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A Kindle version of Bucke's book is $2 here:
https://www.amazon.com/Cosmic-Consciousness-Study-Evolution-Illustrated-ebook/dp/B071V78XMF/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1514373041&sr=1-1&keywords=cosmic+consciousness+richard+maurice+bucke

I've read the 1- through 3-star reviews of Bucke's book, and they are telling. He seems like a tendentious kook with some 19th-century flaws. So I'll read selectively, looking for Mr. material like the testimony of CMC quoted by MP.

Michael might I suggest an alternative interpretation of what Suffering and its purpose may be?

It's nothing grand or epic or noble. It's simply the ego's realization of just how powerless it actually is.

Someone rich as Croesus might be elected say President or Prime Minister and suddenly feel as if they now have exponentially so much more control over everything the very planet itself's become as a tiny ball in the palm of their hand which they could at any moment crush to dust if they so chose.

And if everything goes sufficiently to plan they may even die believing themselves omnipotent.

But if say their spouse or child or even they themselves suddenly develop an incurable disease they sooner or later come to realize just how much of an illusion such wealth such power such status actually is when confronted by the rest of the creation.

Even Jesus taken at face value seems to make much the same point when he dies on the cross. He may raise the dead and vanish at will but when his number's up he's reduced to "Father why hast thou forsaken me?"

\\"ordinary people whose lives were changed by a transcendent sense of oneness with the cosmos" - Michael Prescott//
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I tend to have a higher degree of confidence in mystical or transcendental experiences when they say things that parallel or corroborate the holographic universe theory; things that sound very "holographic".

"Oneness" is one of those things because in holographic film all the information is spread throughout the entire piece of film and each piece contains the whole and everything interpenetrates everything and hence why so many near death experiencers describe being everywhere in the universe at once, and feelings of oneness and connectedness, and having access to all knowledge and simply having to think about a subject and automatically knowing everything about it all sound very holographic to me.

The way my brain works it is very easy for me to see the connection. Perhaps the place we call heaven is simply the original holographic film that our universe is projected from? Upon the death of the body the "soul" simply transitions to that film?

\\"The great truth that life is a spiritual evolution, that this life is but a passing phase in the soul's progression, burst upon my astonished vision with overwhelming grandeur. Oh, I thought, if this is what it means, if this is the outcome, then pain is sublime!"//
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Haven't I been saying the same thing? This Earth life is a school and we simply learn here the thing that can't be learned in heaven? I've had two of those mystical experiences.

Once when I was 19 years old, 1972, and then again in 1999 when I was 46 years old. Both of them were very similar and the message was simply "everything is okay and happening the way it is supposed to." I felt an overwhelming feeling of euphoria and I just felt like everything is okay.

Michael, This is yet another great post. A few personal notes; I used to use psychedelics to temporarily achieve pretty much exactly what is described in the excerpt. As time moves on and the decades flow by, I rarely touch the stuff, but find myself undergoing a deeper, more profound and permanent transformation of the same nature. .....Sure, I get caught up in work stress, politics and other attention and energy consuming aspects of life, but there seems to always be at least a few days every month when I just allow myself to let go and experience higher consciousness.

This started maybe a couple years ago and has intensified lately. At one point I actually questioned whether or not I was subconsciously informing myself that I was going to die soon. I even went so far as to get "my affairs in order" so as to ensure that my wife and others would be taken care of. Then I realized, that what was dying was the old me - and it is ok. The Fear is gone. And it's wonderful, delicious. I'm looking forward to retiring in a couple years so that a major distraction (work) is no longer there. I want to live this fully.

I think this is how the natural progression of one's life is supposed to be.

Anyhow, just thought I'd share that for what it's worth.

I am still hung up on the idea of "information" b/c I can't get past information as being soulless.

I also don't get the "love is everything" realization that many people seem to have. In my experiences I have gotten into a core of being (I think that's what it is) that is absolutely ecstatic. I can see how it could be said to be "love", but, for me at least, there are nuances that lean more toward it being ecstasy. Maybe I just get too hung up on words. However, I think in this case the difference can be important in that people tend to form larger belief systems around the feeling. The nuance becomes important.

I think there is a lot to the concept of kundalini. It should be studies more.

New reader here; I just recently found your blog and appreciate its intelligence and that of commenters (and the fact that it's not trying to sell me horoscopes or essential oils or something). I'm interested in the topic of mystical experiences, in part because I'm working on a book that addresses them tangentially, and I haven't read Burke's yet but note that he was arguing that there was an evolution going on -- did you find that the cases he presented did in fact represent some kind of development over time, or was he just arguing that they were happening perhaps more frequently/commonly? Based on my own research, that seems unlikely compared to the effects of cultural influences that encouraged or discouraged sharing such experiences, or even the development of different languages and contexts (religious, psychological, creative) for them...

\\"I also don't get the "love is everything" realization that many people seem to have." Eric//
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I agree. If "love is everything" then why is this world so poorly designed and why do so many people experience so little love in this life? Some people's lives are pure living hell and they die in misery at the end of it?

The vast majority of people in this life struggle through it and the vast majority of people on this Earth live in abject poverty. Some people are psychopaths and don't really love anyone? Some people go through life never really thinking about anything spiritual and the only religion or spirituality they experience is through their religions which can be pretty corrupt? Most religion has more to do with control than experiencing love?

No, if this life is supposed to be all about love I'd say whoever or whatever created it did a very poor job indeed. There are people in my family who died young and to be honest, if I really look back and examine their lives, their death was a blessing because what they experienced in this life was pretty miserable.

But if this life is imperfect because we are here to learn lessons that have to do with time and space, separation, being in a body, etc. then this life does a good job at that. Life is one great big long lesson in separation - from the time we are born and separate from our mothers till the day we die and our death becomes a lesson in separation to the loved ones we leave behind. Religion, politics, race, culture, language, dialects, wealth, education, gender, sexual orientation, etc. are just a few ways we experience separation in this life. It seems to be that what we experience and learn here are simply the things that we can't learn or experience on the other side, as described by numerous near death experiencers.

Welcome, Joni! To be honest, it’s been a long time since I read the introductory matter in Bucke's book. Lately I’ve just been reading the case histories in no particular order. As I (dimly) recall, the intro was very dated and reflected the cultural and racial biases of that era. Bucke's rather peculiar idolization of Walt Whitman also turned me off - not that I dislike Whitman, but Bucke treats him as something akin to the Second Coming. The case histories, especially those recounted in the first person, are more interesting to me than Bucke's speculations.

I’m skeptical of any widespread "spiritual awakening" or sudden evolutionary leap. This seems to be a New Age trope. It’s possible that the Internet is helping to bring paranormal and mystical experiences out of the shadows to some extent. But there has always been a strong societal taboo against dabbling in such things; see "The Trickster and the Paranormal," by George P. Hanson, for an in-depth discussion. I doubt that these outre subjects will go mainstream anytime soon, at least as far as serious treatment is concerned.

Incidentally, I found Jenny Wade's book "Changes of Mind" very useful as an overview of different stages of personal development.

I agree. If "love is everything" then why is this world so poorly designed and why do so many people experience so little love in this life? Some people's lives are pure living hell and they die in misery at the end of it? ...
Thank you for this post, Art. It rings true for me and was oddly calming.

I think when mystics say the universe is all about love, they don’t mean that life on earth is a love fest. They mean that the world was lovingly designed to teach us the lessons we need to learn in order to grow spiritually.

After all, many mystics have endured poverty, persecution, and even torture, so they must know that life is not a bowl of cherries.

To me, it’s an open question whether the universe is designed to bring about a certain kind of spiritual evolution, or whether the universe itself is a work in progress, with the imperfections we would expect from an unfinished effort.

People who’ve had transcendent mystical experiences usually say that everything happens for a reason and is part of a perfect plan. But I don’t know if I trust their judgment. As Eric says, these experiences are often ecstatic, and conclusions reached in a state of ecstasy aren’t always reliable.

\\"Thank you for this post, Art. It rings true for me and was oddly calming." - Susan//
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You're welcome Susan. Some people go through life hardly ever experiencing true love. And a lot of other people aren't into spiritual, mystical, or religious stuff at all. They are too busy just trying to survive. Over the ages I dare say billions of humans have lived lives of quiet desperation and died after having suffered all kinds of emotional and physical pain.

My mom being one of them. Life didn't turn out for her anywhere near what she thought it was going to be. My dad told me my mother looked like a movie star when they were dating back in 1940 but it didn't take but a couple of kids and she had lost her figure and gained weight and got post-partum depression and then my dad told me "all I had to do was look at her across the room and she got pregnant" and she had four more kids, plus one born dead and she gave up.

My parents were divorced in 1959 after 19 years of marriage and my dad left my mother for a younger woman. We were living in Kankakee, Illinois and my mom had arthritis and got tired of the cold and she put us kids on a Greyhound bus and we ended up in Los Angeles, California. Two years in Los Angeles and then we moved south to Garden Grove, CA and then in 1968, 9 years after the divorce, my mom died of cancer of the stomach and small intestine. And that was the end of her suffering. She'd had enough.

My second oldest sister was diagnosed with bipolar and schizophrenia when she was 27 years old and it was so bad the doctors had trouble controlling her depression. They gave her massive shots of lithium which ruined her kidneys and she ended up dying of kidney failure in 1988 when she was 46 years old. She'd had four kids, her husband kept getting her pregnant even though she was mentally ill, and she was in and out of institutions till she died in 1988.

I have other stories but I have ample proof that life is hard and challenging and frustrating and it is silly to go around saying "it's all about love" when it is obviously not. It has to be about something else. And after 2 mystical experiences of my own, and all the pieces of the puzzle instantly coming together one day, I'm pretty sure I'm close to the truth.

The holographic universe theory, quantum physics, and NDEs, and other transcendental experiences all seem to come together and paint a picture that the reason we are here has more to do about pure consciousness, the thing we call the soul, coming here to learn the things that can't be learned in the place we call heaven, which are the things that so many NDEs describe.

The soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and it is holistically imprinted with what it needs to learn regardless of who we are, or where we live, or what we believe. The Creator of the Universe created a place where we experience separation, and time and space, and being embodied and the parameters of the body, and make memories of what it was like to live in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe.

And after our soul is finished with this body, and it is no longer usable, the soul simply leaves the body behind and transitions to that great holographic film that we call heaven. The physics of the place we call heaven seems to have the same physics that Michael Talbot describes holographic film having, a place of oneness and connectedness, time and space not really existing in the same way they do here, where thoughts are things and the things we focus our attention on are what we experience, realer than real or more real than normal (because all the information is accessible in that holographic film), more colors than normal (we "see" the entire light spectrum instead of just a small part like we do here), etc.

Time and the Near-Death Experience

https://www.near-death.com/science/research/time.html

Another great book is here:
https://archive.org/stream/twentyminutesre02montgoog/twentyminutesre02montgoog_djvu.txt


This is my own experience from 17 years ago.:

“Everything began to glow with an inner fire. It was like seeing colors I’d never seen … [It was like] being able to see on a new wavelength… Everything was new, and constantly being renewed, recreated, from the inside out, every minute, every second, even as I watched.

There was a fountain of creation from which all things flowed, all the time. It was visible to me in every object in my house, in my own body, in all the trees and grass I could see out the window.

Everything was being renewed, recreated, reborn, all the time…
There was no secret knowledge, no voices, no angels… I was SEEING what was always there, had always been there, and would always be there. I saw THE WORLD…”

This experience is real, and although completely subjective, is life altering. It is an ineffable experience.

What is love but feelings of oneness and connectedness? When people who have had NDEs come back and say they felt an overwhelming feeling of love on the other side what they mean is that they felt connected to everything, like they were everywhere at the same time, saying things like "I was the Universe" or "Me and the Universe were one" or "I literally felt like I was everywhere in the Universe at once."

We mix love up with emotion but in actuality it is wanting the best for the other person. That is the definition of Godly love, or agape love. There are other names for love also. Deep friendship love is Philia , Eros is sexual love, Love of self is philautia, pragma is long lasting love the kind of love lasts a long time, etc.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/the-ancient-greeks-6-words-for-love-and-why-knowing-them-can-change-your-life

"As Eric says, these experiences are often ecstatic, and conclusions reached in a state of ecstasy aren’t always reliable." - MP

Right. It's like meeting someone, having great sex, and being so enamored that you propose marriage on the spot. It sure felt that way when you were lying in bed together, but then you find out that the two of you really are very much alike in many important ways and when you're not making love, you're always fighting.

I would add that such experiences are also not very practical for most people for most stages of their lives.

What good is it to be flying high in a mystical experience on Sunday and then on Monday you boss is freaking out because the CEO has an unfavorable profit report on his desk and needs to understand what is driving the loss and you're the guy who has to frantically crunch the numbers and have an accurate answer back by close of business on Wednesday?

The two states of mind - requiring an utterly different focus of attention - are entirely incompatible as far as I know and if you choose to stay w/ the mystical you will end up unemployed and living in the street, alone. There's a good reason why most mystics are scroungey hermits or people living in a socio-religious system set up to support the mystical lifestyle. In Hindu and Buddhist systems, one usually waits until after the "householder" phase is complete to delve into the mystical phase of one's life, if one is to have such a phase at all. Alternatively, if one is an artist (writer, musician, painter, etc) one could probably manage a livelihood while delving into the mystical, perhaps the mystical would even enhance one's art.

The reason is that the mystical experience shows us accessible bands of awareness (aka "reality") that are beyond those necessary for survival in the tooth and claw physical world, but we still live day to day in the tooth and claw. Note that I say "bands of awareness" and not "higher reality". The country music station on your radio is no more or less "real" than the classical or rock 'n roll station. It's just different. The real truth lies in the realization that you are an aware entity that can move freely from station to station, at will if adept. IMO, it is that sense of freedom that brings on the feelings of connectedness, ecstasy, love, etc. Not because you went to a "place" that is those things.

I know that there are new age types that believe we should use the mystical experience to transform the day to day life into something less brutal, but such people are merely dreamers, IMO. All it takes is a few barbarians that aren't buying into the transformation and all the love filled mystics end up like jesus and the world of men is back to they way it's always been.

Thus, the mystical experience remains impractical for this world beyond giving hope and serenity to those who are approaching the end of this cycle on this plane. For most of those fully immersed in the game there are many negatives associated with mystical realizations. Actually, IM, having such experiences is fraught with danger. One can become too passive about asserting oneself in this world and, as a result, lose out on important opportunities to develop through experience. Your mileage may differ.

Bucke says he found no case of a person who experienced Cosmic Consciousness and became successful at making money. He finds the two personality types incompatible. Clearly he regards the mystical type as superior and looks down his nose on the more practical types. But it could be argued that the more practical types are better adapted to life on this planet. Or, perhaps more cogently, it could be argued that both types are necessary because they make different kinds of contributions (just as we benefit from the input of introverts and extroverts, optimists and pessimists, left-brain and right-brain types, etc.).

Eric,
Excellent insight! Good comment. Becoming a mystic makes it more and more difficult to live in this world. Though I am not a mystic, I find myself more and more isolated from people and things in this world as I move closer and closer to a cosmic understanding. - AOD

"Bucke says he found no case of a person who experienced Cosmic Consciousness and became successful at making money"

Interesting and believable. Does the book contain analysis of various factors involved in mysticism and mystic personalities? If so, I think I might purchase it.

Amos, Thx. It's important to reiterate that what I say is my opinion based on personal observations and may not be universally valid. I think that someone like guitarist/poet Jimi Hendrix - IMO a true mystic who experienced cosmic awareness - can be materially successful and socially popular because of their mysticism in the right time and place. However, such people tend to die young and live tortured lives as they attempt to balance their visionary mindset w/ the demands of commercialization.

Jesus went around gleaning wheat from the fields with his followers, picking up what was left after the threshers had gotten what they could, and just relying on the charity of strangers and friends for a place to lay their head. From things he said in the New Testament it doesn't sound like Jesus was too much concerned with this world whatsoever? "The foxes have holes and the birds have nests but the Son of God has nowhere to lay his head." When Pilate asked him if he was the King of the Jews Jesus said to Pilate, "My Kingdom is not of this world." Western Christianity is way more worldly than the example Jesus portrayed in the New Testament.

\\"At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat."// Matthew 12:1

Bucke gives Jesus as a case of Cosmic Consciousness, citing various parables and other teachings. Of course, Jesus' message can be endlessly debated and interpreted, and no one knows which aphorisms are genuine and which were invented.

Personally I think the more "mystical" aspects of the Jesus story (the stuff known, technically, as "high christology") were added well after the fact. The relatively late Gospel of John offers a more mystical Jesus than the Synoptic Gospels, and later movements like Christian Gnosticism go even further. This trend could be related to the increasing irrelevance of Jesus' original message, which may have been that Israel would soon be liberated from Roman rule. Not only did this prophecy fail to come true, but later Christians, being mostly gentiles, weren’t too interested in restoring the Kingdom of David anyway. And distancing Jesus from earthly politics by making his focus otherworldly was a smart strategy for reducing the risk of persecution by Roman authorities, who didn’t care about esoteric doctrines but did care about anti-government insurrectionism.

A very interesting post Michael. As you say, Jesus’ message has been, and still is, endlessly debated. This recent shortish post from Mark Vernon, for example, on current biblical scholarship paints a picture that differs from your view and suggests that the mystical saying of Jesus were core to his message:

http://www.markvernon.com/jesus-and-the-apocalypsis

The date of composition of the non-canonical Gospel of St Thomas – more mystical even than John, and in many other ways a very different kind of Gospel – for me supports this view. While the subject of some controversy, my (very much lay) understanding is that many scholars support a composition date between the years 50 AD and 100 AD, before or approximately contemporary with the composition of the canonical gospels. Most other scholars argue a later composition date some time during the first half of the second century AD, but even then there is a general acknowledgement that it incorporates sayings that were first recorded in the first century.

Addressing the "It can't just be about love" arguments. I think that the fact that the universe we live in doesn't seem to be "loving" is completely besides the point. Love is powerful and ultimately true because it manifests in us, not our environment, no matter how beautiful the natural world appears to us. We are obviously imperfect and guess what, so is the natural world. This is exactly as it should be. Also, it was said "don't confuse emotion with love" rings very true to me. There is nothing wrong with ecstatic experiences, but they are not the goal. The Goal is love. Love is not what you feel, it's how you live.

I really do believe that love is everything, that is, having a deep loving connection to other living being(s) is the most satisfying thing in life.

Without loving connections, life is pretty much worthless. All the material things become old fast - witness how miserable so many of the super-rich are - divorces, alcoholism, drugs, etc. - why doesn't money make it all better? And study after study has shown that after people obtain a certain amount of money and security, having more money doesn't make them any happier. Sometimes it just makes it worse, because now they're in a higher status bracket and have pressure to keep up with a new set of Jones. A certain "stable genius" seems to exemplify this.

Excellent, informative post as always. I find it interested how modern the account sounds to my ears, and I suspect the ears of others. It's very validating in that we say that these perceptions of the nature of the Universe are not new, yet these accounts from the past also cannot be seen as overly influencing things like Moody's NDE accounts, etc. IOW, the consilience that Michael has talked about before.

Re the Universe "being" love. I think it's more correct to say that love is the *vector* of the Universe. It is its ultimate direction within and among its many modes of being.

Here's a thought experiment for you, which assumes some type of ongoing existence after death (if there is no such thing, then the question of love and the Universe seems a bit meaningless to me).

Do you think that, say, an evil being will simply be cast out, thrown into a corner of the Universe, and ignored for eternity? Whoops, you missed your shot, welcome to Hell?

OK, here's another: Is it possible that an ordinary person like you or me could miss the train to the Afterlife and just be sitting in a gray expanse for all eternity, the result of a mistake?

Or is it rather the case that "not even a sparrow falls," that all beings are ultimately taken care of by the Universe and entities within it? If you agree with me that this is the case, then there is your answer: Love *is* the vector of the Universe; all will be saved.

Matt Rouge: "OK, here's another: Is it possible that an ordinary person like you or me could miss the train to the Afterlife and just be sitting in a gray expanse for all eternity, the result of a mistake?"

It doesn't look like there is yet any plausible agreed-to reassuring interpretation of the many underreported distressing or even hellish NDEs. One unpleasant thought is that they might be glimpses of such mistakes occurring.

Nancy Evans Bush and Bruce Greyson did a study, summarized at https://med.virginia.edu/perceptual-studies/wp-content/uploads/sites/360/2017/01/NDE-78-Distressing-NDEs-the-basics-2014.NDE-MoMed.pdf.

Bush and Greyson found that these distressing NDEs consisted of void-like or otherwise relatively mildly distressing experiences along with a minority of truly hellish NDEs. "An NDE of the “void” is an ontological encounter with a perceived vast emptiness, often a devastating scenario of aloneness, isolation, sometimes annihilation."

Experiences of the void were like this one: "A man who was attacked by a hitchhiker felt himself rise out of his body: “I suddenly was surrounded by total blackness, floating in nothing but black space, with no up, no down, left, or right. . . . What seemed like an eternity went by. I fully lived it in this misery. I was only allowed to think and reflect.”

And this one: "A woman in childbirth found herself abruptly flying over the hospital and into deep, empty space. A group of circular entities informed her she never existed, that she had been allowed to imagine her life but it was a joke; she was not real. She argued with facts about her life and descriptions of Earth. “No,” they said, “none of that had ever been real; this is all there was.” She was left alone in space."

Experiencers of the various kinds of distressing NDEs are forced to utilize various rationalizations to somehow deal with them, with major categories including "I needed that to turn my life around", or "It was only a problem in my brain", or "I must have done something bad and am being punished".

"...(some) experiencers have difficulty comprehending or integrating terrifying NDEs. These people, years later, still struggle with the existential implications of the NDE, “I had an experience which has remained with me for 29 years. . . . It has left a horror in my mind and I have never spoken about it until now.” And, “After all these years, the nightmare remains vivid in my mind.” “For some reason, [31 years later] all the memories are back and vivid. . . . It’s like living it all over again, and I don’t want to. I thought I had it all resolved and in its place, but I’m having a really bad time trying to put it away this time."

"A notorious reluctance to report a distressing NDE may lead to long-lasting trauma for individuals as well as limiting the data on occurrence. A literature review covering thirty years of research concludes that as many as one in five NDEs may be predominantly distressing."

Bush and Greyson try to find a positive note by pointing out that

"As a growing number of studies make clear, even the most devastating life event, like the grit that creates the oyster's pearl, is often what propels people to become more true to themselves, take on new challenges, and view life from a wider perspective. This is a promising and as yet underdeveloped approach for clinicians working with those who report struggling after a distressing NDE."

I don't know it this helps much in the uneasiness that results from considering this area. I wonder if Bucke encountered some accounts like this, but omitted them.

My guess is that Summerland, limbo, and hellish environments are all manifestations of subconscious thoughts, hopes, fears, expectations, etc.

I think that these states of being (which are actually states of mind) persist until the experiencer is able to see past the illusion.

It's also my (tentative) observation that, as one begins to see Summerland et al. as relatively insubstantial, one also begins to see the physical world as less substantial. This may have something to do with the Buddhist admonition to detach from the things of this world, and (likewise?) not to be taken in by thought-forms in the postmortem state.

This seems to be very related to this post. I never knew there was such a thing as "daylight materialization" until now. http://psychictruth.info/Medium_James_J_Dickson.htm

I wonder if we can change the weather in the afterlife?. As some of us is more attracted to the fall/winter seasons than spring or summer.

Love is a word that is bandied about as if there is a clear definition of what it is. How would love be defined? Used as a verb, many of us say that we ‘love’ chocolate’ or we ‘love’ music, art, or the ballet; meaning we really like them!. Some love sports, love reading, or love sex or money. Or we love our children, parents or spouse. Many of us love ourselves. What is it that we mean when we say that we ‘love’ something?

As a noun, love might be thought of as an appreciation for another person’s or thing’s existence or an appreciation of our self. Love is affection for another person or thing. Love is devotion to another. Love could be a desire to help, to assist another to weather the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Love might be a desire to soothe, to calm, to apply the balm of tenderness to another. What does it mean when we say that “love is everything”!

As applied to the universe I don’t know what love as a vector really means. Spiritually I think love can be equated with moving toward fulfillment, perfection; a kind of evolution. That is, love is progressing toward wholeness or completeness; the best that something can be. To that extent love in the universe as a vector is a direction toward the aforementioned things; a direction toward ‘good’ rather than ‘evil’. - AOD

doubter,

Re hellish NDEs, further categorization and research is required, I think. IIRC, I have read the account of the woman in childbirth elsewhere, and that occurred under anesthesia (and even if I don't recall correctly, "in childbirth" suggests that she didn't suffer a cardiac arrest).

First, I don't think medical experiences that do not involve a cardiac arrest (i.e., an actual "death") should be considered true NDEs. They tend to produce vastly different experience from cardiac arrest NDEs. Nanci Danison's experience, which we have debated here endlessly, is another one. As a medical interpreter, I've witnessed people waking up many, many times from surgery, and they usually remember nothing. The reason is that anesthesiologists purposely use a benzodiazepine that causes amnesia about the surgery. Old school anesthesia did not include this and could produce some truly nasty effects.

That doesn't mean that the patients didn't experience OBEs and genuine paranormal experiences. But dreams are also OBEs, and those come in a range of flavors as well. I've had some extremely existentially troubling dreams that I don't feel were mere dreams, but I would not extrapolate from them too much about the nature of Reality.

Second, some of the "bad" NDEs may not have actually been NDEs per se. Most people who have a medical cardiac arrest remember nothing. Some people who wake up and report a negative NDE may simply have had a bad dream at some point in the process. Again, a dream itself can be a paranormal experience in my view. Or they may have had some other type of experience. (Similarly, not every pleasantly recalled experience is necessarily an NDE either.)

Third, some of the "bad" NDEs seem to be negative reactions to situations that may have been resolved had the NDE lasted longer. Many overall positive NDEs also have moments of doubt, fear, etc.

Fourth, while some bad NDEs are most likely just that, I would not expect the afterlife to be great for everyone. My belief is not that everyone who dies immediately goes to a "good place" but that everyone is taken care of in the long run.

Fifth, what Michael said.

The topic of distressing NDEs led me to some good info:

https://iands.org/distressing-near-death-experiences.html

One more bit of philosophy I will add is this: there's always a fly in the ointment. If one thinks something is perfect, that something is all one way, one will find out that it is not so. So it doesn't surprise me that there are negative NDEs.

So could it also be possible that my neat picture of all beings being saved must also be marred? Maybe. But I would ask this: Does the Afterlife function on a mechanical basis such that failure of the mechanism could result in a being being lost? Or does it function on an intentional basis such that a higher order of beings or forces or perhaps our own selves (i.e., Higher Selves) or *something* makes it so? Or is it perhaps a hybrid of the two, such that a higher order of things supplies the intentions but those are subjected to some mechanical features lower down (e.g., the relationship of our thought content to Afterlife experiences per Michael's speculation)?

I would say that, if there is any intentionality involved, then it seems reasonable to conclude if only provisionally that a being falling through the cracks would be doing so also due to the intentions of the higher order. And I further speculate that such negative intentions don't exist.

The idea of a mechanical system isn't conceptually absurd, and it's surprising that more hasn't been speculated about the possibility. One of my favorite writers, Robert Sheckley, wrote a whole novel about it called "Immortality Incorporated," in which the Afterlife isn't something that happens to everyone, and rich people sometimes have to buy the immortality of poor people, etc.

But nothing I've seen in the evidence from NDEs, ADCs, and channels directly confirms this speculation.

"Robert Sheckley, wrote a whole novel about it called "Immortality Incorporated," in which the Afterlife isn't something that happens to everyone, and rich people sometimes have to buy the immortality of poor people, etc. But nothing I've seen in the evidence from NDEs, ADCs, and channels directly confirms this speculation."

Surely you jest, Matt! - AOD

How reasonable is it to think that all people when they enter the next level or sphere of existence will experience exactly the same things. Life on earth has much variety in environment, culture and intellectual development. How would it be gain to enter a reality in which one had no understanding or appreciation of the reality in which they found themselves? If it is consciousness or mind that survives dissolution of the physical then consciousness including the subliminal mind takes with it what it experienced and learned during its time in the physical. It takes with it its memories, loves and desires it cherished while in the physical. One whose experience in the physical has been one of avarice, hatred, anger and other negative emotions and actions and who has not developed an appreciation and love for nature and the created world, who has not developed loving relationships and who has not made an effort to develop intellectually will create by thought alone exactly what they have created in their physical life.

Here are some thoughts from Patience Worth, written by Pearl Curran about heaven.

A WHITE HEAVEN
Oh, man, what spotless Heaven would’st thou create?
Milkwhite in sanctity, no stuff but that it gleams in colorlessness,
With pearled gates and alabaster shadows, rimmed with white walls,
Cloud-tipped of whiter silver and lucid gems of water pureness;
The paths enshrouded in a snow of blooms,
And the silver streets lined of fleece clad angels whose white wings
Enfold their whiter form, and whose whiter souls abide this white, white land.
Ah, what a heaven thou createst!
And, I pray you, wherein thou?

MY HEAVEN
Might I build a Heaven
I’d make the day contain the early dawn’s first breath and the eve’s first shadows
That it be neither o’er bright nor o’er shadowed.
I’d make the land to roll in gentle rises wherein valleys lie, and the peaks be not over-far,
And the roadway that I’d set me there would be a circle winding about the hillocks and the vales,
Where at each turn a changeful shade of some sweet memory would greet me.
I’d make me such a land, so full of recollections,
That like trooping throngs of happy babes they’d sport the fields.
And then I’d take a golden trumpet and stand upon its portals
And cry, O Brother, come!

-AOD

AOD wrote,

"Surely you jest, Matt!"

Well, Sheckley wrote the book, so no jesting about that. Do I believe that the Afterlife is a purely mechanical affair, so that by chance perhaps some people die and just don't have an Afterlife, too bad? No, I don't.

As for people experiencing different types of Afterlife, I do agree with you on that. However, the prevalence of dead relatives coming to greet the newly departed in NDEs suggests there is also some commonality of "template" or domain, at least in many cases.

Heaven is the original holographic film that our Universe is projected from. This would mean that whatever is "here" must also be there - only the physics of the other side is very different from the physics we normally experience here; it is the physics of holographic film. Upon the death of the physical body the "soul" simply transitions to this original holographic film we call heaven.

I know it is true because that is how many many near death experiencers describe what they experienced. All you have to do is read "The Universe as a hologram" an online essay I'm fairly certain was written by Michael Talbot and then read Mark Horton's NDE description. The parallels, corroboration, and connection between them is obvious.

And because of consilience I have a high degree of confidence it is true. The separation that we experience here simply won't exist in heaven and time and space as we know and experience it here will be very different from what we experience here.

By the way there is a whole chapter in Dr. Ken Ring's book Life At Death about the connection between NDEs and the holographic universe. Dr. Ring required his students at the University of Connecticut to read The Holographic Universe as part of the course he taught on near death experiences. In Dr. Melvin Morse's book "Where God Lives" there are several pages devoted to the holographic nature of the Universe.

The Universe as a Hologram,
http://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html

Mark Horton's NDE description,
http://www.kuriakon00.com/celestial/nde/mark_horton.htm

It is very simple. Our Universe we live in now is a holographic projection created to teach us the things that cant' be learned in "heaven" and Heaven is the original holographic film that contains all the information our Universe is created from.

"Is it possible that an ordinary person like you or me could miss the train to the Afterlife and just be sitting in a gray expanse for all eternity, the result of a mistake?"

Matt, that reminds me of the recent movie "A Ghost Story" with Casey Affleck. I could see how some people would find this movie "boring," but I loved it, it really struck a chord with me.

In general, I've felt a few times that the spirit or energy of the departed somehow remains, or maybe strong emotions leave impressions upon a place. For instance, when I visited Paris once, my friend and I came upon this open square. I felt such a deep sense of desolation in this place, so different from the happy feelings I'd experienced in museums, the Eiffel Tower, subway, etc. I was really happy to leave that place. Later that night I found out that this courtyard was the Place de la Concorde where many executions were held during the French Revolution.

Kathleen wrote,

||In general, I've felt a few times that the spirit or energy of the departed somehow remains, or maybe strong emotions leave impressions upon a place.||

Right, the best evidence (in my view) suggests that ghosts are a thing, and those seem to be the two types. I do think spirits can get "stuck" here for a time. Then the type of thing you experienced in the square can also be present.

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