How It Works

Le Jour, by Odilon Redon, from the series Dreams.

Le Jour, by Odilon Redon, from the series Dreams.

“WHEN WE DIE WE MAY CONTINUE TO DREAM, BUT BECAUSE WE’RE DEAD WE CAN’T WAKE UP.”

Here are a few key points explaining why and how you can take steps now to design your own afterlife.

  • In near-death experiences (NDEs), Christians may meet Grandma, while Hindus may find themselves dealing with a bureaucrat.
  • Why the difference?
  • “People’s near-death experiences reveal what their expectations are concerning what death will be like, even when these expectations are held subconsciously.”
  • “The kind of after-death experience we might have depends on what kind of person we are, what kind of fears we have, what kind of beliefs we have, what kinds of things we expect, and what our religious faith is.”
  • It seems likely that your experience during an NDE is a taste of your actual afterlife, as it exists at that moment. Let’s say you’re having a near-death experience (while clinically dead), but then you stay dead — so you’re actually having a real-death experience (while clinically dead) — there’s no reason to think that the two situations would be any different. Dead is dead. If you’re talking to St. Peter, and he doesn’t send you back to life, you’ll probably keep talking to St. Peter, and things will proceed from there.
  • If our consciousness survives our death — and there is much evidence that it does — it seems to reside in our dream body, the same “body” present in NDEs — and the same “body” we’re all familiar with occupying in our nightly dreams (also familiar to some people from out-of-body experiences).
  • Scientist Rupert Sheldrake suggests, “When we die we may continue to dream, but because we’re dead we can’t wake up.”
  • Tibetan Buddhists suggest that “what we experience as ‘dreams’ when we are alive and in our physical bodies is exactly what the discarnate entity experiences after death.”
  • This dreamworld state may be like the Catholic concept of purgatory or the Hindu concept of bardo, an intermediate state where we have experiences and change.
  • We control our dream and our dream body to a greater or lesser extent, depending on our consciousness and our ability to manage our minds.
  • Tibetans practice dream yoga — lucid dreaming. Sheldrake says they consider it “like practicing for when you’re dead”.
  • You may be able to meet your ancestors or other dead people or archetypal beings. If Grandma believed she was going to meet Jesus, maybe she did. And if you believe you’ll see Jesus and Grandma, maybe you’ll all be there together.
  • And, just as in dream telepathy, maybe (some of the) dead can make themselves felt in our lives on Earth.
  • You dream your own afterlife according to your beliefs and expectations.
  • What if you’re an atheist and truly believe the death of the body is the final end? One answer is that perhaps for atheists there’s nothing after death.
  • The classic advice is good: Think about where you want to go after you die!
  • Carl Jung’s NDE is an example of the kind of afterlife you can create.
  • The power of belief is awesome. You can design a fascinating afterlife for yourself. Make it great, believe it, expect it, invite your friends — and develop the skills and habits on Earth that will be useful not only now but especially after you’re dead!

Quotes

The Afterlife

  • “When we die we may continue to dream, but because we’re dead we can’t wake up.” — Rupert Sheldrake
  • “He hoped and prayed that there wasn’t an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn’t an afterlife.” — Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe, and Everything
  • “To die: to sleep;
    No more; and by a sleep to say we end
    The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
    That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
    To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
    For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
    Must give us pause: there’s the respect
    That makes calamity of so long life…” ― William Shakespeare, Hamlet
  • “Even heaven and hell arise just as we think they should be for we are each beings of consciousness creating our own reality.” — Jay Woodman
  • “In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory.” — J.R.R. Tolkien
  • “The soul takes nothing with her to the next world but her education and her culture. At the beginning of the journey to the next world, one’s education and culture can either provide the greatest assistance, or else act as the greatest burden, to the person who has just died.” — Plato, The Republic of Plato
  • “That’s what heaven is. You get to make sense of your yesterdays.” — Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven
  • “All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
    And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.” — Walt Whitman
  • “There wasn’t a lot of bullshit in my heaven.” — Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones
  • “But how can the characters in a play guess the plot? We are not the playwright, we are not the producer, we are not even the audience. We are on the stage. To play well the scenes in which we are ‘on’ concerns us much more than to guess about the scenes that follow it.” — C.S. Lewis
  • “The things that come to us easily, our propensities, are carried on a deep subconscious level into our next life. There are no coincidences.” — Raquel Cepeda, Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina
  • “Nor dread nor hope attend
    A dying animal;
    A man awaits his end
    Dreading and hoping all.”
    — W.B. Yeats
  • “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” — Will Rogers
  • “They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to Middle Earth.” — George R.R. Martin

Death

  • “Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” — Mahatma Gandhi
  • “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” — J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • “When he shall die,
    Take him and cut him out in little stars,
    And he will make the face of heaven so fine
    That all the world will be in love with night
    And pay no worship to the garish sun.” — William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
  • “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” — Mark Twain
  • “Cowards die many times before their deaths;
    The valiant never taste of death but once.
    Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
    It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
    Seeing that death, a necessary end,
    Will come when it will come.” — William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
  • “It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.” — William Ernest Henley, Echoes of Life and Death
  • “Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.” — Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: 24 Stories
  • “Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.” — Helen Keller
  • “The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” — Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie
  • “For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.” — Kahlil Gibran
  • “If death is this brilliant slide, this high, fine music felt as pure vibration, this plunging float in wind and silence, it’s not so bad.” — Jayne Anne Phillips
  • “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” — Steve Jobs
  • “life’s not a paragraph
    and death i think is no parenthesis” — e.e. cummings
  • “When we die, we will turn into songs, and we will hear each other and remember each other.” — Rob Sheffield, Love Is a Mix Tape
  • “I’m not afraid of death because I don’t believe in it. It’s just getting out of one car, and into another.” — John Lennon
  • “Oh how wrong we were to think immortality meant never dying.” — Gerard Way
  • “All I know is that while I’m asleep, I’m never afraid, and I have no hopes, no struggles, no glories — and bless the man who invented sleep, a cloak over all human thought, food that drives away hunger, water that banishes thirst, fire that heats up cold, chill that moderates passion, and, finally, universal currency with which all things can be bought, weight and balance that brings the shepherd and the king, the fool and the wise, to the same level. There’s only one bad thing about sleep, as far as I’ve ever heard, and that is that it resembles death, since there’s very little difference between a sleeping man and a corpse.” — Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • “Be calm. God awaits you at the door.” — Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
  • “She laughed and danced with the thought of death in her heart.” — Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid

Dreams

  • “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” — Edgar Allan Poe
  • “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” — Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams
  • “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” — Vincent Van Gogh
  • “That which you believe becomes your world.” — Richard Matheson, What Dreams May Come
  • “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” — Henry David Thoreau
  • “Day and night I always dream with open eyes.” — José Martí
  • “Am I alive and a reality, or am I but a dream?” — Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Return of Tarzan
  • “Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great strange dream.” — Jack Kerouac
  • “Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the Weather.” — Bill Hicks
  • “I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream.” — Vincent Van Gogh
  • “I dreamed I spoke in another’s language,
    I dreamed I lived in another’s skin,
    I dreamed I was my own beloved,
    I dreamed I was a tiger’s kin.

    “I dreamed that Eden lived inside me,
    And when I breathed a garden came,
    I dreamed I knew all of Creation,
    I dreamed I knew the Creator’s name.

    “I dreamed — and this dream was the finest —
    That all I dreamed was real and true,
    And we would live in joy forever,
    You in me, and me in you.” — Clive Barker, Days of Magic, Nights of War

  • “A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.” — Neil Gaiman
  • “The answer is dreams. Dreaming on and on. Entering the world of dreams and never coming out. Living in dreams for the rest of time.” — Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart
  • “It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.” — Edgar Allan Poe
  • “That is where my dearest and brightest dreams have ranged — to hear for the duration of a heartbeat the universe and the totality of life in its mysterious, innate harmony.” — Hermann Hesse, Gertrude
  • “I live in my dreams — that’s what you sense. Other people live in dreams, but not in their own. That’s the difference.” — Hermann Hesse, Demian
  • “What are we after all our dreams, after all our memories?” — Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
  • “Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
    As I foretold you, were all spirits and
    Are melted into air, into thin air:
    And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
    The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
    The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
    Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
    And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
    Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
    As dreams are made on, and our little life
    Is rounded with a sleep.” — William Shakespeare, The Tempest
  • “Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found. Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn. Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.” — Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders (Instructions)
  • “I love the silent hour of night,
    For blissful dreams may then arise,
    Revealing to my charmed sight
    What may not bless my waking eyes.” — Anne Brontë, Best Poems of the Brontë Sisters
  • “As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.” — Leonardo da Vinci
  • “Sleep is God. Go worship.” — Jim Butcher, Death Masks
  • “To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils.” — Socrates
  • “Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to ‘die before you die’ — and find that there is no death.” — Eckhart Tolle
  • “Life is but a dream for the dead.” — Gerard Way
  • “Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.” — Marcus Aurelius

Prayer

  • “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” — Meister Eckhart
  • “Something has got to hold it together. I’m saying my prayers to Elmer, the Greek god of glue.” — Tom Robbins
  • “Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can’t even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I’m aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don’t have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.” — Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
  • “You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” — Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
  • “Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” — Dean Koontz, False Memory
  • What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul.” — Corrie ten Boom
  • “Crying is one of the highest devotional songs. One who knows crying, knows spiritual practice. If you can cry with a pure heart, nothing else compares to such a prayer. Crying includes all the principles of Yoga.” — Kripalvanandji
  • “Go where your best prayers take you.” — Frederick Buechner
  • “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” — Martin Luther
  • “When every hope is gone, ‘when helpers fail and comforts flee,’ I find that help arrives somehow, from I know not where. Supplication, worship, prayer are no superstition; they are acts more real than the acts of eating, drinking, sitting or walking. It is no exaggeration to say that they alone are real, all else is unreal.” — Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments With Truth
  • “Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.”– Mahatma Gandhi
  • “may i be i is the only prayer — not may i be great or good or beautiful or wise or strong.” — e.e. cummings
  • “We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” — Oswald Chambers
  • “I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.” — Frederick Douglass, Autobiographies
  • “Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.” — Thomas Goodwin
  • “The greatest prayer is patience.” — Gautama Buddha
  • “In prayer all are equal.” — Jalaluddin Rumi
  • “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” — Alfred Tennyson
  • “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” — Jesus, Matthew 6:5-6
  • “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” — Jesus, John 15:7
  • “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.” — Jesus, Luke 11:7-8

Belief

  • “Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” — Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Doubt everything. Find your own light.” — Gautama Buddha
  • “Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Re-examine all you have been told. Dismiss what insults your soul.” — Walt Whitman
  • “You have to believe. Otherwise, it will never happen.” — Neil Gaiman, Stardust
  • “Some things have to be believed to be seen.” — Madeleine L’Engle
  • “If you believe in peace, act peacefully; if you believe in love, acting lovingly; if you believe every which way, then act every which way, that’s perfectly valid — but don’t go out trying to sell your beliefs to the system. You end up contradicting what you profess to believe in, and you set a bum example. If you want to change the world, change yourself.” — Tom Robbins
  • “Believing takes practice.” — Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time: With Related Readings
  • “I believe I am in Hell, therefore I am.” — Arthur Rimbaud
  • “That’s the thing about magic; you’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.” — Charles de Lint
  • “Man is what he believes.” — Anton Chekhov
  • “He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.” — Sigmund Freud
  • “The power of human thought grows exponentially with the number of minds that share that thought.” — Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol
  • “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.” — Albert Einstein, Living Philosophies
  • “There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.” — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
  • “God has no religion.” — Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Life is a game and you are the player. As you master the game, so you also create it.” — Jay Woodman
  • “Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” — Jesus, Mark 11:22-24

Prayer & Meditation

Bedtime “Prayers”

  • Whether you’re “religious” or not, consider spending the last few minutes before sleep in a positive frame of mind, thinking about what you would love to have in your life, thinking about questions you’d love to have answers to, sending love to people — praying, in a way. This small bit of preparation will help you make a good entrance into your dreamworld and is good practice for a happy afterlife.

Forms of Prayer

  • “Prayer can be a form of religious practice, may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words, song or complete silence. When language is used, prayer may take the form of a hymn, incantation, formal creedal statement, or a spontaneous utterance in the praying person. There are different forms of prayer such as petitionary prayer, prayers of supplication, thanksgiving, and praise. Prayer may be directed towards a deity, spirit, deceased person, or lofty idea, for the purpose of worshipping, requesting guidance, requesting assistance, confessing transgressions (sins) or to express one’s thoughts and emotions. Thus, people pray for many reasons such as personal benefit, asking for divine grace, spiritual connection, or for the sake of others.”

Prayer Now and in the Afterlife

  • Rupert Sheldrake suggests, “If we’re used to praying regularly, then in our dreams or in our after-death life, we may be able to go on praying, and that would enable us to contact a spiritual realm beyond the more limited realm we’re confined to in this post-mortem dream state.”

  • He suggests that praying to saints or deities while you’re alive may actually get their attention and develop a good relationship for after you’re dead.

  • It doesn’t matter if these saints or deities are “real”, as long as people believe in them. They will exist in the dreamworld.

Binaural Beats: A Meditative Gateway to Altered States of Consciousness, by Polly Anne Rice

  • “Binaural beats are a variation of brainwave entrainment, creating an oscillation effect between the frequencies flowing into each ear and the frequency resonated in the brain. The oscillation effect is what happens when ringing a tuning fork and placing it next to another tuning fork at rest; if the tuning forks play the same note, or vibrate on the same frequency, the tuning fork at rest will begin to ring.

  • “Two different frequencies stream into the ears of an individual, preferably wearing headphones, creating a binaural beat within the brain. By introducing one frequency in one ear, and another in the opposite ear, the hemispheres of the brain are obliged to interact and communicate with one another to hear the binaural beat, causing hemisphere synchronicity. Evidence has implicated both the superior olivary nucleus in the brainstem and the inferior colliculus as the area(s) where the binaural beat is created and heard within the brain.

  • “Effects of Binaural Beats: Hemisphere synchronicity has profound implications! This special type of synchronicity is rare and is reported by Dr. Thompson (2007) to be associated with the light bulb moment, instances of epic inspiration and creativity, and high states of meditation or joy.

  • “Certain binaural beats can be used to create a sustained synchronistic state, creating profound changes in consciousness and brainwave configurations.

  • “The physiology and psychophysiology of human beings is affected beyond the scope of hemisphere synchronicity though! Several studies have reported reductions in anxiety, dopamine, insulin-like growth factor-1, stress, and sleep requirements, as well as increases in learning ability, creativity, higher states of consciousness, lucid dreaming, astral projection, and more.

  • “…Some people also experience hypnagogia states, which are states of consciousness between waking and sleeping, often referred to as threshold consciousness. During these states, people may experience visual or auditory phenomenon such as seeing colors, shapes, and patterns, or hearing snippets of conversations, various sounds, and voices….

  • “My all-time favorite binaural beat video on YouTube can be accessed here (this is an example of a Reiki music track with imbedded binaural tracks).

  • “It is very important for you to be aware of how to use [binaural music tracks] as well. You should sit or lie down when listening to binaural tracks, allowing yourself to relax and melt into the track. Minor benefits can be gained when passively listening to binaural tracks when doing activities like reading a book, emailing, or anything that isn’t strenuous. However, it can be extremely dangerous to listen to binaural beats when driving or in situations where it is important for you to be present in your environment.

  • “My favorite time to use them is right before going to sleep. Depending on the track I want to listen to that night, I’ll lie down anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour before the time I actually want to go to sleep. I’ve found using headphones is significantly more effective and comfortable for me than using speakers or ear buds.”

The Tibetan Buddhist and Spiritualist Views of After-Death States: Spiritual Travel and the Second Bardo

  • “It is here where some experience and training in spiritual travel and out-of-body experience may be of greatest help. It may first help the individual maintain a state of detachment. The spiritual traveler who has experienced the inner world during life can take the whirlwind nature of inner world following death with more calm and detachment. Those who have read examples of the kinds of states encountered in spiritual travel [on the author’s website] will understand that some experimentation and discovery in the inner worlds may prepare the soul for many of the dynamics of the states it may encounter after death. The similarity of certain aspects of the near-death experience (a temporary bardo state) and elements of spiritual travel experience (the ‘tunnel’ experience for example) show some common qualities between certain spiritual travel states and these bardo states.

  • “The soul experienced in spiritual travel is less likely to be disoriented by this inner torrent of psychic experience. To put it another way, while the spiritual traveler or yogi swims through the ocean of consciousness, the inexperienced soul may feel more like it is drowning in that ocean. But as with a drowning person, the most important thing is to have a direction in which to swim to safety. The point of orientation or goal for the person in the second bardo may be a deity, a mantra, a prayer, a heaven, a guide, or some similar spiritual goal but the spiritual traveler must be able to focus and move towards that goal using meditative techniques learned and practiced during their former life in the physical world. This is the active approach of the spiritual traveler.

  • “The second advantage is that the spiritual traveler has entered the waters of consciousness consciously on many occasions and is practiced at directing his or her experience in the inner worlds.

  • “The greatest problems of the soul in the second bardo are negative emotions like guilt and fear (which results from a lack of familiarity with the inner worlds), and lack of conscious control over its own experience. Fear is particularly harmful because it fragments the self, making concentration on one thing difficult or impossible, and this can lead to confusion and loss of conscious control.

  • “The soul in the second bardo is many times caught in a dream state sometimes unaware that it has died, and incapable of taking action to raise its state of consciousness to a threshold level of awareness where it can direct its attention towards spiritual states.

  • “This is one of the reasons it is important to do a regular spiritual practice during life. Doing meditation or prayer every day establishes a pattern of spiritual activity. It then becomes automatic and the habit of seeking after the divine reality continues during the after-death state where it can have powerful results. A daily spiritual practice differs from other more common spiritual practices such as going to church or temple because it is done more often than once or twice a week. Meditation therefore establishes a stronger habit pattern in the individual and is a valuable addition to group-oriented spiritual activities such as attending church.

  • “Regular meditation can also be more powerful because it is usually a less passive activity than church since it fully involves the individual in the meditative process rather than making a spectator out of him or her.

  • “What the soul in the second bardo needs to do is ‘wake up’, as in a lucid dream, and begin a meditation or mental exercise that draws it towards a desired stable and more conscious state of awareness where it can have some control and continue to evolve spiritually. The opposite of conscious control is a dream-like state where the individual experiences only the results of his or her previous actions, and mechanically moves from thought to thought based on thinking patterns developed during life.

  • “Waking up within a dream is one of the activities the spiritual traveler practices when he or she leaves the body to travel the inner planes. Beyond this, the traveler is also always practicing and perfecting the art of directing his or her attention towards some desired state. Some Buddhist teachers claim that experience in the second bardo is completely determined by karma and deny that conscious control of experience is possible in this state. However it is the contention of the author that experience with meditation and actual spiritual travel experience during life can both be helpful in rising above the semi-conscious state characteristic of the second bardo, and moving into a more conscious and desirable state following physical death.

  • “For those who practiced a devotional tradition in life, some will semi-consciously repeat a religious or a meditative ritual asking gods or intercessors to draw them out of the second bardo world. We see an example of an attempt to create such a ritual in the Catholic rosary, where Mary as intercessor is requested to ‘Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death….’

  • “This phrase is from the Hail Mary Prayer. One effect of the repetition of this prayer fifty times in the rosary is that such a prayer for help and intercession may become an automatic process, which will repeat itself in the bardo.

  • “For those fortunate enough to be more conscious in these bardo states, a petition to a god, guru, guide, saint, or intercessor can be made in hopes that the individual will be lifted or guided out of the bardo worlds by one of those entities. But here again, the call must be concentrated and the ability to ignore the surrounding chaos somewhat developed. When such grace is given, it is a form of salvation where the individual is saved from the discomfort and confusion of the “outer darkness” of the bardo by a powerful entity — usually one that individuals formed a bond with in their former life. To use the swimming analogy, here the individual calls out to a lifeguard in hopes of being rescued from the turbulent waters of the bardo state. This is the more passive approach of the devotee.

  • “We should also note that souls in this bardo are thought to be very sensitive to the thoughts and attitudes of those they knew during life. The Tibetans therefore put great effort into doing chanting, reading of sacred texts, and other religious rituals to help the dying soul on its journey in the afterlife. Praying for the peace and happiness of the dying person therefore has great value and provides a benefit to both the living and the dead. This process of sending good wishes to those who have recently died can create a positive spiritual atmosphere which can orient and bring peace to the person in the bardo realm, and can also counter some of the sorrow and upset that accompanies the loss of a loved one.”

Prayer Can Benefit Health and Wellbeing

  • According to the University of Minnesota, “prayer is important in a healthcare context simply because it is used so widely. According to Dr. Wayne Jonas, ‘Surveys indicate that nearly 90% of patients with serious illness will engage in prayer for the alleviation of their suffering or disease.’ Among all forms of complementary medicine, prayer is the single most widely-practiced healing modality. According to research conducted by Dr. Christina Puchalski, Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, prayer is the second most common method of pain management (after oral pain medication), and the most common non-drug method of pain management.

  • “The following explanations have been offered as to how prayer helps improve health:

    • “The relaxation response — prayer elicits the relaxation response, which lowers blood pressure and other factors heightened by stress.

    • “Secondary control — prayer releases control to something greater than oneself, which can reduce the stress of needing to be in charge.

    • “The placebo response — prayer can enhance a person’s hopes and expectations, and that in turn can positively impact health.

    • “Healing presence — prayer can bring a sense of a spiritual or loving presence and alignment with God or an immersion into a universal unconscious.

    • “Positive feelings — prayer can elicit feelings of gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, and hope, all of which are associated with healing and wellness.

    • “Mind-body-spirit connection — when prayer uplifts or calms, it inhibits the release of cortisol and other hormones, thus reducing the negative impact of stress on the immune system and promoting healing.”

    Lucid Dreaming and Meditation

    • “Conscious awareness of imagery is vitally important during wakefulness, meditation, & dreaming. Visualization meditations, in which you are focusing not on a stark, quiet environment, but focusing on the breath while you use your imagination to envision a happy, pleasing place (a garden filled with vibrant flowers, a beach with the tide coming in, a childhood favorite place that you always think of nostalgically), improves your mental imagery. And when you improve your mental imagery (which is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it becomes), the easier of a time you’ll have with dream recall and lucid dreaming.”

    How to Practice Meditation for Lucid Dreaming

    • [Scientific studies] “reveal direct links between meditation and lucid dreaming. Both practices involve higher states of awareness (up to the gamma band or 40 Hz) and help you to become more habitually focused, self aware and reflective. Both improve your dream recall, visualization skills and your ability to become lucid automatically, so that even a simple breathing meditation practiced daily will help you achieve profound relaxation and increase your chances of having lucid dreams.

    • “Breathing Meditation to Calm Your Mind:

    • “Choose a quiet place. You can cross your legs (like a traditional Buddha) or sit in a chair. The key is to keep your back straight to stop your mind from becoming sleepy.

    • “Allow your eyes to close naturally and focus on your breathing, without actually trying to control it. Breathe in and out through the nostrils and become aware of how the air feels as it enters and leaves your body.

    • “At first, your mind will be full of jumbled thoughts and it may feel like things are getting busier. In fact, you are increasing your self awareness and noticing how many thoughts you really have. Avoid the temptation of following your thoughts as they occur. Stay focused on your breath going in and out of your nose.

    • “If you realize your mind has wandered, bring it back. If you keep this up for 10-15 minutes, you will achieve a quiet state of mind. Your thoughts will be clear and lucid, like a calm lake that has not been disturbed for a long time. Remain in this state for as long as feels comfortable.”

Dreams

Dreams and Death/Dreams and the Divine

  • From the article Dream Work with the Dying, by Jeremy Taylor.

  • “All the sacred traditions of the world give an especially privileged place to dreams and dreaming as a means of self-understanding and communication with and from the Divine.

  • “In addition, every culture of the world reveals some version of the ancient archetypal metaphor: ‘sleep = death’, and ‘dreams = the experience of the afterlife’.

  • “Tibetan Buddhists even go so far as to say that what we experience as ‘dreams’ when we are alive and in our physical bodies is exactly what the discarnate entity experiences after death and in ‘the Bardo of Dying and Preparing for Rebirth’.

  • “This belief is the primary reason for their focused attention to lucid dreaming; if a person can become proficient in recognizing consciously, ‘Oh, this is a dream…’ while asleep, then that person will also be very likely to be able to do the same thing in the midst of the ‘Bardo of Death and Becoming’, after separation from the physical form. In this way, he/she will be able to traverse the complexities of that post-mortem existence with calmness and clarity, or as they would say, ‘with wisdom and compassion’.”

Lucid Dreaming and the Afterlife

  • Excerpt from the Dream Exchange, by Lucy Gillis: Quote from Tenzin Yangal Rinpoche: “If we cannot remain present during sleep, if we lose ourselves every night, what chance do we have to be aware when death comes?…. Look to your experience in dreams to know how you will fare in death. Look to your experience of sleep to discover whether or not you are truly awake.”

  • “What happens when we die? Where do we go? Do we go anywhere? What will it be like? If my body is dead, how will I be able to see or hear? Will I be able to see or hear?

  • “It was questions like these that occupied the mind of an ancient physician, over 1500 years ago. He found his answers, not in his religion, not in the science of his time, but in a more intimate and immediate way. He received his answer in a dream — a lucid dream. In fact, this particular dream is the first written report of a lucid dream in recorded history. The dream was found within the letters of St. Augustine, a Christian philosopher and priest.

  • “In 415 A.D. St. Augustine wrote a letter to a priest by the name of Evodius, in which he described the dream experiences of Gennadius, a physician from Carthage. Gennadius, disturbed by doubts as to whether there was life after physical death, had two dreams. In the first he was visited by a youth ‘”of remarkable appearance and commanding presence’ who demanded that he follow him. Gennadius did so and was led to a city where he could hear singing ‘so exquisitely sweet’ and unlike anything he had ever heard before. He asked his guide what the music was, and was told, ‘”it is the hymn of the blessed and the holy.’ At this point Gennadius woke, believing the experience to be nothing more than just a dream.

  • “However, the next night, as he dreamed again, his young guide of the previous night returned and asked Gennadius if he recognized him. Gennadius replied ‘Certainly!’ Then the youth asked him where they had met, but Gennadius could not remember, though he did correctly recall and describe the event of their meeting and what had occurred.

  • “The young guide then asked Gennadius if the events he just described took place in sleep or in wakefulness. Gennadius replied, ‘In sleep,’ to which the youth responded with ‘You remember it well; it is true that you saw these things in sleep, but I would have you know that even now you are seeing in sleep.’ The youth continued, ‘Where is your body now?’ Gennadius answered ‘in my bed.’ (Gennadius was then lucid; aware he was dreaming, while his body slept in his bed.)

  • “The youth pressed on; ‘Do you know that the eyes in this body of yours are now bound and closed, and that with these eyes you are seeing nothing?’ ‘I know it,’ answered Gennadius. The guide then asked, ‘What then are the eyes with which you see me?’ To this, Gennadius could not respond, he did not know the answer. The young guide then provided him with answers he had been seeking in his waking life:

  • “‘As while you are asleep and lying on your bed these eyes of your body are now unemployed and doing nothing, and yet you have eyes with which you behold me, and enjoy this vision, so after your death, while your bodily eyes shall be wholly inactive, there shall be in you a life by which you shall live, and a faculty of perception by which you shall still perceive. Beware, therefore, after this of harboring doubts as to whether the life of man shall continue after death.'”

  • “According to St. Augustine, ‘This believer says that by this means all doubts as to the matter were removed from him.’ Gennadius had awakened, satisfied with his answer, and didn’t doubt the existence of life after death again.

  • “Gennadius’s ‘youth of remarkable countenance’ or ‘dream guide’ is not the only one to compare the dreamstate to the afterlife. For thousands of years, Tibetan Buddhists practicing ‘dream yoga’ have been instructed in various degrees of (what Westerners refer to as) lucid dreaming as a means of increasing their awareness on the path to enlightenment. Dream Yoga was developed to help train the practitioner to achieve enlightenment during sleep so that at the time of death, he would be prepared for the death bardos. In the Tibetan language, the word ‘bardo’ refers to an interval between two events. In the case of the death bardos, the intervals are between death and rebirth.

  • “The Tibetan Book of the Dead, (‘Bardo Thodol’) describes three bardos that the deceased will encounter after death. In these realms of existence the deceased will meet with experiences that are the result of his own ‘inner manifestations’; just like dreaming, these manifestations are projections originating from his mind.

  • “If he does not recognize them as projections, he can become trapped within them, believing them to be reality. Unable to attain enlightenment from this stage, he will pass to the bardo of rebirth, to begin the cycle of life and death again.

  • “However, if he can recognize the projections as being manifestations of his own mind, and can detach from them, then he has a better chance of achieving enlightenment, after which he will no longer need to be reborn. Here is where the practice of lucidity within dream yoga becomes important:

  • “‘The lucidity experience … assists in understanding the unreality of phenomena, which otherwise, during dream or the death experience, might be overwhelming.'” — Michael Katz, Editor, Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light

  • “With dream lucidity, the practitioner learns to recognize that all around him is a dream, an illusion. He then learns to detach emotionally from the dream, thereby reducing the likelihood of creating more illusory imagery. Though lucid dreaming is viewed as a necessary stage of development in dream yoga, to the Tibetan Buddhists, achieving lucidity in dreams is not the ultimate goal. It is merely a step along path to enlightenment, it is not enlightenment itself.

  • Besides the dream state being like the death bardos, dream yogis claim that the stages of consciousness experienced during the sleep cycle resemble the stages of consciousness experienced when dying. Since we sleep and dream every night, we have the opportunity to learn to consciously observe our sleep cycle and to become more familiar with these stages of consciousness.

  • “According to Rob Nairn, author of Living, Dreaming, Dying: ‘We can have a trial run at death every single night when we go to sleep. We can begin training to fall asleep consciously and to dream lucidly. The process of falling asleep parallels the process of dying, while dreams parallel the bardo of death.’

Playing Video Games Allows You to Control Your Dreams

  • From The 5 Weirdest Things That Influence Your Dreams, by S. Peter Davis.

  • “If you’ve ever been in the middle of a dream when you suddenly realized you were dreaming and could actually control what happened, you’ve experienced a lucid dream. The ability to get into the driver’s seat of a dream — to battle monsters, or hang out with celebrities, or (most importantly) have sex with anyone you can imagine — is an incredibly popular hobby on the Internet, with whole communities set up to advise each other about how to do it. Well, the answer may be easier than they think: play lots of video games.

  • “Video game players report having more lucid dreams than other people, according to a study. The lead researcher, Jayne Gackenbach, has been doing dream research for over a decade and has been able to reproduce the results time and time again — gamers just have a knack for wresting control of their unconscious mind, which is good news for any gamers who find that they’re not getting laid very often in the real world. Or maybe it’s terrible news. You decide.

  • “Gackenbach’s hypothesis is simply that video games train the mind to take control of a fantasy situation. So when you are asleep and enter a dream state, your brain immediately thinks ‘Video game!’ and you find yourself able to take control of the dreamscape.

  • “That’s not all, though — according to the research, frequent gamers actually have the ability to ward off nightmares. Apparently, the essence of a scary dream is the dreamer’s inability to respond to threatening situations like zombie hordes or disappearing pants. But gamers are able to fight back in their dreams, which lowers the general threat level. Gamers’ nightmares tend to be more violent, but less frightening.”

Creativity and Dreaming

  • This excerpt is from Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness, discussions among Ralph Abraham, Terence McKenna, and Rupert Sheldrake.

  • Ralph Abraham, to Rupert Sheldrake and Terence McKenna: “You seem to agree that the next moment is created out of the present moment through a process involving creativity, imagination, chaos, and a world of possibilities located somewhere.”

  • Rupert Sheldrake: “I think creativity seems to involve a process like the welling up or boiling up of new forms in an incredible diversity. New forms are conditioned by memories of what has gone before and by existing habits, but they are new syntheses, new patterns. There could be a kind of unifying process at work such that anything that emerges above the surface of the unconscious or the darkness or the chaos has to take on a kind of wholeness to come above that surface. It has to take on a unified form. But it could be any unified form.

  • “One model for this creative process is dreaming. Dreams involve the appearance of stories and symbols and images that we don’t create with our conscious minds. In fact, we usually just forget this whole wonderful display of psychic creativity that happens for each of us nightly. When we remember our dreams, they’re bizarre and unexected. It seems almost impossible to have an expected dream. This curious feature raises the question of where dreams come from. The Jungians would say that they come from structures and processes in the darkness of the collective unconscious. They’d see them not as descending from some higher world but as welling up.

  • “The human imagination obviously works through dreams. It works through language, through conversations, through fantasies, through novels, through visions and inspirations, and it is also revealed through psychedelics in a particularly extreme form. In what sense is this imagination that we know from our own experience related to the imaginative creative principle of nature? Is there a kind of Gaian dreaming? For example, is the Earth, Gaia, awake on the side of it that’s in the sunlight? As it rotates, is the side that’s in the darkness dreaming? At night, are plants, animals, and whole ecosystems in some sense in a dream state, when dreams and spontaneous images of what might be possible come to them? What form would a Gaian dream take? Or what form would a Gaian psychedelic experience take?

  • “The idea that we tune in through our own imaginations to the Gaian mind seems attractive, and I think it fits quite well with dreams, psychedelic experience, imagination, and so on. The next question for me is this: How is the Gaian imagination related to the imagination of the solar system, and that of the solar system to the imagination of the galaxy, and that of the galaxy to the imagination of the cosmos, and that of the cosmos related to what we could call the imagination of the cosmic attractor, or the Omega Point, or the Cosmic Christ?

  • “There’s a cosmic imagination, the imagination of the anima mundi, the soul of the universe. Within this are the imaginations of galaxies, solar systems, planets, ecosystems, societies, individual organisms, organs, tissues, and so on.”

Spiritual Dreaming: A Nightly Death

  • According to Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov Bulgarian mystic Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov:

  • “When a disciple follows the teaching of a spiritual master, this teaching does not speak solely to the conscious part of his being. Even at night while he is sleeping, the true disciple goes to join his master with his astral body and continues to be instructed by him. He reads the most sacred books in the libraries of the universe and attends the most magnificent ceremonies. Although his mind is not yet prepared to remember such events, he may retain certain impressions which create such a sensation of peace and light in his heart that when he awakens the next morning he wonders: ‘Where was I last night? What I saw was so beautiful!’ “It is important to understand that sleep becomes something sacred when you enter into it with the intention of going off to be instructed in these spiritual schools, for it is there that you receive true initiation.”

  • Wayne Dyer writes:

  • “Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov has this to say about your preparation for sleep and what transpires while you sleep: ‘It is the experiences of the last minutes before you go to sleep that are more important, more significant, than everything that happened during the day.’

  • “He speaks eloquently on the importance of entering the subconscious mind with a purity of spirit because each night we die — and if we don’t know how to prepare for our nightly death, we will be unprepared for our true departure to the other world. ‘Take care, therefore,’ he urges us, ‘never to go to sleep with negative thoughts in your mind, for they will destroy all the good you may have gained during the day.’

  • “Your time while asleep, when you leave this house and yet are still attached to it, is to be thought of as a sacred journey that you take daily to connect to the one universal subconscious mind and experience the bewildering wonder of what transpires there.

  • “Once again, Aïvanhov tells us: ‘Before going to sleep, you must get ready as though for a sacred pilgrimage … never go to bed with a negative thought in your head, for it will wreak havoc on your subconscious.’

Dreams and the Afterlife

  • Kevin Williams: “There is compelling evidence in dream research that during our dreams our conscious awareness shifts away from our physical consciousness (physical body and conscious awareness) to our subconscious awareness (what religions call ‘our soul’). This is just a fancy way of saying that when we dream, we have an out-of-body experience into a different level of existence or consciousness (called the ‘astral realm’ by out-of-body researchers — or the ‘soul realms’ or ‘heavens’ or ‘bardos’ of the afterlife by religions — or quantum physics might call it is another ‘dimension’ — consciousness researchers call it another level of consciousness).

  • Whatever you call it, our dreams are actual ‘afterlife’ experiences. Many people are not aware of this and pay no attention to their dreams or try to remember them or learn from them. This is unfortunate because we spend roughly one third of our lives asleep and our dreams are a wealth of spiritual information if we can only transfer it from our subconscious mind into our conscious mind. The fact that we spend so much of our lives asleep is one good reason to believe that we are actually spirit beings having a human experience.

  • “…My understanding is that there are many different kinds of dreams. Some dreams are heavily symbolic (the language of our soul) and need to be interpreted to be consciously understood — like the Book of Revelation. Some dreams are ways for us to work out current problems in life on a different level. Some dreams are prophetic. Some dreams are just for fun. According to Edgar Cayce, nightmares are mostly the result of your body warning you about a health problem or about dealing with a difficult problem in life. Some dreams are highly sexual and personal and there are reasons for these as well. The point is this: If you want to know what the afterlife is like while on this physical realm, learn more about your dreams. They are more important than the general public is aware of in general. Perhaps this is the problem with this world.

  • “I have many web pages on my website with some good information about dreams. I did a complete search on my website and here are the results. Hope they help.”

The Biospheric Dreambody

  • “The dreambody is nonlocal and hyperdimensional in that it is not bound or limited by the conventional laws of third-dimensional space and linear-sequential time. Not constrained by the apparent rules of our physical universe, the dreambody can synchronistically express itself both inwardly and/or outwardly, which is to say that the dreambody collapses the presumed boundary between what is happening inside of us and events taking place in the outside world. The dreambody nonlocally gives shape to our world as well as in-forming our experience of it. An instantaneous feedback loop, the dreambody moment by moment in-forms itself based on our reactions to it, mirroring back to us ourselves in ever new ways.”

The Lucid Dream Body

  • “We all take on a dream body every night; how else could we dream of scaling cliff faces, hugging a friend, running from danger? In a lucid dream, where we know that we’re dreaming, we have the chance of fully experiencing the dream body with conscious awareness. It’s quite something. The lucid dream body is lighter and faster than our waking physical body. It has a tendency to float. It can stretch – we can have ‘normal’ length arms one moment, and Mr. Tickle arms the next. The lucid dream body can transform into an animal or bird. It can fly. It can go through walls without getting hurt. It can grow a new limb if one is hacked off in battle. It can turn invisible. The more thought we give to the capabilities of the lucid dream body, the more it seems that we’re dealing with some kind of superhero.

  • “Yet beyond all these abilities, the lucid dream body holds deeper lessons. It can teach us about the way that energy flows through our physical body. It can help us to notice the areas of our physical body that might need healing. The lucid dream body can teach us about being bodiless, because we don’t always need a dream body while we’re sleeping. In learning about how it feels to be without a body, we can learn more about what might happen when we die.”

Edgar Cayce on Dreams

  • This is an excerpt from the book Cayce on Dreams, by Harmon Bro, more at Edgar Cayce on Dreams.

  • “During the dreaming state of sleep, we experience the different levels of consciousness and receive input from the different realms of the spirit world. Through dreaming, we have special access to our spirit within. According to the Cayce readings, there is not a question we can ask which cannot be answered from the depths of our inner consciousness when the proper attunement is made.

  • “A dream may be of a physical, mental, or spiritual nature and may deal with all manner of psychic manifestations. These include telepathy, clairvoyance, prophetic visions, out of body traveling, remembrance of past lives, communication with beings in other realms including deceased friends and relatives, spirit guides, angels, Christ, and even the voice of God. Dreams can also give invaluable information on the status of the body.

  • “All subconscious minds are in contact with one another. Through the subconscious, dreams may place us in attunement with those in the physical realm or those in the spiritual realm. We may be visited in the night by discarnate entities for many reasons: they may seek to give us assurance about their well-being in other realms of existence; they may come seeking our aid through prayer; they may come to bring us information which may be very helpful or limited; or they may come to influence us with their own desires or perspectives, which may be helpful or harmful. For example, there are dream reports of deceased relatives appearing and giving instructions about where to find a will or a lost object.

  • “The events we experience in the third-dimension are, as it were, a ‘past condition’ because this dimension is simply a projection or a reflection of what is being built at another higher level. Therefore, when we tune into these higher levels, as we may in dreams, we become aware of what is being built, and what may be projected into the physical in the future. Nothing of importance happens to us that is not foreshadowed in our dreams. Which is not to say that all dreams are precognitive or that the exact detail of everything we experience is given earlier in dreams. However, the word ‘foreshadowed’ suggests that we may glimpse and be warned of what we are building now which may come into manifestation later. We call these dreams ‘precognitive’ or ‘prophetic.'”

Astral Projection

  • “Astral projection or travel denotes the astral body leaving the physical body to travel in an astral plane. The idea of astral travel is rooted in common worldwide religious accounts of the afterlife in which the consciousness’ or soul’s journey, or ‘ascent,’ is described in such terms as ‘an… out-of-body experience, wherein the spiritual traveller leaves the physical body and travels in his/her subtle body (or ‘dreambody’, or ‘astral body’) into ‘higher realms’. It is frequently reported in association with dreams, and forms of meditation…. Some [people] have reported perceptions similar to the descriptions of astral projection, induced through various hallucinogenic and hypnotic (including self-hypnotic) means.”

The Astral Body

  • “The ‘Astral Body’ (to give it the popular occult term) is a sort of psychic or spirit body, which is the body one exists in during the ‘Out of Body Experience’ (OBE) or ‘Astral travelling’. This body can thus separate from the lower bodies and journey to other worlds and realms, taking the consciousness with it. After death and separation from the physical body, the personality continues to exist for a period of time in the astral body.

  • “The Astral body corresponds to the Egyptian Ba, which is the principle able to leave the body and the tomb and also return to it at will, and the Tibetan Bardo body. As well as the imaginal world (corresponding to the world of Asiyah according to Hayyim Vital, and the Ishraki Barzakh or ‘Interworld’), the astral body can attain to the more material heavens, but the higher spiritual realms are beyond its reach. For that it is necessary to move to a more subtle ‘vehicle of consciousness’.”

Other Worlds: Out-of-Body Experiences and Lucid Dreams

  • Lynne Levitan and Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D.: “The worlds we create in dreams and OBEs are as real as this one, and yet hold infinitely more variety. How much more exhilarating to be ‘out-of-body’ in a world where the only limit is the imagination than to be in the physical world in a powerless body of ether! Freed of the constraints imposed by physical life, expanded by awareness that limits can be transcended, who knows what we could be, or become?”

World of Lucid Dreaming

  • “Anything you can conceive of comes true. You can take control of your dream and warp The Matrix like Neo. Fly and soar over cities like Iron Man. Slow down time like the dream levels of Inception. Have sex with celebrities. Fight like a ninja. Re-live childhood memories. Base jump. Survive death.

  • “But a lucid dream is not merely a fantasy playground. Dream theories suggest it’s a chance to interact with other parts of your psyche (by talking to different dream characters) and even your co-conscious inner self (by talking to the very fabric of the dream). Once you know how to become lucid in dreams, you will discover a strange new world — an entire universe, no less — of which you are fully aware and can manipulate with the power of thought.”

The Mysteries of “Lucid” Dreaming

  • Vaughan Bell: “Studies led by neuropsychologists Ursula Voss and Martin Dresler have shown that the brain activity during lucid dreaming bears the core features of REM sleep but is distinct from both non-lucid dreaming and the awake state.”

How to Lucid Dream

  • In his article, Better Lucid Dreaming Alex Sumner writes:

  • “Lucid Dreaming is the art of becoming aware that you are dreaming, whilst dreaming. When you experience this you find your dream-life instantly becomes more exciting. For some it becomes a new resource of creativity; for others, it is the first step on a new path to spiritual unfolding. Others yet again see it as an opportunity for wish-fulfillment: to indulge in epic adventures, exercise Matrix- or Inception-like superpowers or pursue limitless romantic and sexual pleasures.”

  • Sumner has some good simple suggestions for becoming a lucid dreamer. His two main points:

  1. Remember your dreams.

  2. Learn to control what you dream about.

  • Suggested ways to remember your dreams:

    • Write down or draw your dreams as soon as you wake up.

    • Meditate: “Before lying down in bed, sit upright with your spine erect,” suggests Sumner. “Breathe slowly and evenly, and allow the events of the day to replay before your mind’s eye in reverse, i.e. starting with the present moment and going back in time, as far as you can go. Practice this every night. This leads to not only an improved dream-memory, but also an improved waking memory as well. It also leads to a curious effect: because the hold which the day’s events have on the mind is released during meditation, the dreaming-mind is then free to explore other more exotic realms of memory during the night.”

    • Use affirmations. Repeat to yourself 20 times right before sleep: “I can remember my dreams in detail.”

  • To learn to control what you dream about, you can use these methods:

    • Use affirmations. Sumner says, “By deliberately impressing a suggestion upon your unconscious mind before going to sleep, your unconscious, which is the source of all dreams, responds by shaping the character of your nocturnal visions accordingly.” You can repeat to yourself, “I will dream about [subject] 20 times before bed.

    • Have a picture of what you want to dream about. Stare at it a while before going to sleep.
      “Leave it propped up on your night-stand.”

    • As you’re heading off to sleep, lie in bed and visualize — like a movie in which you’re the main actor — what you would like to dream about. Be sure to experience the emotions.

    • Use an orgasm. According to Sumner, “Whereas the preceding methods take advantage of the natural suggestibility of the mind at the point of drifting off into sleep, there is another method of impressing a desire on the unconscious, which is through a sudden burst of spontaneous emotion.” The easiest way, since you’re in bed anyway, is to have an orgasm. “… Before starting, reduce the subject of your dream to a single word, or a single symbol. Do not attempt to think about this before becoming aroused; but concentrate on it only after you have started, so that at the moment of orgasm it dominates your mind completely.”

  • Sumner says that once you’ve learned how to control your dreams, you can use the same methods to gain more control in the dreams themselves.

  • More specific information about controlling your lucid dreams can be found on many websites, including World of Lucid Dreaming, which also has a Facebook page.

Scientists Demonstrate Remarkable Evidence of Dream Telepathy Between People

  • “Dream telepathy suggests that human beings have the ability to communicate telepathically with another person while they are dreaming. This isn’t a new concept, scientific interest in telepathy dates back to the fathers of the psychoanalytic movement. Freud, for example, looked at the implications of telepathy on psychoanalytic thought. He also considered dream telepathy, or the telepathic influence of thought on dreaming, on multiple occasions. Carl Jung believed in the telepathic hypothesis without question, and even developed a theoretical system to explain ‘paranormal’ events of this nature….”

Meeting the Dead

Finding Meaning in Dreams

  • This interesting book, Finding Meaning in Dreams: A Quantitative Approach, by G. William Domhoff, is available to read at no cost and without registration on this UCSC website.

  • In Chapter 9, in the section “Dreams of Deceased Loved Ones”, the author describes the results of a 1992 study by D. Barrett that found there are four main types of such dreams: 1) back-to-life dreams, 2) advice dreams, 3) leavetaking or resolution dreams, and 4) philosophic dreams about the nature of death.

  • As an example of a resolution dream, the author shares this story from the study:

    • After my grandmother died, I felt terrible because I had visited her when she was in the hospital but I never went to see her in the hospice. I thought she would be coming home; she died suddenly just when we thought things were getting better. The first thing I thought of when I was told of her death was that I didn’t get to say good-bye or tell her that I loved her. For two months after her death I was tormented by guilt and anger over not saying how I felt to her. However, one night I dreamed that I was awakened by a phone ringing in the hallway upstairs in my house. I got up out of bed and went to answer the phone. As I picked up the phone, the dark hallway I was standing in became fully illuminated. I said “hello” and my grandmother’s voice said “Hello, Sally, this is grandma.” I said “Hi, how are you.” We spoke for about 10 minutes until we were ready to hang up (I can’t recall what we spoke about). Finally, my grandmother said she had to go. I said, “OK Gram, take care, I love you.” She said “I love you too, good-bye.” I said “good-bye.” As I hung up the phone, the illuminated hallway became dark again. I walked back to bed and fell asleep. When I awoke (for real this time) the next morning, and ever since then, I have been at peace with my grandmother’s death.

  • Domhoff writes: “One striking contingency of these ‘philosophic’ death dreams is the frequent utilization of a telephone as the medium of interaction with the deceased person. Fifty-three percent of the dreams in this category involved telephone calls from the deceased person.”

What Happens When We Die? (podcast)

  • Rupert Sheldrake: “If, when we’re dreaming while we’re alive, we enter a dream realm which is one where the normal rules don’t apply — the rules of dreaming apply but not the rules of physical life — and if the dead are in a kind of dream world then these dream worlds could overlap. They’re not in the normal space-time continuum. So it may be that in our dreams we can actually meet ancestors who are now dead and we can actually have communications with them. And it may be that they’re not just projections of our own waking life or our subconscious mind but they have an autonomous existence in the dream world that we can actually encounter and interact with.”

Evidence for the Afterlife: After-Death Contact

  • “Mediums and out of body explorers tell us that our astral body lifts out of our physical body when we sleep and we actually visit with our loved ones in the afterlife. It is a world just as solid as ours but on a different frequency. Some contact dreams are fragments of memory of those visits.”

Fifteen Reasons Why Near-Death Experiences Are Not Hallucinations or the Effects of the Dying Brain

  • “… 5. People report meeting with relatives they did not know were dead. In all cases they are correct.

  • “Maggie Callanan and Patrica Kelley in their book Final Gifts tell of an elderly Chinese woman who had a NDE in which she saw her sister. The sister had died but her family had not told her (Callanan and Kelley 1997).

  • “Dr. Kübler-Ross talked of a girl who was injured in a car accident. No-one had told her that her mother and brother had died in the same accident. When the girl was having her NDE she saw them in the afterlife. Even Dr. Kübler-Ross didn’t know that the brother had died only ten minutes before the girl had her NDE (Kübler-Ross 1997).

  • “Ian Stevenson (1959) published a similar case. A man’s cousin in England had died without anyone in the United States knowing about it. During this man’s NDE, he saw his cousin. It was some time before he received a telegram announcing his cousin’s death (Stevenson 1959).

  • “P.M.H. Atwater reports a case of a woman who talked with her father during her NDE. Neither she nor anyone in her family was aware that the father had died only five minutes before the woman had her car/truck accident (Atwater 2007:164).”

Anomalous Events that Can Shake One’s Skepticism to the Core

  • It’s fun to read this admission from Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, that on his wedding day he seemingly experienced communication from the dead. “Often I am asked if I have ever encountered something that I could not explain. What my interlocutors have in mind are not bewildering enigmas such as consciousness or U.S. foreign policy but anomalous and mystifying events that suggest the existence of the paranormal or supernatural. My answer is: yes, now I have.”

Creating Reality

Stephen Gaskin on Energy and Attention

  • “Within each one of us is a spark of God. Some people call it inborn intelligence: a capacity to look out and see something. That capacity is so strong that if you look at someone and you see something in them that you like, you don’t have to say anything, or give them a bouquet or write them a poem or send them a card. If you just see something in them that you like, that thing will become stronger and it will come out at you; and they will do it more for you.”

  • “Everybody needs attention — it’s a human requirement, just like oxygen and water. The need for it begins as soon as we’re born, and if we don’t get it in a fair way, we’ll learn outlaw habits of getting it. People will do outrageous things to get attention, because it is life force and energy. The reason to be discriminating about what you give your attention to, is to give real help to a person. That’s how we all be each other’s teachers: what we dig in each other, we reinforce.”

  • “Paying attention to what we choose to pay it to is probably the greatest freedom we have.”

  • “Attention is energy. What you put your attention on, you get more of. Each one of us is a fountain of energy, a valve through which universal life energy is metered into the world, and we can each point our self at whatever we want to. We add life force to our surroundings — to everything we pay attention to. If you put your attention on the best, highest, finest, most beautiful thing that you can, that will be amplified.”

  • “We all control what happens in the future by what we pay attention to in the present. If you perceive it to be improving and a groove, it improves and is a groove.”

  • “If you see that something should be a way, assume it’s going to be that way.”

  • “If you but know it, in your highest and your finest and your most honest places in your own heart, God is speaking to you. Even now. All the time, in your highest and finest places.”

  • “…Rather than figuring it out, and saying, “Is this right?” or “Where would this be in the light of contemporary philosophy?” — that first flash is your best bet. I try to trust myself and trust myself until I can just move on that first flash.”

  • “If we all moved together in our interaction on that first flash, we would be incredibly fast and smart. If every time you asked a question, the next thing that came back was the answer instead of “Huh?” or if they just said, “I don’t know,” and let you clear the circuit to do the next thing — if we just all answered honestly and correctly the first time, it would be so easy, so incredibly fast and smart — we would just be fabulous.”

  • “You have to learn to trust your mind — don’t try to force it and push it in various ways. The more you trust it and the more you let it run on its automatic pilot, the faster and smarter and heavier it gets. It lets you out when you trust it. It’s a good one — trust it.

  • “Any time something is hard for you to do, bring yourself to bear; pay attention to it. Concentrate yourself. Come on to it with all your energy focused. That’s all karate and breaking bricks is — is having all your attention focused when you hit. You can break bricks if your attention is focused. If your attention is not focused and the swing is the same, you might break your hand.”

  • “One of the reasons for the spiritual practice of non-attachment—trying not to be personally attached about your thing, or pain or whatever happens to you — is so that you school yourself so that nothing can happen to you from the outside that can make you lose your energy, because as long as you have your energy on, you can do it.”

  • “There isn’t really supposed to be an intermediary between you and God; although some religions teach the necessity of an intermediary. Some religions think of Jesus as a gateman to Heaven — who you have to get straight with before you can go in — instead of being the spiritual vibration itself, which if you are in contact with, you automatically become in contact with Heaven — and if you’re in good enough shape to touch it, it will touch you back.”

  • “You have to be sure you’re not pretending to don’t be confident so that nobody will think you’re on a trip. Some people go around pretending that they don’t know where it’s at so that nobody will think they’re on a trip, when they do sometimes really know where it’s at. But they don’t really know where it’s at because they pretend not to. If you’re doing a good thing, swing on; get heavy.”

  • “God is not separate from the Universe. God is only One. The Universe itself is God’s mind; and the flow of everything is God’s thoughts. And praying to us really means to try to be an intelligent synapse in God’s mind, a synapse that is not going to trigger for violence, no matter what. Love, connect. And we affect the mind of God by being free will synapses.”

Morphic Resonance and Morphic Fields

  • The concept of morphic resonance has much in common with the Akashic Record; or quantum physicist David Bohm’s implicate order; or, as Joseph Campbell once suggested, the Hindu concept of maya — the field of space-time that gives birth to the forms of the world.

  • Excerpt from Morphic Resonance & Morphic Fields: Collective Memory & the Habits of Nature. Rupert Sheldrake writes:

  • “The word morphic comes from the Greek morphe, meaning form. Morphic fields organise the form, structure and patterned interactions of systems under their influence – including those of animals, plants, cells, proteins, crystals, brains and minds. They are physical in the sense that they are part of nature, though they are not yet mentioned in physics books.

  • “All self-organising systems are wholes made up of parts which are in turn lower-level wholes themselves – such as organelles in cells, cells in tissues, tissues in organs, organs in organisms, organisms in social groups. At each level, the morphic field gives each whole its characteristic properties, and coordinates the constituent parts.

  • “The fields responsible for the development and maintenance of bodily form in plants and animals are called morphogenetic fields.

  • “The existence of these fields was first proposed in the 1920s and this concept is widely used within biology. But the nature of these fields has remained obscure.

  • “I suggest they are part of a larger family of fields called morphic fields. Other kinds of morphic fields include behavioural and mental fields that organise animal behaviour and mental activity, and social and cultural fields that organise societies and cultures. All of these organising fields are different kinds of morphic field.

  • “Morphic fields are located within and around the systems they organise. Like quantum fields, they work probabilistically. They restrict, or impose order upon, the inherent indeterminism of the systems under their influence.

  • “For example, of the many direction in which a fish could swim or a bird fly, the social fields of the school or flock restrict the behaviour of the individuals within them so they move in coordination with each other rather than at random.

  • “The most controversial feature of this hypothesis is that the structure of morphic fields depends on what has happened before. Morphic fields contain a kind of memory. Through repetition, the patterns they organise become increasingly probable, increasingly habitual. The force these fields exert is the force of habit.

  • “Whatever the explanation of its origin, once a new morphic field, a new pattern of organisation, has come into being, the field becomes stronger through repetition. The more often patterns are repeated, the more probable they become.

  • “The fields contain a kind of cumulative memory and become increasingly habitual. All nature is essentially habitual. Even what we view as the fixed “laws of nature” may be more like habits, ingrained over long periods of time.

  • “The means by which information or an activity-pattern is transferred from a previous to a subsequent system of the same kind is called morphic resonance. Any given morphic system, say a squirrel, “tunes in” to previous similar systems, in this case previous squirrels of its species. Morphic resonance thus involves the influence of like upon like, the influence of patterns of activity on subsequent similar patterns of activity, an influence that passes through or across space and time from past to present. These influences do not to fall off with distance in space or time. The greater the degree of similarity of the systems involved, the greater the influence of morphic resonance.

  • “Morphic resonance gives an inherent memory in fields at all levels of complexity. In the case of squirrels, each individual squirrel draws upon, and in turn contributes to, a collective or pooled memory of its kind. In the human realm, this kind of collective memory corresponds to what the psychologist C.G. Jung called the collective unconscious.”

Morphic Fields and the Implicate Order

  • Excerpt from Morphic Fields and the Implicate Order: A Dialogue with David Bohm and Rupert Sheldrake.

  • David Bohm was an eminent quantum physicist. As a young man he worked closely with Albert Einstein at Princeton University. With Yakir Aharonov he discovered the Aharonov-Bohm effect. He was later Professor of Theoretical Physics at Birkbeck College, London University, and was the author of several books, including Causality and Chance in Modern Physics and Wholeness and the Implicate Order.

  • Bohm: But from the point of view of the implicate order, I think you would have to say that this formative field is a whole set of potentialities, and that in each moment there’s a selection of which potential is going to be realized, depending to some extent on the past history, and to some extent on creativity.

  • Sheldrake: But this set of potentialities is a limited set, because things do tend towards a particular endpoint. I mean cat embryos grow into cats, not dogs. So there may be variation about the exact course they can follow, but there is an overall goal or endpoint.

  • Bohm: But there would be all sorts of contingencies that determine the actual cat.

  • Sheldrake: Exactly. Contingencies of all kinds, environmental influences, possibly genuinely chance fluctuations. But nevertheless the endpoint of the chreode would define the general area in which it’s going to end up.

  • Bohm: In terms of the totality beyond time, the totality in which all is implicate, what unfolds or comes into being in any present moment is simply a projection of the whole. That is, some aspect of the whole is unfolded into that moment and that moment is just that aspect. Likewise, the next moment is simply another aspect of the whole. And the interesting point is that each moment resembles its predecessors but also differs from them. I explain this using the technical terms ‘injection’ and ‘projection’. Each moment is a projection of the whole, as we said. But that moment is then injected or introjected back into the whole. The next moment would then involve, in part, a re-projection of that injection, and so on in-definitely.

    Each moment will therefore contain a projection of the re-injection of the previous moments, which is a kind of memory; so that would result in a general replication of past forms, which seems similar to what you’re talking about.

  • Sheldrake: So this re-injection into the whole from the past would mean there is a causal relation
    ship between what happens in one moment and what subsequently happens?

  • Bohm: Yes, that is the causal relation. When abstracted from the implicate order, there seems to be at least a tendency, not necessarily an exact causal relationship, for a certain content in the past to be followed by a related content in the future.

  • Sheldrake: Yes. So if something happens in one place at one time what happens there is then re-injected into the whole.

  • Bohm: But it has been somewhat changed; it is not re-injected exactly, because it was previously projected.

  • Sheldrake: Yes, it is somewhat changed, but it is fed back into the whole. That can have an influence which, since it is mediated by the whole, can be felt somewhere else. It doesn’t have to be local.

  • Bohm: Right, it could be anywhere.

  • Sheldrake: Well that does sound very similar to the concept of morphic resonance, where things that happen in the past, even if they’re separated from each other in space and time, can influence similar things in the present, over, through, or across — however one cares to put it — space and time. There’s this non-local connection. This seems to me to be very important because it would mean that these fields have causal (but non-local) connections with things that have happened before. They wouldn’t be somehow inexplicable manifestations of an eternal, timeless set of archetypes. Morphogenetic fields, which give repetitions of habitual forms and patterns, would be derived from previous fields (what you call ‘cosmic memory’). The more often a particular form or field happened, the more likely it would be to happen again, which is what I am trying to express with this idea of morphic resonance and automatic averaging of previous forms.

  • Bohm: If we extended quantum mechanics through the implicate order, we would bring in just that question of how past moments have an effect on the present (i.e., via injection and re-projection). At present, physics says the next moment is entirely independent, but with some probability of being such and such. There’s no room in it for the sort of thing you’re talking about, of having a certain accumulated effect of the past; but the implicate order extension of quantum mechanics would have that possibility. And further, suppose somehow I were to combine the implicate order extension of quantum mechanics [which would account for the accumulated effects of the past] with this quantum potential [which would account for these effects being non-local in nature], then I think I would get things very like what you are talking about.

  • Sheldrake: Yes, that would be very exciting! Of all the ways I’ve come across I think that’s the most promising way of being able to mesh together these sort of ideas. I haven’t come across any other way which seems to show such possible connections.

  • Bohm: If we can bring in time, and say that each moment has a certain field of potentials (represented by the Schrödinger equation) and also an actuality, which is more restricted (represented by the particle itself); and then say that the next moment has its potential and its actuality, and we must have some connection between the actually of the previous moments and the potentials of the next — that would be introjection, not of the wave function of the past, but of the actuality of the past into that field from which the present is going to be projected. That would do exactly the sort of thing you’re talking about. Because then you could build up a series of actualities introjected which would narrow down the field potential more and more, and these would form the basis of subsequent projections. That would account for the influence of the past on the present.

  • Sheldrake: Yes, yes.

In the Presence of the Past

  • Excerpts from In the Presence of the Past: Interview with Rupert Sheldrake.

  • INTERVIEWER RMN: Could you give a specific example of, and describe the morphogenetic process in terms of, the development of a well-established species, like a potato, for example?

  • RS: Well, the idea is that each species, each member of a species draws on the collective memory of the species, and tunes in to past members of the species, and in turn contributes to the further development of the species. So in the case of a potato, you’d have a whole background resonance from past species of potatoes, most of which grow wild in the Andes. And then in that particular case, because it’s a cultivated plant, there’s been a development of a whole lot of varieties of potatoes, which are cultivated, and as it so happens potatoes are propagated vegetatively, so they’re clones.

  • So each clone of potatoes, each variety, each member of the clone will resonate with all previous members of the clone, and that resonance is against a background of resonance with other members of the potato species, and then that’s related to related potato species, wild ones that still grow in the Andes. So, there’s a whole kind of background resonance, but what’s most important is the resonance from the most similar ones, which is the past members of that variety. And this is what makes the potatoes of that variety develop the way they do, following the habits of their kind.

  • Usually these things are ascribed to genes. Most people assume that inheritance depends on chemical genes and DNA, and say there’s no problem, it’s all just programmed in the DNA. What I’m saying is that that view of biological development is inadequate. The DNA is the same in all the cells of the potato, in the shoots, in the roots, in the leaves, and the flowers. The DNA is exactly the same, yet these organs develop differently. So something more than DNA must be giving rise to the form of the potato, and that is what I call the morphic field, the organizing field.

  • An example of how you’d test the theory would depend on looking at some change in the species that hadn’t happened before, a new phenomenon, and seeing how it spreads through the species. So, for example, if you train rats to learn a new trick in one place, then rats of that breed should learn it more quickly everywhere in the world, just because the first ones have learned it. The more that learn it, the easier it should get.

  • INTERVIEWER DJB: What are morphic fields made of, and how is it that they can exist everywhere all at once? Do they work on a principle similar to Bell’s Theorem?

  • RS: Well, you could ask the question, what are any fields made of? You know, what is the electromagnetic field made of, or what is the gravitational field made of? Nobody knows, even in the case of the known fields of physics. It was thought in the nineteenth century that they were made of ether. But then Einstein showed that the concept of the ether was superfluous; he said the electromagnetic field isn’t made out of ether, it’s made out of itself. It just is. The magnetic field around a magnet, for example, is not made of air, and it’s not made of matter. When you scatter iron fillings, you can reveal this field, but it’s not made of anything except the field. And then if you say, well maybe all fields have some common substance, or common property, then that’s the quest for a unified field theory.

  • Then if you say, “Well, what is it that all fields are made of?” the only answer that can be given is space-time, or space and time. The substance of fields is space; fields are modifications of space or of the vacuum. And according to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the gravitational field, the structure of space-time in the whole universe, is not in space and time; it is space-time. There’s no space and time other than the structure of fields. So fields are patterns of space-time. And so the morphic field, like other fields, will be structures in space and time. They have their own kind of ontological status, the same kind of status as electromagnetic and gravitational fields.

  • INTERVIEWER DJB: Wait. But those are localized aren’t they? I mean, you sprinkle iron fillings about a magnet, and you can see the field around it. How is it that a morphic field can exist everywhere all at once?

  • RS: It doesn’t. The morphic fields are localized. They’re in and around the system they organize. So the morphic field of you is in and around your body. The morphic field around a tomato plant is in and around that plant. What I’m suggesting is that morphic fields in different tomato plants resonate with each other across space and time. I’m not suggesting that the field itself is delocalized over the whole of space and time. It’s suggesting that one field influences another field through space and time. Now, the medium of transmission is obscure. I call it morphic resonance, this process of resonating. What this is replacing in conventional physics is the so-called “laws of nature,” which are believed to be present in all places, and at all times.

  • INTERVIEWER RMN: That leads on to the next question I have about how to use the concept of attractors, as expressed in the current research of dynamical systems, in the theory of formative causation.

  • RS: Well, the idea of attractors, which is developed in modern mathematical dynamics, is a way of modeling the way systems develop, by modeling the end states toward which they tend. This is an attempt to understand systems by understanding where they’re headed to in the future, rather than just where they’ve been pushed from in the past. So, the attractor, as the name implies, pulls the system towards itself. A very simple, easy-to-understand, example is throwing marbles, or round balls into a pudding basin. The balls will roll round and round, and they’ll finally come to rest at the bottom of the basin. The bottom of the basin is the attractor, in what mathematicians call the basin of attraction.

  • The basin is, in fact, their principal metaphor. So the ball rolls down to the bottom. It doesn’t matter where you throw it in, or at what speed you throw it in, or by what route it takes–what this model does is tell you where it’s going to end up. This kind of mathematical modeling is extremely appropriate, I think, to the understanding of biological morphogenesis, or the formation of crystals or molecules, or the formation of galaxies, or the formation of ideas, or human behavior, or the behavior of entire societies. Because all of them seem to have this kind of tendency to move towards attractors, which we think of consciously as goals and purposes. But, throughout the natural world these attractors exist, I think, largely unconsciously. The oak tree is the attractor of the acorn. So the growing oak seedling is drawn towards its formal attractor, its morphic attractor, which is the mature oak tree.

  • INTERVIEWER RMN: So, it is like the future in some sense.

  • RS: It’s like the future pulling, but it’s not the future. It’s a hard concept to grasp, because what we think of as the future pulling is not necessary what will happen in the future. You can cut the acorn down before it ever reaches the oak tree. So, it’s not as if its future as oak tree is pulling it. It’s some kind of potentiality to reach an end state, which is inherent in its nature. The attractor in traditional language is the entelechy, in Aristotle’s language, and in the language of the medieval scholastics. Entelechy is the aspect of the soul, which is the end which draws everything towards it.

  • So all people would have their own entelechy, which would be like their own destiny or purpose. Each organism, like an acorn, would have the entelechy of an oak tree, which means this end state — entelechy means the end which is within it — it has its own end, purpose, or goal. And that’s what draws it. But that end, purpose, or goal is somehow not necessarily in the future. It is in a sense in the future. In another sense it’s not the actual future of that system, although it becomes so.

  • INTERVIEWER RMN: Perhaps the most compelling implication of your hypothesis is that nature is not governed by eternally fixed laws but more by habits that are able to evolve as conditions change. In what ways do you think the human experience of reality could be affected as a result of this awareness?

  • RS: Well, I think first of all the idea of habits developing along with nature gives us a much more evolutionary sense of nature herself. I think that nature – the entire cosmos, the natural world we live in – is in some sense alive, and that it’s more like a developing organism, with developing habits, than like a fixed machine governed by fixed laws, which is the old image of the cosmos, the old world view.

  • Second, I think the notion of natural habits enables us to see how there’s a kind of presence of the past in the world around us. The past isn’t just something that happens and is gone. It’s something which is continually influencing the present, and is in some sense present in the present.

  • Thirdly, it [the notion of natural habits] gives us a completely different understanding of ourselves, our own memories, our own collective memories, and the influence of our ancestors, and the past of our society. And it also gives an important new insight into the importance of rituals, and forms through which we connect ourselves with the past, forms in which past members of our society become present through ritual activity. I think it also enables us to understand how new patterns of activity can spread far more quickly than would be possible under standard mechanistic theories, or even under standard psychological theories. Because if many people start doing, thinking, or practicing something, it’ll make it easier for others to do the same thing.

  • INTERVIEWER RMN: And the way different discoveries are found simultaneously.

  • RS: Yes. I mean, that’s another aspect. It will also mean things that some people do will resonate with others, as in independent discoveries, parallel cultural development, etc.

From the Editor

  • This website is the best way for me, Gayla Groom, with my particular skill set, to organize my own inquiries into the nature of being, on Earth and in the afterlife.

  • From there, it’s not that much harder to create the site so that anyone who wants access to my evolving categories of inquiry and information can explore and find if there’s value here for them.

  • Since I’m an editor — and I’ve learned over the years what actually communicates to people — I’ve put everything in bullet lists, with the important parts in red.

  • You’ll see quite a few red words on this site from scientist Rupert Sheldrake, but he is not affiliated with the site; it’s just that he really nails it when explaining these concepts.

  • I was convinced by Rupert speaking about near-death experiences, and how Christians get one kind of NDE and Hindus get another and — looking at it from the standpoint of the afterlife being a dream — posing the question of why the actual afterlife would be any different than an NDE. It likely would not. And NDEs are clearly influenced by the dead person’s consciousness, their expectations, their beliefs — just as are “ordinary” dreams. And how wild is it that so many religions believe that ordinary dreams are actually a nightly death? And then the actual fact that you can train your consciousness to influence your ordinary dreams, so doesn’t it seem likely that your consciousness can influence or determine where your afterlife dream starts and where it goes from there…?

  • So much to think about, and research, and so this site is growing all the time, as I ask myself questions and look for real answers — intriguing info that is not wishful b.s. or superstitious obfuscation — and share what I learn.

  • I hope you enjoy.

Vibrations — Links

When You Have the Right Vibe, It’s Not a Coincidence: Synchonicities, Energy Healing, and Other Strangeness in the Field

  • Excerpted from Active Consciousness: Awakening the Power Within. “One piece of evidence for the holographic nature of nonstandard fields that have been proposed in recent years — the zero-point field (a candidate for the unified field), the psi field of psychic phenomena, Ervin Laszlo’s Akashic field, and the morphic field proposed by Rupert Sheldrake — is that they all share a common feature: sensitivity to similarity in vibration.

  • “If a holographic image has many different holograms embedded within it, shining a laser of a specific frequency upon it will cause only those holograms made with lasers of the same frequency to stand out. That’s because things with the same vibration naturally resonate and reinforce one another — just as two violin strings at the same pitch resonate with one another. This property of resonance has [also] been used to explain how each of us might interact with mysterious fields like the psi or Akashic fields… People pick up only that with which they personally ‘resonate’. Each individual’s resonant frequency, determined by their life experience, physical body, and energy body, limits what they can perceive.

  • “Biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance also depends upon similarity in vibration. Members of the same species, being ‘on the same wavelength’, are able to tap into information that pertains uniquely to them. And while members of an entire species might be able to tune into a fairly broad spectrum of frequencies (think of Carl Jung’s notion of the collective unconscious that humans supposedly tap into), smaller, more tightly connected groups — such as members of the same family or loving couples — resonate in more focused zones of vibration; they have access to their own ‘private frequency.’ In fact, Sheldrake goes even further and suggests that morphic fields can explain how human memory operates. Instead of being stored in our brains, he suggests that memories are stored in the morphic field. Our brains then pick them up via resonance, like radios tuning to their own private stations.

  • “The reality we experience each day may be flooded with fields of meaning. One field might embody the horror and violence of 9/11. Another field might be associated with a hope for rebirth. Each field of meaning has a particular vibration to it, and objects, individuals, emotions, dreams, and events with similar vibrations will tend to resonate with one another and then co-occur. This is what creates synchronicities.”

Afterlife Beliefs

What Happens When We Die?

  • Notes (by Gayla Groom) from Science Set Free Podcast with Rupert Sheldrake, titled What Happens When We Die.

  • Rupert Sheldrake quotes in double quotation marks.

  • “When we die we may continue to dream, but because we’re dead we can’t wake up.”

  • “That means that the kind of after-death experience we might have depends on what kind of person we are, what kind of fears we have, what kind of beliefs we have, what kinds of things we expect… and what our religious faith is.”

  • “If we’re used to praying regularly then in our dreams or in our after-death life we may be able to go on praying, and that would enable us to contact a spiritual realm beyond the more limited realm we’re confined to in this post-mortem dream state.”

  • “Purgatory is [said to be] a realm of continued development or existence after death, where there is still change and development but it’s an intermediate state because one can go beyond it.”

  • In the Tibetan Book of the Dead, there’s an intermediate stage, bardo, where people pass through continued development and then they are reincarnated.

  • There are two types of subtle bodies: 1) etheric (the morphogenetic field, shapes the bodies, maintains health) and 2) astral body (dreambody).

  • Tibetans think you can work on dreams now — dream yoga or dream practice — lucid dreams, gain control of your dreamings, “like practicing for when you’re dead”, whereas in normal dreams you may be “buffeted by psychic forces beyond your control”.

  • Are people in dreams projections of ourselves? “How big is ourself? Does ourself actually include our relationship with other people?”

  • In dream groups and workshops, dreams are sometimes shared. Two people meet in their dreams, there’s some kind of “telepathic overlap in the dream state”. And it’s not just a projection; they are actually meeting in the dream.

  • “If, when we’re dreaming while we’re alive, we enter a dream realm which is one where the normal rules don’t apply — the rules of dreaming apply but not the rules of physical life — and if the dead are in a kind of dream world then these dream worlds could overlap. They’re not in the normal space-time continuum. So it may be that in our dreams we can actually meet ancestors who are now dead and we can actually have communications with them. and it may be that they’re not just projections of our own waking life or our subconscious mind but they have an autonomous existence in the dream world that we can actually encounter and interact with.”

  • “And this encounter with the dead through our dreams in our dreams might not just be with our own ancestors.

  • “It could also be with other people who are dead who we can relate to.

  • “I’m thinking particularly of the saints.

  • “Saints are dead people. You can’t be a saint while you’re alive, at least in the Christian tradition. You’ve got to die first before you can become a saint.

  • “And the saints are people to whom in the catholic … tradition you can pray and ask them for help. So one is actually forming a relationship with a dead person through praying to a saint.”

  • The Virgin Mary, Saint Anthony, Saint Jude, might be in millions of dreams every night.

  • People dream of Ganash, the elephant-headed Hindu god, even though he is not ‘real’ he has “mythological power”, “luminous power”, is a “manifestation of god”.

  • Dreams could include interactions with dead people, and archetypal figures.

  • Distinction between ‘praying for’ and ‘praying to’. Requiem prayer = praying for.

  • The idea of rest in peace is related to a fear people have always had of the dead coming back to haunt them, or being displeased with them from beyond the grave.

  • And perhaps many dead people who exist in the dream world do feel neglected.

  • Thus, the importance of rites in helping to rest in peace, and of honoring ancestors, including ceremonies and national ceremonies to acknowledge including people (such as veterans) who may not be acknowledged by their descendants (who might be atheists, for instance, who believe there is no afterlife).

Death and the Afterlife: What You Must Know Before You Die

  • “Mind is king in the afterlife dimension. We on earth do not really know how powerful the mind will be when we cross over. Transmitted information from the highly credible sources reminds us that the afterlife is governed by the ‘mind’. In afterlife travel for example, we only have to think of a place anywhere to go — any place on earth or in the afterlife and we get there instantly by the power of the mind.

  • “When we cross over we will still have free will which is critical to our continuous refinement. We will still be in a position to continue to refine in mind, ‘body’ and spirit. We will still have the potential to raise our ‘vibrations’ of the soul to graduate to a higher realm where there will be higher levels of ecstatic experiences far more intense than the one we initially entered.”

The Tibetan Buddhist and Spiritualist Views of After-Death States

  • “One factor that helps the soul achieve the freedom of conscious control and spiritual travel during the afterlife is acceptance of death. Those who have not accepted death will resist the process of dying and introduce conflict into the bardo stages. This is why it is important for people to take care of any unfinished business as they near death so they can let go of life completely.

  • “In Brahmanical Hinduism, there is a stage of life called the forest dweller or vanaprastha stage in which the older individual who has finished raising a family is supposed to begin letting go of pleasures and attachments to life in preparation for death. However, in the West the goal is to keep spending money and maximize enjoyment up to the end of life. This makes it difficult for many to make a graceful transition into death. Intense attachment to the material world makes it difficult to do spiritual travel both during life and after death.

  • “It also usually helps to have faith in something beyond the material world at the time of death. Those with a strong faith in Jesus or another religious figure will be more calm and relaxed as they enter the bardo realms. While the religious person can look forward to heaven at the time of death, the spiritual traveler who has been trying to do spiritual travel all his or her life can also look forward to death in certain respects. This is because the opportunity for exploration and spiritual travel will hopefully be greatly expanded after death when the physical body and its needs will no longer be a major distraction. Of course the areas the spiritual traveler wishes to explore are the heavenly areas and beyond, and in that sense, he or she has much in common with other more conventional religious people.

  • “Both have a distinct advantage over the secular individual because they expect to enter into a positive afterlife (heaven), and expectations have great power in the inner worlds. This expectation combined with love and devotion towards some religious ideal can propel the religious individual towards a heavenly state just as the practice of spiritual travel does. The secular individual with no faith or expectation of heaven is more likely to flounder after death and get stuck in some intermediate gray area surrounded by thoughts and emotions from the past waiting for something to happen.

  • “A brief mention of ethics is appropriate when discussing the state a person enters at death. In general, both the state of mind of a soul and the world it inhabits is presumed to be the result of its past thought patterns and actions (karma). Trauma and intense pain whether experienced by the soul, or inflicted on another during life will tend to fragment the self and make conscious control after death difficult. Violence, cruelty, and hatred expressed towards others in life will almost certainly have a limiting effect on the soul’s freedom both in the after death state and in subsequent existences. This is true even for souls who have become proficient in spiritual travel during their life. Unethical actions during life seem to separate the soul from the knowledge and wisdom attained while living, and leave it helpless to experience the results of its actions in the afterlife.

  • “Interestingly enough, some of the Western ideas of heaven and hell can be accounted for by the Tibetan notion of the second bardo. The saint or righteous soul will find itself in places of bliss, happiness, and light based on the kinds of thoughts it was in a habit of thinking, while the evil person will lead an existence of fear, anger, and torment in the afterlife. However, the second bardo is a temporary transitional state that actually precedes the longer term experiences of heaven, hell, or rebirth in the physical world which can occur following the third bardo.

  • “…The central conclusion of the data provided by the spiritualists and trance mediums is that dead people have scarcely more insight and wisdom in death than they had while alive. Such a proposition emphasizes the importance of learning spiritual skills such as spiritual travel while alive instead of hoping for spiritual redemption and transformation after death. Though the spiritualist’s view differs from Buddhism in the specifics, it supports the contention that people should not wait until death to begin learning since such a delay can result in a very limited and routine afterlife.”

The Tibetan Book of the Dead and NDEs

  • The Tibetan Book of the Dead, whose actual title is ‘The Great Liberation upon Hearing in the Intermediate State’ or ‘Bardo Thodol’, is traditionally believed to be the work of the legendary Padma Sambhava in the 8th century A.D. The book acts as a guide for the dead during the state that intervenes death and the next rebirth. He is considered to be one of the first persons to bring Buddhism to Tibet. The Bardo Thodol is a guide that is read aloud to the dead while they are in the state between death and reincarnation in order for them to recognize the nature of their mind and attain liberation from the cycle of rebirth.

  • “The Bardo Thodol teaches that once awareness is freed from the body, it creates its own reality as one would experience in a dream. This dream occurs in various phases (bardos) in ways both wonderful and terrifying. Overwhelming peaceful and wrathful visions and deities appear. Since the deceased’s awareness is in confusion of no longer being connected to a physical body, it needs help and guidance in order that enlightenment and liberation occurs. The Bardo Thodol teaches how we can attain Nirvana by recognizing the heavenly realms instead of entering into the lower realms where the cycle of birth and rebirth continue.”

Dreams That Prepare Us for Our Own Death

  • Craig Hamilton Parker: “Many spiritual systems believe that life should be lived as a preparation for death. For many people, this process of spiritual preparation works on an unconscious level. Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist (1875-1961) believed in a spiritual survival beyond physical death. His conviction was strengthened when he observed that dreams behaved as if the psyche will continue to exist after death. In particular, the common denominator of the dreams of the dying does not seem to be simply an end of earthly existence, but transformation into a continuing other form of life.

  • “Jung proposed that death dreams are linked with a primordial set of archetypes, and through their analysis it is possible to conclude that life will continue after death. Jung also maintained that the belief in an afterlife means a great deal to most people and helps them to live this life more harmoniously. For those who see death as the absolute end of life, death is a great catastrophe. Those, however, who believe in eternity often regard death as a joyful event.”

This Boy Died, Went to Heaven, Then Came Back to Tell Us What He Experienced

  • “What happened in that higher state of being is not a religious experience, it is beyond our understanding of concept. Your surroundings after you die are a reflection of your consciousness in this life. If you grow up in a religious household, constantly interacting with religious symbols and figures, those ideas are embedded into your consciousness and get reflected back to you when you die.”

  • “You see what you believe. You are a powerful creator, more than you realize. Consciousness does not cease to exist after the physical body dies, and what happens after depends on you.”

Spirit Guide Commentary on NDE Research Results

  • “Heaven is just a continuation of experiences. There really are no levels in heaven. It only has to do with how you choose to connect with your oneness.

  • “After death, people gravitate into homogenous groups according to the rate of their soul’s vibrations.In the afterlife, each person lives in the kind of a heaven or hell that they prepared for themselves while on earth. Nobody sends us anywhere. We are sorted by the high or low vibrations of our soul. Everyone goes where they fit in.

  • “As a person goes to heaven they cross over with the consciousness they have had of their oneness and of their spiritual being on earth. Once one is in heaven one experiences much of that thought that they had. If one believes that they are going to sleep until the resurrection of the body, one will experience that in heaven, though we cannot say for how long because there is no time in heaven. But all spirits are given the choice of moving from a consciousness that would prevent them from growing closer to their oneness, no matter what that soul or spirit was on earth. It is true that as one first crosses over one will experience a consciousness of what they experienced on earth but will be given a choice to move in to their true spirit and a choice to move closer to their oneness.”

A Thinking Person’s Guide to Discovering God

  • Rupert Sheldrake: “If God is light, then God is also the electromagnetic field that is the basis of light, and all the things that we can see through that light. God’s nature or image in the Christian tradition is that of the Holy Trinity: the Father, or the ground of all being; the Son or logos, the source of all form pattern and order, as well as words; and the Spirit the principle of movement, energy, and activity.”

Reincarnation?

  • Arjun Walia: I personally believe that reincarnation is real, but I don’t think it’s the only option for what takes place after death. I believe it is one of many possible paths for the soul. I believe some souls can reincarnate, as we’ve seen above, into another life. I also believe some can reincarnate onto other planets, as beings we would consider to be alien. Furthermore, I believe reincarnation is just one option for a soul. Other possibilities include the option to travel to other dimensions and experience a life there, or to completely forgo reincarnation and experience life in the non-physical realm, free from a physical body. Perhaps a soul must continue to reincarnate until certain lessons are learned to move to another ‘level?’ Who knows. Perhaps there is an origin from which all souls stem? So many questions, so many possibilities, and reincarnation could be one of many.

Interesting NDEs

Carl Jung

  • Carl Jung’s NDE, after a heart attack in 1944. From Carl Jung’s Near-Death Experience, quoting Jung from his autobiography Memories Dreams Reflections.

  • “It seemed to me that I was high up in space. Far below I saw the globe of the Earth, bathed in a gloriously blue light. I saw the deep blue sea and the continents. Far below my feet lay Ceylon, and in the distance ahead of me the subcontinent of India. My field of vision did not include the whole Earth, but its global shape was plainly distinguishable and its outlines shone with a silvery gleam through that wonderful blue light.

  • “In many places the globe seemed colored, or spotted dark green like oxidized silver. Far away to the left lay a broad expanse – the reddish-yellow desert of Arabia; it was as though the silver of the Earth had there assumed a reddish-gold hue. Then came the Red Sea, and far, far back – as if in the upper left of a map – I could just make out a bit of the Mediterranean. My gaze was directed chiefly toward that. Everything else appeared indistinct. I could also see the snow-covered Himalayas, but in that direction it was foggy or cloudy. I did not look to the right at all. I knew that I was on the point of departing from the Earth.

  • “Later I discovered how high in space one would have to be to have so extensive a view — approximately a thousand miles! The sight of the Earth from this height was the most glorious thing I had ever seen.

  • “After contemplating it for a while, I turned around. I had been standing with my back to the Indian Ocean, as it were, and my face to the north. Then it seemed to me that I made a turn to the south. Something new entered my field of vision. A short distance away I saw in space a tremendous dark block of stone, like a meteorite. It was about the size of my house, or even bigger. It was floating in space, and I myself was floating in space.

  • “I had seen similar stones on the coast of the Gulf of Bengal. They were blocks of tawny granite, and some of them had been hollowed out into temples. My stone was one such gigantic dark block. An entrance led into a small antechamber. To the right of the entrance, a black Hindu sat silently in lotus posture upon a stone bench. He wore a white gown, and I knew that he expected me.

  • “Two steps led up to this antechamber, and inside, on the left, was the gate to the temple. Innumerable tiny niches, each with a saucer-like concavity filled with coconut oil and small burning wicks, surrounded the door with a wreath of bright flames. I had once actually seen this when I visited the Temple of the Holy Tooth at Kandy in Ceylon; the gate had been framed by several rows of burning oil lamps of this sort.

  • “As I approached the steps leading up to the entrance into the rock, a strange thing happened: I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence, fell away or was stripped from me – an extremely painful process. Nevertheless something remained; it was as if I now carried along with me everything I had ever experienced or done, everything that had happened around me. I might also say: it was with me, and I was it. I consisted of all that, so to speak. I consisted of my own history and I felt with great certainty: this is what I am. I am this bundle of what has been and what has been accomplished.

  • “This experience gave me a feeling of extreme poverty, but at the same time of great fullness. There was no longer anything I wanted or desired. I existed in an objective form; I was what I had been and lived. At first the sense of annihilation predominated, of having been stripped or pillaged; but suddenly that became of no consequence.

  • “Everything seemed to be past; what remained was a “fait accompli”, without any reference back to what had been. There was no longer any regret that something had dropped away or been taken away. On the contrary: I had everything that I was, and that was everything.

  • “Something else engaged my attention: as I approached the temple I had the certainty that I was about to enter an illuminated room and would meet there all those people to whom I belong in reality. There I would at last understand – this too was a certainty – what historical nexus I or my life fitted into. I would know what had been before me, why I had come into being, and where my life was flowing. My life as I lived it had often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and end. I had the feeling that I was a historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing.

  • “My life seemed to have been snipped out of a long chain of events, and many questions had remained unanswered. Why had it taken this course? Why had I brought these particular assumptions with me? What had I made of them? What will follow? I felt sure that I would receive an answer to all the questions as soon as I entered the rock temple. There I would meet the people who knew the answer to my question about what had been before and what would come after.

  • “While I was thinking over these matters, something happened that caught my attention. From below, from the direction of Europe, an image floated up. It was my doctor, or rather, his likeness -– framed by a golden chain or a golden laurel wreath. I knew at once: ‘Aha, this is my doctor, of course, the one who has been treating me. But now he is coming in his primal form. In life he was an avatar of the temporal embodiment of the primal form, which has existed from the beginning. Now he is appearing in that primal form.’

  • “Presumably I too was in my primal form, though this was something I did not observe but simply took for granted. As he stood before me, a mute exchange of thought took place between us. The doctor had been delegated by the Earth to deliver a message to me, to tell me that there was a protest against my going away. I had no right to leave the Earth and must return. The moment I heard that, the vision ceased.

  • “I was profoundly disappointed, for now it all seemed to have been for nothing. The painful process of defoliation had been in vain, and I was not to be allowed to enter the temple, to join the people in whose company I belonged.”

Dr. Eben Alexander

  • From Is There a Scientific Explanation for Everything?, by Anapum Pant.

  • “Dr. Eben Alexander has been a member of the American Medical Association, a neurosurgeon and has taught at the Harvard school of medical sciences. He has spent a lot of time among scientists believing that there is always a scientific explanation for everything. But, one day, he experienced something that defied all scientific explanation. Turns out, there isn’t a scientific explanation for everything. Later he went on to write a number one New York Times bestselling book — Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.

  • “The story: In the year 2008, Eben was affected by a severe case of bacterial Meningitis and fell into a coma for 6 days. His Neocortex showed no signs of activity. When he got cured miraculously (with just 2% survival chance) and returned from coma, he had experienced something out of this world. According to him, during the coma, he had experienced a vivid journey into the afterlife — kind of a near death experience.

  • “The experience: When he fell into coma, he found himself in a dark and suffocating place for a very long time. Later a spinning bright light with a beautiful melody came in slowly and ‘rescued’ him out of this agony. It took him to a fertile green land. Some points that he makes about this mysterious land:

    • “There was no need for a spoken word to communicate there. Every communication was telepathic.

    • “The instant you asked questions, you knew the detailed answers for those questions. (Something similar to the experience of Zen)

    • “The experience was more real than real-life. In comparison, real-life seemed like an illusion.”

Tommy Clark

  • Watch the video at Vietnam Vet Shared Near-Death Experience.

  • “Tommy Clark was injured in Vietnam in 1969 during a firefight. He had lost both legs and an arm in an explosion. He recalls hovering over his body watching medics put a canvas over his lifeless body. What’s most interesting is others who had died that day he remembers watching them all walking down a path towards a bright light.”

Dr. George Rodonaia

  • From Dr. George Rodonaia’s NDE.

  • “Dr. Rodonaia underwent one of the most extended cases of a ‘clinical near death experience’ ever recorded. Pronounced dead immediately after he was hit by a car in 1976, he was left for three days in a [freezer in a] morgue. He did not ‘return to life’ until a doctor began to make an incision in his abdomen as part of an autopsy.

  • “‘The first thing I remember about my near death experience is that I discovered myself in a realm of total darkness. I had no physical pain; I was still somehow aware of my existence as George, and all about me there was darkness, utter and complete darkness — the greatest darkness ever, darker than any dark, blacker than any black. This was what surrounded me and pressed upon me. I was horrified! I wasn’t prepared for this at all. I was shocked to find that I still existed, but I didn’t know where I was. The one thought that kept rolling through my mind was, “How can I be when I’m not?” That is what troubled me.

  • “‘Slowly, I got a grip on myself and began to think about what had happened, what was going on. But nothing refreshing or relaxing came to me. Why am I in this darkness? What am I to do? Then I remembered Descartes’ famous line: “I think, therefore, I am.” And that took a huge burden off me, for it was then I knew for certain I was still alive, although obviously in a very different dimension. Then I thought, “If I am, why shouldn’t I be positive?” That is what came to me. I am George and I’m in darkness, but I know I am. I am what I am. I must not be negative.

  • “‘Then I thought, “How can I define what is positive in darkness?” Well, positive is light. Then, suddenly, I was in light; bright, white, shiny and strong; a very bright light. It was like the flash of a camera, but not flickering –– that bright. Constant brightness. At first I found the brilliance of the light painful. I couldn’t look directly at it. But little by little, I began to feel safe and warm, and everything suddenly seemed fine.

  • “‘The next thing that happened was that I saw all these molecules flying around, atoms, protons, neutrons, just flying everywhere. On the one hand, it was totally chaotic, yet what brought me such great joy was that this chaos also had its own symmetry. This symmetry was beautiful and unified and whole, and it flooded me with tremendous joy. I saw the universal form of life and nature laid out before my eyes. It was at this point that any concern I had for my body just slipped away, because it was clear to me that I didn’t need it anymore — that it was actually a limitation.

  • “‘Everything in this experience merged together, so it is difficult for me to put an exact sequence to events. Time as I had known it came to a halt; past, present and future were somehow fused together for me in the timeless unity of life.

  • “‘At some point, I underwent what has been called the “life-review process,” for I saw my life from beginning to end all at once. I participated in the real life dramas of my life, almost like a holographic image of my life going on before me – no sense of past, present or future, just now and the reality of my life. It wasn’t as though it started with birth and ran along to my life at the University of Moscow. It all appeared at once. There I was. This was my life. I didn’t experience any sense of guilt or remorse for things I’d done. I didn’t feel one way or another about my failures, faults or achievements. All I felt was my life for what it is. And I was content with that. I accepted my life for what it is.

  • “‘During this time, the light just radiated a sense of peace and joy to me. It was very positive. I was so happy to be in the light. And I understood what the light meant. I learned that all the physical rules for human life were nothing when compared to this universal reality. I also came to see that a black hole is only another part of that infinity which is light. I came to see that reality is everywhere. This is not simply the earthly life but the infinite life. Everything is not only connected together, everything is also one. So I felt a wholeness with the light, a sense that all is right with me and the universe.

  • “‘So there I was, flooded with all these good things and this wonderful experience, when someone begins to cut into my stomach. Can you imagine? What had happened was that I was taken to the morgue. I was pronounced dead and left there for three days. An investigation into the cause of my death was set up, so they sent someone out to do an autopsy on me. As they began to cut into my stomach, I felt as though some great power took hold of my neck and pushed me down. And it was so powerful that I opened my eyes and had this huge sense of pain. My body was cold and I began to shiver. They immediately stopped the autopsy and took me to the hospital where I remained for the following nine months, most of which I spent under a respirator.

  • “‘Slowly, I regained my health. But I would never be the same again, because all I wanted to do for the rest of my life was study wisdom.'”

Mellen-Thomas Benedict

  • From Near-Death Experience Stories: “In 1982, I died from terminal cancer. My condition was non-operable. I chose not to have chemotherapy. I was given six to eight months to live. Before this time, I had become increasingly despondent over the nuclear crisis, the ecology crisis, and so forth. I came to believe that nature had made a mistake — that we were probably a cancerous organism on the planet. And that is what eventually killed me.

  • “Before my near-death experience, I tried all sorts of alternative healing methods. None helped. So I determined that this was between me and God. I had never really considered God. Neither was I into any kind of spirituality. But my approaching death sent me on a quest for more information about spirituality and alternative healing. I read various religions and philosophies. They gave hope that there was something on the other side.

  • “I had no medical insurance, so my life savings went overnight on tests. Unwilling to drag my family into this, I determined to handle this myself. I ended up in hospice care and was blessed with an angel for my hospice caretaker, whom I will call “Anne.” She stayed with me through all that was to follow.

  • “Into the Light: I woke up about 4:30 am and I knew that this was it. I was going to die. I called a few friends and said good-bye. I woke up Anne and made her promise that my dead body would remain undisturbed for six hours, since I had read that all kinds of interesting things happen when you die. I went back to sleep. The next thing I remember, I was fully aware and standing up. Yet my body was lying in the bed. I seemed to be surrounded by darkness, yet I could see every room in the house, and the roof, and even under the house.

  • A Light shone. I turned toward it, and was aware of its similarity to what others have described in near-death experiences. It was magnificent and tangible, alluring. I wanted to go towards that Light like I might want to go into my ideal mother’s or father’s arms. As I moved towards the Light, I knew that if I went into the Light, I would be dead. So I said/felt, ‘Please wait. I would like to talk to you before I go.’

  • “The entire experience halted. I discovered that I was in control of the experience. My request was honored. I had conversations with the Light. That’s the best way I can describe it. The Light changed into different figures, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, archetypal images and signs. I asked in a kind of telepathy, ‘What is going on here?’

  • The information transmitted was that our beliefs shape the kind of feedback we receive. If you are a Buddhist or Catholic or Fundamentalist, you get a feedback loop of your own images. I became aware of a Higher Self matrix, a conduit to the Source. We all have a Higher Self, or an oversoul part of our being, a conduit. All Higher Selves are connected as one being. All humans are connected as one being.

  • It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It was like all the love you’ve ever wanted, and it was the kind of love that cures, heals, regenerates. I was ready to go at that time. I said ‘I am ready, take me.’ Then the Light turned into the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen: a mandala of human souls on this planet. I saw that we are the most beautiful creations – elegant, exotic … everything.

  • “I just cannot say enough about how it changed my opinion of human beings in an instant. I said/thought/felt, ‘Oh, God, I didn’t realize.’ I was astonished to find that there was no evil in any soul. People may do terrible things out of ignorance and lack, but no soul is evil. ‘What all people seek — what sustains them — is love,’ the Light told me. ‘What distorts people is a lack of love.’

  • “The revelations went on and on. I asked, ‘Does this mean that Humankind will be saved?’ Like a trumpet blast with a shower of spiraling lights, the Light ‘spoke,’ saying, ‘You save, redeem and heal yourself. You always have and always will. You were created with the power to do so from before the beginning of the world.’ In that instant I realized that we have already been saved.

  • “I thanked the Light of God with all my heart. The best thing I could come up with was: ‘Oh dear God, dear Universe, dear Great Self, I love my Life.’ The Light seemed to breathe me in even more deeply, absorbing me. I entered into another realm more profound than the last, and was aware of an enormous stream of Light, vast and full, deep. I asked what it was. The Light answered, ‘This is the River of Life. Drink of this manna water to your heart’s content.’ I drank deeply, in ecstasy.

  • “The Void of Nothingness: Suddenly I seemed to be rocketing away from the planet on this stream of Life. I saw the earth fly away. The solar system whizzed by and disappeared. I flew through the center of the galaxy, absorbing more knowledge as I went. I learned that this galaxy — and the entire Universe — is bursting with many different varieties of life. I saw many worlds. We are not alone in this Universe. It seemed as if all the creations in the Universe soared past me and vanished in a speck of Light.

  • “Then a second Light appeared. As I passed into the second Light, I could perceive forever, beyond Infinity. I was in the Void, pre-Creation, the beginning of time, the first Word or vibration. I rested in the Eye of Creation and it seemed that I touched the Face of God. It was not a religious feeling. I was simply at One with Absolute Life and Consciousness.

  • “I rode the stream directly into the center of the Light. I felt embraced by the Light as it took me in with its breath again. And the truth was obvious that there is no death; that nothing is born and nothing dies; that we are immortal beings, part of a natural living system that recycles itself endlessly.

  • “It would take me years to assimilate the Void experience. It was less than nothing, yet greater than anything. Creation is God exploring God’s Self through every way imaginable. Through every piece of hair on your head, through every leaf on every tree, through every atom. God is exploring God’s Self. I saw everything as the Self of all. God is here. That’s what it is all about. Everything is made of light; everything is alive.

  • “The Light of Love: I was never told that I had to come back. I just knew that I would. It was only natural, from what I had seen. As I began my return to the life cycle, it never crossed my mind, nor was I told, that I would return to the same body. It did not matter. I had complete trust in the Light and the Life process.

  • “As the stream merged with the great Light, I asked never to forget the revelations and the feelings of what I had learned on the other side. I thought of myself as a human again and I was happy to be that. From what I have seen, I would be happy to be an atom in this universe. An atom. So to be the human part of God … this is the most fantastic blessing. It is a blessing beyond our wildest imagination of what a blessing can be.

  • “For each and every one of us to be the human part of this experience is awesome, and magnificent. Each and every one of us, no matter where we are, screwed up or not, is a blessing to the planet, right where we are. So I went through the reincarnation process expecting to be a baby somewhere.

  • “But I reincarnated back into this body. I was so surprised when I opened my eyes, to be back in this body, back in my room with someone looking over me, crying her eyes out. It was Anne, my hospice caretaker. She had found me dead thirty minutes before. We do not know how long I was dead, only that she found me thirty minutes before. She had honored my wish to have my newly-dead body left alone. She can verify that I really was dead.

  • “It was not a near-death experience. I believe I probably experienced death itself for at least an hour and a half. When I later awakened and saw the light outside, confused, I tried to get up to go to it, but I fell out of the bed. She heard a loud ‘clunk’, ran in, and found me on the floor. When I recovered, I was surprised and awed about what had happened. I had no memory at first of the experience. I kept slipping out of this world and kept asking, ‘Am I alive?’ This world seemed more like a dream than that one.

  • “Within three days, I was feeling normal again, clearer, yet different than ever before. My memories of the journey came back later. But from my return I could find nothing wrong with any human being I had ever seen. Previous to my death I was judgmental, believing that people were really screwed up.

  • “About three months later a friend said I should get tested for the cancer. So I got the scans and so forth. I felt healthy. I still remember the doctor at the clinic looking at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ scans. He said, ‘I can find no sign of cancer now.’ ‘A miracle?’ I asked. ‘No,’ he answered. ‘These things happen … spontaneous remission.’ He seemed unimpressed. But I was impressed. I knew it was a miracle.”

Sir Auckland Geddes

  • Sir Auckland Geddes, “eminent British anatomist”, describes his experience, perhaps an out-of-body rather than a near-death experience? From The Astral Body, Astral Travel and the Dream Body.

  • “Becoming suddenly and violently ill with gastro-enteritis I quickly became unable to move or phone for help. As this was occurring I noticed I had an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ consciousness. The ‘A’ was my normal awareness, and the ‘B’ was external to my body watching. From the ‘B’ self I could see not only my body, but also the house, garden and surrounds. I need only think of a friend or place and immediately I was there and was later able to find confirmation for my observations. In looking at my body, I noticed that the brain was only an end organ, like a condensing plate, upon which memory and awareness played. The mind, I saw, was not in the brain, the brain was in the mind, like a radio in the play of signals. I then observed my daughter come in and discover my condition, I saw her telephone a doctor friend, and saw the doctor also at the same time.”

Don Piper

  • From 10 Astonishing Near-Death Experiences.

  • “Following a pastor’s conference in January 1989, Don Piper was driving over a bridge when a Texas Department of Corrections tractor-trailer truck crossed the center line and ran into him head-on. He said he was ‘instantly transported to Heaven,’ where he found himself surrounded by dead relatives and friends, and a large pearl gate.

  • “‘The gate of heaven was a magnificent edifice, the one that I saw. It looked no less like a giant gate that had been sculpted from mother-of-pearl,’ he said. ‘Behind that portal was such a light that I don’t conceive of how you could see it in an earthly body. It could only be envisioned in a heavenly body because it was too bright.’

  • “As he lay there crushed in his vehicle on the bridge, a pastor came by, who prayed over him. The EMS staff had told him that Don was deceased. After the pastor prayed, he instantly found himself back in his vehicle, staring up at a tarp that had been draped over him. At the hospital, it was revealed that, although he suffered no major head trauma, nearly every bone in his body had been broken or shattered. Don wrote a book called 90 Minutes In Heaven after his recovery.”

Mother Who Died During Childbirth

  • From Account of a Birthing Mother’s Death and Rebirth: “…Seeing that I had no strength left, the nurse turned to the doctor and said, ‘She can’t push anymore.’ At that point, there was a sudden change in the room. The previous sense of alarm seemed to turn to crisis. Everything happened very fast. I had no idea what had gone wrong; only that it seemed to be an emergency. My last hold on myself started to go, and I could hear urgency in the doctor’s voice. This was followed by an acute wrenching sensation, as if I had been split in half, and then I went unconscious. The light went out and I slipped away.

  • “There was a moment of darkness. Then part of me rose and floated up to the corner of the room. I hovered there briefly, observing the scene below. I saw my body lying on the delivery table, surrounded by people in white coats who seemed to be in great commotion.

  • Then slowly, I floated upward out of the room and building, above the trees, and up into a black, star-filled sky. In this studded darkness, I was carried gently into the distance like a petal drifting on the surface of a stream. Eventually I came to rest in a dense, velvet-black space that enveloped me in tranquility. In this peaceful place, I had no fear. I became aware that there was no time. There was no yesterday or tomorrow. There were no boundaries. There was no pain.

  • While I floated in the darkness, the Earth appeared far below me and gradually came into my vision. Suddenly I knew without a shadow of doubt that I had entered another existence that was neither a dream nor a hallucination. I knew it was real: as true, as palpable, and as certain as had been my life on Earth. I became aware that although I had left my body behind, whatever constituted ‘I’ was still alive and remained unchanged.

  • I sensed that this other form in which I now existed was like a transparent encasing for my soul, for the consciousness that was the essence of myself. In this body-less state, I was suddenly struck by the realization that I had been here before my life on Earth. I was remembering something I had forgotten, something that had been erased from memory when I was born.

  • This was where I had originally come from. I had come home. Some invisible, silent source of infinite knowledge seemed to surround me, with answers to things like ‘where do we go when we die?’, ‘how was life and the world created?’, and so on. It was never clear to me why I became separated from this source and its infinite knowledge at birth.

  • “Earth Pangs: Looking down, the Earth came clearly into my vision as if I had telescopic sight. I saw a dark vision of suffering and entrapment that was like a distillation of the human condition over millennia. It seemed this condition led history to repeat itself in an endless cycle of war, bloodshed, torture, deprivation, insanity, illness, and alienation. It seemed as if all the pain mankind had suffered through the ages had been distilled to its essence and funneled into one collective cry to be released from this prison.

  • “From the chaos of destructiveness, faces advanced into the darkness, then receded back into their private hells, calling, ‘Help me!’ I felt like I was looking directly into peoples’ souls to the raw fear beneath their protective shells. I felt great compassion for all those in pain. I wanted some miracle to release them all from their misery, but I perceived that nothing could deliver them from it as long as they remained there, separated, through ignorance and fear, from their source.

  • “I sensed that the only thing that would release them from that condition was to break through the shield of separateness that divided them from themselves, from others, and from the infinite creative power behind this vast universe of space in which I now found myself floating.

  • I was deeply troubled by this dark vision, for it appeared that humans were destined to remain imprisoned in their suffering as long as they inhabited the Earth, and that only death would release them from this condition. Yet a thought passed through my mind: ‘If they could break through their sense of separation, look, and see this other realm here that exists beyond them, they would be released from bondage.’

  • “Slowly the voices faded, the faces receded, the Earth fell away, and again there was only soothing darkness. Then I felt myself drifting again, farther away into the beyond, gently lifted towards a light in the far distance. I seemed to be carried further and further out into the universe at the speed of light, as if swept by a gentle, yet rapid current. I was drawn to the magnetic force of the light like a river is drawn toward the sea.

  • “Then I came again to a resting place. I became aware of a compassionate presence that held me as I saw my life of 27 years on Earth unfold. I had lived and traveled extensively in India amid conditions of poverty, disease, destitution, and death that were all-pervasive and inescapable. As a result of my exposure to these conditions, I had become seriously ill. I had also struggled with my own personal demons from a troubled childhood. As negative thoughts and emotions arose, they were simply acknowledged and held by the presence, without judgment, with complete forgiveness.

  • “Divine Light: Then I heard a voice. It was so gentle and tender, so full of love and compassion; I realized I had never experienced these qualities in my lifetime. The voice said: “If you had only known I was here, you never would have had to go through this.” Hearing this, I felt suddenly free of all that had held me chained like a stone to a condition of human bondage. While the negative states of my earthly life played out before this presence, it surrounded me with total acceptance and loving-kindness.

  • The next thing I experienced was being drawn into the Light itself. Now the Earth was so far away that it seemed to disappear from my consciousness. The intensity of this light and my direct experience of it transcends expression in words. It was a brilliant, white gold transparency, radiating warm and pure luminescence. It seemed to be a nucleus of energy that was the essence of life itself; that charged all matter, animating it with its life-giving power.

  • “Cradled in this Light, I was suffused with a sense of joy, calm, peace, and beauty that were, until then, unknown to me. Unlike the beauty I had experienced on Earth, this beauty was eternally renewing and all-encompassing. It seemed to synthesize all opposing elements, dissolving them into the whole of itself. I perceived this light as the essence of divine love.

  • Inside this presence, I felt an indescribable sense of freedom, a release from all the burdens associated with human life. I was like an invisible, permeable membrane through which the Light passed and flowed, transforming me into the Light itself. It seemed to possess a universal spirit that was the consciousness and creative force behind human life. Bathed in its luminous warmth, I felt no longer separate but enveloped by a feeling of unconditional love. Here there was no desire, no pain, no fear. This was the final liberation, an experience of pure bliss.

  • On Earth, I had feared death. Now I saw that death was not an end but a beginning. It was a return to the home from which I had come. My soul had entered the divine consciousness of eternal life, where all wisdom and knowledge resided. As I lay cradled in this loving light, a phrase came to me: ‘Now I know.’ This was where my true self belonged. I knew I had come to my final resting place, back to the source from which I had come, and to the end of all suffering.

  • Then the light communicated again. The ensuing communication was like a sonic energy penetrating directly into my soul. Thoughts were transmitted without words, silently and directly as if an extension of the Light itself, passing through me by osmosis. The Light was both inside and around me. I was aware that I was both a separate, individual entity while being simultaneously subsumed by the presence of this other entity. Its voice was distinctly its own, separate from me, yet I heard my own unspoken thoughts expressed by it, as if it were inside my mind. A conversation ensued, transmitted like air passing through my cells.

  • Held within this Light, I saw the essence of my life experience in a flash. It had become dominated by a deepening depression: nightmares, guilt, shame, fear, self-recrimination, and illness. I had been conditioned by the concept of ‘original sin’ to expect recrimination, judgment, and punishment for my sins. As a result, I had anticipated the same response from this spirit of Light.

  • But there was no judgment. There was only unqualified acceptance and forgiveness. This came as a shock to me. It seemed impossible that I could be loved and accepted just as I was in that moment. Released from the burden of self-punishment, embraced in the wholeness of this forgiving presence, I was enveloped in joy. I seemed to become transparent, the light of divine love flowing through me.

  • “Then I heard the sound of soft, benevolent laughter, which felt like the wise and gentle smile of the Buddha. Again, I was surprised and perplexed. I had not expected to hear laughter from a divine force. It rained over me like soft petals. Then it said: ‘My child, you mustn’t take things so seriously. You are just part of an evolutionary chain, in which all life evolves at different stages of development. You are only human. You need not judge yourself so harshly. Be gentle with yourself.’

  • “I had gotten only the slightest glimpse of the limitless realms beyond the finite boundaries of the world we inhabit. I was eager to learn more. At the same time, I was content to float in the peace and joy of the Light, where I had come to know the certainty of love. This yearning of humans to be connected, to love and be loved, was so clear and profoundly felt that I could not face the thought of a return to a world in which this simple truth remained, to so many, unknown, unrealized, or buried. I wanted to stay forever in the presence of Light.

  • “Rebirth: The Light knew my thoughts and said simply, ‘You must return.’ Upon being told I must return, I feared being sent back to the same world I had observed from afar, steeped in its suffering, sent back to my human form, where once again I would be bound by the same conditions and limitations I had left behind.

  • “‘Please,’ I begged. ‘Please let me stay. Don’t send me back.’ A hand appeared in the Light, with beautiful, slender white fingers. ‘My child,’ I heard it say with a tenderness that would haunt me forever, ‘I have given you the gift of love.’ I tried to hold on to the hand, but with a wrenching in my heart, I felt it slip away forever, as it said, ‘Your life is not completed.’

  • The next thing I knew I was back in my body. Unlike the long journey into reaches beyond, my return to earth was abrupt, like the shock of birth. I had taken a trip to another galaxy light years away, so far away I could not imagine ever coming back; and then, by some feat of physics, been instantly repossessed by my body. No time had been granted to make the adjustment of having traversed a span of time and space so immense it would affect me for the rest of my life.

  • Having passed through stars, beyond planets and galaxies, into the far reaches of a universe in which time as we know it did not exist, my soul was not prepared to return to the limited confines of my body. It felt constrained and bereft of the freedom it had known, like a prisoner returned to a cell. I wanted desperately to hold on to what I had left behind, to remember clearly every sacred moment before I lost it. But the world drew me back into its countless challenges….”

Brian Johnson

  • Brian Johnson: Heart Failure at Home. “My story started when I was having dinner at home. I live by myself with my 2 cats and one evening when I was having dinner all alone, I then suddenly started to feel very light headed, dizzy and short of breath, so I decided to try and make it to my bedroom so I could lay down and hope it would subside, but I never made it to the bedroom, as I passed out on the way, and unbeknownst to me I was suffering from a heart problem which I did not know I had.

  • “Well there was a dresser in my spare bedroom which had no dresser drawers in it and I had collapsed and fell inside of the empty dresser. Now suddenly at this time I could see myself laying inside of the dresser and for some reason I was way up in the corner of my spare bedroom and it seemed like I was about 50 to 75 feet up in the air, and could see that I was all curled up in a ball (fetal position) inside this empty dresser and I could see one of my cats whose name is Compass walking up to me and lying down next to me.

  • “Suddenly, I could see this tunnel or whatever it was, and the sides of this tunnel thing looked like a blinding bright corrugated metal, and a kind of very bright bluish/white pulsating light, and this light was like a strobe light on high power, but this light was about a 100 times faster than a strobe light, it was pulsating so fast that it was almost a steady light. Next, I could hear people were calling my name, when I found myself traveling to a place that was beyond my comprehension, also I was no longer feeling the pain that I was feeling before this wonderful experience started.

  • At this place there was a very strange and powerful feeling of love towards me, unlike any feelings of love I have ever felt before, and I knew that somebody or something was guiding me through this very strange but very loving journey and this person or thing also loved me very much and it felt like this energy was hugging me very tight, even though I could not tell who or what it was.

  • “Then in a split second there were people surrounding me and they were people whom I had never seen before but for some reason I knew that these people were long time past away family members whom I had never known, seen or met before in my life, and that they had died way long before I was even born, but I knew that all of these people were there just for me and I could feel all this love from these people like no other love that I had ever felt before and I did not want to leave this place.

  • “While I was in this place, I was totally pain free and surrounded by strange people who loved me so very much. Then, I could hear this lady’s voice keep saying, ‘Brian get up, You have to get up Brian, Brian get up.’

  • “Her voice got louder and louder every time she said it, I really wanted to stay, but they would not let me as they said I still have important things in my life that I have to do, so I agreed to go.

  • “When suddenly, I woke up gasping for air and laying inside this empty dresser were I had seen myself lying before, and I was also laying in a big pool of sweat and blood from the scrapes and gouges in my back from when I fell inside the empty dresser and my cat Compass was laying next to me just like I had watched him do earlier.”

Lillian Oaktree

  • Lillian Oaktree: An Asthma Attack in Hospital. “‘On my fourth night in hospital, breathing with the help of oxygen, I woke with a searing pain in my chest. It felt as if someone was thrusting a red hot poker deep inside me. As the pain grew worse I began to struggle for breath. It was terrifying. Then suddenly I was surrounded by a thick white mist. I remember feeling wide awake and the pain had gone. I thought I’d died but I wasn’t scared. A sense of calm had descended upon me and I was just relieved that the pain had gone. When the mist cleared I was standing by my hospital bed looking at my body lying motionless. I could see that I wasn’t breathing and I started to panic. I didn’t want to die.’ Lillian, who could hear doctors and nurses hurriedly treating a man who’d had a heart attack, tried to scream – but no sound came out.

  • “‘In a flash I was transported into a dark tunnel, travelling fast towards a bright, golden light. There was something warm and appealing about the light, I wasn’t scared any more. Within seconds I was out of the tunnel and in a lush, green countryside. There wasn’t a single cloud and the whole place bathed in a warm golden sun. There were no fences or hedges, just an endless sea of fields. All down the side were poplar trees. In the blink of an eye, the fields were filled with people, all smiling at me. It was like one big greeting party, all waiting for me.’

  • “Then Lillian says she saw her dead parents, Abe and Jacqueline, standing at the front of the crowd, motioning her to come with them. ‘Mum had died five years before,’ says Lillian, ‘She was 74 and died from kidney failure. But here she was standing before me looking like a young woman. She was radiant and healthy and her hair was a shimmering blonde. She was wearing a blue top and blue trousers. There was a glow all around her and I could feel her sending me massive waves of love. It felt amazing.’

  • “Beside her mum stood her dad who’d died after a heart attack when Lillian was just 12. ‘I’d been devastated and never quite forgiven him for leaving me, but all I felt for him now was love,’ she says. ‘He was a chef and I couldn’t help smiling because he was wearing his chef whites – the white starched shirt with the double buttons and checked trousers. His hair was jet black, too. I’d only ever seen him with grey hair, but he looked like he did in photos taken in his late 20’s. Mum said to me, telepathically, “There is something after all”, which made me laugh out loud.’

  • “It was funny to Lillian because she had always believed in an afterlife — not her mother. ‘Now here I was, standing in this beautiful place, and Mum confirmed everything I always believed in. She never opened her mouth — she didn’t have to.’

  • “Next, Lillian saw her childhood friend Chris standing beside her parents. He’d died in a car crash at the age of 18. ‘I was 16 when he passed away,’ she says. ‘He suffered horrendous burns in the crash and died at the scene. It may have happened years ago but not a week went by without me thinking about him. It was amazing to see him so full of life and with no hideous burns. He looked exactly how I’d remembered him. He didn’t speak but just smiled along with everybody else. It felt like they were all sending me unconditional love. I’d never felt so good'”

  • It wasn’t just humans who’d come to see Lillian. She was also reunited with her old dogs, Fluke, Random and Joule. Then Lillian says things took an even more extraordinary turn.

  • “‘I suddenly became aware of two, what can only be described as beings, standing on my right,’ she says. ‘They were 6ft tall, wearing bright cloaks and totally transparent. Where their faces should have been were balls of golden light. I remember asking what was happening and one of them said in a gentle voice, “This is the closest you’ve ever been to God”. I’d never felt so humbled but I was suddenly bathed in a bright light and every bit of my body was pulsating with energy.’

  • “Seconds later, Lillian woke up in hospital. ‘I just sat there with a renewed inner calm,’ she recalls. ‘I’d never felt so good in my entire life. It was like I’d been given a new insight into life – and death. Up to then I’d worried about everything from paying bills to upsetting people. I was one of life’s natural worriers. I’d always been like that, even as a kid. I blame my mother for telling me her worries. And the older I got, the more I worried. I had this tense feeling hanging over me, like a black cloud. I found it impossible to relax, which I’m sure contributed to me developing asthma. But it had lifted; it truly was a life-changing experience. My personality altered overnight. It’s like someone had sucked all the tension out of me. At last I felt at peace.’

  • “On a physical level there were more big changes for Lillian. For 20 years she’d used two high dose inhalers, one of them steroids. But after her near death experience she no longer needed to rely on drugs to control her asthma.”

Maria

  • From Near Death, Explained, by Mario Beauregard.

  • “One of the best known of these corroborated veridical NDE perceptions — perceptions that can be proven to coincide with reality — is the experience of a woman named Maria, whose case was first documented by her critical care social worker, Kimberly Clark.

  • “Maria was a migrant worker who had a severe heart attack while visiting friends in Seattle. She was rushed to Harborview Hospital and placed in the coronary care unit. A few days later, she had a cardiac arrest but was rapidly resuscitated. The following day, Clark visited her. Maria told Clark that during her cardiac arrest she was able to look down from the ceiling and watch the medical team at work on her body. At one point in this experience, said Maria, she found herself outside the hospital and spotted a tennis shoe on the ledge of the north side of the third floor of the building. She was able to provide several details regarding its appearance, including the observations that one of its laces was stuck underneath the heel and that the little toe area was worn. Maria wanted to know for sure whether she had ‘really’ seen that shoe, and she begged Clark to try to locate it.

  • “Quite skeptical, Clark went to the location described by Maria — and found the tennis shoe. From the window of her hospital room, the details that Maria had recounted could not be discerned. But upon retrieval of the shoe, Clark confirmed Maria’s observations. ‘The only way she could have had such a perspective,’ said Clark, ‘was if she had been floating right outside and at very close range to the tennis shoe. I retrieved the shoe and brought it back to Maria; it was very concrete evidence for me.'”

Near-Death Experiences

Near Death Experience Research Foundation

  • “One of the near-death experience truths is that each person integrates their near-death experience into their own pre-existing belief system.” — Jody Long. ‘The largest NDE website in the world with over 4000 Experiences in over 23 Languages.’

Near Death Experiences in Thailand

  • “That an NDE of a person torn between two cultures should exhibit features of both suggests that it is not culture that determines NDE phenomenology, but rather that people’s NDEs reveal what their expectations are concerning what death will be like, even when these expectations are held subconsciously, or are influenced by more than one culture. Atwater (1994) has found that NDEs which manifest visions of the classical western hell are much more likely to occur in the Southeast part of the U.S., the so-called ‘Bible belt’, where the literal veracity of the Bible is often taken for granted. Christianity teaches that the only options are those of heaven and hell. For a person guided by this belief, we suggest, the choice of which they will enter happens according to the expectations created by their own feelings regarding their behaviors during their lives. Thai NDEs, with their frequent visions of hell, seem to confirm this interpretation.”

Near Death, Explained

  • Mario Beauregard: “Although the details differ, NDEs are characterized by a number of core features. Perhaps the most vivid is the OBE: the sense of having left one’s body and of watching events going on around one’s body or, occasionally, at some distant physical location. During OBEs, near-death experiencers (NDErs) are often astonished to discover that they have retained consciousness, perception, lucid thinking, memory, emotions, and their sense of personal identity. If anything, these processes are heightened: Thinking is vivid; hearing is sharp; and vision can extend to 360 degrees. NDErs claim that without physical bodies, they are able to penetrate through walls and doors and project themselves wherever they want. They frequently report the ability to read people’s thoughts.

  • “The effects of NDEs on the experience are intense, overwhelming, and real. A number of studies conducted in United States, Western European countries, and Australia have shown that most NDErs are profoundly and positively transformed by the experience. One woman says, ‘I was completely altered after the accident. I was another person, according to those who lived near me. I was happy, laughing, appreciated little things, joked, smiled a lot, became friends with everyone … so completely different than I was before!’

  • “However different their personalities before the NDE, experiencers tend to share a similar psychological profile after the NDE. Indeed, their beliefs, values, behaviors, and worldviews seem quite comparable afterward. Importantly, these psychological and behavioral changes are not the kind of changes one would expect if this experience were a hallucination. And, as noted NDE researcher Pim van Lommel and his colleagues have demonstrated, these changes become more apparent with the passage of time.

  • “…NDE studies also suggest that after physical death, mind and consciousness may continue in a transcendent level of reality that normally is not accessible to our senses and awareness. Needless to say, this view is utterly incompatible with the belief of many materialists that the material world is the only reality.”

Near Death Experiences Are Actually True Life Experiences

  • Bruce Davis, Ph.D.: “If the near death experiences being shared by many are really to believed, they are actually true life experiences, because what they are describing is our true life in eternity. The vast love and acceptance they are finding upon leaving the confines of body and personality describe a life experience of coming home, coming to the true life which this earthly experience is only a small part of.

  • “The many experiences of finding a realm of non-judgment, intense light, tenderness, colors so bright they dance and sing of innocence and joy are perhaps not near death experiences at all but true life experiences. Maybe these experiences are a new dawn for all of us of our true potential! What people are describing is our true awareness when we are free of the constraints of normal physical and mental life. To find this perfect home after physical death says that somewhere this love must already be a part of us. These seemingly other worldly experiences must be part of our world or they would not be described time and time again as if ‘coming home.’ This heavenly world of acceptance, expansive love must be within all of us. And maybe we do not have to wait to die to get there!”

Drithelm Cuningham of Northumbria’s Vision

  • Bede the Venerable: “He that led me had a shining countenance and a bright garment, and we went on silently, as I thought, towards the north-east. Walking on, we came to a vale of great breadth and depth, but of infinite length; on the left it appeared full of dreadful flames, the other side was no less horrid for violent hail and cold snow flying in all directions; both places were full of men’s souls, which seemed by turns to be tossed from one side to the other, as it were by a violent storm; for when the wretches could no longer endure the excess of heat, they leaped into the middle of the cutting cold; and finding no rest there, they leaped back again into the middle of the unquenchable flames. Now whereas an innumerable multitude of deformed spirits were thus alternately tormented far and near, as far as could be seen, without any intermission, I began to think that this perhaps might be hell, of whose intolerable flames I had often heard talk. My guide, who went before me, answered to my thought, saying, ‘Do not believe so, for this is not the hell you imagine.'”

Near-Death Experiences and Hinduism

  • Kevin Williams: “Their small sample shows, Indian and American near-death experiences resemble each other in some respects but differ in others. Subjects of Indian near-death experiences do not report seeing their own physical body during the near-death experience, although American subjects usually do. Subjects of Indian near-death experiences frequently report being taken to the after-death realm by functionaries who then discover that a mistake has been made and send the person back, whereupon he or she revives. In contrast, American subjects, if they say anything at all about why they revived, mention meeting deceased family members who told them to go back, or say they came back because of ties of love and duty with living persons or say they were told it was not their time to die.”

Archetypal Near-Death Experiences

  • “In our dreams, the symbols and images that appear represent archetypes of our higher consciousness. As in dreams, near-death experiences are experiences of our higher consciousness, and therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that similar symbols and images appear in near-death experiences as well. On Karen Keeley’s website, Insights into Consciousness and Personality, she provides a good explanation of how these symbols and archetypes are universal and what they mean….”

Science and the Near-Death Experience

  • “In several respects it is apparent the Indian cases differ from the Western and Chinese ones. In all three studies, Indian accounts seem strongly influenced by Hindu religious beliefs. Yamaraj, the Hindu god of death, is a well-known figure in Indian mythology, as are his messengers, the Yamadoots. So too is Chitragupta, the man with the book, who upon a person’s death is said to consult the fabled Akashic Records, in which are inscribed all the deeds, good and bad, of a person’s lifetime.”

The 12 Elements of NDEs

  • From Evidence of the Afterlife, by Dr. Jeffrey Long:

  • “According to Evidence of the Afterlife, no two near-death experiences are identical. When, however, many near-death experiences are studied, a common pattern of elements emerges, that usually occurs in a consistent order. Here is a list of the 12 main NDE elements that have been identified:

    • “Out-of-body experience (OBE): separation of consciousness from the physical body: 75.4%

    • “Heightened senses: 74.4%

    • “Intense and generally positive emotions or feelings: 76.2%

    • “Passing into or through a tunnel: 33.8%

    • “Encountering a mystical or brilliant light: 64.6%

    • “Encountering other beings, either mystical beings, or deceased relatives or friends: 57.3%

    • “A sense of alteration of time and space: 60.5%

    • “Life review: 22.2%

    • “Encountering unworldly (‘heavenly’) realms: 40.6%

    • “Encountering or learning special knowledge: 56% (31.5% answered that they understood everything ‘about the universe’; 31.3% felt they understood ‘everything about myself and others’.)

    • “Encountering a boundary or barrier: 31%

    • “Return to the body, either voluntary or involuntary: 58.5%”

    Religion and NDEs

    • From Embraced by the Church? Betty Eadie, Near-Death Experiences, and Mormonism

    • “Carol Zaleski (Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near-Death Experiences in Medieval and Modern Times) recognized that NDE accounts are sacred narratives similar with, but not identical to, other narratives such as visions of heaven and hell, experiences of sudden conversion, sacred dreams, apparitions of heavenly beings. More recent NDE researchers have been less cautious and have admitted that NDEs may occur even when no illness or ‘death’ is involved, and that ‘transcendent experiences’ like NDEs occur in any case of ‘exposure to otherworld dimensions and scenes beyond the individual’s frame of reference.’

    • “But what precisely is the content of NDE narratives? Despite Raymond Moody’s early claims that similar patterns may be found in many, if not all, NDEs, in fact the evidence is growing that the religious (or non-religious) content of these narratives is of many different types. Moody had already admitted that the identification of the ‘Being of Light’ in NDEs varies according to the religious background of the person interviewed. It is more common for Roman Catholics to meet the Virgin Mary and the saints, while non-Christians may meet the Buddha or a non-personal ‘Ocean of Light’. Variations ae still greater in the more detailed NDEs, where the people involved receive actual teachings. These teachings are also invariably colored by the previous religious experience of those who experienced an NDE.”

    Homecoming and the Near-Death Experience

    • Many people experience “homecoming” in their NDEs. This page includes a number of summaries of such homecoming experiences. For instance:

    • “Michelle Dillon’s NDE Homecoming Experience: ‘And then I was Home and I knew it was Home and I wasn’t afraid. I saw lots of people I knew, some of whom I’ve since met, and a lot of whom I knew were “related” but that wasn’t what mattered. What mattered was that I KNEW them and they KNEW me and we hadn’t said a word. Or, well, we had, sort of, only not SAID. But I have never since been involved in such a joyful welcome, being loved, totally loved.’

    Distressing Near-Death Experiences

    • “The way one dies may be a factor in the type of NDE one has. Rommer found that dNDErs who had self-induced their deaths made up 55% of people in her research who reported a Type II Eternal Void experience, 18% who reported a Type III Hellish experience, and most of those who reported a Type IV Negative Judgment experience. Although it may be tempting to conclude that people who attempt suicide are being punished for trying to induce their own deaths, we must avoid this temptation, as the following paragraph will explain.

    • “People who are in a distressed frame of mind at the time of their near-death episode and those who were raised to expect distress during death may be more prone to distressing NDEs. People who attempt suicide are almost always in a distressed frame of mind. Usually they are attempting suicide because they feel themselves to be in unendurable and unending emotional or physical pain. In addition, they are almost certainly aware of the widely held belief that suicide is cowardly and/or the wrong way to escape the pain of life. Although they hope for relief from their pain, they may also consciously or unconsciously fear punishment. In a heightened state of pain, as well as of fear and/or guilt, they are highly distressed and, consequently, may be somewhat more prone to having a dNDE.”

    Medieval Near-Death Experiences

    • Excerpts from article, Dr. Carol Zaleski’s Research of Medieval Near-Death Experiences. These accounts suggest that in medieval times, pretty much everybody thought they were going to hell.

    • Dr. Carol Zaleski is the author of the NDE classic Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near-Death Experiences in Medieval and Modern Times for which the New York Times had to say, “Zaleski … has had the excellent idea of putting recent near-death narratives in perspective by comparing them with those of an earlier period … An extremely interesting piece of work, and one that offers many shrewd insights.

    • …A hermit … revived from death and testified that he had been to hell, where he saw several powerful men dangling in fire. Just as he too was being dragged into the flames, an angel in a shining garment came to his rescue and sent him back to life with the words (echoed in several medieval visions): “leave, and consider carefully how you will live from now on.”

      After his return to life, the hermit’s fasts and vigils bore witness, Gregory tells us, that he had indeed seen the terrors of hell; this too would become a common formula for the transforming effects of an otherworld journey.

    • A second memorable tale of return from death came to Gregory firsthand, from a prominent businessman named Stephen, who died while on a trip to Constantinople. Stephen confessed to Gregory that he had never believed the stories about hell and punishment but that his brief visit to the infernal court had changed his mind. Fortunately for him, the judge sent him back, saying: “I ordered Stephen the blacksmith to be brought here, not this man.” [original] Webmaster note: This kind of “clerical error” in an NDE also appears also in Hindu NDEs.

      Stephen regained consciousness immediately, and his testimony was confirmed by the death, in that very hour, of a blacksmith of the same name. Although this story clearly belongs to the common stock of tales of death by mistaken identity, Gregory insists that such apparent mix-ups occur “not as an error, but as a warning.” Gregory here shows his genius for adapting such material to his own didactic purpose; without significantly changing the story, he introduces a providential element, thereby transferring it from the realm of folklore to that of religious instruction. His example would be followed closely by later generations of otherworld journey narrators.

    • Several motifs … recur throughout medieval otherworld journey literature: the river of hell, the flowery meadows of paradise, the white-clothed throngs in heaven, the test bridge, and, above all, the externalization of deeds. Gregory [the Great] makes it plain that the vision should be understood symbolically: the real meaning of the house built with bricks of gold is that those who give alms generously are constructing their eternal abodes in heaven; and the houses blackened by foul vapors were prefabricated, he implies, by the unsavory deeds of those destined to dwell in them. It was thanks largely to this widely read account [of the NDE of Stephen the businessman] that the bridge — as the setting for a psychomachia or symbolic confrontation with deeds — became such a prominent feature of the medieval otherworld landscape.

    Notable Near-Death Experiences

    • Links to 43 “transcendental” NDEs. “I’m not asking you to believe anything. I’m simply telling you what I believe. And I have no idea what the next life will be like. Whatever I saw was only from the doorway, so to speak. But it was enough to convince me totally of two things from that moment on: One, that our consciousness does not cease with physical death; that it becomes, in fact, keener and more aware than ever. And secondly, that how we spend our time on earth, the kind of relationships we build, is vastly more important than we can know.” — George Ritchie, M.D.