Almost always, a person who’s had an NDE wonders, “Why me?”
If you’ve had a great NDE, you wonder if you’re special, if you’re supposed to do something remarkable with your life, be famous, be another Mother Teresa. You may have discovered the secret of the universe, and it may be true–and you may wonder if you’re expected to go out and sell tickets so you can talk about it all the time. The safe answer to all of those is, “Probably not.” Just be a kinder, more aware version of who you are. Be the most of who you are.
But if your NDE was frightening, or terrible, or convinced you that you’re going to hell when you die, or left you feeling guilty, you’re probably wondering what’s wrong with you. Does this mean you’re damned? Kicked out of heaven? A wicked, horrible person? Are your sins that terrible–or was that a psychotic episode? Again, the safe answer is, “Probably not.” The bad news is that you’re going to have to work harder than if you’d had a beautiful NDE to figure out the real meaning of the experience in your life.
Here is a most important fact: There is NO evidence that good people get good NDEs and bad people get bad ones. Yes, what is called the “conventional wisdom”–the folklore of just about everybody–tells us that people get what they deserve. But a quick look around tells us that the real world doesn’t work that way. Babies and little children and kindly, helping, delightful people were just as likely to be killed in the recent string of tornadoes as were the drug dealers and child abusers.
What 30 years of study tell us is that nobody knows why people get the NDEs they do. Saints have had terrible experiences, hellish experiences, glimpses of nightmarish scenarios. But they were still saints. People who are generally disapproved of–whoever is on your list of “mustn’ts”–have reported NDEs full of light and love and wisdom.
So what’s the point of being good if it doesn’t make a difference in whether you get punished? And why would you be treated that way if you’re not a bad person? For one thing, because maybe it’s not about punishment. Maybe it’s about learning something you wouldn’t have otherwise. And maybe the point of being “good” is because it’s a happier, more satisfying way to live.
If you choose to, you can believe that a terrible NDE means hell. That’s not the choice I would recommend, because it means you’ll be living in fear your whole life. What I recommend is that you keep coming back here while the site fills up with information and ideas, and hopefully with sharing by other people in your situation who have found ways to get through to a better way of feeling about themselves, the world, and–if you’re religious–probably God. Stay tuned.
Dave Woods says
If we leave this Earth able to love unconditionally, we’ve gotten what we came for. In order to develop this ability, we have to acquire it in the face of adversity. You LOVE no matter what the conditions are, against all odds, or what ever. This also means love others regardless of their character flaws, or failings in life. Just learn the difference between helping and enabling, and do the best you can.
Amen to that!
Alan MacKenzie says
I came across somthing that i thought might be worth mentioneing. Cherie Sutherland, an Australian researcher, interviewed 50 NDE survivors in depth and found that the effects on the lives of survivors had been remarkably consistent and quite different from the effects of drug or chemical induced hallucinations. She identified many effects which have been substantiated by other studies e.g. Ring (1980 and 1984) Atwater (1988). These included:
• a universal belief in life after death
• a high proportion (80%) now believed in re-incarnation
• a total absence of fear of death
• a large shift from organized religion to personal spiritual practice
• a statistically significant increase in psychic sensitivity
• a more positive view of self and of others
• an increased desire for solitude
• an increased sense of purpose
• a lack of interest in material success coupled with a marked increase in interest in spiritual development
• fifty per cent experienced major difficulties in close relationships as a result of their changed priorities
• an increase in health consciousness
• most drank less alcohol
• almost all gave up smoking
• most gave up prescription drugs
• most watched less television
• most read fewer newspapers
• an increased interest in alternative healing
• an increased interest in learning and self-development
• seventy five per cent experienced a major career change in which they moved towards areas of helping others.
I could relate well to 11 of the 19 points listed! Amazing! Alan
Amazing, isn’t it? A long time back, when there was still hot discussion about whether the ‘noir’ experiences were “real” NDEs, I put my own bleak experience up against the Weighted Core Experience Index that Ken Ring had developed to gauge the intensity of pleasurable NDEs. As I recall, a score of 11 marked a definite yes, and by the simple expedient of changing the tone (not the intensity) of emotions from pleasant to unpleasant, my experience scored a 17. Bingo! And yes, that recognition changed everything. Glad you found Cherie’s list.
Hello, I was told that I have had several NDE’s, the most significant one, I think, was when I was 18 and I drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in France.
I know that something happened but I don’t remember much. Since moving to North Carolina, my experiences have been trying to come to the light of memory. It’s very distressing to me because I need a way to know and understand what happened and why. Let me know if you have any ideas. Thanks.
Alan MacKenzie says
Hi Joanna: I think I could recommend a really good book to begin making sense of your experience(s) in the Mediterranean Sea. Holden, Greyson & James (2009) published their book entitled “The Handbook of Near-death Experiences”. I hear it’s excellent! You can get a good price at The Book Depository in the UK — see http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Handbook-Near-death-Experiences-Janice-Miner-Holden/9780313358647 . Hope this helps somewhat!
P.S. If you make some headway and learn more about your experience(s), would you mind sharing it with us sometime? Cheers, Alan
Nan Bush says
You say you have been *told* you had an NDE–but how would anyone else know that? Like any memory, an NDE belongs only to the person who actually had the experience. First, if you had to be *told* you had an NDE, I am curious about the circumstances and the qualifications of the person who told you that.
Second, even if you did have an NDE that you don’t remember, the fact that it is hidden in memory means it isn’t ready to come out yet. There’s a lot to be said for patience and not trying to force things. (Crack open an egg too soon, and you’ll never get a chick.)
Linseay Jo says
During the time I experienced a hellish NDE I had a close relationship with God. Actually was closer when I was a young child. Was a free spirited, ALL was GREAT. A few years later was taken to a Church and was taught God was an angry, jealous and vengful God that was hard to please. If a devil didn’t get you God would.
None of this felt ‘right’ to me, but I was just a kid and the adults? Well, they seem to know and was considered wrong to ask questions. Bottom line I was ‘brainwashed’ to believe their truth, others too since within my family are many ‘hell, fire and brimstone’ preached. And taught everyone who belonged to any other Church…most were going to hell.
So, to nutshell what happened, that NDE helped me! Opened my eyes.
In my opinion it is not right when someone dies to think, decide or say where they are. As I read in a book, a hitman experienced a ‘positive’ NDE while others with wonderful reputations-even church goers-experience hellish NDE’s.
Is not, as Jesus taught, our right to judge others. I strongly believe in the power of prayer including to pray for those who cross over NO MATTER who they are or WHAT THEY’VE DONE in our eyes. Including bin Laudin.
Linseay Jo, the churches like the one you describe–the ones that ignore the message of love and caring for each other and for Being, the ones that want the sacred to reflect their own fear and anger and love of vengeance–those churches represent hell on earth. My own experience has been in a very different kind of Christian church, in which the central belief is that the universe is grounded in a love we cannot fully understand but that we are to try to emulate. I am so glad your NDE showed you something good and true. And yes, prayer for EVERYONE, no matter who or what they have ever done. Thanks so much for writing!
What do I do I do if I can hear peoples conscience. I mean everyone and everything. It scares me cause I hear things I can not see but never guide me wrong. I need help trying to understand all of this stuff.
Nan Bush says
Jessica, of course that may seem scary, because your way of having information is out of the ordinary. But–and this is really important–that does not mean there is anything bad about it. It’s just unusual. You say you have not been guided wrong, so it seems you can trust the understandings. I am checking in with a couple of people I trust to get you some solid information about your type of receiving. I will email you as soon as I hear from them.
Hi! I had a NDE in 2008, 4 weeks after I gave Birth to my 3rd daughter I lost literally half the blood in my body! While I was Bleeding out I sat on the toilet calling for my husband and fell over, he placed me on my side and called for help. He said my pulse was “minimum if at all.” All I remember is black, everything was black except for me being able to see my Aunt who had passed away the year before. She would not allow me to touch her but I asked again and she stopped me and said “if I do I could not go back.” I’ve always wondered what this meant. Is there any way you could maybe help me understand?! Btw her name was Patricia and when I woke in the Hospital my Nurses name was Pat! It made me smile and gave me comfort!
Nan Bush says
Chrissy, thanks for your story. There are many reports of people’s hearing this kind of “you can’t come here yet” message during an NDE. Often it is worded as, “It is not yet your time.” Some people report arriving at a barrier–a stream or fence or gully they can’t get across–or maybe just a sense that “if I go there I will never be able to get back to the life I know,” while others are given a direct message such as yours from your Aunt Patricia. Not everyone has this experience of being turned away, but it is one of the more interesting aspects of some NDEs. And of course, it’s another of the aspects for which there is no absolutely agreed-upon explanation! Part of the mystery.
Beverly J. Lee says
Had cardiac arrest in July 2014. Went to spirit world where I met deceased family members. Then went on to something like a holding station, then had glimpses of heaven where I went and met Jesus and talked with him. Not recognizing it was him I told him I lost my way home and how to get back. He told me and I woke up sometime later in the hospital. My glimpse of heaven revealed mountains like on earth, but, were full of diamonds the size bricks. BJL I also was escorted a couple of times to earth and back by my guardian angel.I was mostly in a coma for about a month!! BJL
Nan Bush says
Thank you, Beverly.
NAIA Merriman says
Hello I had a lot of nde when I was four I almost died twice I had a sejer and then my apendicts ruptured and if I dieing go back to the hospital I would of died both times I also always get hurt I have scares on my head I once cut my arm open I burned 65% of my belly in 3rd degree burns and I’m always falling I have the most bizarre dreams and never forget them mine are so vivied and real i had also once drowned and almost died in my neighbors pool I once was in my room and a gold flash of light shined on my wall at 2 am at. Night I also sleep walk and sleep talk quiet often I also when around bright lights and loud noises I get an out of body experience I feel woozy I feel like I’m someone els I feel almost in a carton everything is just different if someone is similar or can explain my crazy life btw I’m 12 sorry about the spelling please reply
Nan Bush says
Naia, I am wondering how other readers of this blog would respond to your message, and am asking them to read it very carefully and then speak up.
Karen Hanning says
I had an NDE at age five during a tonsillectomy which was not completed because my tonsils were OK. The NDE itself was very pleasant and happy. It was what happened later that wasn’t. I’d like to correspond with Nan further on this, as aspects of it were more similar to your experience than any I’ve heard of. Please do give me some contact info to do this if possible. I recorded some of my experience on the website which was provided for that some years ago, but would prefer to communicate privately. Thanks very much. Best from KH
Nan Bush says
Karen, I’ll reply by email. Probably Tuesday, Nov 17, as I won’t have time before then.
sheila rogge says
Hi. I had a nde when I was 7 years old. I was laying in the bed with my mom ( which was kinda weird to start with) and I woke up from my sleep. I was unable to breath and I was extremely sick. I have never felt that kinda sickness since. Even at 7 I know I was about to die. I started to reach for my mom and I all of a sudden felt this weird sensation. I was pulled from my body into the corner of he ceiling. I looked down and I could see my mom beside me asleep and I could see my own body. I was so scared. I was crying for my mom. Nothing was coming out of my mouth tho. It was like I didnt have a mouth ….Or a body for that matter. After looking down at my body for what seemed like forever It was like I was dropped. I fell back into my body and was in he exact position again of reaching to wake my mom up. For whatever reason tho I didnt wake her. I just looked up at the ceiling crying….for hours. In silence’ This is something that I will ALWAYS remember. My older brother died years ago and he told my Mom that he could see angels in the corners of the ceiling. I am not someone who has a religion. Im more of a IDK person……But It happened. There is nothing that even resembled a dream in this. It was real. People can tell the diff between a dream and reality. I have had vivid dreams before…very vivid. It does not come close. Anyways That is my NDA. It is short and not as juicy as other people but it means something to me. I know science can explain feelings and other things but I do not believe thee is anyhing in your mind that can cause you to see your surroundings like that from above. At seven years old I had NO IDEA other people had this happen to them. I didnt have internet or even tv really. I was clueless until I got much older. I know you guys dont know me for nothing but I can promise on all the good in life this is real stuff. This happens. I dont talk about it much bc it is kinda scary. This is also not the onlly thing that has happened to me. There is one other but i will NOT talk about it bc I sound like a nutcase. It was a year before I died.
Nan Bush says
Sheila, thank you for this. It’s so important that people hear about these experiences in childhood! They mark people forever, as you say. And of course, how is any adult to know what to say as a way of preparation, in the course of raising a child? This is definitely real stuff!