A collection of powerful, life-changing quotes from people who have had near-death experiences, as well as those who have researched this very important topic.
“Merely learning about the near-death experience has effects similar to those reported by NDErs.”
— Researcher Kenneth Ring, Lessons from the Light
“For me personally, I’m showing more love to others now than before I started my near-death-experience studies. My understanding of near-death experiences has made me a better doctor. I face life with more courage and confidence. I believe NDErs really do bring back a piece of the afterlife. When NDErs share their remarkable experiences, I believe a piece of the afterlife, in some mysterious way, becomes available to us all.”
“‘It’s like climbing right inside a movie of your life,’ says one Near-Deather. ‘Every moment from every year of your life is played back in complete sensory detail. Total, total recall. And it all happens in an instant….’ During this instantaneous and panoramic remembrance NDRers reexperience all the emotions, the joys and sorrows, that accompany all of the events in their life. More than that, they feel all of the emotions of the people with whom they have interacted as well. They feel the happiness of all the individuals to whom they’ve been kind. If they have committed a hurtful act, they become acutely aware of the pain their victim felt as a result of their thoughtlessness. And no event seems to be too trivial to be exempt….
“Whitton has uncovered evidence that thoughtless acts are not the only things that cause individuals remorse during the life review. Under hypnosis his subjects reported that failed dreams and aspirations — things they had hoped to accomplish during their life but had not — also caused them pangs of sadness.”
— Author Michael Talbot, from his book, The Holographic Universe
“I’m not asking you to believe anything. I’m simply telling you what I believe. And I have no idea what the next life will be like. Whatever I saw was only from the doorway, so to speak. But it was enough to convince me totally of two things from that moment on: One, that our consciousness does not cease with physical death; that it becomes, in fact, keener and more aware than ever. And secondly, that how we spend our time on earth, the kind of relationships we build, is vastly more important than we can know.”
— NDEr George G. Ritchie, M.D., summarizing his famous near-death experience which helped launch the near-death experience movement. From his book, Return From Tomorrow. Readers may also be interested in Ordered to Return: My Life After Dying by George G. Ritchie and Ian Stevenson.
“For the first time in my life, I could see! I was stunned. This time I did not see the things that I had seen before. This time I saw every word, thought and action deemed unimportant, insignificant to man. Yet, I now understood the things in life that mattered most to God. It wasn’t material things, or money, or degrees, or even titles I had garnered. God deems those things insignificant, unimportant. They were the loving things I did from the goodness of my heart that were the most important. Until God revealed these to me. I had been completely unaware of them.
“I saw myself helping an elderly person with their groceries, comforting a friend in need, saying something kind when others were mean, standing up for the unwanted, advocating for those who wouldn’t find their voice, and being a patient listener who those who desperately needed to be heard.
“It was giving the homeless money when I didn’t have money to give and putting others, often complete strangers, first over my own needs because my heart told me it was the right thing to do. It was having a huge heart for all animals, giving love to them, rescuing and caring for them in times of need.
“I felt the immediate effect of my words, thoughts and actions on others. A great majority of these things I did not remember I had done because they were mostly things I did when no one was looking.
“But God was looking.
“I understood in that moment, that these things were displays of love, kindness and compassion. They were the only things that mattered in God’s eyes. They all required love. Love was the answer to everything!
“God placed in my heart the value of the little things, the loving things we did for each other.”
“Every word, thought and action, no matter how small, affected everyone and everything. I had no idea of the power and consequences of my thoughts, my words and actions. I knew it was imperative that I remember this if I returned to earth. I had it all wrong! I hadn’t given importance to the “little things” and how each of my words, thoughts and actions affected others.”
“I have never interviewed anyone who had a near-death experience who told me that they came back to make more money or to spend more time at their jobs away from their families… Instead, they become convinced that they need to be more loving and kind. They react to their experience by living life to its fullest. They believe their lives have a purpose, even if that purpose is obscure to them. Invariably it involves concepts such as love of family or service to others. They seem to know that the love they create while living will be reflected and radiated back to them when they die.”
— Researcher Melvin Morse, M.D., from his book, Parting Visions
“What do I think happens when we die? I think we enter into another stage of existence or another state of consciousness that is so extraordinarily different from the reality we have here in the physical world that the language we have is not yet adequate to describe this other state of existence or consciousness. Based on what I have heard from thousands of people, we enter into a realm of joy, light, peace, and love in which we discover that the process of knowledge does not stop when we die. Instead, the process of learning and development goes on for eternity.”
— Researcher Raymond Moody, from his book Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife
What is the difference between the brain during an NDE and the brain on say, LSD?
“The difference is brain chemistry is affected by LSD. During a NDE experience, consciousness leaves the brain. Consciousness survives death and is eternal. Having experienced both, I have some expertise.
“During my NDE (40 years ago at age 30, I drowned), I was part of the experience, involved in it, participating in it, one with it. There was never any fear, only overwhelming love and peace. It was more a remembering, it all came back to me, of having done this all before, knowing I was going home, an experience of having complete knowledge of the Whole/Source/God.
“About 15 years later, I tried LSD a few times, also mushrooms and MDMA. This was shortly after I found out what I had was called a ‘near-death experience.’ Before that I didn’t know what to call it and never talked about it because I was afraid people would think I was crazy — or possessed. Then I started reading about other people having similar experiences.
“The psychedelic experiences were as different from my NDE as looking into a fish tank and SCUBA diving around coral reefs in Nassau. The only thing similar was the out-of-body experience and exploring another dimension of the multi-verse. A big difference is between seeing and being. LSD showed me a mechanical, Newtonian universe. Mushrooms more of a fairy land, full of interesting, magical creatures from etheric to earthy, underground. Ecstasy was an exploration of my inner being from a loving perspective. All fun and exotic, but nothing profound, ineffable, meaningful, esoteric like the NDE. I returned with knowledge of particle physics and galactic motion (and I’m no scientist).
“Forty years later, I remember no details from any of about half a dozen psychedelic experiences and every detail, feeling, and emotion from my NDE. It changed the course of my life, my personality, my interests, my beliefs, my future. I know my purpose in this life and I live it. I have no fear of death, I know what happens next! The drugs did nothing but provide a few hours of meaningless entertainment.”
— NDEr Diane Goble
“I looked up and I saw this light; it wasn’t a normal light, it was different. It was luminescent. And it grew. I kept looking at it like, ‘What is that?’ Then it grew large and I went into it.
“I went into this tunnel, and I came into this room that was just beautiful. God held me, He called me by name, and He told me, ‘Mary Jo, you can’t stay.’ And I wanted to stay. I protested. I said, ‘I can’t stay? Why not?’ And I started talking about all the reasons; I was a good wife, I was a good mother, I did 24-hour care with cancer patients.
“And He said, ‘Let me ask you one thing — have you ever loved another the way you’ve been loved here?’ And I said, ‘No, it’s impossible. I’m a human.’ And then He just held me and said, ‘You can do better.’ ”
— NDEr Mary Jo Rapini
“God’s not particularly interested in our material success in this world, but He’s interested in our relationships — how much we love one another — that’s what God cares about. And if you are doing you’re very best, no matter how humble it is, to love one another, God is EXTREMELY PLEASED with what you are doing.”
— NDEr Howard Storm
“It’s all about relationships.”
— NDEr Tina Angeli
“When he [Jesus] told me that I had to come back to the world and I was trying to convince him not to send me back…, I asked him what would I do if I came back… Before he had a chance to answer, I said you know I am an artist and I would like to build a shrine for you… I would make this shrine so big and beautiful and bizarre that people would come from all over the world out of curiosity to see what it was about. And what they would find was it would be about you. And that would make them think about you. That’s what I would like to do if I came back.
“He said, I would rather you didn’t do that.
“And I said, WHAT?!! People have been building shrines to you forever. There are lots of shrines. Why can’t I build a shrine? I would like to build a shrine.
“He said you spent so much of your life hiding out in the studio, avoiding people, I would prefer it if you didn’t avoid people by building this big shrine… I don’t really care about shrines. People like to build shrines. I understand that. It makes them feel good. It does absolutely nothing for me or for God. We don’t have any use for them whatsoever. If that’s what amuses you, I guess that’s what you gotta do. But don’t do it for me. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking it’s something I want or need, because I don’t.
“I’m like, OK, you shot down my idea, what’s you’re idea of what would I do?
“And he said, love the person that you’re with.
“And I said, OK, great, I’ll do that. No problem. What do you want me to do?
“He said, I just told you what I want you to do: love the person that you’re with.
“And I said, Yeah, but after I do that, what do you really want me to do?
“No, that is what I want you to do: love the person that you’re with.
“I said well, that’s simple enough, that’s easy, I can do that.
“And he said, oh really. Well, that’s what I want you to do. That’s enough.
“And I said, how is it enough?
“He said, if you do that, you’ll change the world.
“And I said, oh, you want me to change the world?!
“Exactly, that’s why put you in the world in the first place: to change the world.
“Well you know there’s been a lot of people that have tried to change the world and they usually turn out really pretty badly. I can think of examples like Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung. All of them wanted to change the world and they made it worse. If I go back and try and change the world, why isn’t it possible that I could a lot of terrible mistakes and make the world a worse place?
“The way that I want you to change the world is by loving the person you are with.
“Wait a minute, that’s a contradiction. You want me to change the world but you just want me to love the person I’m with?
“Yes, that’s the plan; that’s The Big Plan… If you love the person that you’re with, then they will go out and love the person that they’re with, and they will go out and love the person they’re with and it will be like a chain reaction and love will conquer the world and everyone will love one another. That’s God’s Big Plan.
“It’s not going to work.
“Why won’t it work?
“I love the person I’m with. They walk across the street and get run over by a truck. Everyone gets angry and upset.
“Yeah, that happens. But it’s really God’s plan and nothing is going to stop it. It’s going to happen.
“Even if you had a million people, I don’t think it’s going to happen.
“There’s more than a million people in the plan…
“Well, from what I know of the world, you don’t have enough.
“Actually, we have all the angels in the plan. There’s a lot of them. There are more angels than there are people in the world… There are millions of people. There are all the angels. There’s God. It’s inevitable. The plan is going to happen.
“If that’s your plan, I’ll do it, but I just don’t really see much hope for it.
“[And Jesus said], you don’t know enough to see how it’s going to happen.
“So, my solution to everything is to love one another. And when I read the Bible and found out that that was written in the Bible as Jesus’ commandment: this is my commandment, that you love one another… that’s the program. I have tried to be part of that program… So, I personally have no big plan other than to be loving.
“The only fly in the ointment was that I thought it was going to be easy, and it turns out to be the hardest thing I have ever done. It sounds so simple, but it’s really difficult. It’s easy for me to love my mother because she was a really nice woman and she was a very loving woman. It’s not hard to love someone who is really good and really loving. But what do you do with someone who is difficult, or really nasty? Those are hard people to love.
“And what does it mean to love someone? Sometimes to love someone means you need to incarcerate them. And that’s not a lot of fun. Sometimes loving someone means you have to put as much distance between them and you as possible and tell them to never call you. And that’s not a lot of fun. Loving someone sounds so simple but it is very difficult…”
— Excerpted from Part 3 (03:00 – 10:25) of near-death experiencer Howard Storm’s interview Matt Cline: “The Redemption of Howard Storm”. To listen to all four parts, go here.
“I thought that after the experience I was going to be a saint, and never have temptation, never sin and never have any faults. To my horror, I found out that wasn’t true at all.”
“After my near-death experience, I wrongly assumed that I was going to be a saint. That I would not have a temper, anger, or lust, or make mistakes at all. That somehow I had been elevated to this superior person. To my horror, I found out that wasn’t the case at all.”
“I was a raging fanatic. I drove my wife and my two teenage children very far away from me by being so obnoxious about their conversion.”
“I know that other people have not seen Jesus – they have seen a being of light. Jesus is a being of light; it’s the same; he’s the light of The Creator to me, according to my experience. He said to me, ‘Yvonne, I love my babies.’ And when he [said] ‘my babies’, he meant… ‘I love humanity, I love humanity, I love my babies…’ It means every one of us regardless of where we come from – our life, our gender, our race, anything happening in our life, he loves everybody completely, and perfectly. And I said, ‘Oh yeah, I know, you were Jesus. You came on Earth to teach love, so no wonder.’ That’s what I was thinking. And then he said to me, ‘I’ll show you how.’ And when he said that, he took my heart and put my heart into his heart and we became one. And it was a complete oneness… we merged together, as one. For a few minutes I could actually feel each emotion Jesus had for humanity. And that’s the moment I cannot express with human words. It is way beyond any vocabulary we have. Imagine billions and billions of waves of compassion and love and forgiveness and kindness and goodness and light and purity — waves going for Earth and carrying us through, lifting us through. It’s difficult to explain that one experience. It was just beyond this world… There’s a prayer Jesus said when he was on Earth. He said ‘God let us be one like you and I are one…’ And that is exactly what I felt and experienced.”
— From Yvonne Sneeden’s interview with Lee Witting of NDE Radio
“Don’t worry about yourself. You’ll be fine. Help other people.”
“Since that near-death experience, it has completely changed me. I’m not judgmental anymore. I don’t live in fear anymore. I don’t hate myself anymore. I don’t beat myself up anymore because I know from my own experience… GOD IS LIFE. It has completely changed my way of looking at the world…”
“It seemed impossible that I could be loved and accepted just as I was in that moment. Released from the burden of self-punishment, embraced in the wholeness of this forgiving presence, I was enveloped in joy. I seemed to become transparent, the light of divine love flowing through me. Then I heard the sound of soft, benevolent laughter, which felt like the wise and gentle smile of the Buddha. Again I was surprised and perplexed; I had not expected to hear laughter from a divine force. It rained over me like soft petals. Then it said: ‘My child, you mustn’t take things so seriously. You are just part of an evolutionary chain, in which all life evolves at different stages of development. You are only human. You need not judge yourself so harshly. Be gentle with yourself.’ I had gotten only the slightest glimpse of the limitless realms beyond the finite boundaries of the world we inhabit. I was eager to learn more.”
— NDEr Lee Thornton
“I was VERY much aware of my earthly life. There was no separation except that in that other ‘dimension’ I was suddenly aware of EVERYTHING — all the connections, all the ‘whys’ and the answers to the whys of my former life. It’s as if all this life I had been in a state of half awareness, or amnesia, wandering around asking ‘Who I am? Why am I? Why is this so hard? Why why why???’ and in that other realm the picture was finally complete. I got all the answers, or I remembered all the answers.
“And yes there was significant insight into others who I was in relationship with at the time, in particular, my step-mother. I was shown, or could see, her whole life, her struggles, her fears, and all that had made her into who she was. And I could finally see her abusiveness was not about me being a ‘bad’ kid. It was ALL because of her fears, her own earthly amnesia, and her struggles, insecurity, etc. I saw that she had been abused herself growing up. And in the end I could only feel great compassion and even admiration for her (after having seen the truth of her life, her fears, etc.) that she had been through so much pain, and that she bravely chose her life knowing it would be confusing and that happiness would be elusive, but that there were important people she needed to touch, and important experiences she needed to have. And I saw that its pretty much exactly the same for ALL human beings on earth in this way. We are all blind and scared while we are here. We do our best, and it’s all understood and our mistakes are forgiven once we have our expanded spiritual awareness back.”
– NDEr Amphianda Baskett
“In this non-physical state of being, there is a profound sense of belonging. Everything about everyone that exists is not only accepted, but admired, respected, recognized and celebrated. There is a cooperative, co-passion for being that permeates everything I experienced. Everything there is effortless. It is just so easy. It’s blissful. And it’s filled with a joy that is so fundamental it’s only really remarkable from outside of that state of being. So image that everything you have ever thought, imagined, experienced, dreamed, or created was recognized to be valuable to you yourself and to everyone else — to all that exists. Imagine that no matter what you do or how you express yourself, you belong and are valued. This is true. What was known to me, what was so basic as to be assumed was just that: that we are each intrinsically valuable and everything we experience matters, not just to ourselves but to each other and to All That Is.
“I use the phrase ‘All That Is’ instead of God, Source, Universe, whatever — a lot of those words have personal connotations that limit my ideas. And so when I say ‘All That Is’ it includes all that is. That’s the term that I’ll be using.
“My experience is that we are always within and expressions of All That Is which is a beautiful Force of infinity curious and creative energy and awareness. How can we be anything but perfect? We are All That Is just as much as It is us. We are created by It; It creates us. We participate in It; It participates in us. We extend It and It extends us. We are each individual expressions of this single infinite awareness. We are one. And we are each perfect exactly as we are.
“We’re so used to thinking in terms of hierarchies. The healer is more important that the addict. The teacher is more important than the arms dealer. These hierarchies of values are not real. I don’t care how dull, or weird, or messed up we think our lives are here in the physical world, I can assure you that all of us are having a valuable experience. And I don’t care how special we think we are, we are each uniquely special. Every single one of us. Our experience extends and enhances everything that exists. We are each infinity creative beings having an amazing experience just by being here.
“From the perspective out of body, it was understood that it takes some skill to even exist in the physical body, in the physical world. It takes a skill of focus to maintain consciousness within a physical body and then to participate in a collective, cooperative, creative experience of being in this physical world. So we’re all amazing. We’re all jet pilots flying 50 feet off the deck upside down. We are very cool. Just by showing up here, just by showing up.”
— NDEr Natalie Sudman
“Then I asked a question. All I remember are the answers. A voice boomed so loudly that it could make the universe explode. It said: ‘Everything is one. There is no past. There is no future. There is only now. And not only that, but every possible outcome for every possible situation is occurring at the same time.’ The last statement I couldn’t quite understand. I was shown an example of being at an intersection behind the wheel of a car and going straight, turning right, turning left, hitting the building on the corner, hitting a light post, going straight up into the air, burrowing into the asphalt — all at the same time. Every possibility was occurring at the same instant whether I did it or not…”
— From an anonymous NDE account posted on the IANDS website
“I saw all people as ‘energy’, and depending where our energy level was, that was the world we created for ourselves. The understanding I gained from this was that if cancer was not in our ‘energy’, then it was not in our reality. If feeling good about ourselves was in our energy, then our reality would be positive. If cancer was in our energy, then even if we eradicated it with modern medicine, it would soon come back. But if we cleared it from our energy, the physical body would soon follow. None of us are as ‘real’ or physical as we think we are. From what I saw, it looked like we are energy first, and physical is only a result of expressing our energy. And we can change our physical reality if we change our energy. (Some people have mentioned I use the term ‘Vibration’). For me, personally, I was made to feel that in order to keep my energy/vibration level up, I only had to live in the moment, enjoy every moment of life, and use each moment to elevate the next moment (which then elevates my future). It is in that moment of elevating your energy level that you can change your future (like my test results). It sounds very simplistic, but it felt very deep when I was experiencing the understanding of it.”
— NDEr Anita Moorjani
“I now know that a lot more exists than we are consciously aware of or capable of understanding. Each day, I am understanding more and more since the NDE. I am finding out that there are things I now feel I ‘know’ or ‘understand’, which I never did before. The best example I can think of is: imagine there is a huge warehouse, which is dark, and you live in this warehouse with one flashlight. Everything you know about this warehouse is seen through the light of this one small flashlight. Whenever you want to look for something, you may or may not find it, but it does not mean the thing does not exist. It is there, but you just haven’t flashed your light on it. You can only see what your light is focused on. Then one day, someone flicks on a lightswitch, and for the first time, you can see the whole warehouse. The vastness of it is almost overwhelming, you can’t see all the way to the end, and you know there is more than what you can see. But you do see how all the products are lined up on all the shelves, and you notice just how many different things there are in the warehouse which you never noticed, never even conceived having existed, yet they do, simultaneously with the things you know existed (those are the things your flashlight had been able to find). Then, even when the light switch goes back off, nothing can take away the understanding and clarity of your experience. Even though you are back to one flashlight, you now know how to look for things. You know what is possible, and you even know what to look for. You start viewing things differently, and it is from this new springboard that your experiences start to happen. And so I find that in my daily life, I am referring referring to different aspects of my experience at different times, and I am understanding things in a different way, and knowing things I did not know I knew.”
— NDEr Anita Moorjani
Realizing My Magnificence Means Accepting All My Feelings And Emotions
Question: What I found most interesting in Anita’s account is that she talks about the information she got about the influence of her inner attitude on her life. Now if I understood that correctly it is about somehow being totally in tune or such … something like being totally yourself. I would appreciate if she could say more about that. To me, this is actually the key issue about the NDE. What can we gain from it to live life in a better way?
Anita Moorjani: Oh, this one is easy! The number one lesson I learned is that it’s really important to always be me, and to value myself. For me, this insight was the key to understanding why I had cancer. Now I’m not saying I know why others get cancer. But in my case, my biggest insight was that my inability to value myself was one of the key elements that fed my own cancer.
Living in a world where I learned to believe that I am not lovable enough, not deserving enough, and not perfect enough, until and unless I could live up to some unrealistic expectation of what it means to be perfect, is a big part of what caused my body to become sick and fall apart. I bought into a fictitious belief of what it means to be perfect. But my experience caused me to become aware of the fact that I was never less than perfect or less than magnificent. I just thought I was, and thinking and believing these untruths is what eventually drove me to become sick. I had been spending my life, up to that point, trying to attain something I already was.
Also, I used to mistakenly think that “positive thinking” is all that is required to lead a positive life. I learned, however, that it is far more important to be yourself than it is to be positive. And sometimes, being yourself does not necessarily mean being positive, and it’s important to know that that’s ok too.
I agree that it’s good to find things in life to feel positive about, and it’s wonderful if we are able to cultivate a disposition where we can easily find things to feel positive and grateful for. But I have learned to be careful not to deny myself the right to feel bad, negative, angry, etc, when I am really feeling that way. It’s not always easy to be positive, especially if things are not going well at a particular time. So it’s even worse when we are adding to a bad situation by judging our negative feelings about the situation!
Prior to my experience, I would have suppressed those emotions and not allowed myself to express them, because I would have judged them as being negative. I always thought I had to be positive. But by suppressing these emotions, I was denying a very real part of myself. In essence, I was sending a message to myself that parts of my being were not deserving of being expressed. And as I continued to deny these emotions, they only became bigger. As you probably already know, what you suppress only pushes against you even harder. So over a period of time, it became harder and harder to keep those negative emotions under wrap. Which means, it became harder and harder to be the positive person I was trying so hard to be, because I was just so focused on trying to suppress the negative emotions! Trying to stay positive then just becomes an energy drain.
Realizing my magnificence means accepting all my feelings and emotions (and not just the positive ones) without judging them. None of our emotions are actually negative. We only judge and label them so. I have since learned to embrace all my feelings and emotions without judgment, and this makes it much easier for me to be a happier, lighter and more positive person, and relieves me of the burden of trying to be positive during times when I don’t actually feel that way.
“Many events in my life I experienced, but not from how I remembered it, but from the point of view… [of] how the people, animals, environment experienced it around me. I felt it as my own. The times I had made others happy, and sad, I felt it all as they did. It was very apparent that every single thought, word, and action affects everything around us and indeed the entire universe. Trees, plants, animals too. I have been a long-term vegetarian since about 18 years old and I know this was appreciated and is a good choice in life. Spiritually it seemed to show proof of respect for all life, and even seemed to balance some of the negative and wicked things I have done in my life. In the life review we judge ourselves; no one else does. The light/god did not. But with no ego left — and no lies — we can’t hide from what we have done and feel remorse and shame, especially in the presence of this love and light. Some of the things in life we think of as important don’t seem to be so important there. But some of the insignificant things from the material human perspective are very important spiritually.”
— NDEr Justin U describing his near-death experience on the Near Death Experience Research Foundation website
“If something ever happened to me again, I would give faith healers and healers the first chance; I would give a miracle the first chance… If someone was all wired up and everything, I would bring a whole bunch of healers in the room, some manifestors, and let them have a go at it. I traveled the world studying these things and I’ve seen people healed of the most amazing things by holy water, holy places, holy men, holy women, and holy moly. I would give a miracle the first chance… the universe is one giant miracle and you are a part of that!”
— NDEr Mellen-Thomas Benedict
“This near-death experience had two significant effects on his life. First, Tom says, it completely removed any fear of dying. Even more extraordinary is what happened to his right hand, which had been frozen since birth into a claw-like position. (This had been noted on his hospital admission form, and his sister has since signed a statement confirming it.) Yet, in front of me, soon after his near-death experience, Tom opened and flexed that same hand. This should not have been physiologically possible, as the tendons had permanently contracted. What had caused this sudden, seemingly spontaneous healing? Even now, science has no answers. But when you study near-death experiences, as I have for the past couple of decades, you grow used to phenomena that defy all rational explanation…”
“Ever since the experience, I have carried a terrific sense of urgency to share it with the lonely, discouraged and dis-eased people such as alcoholics, drug addicts and the social outcast. I have shared what I have learned from this and other training experiences with my patients and audiences, the knowledge that a God of love loves us regardless of our race, creed, or color. I have received many letters and have had patients say that my sharing my experiences with them has either saved them from committing suicide or completely turned their lives around because it gave them a much better understanding of God’s love and plan for their lives. I realize I have had to inject much of my own personal history into this book, but I do so because I hope the reader will come to realize, if God can put up with a ‘knucklehead’ like myself, then He certainly can love and forgive others.”
— NDEr Dr. George Ritchie, from Ordered To Return: My Life After Dying
“The Light kept changing into different figures, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, mandalas, archetypal images and signs. I asked the Light, “What is going on here? Please, Light, clarify yourself for me… The Light responded. The information transferred to me was that during your life after death experience your beliefs shape the kind of feedback you are getting before the Light. If you were a Buddhist or Catholic or Fundamentalist, you get a feedback loop of your own stuff. You have a chance to look at it and examine it, but most people do not. As the Light revealed itself to me, I became aware that what I was really seeing was our higher Self matrix.”
— NDEr Mellen-Thomas Benedict
“When I had my near-death experience I went and I arrived with a being of light. And I wrote it down as soon as I came back. The being of light did not identify he or she or itself as being male, female or otherwise. It was definitely a personal being. It did not identify itself as Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Jesus, Allah or whatever…none of that. It did not identify itself as being any of that. And a very interesting discussion I had with a gentleman, Sam is his name. That’s the name he’s chosen to have. He tortured himself using the Lakota Sioux vision quest of hanging himself by his muscles from a tree, and spikes in his chest. He did all of those things because that made sense to him. And he passed over to the other side. He literally had a near-death experience by scaring himself out of his body through too much pain. And he met up with the Light. And he said, ‘Who are you?’ And the Light said, ‘Who do you want me to be?’ And that was his experience. And so taking his experience and my experience where the Light doesn’t identify itself, what Sam’s really saying there is if you think it’s Jesus, it’s Jesus. If you think it’s Buddha, it’s Buddha…whatever you think, that’s what the Light is. But the truth is, the Light is just a being of light.”
— NDEr Dr. Alan Hugenot
“One of my questions to the light was, ‘What is heaven?”‘
“I was given a tour of all the heavens that have been created: the Nirvanas, the Happy Hunting Grounds, all of them. I went through them. These are thought form creations that we have created…
“I saw the Christian heaven. We expect it to be a beautiful place, and you stand in front of the throne, worshipping forever. I tried it. It is boring! … It is childlike. I do not mean to offend anyone. Some heavens are very interesting, and some are very boring. I found the ancient ones to be more interesting, like the Native American ones, the Happy Hunting Grounds. The Egyptians have fantastic ones. It goes on and on. There are so many of them. In each of them there is a fractal that is your particular interpretation, unless you are part of the group soul that believes in only the God of a particular religion. Then you are very close, in the same ball park together. But even then, each is a little bit different…”
— NDEr Mellen-Thomas Benedict
“During my near-death experience I had a descent into what you might call Hell, and it was very surprising. I did not see Satan or evil. My descent into Hell was a descent into each person’s customized human misery, ignorance, and darkness of not knowing. It seemed like a miserable eternity. But each of the millions of souls around me had a little star of light always available. But no one seemed to pay attention to it. They were so consumed with their own grief, trauma and misery. But, after what seemed an eternity, I started calling out to that Light, like a child calling to a parent for help. Then the Light opened up and formed a tunnel that came right to me and insulated me from all that fear and pain… The Light came to me and turned into a huge golden angel… Then I was taken to the Light.”
— NDEr Mellen-Thomas Benedict
“In one of my visits with the Light I was told that the near-death experience… would become more and more popular and it would have an affect on the entire world when a critical mass was hit and all these people have died and come back and are telling you that there is a lot more going on than we think.”
“The other side is not all it is cracked up to be. There’s a lot you can’t do on the other side. There’s a perfect combination though. A body without spirit is a wasteland and a spirit without a body is a wasteland. And we are the perfect matrix of body and spirit. With body and spirit, you can have it all.”
“Everyone has direct access. Everyone is directly connected to The Source that we all are. There are many ways to get there. There are many ways to experience this. It is as natural as breathing, as natural as sunlight. What we have to realize is that we all have that direct connection. Some can do it through meditation. Some through song and dance. There is a million ways to do it. And no one is ever cut off, or ever will be cut off from The Source that we come from. To really focus it we must — and this is a lesson I had to learn — you must come into a space where you love your life and then everything can flow…”
“God gave everything to us, everything is here — this is where it’s at. And what we are into now is God’s exploration of God through us. People are so busy trying to become God that they ought to realize that we are already God and God is becoming us. That’s what it is really about. When I realized this, I was finished with the void, and wanted to return to this creation…”
— NDEr Mellen-Thomas Benedict
“The ‘knowings’ I received while living in the afterlife taught me a new model of our relationship with our Creator. I was shown that Source is an all-loving, and not controlling, immense intelligent energy field with emotions, imagination, and life of its own. Source has an innate personality or set of character traits that are immutable and constitute its ‘core’ consciousness. In addition, Source has created within its own mind all of the personalities/characters that we call ‘souls.’ “
— NDEr Nanci Danison, from her May 7, 2013 newsletter
“He looked down at me and he said, ‘you’re not supposed to be here. It’s not time for you to be here.’
“And I remember looking up at him and saying, ‘but I want to be here’… With all my heart, I wanted to be there. I wanted to go home. I was happy.
“And he took a pause and… you could see him thinking about something and deciding whether to say something. And with that… there was a picture placed in my head of a memory of my original agreement of why I had come to Earth to begin with. It was like I remembered and I went, ‘Oh, right. Right…’
“One of the things that bothers me so tremendously about the metaphysical movement, in lieu of my experience and in lieu of what I was shown… if there is any message I can give, it’s not about meditating and leaving your body and taking your Light Being out of this Earth. Indeed, not. It is about bringing the Light into this Earth. Stay here. Be an anchor. Let the Light come in through you into this world. Don’t abandon this world. We need you. We need you here. We need you to be present. And we need you to be open, with an open heart… Everybody must be open. To bring this new age in, it is about opening your heart and letting it sing through you. It is coming! And it is a matter of all of us. Just open your heart and let It come in. Don’t leave. Don’t meditate and think this place is a bad place and we’re going to get out of here. This is a wonderful place. And it’s going to get even more wonderful. You’re here to anchor the Light so It can come into this dimension and be here.”
— NDEr Anne Horn
“Everything was miraculous. Everything was so miraculous. Every moment. Every breath that’s happening. Every connection that we make personally is just the most beautiful, miraculous thing. If we could see what was really going on behind all of this and how much is involved in each one of us and how beautiful it really is — the bigger picture — we would really just be in awe all the time, which I can see why maybe we need not to be in this state all the time because I couldn’t even function. I was going from laughing to crying and things like that. People could have legitimately said ‘She needs to be locked up’ and I would probably understand…”
“Unlike spiritual paths that arose from the ideas and inner experiences of lone, isolated human beings, the path presented by near-death experiences is emerging as a direct, grassroots revelation that millions of people from all over the world are receiving and sharing. If we explore this newly emerging path deeply enough, we discover that all religions, philosophies, and cultures are honored; that science and spirituality are celebrated; that both the human and spiritual side of our natures are cherished and embraced. In short, near-death experiences present us with a universal, all-inclusive, perfectly integrated spiritual path that revolves around three core truths: 1. We are all one; 2. Love is the essence of life; 3. We are here, in this world, to become perfect embodiments of the divine.”
“He (Allah) had Christians in Paradise. Moslems in Paradise. Jews in Paradise. And people who had no recognizable faith in God. We need to learn that…”
— Electa, a Moslem woman, describing what she saw in her near-death experience
“I think it is an important issue because the one thing that does strike me a lot is when you look at the contemporary near-death experience accounts, overwhelmingly what these people say beyond all the scholarly chit-chat is hey man, it’s about love. It’s about this indescribable but universally relatable feeling of love. That’s what it’s about. Forget everything else…It was about love. That does seem to come through universally, and I think that has a strong moral kind-of message behind it. How does that relate to what you’re finding cross-culturally. Does it fit or does it not fit?”
Dr. Gregory Shushan:
“I think it does in some ways. In a lot of Native American accounts, people were sent back in order to tell others about the glories of the afterlife. There are also many accounts where some kind of traditional ritual has changed, often for the better — against sacrifice for example, because during the experience the person was given a new belief or ritual and told that the old one has to change. There might not always be specifically ‘love’ as an explicit concept expressed in these texts, but there is often change for the better. The afterlife is seen as a place of wisdom, and a place of renewal, where people undergo purification and ritual bathing. So I think it can be related, even if the word ‘love’ or a comparable word isn’t always used.”
“I am profoundly moved and persuaded by the near-death experience.”
“To dwell on the nature of the afterlife may divert us from paying attention to THIS life, where the lessons from the Light need to be practiced… The true promise of the NDE is not so much what it suggests about an afterlife — as inspiring and comforting as those glimpses are — but what it says about how to live NOW… to learn from NDErs about how to live, or how to live better, with greater self-awareness, self-compassion, and concern for others. Live well, and death will take care of itself.”
— Researcher Kenneth Ring, Lessons from the Light
Excerpted from “Vital Signs”, the newsletter of the International Association for the Near-Death Studies, Inc. (IANDS), Spring 2012 Issue (Volume 31, Number 1)
Question: What’s the single most important thing that sticks with you from the last 30 years of NDE exploration?
Dr. Raymond Moody: “That’s a big one… You know, I think of something recent that I see as very important. I’ve sensed in the last five years or so that the scoffers are on the defensive… They’ve been rattled when I see them in the debates… there’s not this abrasive aggressiveness you used to see. It’s rather more like they feel they don’t know where they are and all their old arguments have run out.
“I think there’s been a turnaround in where the scoffers are now… they are on the defensive. I saw Sanjay Gupta on CNN a few months ago talking about NDEs with a skeptic… the guy was definitely intimidated by the physicians who were standing there saying “Holy Mackerel, what IS this?” And, you know, they were the experts on neurophysiology, so the pseudo-skeptic couldn’t really come back. So, confronted with your question, that’s what immediately comes to mind. I think we’ve seen the turn-around, where the ball is in their court to come up with something.”
“Roger [Ebert] looked beautiful. He looked really beautiful. I don’t know how to describe it, but he looked peaceful, and he looked young.
“The one thing people might be surprised about — Roger said that he didn’t know if he could believe in God. He had his doubts. But toward the end, something really interesting happened. That week before Roger passed away, I would see him and he would talk about having visited this other place. I thought he was hallucinating. I thought they were giving him too much medication. But the day before he passed away, he wrote me a note: ‘This is all an elaborate hoax.’ I asked him, ‘What’s a hoax?’ And he was talking about this world, this place. He said it was all an illusion. I thought he was just confused. But he was not confused. He wasn’t visiting heaven, not the way we think of heaven. He described it as a vastness that you can’t even imagine. It was a place where the past, present, and future were happening all at once…”
— Roger Ebert’s wife, Chaz, on his final moments as reported in Esquire’s December 24, 2013 article “Oral Histories Of 2013: Roger Ebert’s Wife, Chaz, On His Final Moments”
“Many NDErs feel compelled to rush out and share their experiences without really grounding and integrating them. In my experience, this is a very bad idea. It’s better to really ground these experiences in our every day lives before rushing out, when we are still half-baked, and sharing them with the world. There are several reasons for this. Here are two big ones:
“1. It takes time to fully understand what happened and be able to explain it in a way that is truly helpful to others. If we share things too soon, we can end up promoting ideas and practices that seem right and good at the time, but experience teaches us later were half-baked and destructive.
“2. There is also the danger of creating more instability in our lives and personalities. This can happen as the result of attracting adoring followers who reflect back to us how great we are when we don’t have the development to keep our egos in check.
“In a similar vein, we can also attract opportunities that can package us into best-selling authors, circuit speakers, and television personalities. Many people are tempted by this because they think a best-selling book, or an appearance on Oprah will make everything better. No, that’s not the way it works. If we have done the inner work, then we don’t need — and won’t be desperately seeking — the accolades the world offers. If, on the other, we haven’t done the work, then we tend to crave outer recognition — and when it comes, our lives and personalities can become train wrecks. We simply won’t have the development necessary to channel all the energy these kind of opportunities pour into our lives and personalities.
“When NDErs are sent back and told that part of their purpose is to share their stories with the world, I think they misunderstand this to mean that they are supposed to write a book, become a public speaker, make a movie, be interviewed on talks shows and news programs. It may mean this, but the deeper, truer meaning, at least from where I’m sitting, is for them to become embodiments of the love and light they experienced on the other side. The best way to tell their story, in other words, is to become living embodiments of it. If books, movies, and other expressions arise out of them embodying their experiences, fine, they’ll be able to handle everything in a solid way. If, on the other hand, they seek to manifest these things before they have developed their personalities, dealt with shadow issues, and grounded their experiences in the day-to-day grind of life, then trouble, along with a deep sense of confusion, frustration, and emptiness, is likely to follow.”
— David Sunfellow, source of quote
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