“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.” – Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) from Through the Looking-Glass (1871)
The death process is amazingly consistent over time and across cultures, as are the details of the afterlife to which all of us will soon return. And thanks to the fact that the evidence has long been so abundant and so consistent, there is such a detailed consensus now about what happens at and after death that the truth is accessible to everyone! For the first time in human history, each person on earth can apply a little investigative effort and soon be confident that the awareness that each of us has now easily will survive our deaths.
I get lots of emails from Seek Reality listeners. I’m excited to see how much progress so many eager seekers are making now! But in recent months I have noticed a problem that is tripping up too many people, and after I have just answered two more emails from folks in anguish over it I think it is time to be frank. A great many lay researchers are being misled into thinking that near-death experiences (NDEs) are in some way related to actual death. So they read a lot of NDEs, thinking they are seeing the first part of what a normal death would be like; and since near-death experiences have nothing to do with death and they are highly individual, for anyone to use them for research leads only to distress and confusion. Here is the sort of email I am getting (received days ago, and quoted with permission):
“There are many cases of people worldwide who have died and survived, who say that they were met by Jesus and he showed them both Heaven and Hell and that there were people in Hell who they didn’t expect to see there. Another scenario is people who have died and survived but when they died, they found themselves in total darkness, in fear surrounded by demons, prodding them, poking them, swearing and yelling obscenities at them only for that person to call out to God and/or Jesus for help and they were then saved. They were then shown Heaven and were told to go back and spread the word of what they had witnessed of both scenarios. There are many cases on YouTube on people’s experiences of this as well as in books I have read over the years. These scenarios seem to differ from what you have talked about and I would love your thoughts on many of these scenarios which I know you have stated you have not experienced in your years of studying near death experiences. How can so many people have experienced this when you state there is no hell? The confusing part for me is hearing different scenarios and trying to figure out which one is true.”
Nothing this seeker has seen or read about in an NDE account ever has happened to anyone who actually has died! NDE accounts are so prominent in our culture now that more and more people simply assume that they are a source of information about death. But in fact, nothing that happens in an NDE can be taken as evidence of what happens at death or in the genuine afterlife. And this NDE-related confusion is brand-new! I cannot recall receiving any such emails even as recently as six months ago. I have interviewed many NDE experiencers and experts in the course of seven years, and all of them have told us that of course no one who comes back from an NDE has actually died during the experience.
So it is time now to set the record straight. NDEs have nothing to do with death. The only thing a researcher can take from the NDE phenomenon is the fact that our minds can easily exist apart from our bodies. Oh, and also the fact that a disembodied mind can travel in an endless variety of wonderful realms in the greater astral plane and have some amazing adventures. But that is IT! Near-death experiences can tell us nothing about actual death, and nothing about the afterlife either. Here are ten important points:
Natural deaths are planned. When we are planning an earth-lifetime, we plan into it two or three exit points that our higher consciousness can choose to take when we and our guides decide that we have gotten the most that we can from this lifetime. Truly accidental deaths are possible, but they are very rare: even nearly all “accidental” deaths are planned.
Death is always a one-way trip. Those that we used to think were dead tell us that the place where they are now is off-limits to people who are still attached to their bodies. Indeed, I have had the estimable Raymond Moody himself as a Seek Reality guest, and he told us that ofcourse NDE-ers don’t actually die. “That’s why I called them near-death experiences!” So there is the truth, coming straight from the man who actually coined the term; but if only he had instead called them something like “Spiritual Adventures” in Life After Life, we likely wouldn’t have this confusion today.
The silver cord is life. Our energy bodies are part of our eternal minds, and they are attached to our physical bodies by an energy cord which is the only reason why our material bodies are alive. When we are out of our bodies for whatever reason, that cord can be seen as a dim streak of bluish light between our physical and astral bodies: the Jews of three thousand years ago called it the silver cord. And they were well aware that the breaking of that cord is the moment of irrevocable death. They said, “For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street. Remember (God) before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed… then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:5-7).
Some NDEs include mention of the boundary that limits the afterlife area to the actually dead. In some more extensive NDEs, the experiencer is told that he is approaching the place where the dead are, and if he continues into it he will die and be unable to return to his body. Most turn back there, but if the experiencer ignores the warning and proceeds past that boundary into the afterlife, his silver cord breaks and that is all she wrote.
Natural death is a carefully managed and highly uniform process. But NDE-ers just pop out of their bodies! I have written about the death process, during which we are lovingly supported through what is a gentle and amazingly consistent transition.
Near-death experiences are highly individualized. Genuine deaths are consistent, and reports about the genuine afterlife are so consistent that we can now study the afterlife almost as if it were a foreign country. But a near-death experiencer is going to come back from his astral adventure, so his experiences are tailored to what is in his mind. If he is a strict Christian, he might see God; if he thinks he is evil, he will end up in a fiery hell; and so on. In reality, God never appears in material form and there is no fiery hell.
The astral plane is stratified by consciousness energy vibrations. As is true of the genuine afterlife that is a small part of it, in the astral plane our spiritual vibrations determine how high we can travel. Most NDEs and OBEs seem to happen at about Level Three, and there are areas in the astral plane that mimic the afterlife from the lowest to the highest realms.
The tunnel with a light is a rescue device. In all the research I had done, I never had seen an instance of the tunnel that ends in a light until I read Dr. Moody’s Life After Life in 1975. The lowest-vibration levels of the astral are negative, so when someone is unexpectedly out of his body his guides might choose to hoover him up into a wormhole that conveys him directly to the bright middle astral levels. This never happens in a planned natural death.
The afterlife area is a kind of foyer to the vast astral plane. At death we leave our bodies and are conveyed to the third afterlife level, and there we spend our initial post-death period doing certain specific things. Eventually we can choose to go into the astral plane to meet with the out-of-body living, travel widely, take classes, and play. When we want to go back for another earth-lifetime, we prepare for it in that between-lives foyer that no living being can enter without shedding his connection to his earthly body.
The astral plane is our likely eternal home. Out-of-body explorers in the astral plane have found that it teems with people going about their eternal lives in fascinating and sometimes very strange ways. And those who have recently died and are talking to their loved ones on earth might mention doing some amazing traveling! They might take piano lessons with Mozart. Learn to paint with Michelangelo. Travel to a thousand astounding planets or watch the pyramids being built. A lot goes on in the astral plane! It seems to me to be the leading candidate to be humankind’s eternal home.
I know from having helped others through this NDE confusion that you may be resisting my explanations. Please continue to believe your own NDE was briefly fatal if that makes you happy, but stop suggesting to others that an NDE can tell us anything about death! NDEs are wonderful, extraordinary experiences, but there is no NDE experiencer who can use what happened in his NDE to tell us anything about natural death or the genuine afterlife.
Although for now they are less problematic, there also are two other sources of potential misinformation that people will occasionally mention. These sources give us wonderful evidence that we are going to survive our deaths, and they give us a slice of specific evidence that can be useful when it is fitted with the larger whole. But independently, neither source can tell us anything specific about death and the afterlife. They are:
Books channeled through loved ones. Most people who die on earth return to the third or fourth level of the afterlife. No one can go above the vibrational level that he has spiritually earned, but the dead are so eager to please that many will guess at what might be above them. The only accurate book by a recently-dead reporter is Mikey Morgan’s Flying High in Spirit.
Reincarnation confusion. Some of the best evidence for survival is Dr. Ian Stevenson’s wonderful books about reincarnation in the narrow case of an unplanned violent death. Of late, though, I have on occasion seen his work used as if these aberrant events tell us how reincarnation normally occurs, which is emphatically not the case.
The transformation in human life that will come when most people know for certain that they never are going to die will be so profound that it is difficult for us even to imagine the details of it now. But let’s keep our eyes on that ultimate prize! Next week we will begin to consider what it is going to mean for all of humankind when most people have moved past mere beliefs and begun to live on earth in the glorious certainty that they never will die….
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!” – Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) from Through the Looking-Glass (1871)
Annotated Alice photo credit: MartinaYach <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/53720296@N08/5474625900″>”In My World, The Books Would Be Nothing But Pictures”</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Alice’s adventures (blue) photo credit: Toronto Public Library Special Collections <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/43021516@N06/4383187870″>Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Illustrator: Rountree: 1908) cover</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Alice & rabbit photo credit: Toronto Public Library Special Collections <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/43021516@N06/4382428945″>Alice In Wonderland (Illustrator: Winter, 1924) cover</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Alice & hatter photo credit: Toronto Public Library Special Collections <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/43021516@N06/4382428977″>Alice in Wonderland (Illustrator: Tarrant, 1916) cover</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Duchess & croquet photo credit: Toronto Public Library Special Collections <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/43021516@N06/4382428611″>Alice in Wonderland (Illustrator: Hudson, 1922?) Croquet with the Duchess</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Alice meets rabbit photo credit: Toronto Public Library Special Collections <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/43021516@N06/4382428505″>Alice in Wonderland (Illustrator: Tarrant, 1916) Alice meets the White Rabbit</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Alice’s tea party photo credit: Toronto Public Library Special Collections <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/43021516@N06/4408113761″>Alice in Wonderland (Illustrator: Winter, 1924) Mad Tea Party</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
You can find Roberta’s radio show and podcast posted freshly each Monday on Webtalkradio.net. If there is any guest you would like her to interview, or anything you hope she will talk about, please send your suggestions via the Contact block!