26 October 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Joy and Near Death Experiences: An Interesting Connection

I recently watched Katie Couric interview a woman who had been through a near death experience. Her story was classic.

While kayaking, she almost drowned. Soon after being pulled from the water, her consciousness left her body, and she watched rescue workers frantically try to revive her. The next thing she knew she was speeding through a tunnel, a dark region with an incredible light at the end.

She landed in a world pulsating with love and forgiveness where she met and reminisced with deceased relatives. Her journey continued when she encountered a being she believed to be Jesus, who put her through a life review. It was like viewing a movie of the major events in her life. She witnessed the consequences of her behavior on others. She reviewed the events of her life through the eyes of people she had interacted with. The life review was conducted in an atmosphere of love and forgiveness. At no time did she feel she was being judged. She only sensed deep forgiveness.

Soon after the review was completed, her guide said it was time for her to return to the living. Her life on earth was not completed. She had a purpose to fulfill. She obeyed these instructions reluctantly. She wanted to remain “in heaven.”

The woman’s near death experience produced lasting change. She saw the world differently following her return to it. She developed more concern for others, became less competitive, less judgmental, and was better able to accept herself for who she was. She came to see religious belief as irrelevant because all that mattered was love. The universe she experienced outside herself was characterized by radiant love.

Her story is classic because it fits a pattern. Thirteen million Americans have had similar experiences. Researchers have studied this phenomenon for more than forty years. They have interviewed thousands of people with remarkably similar stories.

The people that Couric interviewed were all Christians, which may have led viewers to a wrong conclusion. The near death experience is not an exclusively Christian phenomenon. Religious background plays no role. Atheists, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists have similar experiences. The loving being may be identified as Jesus or Mohammad, but that association is made by the person undergoing the experience. The loving being rarely reveals his or her identity.

So what does this discussion of near death experiences have to do with this wonderful joy site? Simply this: when the woman asked her spiritual guide how she would know she was fulfilling her purpose in life, the guide responded that she would know by the experience of joy in her life. The experience of joy indicates we are living the life we are intended to live. Find what leads to joy in your life and organize your life around it. It will make a difference!

About the author:
Dr. Rick Herrick (PhD, Tulane University) is a former tenured university professor and magazine editor. Recently retired, he splits his time between Oak Bluffs Massachusetts and Leadville Colorado. He is married with three children and six grandchildren. He is the author of, ” The Case Against Evangelical Christianity.”
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