Update on 1/19/19: My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, can be pre-ordered now. It is a #1 new release in several categories. I would love it if you helped me make near-death experiences more mainstream.
God and the Afterlife: The Groundbreaking New Evidence for God and Near-Death Experience by Jeffrey Long and Paul Perry is a fantastic book if you are even somewhat curious about conclusions that can be drawn from examining over 3,000 different accounts of near-death experiences.
For some reason, I only recently discovered the NDERF website . This website allows NDErs to submit their own accounts of their experience and requires them to answer specific questions. These questions allowed the researchers to compare various experiences and helped in the formation of this book. I can certainly see how it would be both a long project and an inspiring one to examine so many of these accounts, and I’m grateful to the authors for examining this topic in such great depth. I will create another post for some of my favorite moments in the book, but I want discuss the experience of God and the purpose driven lives so many NDErs talk about in this first post.
Early in the book, the authors sum up the significance of the similarities of the many NDEr’s accounts by saying, “It is highly unlikely they could all by lying or tricked by a subjective experience, since their reports are so similar. Can these people be wrong? For the evidence of the reality of God in the God Study to be dismissed, each one of the NDErs would have to be mistaken that they were aware of God…”
I have always looked at my near-death experience and encounter with God as the most real and important moment of my life. When I was in the hospital and given heavy doses of morphine, my biggest fear was that I might somehow forget those moments outside of my body. Quite the opposite occurred, and the memory of the experiences outside of form have stayed bright and clear over the years.
Accounts of God: This book covers many accounts of God and the light, especially focusing on the unconditional love and mercy so many experiencers describe. I still get emotional talking about the beauty of the light as I neared it, and I struggle to find the words to accurately describe a love that is both familiar and a part of me, but also incredibly immense, powerful, free, natural, and merciful. The light is love, knowledge, peace, and understanding. When I struggle to describe God and the light, I am apparently not alone. Many NDErs in this book mention the struggle to find the words to accurately describe an experience that lies beyond the scope of what we understand while in these bodies.
Many NDErs also want others to understand certain key concepts about this love. At the basis of my experience, love seemed to be a deep, calming, complete acceptance, and I am also not alone according to the reports. Love is described as not judgement but as a profound, enveloping kind of love. The authors sum up these experiences by saying, “…God’s love for each of us is complete, deep, and without reservation and extends to everyone and everything. It is probably worth imagining what would happen if this revelation where embraced worldwide.”
Perhaps if this revelation were embraced, people’s energy would be spent on ways to make this life experience beautiful, peaceful, and happy for all of us. That might seem like a far-fetched proposition, but it actually isn’t. Life is meant to be enjoyed in simple, beautiful ways.
God’s Appearance: NDErs experienced God’s appearance differently at times. I experienced the afterlife as a place where form is easily mutable. Since it is such a shock to be out of the body, the light/God seems to want us to feel at ease; thus, people and experiences may take on forms to put us individually more at ease in that environment.
The idea that God may take on different forms was repeated by many other NDE accounts. After telling a few people about my NDE, I was told by agnostics that what I experienced was a dream or the brain shutting down, and I was told by a few Christians (including some in my family) that my experience was “of the devil.” Nothing could be farther from the truth, and God and the Afterlife might be the very book to open a few of the minds and hearts of people who continue to rely on these worn-out refutations. The environment outside of my body was more real than this reality, and the love I encountered from God surpasses all human experiences, beliefs, creeds, religions, and philosophies. That love seemed to be my true home, and I can only assume it is the true home for everyone.
NDErs Missions on Earth: When NDErs have a moment where they must make a choice or they are told to return to earth, their reactions vary. Some experiencers were lucky enough to ask what they should bring back to their lives with them. I briefly saw that I should remind others of the light (which is knowledge, love, joy, appreciation of the moment) and to dispel fear in others while I worked as a teacher. Other NDErs had longer conversations about the purpose of life, and this section of the book is fascinating.
One NDEr writes about our purpose for returning by saying, “I was told that I was here to learn how to love and to gain knowledge. This wasn’t said with words, but by thoughts, with all connotations of the words “love” and “knowledge” shown to me. I knew this wasn’t just about book knowledge or physical love. It was about learning how to accept every race and have no prejudice; I was to keep expanding and learning about earth, nature, animals, and people. And this was the mission of all humankind, not just me.”
This statement ties in perfectly to the idea of God’s profound love extending to each and everyone one of us. There are other aspects of this book I hope to cover in another post, but for now I will leave you with these ideas. It should be encouraging for everyone to realize that we are loved more than we can imagine, and that as we continue to grow in understanding we are more in touch with a loving God. I highly recommend this book for those who are interested in the conclusions of extensive research based on the accounts of near-death experiences.
Unlike the Stephen King quote below, I have been interested in this topic since I was twenty-two and had a life-changing couple of minutes outside of my body. I hope more people might become interested in this topic at younger ages. I believe that most NDErs only want to share the peace and love they have experienced.
If you want to read my next post about this book, here it is.
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