Near Death Experiences / Afterlife Studies/Afterlife
As far as you've studied, what have you learned that happens in the afterlife? Death is my biggest fear... I fear that I will no longer have consciousness and have thoughts and feeling or memories. Please tell me what happens...
Thank you for writing to me at All Experts / Near Dearth Experience and Afterlife Studies with your question. I am glad that you asked for what my opinion is because in an area of study as mysterious as the afterlife is, there is, as of yet, no definitive concrete answer as to what, if anything exists after death. However, there is subjective evidence that suggests that consciousness and personality continues after physical death whereas there is absolutely no evidence to the contrary. In other words, there is zero proof from any source that death is the absolute end of personal existence. What it is exactly that survives and how and where it resides is still up to debate.
Your fear of death is natural, as is the fear of anything that threatens our survival, more so if the threat is unstoppable, as ultimately death is. I recall watching an interview with the Dalai Lama. If any single group of people know more about the afterlife I imagine that it is the Tibetan monks, creators of the 'Tibetan Book of the Dead'. He stated that even he, at the time of his death, despite his knowledge and beliefs, could not be certain that he would not be afraid. J. Aelwyn Roberts states the situation well in his book 'Yesterday's People; A Parson's Search for the Answers to Life After Death', regarding how some fear the moment of death. He has observed them clutching at the bed clothes, thrashing about and yelling in a vain attempt to avoid the inevitable. That is quite the opposite reaction that a person who had already died and returned would have. Most people who have had a Near Death Experience [NDE] claim that they no longer fear death. They do not suspect that there is something, someplace, beyond mortal life... they know.
Dr. Raymond Moody is the person who brought the experiences of those who have been declared clinically dead and returned to the light. He is the person who coined the term Near Death Experience and brought those experiences forward in his 1977 book, “Life After Life”. Although NDE's have been documented prior to Moody's work it was rarely mentioned, especially by those in the medical or scientific fields in fear that their professional reputations would be marred. Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was going to have a chapter regarding NDE in her book, 'On Death and Dying' but was talked out of it for fear of her reputation at the time. Being the rebel that she was she finally wrote, “On Life After Death' nearly two decades later. Since then, others in the scientific and medical fields have explored and documented cases of those who have technically died and returned.
NDE's were virtually undocumented before the 1950's. Due to advancements in medical science, namely instruments, machines and procedures, many who had died could be resuscitated. This made it possible for some of those rescued from the jaws of death to relate the experiences that they underwent during their visit to the beyond. Soon more and more of these accounts were coming to light. Early researchers, namely Moody, began to compile that information. Others followed suit and we now have a fair amount of documentation of the possibility of an afterlife.
Enter the cynics, scientismists [spelling correct] and the pseudo-skeptic, the nay-sayers of the 21st century. They have come up with umteen reasons [excuses really] to refute the findings of the research in the field. The claims are many, ranging from bio-chemical reactions in the body/brain, wish fulfillment, drug reactions, hypoxemia [low blood oxygen], hypercapnia [high blood CO2 levels], fantasy and/or dementia, etc. The interesting part is that for each cause or reason the debunkers came up with, the researchers could disprove their claims! So far it looks as if those siding with NDE research are winning.
Some of the more common aspects of the other side suggest that once we have passed we as individuals still exist, sans corps, or without body. We see and hear, but obviously without the use of our dead eyes and ears [technically at death we are blind and deaf]. The communication seems to be telepathic. However, the ability to taste or smell seems lacking. As is the ability to touch or be touched.
The realm of the other side varies in appearance, but it is commonly seen as being a place of light, a city of light as many have described it. If we exist as energy then this makes sense as scientifically, light is energy and energy is light. The being there also appears to be made of a shimmering, translucent light. The light is often described as brilliant but not uncomfortable or blinding. There is also a certain warmth, again making sense as light=energy=heat.
NDEers often describe that there is a type of music in the very atmosphere. They also claim that colors are more vivid and that there are colors that exist that they can not describe. This would make sense if the astral body is not restricted by the limited abilities of the eyes [that can only see light from ~390 - ~700nm, from red to violet] and the ears [that can only hear from ~20Hz – ~20kHz]. Without our living physical restrictions there is no reason that we can not see in the infrared and ultra-violet light ranges, and beyond, or hear infra and ultra sounds.
But I suppose that the one thing that makes people lose their fear of dying is that they are enveloped in a complete feeling of compassion, peace and unconditional love. As well, they have an understanding of all that there is to know, that all mysteries are solved. Unfortunately, that knowledge is for the most part erased should they return to life. But most are aware that for a short time that they “knew”.
The problem with describing the physical structure of the afterlife is that most who have a NDE only get a brief exposure of what is there and what it is like. Therefore, we have to rely on the accounts of psychics/mediums and for the most part I would not put any credence in their testimony. I don't think that three of them could describe a cookie without conflicting views let alone the afterlife. That being said I suppose that Emanuel Swedenborg comes the closest. I have the feeling that most modern mediums simply embellish his works and have no first hand knowledge of what they speak or write of.
Another interesting issue regarding the possible existence of an afterlife comes from the accounts of those who have undergone a Shared Death Experience[SDE]. These are people who are sitting at the bed side of a dying person. When that person passes the one encountering a SDE experiences the death of the dying. They leave their body, they travel through the light, and occasionally they witness the deceased persons life review. They are then returned to their bodies, completely amazed. The research in this area has once again been pioneered by Dr. Moody.
Well Sam, I hope that this has helped a little. As stated, there is no definitive answer regarding a life beyond life, perhaps there never will be. Perhaps we are not meant to have that knowledge. After all, many would ask what the point of living is if death is so ideal. But it is life that gives us the experiences, memories and our personalities to bring into the afterlife. Without this existence we would merely be blank slates. The Latin term 'Horror Vacui' [roughly meaning Nature Abhors a Vacuum] could mean here that it would be senseless for life to exist just to meaninglessly end, at least one as rich and complex as ours, at least in my opinion. For more information please visit this page on my web site:
If I can help in any way in answering some of your questions or addressing your concerns do not hesitate to write to me with them. Your question was simple, the answers....
Greg Pocha / All Experts / Near Death Experience and After Life Studies