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...
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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...
[I actually wrote this last spring after my near near-death experience with the flu. But since another flu season will soon be upon us, perhaps this cautionary tale is timely after all. Its message is: Don’t fool around with the flu this year, particularly if you are of an age.]
I might have been a tad too glib when in the first installment of what clearly will be a terminal series having to do with my personal terminus, I observed that at least for me waiting to die was rather boring. [I was also too glib about writing off Tiger Woods; I guess I shoulda known better. O me of little faith…]
After this winter, I have had cause to change my mind. For a while there, I thought it might be more of a matter of life or death. I found myself thinking of the line Othello sings toward the end of Verdi’s opera as he contemplates his own death: “Ecco la fine del mio camin.” Colloquially, “This is the end of the line for me.”
You see, I was one of the millions who caught the flu bug or, rather, it caught me. And held me tight for a while in what seemed to be its death-like grip. It was really bad for a week or ten days there – it’s hard to remember how long. Even now, five weeks to the day after becoming sick, I am still hawking and spitting up gobs of sputum, and my voice now resembles that of your nearby frog. There were times when I considered whether the first piece I wrote in the series might well turn out to be my epitaph. And I admit there were moments, or...
by Lisa Smartt
"...the NDE may act like a benign virus, and by exposing yourself to it, you can catch it; that is, you can experience some of the same benefits as do those who actually have the NDE themselves."
Dr. Kenneth Ring Lessons from the Light p.5
As many of you know, I am the co-founder with Raymond Moody of The University of Heaven and The Final Words Project, an informal investigation into people’s last words. If you had told me ten years ago that I would be working with Raymond Moody to research final words, near-death, shared-death and after-death experiences, I would have looked at you cross-eyed. What? Who? Huh?
Now let me give you a quick before and after:
Before: You know that person on an airplane who is pale white and clutching at the safety belt...and the plane has not even taken off yet? That was me a decade ago before doing this research.
After: Surprised by my own comfort in the clouds, I know that when my time is here, I will be ushered to a place of peace and familiar safety. If I am in an airplane when it happens, I will be even closer to the heavens.
Before I began final words research, I spent most of my time on a plane white-knuckling my way through the friendly skies. Matter of fact, I white-knuckled my way through much of my life. However, then six years ago, after the death of my father, I immersed myself in better understanding what happens when we die through gathering and analyzing people’s final words. That work led me to read everything I could about near-death experiences.
I caught the...