Skip to comments.Near-Death Experiences: What if They Gave a Review of Your Life and You Had to Come?
Posted on 02/25/2014 7:04:10 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Editor’s Note: Click here for Part 1 of P. David Hornik’s new series: Near-Death ExperiencesA New Take on Life, Part 1: Sam Parnia Explains Where the Field Is Leading. And click here to see his previous articles on the subject here: Do You Believe in Life After Death?
Out-of-body experiences, tunnels, bright lights, deceased relatives, a being of lightand life reviews. These are the most commonly reported elements of near-death experiences. They have been reported now for decades from all over the world, across cultures and religions. Of all of them, the life review may be the most difficult to imagine and otherworldly. Out-of-body experiences, encounters with dead people, mystical experiences of a deityall these have long been on record outside of NDEs as well. The tunnel experience seems to have been represented in a painting by the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch over five hundred years ago. Life reviews, however, may be the most exotic compared to our familiar modes of perception. Dutch cardiologist and NDE researcher Pim van Lommel quotes this life-review account of one of his patients:
All of my life up till the present seemed to be placed before me in a kind of panoramic, three-dimensional review, and each event seemed to be accompanied by a consciousness of good or evil or with an insight into cause or effect. Not only did I perceive everything from my own viewpoint, but I also knew the thoughts of everyone involved in the event, as if I had their thoughts within me. This meant that I perceived not only what I had done or thought, but even in what way it had influenced others, as if I saw things with all-seeing eyes . Looking back, I cannot say how long this life review lasted, it may have been long, for every subject came up, but at the same time it seemed just a fraction of a second, because I perceived it all at the same moment. Time and distance seemed not to exist .
This is only one account, but anyone who has delved even modestly into the NDE literature as I have knows there are numerous other, remarkably similar ones.
Life reviews, then, bear some resemblance to traditional religious conceptions of a judgment, a moral assessment, in the afterlife. They differ from those conceptions, though, in thatwhile many people report a compassionate presence of an otherworldly being during the reviewno judgment occurs, except by the person.
As in this case, from the NDE of a woman during an emergency operation:
Most things were pleasant to see, some things made me very embarrassed. In fact, [revulsion] and guilt took away any good feelings, making me so very sorry for certain things I had said or done. I hadnt just seen what I had done, but I felt and knew the repercussions of my actions. I felt the injury or pain of those who suffered because of my selfish or inappropriate behavior.
Misdeeds, then, seem to carry their own punishment of coming face to face with, and empathically experiencing, how they affected others. The aim does not seem to be a final verdict, a judgment of innocent or guilty as in a court of law, but possibly a kind of karmic stocktaking. True, all NDE testimonies that we have are from people who either were resuscitated from clinically dead states or never died in the first place; they may only have been at the verge of the afterlife. But even these accounts are thought-provoking enough.
How would I do in a life review? Asking myself that, I did some earthly stocktaking and looked back at my life. How much harm had I inflicted? I have to report that the results of my survey were surprising. Surprisingly bad.
To be fair, the misdeeds I recall happened a while ago. Over, say, the past decade, I cannot see myself inflicting much harm. And the negative behavior occurred during periods of confusion. I would not say I was enacting my real self, or certainly not my best self, in those cases where I was deleterious to others. Still, looking back at those cases, and realizing that there were considerably more of them than I would have thought, has not been easy. Im bothering with this, of course, because I find NDE accounts very compelling (I wouldnt be writing this series if I didnt), and I assume Ill undergo a life review at some point in the future. Maybe it will be easier if Im less surprised. As for my troubling recollections, Ill give only one exampleMiss Baumann.
Miss Baumann (yes, Miss, not Ms.; it was still the early 1970s) was a teacher of German at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, New York. I was her student because we were required to study a language, and since my parents were Austrian Jewish refugees who spoke German to each other quite a lot (though actually I picked up very little of it), German was the logical choice.
Along with my buddy Tom, I took Miss Baumanns class in tenth and eleventh grade. I was at that time a molten core of frustration. Not succeeding at basketball as I had envisioned, too shy to get anywhere much with girls. One route, I thought, to improved status was to be a cut-up in class, a notable rascal, making peopleespecially girlslaugh. As for Miss Baumann, she was about 25, small and thin, not too attractive. She was American-born, of German background, and spoke German with a heavy accent. She was also inept at dealing with cut-ups.
Unlike most of the other teachers, she didnt know how to crack down, get tough; she was weak. It was a bad combination. I dragged Tom into our behavior; he, himself, had no need or inclination to be a cut-up. In subdued but quite audible voices, wed converse as if it wasnt a class, as if she wasnt there; make fun of her accent (that was me, not Tom); even say little derogatory things about her (again, me, not Tom). Derogatory, yessometimes even quite nasty. She would sigh, stamp her foot, but do nothing effectual, nothing that got us to stop. No, it doesnt rank high on the scale of atrocities; but its terrible to think about nowterrible.
A gentile who wanted to convert to Judaism asked the sage Shammai if he could teach him the whole Torah while standing on one foot. Shammai, finding the request ridiculous, chased him out of his house. The gentile tried again, this time with the sage Hillel. Hillel told him:
What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentarynow go study.
That is one of the most famous Jewish formulations of the Golden Rule, which turns up in all religious traditions. I like Hillels formulation because its not too ambitious, doesnt ask us to be moral heroes. Just not to hurt othersif we could manage even that. What near-death experiencers discover in life reviews is that we are, whether or not we acknowledge it, connected to each other. Treating someone cruelly, with a lack of empathy, entails ignoring or denying that connectedness, but it does not annul it. Quantum mechanics, too, teaches the interconnectedness of all elements in the universe. As the above-mentioned cardiologist and NDE researcher, Pim van Lommel, observes regarding life reviews:
the subject feels the presence and renewed experience of not only every act but also every thought from ones past life, and one realizes that all of it is an energy field which influences oneself as well as others. All that has been done and thought seems to be significant and stored . Because one is connected with the memories, emotions and consciousness of another person, you experience the consequences of your own thoughts, words and actions to that other person at the very moment in the past that they occurred. Hence there is during a life review a connection with the fields of consciousness of other persons as well as with your own fields of consciousness (interconnectedness).
Near-death experiencers who have undergone a life review say it motivates them to be more kind and compassionate. Just reading about life reviews (and other aspects of NDEs) can have a similar effect. Not out of fear of some draconian punishment, which does not appear to be in the offing, but to make things better for ourselves and for others, which is ultimately the same thing.
BZZZZZT! Thanks for playing...
You can make me come, but you can’t make me watch.
After facing the review, my official cause of death would have to be listed as boredom.
Yeah, I screwed up. Can I try again?
That was my eevil twin.
He wrote that it was important to talk to the person right after it happened to get the essence of it because over time they would embellish it or if it was a bad experience they would block it completely....
Thank you. Lord.
Raymond Moody, M.D., a graduate of the Medical College of Georgia, defined this phenomenon.
Interesting that in ALL of these NDE experiences NONE were really dead, lest they had stayed that way.
In the brilliant movie “Amazon Women on the Moon,” there is a wonderful parody of Siskel & Ebert reviewing the life of an ordinary mortal named Harvey Pitkin, I believe. The 2 thumbs down are nothing compared to what these pompous blowhards have to say about Harvey’s dreary existence! An absolutely hilarious sketch.
That's why they're called NDE instead of DE.
One question I will dread: “What did you do with the midgets?”
I’ve read Moody’s books and others that claim that it is just one final brain blitz before we dissolve into nothingness.
If it is just our neurons frying at the last moment, how does that explain that aura of interconnectedness where we can feel and empathize the pain we brought on others. How does our brain get inside theirs?
For that the NDE deniers have no answer. Nor can they explain the out of body experiences of patients during surgery describing the operating room (and conversations) during their surgery. Even things that would be out of view and earshot to the patient.
Aye, there's the rub. The trouble starts when some religious guy says "What God REALLY meant was . . ."
My own feeling is that it is just a trick of the mind. I remember being sick with the flu, but went to work anyway. At one point, just for a second, I found myself a few feet away from my workstation, watching me work, then, SNAP! I was back inside my body. Think of all the people who, in violent situations, thought they were going to die (fighter pilots, police, etc.) who said that for a moment, their life flashed before their eyes.
I dunno, maybe it's just a core dump to that Big Computer in the Sky. :-)
...Right, -IIR- Moody's first patient said as he 'levitated' out of the hospital he saw a red tennis shoe on the roof. Doc dismissed that but later asked a janitor to go up on the roof [and recieves a 'what are you crazy' look but returned with said shoe....HA
That’s right. Gives you chills doesn’t it . . . in a good reassuring, comforting way.
I’ve also been to one of John Edward’s events with a friend of mine. He described my friend’s deceased father in ways that only my friend could know. Even knew that his father spoke in tongues; something my friend was always embarrassed about.
I knew someone who had a NDE, which happened years before it was in the popular press. She was always hesitant to talk about it except with people very close to her, she thought people would think she was crazy. Her doctor told her it was just the anesthesia, but he was surprised that she knew almost everything that happened during her “death” including things that happened in the next room.
The details she told about the “beyond” were similar to the stories that we would read about years later when various writers started writing about things like this.
She was told it wasn’t time. She asked if she would be allowed to return; yes, of course they said. She said it was so beautiful that she couldn’t wait to go back and looked forward to it the rest of her life. When her end was near some 20 years later she was so happy.
I had a life review some time ago and I wasn’t dying. It happened when I was in prayer. It was just there and seemed to take place in a split second. What I was left with after the encounter was that there is no such thing as a non-event in your life. Literally every thought, every word you have ever thought, every word you have read, every person you have encountered-however insignificant it might have been at the time, every detail of your life is there. It is a complete and total report.
As was stated in the article, it isn’t that you are judged by an outside source. It’s that literally every act, thought and event has it’s own consequence.
Years later my husband had an NDE. He returned and we had another 1 & 1/2 years together before he passed to the other side.
And it's still as clear as if it was yesterday.