The Azrael Endeavor
Art from Evelyn De' Morgan
This project is a spiritual book that is similar to the Tibetan or Egyptian book of the dead - Life 101. Essentially what I am trying to accomplish is to collect writings from people teaching others how to transition with dignity and to lessen the fear of "Death." Azrael is a loving and compassionate angel who assists others in their transition from this life to the next.
I suggest 6 parts to the book. I envision several people who contribute various writings from different cultural/religious backgrounds. I would like to keep the writings short 1-2 pages if possible.
The first part of the book is the introduction.
The second part of the book talks about life and how we can live it on earth to enhance our spiritual energy.
The third part of the book talks about the dying process.
The fourth part of the book talks about the transition.
The fifth part of the book talks about the other side.
The sixth part of the book talks is a conclusion that incorporates parts 2-6.
The appendix of the book has biographies of the contributors.
I have started the ball rolling below. I am looking for short writings (1-2 pages) under one or more of the chapters. Please feel free to give a paragraph about yourself (about the size of mine) in the appendix, we can reference books, articles and places for readers to order or find out more. Comments? Suggestions? Volunteers? This is our first group project of NDERF with more to come. Dr. Jeff and I are keenly aware that it is now time for us to come away from our professional lives and devote more time to spirit.
Thanks and I look forward to interacting with all of you in a new group dynamic.
Love & Light
Below is the beginning of the project and will be a work in progress:
The Azreal Endeavor
Table of Contents:
From the light in times of ordeal to the theory of the absolute being,
By Evelyn Elsaesser-Valarino
Contribution from James W. Green, PhD Anthropology
Contribution from Journi A. Smed
The NDE and Earth, by Kevin Williams
The NDE and Life, by Kevin Williams
Life and how we can live it on earth to enhance our spiritual energy
LIVING LIFE TO MAXIMIZE SPIRITUAL ENERGY HERE ON EARTH, by Rio Cruz
Quotes by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Thoughts by Victor Zammit
The dying process
Thoughts by Victor Zammit
Transition to the other side
Thoughts by Victor Zammit
The other side - what happens after death?
CONTRIBUTION BY T. LEE BAUMANN, M.D.
The NDE and Death, by Kevin Williams
The NDE and God, by Kevin Williams
The NDE and Heaven, by Kevin Williams
The NDE and Hell, by Kevin Williams
The NDE and the Void, by Kevin Williams
Thoughts by Victor Zammit
Appendix - Biographies of the contributors
For years death has been a normal process of living. Plato taught that we live our lives in the wake of our mortality. If people were to understand that there truly is life after life, it would change the way that we live our lives on earth. We would no longer be ruled by our fears, but rather, we would learn to consciously exercise our God-given creativity - to truly embrace life. We would move forward according to what brings us closer to God because we choose to do so, not because we fear eternal retribution. So many people are afraid of death. Even the concept of the angel of death is one of intense fear and surrounded by the macabre. Hence, the pictures above. Azrael is a kind and compassionate Angel that assists others in the transition to the other side. There is nothing to fear. The Azreal Endeavor seeks to give wisdom on how to live our lives, how to die with dignity, and how to make a joyful and fearless transition to the other side.
This writing has no proselytizing. Many people who contribute to this work are NDErs. They have been to the other side and come back to tell us about it. They may talk about who they see on the other side, the tremendous love and peace that they felt. This experience is a part of who they are. They use the "I" word (as opposed to the "you" word), recognizing that nobody who writes here has the definitive word on spirituality. In many ways we are all searching and we have all found pieces of the earth puzzle that work for us as individuals. Many people can resonate with some things that will be said and there will be other things that don't resonate for some of us. Much of this will depend on where we are at in the spiritual ladder. Remember that truth is static, but our perceptions of truth will change as we evolve. Our perceptions of truth constantly change as we grow closer to God, the Supreme Being, the One, Allah, or whatever you choose to call the overriding force of the universe.
One question I had... You said, "Remember that truth is static, but our perceptions of truth will change as we evolve." May I suggest an alternative view? Just my way of seeing it gleaned from my interpretation of things the NDE folks have said? My view is that truth is dynamic, eternally in motion. Sort of like a kaleidoscope that constantly changes from perfect beauty to perfect beauty in never-ending patterns of infinite LOVE. (Rio)
From the light in times of ordeal to the theory of the absolute being, By Evelyn Elsaesser-Valarino[i]
Scientific research of NDEs is far from complete but already permits some "practical applications" or, more modestly, it invites us to share the beauty and the teachings of this transcendental experience with those who seem to be able to benefit from it in a concrete and immediate way. Apart from being an intellectual challenge, the knowledge we now hold of the phenomenology and the consequences of near-death experiences (NDEs) should help persons who are more immediately facing the limits of human existence. The new perspectives they open, the softer conception of death they suggest, the hope they locate beyond known limits, should be at the disposition - if they so wish - of the ill and the terminally ill, the bereaved and, more generally, of everybody who is sensitive to the finality of the human destiny. Let us explore together why NDEs, more than any other research field, hold such an extensive life-changing potential.
NDEs offer a new perspective of death� and life
NDEs open the possibility of survival of consciousness after bodily death. As an experience undergone by millions of persons, this theoretical and theological concept became, if not a proof, definitely a very plausible option. For NDErs, survival is not a speculative mind construct but an unshakeable certainty. Why are NDEs so comforting in times of life crises? What stands the shock of the death of a beloved one, or the announcement of our own terminal illness? What can truly help us in times of ordeal? Faith? Maybe, but religious beliefs don�t always hold in extreme life crises, probably because they are not experimental, but purely intellectual. NDEs are of a completely different nature, they are experiences. NDErs don�t believe, they know, they had the direct experience and they all came to the same conclusion: death is an illusion! Ganga Stone puts it in simple words: �Are you beginning to be convinced that survival is real? If you need to build your certainty about this (which you probably do), your best bet is to read as much firsthand accounts of near-death experiences as you can�[iii].
Indeed, we don�t need to undergo an NDE ourselves to benefit from its insights. It appears that they can be transmitted vicariously, simply by presenting relevant information on the subject to individuals who are or become interested in NDEs. If someone is open for them, they can internalize its essential benefits and make them their own. Therefore, we consider NDEs as a �benign virus[iv]� which propagation we wish to support. When we first hear NDE testimonies, we begin by marveling at them, but after a while, we find that they have silently entered into our psyche and have caused us to have a completely new view of death and that there is no need to fear something that does not exist in the sense we commonly believe.
This utter absence of fear of death is the hallmark of the NDEr. It is such a profound distinction, though an invisible one, that it truly marks the near-death survivor as radically different from the rest of us.
NDE insights also trigger an entirely new existential and transcendental perspective of life. Kenneth Ring states that �if what we call life is only the prelude to true life, if what we do here carries over to what we are there, if there is only a discontinuity, but no end, no annihilation, just a transition, then what we do here has enduring significance, because it does not cease when we cease bodily. In this case, everything that we do, everything that we create, all of our actions continue to find a home in some place beyond death.�[v]
Love, an aged term for a new significance
NDErs tell us persistently and unanimously that love is the most important issue in life, even its primacy. But what do they actually mean by this term? This word, so over-used, does not mean much anymore. It isn�t the kind of sentiment which can be genuine and deeply felt, but which nevertheless is frequently cramped and selfish, which binds us to particular people. Very often people love in a conditional, self-interested sort of way. NDErs talk about something completely different� a powerful and generous emotion, a holistic altruistic dynamic which goes beyond individual interest. This is what they understood when they were united with the light during their near-death experience. They remained themselves, with their personality and their individuality. Nevertheless, they were closely connected to all human beings. All of us, we interact continually, without realizing it, and it is only in an extension of our consciousness, like the one taking place during an NDE, that we realize that we are all one. The meeting with the being of light, which is the quintessence of the journey to the other world, is an illustration of this love. That emotion, for which it would be necessary to coin a new word, creates meaning itself, and seems to be the force that binds together all living beings, the ultimate energy which interconnects all the parts that make up the universe. This essential insight triggered by NDEs certainly does provide consolation: love is eternal!
When no hope is left for physical recovery, then it�s time to talk about near-death experiences. When nobody dares to pronounce the frightening word �death� but everybody thinks of it, then we must find the courage to name it and talk about it. My concern is to spread NDE knowledge in hospital and hospice settings in Europe, and more generally to inform the ill and the terminally ill, with a particular emphasis for children and adolescents who did not get the chance yet to construct their own personal belief system which could help them face their life threatening ordeal. This is the subject of my latest book �Talking with Angel about illness, death and survival[vi]�, which, I hope, brings them comfort and a perspective beyond their physical death. A palliative care doctor commented the usefulness of �Talking with Angel about illness, death and survival� �concerning a topic that is around us 24/7 yet too taboo to be discussed: the preparation of one�s imminent death�.[vii]
Many investigators talk about the ubiquity of NDEs in American hospice settings. The hospice physician Dr. Pamela Kirchner conducted a survey at a meeting of the US National Hospice Organization that revealed that 73% of her sample of hospice-based health care professionals had heard descriptions of NDEs from their terminally ill patients. Dr. Marilyn Webb states that in the 1990s already, a working knowledge of NDEs has been �officially incorporated into hospice work, into hospice philosophy, and into work with the dying even in mainstream medical institutions�[viii]. And she adds: �These stories are bringing a new kind of hope to the terminally ill�[ix].
Psychologists Karlis Osis and Elendur Haraldsson have collected the observations of 640 doctors and nurses of what occurred as some 35�540 of their patients died, then they have collected a second set of responses from more than 1�000 health-care workers reporting on some 50�000 patient deaths. They state in their book �At the hour of Death�[x] that some 84% had visions of dead relatives who had a close relationship to the patient. This enlarged state of consciousness, which seems to be of the same nature than the one induced by NDEs, can be compared to a double vision, since both worlds seem to be there for the dying person simultaneously and it is difficult for them to know which is which and who is in which world. Death-bed visions are a magnificent gift, as much for the dying whose agony is transcended by these visions as for their family and friends who see their loved ones depart in peace, though they cannot see those apparitions or hear their secret conversations.
Dealing with the grief of bereavement : from NDEs to ADCs[xi]
Loosing a loved person is not easy and will never be. The stronger the love bond was (and remains), the deeper the mourning will be. The process of mourning must be endured, but it can be greatly smoothened by the belief that the connection with the deceased person is not definitely broken but only delayed. NDE testimonies can be of immense support in these hard times. If �death� is the next step after a near-death experience, the final crossing of the border, then we can assume that our deceased loved ones are fine� but we don�t hold the proof of it. Is it possible to learn more? Are NDEs the closest we can get to the other dimension, to the other existence? There might be one more step we can take, if we so wish�
The single most relevant variety of death-related experience � which represents a direct and obvious extension of the NDE itself � would be �after-death communications� (ADCs). I refer to spontaneous and direct communications without the use of psychics, mediums, rituals, or devices of any kind which, in my opinion, are much more questionable.
ADCs are fairly common experiences. Bill and Judith Guggenheim estimate that at least 50 million Americans, or 20% of the population, have had one or more ADC experiences[xii].
The purpose of these spontaneous visits and signs by those who have passed over is to offer comfort, reassurance, and hope to their family and friends and to advise them that they are alive and well. They usually occur one single time, like an ultimate good-bye. These encounters typically reduce grief, generate a conviction in life after death and accelerate emotional healing. The burden is lifted, the joy of living comes back on tip-toes, preventing us from loosing precious time �because you may be, as I was, vulnerable to years of lost life � years stolen by grief all because of a misunderstanding so commonly held in our culture about what happens to the person when the body dies�[xiii].
The therapeutic potential of spontaneous ADCs is increasingly used by professional grief counselors[xiv] and Dr. Allan Botkin even induces after-death communications (IADC[xv]) with Eye Movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) technique as a therapy for grief and trauma[xvi].
The ultimate decision is ours�
We are not in the field of hard science but in the realm of trust (not of religious belief). Trust is the result of a personal reflection and spiritual evolution, indeed nourished by experiences of others (NDEs) and the insights they trigger put at disposal by researchers, yet ultimately it is a personal decision. When trust turns into conviction, then we get close to something very solid which will be of invaluable help in times of life crises like illness, grief of bereavement and, finally, when we will be facing our own death. The concern of NDE researchers is to spread the information, but everyone must trace their own path towards their truth, that is the price of freedom, the price that must be paid for our choices which, solely, will hold in the face of the final step which we all must take alone.
The theory of the �Absolute Being�
I tried to incorporate near-death experiences, death-bed visions and after-death communications, which all seem to be of the same nature, into a larger, integrated concept. I hypothesize that the human being can be seen as one of the multiple � or maybe infinite � dimensions or facets of a so-called �absolute being� (which could be visualized as a die), the human condition being only one of them. In other words, a human being would be only one of the possible expressions or representations of the absolute being. Let us presume that the absolute being exists and, as a human being, incarnates into a body, disincarnates at the moment of �death� and then invests another of its multiple facets. Intrinsically, the nature of the absolute being remains unchanged, though empowered by more or less powerful properties. Each of these dimensions would therefore be �true�, consistent and observable in a given context. Thus, in the context of the �living�, one would observe the �human being� with his/her reality, like birth, happiness, illness, and, finally, �death�.
�Death� is therefore seen as a transitory process which would permit the human being to move to another dimension and thereby activate another of his/her facets. When dying, human beings change state, they do not cease to exist as beings.
This change of state is not a change of nature. This is similar to the states of water which can be solid, liquid, or gas, but which, fundamentally, always remains water. This analogy is quite simplified, as these different states of water all take place in the same context which is not necessarily the case for the different facets of the absolute being. Like the different states of water, the transition between the facets of the absolute being can also be understood as bi-directional. Therefore, the absolute being could be in its �living�-state on multiple occasions, after having invested another of its forms of expression.
Certain properties or characteristics are linked to each facet of the absolute being. According to which state is activated, inherent capacities are activated. The human-being state is probably the state with the most limited characteristics and capacities. We know that during the near-death experience, individuals have access to larger knowledge that can be defined as �absolute knowledge�. They perceive the meaning of life and �death�, the reason why their earthly life unfolded the way it did, the nature of human condition, the destiny of humankind from the beginning to the furthermost point in the future and the mysteries of the universe.
The human-being-state is submitted to limited characteristics or perspectives permitting to see (understand) only certain issues. Let us illustrate this idea with another analogy. When you are in a river valley, you have a limited perspective; you can see the fields around you, and maybe a forest clinging to the side of the mountain in front of you. But if you go to the top of the mountain, you can see the valley in its totality, dotted with hamlets, traversed by the river which meanders to the horizon. You even might catch sight of a far-off town. You will see the entirety of the valley and you will understand the necessity of its geography, such as the river had no other choice than to follow the exact shape of the terrain.
I hypothesize that it is only when human beings leave their body temporarily during an NDE and, presumably, when they leave it definitely, that they attain a perspective which allows them to have a transcendent perception of their human state. They understand the necessity of the unfolding of their existence and are finally in peace with their destiny.
I presume that NDEs, death-bed visions and ADCs situate in the intersection between these two states.
When leaving the body, human beings enter into a new dimension of their nature of absolute beings. Material constraints do not exist anymore, time and space are abolished, they move from one point of the universe to another in no time. In fact, they do not �move� as this verb is characterized by time that flows, they simply are. Even their representation becomes obsolete as this is yet another human referential. And so it is, I suppose, with otherworldly visions during the near-death experience: trying to explain them is again another human referential.
Near-death experiences, death-bed visions and after-death communications strongly suggest that �death� is not the end of everything but rather a transition to an otherworld reality of overwhelming beauty of which our human-being state does not permit to say much more than that�
[iii] Ganga Stone � Start the Conversation : the book about death you were hoping to find�. � New York : Warner Books, 1996, p. 47
[iv] Kenneth Ring and Evelyn Elsaesser-Valarino � Lessons from the Light : what we can learn from the near-death experience �. - Portsmouth, New Hampshire : Moment Point Press, 2000, p. 200
[v] Evelyn Elsaesser-Valarino � On the Other Side of Life : exploring the phenomenon of the near-death experience �. - New York : Plenum Press/Perseus, 1997, p. 145-146
[vi]Evelyn Elsaesser-Valarino �Talking with Angel about illness, death and survival �. � Edinburgh : Floris Books, distribution in US by Steiner Books, 2005
[vii] Personal communication, nov. 2005
[viii] Marilyn Webb � The Good Death : the new American search to reshape the end of life�. � New York : Bantam Books, 1997, p. 248
[ix] ibid, p. 248
[x] Karlis Osis and Elendur Haraldsson � At the Hour of Death �. � Alexandria, Va. : Time-Life Books, 1993
[xi] After-death communications
[xiii] Ganga Stone � Start the Conversation �, p. XVIII
[xiv] Louis E. LaGrand � The Nature and Therapeutic Implications of the Extraordinary Experiences of the Bereaved � IN : Journal of Near-Death Studies, vol. 24, Nr. 1, Fall 2005
[xv] Induced after-death communications
[xvi] Allan L. Botkin � Induced After-Death Communication : a new therapy for healing grief and trauma. � Charlottesville, Va. : Hampton Roads, 2005
Contribution from James W. Green, PhD Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington
Some 60,000 years ago, at Shanidar cave in Iraq, a community of Neanderthals buried several of their dead in shallow graves. The corpses were carefully laid out and decorated with shell necklaces, heads resting on stone pillows. Those graves, some have claimed, are the earliest evidence of human interest in realities beyond this life. That is speculative but what is certain is that our species has wondered about continued existence after death ever since that Paleolithic event.
That interests me both as an academic anthropologist, teaching and writing about the different ways human cultures treat the end of life, and as an Episcopalian, mindful of church doctrines and traditional beliefs on what is to come after death. The former obligates me to take a critical, analytic look at all claims about supernatural realities; the latter to discernment of the truth of religious propositions that I recognize are shaped by a specific denominational history. Reconciling these two is not as difficult as it might seem.
My starting point is the apparently universal human predisposition to imagine an existence beyond the one we now know. The apostle Paul got it right when he said of death, �I tell you a mystery . . . we are all going to be changed, in the twinkling of an eye.� But what awaits on the other side of that twinkling? Ideas about that are proposed in all cultures by people who speak of it authoritatively. They claim to know. I think, however, that both the village atheist and the inspired true believer are in error. We know no more about what follows this life than did the hovering Neanderthals who piled flowers on those they buried, leaving for us fossilized bones and pollen grains to mull over sixty millennia later.
I think I can explain (I do not say �explain away�) the assertions often made about post-mortem realities. The interpretive tools of the social and behavioral sciences are all I need to do that. And even though I am an active participant in a religious tradition, I�m not sure religious doctrines help solve the mystery either. Consider this: All religions assert the truth of their version of things, including their understanding of the afterlife. Yet given the diversity of human cultures and how varied human beliefs are, they can�t all be right.
I would argue that the truth claims made by religions about enduring realities beyond the present � be it heaven, hell, or stages of advancing oneness with the cosmic divine � are simply the canonical baggage of each religion�s historical evolution. Their accounts can be explained by reference to such mundane factors as time, place and the historic intermingling of people and ideas. Recognizing that, however, does not justify a radical, nihilistic relativism. What many religious traditions can honestly claim is evidence of their endurance, a significant track record. Religions put forward explanations of the ineffable that have been more or less useful to their adherents for long periods of time. Those imaginative explanations would not have persisted had they lacked resonance with the lived experience of generations of followers.
I would argue the same for the more privatized accounts of those engaged in modern �spiritual journeying,� be their journey a quest after �exotic� beliefs and practices (usually Eastern but sometimes Native American as well) or the reports of those who say they have traveled to the afterlife and been allowed to return to tell us about it.
As with traditional Western religions, their narratives are filled with images, symbols, language and events that have traceable origins to specific cultural traditions as they were known by those who lived in them. That does not mean their experiences of the ineffable are false, or their revelations unreal. It means only that in conveying what they understand to be a larger life to come, they draw on a familiar stockpile of historically-shaped images in the same way established religions do. When religions do that, they create creeds. When individuals do the same, they express as best they can a deeply felt experience with personal narratives firmly rooted in their own culture and time.
Ultimately, however, I suspect that
the narrative details of what we imagine a future life to be like are not very
important. Why, after all, would we want to carry our load of culture-bound
imagery, with all its human limitations and imperfections, into a future of
forever? Given our species� evolved capacity to speculate about what we cannot
see, we are better off simply keeping an open mind and a spirit of hope.
Eternity may surprise us in ways far more generous than anything we can imagine
on our own.
Contribution from Journi A. Smed
The notion of the human double has a long and colorful history. Plato gave us an early idea. He believed that what we see in this life is only a dim reflection of what the spirit could see if it were released from the physical. Imprisoned in a gross physical body, the spirit is restricted; separated from that body, it would be able to converse freely with the spirits of the departed, and see things more clearly. Another idea which can be traced to the Greeks is that we have second body. The spirit or some subtle body would be able to see better without its body. Aristotle taught that the spirit could leave the body and that it is capable of communicating with the spirits, while Plotinus held that all souls must be separable from their physical bodies. This �doctrine of the subtle body� runs through Western tradition.
Homer regarded man as a composite being comprising three distinct entities, namely the body (soma), the �psyche,� and the thumos; this last term is untranslatable, but is always closely associated with the diaphragm/midriff (phrenes), which was considered to be the seat of the will and feeling, perhaps even of the intellect. At this stage (800 - 750 BC) the term psyche had not come to mean personal soul, but rather it represented the impersonal life which dwells in the body but which is unrelated to the intellect and the emotions. A fourth component, the �image� (�eidolon�), might also be included in human make-up; it was this aspect of self which acted and appeared in dreams, where it was considered as a real figure.
Dionysus� early followers in Thrace reenacted his death and resurrection in a gruesome ceremony, where they tore a live bull to pieces with their teeth, and then roamed about the woods shouting frantically. Later rituals were hardly less barbaric and frenzied; all were calculated to induce a stage of religious madness or mania. They took place at night to the accompaniment of loud music and cymbals, thus exciting the chorus of worshippers who soon joined in with shouts of their own. Dancing was so violent that no breath was left for singing, and eventually the worshippers induced through their excesses a state of such exaltation and rapture that it seemed to them that the ordinary limits of life had been transcended, that they were �possessed,� their soul having temporarily left the body. The soul was in a condition of enthousiasmos (inside the god) and ekstasis (outside the body; liberated from the confines of the body it enjoyed communion with the god.
Perhaps the most pervasive idea relating to other bodies is that on death we leave our physical body and take on some subtler or higher form, This notion has roots not only in Greek thought and in much of later philosophy, but also in many religious teachings. Some Eastern religions include specific doctrines on the forms and abilities of other bodies and the nature of other worlds; and in Christianity there are references to a spiritual body. Some religious works can be seen as preparing the soul for its transition at death.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead, or Bardo Thodol (meaning Liberation by Hearing on the After-Death Plane) was first committed to writing in the eighth century AD, although the editor, Dr W. Y. Evans-Wentz, has no doubt that it represents �the record of belief of innumerable generations in a state of existence after death.� It is thought that its teachings were initially handed down orally, then finally compiled and recorded by a number of authors. The book is used as a funeral ritual, and is read out as a guide to the recently deceased. It contains an elaborate description of the moment of death, the stages of mind experienced by the deceased at various stages of post-mortem existence, and the path to liberation or rebirth, as the case may be.
The Bardo body, also referred to as the desire- or propensity-body, is formed of matter in an invisible and etheral-like state and is, in this tradition, believed to be an exact duplicate of the human body, from which it is separated in the process of death. Retained in the Bardo body are the consciousness- principle and the psychic nervous system (the counterpart, for the psychic or Bardo body, of the physical nervous system of the human body) [Eva60] Due to its nature, the Bardo body is able to pass through matter, which is only solid and impenetrable to the senses, but not to the instruments of modern physics; and the fact that the conscious self is not embedded in matter enables it to travel instantly where it desires. Flights of the imagination become objectively real, the wish comes true.
In his introductions to The Egyptian Book of the Dead - called in the language of that people �Pert Em Hru� (�Emerging by Day�) -- Wallis Budge points out that its chapters �are a mirror in which are reflected most of the beliefs of the various races which went to build up the Egyptians of history.� As all commentators have hastened to indicate, the Book of the Dead is not a unity but a collection of chapters of varying lengths and dating from different ages. A selection of these would be made for the deceased, and would be copied on the walls of the tomb or inscribed on the sides of the sarcophagi; or they might even be written on scrolls of papyri which were then laid within the folds of the body cloths. The extracts meant to benefit the deceased in a variety of ways.
In the Egyptian Book of the Dead the perishable physical body, preservable only by mummification, is called the khat. Next comes the ka, which is generally translated as �double,� and is defined by Wallis Budge as �an abstract individuality or personality which possessed the form and attributes of the man to whom it belonged, and, though its normal dwelling place was in the tomb with the body, it could wander about at will; it was independent of the man and could go and dwell in any statue of him.�
The ba, or heart is depicted as a bird and is often translated as �soul� It is sometimes conceived of as an animating principle within the body, but elsewhere it is hinted that one only becomes a ba after death, when it either dwells with the ka in the tomb or with Ra or Osiris in heaven. The ha is often referred to in connection with the spiritual soul (khu), which was regarded as imperishable and existed in the spiritual body (sahu). The sahu was originally considered to be a more material body, and may have formed a part of an early and literal view of the resurrection, whereby the sahu, ba, ka, khaibit (shadow) and ikhu (vital force) all came together again after 3,000 years, and the man was reanimated. Gradually the sahu came to be regarded as more spiritual in its compositions, and the idea of physical resurrection lost its prominence. It was believed that this sahu was germinated from the physical body, provided that it was not corrupt, and that the appropriate ceremonies had been performed by the priests.
The Egyptians agree with the Primitives and the Tibetans in asserting a form of continued existence after physical death, Their notions are less psychologically consistent and subtle than those of the Tibetans, but much more complex and symbolically developed than those of the Primitives, whom they resemble only in the earliest stages of their civilization. Their unique features center round the overwhelming dread of physical corruption and corresponding longing for the germination of the indestructible sahu in which the khu will exist �for millions and millions of years.�
One of the directly relevant ideas derives from the teachings of Theosophy. Within a scheme involving several planes and several bodies, the OBE is interpreted as a projection of the �astral body from the physical body. Theosophical ideas have influenced the thinking and terminology of many OBE researchers since many people reporting OBEs have found terms like �astral projection� which derive from Theosophy to be useful in describing their experiences. Other researchers, however, find such terminology and the model it has been devised to describe to be unnecessarily biased in favor of a certain �esoteric� interpretation of the actual experiences.
The idea that we have a double also appears in popular mythology. Often these doubles have sinister overtones, or are associated with the darker side of the psyche, but usually they are supposed to be quite harmless. These phenomena seem to be related to the OBE in that they involve a double, but there the resemblance ends.
Dean Sheils [She78] compared the beliefs of over 60 different cultures by referring to special files kept for anthropological research. Of 54 cultures for which some information was reported, 25 (or 46%) claimed that most or all people could travel outside the physical body under certain conditions. A further 23 (or 43%) claimed that a few of their number were able to do so, and only three cultures expressed no belief in anything of this nature. In a further three cultures the possibility of OBEs was admitted but the proportion of people who could experience it was not given. From this evidence, we can conclude that some form of a belief in out experiences is very common in various cultures.
Apparently, as many cultures interpret dreams as OBEs as those which do not. The notion that one may induce an OBE deliberately is not entirely absent from the cultures included by Sheils, though it is usually confined to certain types of people. Often only shamans can achieve OBEs, sometimes by using special drugs or methods for inducing a trance. Of those cultures described by Sheils, there were several in which there was a common belief that the soul could travel in earthly places, while in others the general belief was that the soul could only move in the world of the dead or spirits, and in others both kinds of soul travel were accepted.
There are stories of bilocation in which the physical body exists and acts in two separate places at once. But physical effects in OBE are rare. Also related to OBEs are the phenomena of traveling clairvoyance, ESP projection and remote viewing. �Traveling clairvoyance was used to describe a form of clairvoyance in which a medium or sensitive seemed to observe a distant place, therefore it included both OBEs and experiences in which the clairvoyant �perceived� the distant scene but without any experience of leaving the body. In both �traveling clairvoyance� and �ESP projection� the occurrence of ESP is presupposed, but the experience of leaving the body is not. Remote viewing is a recent and better-defined term. Typically a subject describes or draws his impressions while an �outbound experimenter� visits randomly selected remote locations. Later the descriptions and the locations are matched up. Remote viewing has often been compared with OBEs, and sometimes subjects who can have OBEs are used in remote viewing experiments.
Many people have argued that the OBE itself is some kind of dream and involves no double other than an imaginary one. However, an ordinary dream does not have those important features of the experient seeming to leave the body and being conscious of perceiving things as they occur. in this sense OBEs are better compared with lucid dreams, which are dreams in which the sleeper realizes, at the time, that he or she is dreaming. In such an experience, the sleeper may become perfectly conscious in the dream, which makes the experience very much like an OBE.
The experience of seeing one�s own double has been called �autoscopy� or �autoscopic hallucinations.� Here again the double is not the �real� or conscious person. It is seen as another self, but the original self still appears the most real. In the OBE it is the �other� which seems most alive.
It has been argued that the OBE is an hallucination, and any other body or double is likewise hallucinatory. There are in fact many similarities between some kinds of hallucinations and OBEs.
Among other experiences difficult to disentangle from OBEs are a variety of religious and transcendental experiences. People may feel that they have grown very large or very small, becoming one with the Universe or God. Everything is seen in a new perspective, and may seem �real� for the very first time. It is difficult to draw a line between a religious experience and an OBE and any line one does draw may seem artificial or arbitrary.
[Eva60] Evans-Wentz, W. Y. The Tibetan Book of the Dead (London: Oxford University Press, 1960)
[She78] Sheila, D. �A Cross-cultural Study of Beliefs in Out-of-the- Body Experiences� (Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 1978, 49, pp. 697-741)
The NDE and Earth, by Kevin Williams
Near-death experiencers have learned many profound insights concerning the planet we live on and our relationship to it in the past, present, and future. Their insights show that the human spirit existed even before the Big Bang and, in fact, has always existed. They reveal that as spirit beings, all humans participated in the creation of the universe. Everything in the universe was first created in spirit and then manifested in the physical. Their insights reveal that the Earth, and every living thing on it, is one gigantic organism - a created being, manifestation of God, and an expression of the Divine Mind. Human souls come to Earth for the opportunity to advance their souls toward becoming the ideal and complete companions with God which they were meant to be. The Earth exists in a realm where free will is completely dominant. For this reason, Earth is a kind of laboratory experiment for human souls from other afterlife realms to come to experiment for the purpose of soul growth. This planet is a kind of "boot camp" where human souls come to experience and overcome the temptations that a physical life bears upon our bodies. The purpose of experiencing this "School of Hard Knocks" is to purify and perfect our soul. The Earth can be viewed as just one gigantic college in a University of colleges where souls can bring their spiritual ideals into physical reality in order to be tested. By applying these ideals in a physical environment, the soul can know for certain whether they have really changed and whether they actually possess these ideals. Although our goal as a soul is to eventually earn the opportunity to learn in higher afterlife "schools," our greatest goal on Earth is to bring the "Kingdom of Heaven" to it. Near-death experiencers reveal that our planet is in the process of domesticating itself and humans play a key role. The Earth is a living organism which recycles itself endlessly toward the goal of attaining complete oneness with God at the collective physical and collective soul level. Indeed, this planet and everyone on it is "on display" as a teaching ground for those in spirit to observe the living in order to learn valuable lessons. Everything on Earth is evolving exactly the way it should. When the harmonic balance on Earth becomes unstable, such as when humans transgress against other humans and nature, love is the karmic remedy which restores the peace and harmony on Earth if applied.
Source: The NDE and Earth - http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research02.html
The NDE and Life, by Kevin Williams
The hard reality which all humans face is that the ultimate goal in life is death. Death seems like a cruel absurdity which happens to us after enjoying the time of our lives. As it is with death, life is a great mystery which raises many questions such as: Who are we? Where did we come from? Have we lived before? Why are we here? Where are we going? Does life continue after death? Is there a God? These are profound questions which demand answers. Fortunately, there are answers to these questions and they come from near-death experiencers. Experiencers say that life itself is what people worship as God. They reveal that all life is a manifestation of God. For the human soul to benefit from a life experience, the soul must rediscover their oneness with God in the physical realm. There are many realms to life and the physical realm is just one of them. Life is a mission from God which everyone choses to fulfill on Earth. Life on Earth is indeed a great World-School where the human soul comes to learn the many lessons of love. Near-death experiencers reveal that everything in life runs according to a perfect and divine plan. Life is an enormous cycle of improvements for which we progress at our own rate to reach the light.
Source: (a) The NDE and Life - http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research03.html
Life and how we can live it on earth to enhance our spiritual energy
Wisdom from the NDE suggests that the best way to make the transition to the other side is to consciously choose action that will positively affect others - those that bring us closer to God. Lisa M's NDE is from our Swedish translator. She had a drowning incident at age 5. Even as a child, she understood that all that was made in the spirit of love remained with us. All that was not, became separated from our consciousness. Only the loving actions can remain in our consciousness as we reunify with God.
LIVING LIFE TO MAXIMIZE SPIRITUAL ENERGY HERE ON EARTH, by Rio Cruz
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. � JOHN 3:3
Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives. �A. SACHS
"It's never too late to have a happy childhood."�TOM ROBBINS, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
My "rebirth" came at age 37 when I completely gave up everything I had been up until that time and began living my life according to the dictates of my heart. Within the space of only a few weeks, I gave up family, job, church. Everything about my life to that point got turned on its head and I began living my life as the "bohemian" artist I had always wanted to be. You can imagine the turmoil this caused for me and those who loved me. Yet I knew I was at last going in the right direction for me. I have never looked back with any regret, only joy at having made the change. A poem I wrote during this time pretty well sums up what it was like:
I crawled down sterile hallways, bound and gagged, encased in steel, ceramic tile, iron bars, straightjackets, electrodes jacked into my brain pumping oceans of stale piss and shit. There was weeping, wailing, the gnashing of teeth. Thorazine dripped in my veins, flying through an indigo sun, cold as diamonds. Violent, raging storms crushed filthy shores of yellow oxide, chartreuse, cerulean pain shot out of dreadful wells. Acra orange, indo violet. Voices whispered, echoing along the corridors of my mind, the liturgical chant of swinging censers moaning to the dirge of ghostly priests, kings, presidents, preachers, chairmen, boards of regents, Antichrists. Executioners of soul. Emperors of structure. Mindless surgeons ripping beating hearts and slashing brains with rusty scalpels. Arms reached out through twisted cells of midnight. Pious slums. Academic asylums. Images flashing, exploding, short circuits misfiring along neural centers branching out into tangles of raw nerve. Faces drew close and collapsed in on me. A woman. Two boys. A girl. Strangers. Pedestrians in black and white streaming wave after wave of phthalocyanine blue and dioxazine purple. The clang of steel cages, shuttered locks, and throngs of ashen rats scurrying over cliffs to oblivion.
On the third day I arose detached from the matrix of my past. The me that was, was no longer. I was born again. Risen from the dead. A winged seraph. A griffin. A phoenix ascending from its own pyre made new and holy and cleansed of all pain, all suffering, all disease, all that does not live and breathe and create and explode. All traps were sprung, the frantic stench of unnamed static breaking up and disintegrating in the vortex of my flight, clearing the way for vibrant patterns to emerge, to flow, to compound and overcome the old, stagnant, dead. Once again I feel. Once again I think. I see�truly see as with a beginner's eye. The infinite path beckons to me, lavishing redemption. I soar beyond the outer edge of experience no longer anesthetized by the mundane, the constant, the normal, the bland. In my wake the scorched and rotted dust of institutions, the mildew of constraint, the putrid funk of absolutes, whitened sepulchers filled with dead bones, the dead burying the dead, the vomited hate of those fearful of joy, of beauty, of life, of love. I am whole.
Shortly after my rebirth I was reading Raymond Moody's Life After Life on a flight from California to North Carolina. This was in 1977 when the book first came out. When I got to the part describing the "Being of Light" and the total, unconditional, all-surrounding love and acceptance that emanated from the being no matter what someone might have done, the recognition of that truth and the sheer beauty of it was so overwhelming I turned my face to the window of the airplane and wept. I knew I had found something I had always longed for and knew existed, but had not ever seen or really felt. Not at home, not at church, not at school, not anywhere. And I knew that finding this message was what my life was all about up to that point. In fact, the Near Death Experience, even though I have never had one myself, has become the guiding spiritual light in my life. Because of what it teaches, I have no fear of death. I do not fear living, either. I allow spirit to draw me in the direction that my life is meant to go and I know all is well...no matter how hard or unconventional or challenging the way may be.
It is clear to me now that being an artist is simply the vehicle I use to travel down my true path which is to learn to love unconditionally. All of life, everything surrounding us, is an opportunity to learn this lesson. How we live, how and what we eat, how we go about our work, our play, out relationships with other people, animals, plants, rocks�everything is an opportunity for expressing love unconditionally.
Among other things, Spirit drew me into joining with the Sanctuary movement during the Reagan years. The Sanctuary was a grassroots effort to give shelter, money, jobs and other assistance to the flood of refugees coming into this country from Central America as a result of the Contra wars being waged against the people of those lands. Our activities were completely illegal from our government�s point of view and we were harassed by the F.B.I. and other government entities. Some members were even sent to prison. But we didn�t care. We felt in our hearts that the death, torture and upheaval being carried out in our name and with our tax money needed to be opposed with non-violent, loving means and so we continued our efforts until the wars finally came to an end.
As a result of my NDE studies, 6 years ago I was drawn to becoming a hospice volunteer to help those transitioning from this life into the next. Because of the the near death experiences related by others in books and especially on the NDERF website, I have no fear of death and am able to approach each hospice patient without any personal baggage surrounding death. I can concentrate completely on being present with the hospice patient.For the past 10 years, Spirit has also led me to work as a children�s rights advocate trying to change our culture away from one that accepts the cutting away of infants� genitals (male and female circumcision) towards leaving the whole, beautiful, normal human body as God created it. This work has consumed countless hours and years, often with little noticeable change. Yet I know in my heart it is the right work to do and the right way for me to be spending my time on this earth. Well�that and painting fabulous paintings that emanate from the core of my love and integrity. Oh�and translating NDEs from Spanish and Portuguese into English so others can share in the special knowledge these experiences provide. Life is swell!
(Rio is one of NDERF's translators and does an outstanding job! Jody)
Quotes by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
May be used only with full credit & written permission from the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributed by GentleDove.
The most beautiful people
we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle,
known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an
appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with
compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just
And after your death, when most of you for the first time realize what life here is all about, you will begin to see that your life here is almost nothing but the sum total of every choice you have made during every moment of your life. Your thoughts, which you are responsible for, are as real as your deeds. You will begin to realize that every word and every deed affects your life and has also touched thousands of lives.
We run after values that, at death, become zero. At the end of your life, nobody asks you how many degrees you have, or how many mansions you built, or how many Rolls Royces you could afford. That�s what dying patients teach you.
Dying is nothing to fear. It can be the most wonderful experience of your life. It all depends on how you have lived.
If you live each day of your life right, then you have nothing to fear �
Throughout life, we get clues that remind us of the direction we are supposed to be headed � if you stay focused, then you learn your lessons.
There is no joy without hardship. If not for death, would we appreciate life? If not for hate, would we know the ultimate goal is love? � At these moments you can either hold on to negativity and look for blame, or you can choose to heal and keep on loving.
When you learn your lessons, the pain goes away.
When we have passed the tests we are sent to Earth to learn, we are allowed to graduate. We are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our souls �
We make progress in society only if we stop cursing and complaining about its shortcomings and have the courage to do something about them.
Those who learned to know death, rather than to fear and fight it, become our teachers about life.
Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose....
You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.
It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.
Death is simply a shedding of the physical body like the butterfly shedding its cocoon. It is a transition to a higher state of consciousness where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, and to be able to grow.
For those who seek to understand it, death is a highly creative force. The highest spiritual values of life can originate from the thought and study of death.
I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime.
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
Guilt is perhaps the most painful companion of death.
There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.
We need to teach the next generation of children from day one that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind's greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear.
Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their carvings.
Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.
There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.
Fundamental to maximizing our time on earth is doing unselfish �good works.� Some of the higher sources consistently state in very clear terms that it is not beliefs and not faith that increase our soul�s energy vibrations, our spirituality - but what we do on physical planet earth. The authority for this does not come from historical documents, the originals of which no longer exist, but from repeatable sessions with mediums who have been subject to empirical testing. We know that in any inconsistency between belief and empiricism, inevitably, empiricism prevails � and will always prevail notwithstanding our entrenched history, culture, tradition, beliefs and values. There is no doubt, that regular unselfish good works increase our spiritual energy not only while we are on earth. The accumulated vibrations - our cumulative spirituality, will be of great value to us at the time of crossing over.
The dying process
Many of our NDErs were afraid the first time that they died. However, when they realized that there was life after death, they have no fear now. In fact, they have a lot of anticipation and can't wait to go back to the other side. For some, the physical process of death was slow. For others, the process of death came so quickly, that it was a surprise to realize that they operated in such a state of hyper-lucidity outside of their body. Many people will talk to their guides or relatives prior to passing over. This is the part of dying called the nearing end of life events, or death bed visions.
Thoughts by Victor Zammit
The dying process is usually either dying from sickness, from accident or normal dying in bed. If one accepts that we do have a blueprint for our life on earth prepared before we came down to earth, then the time of dying for a particular individual will be part of the blueprint. A spiritually and psychically advanced soul could have knowledge in advance of the time of death. We are informed by one source that in cases of death from old age and sickness, the actual dying process starts some three days before actual death occurs. The sensitive will know during those three days that death will occur shortly. There will be a diminution of energy which will lead to unconsciousness and crossing over. Even in cases of death by accident there are many reports of people acting differently and "finalizing things" immediately beforehand.
Transition to the other side
Dr. van Lommel, defines NDE as the �the reported memory of all impressions during a special state of consciousness, including specific elements such as out-of-body experience, pleasant feelings, and seeing a tunnel, a light, deceased relatives, or a life review" (van Lommel, 2001).1 This definition describes the transition. The transition to the other side is not the same for everyone. There are similar elements, but the actual experience is individualized. For instance, not everyone goes through a tunnel.
Thoughts by Victor Zammit
When the physical body dies, the soul comes out of the body. It is a duplicate of the physical body and retains all of its senses- so much so that many are not even aware they have died. The reaction to this will be determined by the soul�s knowledge of the afterlife. According to a number of reliable afterlife sources, we are met by a loved one/s � where there is a deep heart to heart connection to assist us in the transition to the otherside. Under normal circumstances, the more we know about the afterlife the easier the transition would be. There can be serious problems for those souls whose state of mind at the time of crossing over is dominated by a very strong, rigid conviction that nothing exists after life� as one closed minded skeptic stated, � � it is like a candlelight in the darkness of the universe, once the light goes out, there is nothing ..� As for the decent folk, whilst not perfect on earth, they are likely to proceed to the Third Realm, in the realm of the light, where conditions are hugely superior to earth�s.
The other side - what happens after death?
CONTRIBUTION BY T.
LEE BAUMANN, M.D.
There is no doubting that the principal fear of all humankind is recognition of the anticipated death that awaits us all. Are our earthly lives nothing more than just �dust to dust,� or is there more? I had been raised by my parents as a Christian. However, with my scientific background and medical education, it was virtually impossible for me to accept the concept of an all-powerful Creator based upon faith alone.
In the mid 1970s, a paradigm shift began to take place. First, several books hit the lay press which dealt with Einstein�s special theory of relativity. I was struck with the supernatural aspects of time becoming nonexistent at Light speed. Stated another way, clocks stopped for quantum particles that traveled at the speed of Light. Although I found this concept intriguing, I did not yet recognize the profound implications associated with this now proven concept.
Then, in 1975, Raymond Moody came out with his landmark book dealing with the near-death experience, Life After Life. This historical text, written by a medical doctor and philosopher, struck an empathetic chord with me. As a gerontologist and internist (a medical doctor dealing with diseases of adults and the elderly, respectively), I respected the research and conclusions made by Dr. Moody. I had certainly resuscitated countless individuals with acute and chronic disease, and I was mesmerized by the potential implications that the near-death experience (NDE) posed for the practice of medicine.
Although I was only beginning to piece these disparate puzzle pieces together, the extraordinary conclusion would soon strike me several years later. There was an undeniable, common element to all these phenomena, the proven scientific concepts, and, as I would later discover, the myriad descriptions of the deities described in all the world�s major religious and sacred texts. Incredibly, this common link was the element of Light.
Once I established this apparent relationship between science and spirituality, I focused my research to uncovering these covert connections. What I would soon discover was nothing short of revolutionary. Science, specifically quantum physics, would support the argument that Light (photons) were omnipresent (everywhere in the Universe) by virtue of the fact that they can travel throughout the Universe and time NEVER elapses�a proven Einstein concept. As a result of this proven concept, it could then be deduced that such an entity (like a photon) could also observe and know everything that transpired in the Universe. Consider, if you could exist everywhere in the Universe, you would know everything that was happening throughout the Universe! Further, continue to expand this same concept. If time does not exist for a photon, or, in other words, the past equals the present equals the future, then you would also know everything that has ever happened in the Universe (the past) and you would also know everything that was also to happen (in the future). Such an entity would be all-knowing or omniscient. Lastly, such an entity would also be all-powerful!
Indeed, science supports this last concept as well. Initial calculations to determine the energy levels of electrons and simple atoms kept resulting in infinite quantities. Surely, the physicists reasoned, these calculations were incorrect. As it turned out, however, the infinities were coming from photons of Light. Science acknowledges that photons and electrons are inseparable. Electrons interact with photons constantly, allowing them to jump from one atomic orbital level to another. This intimate inter-relation between electrons and Light was the cause of the infinite quantities. To date, the only means by which physicists have been able to eradicate these infinities has been through the mathematical technique known as �renormalization.� Not all physicists are appreciative of this solution, however, with some describing it as a �sleight of hand� or �mathematical trick.� The fact remains, nonetheless, that renormalization has proved to be the only means by which scientists have been able to resolve the problem of the infinities coming from Light.
The final nail of my skeptic�s coffin came from the �double-slit� series of physics experiments. These incredible experiments suggested that Light may be conscious�that is, that Light appeared to be capable of altering its �behavior� by correctly anticipating future changes of its surroundings. We can now appreciate that any predictive capabilities demonstrated by photons are well within the limits we have already identified for Light waves (that is, time does not exist). What appeared as impossible from our human perspective�that is, the ability of Light to predict the future and alter its behavior accordingly�is a normal characteristic for Light. In fact, this attribute is now well appreciated by any of the double-slit series of Light experiments (the simplest and easiest to understand of these experiments goes by the name of the �quantum eraser experiment��explained in my first book, �God at the Speed of Light�).
With these concepts existing as the scientific backbone to my new found spirituality, I have continued to be amazed and mystified by subsequent examples identifying Light as the primary manifestation by which God demonstrates His presence before humankind. Not only is God described by virtually every major religious text throughout the world in terms of Light, but He or His spirit designees (e.g., angels, guardian angels, and other spirits) maintain this radiant form in several paranormal and psychic phenomena (e.g., the NDE, near-death visions, supernatural rescue, some past-life regressions, and even prayer). Of equal import, science defends that Light cannot be separated from matter (as seen by the electron�s intimate relationship with Light) and Light exists even in the darkest recesses of deep space (over 400 million photons of non-visible Light exist per cubic meter in the total darkness of space). Indeed, Light is everywhere, just as our concepts of God identify Him as omnipresent.
My final argument for the scientific basis for spirituality is derived from Einstein�s �theory� (now scientific fact) of relativity�that is, E = mc 2. Science has now confirmed that E (pure energy or Light) is truly just a transmutation of matter. It has now been shown that all matter will eventually (after 10 36 years) degrade into pure Light. There is no arguing that even the atheist must admit to an eventual transformation into the omnipresent Light!
Let me close by citing several sacred texts which describe God in terms of Light:
O Lord my God, thou art very great! Thou art clothed with honor and majesty, who coverest thyself with light as with a garment. Bible � Psalms 104: 1- 2
I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. New Testament � John 8: 12
God is the LIGHT of the Heavens and of the Earth . . . It is light upon light. God guideth whom He will to His light. Koran � Sura XXIV: 14
Of a thousand suns in the sky
If suddenly should burst forth
The light, it would be like
Unto the light of that exalted one. Bhagavad Gitā: XI: 12- 19
The Divine Light illuminates my inner being, and I am lovingly absorbed in the One . . . His Infinite Light deep within us. Sikh � Siree Raag, Fifth Mehl, First House
The light created by God in the act of Creation flared from one end of the universe to the other and was hidden away . . . �Light is sown for the righteous.� . . . If the light were completely hidden, The world would not exist for even a moment! Jewish Kabbalah, �Creation�
The aggregate of thy principle of consciousness, being in its pure form�which is the Mirror-like Wisdom�will shine as a bright, radiant white light, from the heart of Vajra-Sattva, the Father-Mother, with such a dazzling brilliancy and transparency that thou wilt scarcely be able to look at it. Buddhist Tibetan Book of the Dead
Science, once spirituality�s greatest adversary, now argues for the eternal existence of our radiant spirit and soul. We will exist as spirits of Light, similar, but of a lesser quality, to that of our divine Creator. There is no longer any need to fear death. Life is a but a short stroll. Death is only the bend in the road ahead.
The NDE and Death by Kevin Williams
Near-death experiencers unanimously report losing their fear of death upon return. Many actually look forward to their own death, a time when they can return to the beautiful realm they experienced. The NDE changes people's ideas of death forever. This is true even for many people who only read about the NDE. Some experiencers were not even aware they died at the time of their NDE. This demonstrates how insignificant death is really is. It reveals that death is only a very brief transition from the physical to the spiritual - like walking through a door. It has also been described by some experiencers to be similar to the process of waking up from a dream � the dream being the physical world.
One unanimous aspect involving people who have NDEs is that they know absolutely there is life after death. They no longer believe in an afterlife. They know there is an afterlife. The idea that near-death accounts provide this knowledge has nothing to do with faith. Faith implies the possibility of doubt. Knowledge implies certainty. NDEs are based on solid knowledge and facts - not faith. If a million astronauts go to Mars and return to Earth saying that there's Martians living there, it is then that I would know for sure that there's Martians living on Mars. In the same way, millions of people have returned from death saying that there is life after death. Can millions of people experiencing the same thing all be wrong? Isn't it easier to believe they are right? For this reason, the only rational conclusion is that there is life after death. Faith and skepticism then becomes irrational.
Source: The NDE and Death - http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research10.html
The NDE and God by Kevin Williams
Near-death experiencers who have actually seen the brilliant light and experienced the ecstatic love, know without a doubt they have seen God. Once they enter into the light of God, they never want to leave. But they are told it is not their time to die, so they return having this experience of God seared into their very hearts and minds. They carry this experience back with them to share with others, but they sometimes find difficulty doing so. But their experience with the light is just too important to keep to themselves. For example, one particular experiencer was told that the time is now for humanity to know for certain that there is life after death.
Air is to the physical world as God is to the spirit world. God is life, light, time and space, the pattern for all life, the energy of all matter, the heart of all that matters, the very essence of all being, the source behind every sun, the source of all light and love, the core of all things, the single point of infinite light and absolute love, and the very life force of the universe.
Source: (a) The NDE and God - http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research21.html
The NDE and Heaven by Kevin Williams
Where is heaven? Is it up in the sky somewhere? From the beginning of recorded history, humans have been searching for heaven on earth, the utopia, their Shangra-la, Nirvana, the happy hunting grounds, paradise lost. History suggests that searching for heaven in this world is like searching for an illusion. Religions have been created to help humanity find heaven and the overall consensus of many religions is that heaven cannot be found on earth, but rather within us - in our hearts and minds. It would probably be admitted by many people that heaven is a state of mind and a figment of the human imagination. By focusing within ourselves through meditation, dreams, prayer, and even quiet reflection, we try to connect with the heaven we desire. When we are in love we say were are in heaven. When we are separated from love we may feel like absolute hell. It appears that the Golden Rule of loving others as you would have them love you is a universal concept that may even be a natural part of human nature. It may be a principle that is an instinct existing in the very core of us all. Perhaps it is a paradise lost that is ours' to find after all. Religious figures such as Jesus and Buddha help humanity understand that love is the way to heaven and that this heaven is found within.
I. Beyond the Seventh Heaven
People who have a near-death experience overwhelmingly believe they have been given a glimpse of life after death. The near-death experience is a phenomenon that appears to have played a major role and influence in the establishment of many world religions. The interesting fact is that there is a consensus among religions that a hierarchy of heavens exist on the Other Side of death. Not only this, the religious consensus is that there exists a total of 10 realms that make up the spirit world. This is remarkable in itself alone, but becomes even more remarkable because quantum physicists, using SuperString theory, calculate that the universe is made up of 10 dimensional. Scientists say that these dimensions exist in the same space as the physical universe - much like boxes within a box . Near-death experiences also affirm that a multi-dimensional spirit world exists after death. Taken all together, it appears that our physical universe is one of these 10 dimensions of reality and that humans are working their way up toward the highest heaven.
II. Heaven is Within by Kevin Williams
The following paragraphs are a summary of the insights gleaned from the near-death experiencers profiled on this web page concerning heaven.
Near-death experiencers have a lot to say about heaven. Concerning the relationship between life on earth and life in heaven, our life on earth is but a preparation for our life in heaven. We come to earth from heaven for the purpose of obtain spiritual development and to bring the heaven we came from to earth. It is also here on earth that God and ourselves can really know what level of spiritual development we desire and have earned. After death, the level of our spiritual development determines the spiritual realm we inhabit after death. Free will is a divine gift from God to humanity and God does not force anyone to heaven. The level of heaven we develop within us on earth is the level of heaven we enter after death. When the physical body is removed, we step into the spiritual condition we have been building within us throughout our entire life. Since God is love, the greater spiritual love we build within us, the closer we are to God. This holds true for the spirit world as well. It is a life of love that leads to heaven. Love is God's paradise for humanity and we can create this paradise from heaven on earth and within us if we learn to love one another.
III. Good Vibrations
Heaven is a matter of vibration and the various realms after death is based on the various levels of spiritual energy that exists. As quantum physicists state, the 10 dimensions of reality exist within the same space as our universe and are based on the varying energy levels that exist. The reason we cannot see these multi-dimensional energy levels is the same reason we cannot see radio or television waves because they exist beyond the frequency on the light spectrum that we can see. For this reason, the realms of spiritual energy that exists after death, which is the same energy levels described by quantum physicists, is based on different frequencies of vibration. Love can be compared to heat that has vibrations that are finer that colder temperatures. The greater the love - the finer the vibration - and the closer we are to heaven. Heavier vibrations represent coldness and the heavier the vibrations the nearer we are to hell.
When we manifest unconditional love, our soul vibration are so high that the only place we can fit into is heaven. People don't go to heaven because of their good deeds, but because their soul vibration of spiritual love fits in and belongs there. After death, people gravitate into groups according to the rate of their soul's vibration. Birds of a feather flock together. This connection between the level of soul vibration we have in determining the level of heavenly vibration we realize after death is the same principle as putting a coin into the slot of a coin counter. The coin just naturally fits to its proper location. So it is with the soul. After death, our soul naturally fits in the level of heaven we have developed within us. In fact, while we live on earth our soul actually dwells, not only within us, but also in the spiritual realm we will find ourselves in after death.
IV. Removing the Mask
We all have some level of discord or negative vibes within us after death because of our earth experience. In heaven, all these unwanted soul vibrations are removed by God - who can be thought of as the Master Vibration. The first stage after death is a condition of still being involved with and acting according to our outward personality which we had on earth. From this initial stage after death, we slowing begin to lose this outward personality consciousness and begin to become more of the person and inner nature we actually are.
My own personal opinion is that this removal of our outward elements occurs in the void where there is nothing else to focus on but our true inner nature.
V. Thoughts are Deeds
As our outward earthly personality is removed, our thought process begins to change. Our thought process becomes more and more based on our true intentions - our impulses. In the realm of mind and imagination, impulses are the same as actions. In other words, thoughts and impulses become united. Thoughts are impulses and impulses are actions. The farther into the afterlife experience we get, the more we are acting on the basis of who we really are. The final stage of adjusting to the spirit world is a stage of instruction. As it is with children in the earth realm, we must be instructed once again in the ways of the realm we have just entered - with the exception that our instruction on the Other Side is not based on time. Higher spirit beings educate us and bring us into heaven. More information on this will be described later.
VI. Heaven is Home
As mentioned earlier, negative vibes cannot be expressed in heaven. As we enter into heaven, these negative vibes are removed by God. This creates a level of happiness that cannot be imagined on earth. Heaven truly becomes a spiritual state of living as who we really are. In heaven, we remember our real identity. In heaven, only the best in each person survives. It is a joyous condition and a state of expanded awareness. There is a perfect freedom of spirit and no one gets tired. It is a new lease on life. It is a lively hilarious place and our true home.
We then begin to realize how we were merely visitors on earth and heaven is our real home. We begin to realize that we have been here in heaven before. Knowledge beyond our deepest dreams exists all around us like the heavenly all-pervading music that can be heard. God's presence is so obvious here that it cannot be denied. The love of God in heaven is like the air we breathe. The Golden Rule is the only law in heaven. The beauty of the environment in heaven is beyond words and they reflect the spiritual nature of those who dwell there. Multi-colored cities of crystal light created by God can be seen. There exists exquisite heavenly structures such as spires, domes, amphitheaters, Grecian looking buildings, libraries of wisdom, halls of spiritual learning, temples, and communities. Waterfalls, mountains, valleys, lakes and other realms of recreation exists in a way that makes their earthly equivalents merely a empty shadow.
VII. Home is Where the Heart is
Because there is no time in the spirit world, we enjoy eternities in heaven. A soul can choose to remain in heaven for as long as desired and can choose to operate on that level of spiritual development forever. Generally, however, we stay in heaven for as long as it serves our spiritual development. This is because one of our main goals for existence is to attain a level of spiritual growth that will bring us back to a complete merger with God in the highest heaven. However, spiritual development is much more difficult in the spirit world compared to developing spiritually in the physical realm. The full range of love (child's love, martial love, and parental love) is ideally available on earth for which we can become more spiritually developed.
VIII. Our Hearts are Connected Together
Although our goal is to remain forever in heaven, our greatest goal is to bring heaven to earth. If we don't help those in the lower realms to develop a higher level of spiritual development, we cannot truly enjoy heaven. This is because our family and friends may exist at these lower levels. As Mellen-Thomas Benedict so eloquently described it, "We are going to link up, hold hands, and walk out of hell together." For this reason, we leave paradise not just for the sake of our own spiritual development, but for those we love. By doing so, we are also doing this for God's sake. We are assured by God that when we leave paradise for another incarnation at a lower spiritual level, we will be brought home safely again. Ultimately, everyone will merge with God at the highest level as it was in the beginning. Ultimate paradise lost will truly become ultimate paradise found again.
Source: (a) The NDE and Heaven - http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research18.html
The NDE and Hell by Kevin Williams
As with heaven, there are various hell realms witnessed by near-death experiencers. We can even see many manifestations of hell right here in the physical realm. There are people in prison, in the Bahamas, in mental institutions, universities, skid row, palaces, crack houses, all kinds of life situations. While hell realms can be seen outside all around the world as a manifestation of an inner hell within humans, hell realms in the spirit world are an even greater manifestation of inner hell within humans. Near-death accounts show that the hell realms in the spirit world are actually the spiritual/mental manifestations of spiritual conditions that humans create within themselves while on earth.
Between the earth realm and the heavenly realms, there exists two hellish realms known as (1) the earthbound realm and (2) the void. Both of these realms can be considered hell because they are the two darker levels. This web page will focus only on the earthbound realm. The earthbound realm is a hellish dimension that overlaps the physical realm. It is a dimension where souls who are bound by some strong earthly fixation, may remain indefinitely until they are able to extract themselves from this fixation. After death, most souls expand very quickly through the dark hellish realms of the earthbound realm and the void, by means of the tunnel and on to higher realms.
The following are the highlights concerning the earthbound hell that will be described. It is a state of mind. It is having earthly desires that can't be satisfied. It is caused by a lack of spiritual development. It is caused by living a hellish life. It is neither condemnation nor judgment. Its purpose is purification not punishment. The ways to escape from the earthbound realm will be discussed and the reasons why negativity must be removed in order to enter heaven. NDE examples of the earthbound realm, including traditional hell, fire and brimstone NDEs, will be presented. Religious descriptions of the earthbound realm and scriptures suggesting universal salvation will be provided here. Even more Biblical and NDE evidence of universal salvation can be found at the link provided here.
Source: (a) The NDE and Hell - http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research14.html
The NDE and the Void, by Kevin Williams
This may be the most important web page you will read on this website. Understanding the nature of the earthbound realm and the void will give you a good understanding of the first two afterlife realms beyond earth which is commonly known as hell. This web page will explain the nature of the void - the second beyond the physical realm. Also the purpose for the void and how to escape it will be discussed. This web page will conclude with a discussion of the spiritual struggle between light and darkness and what it means to the future of humanity.
Many near-death accounts involve a description of traveling through a realm that is commonly known in NDE circles as - the void. Together with the earthbound realm, the void is known by many religious traditions as hell, purgatory, or outer darkness to name a few. There are many myths concerning this realm and it is my point to also dispel some of these myths.
I. Summary of Insights Concerning the Void
After death, some souls travel very quickly through the two lower realms - the earthbound realm and void - by means of the tunnel and on to higher realms. Other souls, particularly those who have developed a strong addiction for some earthly desire that went beyond the physical and into the spiritual, may enter the earthbound realm in a vain attempt to re-enter earth. Many near-death accounts, as you will see later, involve souls entering the void immediately after death. From here, the soul may then enter the tunnel toward the light in the next heavenly realm. Other souls remain in the void for one reason or another until they are ready to leave it.
The general consensus among near-death reports is that the void is totally devoid of love, light, and everything. It is a realm of complete and profound darkness where nothing exists but the thought patterns of those in it. It is a perfect place for souls to examine their own mind, contemplate their recent earth experience, and decide where they want to go next.
For some souls, the void is a beautiful and heavenly experience because, in the absence of all else, they are able to perfectly see the love and light they have cultivated within themselves. For other souls, the void is a terrifying and horrible hell because, in the absence of everything, they are able to perfectly see within themselves the lack of love and light they have cultivated within themselves. For this reason, the void is more than a place for the reflection of the soul. For some souls, it is a place for purification. In the latter case, the void acts as a kind of time-out where troubled souls remain until they choose a different course of action.
For some souls, the time spent in the void may feel like only a moment. For others, it may seem like eternity. This is because the way to escape the void is to choose love and light over the darkness. Once this happens, the light appears and the tunnel takes them toward the light and into heaven for further instruction. For those souls who either refuse the light or have spent a lifetime ignoring the light, it may take what seems like eons of "time" before they reach the point that they desire the light of love. The problem for many souls is that they prefer the darkness rather than the light for one reason or another. For some of these souls, their only hope is reincarnation. This is because it is not possible for any soul to be confined in the earthbound and void realms forever. God is infinitely merciful and would never abandon anyone to their own spiritual agony for too long; however, God allows souls to remain there only as long as it suits their spiritual growth.
The void is not punishment. It is the perfect place for all souls to see themselves and to purge themselves from all illusions. For those souls who are too self-absorbed in their own misery to see the light, there are a multitude of Beings of Light nearby to help them when they freely chose to seek them. The nature of love and light is such that it cannot be forced upon people who don't want it. Choosing love/light over darkness is the key to being freed from the void. The moment the choice is made, the light and tunnel appears and the soul is drawn into the light.
Source: (a) The NDE and the Void - http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research15.html
Thoughts by Victor Zammit
Repeated transmissions from highly credible afterlife sources tell us exactly what it is like on the other side. Some of the most detailed are the Anthony Borgia books in which a Catholic Monsigor, Hugh Benson, spoke from the afterlife through the trance mediumship of Anthony Borgia. First, for the normal decent person who goes to the Third Realm, conditions are enormously better than on earth: we do not have to eat, drink, sleep or go to the gym to keep fit! Mind is �king� � and plays most crucial role in the afterlife dimension. For example, we only have to think where we want to go � and in an instant we are there. This means we will be traveling faster than the speed of light because distance will be irrelevant. We can take up any activities to continue to refine our mind � art, music, theatre, literature. We can also go to the Halls of Learning � where we can continue to understand history on earth and the people who shaped history. Those who would like to continue with their religion may � for a time staying closer to earth, but eventually, dogmatic religions are dropped and more non-denominational spiritual learning takes place at the higher levels. There are constantly opportunities for those who want to make spiritual contributions by way of helping those from earth crossing over and other services which benefit others spiritually.
1. 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.
Appendix - Biographies of the contributors
Rio Cruz, (PhD)
James W. Green, PhD
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D.
Jody A. Long, J.D.
Jouni A. Smed
Kevin R. Williams
Lee Baumann, M.D. is the author of �God at the
Speed of Light: The Melding of Science and Spirituality,� �Window to God: A
Physician's Spiritual Pilgrimage,� and his next book, �The Akashic Light:
Religion�s Common Derivation,� all by A.R.E. Press (Virginia Beach, VA). Dr.
Baumann is a medical consultant in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition to his years
in private practice, Baumann has been a medical administrator and a biology
instructor. He holds medical certifications in internal medicine, geriatrics,
and medical management.
Dr. Baumann writes books on the subject of "intelligent design." His primary
research focuses on the link between God and the incredible nature of Light. For
instance, all the major religious texts of the world describe God in terms of
Light. Similarly, near-death experiences describe going to a light that is
welcoming, intelligent, and loving. Science and physics experiments suggest that
physical Light is incredibly omnipresent (everywhere), omniscient (all-knowing),
omnipotent, and is conscious! With these established relationships, could it be
that light and God are one and the same?
Rio Cruz, (PhD) I am a former university professor of Latin American Literature who gave up teaching, family, church, and everything else to pursue the dream of living my life as an artist. Being an artist has allowed me enormous freedom to act and go in directions outside the constraints of all institutions or conventions and to follow my heart as indicated to my by the promptings of my spirit. Two major directions I have been drawn towards are working as a children�s rights advocate trying to protect them from male and female genital mutilation (circumcision), and working as a hospice volunteer to help the dying transition from this life into the next. I guess my work focuses on the poles of life: what happens to us at the beginning and at the end of this earthly experience.
Evelyn Elsaesser-Valarino, I was born in 1954 in Berne (Switzerland) and have been living close to Geneva for many years. I work at the University of Geneva. For 25 years, I have devoted a large part of my time to study NDEs and write books and articles on the topic. I often give lectures both in and outside of Switzerland and participate at international NDE congresses. For many years, I have been a coordinator of the Scientific and Medical Network of Western Switzerland. My encounter with Professor Kenneth Ring in 1992 was decisive in many ways. Indeed, an entire day of interviewing allowed us to make a complete survey of his numerous research studies and investigations and to crystallize his personal conclusions and inmost convictions. This dialogue was published in On the Other Side of Life, a book presenting testimonials from people who have lived through near-death experiences as well as research and opinions from a multidisciplinary panel of prestigious scholars (published in five languages, three more in press). During this sunny summer day, a deep friendship was born which resisted time and distance, as well as an advantageous collaboration which culminated in my participation in Lessons from the Light in which we present evidence that merely learning about the near-death experience has similar positive effects to those reported by people who actually have had NDEs (published seven languages, two more in press). I wrote Talking with Angel about illness, death and survival (Also NDERF Book Review) with the aim and the desire to make the findings of recent NDE research accessible and profitable to those who are facing a major life crisis, especially children. I hope this book will be of benefit and comfort to those facing their own death, or for parents and care-takers of those with serious illnesses and, more generally, enrich anyone who is reflecting on this essential aspect of life. You are welcome to visit my website : www.elsaesser-valarino.com and share your experiences in the Guestbook or write to me under the address : email@example.com
James W. Green, PhD James W. Green is an Anthropologist at the University of Washington specializing in comparative religion. In 1990 he developed a new course entitled "Comparative Study of Death" which has become his most popular. He is also the film editor for the British academic journal "Mortality." His research interests have taken him to Pakistan and the West Indies and he has written a widely used text on cross-cultural social services. When not teaching or writing, he is on the hunt for a good wine to add to his collection.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. is one of the most beloved souls of our time and did a lot to help lessen the fear of dying. Her biggest book was On Death and Dying. She passed away last year. We will miss her but her words of wisdom live on.
Jody A. Long, J.D., I have a day job as a family law lawyer in Washington State. I have a second job as webmaster of www.nderf.org, www.adcrf.org, and www.oberf.org. Spirituality is a big part of my life. Although family law is very stressful, it is also an opportunity. I can exercise my talent for bringing peace to warring parties (mediation). I can protect the children through the guardian ad litem work and advocacy. I also am able to empower my clients and serve as a door opener for them during their next phase of life. All of this is spirit in action, I prefer to teach by example. I love Jeff, my girls, our animals, and the plants that I grow. I enjoy starting trees from seeds, and get especially thrilled with the redwoods, sequoias, and dragon's blood trees. In my second job, I also help people through e-mail and coordinate far reaching projects. One of the most exciting for me is to bring the spirituality to the websites and use the message of the NDE to accomplish a global network to help bring love, peace, hope, and brotherhood to the world. Does this mean I hear spirit, pray, use reiki, see things, and have paranormal things happen to me? Yes. All the time. The Azreal Endeavor is one of those things with a much greater purpose. It is also a co-creation between many people.
Jouni A. Smed, excerpt from Out of Body Experience FAQ, originally published on www.spiritweb.com
Kevin R. Williams is a computer programmer with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. He is the webmaster and owner of the website "Near-Death Experiences and the Afterlife" at www.near-death.com. The website is one the most comprehensive website on the internet about near-death experiences. He is an active member of IANDS, the International Association for Near-Death Studies. His interests also include metaphysics and comparative religions. Williams believes his mission in life is to bring information about the NDE to the internet. He states, "My mission is to magnify the truth and to shine a light in this world of darkness. I seek to end the ignorance and fear of death and to plant seeds of more spiritual love and light within my fellow human beings. I wish everyone could find the enormous love and the great light I have discovered in meditating on the profound truths revealed in the NDE. This is my mission in this life and my love." Williams currently lives near Sacramento, California, where he continues to write and maintain his NDE website.
Victor Zammit Whilst I always felt I was more sensitive than the average person and was highly intuitive, it was not until I reached the magical age of 50 that powerful, stronger psychic experiences began to take place. I began to notice that somehow what I was experiencing was common to psychics but not common to other normal people�s experiences. I began to experience telepathy, greater intuition and sometimes what is now called "remote viewing". That startled me and I had to seek assistance from professionals. They all confirmed I was �psychic�. But my professional work as a lawyer taught me that if I wanted to be taken seriously, any talk of psychic faculties or the afterlife had to be empirically supported. I knew when I worked in Workers� Compensation litigation that the courts had no trouble finding for the applicant if the applicant injured worker could objectively substantiate his claim. That is exactly what I did � I thoroughly investigated all aspects of the afterlife and any afterlife data that was objective or empirical or scientific. I then published the empirical objectively produced evidence from twenty three areas of research in my book A LAWYER PRESENTS THE CASE FOR THE AFTERLIFE and made it freely available on the Internet, as a time when much of the evidence was not widely known or accessible. In some eight years that I have this evidence on the Internet, no scientist, no empiricist, no debunker or skeptic or anybody else has been able to rebut the objective afterlife evidence � notwithstanding I offered the high cash reward of one million dollars for anyone who can. I state that it is impossible to rebut objective evidence. I am now retired from full time practice and have taken afterlife research virtually full-time. My website is www.victorzammit.com