RANDOM THOUGHTS ….‘Life After Death’ (Kubler-Ross), The Controversy About ‘The Tunnel And The Light’ Reconsidered …. Light Wins

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Is that all there is? — Peggy Lee
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I remember reading ‘On Life After Death’ back in the 80’s, and being transfixed by Ross’s essays, all based on the alleged approximately 20,000 interviews she’d done with people who’d died and then come back to life, sometimes thru field CPR, sometimes on surgical tables and gurneys in hospitals. They seemed to offer a sense of safety, as tho this reality not only isn’t all there is, but may not even be the best of all there is.



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I’d started my spiritual journey many years before, when my beloved little kitty had died, leaving my six year old self weeping and grief-stricken. I started asking those uncomfortable (well, at least generally uncomfortable to the adults who were being asked to provide answers to the unanswerable) questions about death, and where my kitty had gone and would she be happy there and would she remember me and would I ever see her again and would she get enough to eat and would there be someone there to pet her and play with her and would they let her sleep with them … and …. and …. and …..



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Mama, who always answered my questions as tho I were a very, very small adult with a very, extremely large curiosity, gave me the adult answer …. that no one really knows what happens after our bodies die, or where the rest of us goes, or even what the ‘rest’ part is.




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The publication of ‘On Life After Death’ was followed, predictably, by a spate of critiques, scoffers, deniers and scientific explainers, all along the lines of “It’s a brain spasm ….”, “It’s the brain denying the reality….”, “It’s your brain entertaining you while you die …”, “It’s the brain shutting down …”, yadda yadda yadda blah blah yadda ....

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There’s much about Kubler-Ross that interferes with accepting the potential truths that her interviews expressed, and I’m not even taking into consideration her flirtation with channeling spirits, or her repudiation of much of what she’d claimed to believe earlier in her life, including her opposition to physician-assisted suicide which, during her last months on the planet, she whole-heartedly endorsed. But she stuck by the experiences that virtually every one of her interviewees had described … the tunnel, the light, the loved ones, the peaceful easy feeling ….

So hey, no one’s perfect. This is where separating the message from the messenger is both critical and not always easy to do …..



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I rejected all of the ‘explainers’, even as I was still struggling with embracing the alternative view and trying to incorporate it into my slowly developing spiritual worldview …. that something in us survives the experience of death, and, in fact, observes it as it’s happening and maintains a sort of soothing colloquy with us as it unfolds, accompanying us on our journey ….


“The study’s authors conclude that although studies to date have not
been able to absolutely prove
the reality or meaning of patients’ experiences
and claims of awareness in relation to death, it has been impossible
to disclaim them either. They say recalled experience surrounding death

now merits further genuine empirical investigation without prejudice.”



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Well, the scoffers have even less ground to stand on now, following a comprehensive study that establishes both the validity and the likelihood of this strange and inexplicable experience, described as different from hallucinations, delusions, illusions, dreams or CPR-induced consciousness, or the trick of a disordered or dying brain, and which opens doors to so many other ruminations about what death is, the purpose of life, and the existence of what comes after. Questions that have been asked by all known religions, civilizations, and peoples, almost all of which have come to the conclusion that life, the life that we know and accept as ‘life’, is just another step or transition to …. something else.



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But a transition to what? Where DO we go from here? Are we recycled in some way, like a sort of spiritual Fluff & Fold, and sent back into the dance, squeaky-clean and ready for exciting new lessons? Or are we incorporated into a greater whole, to be reshuffled like a deck of cards, and then used as the component parts of something entirely new and altogether different ….


Or is it just ‘light's out, thank you for playing …..’

There’s no agreement on this part of The Great Question, and if you have thoughts on it, please know that they’re welcomed here, so share what you think, imagine, believe, or fantasize the next step might be in this great, unknowable, journey ….. or on any other part of all this that takes your fancy ….


Lucid Dying: Patients Recall Death Experiences During CPR
https://neurosciencenews.com/lucid-dying-cpr-21785/

Comments

Science often lags behind intuitive and/or traditional knowledge. I suppose that proving that something is true is more rigorous than observing and then knowing it is so.

However, when scientists are creative and take into consideration some other-- and often older--ways of understanding this universe….EUREKA!…it turns out that they often catch up. And frequently provide explanation for the previously inexplicable.

That aside, it is a fascinating subject to contemplate. We are all going to do it and since at present we don't know anything for certain (scientifically) we can range around the possibilities and .....consider what we like and what we don't. I for one see no reason not to look forward to some miraculous moments.

And on that note, a close, ancient and ill relative of mine recently died (by her own hand and in her own timing) and she was positively beside herself with excitement to see what she would find 'on the other side.' I have no idea what greeted her, but her departure was the most delightful, joyful and easeful I have ever seen. And I have seen more than my share. Why NOT go out with curiosity and anticipation? It sure beats dread and denial. And that tunnel of light sounds really lovely to me.
 
And on that note, a close, ancient and ill relative of mine recently died (by her own hand and in her own timing) and she was positively beside herself with excitement to see what she would find 'on the other side.'
What a remarkable woman and human being ... and she's right. It's gonna come, one way or another, and while attitude may not change the destination, it'll most definitely make the trip a lot pleasanter.

Shakespeare called it "The undiscovered country ....", Rabelais referred to is as " ..... the Great Perhaps ...", Mark Twain opined that he was giving up sleep, cause so many people seemed to die there ....Ambrose Bierce, ever Bierce-ian, said "Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.....".

We all approach the Grinning Reaper in our own way. I haven't quite figured out what mine is, but I want to keep it hopeful. If I can. I have to admit that it does scare me ..... not so much the dying, but the means ....:nervous::nervous::nervous:


Something your relative avoided by giving death The Great Middle, and choosing her own means and method and time .... :woot::woot: :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: :hug:
 
I recall reading the interview with Kubler-Ross in Playboy Magazine. It had a huge impact on me. She was a very big deal at the time. (and I"d look that up right now but we are having a local power outage)

(my older brother got Playboy and I read it dutifully from the age of nine, on........)

And my take home from Elizabeth was: better to keel over abruptly while having a coronary.

*** First Deaths-

I found a nest of baby birds, blown out of the palm tree. They were not alive any longer. That became My First Deaths. (altho when the neighbor girl tortured the garden snails, I also made note that was NOT OK)

Later, it was all about the family cat and family dog. As a child, my relationship with these two pets was very profound. I would imagine the funerals I"d hold, should they pass away. There would be oil paintings on the wall, forever preserving the Beagle and White Persian. Gravemarkers. Last words etched in stone.

It was years later. I stopped by to see my Mom at work, I was in college and she told me that Mandy the Beagle had died, at 17. My Father was devastated. I stood there, a grown up adult and broke down. For everything she represented from my childhood.

***
Stories Of the Light-

A) This Light Exists. I know because I saw it. I did not want to see it. And I was not dead.

There are states of consciousness that are unique, atypical, induced by extreme circumstances.

This Light probably exists in many forms, in many places.

At the time, it was part of a great tragedy. But later, it morphed and became a very reassuring experience.

B) It happened to my father in law. And I wish we could have discussed the experience in a more meaningful way, but somehow meaningful discussions over a lifetime with family can be listed on a tiny note pad.

He left his body after a traffic accident and was hoovering above himself in the ambulance, near Highway 80 and the Bay Bridge. He did not like what he saw. He saw himself very injured, and heard them discuss that he was "dead" but "they were going anyway".



Whatever happened next, he was in a hospital paralyzed for over two years, and they said he would never walk again. But he did.

He would bring it up to my husband, later. When he would read about other people having these experiences. It seems he was trying to process it all.

***
So, I'm not worried about the final details. Its the lead up to the final act.

It would be nice to go out with a fabulous story to tell.
 
This Light Exists. I know because I saw it. I did not want to see it. And I was not dead.
I concur completely! And as you say--most often accessed through extreme or unusual occurrences or events. Extra-ordinary consciousness.

How amazing that you had the experience of knowing someone who had left his body and was hovering and completely alert, able to see and to recall, to report back later.

When my best friend died, many years ago, I walked into his hospital room on the last morning of his life and I immediately, undeniably knew he was not in the form lying on the bed. In fact I felt angry that the body was just lying there heaving and trying to breathe. It seemed so cruel. A nurse came to swab his teeth and gum and I yelled at her--a totally totally uncharacteristic thing for me to do.

He, I could tell, was in a particular corner of the ceiling. I knew it--again--like I would have known if I could see it with physical eyes. I had no expectations that something like that would transpire, but I could never doubt it. It was as real as anything I've ever seen. What happened next for him, I was not privy to, but I imagine he was, like your father in law, watching me and the drama unfolding on the bed. I wonder what he felt?
 
The Kubler Ross article in Playboy was maybe May 1981.
The book was later than that. I'm pretty sure, cause I never read Playboy, and now that all the tea's been spilled on that perverted horror Hugh Heffner, I'm glad he never got my $$ or my library card .....

I'd guess mid-to-later 80's .... or maybe I just read it later. I always was a little late to the buffet .....
 
I stood there, a grown up adult and broke down. For everything she represented from my childhood.
There's something about the loss of a beloved pet that's shared a large chunk of your life that's just deeply painful.


I still have my deeply beloved kitty (I've had many, including the intrepid Hilary, more about her some other time, or maybe not. I posted about Hilary and the Vile Silent Sam a couple of years ago in some thread here that I've now totally lost track of) .... where was I .... yeah, my deeply loved Tubby, who lived to be just under 24, and is still in a little lavender can in my bookcase. If you've never had a pet cremated, it's ..... not fun. She shared most of my adult life, and when she died, I just went temporarily nuts, with DB gently whispering that I really really didnt want to stuff her, honestly, it just wouldn't be the same.

But she'd been my loving little companion through some of the hardest things I went thru, and now ..... gone.

So I totally hear you. Honest...
but somehow meaningful discussions over a lifetime with family can be listed on a tiny note pad.
Oh good cheesy crackers, I thought that was just me. You're sooooo right.


And do you know when you realize that? Or rather, when I realized that (your mileage may have varied, I can be incrdibly dense sometimes)?

About 20 seconds after mama died. And I'm still realizing that. And we talked every day and were extremely, incredibly, close, once I got over adolescence and she got over ....her stuff. She was my North Star, as corny as that is. She just was.
eems he was trying to process it all.
I can't imagine how long it would take, or how hard it would be, to process something that far out of The Regular .... it had to have turned everything he'd believed up to that point inside out ....
So, I'm not worried about the final details. Its the lead up to the final act.
Yeah, that's my big worry. Death is easy, dying can be very, very hard. I've been there with it and watched it, creeping closer and closer, and smelled it, and heard the crackle of its bones, and I swear, almost heard the whispered, "I've got my eye on you .... nothing personal ....." and I don't recommend anything but the sudden .... WHOOOPS !!! And there I go ....
It would be nice to go out with a fabulous story to tell.
Absolutely !!!! Even better, to go out with a fabooo story, and then find that you have an avid audience on the other side, anxious to hear it and already applauding ....


Nifty post, Red ..... thank you !!!! :):):) :hug:
 
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In fact I felt angry that the body was just lying there heaving and trying to breathe. It seemed so cruel.
It's the most wrenchingly, parayzingly, grindingly horrible thing to confront ad/o go thru. Every cell is screaming "WHAT THE FUCK !!!!???!?!?? You totally INHUMAN, MISERABLE FLUCKING MONSTER !!!!"


They always act like they're waxing a floor or dusting the bric-a-brac. I wanted to punch one of the in the throat. even as I reminded myself that this was her job, and it just happened to me my mama ....

And then there was the sweet, timid little nurses aid who barely spoke English, but quietly slid up to me and told me that in the 5 hours Id taken off to get some shut eye, and sandwich and a quick shower, mama had had serious diarrhea, and the staff had quickly cleaned it up and never mentioned it to me. It was one of the warning signs that her oncologist had warned me to be on the look-out for ....
A nurse came to swab his teeth and gum and I yelled at her--a totally totally uncharacteristic thing for me to do
This doesnt bring out the best in anybody, and Im sometimes surprized that the mortality rate among nurses in those last rooms down the long hall where they put the terminal cases isn't a lot higher ...
He, I could tell, was in a particular corner of the ceiling. I knew it--again--like I would have known if I could see it with physical eyes.
You're exceptional, to have sensed and known that, and I'm sometimes jealous that I dont have those abilities .... too much logic blocking the extra-sensory. There are times when I really resent it.


But when mama was dying, and I was clutching her small, elegant little hands and babbling, over and over again like the idiot I was in that moment, "Everything's going to be OK, mama ....everything's going to be OK ..... everything's going to be OK ...." and on and on and on, instead of "I love you mama, and you did an incredible job, everything I have or am I owe to you ... I love you ...." .... just as she slipped away, I felt the tiniest almost imperceptible little ... I think it was a squeeze, it was like a teeny little breeze, brushing my hand, as if mama was saying "I hear what you mean, I love you too .... see you Over There .... no hurry ...."
It was as real as anything I've ever seen.
You're truly, deeply gifted Jyoti ..... tho I imagine that it's not always an easy gift to carry. Still, I envy you the worlds you can see and sense that will never reveal themselves to me. At least not ntil there's no one I can say, "HEY !!! I saw/ heard/ felt/ sensed it !!! I did !!! AT LAST !!! Uh .... hello ???"
What happened next for him, I was not privy to, but I imagine he was, like your father in law, watching me and the drama unfolding on the bed.
My guess is that he stayed with you, up in his perch, for as long as he could or as long as you were there, sending you enveloping love and gentle feelings, trying to soothe ....
I wonder what he felt?
Love. From everything I've read, it all comes down to .... love. And probably concern, knowing that you'd be going thru pain and loss, and there was nothing he could do to ease you thru it.


For all we know, he still drops in on you from time to time, just to see .... you know .... how it's going. And if you're OK.

At least, that's what I like to think, and if I can't create my own reality around death, then what the fluck's imagination for ....

God, ANOTHER great post @Jyoti !!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you !!!!:hug::hug: :bouquet::bouquet: :mug::mug: :wine: ......
 
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That is the most important part, do no feel badly that you might not have said some perfect thing you thought of, later on.
I try to remind myself what a shattered wreckage I was, how I was barely hanging on (DB was also in the hospital, I was just out some 8 months before, and there was pretty close to nothing but fluttering, shredded, tatters of me left), how much emotional and physical pain I was in, and how much worry about DB, who'd been seriously injured in an accident, and how much fear ad pain about losing mama, who clearly wasnt going to make it, no matter how much I happy-talked myself into believing otherwise ... it's incredible I could actually remember those ... you know .... those things .... whaddaya call 'em .... words ....


It was one of the darkest, dankest, most painful, miserable years of my life .... losing mama would have done me in all on its own. The rest was just life saying, "Hey !!! I'm in control here, biatch, and dont you flucking forget it !!!" (Insert maniacal, nasty-edged laugh) ....as crap fell on me from the rafters, oozed up thru the floorboards, dropped on me from light fixtures ... it was just unreal. And strange. And loathsome ....
You were there, totally there and the actual words probably did not matter.
Oh God, I hope you're right. I mean, I know you're right. I hope I can grow to accept that ....


Thank you for that kind reminder, Red ....:thumbsup::thumbsup: :hug:
 
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There are times when I really resent it.
I had sort of an opposite experience as a child, in which I was in a situation where the "spiritual experience" did not happen for me. In fact, I had any number of those. And everybody else seemingly having them. (not really but you know the Joneses, and that green grass over other side of the fence)...

And from there I developed a sort of feeling that I had been ripped off, betrayed, or somehow was a defective being. Or had been sold a bill of goods.

It is sort of fascinating how far from that state of mind, I have come, all these years later.
 
It is sort of fascinating how far from that state of mind, I have come, all these years later.
Ain't life just a treacherous, irresistible, little bitch ?


Same here. I look back and sometimes marvel at who I thought I was, what I went thru, who I've become.

Like I've said so often before in these threads, this queasy-making little roller-coaster misery of an illness brings with it, probably against its will, its own gifts.
You have to sit really still to understand their nature, and to receive them willingly (fortunately, not really a problem for most of us, certainly not for me during The Troubles), but I think that of all the crap that I've gone thru, this was the crap that changed me the most, that gave me the stillness to find things I didn't even know I had, like rummaging thru an attic filled with dusty old trunks and photo albums and delicate china and odd musical instruments that you never knew were hiding there, until you had nowhere else to go ....
 
Oh crap, I've asked myself the same question. Over and over.
Sometimes I think its because we are reduced to physicality at the moment, our tiny pea sized brains can't really process our true Selves. (referencing now, that scene from The Man Who Fell to Earth). (when you discover the interesting new boyfriend is a space alien)

Years ago, I recall having a fabulous dream, in which I was making out with Donovan.

You know, Donovan the folk singer, Donavan (I knew the words to every song, etc yada yada).

totally real dream. May I share it was also Totally Wonderful.

You'd think our subconscious would get real busy producing all this great DREAMY STUFF.

So instead I'm in some dream looking at bundles of carrots underneath the basement of the house, wondering if I'll be eating any vegetables this week?
 
So instead I'm in some dream looking at bundles of carrots underneath the basement of the house, wondering if I'll be eating any vegetables this week?
:lol::lol::lol::lol: :rofl::rofl: :squee::squee::squee::squee: ....

I told 'ya .... life's a treacherous, irresistible little biatch, and it's always going to get the better of us. That's the treacherous part ....
 
There's something about the loss of a beloved pet that's shared a large chunk of your life that's just deeply painful.
The worst death I ever attended was of my first (and totally incredible dog). Part of the horror of it was that I had to decide when the moment was at hand. The other part was her utter innocence. As is the case for all of our beloved animals. We can't explain, we can't ask their advice about what they want, we just have to decide in some cases. Although I expect they are far far wiser than we are when it comes to leaving their bodies.
hat is the most important part, do no feel badly that you might not have said some perfect thing you thought of, later on.

You were there, totally there and the actual words probably did not matter.
I totally agree. She was not listening to your words, but to your heart. She knew--'cause she was your mama--that you were talking to yourself. SHE knew it was going to be alright. For her. And she knew you had to do whatever you could to hold yourself together. She knew you were telling her how much you loved her.

You're truly, deeply gifted Jyoti ..... tho I imagine that it's not always an easy gift to carry. Still, I envy you the worlds you can see and sense that will never reveal themselves to me.
This was the first time anything like this ever happened to me. It was nothing I considered or wondered about--will I be there when he dies and will it be something revelatory?--just went in for another day of sitting at the bedside, and whoa....slam.....there is was. I didn't have the energy or the inclination to make a big deal of it. But it seemed so clear to me that I did yell at the poor nurse who somehow thought he would care about his teeth. I guess I had believed it could be so, but I had never experienced it before.
And listing all my Mom Questions.

Why won't she just show up in some dream and answer the questions?
I think sometimes the questions DO get answered if we attend elsewhere. The ones we expect those answers from may be on to new adventures but the universe may have left a trail of breadcrumbs if we are willing to follow. In other words--our answers are likely out there (and even more--in here) if we can be open to the oddest and most unexpected of teachers. Carrots? Who knows? Maybe there IS some real deep (in the basement) meaning there?
 
The ones we expect those answers from may be on to new adventures but the universe may have left a trail of breadcrumbs if we are willing to follow. In other words--our answers are likely out there (and even more--in here) if we can be open to the oddest and most unexpected of teachers. Carrots? Who knows? Maybe there IS some real deep (in the basement) meaning there?
wow, I just erased the words "trail of breadcrumbs" in a sentence I wrote here yesterday....then I went back and saw your comments, @Jyoti .

Ok.

(my comment was suggesting we ALL combine our attention to create a shared DREAM that includes finding the path out of the dark ME forest via those BREADCRUMBS).

Carrots? Who knows? Maybe there IS some real deep (in the basement) meaning there?
Oh the carrot dream was very significant, as all the other lovely fruits and vegetables were all accumulated there, under the foundation of the house.

I"ve had issues with vegetables my whole life, Little Miss Picky. Little Miss Stomach Achy.
 
As if this weren't all complicated enough, many physicists believe that linear time is a construct. So that implies the straight line of birth, life, and death isn't that simple. If time isn't linear, what does that do to the concept of death?

Maybe everything has already happened.
 
If time isn't linear, what does that do to the concept of death?
Well, as nearly as I can figure (which isnt too far just now), it would mean that the second we're born, we're also dying, some 50-70-90 years or whatever in the future. Which I find just too depressing to think about too long. It makes me uber nervous ....

I have to admit that when it comes to issues around the existence, or otherwise, of time, or the probability of a holographic universe, or the possibility that we're all just some sort advanced SIMS game, my mind just starts collapsing like a cheap fan and I get really anxious.
Maybe everything has already happened.
OMIGOD that's just tooooooooooooo depressing .....

As is the corollary belief that time began expanding with the Big Bang, and when the universe starts contracting, time will start moving backwards, which means I suppose that we get to live our life all over again, but sort of, I dunno, inside out? Upside down?


My head's starting to really throb ....

But on the other hand, it would also explain the possibility of psychics or mediums or clairvoyants who can somehow tap into that great stream of everything happening all together, and come back with answers.

It's an intriguing proposition, which I'll leave to those with stronger nerves than mine :nervous::nervous::nervous: ......

Thank you @perchance dreamer for opeing the door to those intriguing possibilities, and now I'm off to find some Pepto ..... back in a flash. Or maybe I already am. Or maybe I never left ..... cripes .... now I need a couple of aspirin, too ....
 
totally fascinating. Makes this entire conversation even more: fascinating.
Doesnt it? Even tho I can't quite get my non-arithmetical head around all this, it's just hugely intriguing, and evry alternate theory completely upends everything we believe about ..... everything. Life, time, death, ghosts, psychics, God ..... everything !!!!
Then we can include some fairly compelling theories on alternate universes.
God, thos theories are absolutely, gobsmakingly fasciating. Smetmes I try to put myself to sleep considering the iplications of a separate timeline being created everytime we make a decision, with one line going off in the direction of the decison, and the other goig off in the direction of not having made the decision.

And then each of those timelines will create BILLIONS to a factor of 10 of new decisions, new timelines, which will in turn create .... etc etc etc ...

Damn. I really really totally need that Pepto and some aspirin now .... and a little lie-down ..... and some chocolate .....:yuck::yuck::yuck::yuck:
 

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