Thanks to extensive research done in the last twenty-five years or so, some investigators view near death experiences (NDEs) as portals to spiritual illumination and personal transformation. Studies clearly show that NDEs help people to make permanent changes in their lives, including a deepening of their spiritual understanding and development.
This article will examine how the typical NDE may amount to a kind of spiritual journey, take a look at a few of the profound changes experienced by those who undergo an NDE and offer the reader suggestions for facilitating his or her inner experience.
A Spiritual Journey
Many people who have an NDE go on to view the experience as a blessing in disguise. No matter how a person's skirmish with death may have occurred, the elements of the NDE tend to be quite structurally consistent. Positive after effects are common to a NDE, including spiritual transformation.
Many NDEers say the entire experience served as a spiritual catalyst, increasing spirituality, but not necessarily religiosity.
Cherie Sutherland of the University of South Wales said, of the participants in an Australian study, "... they now have an ongoing direct contact with God or a Higher Power that requires no mediation by institutions, such as a church or interpretation by the teachings of any denomination or tradition."
And numerous NDEers come back from their experience convinced of the reality of spiritual or unseen domains, and are quick to rediscover the importance of spirituality in daily life.
There are intriguing after effects associated with NDEs. Most people say the experience changed or transformed their lives.
One large study found the following after effects:
1. Decreased death anxiety
2. Increased psychic abilities
3. A higher zest for living
4. Augmented intelligence
NDEers report feeling an extraordinary sense of peace and joy, and are happier to be alive than ever, and more adept at making the most of their time. Life takes on a new joy and the individual feels a stronger sense of meaning and purpose, and a greater sense of existential grounding.
Some who recover from an NDE report they experienced a life review, which gave them a bird's eye view of their lives to this point, and the impact they have had on other people, and led them to make qualitative changes in their lives.
Often NDEers will change their lives in conscious ways, so as to lead a more productive and morally sound life. They feel a keen sense of gratitude, think more positive thoughts and see the world in more optimistic terms. Affirming the dire importance of love, they give more to the people around them and display greater empathy toward others. Their appreciation for life's opportunities is magnified.
Suggestions: How You Can Benefit Without Having A NDE
1. Learning more about NDEs can open the doors of perception, and expand your understanding of spiritual states and the nature of life and death. Look into the near death literature, but keep an open mind.
2. Doing your own conscious Life Review. Think through the major events of your life and ask yourself how you conducted yourself. Be as objective as possible. Are there areas in need of improvement? Reflect on your relationships. Which relationships have left you with regrets? Do you wish you could have done certain relationships differently? How might you rearrange your current relationships?
What could you do to make a more positive impact upon people in your life? What changes do you feel you should make in your attitudes and behaviors?
3. Looking within. You never know when a profound, life-enriching vision or dream may await you. It is never too late to examine your life critically with an eye toward self-improvement. Positive, life-affirming changes can be yours for the asking, if you sincerely seek them.
If you would like to have a powerful spiritually enriching encounter, without the flat lines, what can you learn from NDEers that can help you?
Note: A small percentage of people (about 25%) have similar experiences without almost dying. This is called a near-death-like-experience (NDLE), and may occur while people are sleeping and dreaming, or arise from a prayerful or meditative state or an intensive emotional experience.
There are many different ways of thinking about near death experiences, but those who have had them are often surprised by their experiences and may be inspired to re-examine their beliefs. Their experiences shed new light on death and dying... and ultimately life and living.
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