The closest contact with our afterlife is when we have a near-death experience (NDE). More and more people report such an experience. The reason being, that medical science gets better every day. We are more capable to bring back to life a growing number of people who go through a critical medical situation. But also without a critical medical situation people can have a NDE.
What messages do near-death experiencers (NDErs) get out of this? And what messages can non-experiencers get out of it? A lot I can assure you, and these messages are extremely valuable. When we learn to understand them, they can lead to a much better and more rewarding life.
NDEs are extraordinary experiences. They overwhelm those who have had them and their lives completely change. They are absolutely convinced these experiences are real. Many even assert they are more real than everyday life. This is because their awareness grows tremendously. They seem to become awareness themselves. They can sense everything there is to sense. All knowledge is freely available to them and they just need to tap into it. Every question is answered immediately. On top of all this there appear to be no physical limitations, and neither does time form a limitation. It doesn’t exist, or rather, it exists all at the same time.
The most overwhelming aspect of their experience is that NDErs feel they are immersed in the most wonderful feeling of peace, acceptance and unconditional love. Especially the unconditional nature of the love they feel is something that leaves a lasting impression on the NDEr, because just think of what it means. Unconditional love means that there are no conditions to be met in order to receive this love. We don’t have to do anything specific in order to get it. In addition, the love that is felt is indescribable due to its completeness and all-embracing aspect. An NDEr described it as follows: “When I would add all the love I had received throughout my life together, it would still be a fraction of what I felt there.”
Many NDErs feel that what they have experienced is their “Home.” They are sure that it is where they originate from and they know they belong there. They are also convinced this home is where we will eventually go back to when we die. This apparently means that the moment we are born we acquire the right to return to this wonderful place. It is our birthright. As a consequence, their fear of death completely disappears.
All of this seems too good to be true. Actually, there is a slight problem, because NDErs start to long to return back to that place again. This is why they often become seriously homesick after their NDE. On average it takes about seven years for an NDEr to settle with the idea they are here and not there, and there is a purpose to it. So having the experience has its little drawbacks.
Except for the good news that there is a wonderful place where we will all go to, there is also a bit of “other” news. It needs to be acknowledged that a non-negligible number of people haven’t experienced a completely blissful NDE, and some people have even experienced terrifying NDEs.
At this moment it still isn’t clear what causes this kind of NDE. Apart from the problem we have in defining ‘bad’ and ‘good’, there is no way we can assert that terrifying NDEs are there only for ‘bad’ people, and positive ones only for ‘good’ people.
Are these experiences not just the result of a lack of oxygen, or of some chemical reactions and neurological processes in the brains of a dying patient?
Good scientific so-called prospective research indicates this is not the case. In this kind of research a specific procedure was followed to create an objective pool of people who had experienced a cardiac arrest. A number of people from that pool turned out to have had an NDE. These people could then be compared with the people of the same pool that didn’t have one. Differences between both groups would be interesting, because they could give an indication of what causes NDEs.
This kind of research was conducted in different countries throughout the world, and in none of these did the researchers find any significant differences between the two groups.
For instance, no differences were found with respect to physiological changes in the brain, because people from both groups had a loss of oxygen and had brain cells dying. This means these factors cannot be the cause for NDEs, something that has often been asserted. In some research, pharmacological factors (drug treatments during resuscitation) and psychological reactions to approaching death were investigated, but neither could these factors explain NDEs.
From a scientific point of view it is still to be determined what really causes NDEs, but for me it is clear these experiences truly are the first step into heaven, or however you want to call it. I have several reasons to believe this. One of them is The Light that some NDErs get into contact with. Like everything else in a NDE, The Light is something NDErs find very difficult to describe. It communicates as if it is some kind of intelligent being, but then again there are NDErs who find themselves to be part of this Light. The Light is often described as the centre of all unconditional love.
In the presence of The Light some NDErs have their life-review, which to me is a second reason to believe NDEs are true. They see their life as a film, but in fast forward mode, or they just see pictures. Some describe their life-review as a stream of memories. The overall feeling was something like “this is you.”
Interestingly, the life-review can be extremely detailed. The smallest details of our life are still there and we are able to relive them. Moreover, we can relive these details in a very peculiar way. We can feel our life from our own point of view, but also from the viewpoint of everyone else. It means that we are able to feel what we did to others as if we are those others.
In this way we can feel the wonderful things we did to others, but also the less optimal things. The remarkable thing is that there is no judgement. The Light doesn’t judge us, nor does anyone else. If there is anyone judging us, it is ourselves. An NDEr said that the life-review seems not to be a matter of wrong or right, but a matter of becoming conscious of what happened and how we chose between the many options we get in life.
This very direct kind of feeling of what others felt is extraordinary and in a way unearthly. It can only be possible when there is a profound interconnectedness between all people. Even without life-review NDErs say they experienced a very deep connection with others, with nature and even with The Light. This interconnection is so complete that one could even conclude that, in fact, I am you, and you are me, and we are nature. There is no difference. NDErs feel we all have a particle of The Light within us, which actually means that we all participate in The Light. And to briefly come back to people who had a distressing NDE: The Light is also within them and they will always have the possibility to return home to where The Light is. A full separation from The Light is utterly impossible, because we all are and will always be an indispensable part of it.
When we consider this profound interconnection and also remember the other aspects of NDEs such as a tremendous awareness, limitless and freely available knowledge, no physical or time constraints, we can only conclude that we are part of one Unity Universe.
No Lesser Souls
There is more good news. Since we are all interconnected and all carry The Light within us, we are all important. There are no lesser souls. One NDEr said:
No-one is more than another. God wants the best for us, more than we can ever dare to dream of. But He wants the best for all of us. He doesn’t draw boundaries. God is also freedom. We pose restrictions on ourselves. We make prisons in our own head. We even allow others to make prisons in our own head by accepting the restrictions they pose upon us.
Our importance is not only based on us partaking in The Light, but also because we all have an important task to fulfil while here on earth. As one NDEr put it: “No-one would be here unless we have a task.” The exact task is unknown. NDErs who return to their body are unable to recall what that task is. They are unable to take with them all the knowledge that seemed so freely available during their experience. It simply is too much and too elaborate to hold on to. Moreover, our physical body and brain are inadequate to take it all in. Only a few people were able to remember what their task is, but the majority only knows they are here for a purpose.
One task that NDErs seem to agree on is to learn about love. We do that in a world limited by time and space where we have to make our choices. Many NDErs will agree we have a free will and we are free to choose our way through our world. But since we are part of a Unity Universe our interconnectedness makes that everything we do has an effect somewhere else. All our actions, even the seemingly insignificant ones, ripple through the universe. They have an effect. They do something. They create. Actually, we create. We have a creative power through what we do and think. One NDEr said:
Everything I do has influence on everything.… Nothing is lost. It is a kind of law of conservation of energy. That is why we shouldn’t do to others what we don’t want for ourselves. Moreover, what we send, we’ll attract. We should also be mindful of our thoughts, because we create with our thoughts.
Through our choices we learn about love. From life-reviews we know that we always have many options in life. And the more difficulties we have in life, the more interesting the options become that we can choose from. It seems to be very beneficiary when we would choose for those options that bring love and peace. This means that it is best to act in accordance with our inner core, which is our particle of The Light. When we do that, we create positive ripples that travel through the universe. They have a soothing, healing, energising and/or inspiring effect somewhere, and it is bound to return to us in some or other form.
Much Needed Changes
In the last few decades we used our freedom of choice to pursue only our ‘short-term self-interest’. We were indifferent to other people’s suffering and indifferent to the suffering of nature. By doing that we created an ‘I don’t care about you’ society. Our system is primarily focused on our own financial wealth. There is little place for spiritual wealth. Many people have even started to believe that ‘greed is good’ and there are too many who think it is perfectly acceptable to cheat other people with the only intention of benefiting themselves.
Somehow we have acquired the idea that we are not interconnected and that we are immune for the consequences of our actions. The negative ripples we created have backfired at us through the Great Recession, which still affects especially the US, Europe and Japan. We in fact created this ourselves. One NDEr explicitly told me that the crisis was based on the combination of greed and indifference. And another NDEr had a clear warning, because she says that our extreme self-interest also has to do with how we treat nature: “The credit crisis is really just the tip of the iceberg. Our greed is bringing disorder to the whole system of earth.”
From my many interviews with NDErs I strongly got the impression that our world is going through a period of much needed changes. These are crucial times, for we have arrived at a crossroads. One NDEr told me: “At the moment humanity is going through the struggles of its adolescence. Who am I now? Who do I want to be? Will we choose for our soul or for our ego?” And another NDEr said: “There is a different way of living and loving that does justice to ourselves, others and the earth. We live on the edge of a number of crises that can give humanity a very rough time.”
Long Term “Our-Interest”
It is my assumption that the Great Recession is there to remind us that we can’t just do something and have the illusion that we can simply walk away from what we did. We can’t think that the fallout of our actions would not affect us even if we run away fast. The recession shows that we are interconnected in a profound way. Therefore, it would be better if we were to abandon the flawed idea that we are not interconnected. This means that we should take the next step in our development. We should expand our short-term self-interest to include everyone else’s interest and the interest of nature, and it should be a focus on the longer term. In short: We should start focusing on a long-term “our-interest.” This is the most important message that can be derived from NDEs.
What does it mean to focus on a long-term “our-interest”? At least it means that we have to develop respect for each other, for the animal world and nature as a whole. This means to have good intentions; to cherish integrity within ourselves and others; to be honest, incorruptible and non-greedy; to allow others to have something we would like to have and still be genuinely happy for them; to be truly satisfied with the many things we have and to be grateful; to continuously create positive ripples. This list can be extended because it is far from complete, but in short it means that it would be more optimal if we would use our free will to become aligned with The Light.
Align with The Light
How do we become aligned? Praying and meditating to get closer to the Light is ok. But not everyone wants to pray or is able to meditate. Fortunately, both are not necessary. It can be much easier than praying or meditating. Remember, The Light is very close by. Actually, it is part of us. It is within us. We just have to start realising that, every day. Realise that we are participating in The Light and that through this Light we are profoundly interconnected with all and everyone. If we would realise that every day, over and over again, then this awareness of our interconnectedness will automatically lead to the alignment with The Light.
Read more in Christophor Coppes’ new book Messages from The Light: True Stories of Near-Death Experiences and Communication from the Other Side (New Page Books, 2010), available from all good bookstores or www.amazon.com.
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CHRISTOPHOR COPPES holds a Ph.D. in economics and has worked for many years in the banking industry. His interest in near-death experiences dates to 1979, when he read Raymond Moody’s Life After Life. A few years ago, he wrote a book in which he compares the essence of NDEs with those of five world religions. In 2008, he became president of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS – www.iands.org) in the Netherlands, where he lives. Christophor is a board member of the Society for Worldwide Dentistry and has participated in dental projects for underprivileged school children in Kenya and Cambodia. His new book is Messages from The Light: True Stories of Near-Death Experiences and Communication from the Other Side. Christophor lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Website: http://bobcoppes.com.
The above article appeared in New Dawn Special Issue 14.
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