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Near death experiences reveal life after life

Jim Stuart

The testimony of people who have approached death or ‘crossed over’ and returned to this life strongly suggest that life does not end on this earth, says Rev Dr Jim Stuart.

When Jim underwent heart bypass surgery several years ago, he had his own near death experience (NDE). His subsequent research on the topic revealed that, while every NDE is unique, they share a number of common themes.

People who have been through an NDE fall into several categories: 1) those who have been revived after being declared clinically dead; 2) those who have survived a serious trauma such as accident or illness; and 3) those who have conveyed their experiences to others while dying.

Common elements of NDE include the ineffability of the experience, i.e., those who went through it found it very difficult to explain because language is inadequate to convey the experience.

Many people undergoing an NDE have an out of the body experience during which they look down on their own body or hear themselves pronounced dead. Some who have had an NDE during surgery can identify the doctors and nurses who were performing the operation.

The experience is invariably described as a very positive one. Many experience feelings of peace and quiet. Some meet people from their past or other spiritual beings who serve as guides and ease the transition to another realm. Some describe meeting a being of pure light or love.

Other common themes are travelling through a dark tunnel toward a light or seeing a review of one’s life. Reaching a door, border, fence or other obstacle that prevents one from going further is also mentioned.

People who have been through an NDE either decide themselves or are advised that they must return to this life to finish certain tasks or look after loved ones.

Sceptical explanations of NDE argue they are caused by physiological factors such as oxygen deprivation, or psychological factors such as isolation or dreaming.

"People who have experienced an NDE tend to keep the experience to themselves because they fear they will be seen as mentally unstable, hallucinating or making things up. While they are hesitant to share their experience they do experience major life changes," Jim says.

"They say they are more compassionate and intuitive, and emphasize the importance of loving and accepting others. They tend to reject reward and punishment models of life and death and say that awaiting us after this life is unconditional love and acceptance."

Jim says NDEs challenge our assumptions about the purpose and meaning of life. They challenge the widely held assumption that this life is all there is and it ends at death. They open us to the power of love.