by Jerry Alatalo
“And he who shall find the interpretation of the words shall not taste death.”
– The Gospel of Thomas
peaking in public is second on the list of things people fear the most. Number one on the list is death. The famous director/comedian Woody Allen had an original way of looking at the topic: “I’m not afraid of dying, I just don’t wanna be around when it happens”. Perhaps most lists of things people fear most don’t include fear of losing one’s immortality, a variation on the concept of death – and a fear which hopefully lessens after the near death experience (NDE) comes into more people’s awareness. Because for close to 100% of NDE men, women and children there is no more fear of death; they have through first-hand encounters come to realize death in its commonly held perception is a myth and/or falsehood.
Doctor Pim van Hommel was a practicing cardiologist for 20 years when he wrote “Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience”, in which he describes what he observed and learned over that time from studying his patients’ near-death experiences. Starting in 1988 and out of sheer curiosity, Dr. van Hommel compiled and filed his interactions and discussions with patients, focused on creating a record of extraordinary or revelatory events. At the start, it might make the subject of NDE more intriguing to note that Dr. van Hommel is a “world-renowned” cardiologist. This makes clear the man has impeccable credentials and an earned respectability which makes his life experience on the topic of NDEs worthy of serious consideration.
Although the NDE has become a more popular subject in recent years due to sales of NDE-related books reaching bestseller status, a distance remains to the point where the scientific community can confidently and unanimously state that “life after death is real”. This post will ideally provide a push, a little nudge, in that direction – the point where it has become widely accepted that human consciousness survives the death of the physical body. Using a quote from one of Dr. van Hommel’s patients from his book gives us another direct, reinforcing perspective: “dead is not dead”.
Perhaps the essential question related to NDEs has to do with how such a phenomenon will affect humanity when awareness of it becomes widespread around the world. At some point, the knowledge brought back by those who’ve had NDEs will produce a “critical mass” with respect to a new (old, see below) philosophic/spiritual paradigm, and to an extent that knowledge finds its way into high government officials’ discussions on possible actions affecting the world’s 7-8 billion people. Doctor van Hommel notes in the interview that NDEs are not a new phenomenon: Plato spoke and wrote about them in “The Republic”, ancient|sacred books of the world’s great spiritual traditions include obvious NDE descriptions and so on. So one discovers that NDEs are really “old wisdom” just beginning to gain wider dissemination through the many bestsellers on the fascinating subject.
Dr. van Hommel has reached the conclusion that consciousness is a separate function not originating from the brain, that it is impossible for the brain to control consciousness, and states “that’s an important conclusion”. In his view the human brain does not hold consciousness but facilitates it. The brain in his view is a kind of transceiver – receiving information from a timeless, spaceless, unity-filled “non-local” consciousness, and sending information from the physical “local” body to the higher dimensions where NDErs travel. He points out that consciousness (feelings, thoughts, etc.) is impossible to measure as no equipment has been invented for that purpose, so what occurs when people have NDEs is also immeasurable scientifically.
One unfortunate result for many who’ve had NDEs is their silent suffering due to a non-acceptance by friends, family, co-workers and others of the “realness” of their events, of which NDErs unanimously report. A lot of NDErs go through years of depression because of such non-acceptance and unbelief by others, an ironic result given the ecstatic, blissful details they describe after returning. On the other – encouraging – hand, thanks to the mentioned bestsellers providing NDE men and women the relief of knowing many others are in the same situation, an increasing number of experienced are coming forward and sharing their positive, profound accounts. In turn, more NDE men and women come forward in a positive expansion of people sharing and talking about what they saw, felt and experienced.
Dr. van Hommel:
“What we hear from people with a NDE is that each thought you ever had is kept with the influence it had on yourself and on others in the past. Each thought is kept, and then of course each word and action is kept as well”.
This comes through most powerfully, and Dr. van Hommel is referring to, when NDE men and women recount the “life review” event during the experience as they move and re-view their life from birth to the time they “died”. Men, women and children who’ve had NDEs describe feeling great sadness when harming another physically or mentally, in contrast to great feelings of joy when helping, encouraging, or expressing love to others. One can only imagine the amount of “computer memory” necessary to record every thought, word and action of every human being who ever lived.
“They know that there is no death – there is continuity of the essence of who you are. You live different. The concept you have about death makes how you live. The material aspects of life – competition, money, big car, young bodies… – it isn’t important anymore. It’s about empathy, compassion towards others; toward the planet Earth. So, it changes a lot. So we need them – those people with near death experiences. We can learn from them. They were my teachers. I was just a materialistic cardiologist, and just because of my curiosity I started to do the study and it changed my concepts about life and death”.
Use the following link to read reviews of Dr. Pim van Lommel’s book “Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience”. Reading those reviews will provide greater insights and appreciation for what Dr. van Lommel shares in the following video interview. For example, one of the reviewers said this about the book: “I can’t imagine a book that would go deeper than this one”.
(Thank you to scienceandnonduality at YouTube)