The Greatest Gift  
by Dr. Kenneth Ring
Kenneth Ring, Ph.D., is the author of various books on NDEs, including Heading Toward Omega,  and most recently, Lessons from the Light.

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In the course of more than twenty years of research into near-death experiences (NDEs), I have met innumerable persons who have had NDEs who had been moved to want to share their experiences with dying patients.  Many of them accordingly come to spend some time working as volunteers for hospices, and in that setting they have something unique and uniquely valuable to contribute to the patients to whom they minister.  It isn't just their telling of their NDE, though of course that can often be a part of what my friends are prepared to share.   More significant, I think, is what a near-death experiencer is rather than what he or she knows that is the vital message that is transmitted.  
Near-death experiencers are at ease about death, and this is what is communicated when they work with dying patients.   I remember a near-death experiencer who told me that although she had been involved in hospice work for nineteen years, she had found only four occasions when it seemed appropriate to mention her NDE to her patients.   Instead, she shared her being, not her story, and that, apparently, told her story in another way.
What near-death experiencers have absorbed into themselves and what they transmit to their patients is "the peace that passeth all
understanding."  If you read accounts of NDEs, you will easily understand the depth of this feeling of peace that comes with the experience of dying and why it is that near-death experiencers are uniquely qualified to transmit this knowledge directly to the dying person.   Listen to just a couple of these testimonies on this point  

One woman told me that when she found herself in the light, "the
feeling just became more and more and more ecstatic and glorious and perfect.... If you took the one thousand best things that ever happened to you in your life and multiplied by a million, maybe you could get close to this feeling."   Another man wrote, "then there was peace.   Peace, but in order to give an idea of what one means by that, the letters would have to be written thousands of miles high in soft glowing colors...  It is a complete happiness, total happiness, beyond the realm of happiness." 

Then, there is the absorption into the light which conveys a feeling
of absolute love, total acceptance, unconditional forgiveness, universal knowledge and complete perfection.   As one man put it, "I just immediately went into this beautiful bright light.  It was a total immersion in light, brightness, warmth, peace, security.   It's something which becomes you and you become it.   I could say, 'I was peace, I was love, I was the brightness.'   It was part of me.   You just know.   You're all knowing, and everything is a part of you.   It's just so beautiful.  It was eternity.  It's like I was always there, and I will always be there, and that my existence on earth was just a brief instant."  

The physicist, David Bohm, said that the energy of the universe is not a neutral energy but an energy of love, and the near-death experiencer returns from his or her encounter with death, not just to confirm Bohm's intuition but to communicate it to others.   This the message that those who have already died have to give to those who are about to die.  

Studies have shown that the personal presence of near-death

experiencers and the stories they have to tell have a direct effect on those dealing with or facing death.   Fear of death is reduced and feelings of comfort and peace are increased.   For these reasons, the near-death experiencer is an ideal midwife to those who are about to make the transition into death, for they have been there, and they know that what is coming is a glory that even a Dante would find himself powerless to describe.  In consequence, all hospices, it seems to me, should desire to make use of near-death experiencers in their corps of volunteer.

When we are born, we emerge out of the constriction of the womb and birth canal into the wondrous world of previously unimaginable and virtually unlimited sensory experience.   And when we die, we go through a second birth, which may be even more difficult than the first, leave the world we know for another that transcends anything we can conceive where we discover, finally, what it is to be alive.   Fully alive, and filled with a radiant joy "beyond the realm of happiness."  This is the the message those who have made the journey have to tell those who are about to undertake it.  It is the greatest gift that they have to share and, for some, the reason they have returned to life.  That's why they have and will continue to have a valued place at the bedside of those who are beginning to prepare for their departure from the world we will all have to leave behind one day.


Dear Web site friends,
I've just written a little article called "The Greatest Gift" intended
for hospice-oriented publications.   However, if any of you would like to put it up on your Web site, you certainly have my permission, which I am giving here on a non-exclusive basis.   The only request I would make is that if you do decide to make use of it, that you let me know.    Thank you, and all the best.   Article follows below.                                                                    
                                              Ken Ring


Copyright1999 by Dr. Jeff and Jody Long