Months have gone by since my last post. Months, since I confidently promised a conclusion to my answer to Tomas’s question, “Are you afraid of death”? It’s been months.
People wonder (with reason) whether anyone who has had a distressing NDE will be terribly afraid of death. Because the usual response is an uncompromising “yes,” I was really, seriously trying to figure out my answer. In the first responding post I talked about my realization that there are ways in which we are all afraid, because we’re hardwired to repel death. In the second part I went over why I am not afraid of the hell that most people mean when they ask the question, “Are you afraid of death?” Part three was to be my personal answer. I said it would have something to do with Carl Jung. But it’s been months. Why?
Am I afraid of death? I don’t know.
The not-knowing dumped me into a royal case of writer’s block, which had begun to feel permanent. However, perhaps astrological lineups have changed; for whatever reason, today I seem ready to tackle an answer.
Why I think I may be not afraid of death
There is more, now, to my feelings about death than the panicky horror that filled the years closer to my distressing NDE. My understandings about practically everything are far more sophisticated. (Thirty-two years with IANDS will do that. So will an additional five decades of living, with a dedicated attention to Figuring Things Out.)
So, let’s talk about five out of many differences between then and now. I am relating them in terms of people who have made deep imprints, not because they’re the only people to influence my ideas (quite a few of whom are now poking at my thoughts, trying to get equal time); but because their input has marked significant discoveries that made a difference.
Discovering near-death: Jayne Smith, Maggie Callanan,
Among the earliest beautiful near-death experiences I heard, back in the early ‘80s, was that of Jayne Smith. What an introduction to the field! Of countless other pleasant-to-glorious NDEs, hers remains significant, in part because its optimism and serenity reflect the person herself. [Full disclosure: Jayne and I have been close friends ever since.] Such affirming NDEs seem to me foundational in building a sense of trust in the universe, especially for people with a difficult NDE in their mind.
Along with NDEs, the concept that people approaching death might have any awareness of it was a brand new idea to me and just about everyone when hospice nurse Maggie Callanan co-authored Final Gifts. “Nearing death awareness” was the term she coined for a shift toward metaphoric thinking as dying clients began to talk about making travel arrangements, moving, new telephone numbers, reunions, and party planning. (Bewildered family members often tried to discourage such “crazy ideas.”) Although there might be a sense of anxiety about being ready on time, most of the dying did not seem afraid of the rendezvous itself; they simply had something to do, somewhere to go. The whole idea opened new ways of thinking about what dying might be like. Final Gifts has been a gift for countless families, and for me. A huge bonus for me came in the long, long hours of telephone conversations in the months preceding the book’s publication as Maggie was exploring near-death experience and I was exploring…well, everything. What I remember most is the amount of laughter in our conversations.
Discovering energy: Joyce Hawkes, Marian Wurster
I had no idea I was a bioelectric energy field. Likewise, I knew nothing about healing. But someone introduced me to dowsing with metal coat hangers, and then through one of those mysterious happenings which occur when we’re ready for change, my unprepared self was invited to participate in a large healing service. At the conclusion of the ritual, I was approached by my mentor, healer Marian Wurster, who wrapped me in a hug that became … like standing over Old Faithful when the geyser erupts. The sensation was of being shot upwards on an instantaneous tower of blazing white light, like riding the outside of a Canaveral rocket, like being a tourist propelled into the stratosphere or into the special effects of a sci-fi blockbuster. I had discovered energy.
Not long after, on the opposite side of the continent, I was sitting in the living room of biophysicist and healer Joyce Hawkes. I had just been introduced to her Filipino healer houseguest when a client arrived unexpectedly, a young man on crutches, coming to Joyce as his last option before having a foot amputated as the result of an auto accident injury. The foot and ankle were heavily scarred, grey-white and cold (yes, I touched them); he could put no weight on the foot. He sat on a kitchen chair in the center of the room, with the Filipino healer kneeling at his foot and Joyce standing behind him. I was an observer from the couch. For perhaps forty-five minutes there was total silence, while the two healers moved their hands a few inches from the ankle and head, as if brushing away cobwebs. They never touched him. Then a testing, and another ten minutes or so of more brushing gestures. And by the end of the session, when the young man walked across the room without crutches, his scarred foot and ankle were warm and pink. When he had left, I gasped, “What did you do?” Joyce smiled and said, “We were praying.” And the Filipino healer said softly, “Oh, it wasn’t much. Only to move a bit of tissue.”
Something is definitely going on. There is more to the world than what the materialist view tells us.
Discovering consciousness: Carl Jung, and Stanislav Grof
The Wikipedia entry for “Collective Unconscious” includes two of my favorite quotes from Carl Jung. The first is from The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious:
“…in addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche …there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.”
And from Man and His Symbols, Jung speaks of archetypes:
“…what Freud called ‘archaic remnants’ – mental forms whose presence cannot be explained by anything in the individual’s own life and which seem to be aboriginal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind.”
Archetypes are not experiences themselves but templates for mythological motifs in experiences recurring across cultures, across time. How else to explain the presence of Yin/Yang symbols unrecognized in the NDE of a young New England Congregationalist?
And then there was psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, whose decades of research with psychedelic states of consciousness demonstrated convincingly the experiential universality of those archetypal patterns. There they were—the monsters and demons, the angels and gargoyles of NDEs both heavenly and hellish, the heights of human emotional and spiritual experience and their depths. There were all possible types of experience, not as the physical after-death realities described theologically, but truly existing as potential states of human consciousness. Not eternal, not punishment, not damnation; meaningful but simply (though not simplistically!) experiential.
In other words, hell can be thought of as not external, not “out there” but as originating in the deepest levels of our psyche.
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.
Discovering the sacred: Morris Owen Evans, Matthew Fox, John Shelby Spong
Almost exactly one century ago, in 1915, the University of Chicago published the monumental International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. You can read it still, online. Its managing editor was my paternal grandfather, the Welsh clergyman and scholar, Morris Owen Evans, D.D., PhD. A force to reckon with, he died barely six months before my birth. To the extent that I have any belief in reincarnation, I am suspicious.
From toddlerhood, I have been pursuing the sacred. Together, we have evolved from the raw Calvinism of the vacation Bible school of the Christian Missionary Alliance Tabernacle across the street from our liberal Congregational parsonage, through the increasingly less stringent doctrinal years of United Church in Christ (UCC), to the Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry and Spirituality I earned from the Roman Catholic University of St. Joseph so that I could find out about mysticism.
There was Matthew Fox and his Creation Spirituality, pointing out that God had said about Creation, “That’s good!”, replacing Original Sin with Original Blessing.
And then came the Episcopal Bishop (now retired) John Shelby Spong, considered by some to be the “Anglican Antichrist,” but to others of us the shepherd of a new and deeper spirituality:
With Spong, I say, “But the fact is I can no more abandon the literal patterns than I could fly to the moon. I just go beyond them.”
He says, “Christianity is, I believe, about expanded life, heightened consciousness and achieving a new humanity. It is not about closed minds, supernatural interventions, a fallen creation, guilt, original sin or divine rescue.”
He says, “…death is ultimately a dimension of life through which we journey into timelessness.”
I have been discovering, as the United Church of Christ says, that “God is still speaking,” in ways that make 21st century sense.
Discovering dying: Mildred Pile Evans and Eleanor Roosevelt
My mother valued responsibility, integrity, civic good works, and good manners. And music, always music. She prayed from her devotional daily. The girl from the tiny southwestern Kansas town of Protection grew up working alongside her dad, the local newspaper editor, in the paper’s shop. She graduated from high school and announced to her startled parents that she was leaving the next morning for a job with a Chatauqua circuit. (Chautauqua road shows traveled from town to town, as vaudeville did; before radio, they were like an early 20th century PBS.) For almost ten Chautauqua seasons she played the piano, sang, did interpretive readings, directed youth programs, acted in plays, and drove endless miles through all (then) forty-eight states. She put herself through college that way, and eventually became the quintessential pastor’s wife in a series of Congregational /UCC churches in New York State, running Sunday schools and youth programs, directing church plays, singing in the choir, keeping the peace in a parsonage of husband and four daughters. In addition, for twenty-five years she commuted into New York City to work full-time as an administrative assistant at UCC national headquarters. Shortly before her death at 87, frail and confused after surgery for a subdural hematoma, she woke from a nap and told me in great mystification about having just had a wonderful experience. She had seen a group of people in a beautiful field across a stream, all of them happy and working together. It was perfect, she said. “The loveliest person” had come to her, and Mom asked if they had a job for her. “Not yet, Mildred,” said the loveliest person, “but we will.” All of my mother’s anxieties melted away, and for a day or two, nursing home staff were stopping by her doorway to see a smile so radiant my sisters and I still cannot describe it adequately. Within a few days she was gone.
My mother held Eleanor Roosevelt in awe, as did much of the world. The icon of my growing up, she wrote: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
My mother died. Eleanor Roosevelt died. If they did it, I can, too.
steven weber says
Is it not faith alone, and not certainty, that is required to answer the question, “Are you afraid of death?” with a “no”?
As, both faith and death, have the same foundation: absolute uncertainty
steven weber says
Conversely, one could say with absolute certainty that they are afraid of death–this requires no faith whatsoever! For, death is both an absolute certainty, and an absolute uncertainty. As, the foundation of fear is uncertainty.
Dee Montalbano says
Nancy, This is simultaneously learned, passionate, profound, and powerful, and I thank you. It is a treasure….as are you! Dee
Nan Bush says
Dee, you have always been able to make me smile. (I just calculated it–that’s 63 years of “always”! Dear heaven.) Thank you.
I have had my own final conclusions (to date) about this topic for awhile, and the title here “Are you afraid of death?” and the line above “I have lived through this horror, I can take the next thing that comes along” echoes the same base idea – we aren’t supposed to know. We choose explanations that make us happy, from religion or some other source, but the bottom line is always the same – we don’t know.
I have done about 500 EVP sessions in my apartment with my phone voice recorder, and I will tell you – there IS “someone” there (you should try it). The bottom line is that they never tell you anything, and the overall picture shows they cannot be trusted anyway if they did – after all was said and done, I was lied to. There may be “good” ghosties out there, but there is no way to create a dividing line and know for sure who is who when you communicate with them.
If we did know, the bottom line is that the suicide rate would sky rocket, and that’s not what life here is about. Why stay here in the midst of all this “bad” when something better is out there?
This “can’t tell you” veridical paradox extends into the UFO subject as well, because they are linked (think of “the universe” as “heaven” and it will make more sense). Their “contact” with us is NOT like the way it is explained on the Ancient Aliens TV show – it has to do with life and death on a “global” scale, and if the “global” picture doesn’t follow the instructions, we die – just like the Clovis people did when N America toasted C 11,000 BC in the mega-fauna extinction event. Bottom line – they didn’t know what they were supposed to know.
This short explanation is as close as I can get based on everything I have looked at over the last 41 years. Do I fear death? On a scale of 1-10, no, and I give that answer a 9. I do fear data errors connected to incomplete or contradictory explanations … which leaves holes in the overall picture and creates more questions. Based on everything to date – it seems we go on. How that happens, whether the quantum physics explanation is right, is anyone’s guess … that’s a hole … that’s a problem. X-amount of people have a “tunnel” experience, one person “flies in on a butterfly wing” – problem. Some people meet religious characters that were never real – problem. How do we draw a line?
Dave Woods says
Some people meet religious characters that were never real – problem. How do we draw a line?
Jim, years ago, I read some of the Seth Material. It was mentioned that to make the person who just died comfortable, the spirit they encountered would assume the appearance of the deity they were most comfortable with.
Let’s face it. Being drop kicked into the realm of the unknown can be traumatic for folks. Especially if they’re thoroughly indoctrinated by the mystical clap trap they’ve been fed all their lives.
Well I on the other hand was an atheist as a child, despite the religious stuff being bombarded at me through foster parents. When my dNDE occurred, there were no religious figures in it. In fact, there was NO one in it. No one existed! And I had to witness the horror of this reality. (**Having a hard time describing exactly how it was with my experience**)
But afterwards, I did believe in a God, or at least a creative force. That the universe wasn’t simply “innocuous” (**Again, having a hard time describing what I mean**).
Dave Woods says
I know what you mean.
Nan Bush says
Thank you, too.
As I write this, in this NOW, I’m not afraid of death because I know we don’t die. Beyond that? I pray I find myself in Heaven!
As far as I’m concerned, one hellish trip is enough!!! 🙂
(Nan, what article here is about how we don’t exist?)
Nan Bush says
Lin, posts about the Void might fit that description.
Nan Bush says
Lin, I do so embarrass myself sometimes! The core piece about how we don’t exist is my own NDE account. If you have the book Dancing Past the Dark, it’s chapter one. In trying to tell you where online it is stored, I realized it’s never been put online here. Le sigh. More interactively, you can link to http://ndestories.org/nancy-evans-bush/, part of David Sunfellow’s astonishing New Heaven New Earth site. There’s a bunch of stuff at the link, including an interview in which I relate the NDE and talk about what came afterwards. Before long the NDE will be up here, too. Appreciate your question’s setting me on track!
Dave Woods says
I have faced potential death in the hospital three different times. I can honestly say I was not afraid to die. My wife Jan is my soul mate. Every day, she came to the hospital and stayed with me until they kicked her out.
I feel that I’ve been with her before. in other lifetimes. I was 62 when I met her. She was 49. Call me a cradle robber if you want to.
If I fear anything, it’s what will happen to her, my kids and grand kids if I go. They’re still struggling, not on their feet.
I’m the master link in the family chain that holds it together. They all tell me I look like the “missing Link”, but what cares I for praise.
Jan is the only woman I wrote a love poem to. When I was recovering from my heart surgery, still in very bad shape, I wrote this for her. Even in death I’ll never leave her.
In the twilight of my life
When I’m closer to the end than the beginning
Sadness, the pain of learning
The illusions of what I could and should have been
Could and should have done
Have all melted away
And I’m left here with nothing
But the reality of who I am
And here I’ve found you once again
In our embrace, we’re children
who’ve walked the journey of discovery
Through the darkness to the light
Across the lifetimes where we fought and died
Laughed and cried
Were mother Father friend lover sister brother
We’ve come together time and time again and
again and again.
In our moment now that seems so fleeting
We yearn for more time
But we had to find ourselves
before we could recognize each other
Don’t love with regret for time lost
We will meet again
And as long as forever in eternity endures
Across all time and space
My spirit will always find yours
Again and again and again
I love you
Dave for Jan 2000
Dave Woods says
I mistakenly just read the replies on this thread, so my comments in my last reply were geared around my own attitude toward death. Now that I’ve read Nancy’s comments (sorry bout’ that) I’m better equipped to add something relevant. So here comes the bull in the china shop.
I, lucky for me, was never forced to go to church. However my mother born in 1894, raised catholic, hit me with both barrels of the Christian guilt trip shotgun, and it took awhile to dig out all the pellets. (pardon the image)
Do I believe that Christ existed….yes. Do I believe he could do what they say he did…yes. However, I think his disciples were in competition due to their ranking as to who was closest to him. Mary Magdalene, a disciple, was a thorn in their side as well. She was the only one who stuck it out with Jesus as he died on the cross, while his other disciples?… took a hike.
The gospels, written after his death, and who knows how long after, were re translated through different languages. Constantine and every despot who came after him tweaked the bible so they could retain control, all the way to King James.
In the formation of the early catholic church, those who organized it picked, chose, and altered what was collected in the writings, in my opinion also to create absolute control.
Mary Magdalene was demoted to a prostitute, and the role of women in the church was subservient from then on. This rubbed off on women outside of the church as well. Rulers, the elite, and the Church, go hand in hand down through history.
My question is this. why do our realizations about death and dying have to have the ominous shadow of the Bible hanging over them? Don’t run to the bible for justification, run to your heart. For me, Church? forget all that. I’ll stay out here in the street where I belong. God’s easy to find out here. I just saw Him/Her in the face of a hungry man who asked me for a dollar.
Dave Woods said:
“My question is this. why do our realizations about death and dying have to have the ominous shadow of the Bible hanging over them?”
I’m sitting here wondering if I should answer this because I know how people are regarding religion. Oh well, here goes.
Keeping this simple, the bottom line has to with the idea that SOMETIMES, archeological information needs to be coupled with psychological information. The ancients were “us” – which means they had the same brain, and, were targets for the same mental and psychological problems we experience.
Regarding “religion” … for example, people look at ancient Egypt and see a wonder … I look at Egypt and see a sociopathic / narcissistic UNEMPATHIC “religious elite,” where ONE PERSON sat before the common people and claimed to be a god. Everything was about this “one person” and his priests, who made up doctrines and told the people what they wanted them to believe for control sake.
This picture has two phases according to the work of Bernhard Brosius (Cayönü to Catalhöyük) phase one was stopped roughly about 7300 BC if memory serves, after about 1000 years of control and what seems to have been – human sacrifice. The people finally had enough, and hit these religious elite so hard and fast, they didn’t have time to grab their underwear and run. The “temple” was turned into a garbage dump, and the society rebuilt and lived wonderfully – that is until C 4000 BC in pre-Egypt.
The short story is, the picture began to reemerge, but without the human sacrifice. It kicked into high gear C 3300 BC because of an astronomical event that has at least a 40,000 year history with humans. The basic problem is – it was never stopped. Sumer and Egypt laid the foundations for control and narcissistic “one person rule” in every nation that popped up in history from then until now. We are in the mess we are in today because it was never stopped.
The idea of “religion” being “the” explanation regarding what is going on (in context here regarding the afterlife) has an illogic that people can’t seem to grasp, because they are all absorbed in the “doctrinal playground” of every belief system. A classic example is “Christmas” … and NO ONE seems to see that Christmas is really the feast of Sol Invictus … the SUN was (re)born, after 3 days and night of “death” IE, the sun was motionless in the sky during the winter solstice, and then begins its trek back north.
So, what does this have to do with Nan’s study? Simply put, SOMETIMES you have to disconnect the main subject from the garbage that clings to it so that interpretations are more clear. Nan’s “ying/yang” NDE experience was showing her that EXACT problem … it ain’t all a bed of roses out there … there are LIES and MENTAL MANIPULATIONS going on from a “spiritual” perspective as well as a physical perspective. Nan’s experience was hijacked and shows this manipulation does happen. Why? Just to screw with your head … period. It cannot affect the outcome, but it can make a mess of your thoughts while you are here.
Who are they? Well, if we are supposed to wind up “else where” in some “wonderful place” and whoever they are, are STILL HERE … based on what they are doing, one would tend to think they “didn’t make it / weren’t wanted” and are STILL HERE living their after-lives like they lived before they died – like MORONS.
I have done my own EVPs in my living room, and I’m telling you now, they are NOT to be trusted. The last LIE I got was proven when I looked up the “death” of the person involved, and guess what – not dead. This was followed by “bang-bang” – as if they shot me down?
This follows Nan’s experience where she was told some of the most ridiculous stuff I ever heard. “You never existed?” Really?
We are confused because of our history and the mental manipulations that have gone on, and are still going on. Time to grab the bull by the horns and straighten this mess out.
If I was “God” I would be dancing up a storm – BECAUSE SOMEONE WAS TRYING TO THINK and not just follow the bouncing ball of doctrine!
Does this negative aspect prove anything for us? Well, based on everything, they are exactly like us here on earth, and, that paints an interesting picture.
Dave Woods says
All I can say to this Jim, is that I’m lucky I pretty well never got caught. In ways that I did, I’ve gotten free. Not completely, because I’m still angry about what was done to me. This is not helping me…..I know that.
My neighbors next door got busted in the early dawn of last Sunday morning (the LORDS day?) I hear BAM! as they broke in the door. I look out and see helmets, assault rifles, and people on their knees with their hands cuffed behind their backs. Yes, there had been drug activity going on. The illegal survival kit of the poor.
A young boy named Billy was being told to shut up, he had moved in with his father two days before because he’d lost his apartment and had nowhere else to go. He had nothing to do with any of the drug activity.
Two days later, I encountered him in front of my house. No money, no place to live, all of his belongings confiscated, and nothing to eat. I bought him a bacon egg and cheese, a coffee and gave him the 10 bucks, I happened to have on me.
He had worked for me raking leaves, and shoveling snow. At 79, these tasks are getting much harder for me. I told him that when his case got to court, to have his legal aid lawyer call me, and I would vouch for his character to the judge. God is within us. and everything living. Love is it. School was never meant to be easy.
Norman Van Rooy says
My fear of death has waxed and waned over the years. When I was a child I feared death. I wanted to have sex before I died for goodness sakes. Later I became aware of consciousness and unconsciousness and feared a little about the “shadow” side of myself and that I could be overcome by darkness. Like Nancy, after living many more years I realized that there really was nothing I could do to earn a “good” or “bad” experience upon dying. I have faith in the fairness and goodness of GOD to interface with me in the way that is perfect and just. If that means a frightening experience then that is what I will accept as what is necessary for my growth. If I fall off a ten mile high cliff I will let go of trying to control results and have faith in God. That is where I am today. Deep down inside of myself I know I belong to the goodness of God. What else can I do?
Nan Bush says
Ah, Norm, dear friend, of course there’s no “what else?” to our answer. There’s only where you’ve arrived, and where I’ve arrived, however we may categorize that. So glad to be with you!
I’m way late to this conversation, because there’s something about the holiday’s that to puts a damper on my desire to be on the computer. More time for the heart, less time for the machine.
But then, speaking from the heart is what makes this particular blog post so meaningful. As understandably difficult as it is, personal experiences with the Divine is what people really need to hear. Academic insight may give the writer credibility, but it’s the personal ‘what happened to me’ stories of encounters with the sacred that breathes life into the subject. As Nancy has underscored repeatedly, it’s all about the experience.
For those who enjoyed this entry, I strongly suggest reading the book Glimpsing Heaven (covered in the previous blog entry). In several passages Nancy discusses how she has come to terms with her fears of the Afterlife in the context of her distressing NDE, and it makes for inspiring reading. I especially enjoyed the part where she looks forward to confronting God about her distressing NDE. The lady’s got spunk, and that’s why I’m a Nancy Evans-Bush fan. More than any other leader in the field(s) of spirituality, she has a way of making paranormal seem normal, and the Divine seem naturally accessible.
This well articulated positive perspective on the Unknowable coming from a distressing near-death experiencer means more to me than a boatload Heaven is for Real and Proof of Heaven books.
Nan Bush says
Thank you, dear Henry. Many thank you’s. Now to get another post up…
For some ideas for the next post, I’d like to relay an experience I had back in my early 20’s, during a period when I had just aged out of the Child Services System:
It involves my discovery of a mind machine (such as like: http://www.toolsforwellness.com/light-sound-machines.html) that I used to explore all my spiritual & mental platforms. It was a time when I was still having dreadful visions of the dNDE realm I experienced years ago. My NDE still seemed like it occurred the week before last.
The mind sort of gave some more detail to my thoughts on my NDE fears. But after repeated use, my mind went to a better place.
Nancy (“NEB” as I sometimes refer to her) could very well be “The Oracle” to our Neo.
Nan Bush says
Oh pshaw to you both! 🙂
I’d also recommend “Beyond Mile Marker 80”. I’m still reading it. And had also met Jeff Olsen. As with many other bNDE’rs, I felt a soothing effect, one less pebble on my shoulders.
Holidays kept me away from the computer, because no internet cafe was open! Ha!
But I did come down with a very bad flu…….
Nan Bush says
Bronchitis is sympathizing with your flu. Feel better!
Thank you! Likewise.
Its just a good thing I didn’t come near death or have a scary vision again, this time! It was the pesky flu that brought me to the edge of death (thus the dNDE) in the first place, over 25 years ago.
So it always has made me nervous whenever I get the flu. That’s why I keep a stock of chicken soup and orange juice at home.
Nan Bush says
Sensible food stocking, with or without an NDE.
Dave Woods says
I just listened to your interview on Skeptico, and I have some insights from my own experience to add. First of all I knew about near death experiences before my open heart surgery. I had read Many Lives Many Masters. This being said, I can say that I was not influenced through my exposure to these. My experience was nothing like anything I’d ever been exposed to through indoctrination.
I was taken out of bed by staff and tipped back in a reclining chair, I was very weak. All of a sudden I was looking at a range of low hills. with low cut grass or some kind of close to the ground foliage. I instantly had the feeling that I was no longer on the earth. I was on another planet or plane that I’d never been to before.
There was a feeling that pervaded my consciousness. This feeling stayed with me through the entire experience. Even now, I remember it exactly. I felt I had no choice but to go along with what was happening. I had no way to get back.
Everything was in full technicolor. I moved along to my right, and came to a very wide ravine. It wasn’t large enough to be a valley, and I entered it. I was awestruck with a feeling that I was not on the earth any more and that I had no choice but to accept it. I went in.
This was not like a dream in the sense that what I was witnessing didn’t change form as I looked at it. It all seemed to be solid. Things didn’t shift and change, or drift.
I experienced myself as an aware consciousness moving along and taking it all in. I also had a feeling that nobody had been there for hundreds of years. It was a forgotten place that had once meant something to someone or some thing. So long ago that anything regarding its meaning had been lost. Even now as I try to describe it I’m filled with the strange feeling of what it was like to be there.
I was totally alone on this world. Aside from foliage, trees, there was no sound, insects, birds. I was moving along on one side of the ravine, sort of uphill from the bottom. I remember turning to my left and seeing trees down there, It was dead quiet. I turned to my right, turned around, and started moving out, back the way I came in. I was conscious, and I could see anywhere I wanted to look. It was not the 360 degree sight that you hear about in nde’s, it was directional.
I came upon a monument lying on an earthen terrace. It had obviously been created, I was not a natural feature. On it was a cast Iron birds wing. I say this because it had the brown patina that cast Iron gets over time. It was maybe 15ft. long, flat on the ground. I was at the end that would have been attached to the bird, and the tip was pointing away from me. The feathers were raised, wide, and highly stylized. I would say that there were only six or seven of them.
At this point I could still look around, but I could no longer move. I felt frozen in the air, and I began to feel apprehensive. As I think back on it perhaps my body had stopped breathing, I don’t know. Then, I heard a faint voice, so far away that i couldn’t understand it, and I broke free.
The feathers on the monument began to break apart, and float towards the voice, and hear, they did change. they were smaller and translucent, shadow like. light came through them but you couldn’t see through them. I started following the stream, and finally I opened my eyes and there was a nurse with medication for me.
I have never forgotten this experience it’s as vivid today as it was then the feeling, everything. I’m convinced about one thing. There are many other realities besides this one, and they exist simultaneously right along with this one. I the blink of an eye you can be there.
I posted this experience once before, but never in this detail. This happened 15 years ago. I felt that after listening to your experience this might be relevant in some way.
Nan Bush says
Dave, thank you so much for so much detail! It is indeed an evocative experience. Something about your wing and those drifting translucent feathers will stick with me.
Dave Woods says
I had another significant experience related to this. There ARE guardian spirits here on this Earth. I don’t know if they’re assigned to us individually, or they arrive in crucial situations, but they’re here.
When I was being wheeled into the trauma center during my heart attack, there was a guy pushing the chair. He was staring straight ahead, disinterested, all in a days work. My Wife Janet was walking about 8 feet ahead of the chair, her back was to me.
Right behind my head at about the level of my neck, an intense angry female voice started up. It hissed “it didn’t have to get to this!” “You’re fat and you’re lazy”! I was not delirious. The vibe from the spirit was “you’ve got so much further to go, and you’ve stupidly allowed this to happen!” I had a feeling that she’d been keeping tabs on me for a long time.
Interesting that your NDE realm involved foliage and trees. Mind involved a desert. and I fully understood the emotional connection between that image and inner myself. tho I confirmed it by checking with NEB’s suggested dream work.
What inner emotions did you have that were connected with the foliage and trees? Today, do you consciously understand the significance of such a scenery to your life?
Dave Woods says
No I don’t. I’ve never tried to think of how the symbolism of the experience related to my life in the here and now. In fact, I never thought of it as symbolic in any way. I just know that I was there. I’ve never had a “dream” like that, ever. I never had an inner feeling as I experienced it like that before.
I have had dreams where I went to other places. I know one’s consciousness can leave and travel elsewhere during sleep. I’ve had those, and I remember some of them. But, I drifted into these, and the surroundings metamorphosed and shifted around. My hospital experience didn’t it was unique. I didn’t know what to make of it, didn’t think of it as a near death experience, and yet, it’s just as vivid to me 15 years later as it was the. Go figure.
When my experience(s) happened, I didnt even know what a NDE was.
But Dave, its a good idea to explore your own soul, psyche, and mentality. Your experience could hold clues to what you should know about yourself and your life. You have to honestly dig deep.
Nancy, I have commented before in your discussion about Maurice Rawlings. I don’t know where to put this question so I’ll pose it here if that’s all right. Hopefully it’ll have some relevance.
Reading George Ritchie’s books, hearing interviews, reading critical commentaries, I cannot find out if Ritchie was a Christian fundamentalist prior to his NDE. Do you happen to know if he was?
The reason I ask is because his is one of the very few truly significant NDE’s where someone claims to have been met by Jesus Christ, who identifies himself as the Son of God i.e. a deity of some sort. The actual words Ritchie claims to have heard were, “Stand up. You are in the presence of the Son of God”.
In 99% of the NDE’s I have read about the experiencer never mentions meeting Jesus Christ or God. Ritchie’s story is so unique it was the catalyst for Moody starting his own research yet Ritchie claiming to have been given a tour by Jesus is so out of the ordinary far as NDE’s go I can only wonder if a deep religious upbringing helped to influence Ritchie’s perception that he was met by Jesus and not a spirit guide or angel as most people claim.
As you know, modern Biblical scholarship is leaning toward Jesus either having been a mythical figure like Dionysius, Attis, or Bacchus or at most just an itinerant wandering rabbi like hundreds of others at the time who ran afoul of the Romans and was crucified. We have no objective evidence Jesus rose; all we have are the gospels written some 50-100 years after his crucifixion. Certainly nothing points to Jesus being divine. Even Mark’s gospel hints at Jesus being an ordinary man who could perform some miraculous things.
So do you know whether Ritchie was a fundamentalist as a child and if so do you think this might have influenced his claiming to have met Jesus?
Nan Bush says
I do love this observation! Answer: Dr. Ritchie was a lifelong devoted Baptist in rural Virginia, which means an evangelical, quite probably a fundamentalist. His NDE, although infinitely more detailed than most, is a solid reflection of his cultural background. I’m planning a post on this topic soon.
I will look forward to it eagerly. Be sure to inform me when it’s up. I would also like to point out something I found very VERY interesting about Ritchie when he recounts his NDE or talks about it: that in Ritchie’s numerous interviews he always states that a voice said plainly to him, “Stand up! You are in the presence of the Son of God!” Not “…Jesus, the Son of God”. And whenever Ritchie refers to this Being he always without fail calls it “the Christ”. For example in his interview with Joan Rivers on YouTube here is his statement regarding this Son of God Being: “I met the Christ”; and in the video interview, “Life After Death Reincarnation Past Lives A.R.E.” Ritchie says, “If I had the chance to meet the Christ…”; again, in the classic video of Ritchie’s experience, with the dramatization of the event during WW2 interspersed with his comments, he refers to the Son of God twice as “this Being” and then says, “The next thing that took place was “the Christ” motioned to me…” Then Ritchie says, “I wanted to stay there but [again he says] “the Christ” was pulling me away…” So Ritchie seems to subconsciously or even consciously be reluctant to refer to this Being by the name, Jesus. I think something very profound is going on here in Ritchie’s account of his experience, taking this odd detail into consideration, and I was just wondering if you have any thoughts or inside knowledge as to why Ritchie constantly refused to call the Being Jesus. Is it possible he couldn’t really recognize the Being as the Jesus we’ve all come to picture in our minds from familiar portraits and images we see of Jesus i.e. the long hair, the beard, etc growing up as Christians? Do you have any thoughts or opinions on this peculiar aspect of his experience, Nancy?
Nan Bush says
Jack–and everyone–to get every post immediately, you can subscribe to the RSS feed (left panel).
As for your question, you’ve hit a major issue. The died-and-resurrected Jesus is walking and talking with his apostles, looking just like his usual human self. Then they see him rise and disappear into the heavens. Assumption: that it is that same Jesus who, in the literal image, sits down at the right hand of God. Many churches, I suspect, never hear a discussion that goes beyond this level.
As the ‘Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church’ says, the Ascension implies that Jesus’ humanity is being taken into heaven.’ But that does not mean that it is that body which is the Son of God in heaven. George Ritchie was a lifelong student of the Bible. He would have been thoroughly familiar with Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 15.44), which states clearly: ‘There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.’ It is likely that he would not have expected to encounter the earthly Jesus in his NDE.
The earthly Jesus lived in human form; he is thoroughly human. Whatever it means that Jesus the man was the Son of God, he lived here on earth( in a human body, ate, taught, had friends, healed, died. (And it is simply common sense to point out that the only scholarly accepted mention of his ascending is from Luke, writing more than a half-century later.) The Christ who is met in heaven is the Son of God in spiritual form. It is that Christ, that Son of God of Ritchie’s expectations, which would logically have appeared in a spiritual experience. That is the being of Paul’s experience, the blindingly transformative, indescribable, overwhelming Presence, so much like Dr. Ritchie’s encounter with a spiritual being.
Does that help?
Dave Woods says
One explanation I’ve heard is that the Christ was an entity that entered Jesus, but was not there all the time. It’s also logical to think that there were residual effects and knowledge that remained with Jesus when the Christ was not within him. Thus his wisdom. When the Christ was there Jesus could perform the miracles told in the Bible.
Nan Bush says
Dave, I don ‘t know where you heard that ‘the Christ was an entity that entered Jesus but was not there all the time,” but whoever you heard it from was wrong. The Christ did not pop in and out. The Christ is what Jesus became after his death.
Somewhat, and thank you Nancy for trying your hardest to explain something that might be unfathomable. There’s not enough room here to accommodate my full reply, but I would say that the difficulty starts with the Jews originally being polytheists (many Elohim as stated numerous times in the OT) and then the various portraits painted of Jesus from an ordinary man not born of a virgin in Mark, to fully Elohim in John.
So who’s the real Jesus? And of these numerous portraits painted by the gospel writers and Paul which was the Being that appeared to Ritchie and why was Ritchie singled out for this rare event? It’s quite clear to me now that Ritchie’s fundamentalist upbringing was the overriding factor in in him believing that Jesus appeared to him, even if he couldn’t bring himself to label Him Jesus. That would partly explain why atheists almost never have Jesus appear to them during an NDE. We almost have to think of Jesus being two separate entities, an earthly man who may not have even assumed that he was divine (if indeed he was) and a separate entity that was a divine Son of possibly one of the many Elohim. Perhaps there are innumerable sons of innumerable Elohim and Jesus was the Son of the Jewish Elohim, Yahweh, as Jesus stated he had not come for anyone except the house of Israel.
So in my mind I have to separate Jesus, the wild-eyed fanatical rabbi who was possibly mentally unbalanced who says “These shall go into everlasting torment” and “these shall be bundled up and burned as kindling in everlasting fire” and various other repugnancies from the mild-mannered Jesus who said “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, etc.” Clearly in the gospels we’re dealing with a schizophrenic Son of Man and which one appeared to Ritchie is the burning question in my mind.
Nan Bush says
Jack, take a look at my response to Jon, which I think bears on your comment. I do think it is very easy to fall into over-complicating things. What we have in the New Testament is one story told by four different people, with who knows how many other hands on the texts before they were taken into the canon. The real Jesus is the person behind all those points of view. (If four acquaintances were to interview your close family and friends and then write about your young adulthood, you’d get four different pictures, too–but you would still be real!)
No, we are not dealing with a schizophrenic Son of Man! We are dealing with a later scribe shading an account to reflect a particular point of view about what he (and his audience) thinks should have been said. Salvation for Jews of Jesus’ day meant the health and well-being of Israel as a people in this world; it was not until after his death, and after the loss of the Temple (the loss of the cohesiveness of Israel) that salvation came to be about individuals after death. Whatever Dr. Ritchie experienced is his interpretation of what he saw, which may or may not be factually accurate.
I can’t comment on the details of THIS particular case, but there has been a few child-bNDE’rs who’ve been given tours by Jesus, hand in hand.
One lady I know of had several NDE’s at the age of 5, and she lived in a non-Christian home that abused her to death (literally).
She said that Jesus took her hand and gave her a tour of Hell, then told her that everything’s going to be alright.
Jon F. says
Can you recall what the hell she claims to have been given a tour of was like and/or why people went there according to her?
Nan Bush says
Jon, when we ask about things like “what hell did you go to?” we start interfering with a person’s NDE as experience and turning it into something impossibly geographical. These are not points on a map; they’re points (sort of) in consciousness, and not necessarily transferable to anybody else’s experiencing. They really cannot be concretized without distorting the whole thing.
Jon F. says
I’m inclined to agree with the viewpoint that trying to pin down details about the hereafter by treating NDEs as literal glimpses of it is inadvisable. Even so, further info on what the lady says she saw in hell and elsewhere during her alleged NDEs as a five-year-old girl, how they reportedly affected her at the time and how they’ve reportedly affected her more recently would probably make a worthwhile read – unless perhaps her story of them read like the sort that Maurice Rawlings would have lapped up if he’d still been with us…
No offense, hellboy. I cannot believe Jesus would give a 5-year old a tour of hell. The poor girl was probably pushed mentally beyond the bounds of sanity because of the abuse. For her just to say she’s had several NDE’s raises a red flag in my mind.
Well the lady in question said that Jesus took her by the hand as he walked WITH her through a long hallway that resembled an old world prison with the cells on either side of the hallway, and that the inmates were either demons or demented people. She said she knew that this was Hell and felt the heat of the place, but she wasn’t afraid because Jesus held her all along.
Furthermore Jon & Jack,
NEB is right about the fallacies of treating NDEs as literal glimpses.
The lady I spoke about who had NDE(s) at age 5 had experiences that made sense to HER life. She was severely abused by bad people. I reckon the creatures in the cells of Hell represented the abusers.
In my NDE, Hell did not have any warmth. It was COLD! Dark, nothingness. “Holy crap” fear (putting it lightly). And absolute loneliness. No Jesus figure holding my hand.
Two starkly different visions of Hell. But my Hell made sense to my own psyche. One that I’ve come to terms with. Sorta.
Jon F. says
If George Ritchie experienced what he said he’d experienced while dead or unconscious, and if pre-existing fundamentalist Christian beliefs did indeed have a lot to do with what he saw and heard during that time, why did he tell of having been shown that hell was a place totally devoid of love, as opposed to a fiery realm where souls of humans who had died without Christ as their Saviour were being horrifically punished by God (or God’s satanic proxies) with no chance of reprieve?
As to whether Jesus actually existed, the articles linked below indicate that most scholars with an opinion on the matter believe he was a real person. Still, errors do abound on Wikipedia…
Nan Bush says
Can we please keep in mind that the Bible contains descriptions of a good many powerful spiritual visions which were interpreted and told by individuals, just as today’s NDErs describe their visions. These descriptions are neither journalism nor photography; they are accounts of experiences, and like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike because they come from the psyches of different individuals in different cultures at different times. George Ritchie’s experience came out of an archetypal collection, let’s call it, that suited him; it contains strong elements of his Baptist background but was not an exercise in conservative Christian dogma.The fact that one person describes his vision of fire as hell does not mean that everyone will envision or experience hell that same way–and some in fact encounter fire and call it God. The fact that over the past century there has been a strong trend toward literalizing these accounts makes our job considerably more difficult.
Thanks for your reply, Nancy. I will take a look at your reply to Jon.
I misspoke. I didn’t mean to say that in realty Jesus was schizophrenic. After all, we’ve never personally engaged with him so how would we know? What I was trying to say is that because the gospel writings, upon which we base EVERYTHING we know about Jesus, were touched by so many hands over the centuries who changed much of the text to suit their own beliefs as well as tried to make more clear some confusing passages, we get a Jesus who at times seems to contradict himself, such as in Mark Jesus says it’s okay to eat non-kosher foods because it is not what goes into a man that defiles but what comes out. But then we get in Matthew Jesus saying that not one jot or title of the Law shall be void till all things be fulfilled.
Both cannot be correct. But we cannot blame this on Jesus because two separate writers with separate thoughts and feelings about what Jesus stood for were writing these accounts. Thus we get two opposing opinions from the same man.
Nan Bush says
Absolutely. This is why a strictly literal reading doesn’t work, because it can’t account for these shadings and–oh no!–seeming contradictions.Thanks for your clarification.
I’ll tell you what bothers me more than anything else about all this, Nancy, and that is that all this seems to me to be so capricious and unpredictable and it shouldn’t be that way. Why should one person who lived a good life be in danger of having a hellish vision while a bad person who hurt people be given a very pleasant one. On a purely cosmic level where everything is controlled by a God this is totally unfair and unjust, not in keeping with a hereafter where truth and justice rule. Rather it seems to be totally controlled by the mind i.e. a good person has an inordinate fear of hell therefore he experiences flames while a bad atheist who’s hurt people and has no concept of flames and hell gets a beautiful NDE.
That is the single thing that would tilt me to the opinion that these are all random products of a dying brain before life flickers out.
Nan Bush says
Ah, Jack. This is the age-old problem of theodicy: why do good people and suffer and wicked people prosper? Why are loving families in the Nigerian bush slaughtered by madmen while heartless billionaires oppress the poor and middle class and go out to dinner? Why do rat snakes eat baby bunnies?
I’m going to disagree with your statement that ‘everything is controlled by a God.’ I believe in God absolutely, but not that one. As long as we insist that God is a micromanaging entity who/that makes all these decisions, we will continue to suffer from answerless questions like these. And as long as we insist that our human sense of conventional fairness should be the only way the universe runs, we will be frustrated and angry. The fact is, if the universe were static, with no capriciousness and no unpredictability, life would be impossible. Mutations would cease. There could be no surprises. Free will would vanish. A non-smoking friend of mine has just discovered she has lung cancer. Am I going to blame God? No, because I don’t for an instant believe that’s God’s job; randomness happens. Asteroids run into moons. Glaciers calve onto sightseeing pontoon boats. Greedy people wipe out entire species of wildlife. People we think are blameless have terrible NDEs. Do I like it? No, but the fact is, this is the way things work. Some things we can influence, but not everything.
When we can begin to see the infinite complexity and richness of experience–all experience, the beautiful and the horrible–we begin to understand the arts and religion and spirituality as the expressions of other people who also wondered our questions and argued back, and found ways to put it into form. As the Psalmist said, ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof’–all of it, and our job as conscious beings is to learn how to live within that fulness.
About your mention of the dying brain, keep in mind that outside of the studies dealing only with cardiac arrest, very possibly the majority of NDEs happen when people are in no recognizable danger of imminent dying. Another one of those bewildering realities!
Dave Woods says
In terms of someone being clinically dead, or not, I read an experience about a man, I think he was a Russian, who was hit by a car. He came back to life in the Morgue. The Doctor/Scientists must have been pretty sure he was dead to have put him there. It was a pretty famous case. Sorry I can’t remember the name.
Nan Bush says
George Rodonia, MD, a Russian physician. Fascinating story, well worth looking up!
Dave Woods says
Not to change the subject, But I finally purchased A Kindle Reader. I’ve started taking it everywhere with me. I am a avid student of sociological/Political world history, as well as spiritual stuff. Chris Hedges, Wilhelm Reich, Robert A Monroe, Brian Weiss, and others. I actually went through therapy With Victor Sobe who was personally trained by Reich. He broke through the blockages that were impeding my energy (spirit) from fully flowing. However, it still has a lot to learn. I’m now avidly reading Dancing Past The Dark. Nancy, your historical analysis of Religion in humanity is like a glue that binds everything I’ve been studying together. I apologize for not getting off my dead ass, and reading it sooner. Now maybe my further input here will be a little more intelligent.
Nan Bush says
Dave, you’re such a mensch! Thank you.
Dave Woods says
Duuuuuuuuuh Thanks Nancy
I’ve just read through again all the posts and comments and would like to add some of my own. Firstly regarding Jack’s thought that the nde is just random firing of a dying brain (the dying brain hypothesis.) I understand where he is coming form regarding the seemingly capricious and unpredictable nature of the good/bad experiences, the injustice of it. I too then thought, oh well it seems the dying brain hypothesis must be right. I thought that for about ten seconds before recalling the undoubted veridical nature of some obes, and the shared nde (where a companion “travels” part way with the deceased before returning.) Both indicate that something leaves the body and continues to function.
The only thing I am sure about is that there is something going on, I just wish to God I knew what!
Also regarding the comments about Christ – I think someone stated that atheists do not encounter Christ – Howard Storm did – he is now a Christian minister.
Regarding Christ – there are so many conflicting theories out there, I suspect it depends on which books one has read.
My own personal take on this is that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure who was executed. Like all deceased he passed into the hereafter. I believe that he believed that he died for all mankind.
I’m happy to accept that offered gift. That’s just my take on that, what do I know? What do any of us know?
There’s also been a lot of talk about experiences coming from with our psyche, which I think many people take to mean it’s all “just in the mind.” I’m thinking that the experiences do reflect an actual reality, framed perhaps by our life experiences and deep psyche. Many experiencers are surprised at what they find there so I’m thinking that expectations play rather a small part.
The dnde continues to disturb, but at the moment I’m thinking that they must somehow fit into, or be encompassed by the glorious nde.
Well for what it’s worth those are my confused musings (I can’t call them conclusions) on the subject.
Nan Bush says
The most profoundest truth: “Something is going on!” Amen and amen.
Dave Woods says
The only thing that matters to me is does my individual consciousness remain intact. If that is so, and I’ve had enough experience to feel that it does, I’ll take it from there.
Having been told to”GO TO HELL!! many times by irate girl friends, wives, and others suffering from my idiosyncrasy’s, especially females, my answer in the face of this has always been, Yuh mean……This isn’t it?
As far as encountering horrifying threatening entities is concerned, my sense of humor will protect me.
“Did yuh hear about the herring that wanted to be his brothers kipper?”
If that doesn’t vanquish the threat, I have shaggy dog stories last so long that the entity will fall asleep or escape before I ever get to the punch line…..if you want to call it that. As you can see, I’m a master of understatement.
Yes, I have suffered from the day I hit the planet, starting off with double pneumonia at a year old, and being mostly bedridden with asthma for the next 10 years. When I was 10 I weighed 50 pounds. That taught me empathy for the suffering of others….not only that, but respect for it as well.
What’s the old saying when jumping off into the unknown? “Well here goes nothing”.
Nan Bush says
Love you, Dave. Keep on trouping!
Funny. I often reply to people who tell me to ‘go to hell’ that I’ve “Already been there!”.
Of course they have no idea what I’m really talking about.
Nancy, I cannot post under your comment above because the thread has gone so far to the right margin it looks like a worm, so I’ll post here re my dilemma about whether or not George Ritchie saw Jesus in his NDE or another spiritual being.
After considerable research I have concluded that Ritchie could NOT have been speaking to Jesus. Ritchie said he was told “Stand up. You are in the presence of the Son of God”, yet in subsequent recounts of his experience he never mentions the name Jesus, just “the Christ”.
I realize now that Jesus was not divine, just an ordinary man who sincerely believed he was the Messiah and who died an ordinary death believing God had abandoned him and was never raised. The proof for this is that Jesus taught FOUR different types of salvation: belief in him alone; belief in him + doing good work; belief in him + water baptism; predestination.
No truly divine savior could teach four mutually exclusively types of salvation. Add to that the fact that We now know Noah’s flood is pure mythology yet in Luke 17:27 Jesus states it as a fact, proving he believed the story was true; no God would mistake a fable for truth. Add to that his repeated failed prophecies that he would return in the lifetimes of his apostles. Add all that together and you have an ordinary man who was deluded.
Ritchie believed at first it was Jesus, I’m sure, because of his fundamentalist upbringing but later as he got older he soften his fundamentalist beliefs. He must have come to the realization this supernatural being was not Jesus, so he had to resort to calling it “the Christ” not Jesus.
Bottom line, it was not Jesus who appeared to him. Jesus is a son of God as we are all sons and daughters of God but Jesus is not God the Son who existed from eternity past as John states. Therefore Ritchie’s NDE remains a valid NDE, not a fabrication of his feverish mind in which he believed he died and had this experience but actually did not.
For me, problem solved. It was not Jesus who appeared to Ritchie. It was some other type of spirit guide. Thanks for helping me clear that up in my mind.
Nan Bush says
Glad you got it cleared up for you, Jack.
Have you ever heard of any distressful near death experiencer, in the aftermath of their trip, not wanting to exist anymore? Just out of fear, wishing to be annihilated?
Or what about not wanting to suffer ostracization or shame?
If so on either counts, do you know where these strong sentiments come from?
Nan Bush says
Aeon, I have never heard of anyone, after a distressful NDE, wanting not to exist–most probably because getting to non-existence means a return to something like an NDE state, and they fear a return to the circumstances of their NDE.
Absolutely everyone I have ever encountered who has had a distressing experience of the Void is struggling profoundly with a horror of annihilation. The fear of loss of identity, of being, of ego runs very deep. Now, there may be some people with a strongly nihilistic bent who might desire annihilation; I have not encountered anyone like that.
In answer to your final question, where would such sentiments come from–the wish for non-being–I can only speculate that it is rooted in a deeply pathological state of depression or despair. It would be a suicidal impulse, I think. But that is guesswork; I do not have the psychiatic sensitivity to have a grounded answer.
Well that would make sense then. The fear of that loss of ego self and having to face that emptiness of nothingness. That would explain why some distressing near death experiencers would wish (as an option) not to exist…to avoid the horror of nothingness.
I am of course speaking about their wish to have their whole CONSCIOUSNESS not exist, as opposed to simply their ego.
Nan Bush says
Yeah. Thanks for the reflection.