox (Book)

Lynnclaire Dennis Social Network Links:

Linkedin
Facebook (Lynnclaire)
Facebook (Mereon)
Pinterest
Twitter
YouTube: The Mereon Legacy Channel
A Meditational Video: The Mereon Music as Echoes in Time
Discovering Your Youniverse and Living Plan Be
The Colours of the Emotional Kaleidoscope
The Intersection of Our Physical and Emotional Realities
The Mereon Matrix and a Pattern Match to the Human Heart
The Mereon Matrix from 45 Degrees
The Mereon Matrix from 90 Degrees
The Mereon Matrix Prime Frequency Visualized on the CymaScope
The Quest and the Wellspring
Intuition & Information: Knowing vs Knowledge

Lynnclaire Dennis Links (Miscellaneous):

Amazon.com Books by Lynnclaire Dennis
Bridging Heaven and Earth Show
Cymascope’s Article on the Art of Lynnclaire Dennis
Mereon Legacy Blog
Lynnclaire Dennis’ Near-Death Experience
Pattern, Universe, and Ancient Knowledge by Ove von Spaeth
ResearchGate Profile of Lynnclaire Dennis
Sense, Essence, and Existence – Visual Theme
YouTube Videos on Lynnclaire Dennis

Related News Articles:

“Extraordinary Toroidal Vertices” (a must see video)
“Body Atlas Reveals Where We Feel Happiness and Shame”
“Metaphysics and Physics Meet in The Pattern”
“The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy of Personal Transformation”

16. References

— Dennis, L. (1997). The Pattern. Integral Publishing. Lower Lake, California, USA.
— Dennis, L., Gray, R. W., Kauffman, L. H., McNair, J. Brender, Woolf, N. J. (2009). A framework linking non-living and living systems: Classification of persistence, survival and evolution transitions, Foundations of science, Volume 14, Issue 3 , pp 217-238.
— Dennis, L., Kauffman, L. H., McNair, J. Brender (2013). The Mereon Matrix: Unity, perspective and paradox. Elsevier Insights. London. UK.
— Dennis, L., Kauffman, L. H. (2013). The Mereon Matrix. Science To Sage Magazine, ISSUU, July issue.
— Dennis, L. (2014). Discovering Your Youniverse And Living Plan Be. Mereon Legacy CIC. Herefordshire, UK.
— Dennis, L. (2014). The Mereon Legacy CIC.
— Gage, C. (1997). Souvenir from the other side. Atlantis Rising Magazine #11 (PDF ).
— Gray, R. W. (2000). Lynnclaire Dennis’ Geometry: The Pattern.
— Gray, R. W. (2000). What’s in this polyhedron?
— Gough, W. & Shacklett, R. (2001). What Science Can and Can’t Say About Spirits. Journal of religion and psychical research.
Kauffman, L. H. University of Illinois, Chicago, IL, USA.