Something to think about

By Mark Dohle.

I know that the "Near Death Experience" is something that brings out strong reactions in many as to the meaning of the experience. With many books pro and con being written on the subject, of which I have read the majority over the past 30 years or so. Also the NDE can be abused by those writing about it, acting as if it is some new revelation, or using their own religious bias to back up one certain interpretation. Which of course is normal, we do tend to incorporate information into our preconceive belief system and to reject what does not agree with it. Both believers and unbelievers do it; I do it, that I know for sure. So objectivity is not always easy, or perhaps impossible, would be the key word. So to look at a phenomenon and actually learn something new from it can be harder than expected.

There is however one aspect of the "Near Death Experience" that got my attention from the beginning, and has been something that has intrigued me ever since. It is not the tunnel of light, nor the so-called communication from dead relatives or other entities, as interesting as they are, nor the prophecies, some of which are, to put it bluntly ‘crazy'.

Also it is not the effect the NDE's have on those who experience them. Though all the above is interesting and worthy of study.

What drew my attention is the experience labeled "the life review". It is really quite fascinating and I guess depending on ones life, can be either terrifying or pleasant. I would imagine for most it would somewhere in the middle. What happens, is the one experiencing these phenomena, will relive his or her influence on those that they have come into contact with during their life. The ‘other' becomes ‘them'; what the other experienced; they also had to live through. Pain, pleasure, joy and sorrow, all were felt to the limit, everything they did to others had to be lived through as the first person. Truly an interesting part of the NDE, and perhaps the most important, at least for me, others may not think so at all.

What does this mean? About life, about how we live, justice and mercy and most importantly, what does it say about ‘all' the others in our lives? It certainly could point to some new understanding of what our boundaries are and our connection with others; perhaps something about the Mind itself. It also points to the reality of the importance that should be given in how we simply treat others, for in the end it says something about who we are, and also how on some deep level, how we actually relate to ourselves.

The wife beater will experience the pain, shame and psychological fragmentation of his victim. The rapist will experience the same from his victim or victims. Petty actions will be relived in the first person. Also the joy we give others will also be experienced, nothing perhaps is lost, and we each must experience all of our lives and the consequences of our actions. Why if this is true, must this be gotten through?

Perhaps the major source of pain in the world is our lack of understanding of the reality of others, that they are real, not just objects put here for ones personal enjoyment, or be used and then discarded. Why is it that injustices committed against others can be smiled at, or receive no reaction whatsoever, yet when it happens perhaps to us we become enraged?

Is it because others are in reality not ‘real'? Perhaps not to understand the absolute reality of the other as another ‘Self" is a form of sleep walking through life and the NDE is a wake up call to understanding the essential unity that we all have. So what we do to others, we in reality also do to ourselves?

For me the ‘life review' is not a punishment but a wake up call. Maybe because we really don't believe (if Christian) what Jesus really said: "Whatever you do to the least, you do to me". I wonder if that were really believed, studied, meditated upon and really believed, what would happen. I guess the "golden rule" would take on a whole new meaning: Treat others as you yourself would want to be treated, because it is really another ‘you' or ‘self' that you relate to". In the end it is Christ, and Christ is God (again if you are a Christian), and Christ relates to the least, so therefore you are Christ by participation in grace, a union profound, intimate beyond comprehension.

Well, I think language breaks down when talking about the union we have with God, it can only be experienced not explained. It is also easy to be misinterpreted when trying to delve into this reality. So perhaps a deep look into what others tell us about the ‘life review' can be helpful.