More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife covers many aspects of the dying and grieving process and sheds light on euthanasia, suicide, near-death experience, and spirit visits after the passing of a loved one. ___________________________________________

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Life After Death and Near Death Experiences - Are These People For Real Or Are They Crazy?

There may be a fine line between mystical experience and hallucinations. On the one hand, our imaginations are boundless and our connection with other realms is limitless. I suppose one way to tell whether the experience is indicative of a mental disorder or if it is truly an experience of
God would be to evaluate it's fruit or outcome. If someone says that they had a mystical experience in which God told them to kill another person, we'd call them crazy in our society.

Then again, Muhammad killed people when implementing his revelation from God, and we honor him as a saint. Maybe that's not a good way to tell since right and wrong differs from one country or culture to another. People have looked at me like I was crazy when I've told them about my own mystical experiences. From that, I gather that reality to one person is not reality to another. Therefore, I'm not sure we can appraise or nullify a person's spiritual experience.

What about dreams? Are they mystical experiences? Some of mine have been crazy for sure, but I also know I've heard from another realm in a few of them. Then there is the book of Revelation in the Bible that is based entirely on dreams and visions received by a prophet.

Western Christianity bases much of its belief about the end times upon a dream dream someone had almost 2000 years ago. The dream has caused denominations to formulate doctrine about a rapture of saints, a physical return of Jesus Christ, (although they do not agree about when) and the end of the world as we know it.

Since there are such diverse beliefs and theories about death and the life thereafter, my personal belief comes from accounts I've read about regarding those who have had near death experiences (NDE) and from what I have personally experienced

No matter what the person's religion, those who have had an NDE consistently share some commonalities:

· They did not know they were dead

· They could see what was going on here

· They saw a tunnel of light

· They saw angels, Jesus or other saints

· They had a choice of whether or not to return to the body

· They passed through a review of their lives, saw areas that needed work, and were inspired by the "judgment" rather than frightened or condemned by it

· They had no fear of death after the experience

From what I have personally experienced:

My grandmother has shared with me many times that she died during her hysterectomy when she was in her 30's. She went to a beautiful place of peace but was told she had to return to earth. She also tells me of having conversations in dreams with her husband (my grandfather) after his death. Since I too had spoken with him, I didn't think it strange. After his death he came to me in a dream with advice that I followed. As a result my daughter and I were able to come to an understanding on an issue that we were unable to resolve before.

I was burned in a grease fire that set my mother's kitchen ablaze when I was seventeen. During the event, I saw my life pass before me. Even though I was in pain, I did not feel afraid of dying, yet I knew my time was not up. I slipped and fell in a puddle of grease I could not get up. With the flames encircling me, I prayed and asked the angels to put the fire out and help me get up. Within minutes the flames ceased and I walked out of the house to a neighbor who took me to the hospital for treatment.

In 1988 I had emergency gallbladder surgery. I was at death's door. I remember wanting to go to the other side and really thought this was my ticket out of an unsatisfying marriage. I was disappointed to still be on earth when I awoke.

I saw my uncle Edmond before his death while he was in coma and again within 24 hours after he passed. He gave me the words to a poem he wanted read at his graveside. I followed his instruction. About a month after he died I was sitting in my car while my husband went in to pay for gas. A man came out of the store with a pack of cigarettes and a cup of coffee (something so typical of my uncle). When he made eye contact with me, it was Edmond 20 years younger. He said "thank you" (telepathically) then walked by my car. I turned my head to follow him, but he had vanished into thin air. He had come to thank me for carrying out his wishes at his graveside.

I related this to my mom and she said I needed to tell my grandmother because she also had contact with him.

I can "feel" the presence of angels and the vibrational energies of departed spirits. I sense the energy of a room and instantly know if there is an unseen presence. I've seen angels in my bedroom at night and conversed with them in my dreams. I've had many similar experiences and have concluded that those who pass to the other side are very much alive and happy. Never have I felt afraid of them or thought it strange that these things happen.

A person's spiritual experience is personal and should not be shunned or ridiculed by another person. We are all on a spiritual path and we are one in spirit.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Life on the Other Side

If only we knew what was on the Other Side of this life! Knowing for sure what lies ahead might make a difference in how we view dying and aging and how we handle the death of a loved one.

Much of our fear about death is rooted in delusions and distorted ways of looking at life and the world around us. Generally, our fear of death is an unrealistic fear. Perhaps the best way to overcome the fear of death is to remember that our present physical life had a beginning. There was a time when we were not on Earth in these physical bodies, and there will be a time when we shall return to a non-physical state of being. The rational mind has difficulty believing that any reality other than the third dimensional world of time and space, in which we currently live, could possibly exist.

There is no real separation between the physical and non-physical realms. The separation seems real because there is a very thin veil (i.e.: our skin and physical body) between the two realms that dims our ability to interact with those in other dimensions. But more than the physical sense of separation, we limit ourselves with the false belief that we have only five senses with which to explore and experience life. This belief hinders us from accepting what our inner knowing tells us is true. We are multi-sensory spiritual creatures able to sense the presence and energy of non-physical beings. We also exist in other dimensions besides this 3-D earth plane.
Haven't you ever had a dream that was so intense, you couldn't believe it was just a dream?

What do you believe about the Afterlife? Are you afraid of dying? Those who have had a near-death experience report there is no judgment-only love in the afterlife. Even those who had a negative experience in the episode, come back changed and more aware of their purpose for being here.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Grieving and Moving on - Nanny, Why Don't You Sell That House?

My grandmother could not sell her house or any of Pap's belongings for many years after my grandfather died. She just wasn't ready to let go of the memories they had shared. No one in our family pushed her even when she let his 1971 Datsun pickup truck sit in the yard until it literally rusted and dry rotted. It wouldn't crank so no one could move it.

The neighborhood was going down in value and crime was increasing as renters took over the 50 year old homes. Then, one day Nanny came to my mother and said, "Doris, it's time. I'm ready to sell and get out of this neighborhood. Pap isn't coming back. He's not in that house or his truck. He lives in my memories and I can take them with me no matter where I live."

My mother lived next door. She and Dad had wanted to sell for years, but they waited for Nanny to make up her mind. Once they got the okay from Nanny, Mom and Dad put their house up for sale along with Nanny's house and the vacant lot between them that we had used as a garden plot for nearly 30 years. All three properties sold within a month at a price much higher than they expected.

Then, they found the perfect one-story house that backs up to the lake for all three of them to live together, each having their privacy in a split bedroom floor plan. It all worked out so smoothly, even the closing of the loan (HA!) we knew it was divinely guided. Mom added a glassed-in porch a few years ago with windows that open to let in the fresh air. Nanny has a place to sit outside just like she used to in the old house.

Everyone is happy with the arrangement and my grandmother doesn't have to live alone any more. She is 90 now and truly enjoying her life.

I visited my family over the Easter weekend. I know my grandmother is nearing the end of her life, but there are few lessons she has taught me.

Do what you want and don't let others influence you to change your mind.

Stand for what you believe in, even when it goes against popular opinion.

Live each day to the fullest; give it all you've got and you can rest when it is over.

Keep on going even when you feel you can't. Life is a journey and each step counts.

Love without expecting anything in return. Unconditional love is God working within us.

Let others help you. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance.

Be kind to the strangers your kids bring home. Let them eat at your table.

Let others do as they please and do not judge them for having values different than your own.
My grandmother has had more influence that I thought. She is a remarkable woman. If you've ever met her, you would agree that she is at least a saint; more likely she's an angel in human flesh!

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Spirit Accompanies Brother in Surgery

Anita Cooper said that when she and her husband, Eldon, were going to the hospital for his cancer surgery, she saw someone approaching the side of their car. She thought it was a neighbor trying to catch them before they pulled out of the garage. She turned and saw the spirit of a man in her back seat. “We’ve got company,” she said to her husband.

She began a conversation with the spirit, and he told her his name was John and that he was Eldon's brother. He said he wanted to be with him during his surgery if the “others” would let him stay. She thought it was strange that the man claimed to be Eldon’s brother because Eldon was an only child and he didn't know who John was.

Much later, Anita asked Eldon's mother if she had another child. She said that she had lost a male child in a miscarriage and that his name was John. She had never conceived again, and Eldon never had children of his own. Therefore, John did not find a body in which to be near Eldon. Instead he was with him in spirit. Eldon then remembered the invisible playmate he had as a young boy and knew that it must have been John.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Willed Body Program

The last post-mortem option I want to mention is the Willed Body Program or what is better known as “donating your body to medical science”. Studying the human body and its structure lends valuable information and insight to scientists and medical researchers in understanding and treating illnesses and finding cures for disease. Because the use of a body in anatomical studies requires preservation immediately after death, it is not possible to have a traditional funeral service. Many families have a memorial service without having the body present. Once the study is complete, the remains are cremated and either returned to a family member or placed in a memorial garden or interred in accordance with state law. A person must be at least eighteen years of age and competent to make such a bequest.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Where the Hell is Hell?

Some fundamental Christians believe that an “unsaved” soul will go to hell when the body dies. Since a person’s consciousness and karma (unresolved issues) remains after death, hell could be considered the state of mind we create for ourselves while on earth. Mueller says that karma can be worked out in the Afterlife. I suppose that is why some people are concerned about a judgment of souls after death. In every NDE I’ve researched where the individual experienced any type of judgment, it was the higher consciousness of that person judging themselves. It was more of a life review to reveal areas that needed improvement. To me, this would be a helpful evaluation, not something to be dreaded or feared. In fact, it is somewhat common for us to assess our decisions and actions to determine whether they are helpful or harmful to our soul’s development. For some people this is a daily exercise. For others, it is practiced at least once a year when they make New Year’s resolutions.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Spirits Still Have Emotions

According to South African Shaman, Tommy Muller, most souls attend their own funerals. Tommy told me that spirit guides converse with one another at these events. He says to never go to the funeral of someone you don’t like and pretend to be paying homage to them. The deceased spirit is very likely to be hanging out with the family during the “laying in state” and memorial services. Spirits can read the inner thoughts of every person regardless of the behavior they put on for the family. The deceased spirit is agitated and sometimes angered by the two-faced behavior of those they thought were their friends. Yes, spirits still have emotions!

Spirits waiting on the other side for the soul who just passed are also in attendance at funerals and ceremonies, and they rejoice that the soul has been freed from the limitations of the human body. They see life as simply a lesson learned and a contribution to humanity and the planet, but they do not mourn; only humans mourn. Contrary to popular opinion and the vision of the movie industry, spirits do not generally hang out in graveyards. They want to be around people, and funerals are an ideal gathering place for them. They are able to interact with human beings and may choose to visit their loved ones. This does not mean that they are anchored to the earth plane. Without a dense body they are free to be in more than one place at a time.

Mueller told a story of a dishonest visitor who stole the ring off a corpse on the “showroom floor” (the funeral home). The daughter of the deceased was very upset and told a friend about it. The friend recommended a visit to Mueller. During the reading a spirit guide who had witnessed the crime gave an exact description of the thief—someone who had been in attendance the day the ring was stolen.

Mueller says that the personality of a soul continues in the afterlife. Otherwise you wouldn’t be you! Jesus Christ appeared to his friends after his death and resurrection in a new type of spiritual body. Many people recognized him not only by his physical appearance but by his character and personality. They didn’t recognize him until he broke the bread in the same manner as he did before his death. (Luke 24:28-31). Both before and after his death Jesus showed frustration that his disciples didn’t believe the truths he had revealed to them. This seems to indicate that whatever beliefs a person holds in consciousness at the time of death will continue to exist until they are resolved and the soul moves on to another plane or mission.

The “Tibetan Book of the Dead” describes an intermediate state called “bardo” which an individual enters after death. The Sanskrit word “bardo” refers to the 49-day period between death and rebirth during which a soul is adjusting or acclimating. This is the time that one is most likely to encounter deceased loved ones. That causes me to wonder whether there are stages to entering the Afterlife similar to the way a soul comes in gradually as a fetus developing in a mother’s womb. Perhaps “bardo” is the “Valley of the Shadow of Death” mentioned in Psalms 23 of the Bible.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Dear Friend is Transitioning

I met Reverend Juliet Nightingale in 2005 when I was gathering information about near-death experience (NDE). Our resulting friendship has given me the courage to not only talk about my near-death and spiritually transforming experiences, I also wrote More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories About Death, Dying, and Afterlife, for which Juliet so kindly wrote the foreword. She continued to believe in me and urged others to purchase my/our book on her Web site and whenever she had speaking engagements.

Now, our dear Juliet is coming to the end of this Earthly life, and is in hospice care. We expect to hear the news any day that her spirit has left her body. Thankfully, her daughter is keeping a group of Juliet's close friends up to date on the transitioning process so we can support her with our love and prayers.

I fully expect Juliet will visit me in spirit, but probably not until she's had a chance to soar, fly, ride the rides, see the sites, reconnect with friends, and have fun experiencing the Other Side--that place she has longed for all these years since having her first NDE in the 1970s.  If you know Juliet, you've probably heard her talk about the afterlife as if it were as real as this Earth plane, and I agree with her that it is as real.

As part of her legacy, Juliet started a Ning Group called Light on the Water as an NDE support and interest group for people who've had spiritually transforming experiences to be able to discuss them in a safe place. It's also a great place for researchers, caregivers, seekers, and media to get more information. I encourage you to check out the group to see if it is right for you.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Death Brings Change for All

Regardless of the method used to dispose of the remains, the passing of a loved one is a spiritual passing for those of us who witness it. The death of a close friend or relative has a way of opening our eyes and ears to the unseen realm. It also provides an opportunity for us to think about what we are doing with our lives and where we are on our spiritual path. We tend to contemplate who we are, why we are here and whether we are living life to its greatest potential. This contemplative evaluation can move us to create change for ourselves.

Post-mortem processes

Other methods of post-mortem treatments include cremation, cryonics and donation of the body to medical science. According to Cremation Association of North America (CANA), cremation is becoming more widely practiced in the United States and Canada and is the post-mortem choice for 25 percent of all deaths. Cremation is a process of preparing human remains for memorialization in which the body is placed in a chamber and subjected to intense heat and flames. After approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours at temperatures between 1,400 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, all organic matter is consumed. The cremated remains, (also called cremains), are then processed into fine particles and placed in a container or urn purchased by the family. The cremains may then be retained by a family member, interred in a cemetery plot, or scattered on private property or at a public place that was significant to the deceased, providing local regulations allow it.

When I mention cryonic suspension services, (cryopreservation), you may think I’ve gone bonkers! Freezing human remains today in hopes of reviving the body in the future may seem far-fetched to us, but who would have thought a hundred years ago that the heart of one human could successfully be transplanted into another and give them a chance to live? Who would have believed, then, that a baby could be conceived in a laboratory test tube then placed in a human womb to develop and live a normal life? Did your ancestors read about cloning in their newspaper headlines? Cryonics is a post-mortem procedure in which a patient is prepared and cooled to a temperature where physical decay essentially stops. The temperature is maintained indefinitely in hopes that medical technology will advance and be able to awaken and restore patients to good health. I wonder if the same soul would return to that body or if a soul exchange would occur.

My grandmother asked me to play and sing for her funeral

She has whole thing planned out but the date, which she assures me is coming soon. Sure, my voice will cooperate and be just lovely while I'm crying my eyes out. No big deal!

I wrote about my grandmother, who we call Nanny, in some of my earlier posts on this blog. See November 2008 for details, but to catch you up, she's age 92, and she fell and broke her hip and arm on November 7. She will never walk again and really hates being incapacitated. She's ready to go, just waiting for her ride--not the hoist we use to get her in and out of bed, but the Great Chariot ride in the sky.

Part of her funeral plan, includes having me play piano and sing "Amazing Grace" with my cousin Carla--just like we used to when we were teenagers. It's not that I don't possess the talent to fulfill Nanny's request. I sang solo and played for the church choir and congregation for a thousand years. Okay, it was more like 25 years, but it seemed like an eternity ago. If it was someone else's funeral--like someone I don't know or like--I could probably manage, but I'm sure my voice and emotional condition are not going to let me perform this feat for the grandmother who practically raised me.

I have to tell Nanny I can't sing at her shindig, but how do I tell her Carla will do it without me? I suppose I should tell Carla first since she's in charge of the high notes.