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Great post, Michael.

Very well put. I couldn't agree more.

I really enjoyed reading this, Michael. Very well said.

I enjoyed that, Michael! No question—as I move on in years (I'm now 63), I hate to imagine what my life (and death) might be like without my Great Spiritual Awakening :o) in the early 1990's.

Great AND completely unexpected, I might add.

Thanks, Michael! I enjoyed this too.

A friend of mine was diagnosed with terminal cancer about seven years ago. She was one of the few people I had ever told about my NDE back then. I had told her long before she became ill.

I didn't get to see her very often in those last two years, but I flew home as often as I could. No matter how rotten she was feeling, she always made time to see me.

Pat said that I was the only one she could talk about dying with, because I'd already done it. She said that she had to pretend that everything was going to be fine with her family. They couldn't imagine she was going to die at 42. They knew the doctors had to be wrong.

Pat looked forward to dying. She was in terrible pain. She fought to stay as long as she could for her kids sake, but she told me that dying was the one nice thing she was going to do for herself.

I still miss her. I saw her once quite recently. She showed up to say "Hi" very unexpectedly. Then she was off having adventures again.

"Wayne, on the other hand, like most people today, simply refused to think about the subject at all....At the end, he was unprepared to face this final challenge....Instead of yielding gracefully to the inevitable, he put up an increasingly painful and pointless fight, denying the facts as long as possible, then belatedly seeking comfort wherever he could find it."

Your comment that Wayne in this respect was like most people today made me think of the impact on health care. I have heard that a huge portion of all health care costs are spent in something like the last two weeks of life. Thus, besides the more inward costs of denying death, we may be racking up costs that are far more concrete as well.

This is what I already posted on Skeptiko:

How beneficial an NDE-account can be is illustrated by the following:

One of my NDE-friends had a very profound NDE when he was in hospital, aged 19. When he was released from hospital he related his story to his parents who dismissed it out of hand (we are talking of a time about 40 years ago -no one had ever heard of NDE's and the like).

A few years ago the mother of my friend was dying and she was terribly scared.
She then remembered what her son had told her so long ago. When he was at her bedside she asked him to tell her about his experience. So he did...

She was relieved. "That is what I wanted to know," she said, and she lost her fear of aproaching death. Later she passed away peacefully.

This says enough.

Nice post Michael, I still prefer to keep living and not think about dying

Can't you do both Jim? :)

"Nice post Michael, I still prefer to keep living and not think about dying" - Jim Winn
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Have you never lost someone that you really love? Isn't it nice to know that there is high degree of confidence or likelyhood that you might be reunited with that person again? Or they may still be near you and involved in your life and know what and how you are doing? All those milestones in your life that you thought they had missed in actuality they were there? Graduations, births, weddings, etc.? And in the end when it comes your turn to step into the Light your loved ones will be waiting there in the Light to greet you? If Near Death Experiences and Death Bed Visions are to be believed NO ONE DIES ALONE! At some point we are accompanied, guided, and comforted by Angels and the people who loved us. I find that very comforting.

I think that's a very important point Art. I always surprises me how quickly my conviction fades after reading of apparently evidential phenomena and I become re-submerged in day to day concerns.

I recall reading of a witness to materialisation mediumship who described how, even after seeing the most convincing evidence, over a few days following the sitting, he began to doubt the evidence of his own eyes and experience.

Perhaps in some ways it is an advantage to be a 'seeker after the truth' and to be constantly assessing the evidence we find. Not simply making a final decision and sitting back contented :)

"I always surprises me how quickly my conviction fades after reading of apparently evidential phenomena and I become re-submerged in day to day concerns." - Paul
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I find it's easier to maintain a certain level of belief since I retired. It gives me more time to read and think and reflect about things. Less worry about day to day concerns!

I am endlessly fascinated by the connection between NDE's and the holographic universe theory and quantum physics and often wonder why other people either can't see it or don't find it that convincing. I'd say about 1/3 of the NDEs I read exhibit this "connectedness" with what Michael Talbot wrote about in The Holographic Universe. How did it happen? They are so divergent and far apart yet if the popular physics books I've read are correct the connection between NDEs and holographic theory and quantum physics is obvious! I find that very convincing and evidential!

For instance, here is an example of the connection between NDE's and the holographic universe theory. This excerpt is from a new NDE posted on the NDERF site.

"I was wondering what was going on when my entire life was presented to me, not as a slide show, but all at once such as on a big screen. It's hard to describe this part because it was like my life was right in front of me all at once." - excerpt from Mary W's NDE, https://www.nderf.org/mary_w_nde.htm

compare the above to,

excerpt from The Universe as a Hologram:
"Unlike normal photographs, every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole...{snip}...If the apparent separateness of subatomic particles is illusory, it means that at a deeper level of reality all things in the universe are infinitely interconnected. The electrons in a carbon atom in the human brain are connected to the subatomic particles that comprise every salmon that swims, every heart that beats, and every star that shimmers in the sky. Everything interpenetrates everything, and although human nature may seek to categorize and pigeonhole and subdivide, the various phenomena of the universe, all apportionments are of necessity artificial and all of nature is ultimately a seamless web....{snip}... At its deeper level reality is a sort of superhologram in which the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously."
https://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html

Or "All at once!" Fantastic!

"I'm now 63"

I remember when 63 sounded old! Since turning 50, I find this is no longer true. On the other hand, 25 now seems ridiculously young!

"I still prefer to keep living and not think about dying"

It's good to keep living, but if you were to spend a little time thinking about dying, you might find that the prospect becomes less disturbing. Often things seem scary or troubling only because we try not to think about them.

"I have heard that a huge portion of all health care costs are spent in something like the last two weeks of life."

Trouble is, in some cases a seemingly terminal condition can be reversed. Doctors are caught in a dilemma. They don't want to "flog" a dying patient, but they also don't want to give up prematurely. It's a tough call. I'm glad I don't have to make it.

I suspect there is a balance to be struck between not thinking about death and becoming obsessed by it. Since it is certain to happen to us all, and (most of us) do not know where we are in the 'queue', it seems to me that fear is one of the main reasons for avoiding proper consideration of the issues. This is probably one reason why so few people make a Will for instance.

Though it can be hard, it is important to face our fears in a constructive way if we can. Often what we fear turns out not to be as bad as we thought (though sometimes I guess it can be worse - ask my accountant).

I often remember a quote from the film Dune "Fear is the mind killer, the little death".

"Since it is certain to happen to us all, and (most of us) do not know where we are in the 'queue', it seems to me that fear is one of the main reasons for avoiding proper consideration of the issues." - Paul
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It is not necessarily my own death that concerns me but the death of those whom I love. It's not the ones who die who suffer but the loved ones we leave behind. If I was under the impression that I would never see again all of those whom I have loved and lost life would be rather dismal. The older you get the more family and friends you will outlive. We can only hope that when Pam Reynolds said she saw a number of her departed relatives that it was "real." Stories about meeting up with departed relatives and friends is one of my favorite things about near death experiences and death bed visions.

Weirdly enough, this makes me think of the people of ancient Egypt - a culture I find fascinating and whose people I admire a great deal. The Egyptians built their whole world around the reality of death and made it the central focus of their religion - yet they were also a people who loved life and celebration. They loved to play games and have parties and even took pleasure in their everyday jobs. Their outlook was not morbid at all, and their very intimate awareness of death did not at all cloud their delight in life. They believed that when they died, providing the proper rituals were observed, they would go onto enjoy an afterlife in which they basically continued the same life they lived on earth, only in more perfect and peaceful conditions, without the accompanying suffering.

To think about death and come to the conclusion, based on a reasonable amount of evidence, that it is not something to dread, does not mean that one is obsessed with the macabre and unable to enjoy living. In fact, my research into NDEs and related phenomena gave me hope and renewed my will to live at a time when that will was thin indeed. I can enjoy life to the fullest and stop taking things quite so seriously.

I think it can be paradoxical: back when I was an atheist/materialist I thought death was The End. So you'd think I would have had an attitude of "enjoy life, experience as much as you can, because you only have a little bit of time". But instead, more often than not I found myself just "marking time", sleepwalking through life. If everything is utterly meaningless, and everything you do will just fade away, what's the real point of doing anything? All your supposed accomplishments are just as ephemeral as you are.

It's only after I came to believe in life after death that I found myself free to enjoy this one. SInce we do have a purpose here - to learn what this world has to teach us - I find I want to do as much as possible, to learn every lesson. And when it ends, it ends.

Stories about meeting up with departed relatives and friends is one of my favorite things about near death experiences and death bed visions.

Better still is actually communicating with those who have made the transition and are happily enjoying their life in the spirit world.

John Wayne's final days I think can be eclipsed by what Steve McQueen went through when he was closed to death. McQueen died in Mexico after going down there to perform surgery to remove cancer from his body since all the doctors back in the US said there was nothing they could do. It appears at least John Wayne right at the very end came to accept death, McQueen pretty much fought to the bitter end and may have probably died thinking he would live.

jimbo, I some what agree with the way you see life, in that everything you do seems in vain if it is all supposed to disappear eventually as the way materialists see it. I'm also not just talking about your own personal death, but the death of everyone else here (and everyone that has yet to exist on here) and the ultimate end of the universe which science to this point says is inevitable. I find (and this is just my opinion I should note) some of the major beliefs in humanism come off as a form of denial, such as the idea the human race will always continue or you will have kids to live on through you (I admit humanism does not explicitly say this, but there seems to be a lot of implications that the above two will be true).

Great post Micheal. As a lover of Sir Doyle and his work, it doesn't surprise me in the least that he met his death with such courage and equanimity.

I think it's become worse and worse, at least in the U.S., an idea almost that death doesn't happen to "us"--maybe to those "other people," but not us. And sometimes I almost think there's a belief that technology will delay our deaths almost forever. Sad, because it really sets people up for a lot of pain.

Speaking of John Wayne... My mom used to be a salad woman at "Buffum's" in Costa Mesa, (or Santa Ana?), California. Buffum's was a department store but they also had a cafeteria and my mom worked there making salads for people. She came home from work one time and told me that John Wayne had come in to the store and eaten one of her salad's. She was quite proud.

My mom died in 1968 when I was 15 years old. I will soon be 58 years old. It was a LONG time ago. I was a real momma's boy! I cried for three days when she died. To this day it was the most horrible thing that has ever happened to me. I still think about and miss her almost every day.

"I am endlessly fascinated by the connection between NDE's and the holographic universe theory and quantum physics and often wonder why other people either can't see it or don't find it that convincing."

Art—I, for one, AM fascinated by this and I do find the connection compelling. And when I read "The Holographic Universe" back in about 1994, I loved it.

But why do you keep making the same point here?

"But why do you keep making the same point here?" - Bruce
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I think I have a touch of Asperger's. I get stuck on things.

"I think I have a touch of Asperger's. I get stuck on things."

Well, I don't know if you do or don't, Art, but I appreciate your not getting defensive, or being mad. That's what I was afraid of, and your response has completely disarmed me.

But if you do have "a touch of Asperger's," maybe you're the lucky one. I didn't know a thing about this syndrome until recently. I just saw two movies about aspies (as they call themselves), and each of those guys ended up with an impossibly beautiful woman.

So where do I sign up? I get stuck too on things too—a lot.

By the way, your posts that don't include the "H word" are usually warm, down-to-earth, and a pleasure to read.

I've taken several online tests for Asperger's and I score pretty high on them.

When I did my student teaching the supervising teacher said I ignored the students and didn't pay attention to them. I just stood up at the board and droned on while the students sat there bored. When I actually taught Physical Science for a year and half I had exactly the same problem. I was a horrible teacher. The kids ignored me. I always thought I wanted to be a teacher because I love to read and learn, and in fact in the actual Education courses in College I made straight A's, but when it came to actually being in the classroom I was a dismal failure. I'm thinking that it might have something to do with that "touch of Asperger's" thing.

"I just saw two movies about aspies (as they call themselves), and each of those guys ended up with an impossibly beautiful woman." - Bruce
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LOL! I think my wife is beautiful. We've been married for 36 years.

Art's wife:
https://www.belmont.edu/communication/faculty/more_about_bonnie_riechert.html

"I was a horrible teacher."

I don't think I could survive five minutes teaching in a classroom, but over the years, I HAVE learned to teach one-on-one. I teach music (piano) to people of all ages, and in general, I enjoy it—sometimes immensely.

But my point—and it's a poignant one—is that my work has been a godsend to me, because there were times in my life that the only relationships I could make any sense of were the ones I had with my students.

Happily, that's changing! Still no wife, though, but hey, I'm only 63. :o)

I wonder how much equanimity in death depends on adopting a survivalist belief system. Perhaps seriously engaging the question is sufficient?

Yes Art, your wife is beautiful! Thanks for showing.

When I call my beloved my better half I'm not being facetious! My older sister says "you married well." I met her in Church when we were in College at the University of Georgia. The Church was right across the street from Campus and there were a lot of college age kids that went there. It was a lot of fun. I don't drink alcohol, or smoke, or do illegal drugs so of course I wanted a wife with the same lifestyle. When I was young I used to actually pray to God to help me find a wife. I sort of believe it worked!

Michael,

A very interesting post. John Wayne's final days reminded me of those of a close relative, who, like Wayne, found very little comfort in the teachings of religion.

As for the person who said he would prefer not to think about dying or death, I like the way William James put it:

"The luster of the present hour is always borrowed from the background of possibilities it goes with. Let our common experiences be enveloped in an eternal moral order; let our suffering have an immortal significance; let Heaven smile upon the earth, and deities pay their visits; let faith and hope be the atmosphere which man breathes in; and his days pass by with zest; they stir with prospects, they thrill with remoter values. Place around them on the contrary the curdling cold and gloom and absence of all permanent meaning which for pure naturalism and the popular-science evolutionism of our time are all that is visible ultimately, and the thrill stops short, or turns rather to an anxious trembling.”

Art's wife:
https://www.belmont.edu/communication/faculty/more_about_bonnie_riechert.

Aye, she's a bonnie lass!

It's interesting being 'ridiculously young' as Michael put it (24) yet I place SO much time pondering death, researching life after death, and having a somewhat secret, side career as a spiritual journalist.

I just don't have fear of death like other people do. It makes me feel like I'm on the wrong planet sometimes. The only thing I fear are other people's ignorance and fear of death.

There are only two aspects of death I know I don't like:

1) If I were to die a little too early, leaving my friends and loved ones behind. That brings about such a terrible feeling inside. I have no problem contemplating death, but I would say the people I like to be around with are a major reason I live, and if I were to die from something other than natural causes, I'd feel pretty crabby knowing how heavily it'd affect my loved ones and friends, especially.

2) The reverse: my friends and loved ones dying :(

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