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.
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 …..
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.
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 ....
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 …..
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 ….
Is that all there is? — Peggy Lee
“The study’s authors conclude that although studies to date have not
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.
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
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.”