— D. J. Enright or perhaps Julian Barnes, or was it Thomas Nagel? Possibly all three.
For me, death is the one appalling fact that defines life; unless you are constantly aware of it, you cannot begin to understand what life’s about. Only a couple of nights ago, there came again that alarmed and alarming moment, of being pitchforked back into consciousness, awake, alone, utterly alone, beating pillow with fist and shouting, “Oh no Oh no OH NO” in an endless wail, the horror of the moment. I say to myself, “Can’t you face down death?” Can’t you at least protest against it more interestingly than that? For God’s sake, you’re a writer; you do words. We know that extreme physical pain drives out language; it’s dispiriting to learn that mental pain does the same.
No, that’s not me talking. You should know that by now.
Any guesses? The title of this essay should give you a hint since it’s the title of a book he published about ten years ago.
OK, he’s English. Primarily known as a novelist. Winner of the Man Booker Prize and many other literary honors.
He’s Julian Barnes, and he has a dread of death.
The account above, which I’ve condensed from the original, is just one example of what Barnes, who is an avid Francophile, likes to call le réveil mortel – an awakening with a...
Her friends call her "the atheist who went to heaven."
While cycling on her usual route, Nancy Rynes was run over by a distracted driver of a SUV. Nancy was pinned between the vehicle and the road. As she was pulled across the pavement, she had what she calls dual consciousness. While she was being dragged underneath the vehicle screaming in pain, she was also watching the whole accident unfold from above as she desperately hung onto life.
During surgery, Nancy Rynes died, but she recalled "awakening" to a beautiful landscape with a hillside covered in flowers and trees and a mountain range in the distance. Nancy experienced a sense of peace and love and welcoming that she had never felt before. "I knew something was different. It was not panic or fear. I was just a little confused. 'I must have died,' I thought to myself, 'but, then, why am I here? I don't believe in any of this!"
We did have discussions related to her experience in the operating room, and she sticks out in my mind because I could not come up with any other explanation other than a real near-death experience [NDE]— I remember her seeing this as a life changing blessing.- Nancy's physician Dr. Trojanovich
Nancy Rynes grew up in a Catholic family but eventually distanced herself from the church, considering herself an atheist. She explains, however, that during her NDE, she was clearly "welcomed into heaven."
She heard the words, "This is your...
One of the things that makes waiting to die a somewhat bittersweet experience is my girlfriend Lauren, though I’m sure she would object to being called “a thing.” No, she is both my dream girl and the answer to this old man’s unspoken prayers. I don’t know how I would have survived these past few years without her loving care and all the many things she has done for me during this time to keep the ship of Ring afloat. So it sometimes makes me melancholy when I think that when I die, I will have to leave her behind since the practice of suttee does not seem to be in her repertoire. I will miss her dearly when the time comes for me to take up residence elsewhere.
Lauren and I met online in March, 2015, just as she was about to leave her home in Piedmont, California in order to join her son, Rob, a flight surgeon in the Navy, in Florida where he was to get his “wings.” Lauren is, like me, an e-mail junkie, and in the first month of our correspondence, before we had met, we exchanged no fewer than 200 messages, some quite lengthy. I had obviously met my match and the epistolary girl of my dreams. We fell in love writing to each other, but of course we didn’t even know each other — we were only words on a screen. All she knew about me by then was that I had apparently been married a dozen times and had had innumerable affairs. I feared this one would turn out to be an affair to dismember.
Lauren is a therapist and like all therapists she had been seeing one for years. Of course, it’s a game all therapists play...
Weeks before Raymond and I launched The University of Heaven, I started seeing social media posts from a near-death experiencer named Tricia Barker. She was launching the First Online NDE Summit with a beautiful high-definition image of a river with rolling hills and billowing clouds.
"That image is beautiful," I thought, intrigued by the woman who posted it.
I soon found out that the river in the image came from Tricia's near-death experience, and the idea of creating online summits grew from what she learned of her purpose in life during her NDE. "I was told to go back and become a teacher and start the Universe School, " Tricia explained.
After recovering from the injuries related to the life-threatening car accident that led to her NDE, Tricia did, indeed, become a teacher. Part of her teaching duties included creating online courses, so it seemed a natural fit for her to bring her gifts and call for teaching to the Internet. Tricia saw the potential of online instruction to offer greater access to high-risk students such as new mothers, head of households working more than one job and adults with learning challenges.
And more recently, she expanded her identity as a teacher to reach out to others to teach about the healing power of the light within ourselves to overcome some of life's biggest adversities. Tricia's life's lessons are shared in Angels in the OR, her recently published book about her near-death experience and the challenges and blessings...
In 1992, Robert Borel compiled a 300-page manuscript entitled, Understanding Death: Similarities between the Near-Death Experience and the Esoteric Process of Dying.
From that work, Robert created a video trilogy that compares what we know about the science of near-death experiences with esoteric teachings about death in the Ageless Wisdom tradition. In this blog, Robert introduces the people, readings, and ideas that brought him to his significant work and offers links to his videos for all to enjoy. Thank you, Robert.
. . . ponder most carefully and sanely upon the so-called enigma of death. It is an enigma to man, but not an enigma to disciples and knowers of the wisdom. During the next cycle . . . death will become a normal and understood process.
Djwhal Khul Esoteric Healing, 390 Published 1942
Death: The Great Adventure by Robert Borel
Death: The Great Adventure, Part 1 by Robert J. Borel, M.A.
Death: The Great Adventure, Part 2 by Robert J. Borel, M.A.
Death: The Great Adventure, Part 3 by Robert J. Borel, M.A.
Life After Life
In 1975, I discovered a multi-page article in the Sunday newspaper devoted to Dr. Raymond Moody, Jr.’s new book, Life After Life. The book was concerned with the “near-death experience” (NDE), a term Dr. Moody had coined...
Dr, Raymond Moody and the staff of The University of Heaven are not advocating the use of psychedelics. However, we do think that informed discussion about them is important in our exploration of consciousness and end of life.
A high dose psychedelic experience is death practice.
-- Katherine McLean, psychedelic therapist
Lately, I’ve been reading a new book by the celebrated food guru, Michael Pollan, the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and other well-known books about food and the food industry. But his new book isn’t about food. It’s all about psychedelic drugs, and its subtitle tells you exactly what Pollan is on to in this surprising turn in his professional career: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. Wow, about the only thing he left out is the proverbial kitchen sink.
Well, did you know that there is such a thing as a “new science of psychedelics”? Indeed there is, and if you haven’t noticed, it’s actually been going on for the last two decades. And these days it’s legit, too, with research programs being carried out by distinguished scholars and academics at some of the leading universities in the U.S. as well as in Europe. Pollan’s bestselling book, entitled How to Change Your Mind, is an excellent journalistic account of all this work and what we can all learn from it, regardless of whether we have used psychedelics or not.
Rajiv Parti MD, and the Lessons of His NDE
I have written a dozen books on near-death experiences (NDEs), four of which are New York Times bestsellers. The subject of NDEs is one I’m devoted to, and as a result I am constantly in contact with researchers in the field of near death studies as well as those who have had the experience.
NDEs are extraordinary. The idea of leaving one’s body at the point of death, traveling to a Heavenly realm and seeing beloved relatives who have passed, is truly the hero’s journey of our modern age. People who could have died are now kept alive with technology and medicine that didn’t exist just a few years ago. It is because of those advances that the threshold of death is pushed back and NDEs become deeper and the stories richer.
It is these stories that may eventually answer mankind’s greatest question: What happens when we die?
Which brings us to Dr. Rajiv Parti, former chief of anesthesiology at Bakersfield Heart Hospital. His is most likely the best NDE I have ever heard, not just for the experience itself, but for the transformation it led to.
In 2008 Rajiv Parti, MD, was Chief of Anesthesiology at Heart Hospital in Bakersfield, California. He derived his identity and happiness from the incredible amount of wealth and prestige his job gave him. He lived in a mansion, had several luxury cars, and was able to purchase most any material goods he wanted.
For some reason this made him feel invincible.
In August of that year - everything changed. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer. A routine surgery to treat it, in the...
Dr. Ring enjoys hearing from his readers. If you have comments about his blog posts, please send them to [email protected] .
What is the bane of an old man’s life? That’s obvious. Naturally, it is the body. But what is the bane of an old professor’s life? (No fair peeking ahead!)
Give up? I will tell you.
It’s his archive. Oy, what troubles it has caused me during this time of waiting for the end to come. Rumor has it that I will perish, but meanwhile I have been consumed with the effort to make sure that my archive survives my death. It’s paper immortality I am going for.
Let’s start at the beginning. What is an archive? In my case, it’s all the professional crap I had accumulated during my forty or so years as a professor and author that I had felt worth preserving in hopes that one day an enterprising biographer would find his or her delight in trawling through it. (If there are any takers out there, get in touch. I’m taking applications.) The contents of my particular archive consist mainly of records of my research, interview tapes with near-death experiencers, reprints of articles I’ve written, original copies of some of my books on NDEs, lecture and workshop notes, files of all the professional presentations I’ve given, professional correspondence, and tons of letters I’ve received from people of all sorts, mostly describing various kinds of unusual experiences they have had. In short, the paper...
Soul Release Intercession & The Journey Home: Inspiring Passages From Near-Death Experiences to Comfort the Dying
Linda and I want to extend our sincerest thanks and gratitude to Dr. Raymond Moody and Lisa Smartt, MA, co-founders of the University of Heaven, for inviting us to write this guest blog. Raymond and Lisa are clear evidence of NDE experiencer Dr. George Ritchie’s directive that “The central message of the near-death experience is that life is inherently sacred and must be lived with blessed intensity and purpose.”
A Brief Overview
Okay, let’s state right upfront…witnessing and experiencing death can be overwhelming. But it’s inevitable, like taxes, right? Ultimately, we’re all in the same boat. Nevertheless, the way in which we witness and experience death can make the difference between experiencing great stress and what can be the most sacred and beautiful experience of our life.
If you are preparing for the death of a loved one, or perhaps preparing for your own eventual transition, a myriad of emotions are probably summoned, including fear, helplessness, loneliness, grief, even wonder/curiosity.
As hospice volunteers for many years, Linda and I have been privileged to assist numerous families and their loved ones who are dying with confronting these entirely legitimate emotions. Their pain is so VERY real.
The heightened emotional states one enters as they ponder, witness or enter into death provoke the question: “Are we helpless at this most holy stage in...
How Can NDEs Be Real If Having One Means You Are Crazy?
I was counseling one of my young patients on what to expect after having his tonsils out. I was just getting to the good part where I was going to tell him that he would get to eat ice cream for a week, when his grandfather interrupted me and said vehemently, “Tell him about the tunnel”?
“What do you mean?” I asked. “What tunnel?”
“You know,” the elderly man said, “the tunnel he’ll see after he gets his tonsils out."
“Oh don’t listen to him," his daughter (the young man’s mother) said to me. “He’s crazy. He is always talking about the tunnel he saw when he had his tonsils out when he was a child. Don’t pay any attention to him."
Even though I was already 30 minutes behind in my schedule, and my nurse was giving me the “hurry up” look, I took the time to ask the man, “What do mean that he will see a tunnel?”
The elderly gentleman sat back in his chair and said, “You’ll think I am crazy, but when I had my tonsils out, I saw a tunnel. Then I went down the tunnel. The sides of it were lined with lights like airplane landing lights. I came out on a beach, where it was so beautiful. I felt so loved, so at peace. I have never forgotten how wonderful it was. I learned that life is about trying to...