David Sunfellow, Can the Scientific Study of NDEs Reveal the Purpose of Life? |413|

#22
Imagine all the wonderful feelings you will experience during your life review when you experience all the happiness you gave to other people. The celestial bureaucrats will be scowling and shaking their heads and stamping their feet in frustration while you review all the wonderful things you have done for other people.
Hi Jim. The devil, as the saying goes, is in the details. While it may outwardly appear that we are helping others by engaging in various charitable enterprises, the "help" we are offering, if it is not coming from a good place, might actually not be as helpful as we imagine. Determining what is truly helpful, and what is not, may be more challenging than we suspect. Dubious service, in other words, may tend to attract dubious recipients and dubious results.

And when it comes to "celestial bureaucrats," NDEs consistently report that we are the ones who are judging ourselves. Moreover, we tend to measure our successes and failures (both of which are important, btw) more by our intentions than what we actually thought, said, and did. Sincere and loving intentions ripple through the universe like lovely music; insincere and bogus intentions ripple through the universe like grating chalk on a noisy chalkboard...
 
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#23
Hello all, I really enjoyed the discussion. Shared it on all my social medias. As an ex-sceptic the words God and Jesus have always made me cringe (Eckhart Tolle was the first person to get me to even hear about the topic without rolling my eyes) and I personally have only ever known a type of spirituality that has stemmed from the intellect not the heart, but I decided to share it anyway since I could absolutely tell that there was so much more depth there than the typical xtian/catholic accounts... something much deeper going on. The language used was as precise as they could make it for such a nebulous topic and you can tell they wanted to convey as much detail as possible.

Yesterday I had to leave work with an upset stomach. A lady gave me two Tums on the way out and by the time I got home I felt a bit better. It was a calm lovely spring Massachusetts day and the windows were open. I bought the book on kindle, started reading. There was a link to the videos. It's a completely open link -- I could link it to the forum right now if I wasn't in fear of offending the author (although I have an inkling he didn't do this to appease capitalism, he probably had a higher calling.) If you don't buy the book you at least have to see those videos / NDE accounts. They were very well-chosen excerpts.

I was reading and watching videos one after another, making great headway. I hit Chapter 12, Mary, "Everything is made of LOVE" and when it first started I was already judging her - her voice, her appearance, her references to jesus/god, etc.. I think I was just distancing myself, but as her enthusiasm built up by the second half her language moved from a 'woe is me' story to this interconnected universe thing, TEARS CAME OUT OF MY EYES. This may not seem incredible to you, but I haven't properly cried since... a long, long time. The last episode of six feet under was the last time I can really remember crying properly. I've asked gurus how to cry, therapists, I've asked facebook to give me lists of sad movies and none of them even budged me (funny enough, I seem to be more apt to cry at happy things, not sad things.)

Anyway, I "got it." A tiny seed in my heart got it. As stupid and terrible an ending as this is to the human mystery, the universe is just like the show LOST: at the end we are all together and laughing and hugging and it was all just an experience between us and god, and god is whatever we aren't at the time and we are everything that is and shadowboxing it all like mad. THAT is the answer to all the UFO mysteries, and bigfoot, and aliens, and conspiracies, and human nature, and telepathy, and death, and hallucinogens, and all the rabbit holes I've been down since I was changed by my telepathy experience - God.

After my telepathy experience in college I said to my friend, "was that God? was that aliens?" and didn't know why I had asked him that. As an atheist it didn't even make sense to ask that. I was asked by a telepathy researcher recently if it felt like there was someone else involved in the telepathy besides myself and my friend and I said yes. As silly as it sounds it might have actually been a prompt from god. It's crazy, but it's like each person's life is a bespoke experience... trending towards the transcendental object at the end of time, which is the reunion of us with god. We cast ourselves out of the garden of eden, and then came scrambling back through time. We always knew what the ending was going to be, it was the journey we wanted.

I've been a dirty new ager hoping for a "new earth" and wanting to leave this plane of existence so bad. Disgruntled with everything, "the energies" (emotional weather patterns of humanity) have been especially hard this past 2-3 weeks. Then this book told me to shut up and start appreciating the things around me. Forget trump, forget all the nonsense of the world. Be the secret agent in corporate america, carrying this energy and distributing it in the corporate world. My heart has already learned these lessons so it's easy for me, I'm already service-to-others oriented. I'm still saving the ants and the spiders that accidentally find their way indoors, I still send love to the flowers and the plants.

But I feel more at ease about it now. Something clicked. This is all much more personal than I realized.
 
#24
Also I can't remember where I found it on the IANDS youtube channel (I'll go chase it down if desired), but I remember a lady telling her NDE and she said she was brought to hell and she was able to witness all the people being tortured and screaming, but she realized that all of them could get up and leave at any time. None of them were held their against their will -- they all believed they DESERVED torture. When they were done torturing themselves, that's when they were ready to forgive and change and move on.
 
#25
Hi Jim. The devil, as the saying goes, is in the details. While it may outwardly appear that we are helping others by engaging in various charitable enterprises, the "help" we are offering, if it is not coming from a good place, might actually not be as helpful as we imagine. Determining what is truly helpful, and what is not, may be more challenging we suspect. Dubious service, in other words, may tend to attract dubious recipients and dubious results.

And when it comes to "celestial bureaucrats," NDEs consistently report that we are the ones who are judging ourselves. Moreover, we tend to measure our successes and failures (both of which are important, btw) more by our intentions than what we actually thought, said, and did. Sincere and loving intentions ripple through the universe like lovely music; insincere and bogus intentions ripple through the universe like grating chalk on a noisy chalkboard...
I agree.

Determining what is helpful is a challenge,

But I wrote:
There are some people who really are helping others ...
I chose my hypothetical case carefully.

And you wrote:
I'm just saying that outward displays of holiness may not be what they appear to be -- and may also not be received with the fanfare we expect when we leave this world and are confronted with an honest view of what really, deeply motivated us. ....
The celestial bureaucrats are simply a literary device alluding to when you wrote "may also not be received".

I agree with what you are saying. But I want to add that if people want to help others they shouldn't hold back just because they are human and have an ego. On the one hand it is useful for people not to delude themselves into thinking they are saintly when they are not, but is is also important for people to accept their humanity and that we have to muddle through life the best we can and it's okay to try to help others even though we are not all saints. We are here to develop spiritually. How can anyone learn the joys of helping others, the knowledge of which leads to truly unselfish acts of altruism, if they never try because they are still ego based?

There are many people here on the earth at different stages of development. They require different guidance based on where they are now.
 
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#26
I agree with what you are saying. But I want to add that if people want to help others they shouldn't hold back just because they are human and have an ego. On the one hand it is useful for people not to delude themselves into thinking they are saintly when they are not, but is is also important for people to accept their humanity and that we have to muddle through life the best we can and it's okay to try to help others even though we are not all saints. We are here to develop spiritually. How can anyone learn the joys of helping others, the knowledge of which leads to truly unselfish acts of altruism, if they never try because they are still ego based?

There are many people here on the earth at different stages of development. They require different guidance based on where they are now.
Yes, definitely. Absolutely. It's important to reach out, help, love as best we can, and be patient and accepting with whatever egoic and developmental issues we bring along for the ride. You are soooo right about that, Jim. If we don't start where we are, nothing can be accomplished -- and, of course, we don't evolve and get better. Gotta get in the game wherever we are, with however many human failings we have.
 
#27
Determining what is truly helpful, and what is not, may be more challenging we suspect. Dubious service, in other words, may tend to attract dubious recipients and dubious results.

And when it comes to "celestial bureaucrats," NDEs consistently report that we are the ones who are judging ourselves.
And welcome David, thank you for taking the time to engage with us.

But on the flip side - there is no such thing as a perfect action. In my personal experience thus far, I've not yet been able to ascertain what is an action bereft of selfish intent, nor any action of significance which did not end up harming someone in the end. Not one thing of larger significance anyone around me has achieved, could they divorce completely from the realization that they or their family have gained from it - and even in my best laid plans, wherein I meticulously made sure that everyone was going to win in the outcome - someone ended up getting hurt. This bothers me endlessly. Solving this, would be metaphorically like inventing anti-gravity or changing the Planck constant. I do not bear the skill, nor the DNA founding in order to surmount this as an issue.

And if I quit and do nothing but trivial kind actions, so that my selfish intentions and ability to harm are kept in check - that is worse than the former state, I have found.

So are you contending that we have a circumstance wherein - psychopaths end up placing themselves in afterlife paradise and people who struggle against their own realized depravity end up sentencing themselves to difficult realms? <--- this is a purposeful tongue-in-cheek straw man, I know you are not advocating this - but how do we address this angle? If an external us-agent then evaluates us, how do we distinguish this from a God argument (other than in name only)?
 
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#28
David,

At one point in your interview with Alex, you asked him why he thought scientific types respond to all the evidence of NDE's and related phenomena as they do.

I was brought up as a Christian, and became an atheist at university. For many years, I was what I would describe as a total atheist. My views have changed a lot by now, but I am still not a Christian, and don't think I ever will be.

I think I used to feel that religious/spiritual evidence was so contaminated with daft thinking that it wasn't worth even examining. I don't think it was fear, which was Alex's answer.

While I was a Christian at university, there were a number of really keen Christians who used to bombard me with books and ideas that were supposed to shore up my faith. One idea was that Jesus had to actually die for our sins because God was a just God, and so couldn't forgive people without some balancing 'payment'. That idea struck me as being so absurd, it propelled me towards non-belief. Another book, "Who moved the Stone", took a sort of forensic approach to trying to prove that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead. This also seemed absurd to me, because you can't really take a 'who done it' approach to a killing that was 2000 years old, and encrusted in myth! I think those incidents coloured my view of all non-materialist ideas.

The only thing that started to change my mind were scientific in-consistences. For example, I knew that there were scientific studies that had demonstrated statistically that ESP does happen in a small way. This seemed remarkable, but even more remarkable was that I watched a TV program on the subject, in which a scientist (unfortunately I forget who) said that there was absolutely no scientific evidence for any psychic phenomena. I suddenly realised that at least in that instance, the sober scientist was acting as a salesman for his viewpoint. Like any salesman he didn't feel too much need to tell the precise truth. (By now I think, like Alex, that a lot of science has degraded like that in recent years).

One area of science that really pains me is 'climate science'. I am pretty sure it is bogus, and that it acts as a huge distraction from the real issues of pollution, loss of habitat, destruction of the rain forests, etc. However, that is a digression.

By now, I think that it is important to keep a very open mind - there is clearly so much that does not fit into the materialist view of the world. Much of my change of approach is down to this website.

Also, David, are you aware of all the interesting evidence for re-incarnation, and do you have a take on it?

David
 
#29
Be kind, rather than nice
Be genuine, rather than frank
Be ethical, rather than virtuous
Tender epoche, rather than doubt
Be a learner, rather than a student
Possess integrity, rather than appearance
Be merciful, rather than charitable
Dream, rather than fantasize
Lead, rather than draw attention
Observe, rather than assume
Risk, rather than suffer 'what could have been'
Communicate, rather than speak
Run, rather than race
Laugh, rather than mock
Joy, whether people are near or absent
Serve, before being asked
Leave a legacy, without trying to do so

These have been my gut feel for some time. The problem is, that I fear I am so miserable at attaining these objectives (and I have no idea the goal), that I am hesitant to even say them.
awesome... sent me to the dictionary more than once :)
 
#30
While I was a Christian at university, there were a number of really keen Christians who used to bombard me with books and ideas that were supposed to shore up my faith. One idea was that Jesus had to actually die for our sins because God was a just God, and so couldn't forgive people without some balancing 'payment'. That idea struck me as being so absurd, it propelled me towards non-belief. Another book, "Who moved the Stone", took a sort of forensic approach to trying to prove that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead. This also seemed absurd to me, because you can't really take a 'who done it' approach to a killing that was 2000 years old, and encrusted in myth! I think those incidents coloured my view of all non-materialist ideas.
agreed... and I don't think Christian's have fully processed this absurdity... nothing "beyond the devil made me do it."

(BTW when did david icke go from being a shapeshifting reptilian watchdog to one of the most clear-thinking public presenters
of our time)
 
#31
And welcome David, thank you for taking the time to engage with us.

But on the flip side - there is no such thing as a perfect action. In my personal experience thus far, I've not yet been able to ascertain what is an action bereft of selfish intent, nor any action of significance which did not end up harming someone in the end. Not one thing of larger significance anyone around me has achieved, could they divorce completely from the realization that they or their family have gained from it - and even in my best laid plans, wherein I meticulously made sure that everyone was going to win in the outcome - someone ended up getting hurt. This bothers me endlessly. Solving this, would be metaphorically like inventing anti-gravity or changing the Planck constant. I do not bear the skill, nor the DNA founding in order to surmount this as an issue.

And if I quit and do nothing but trivial kind actions, so that my selfish intentions and ability to harm are kept in check - that is worse than the former state, I have found.

So are you contending that we have a circumstance wherein - psychopaths end up placing themselves in afterlife paradise and people who struggle against their own realized depravity end up sentencing themselves to difficult realms? <--- this is a purposeful tongue-in-cheek straw man, I know you are not advocating this - but how do we address this angle? If an external us-agent then evaluates us, how do we distinguish this from a God argument (other than in name only)?
The solution to this conundrum appears to be simple (albeit difficult to embody): We are asked to do the best we can, according to our current understanding, level of development, and awareness. Mistakes are not only OK, they are understood to be an important part of the process. So, too, is learning how to love ourselves (and others) when we fall short, as we constantly do. This all sounds so simple, but we all know how difficult it is to live this out in our everyday lives. If I had to pick a movie that dramatically illustrated the process we go through, it would be Groundhog Day. The process of becoming a fully functioning human being is so brutal, that most of us want to wake up and get out of this world ASAP. But try as we might, we keep getting sent back to try again. Hasn't every single one of us seen this pattern at work in our person lives? Forget dying and being told we can't stay in heavenly realms because we have work to do and lessons to learn on Earth. All we have to do is look at the repeating patterns in our lives. They keep coming after us until we master them.

Bottom line: as confused as we might be about our own motives (and the motives of others), life isn't confused. When we've learned what we came here to learn, we are able to move on. Until then, the lessons keep coming.


Another analogy that I have found to be very helpful is the story of a musician who reportedly asked Buddha how to meditate. "How do you tune your instrument?" the Buddha asked.

"Not too tight, and not too loose," the musician replied.

"That's how to meditate, too," said the Buddha.

That, I think, is also how to live our lives. Trying too hard to be perfect creates problems; not trying hard enough also creates problems. And, of course, whether we are too tight, too loose, or just right, it's important to treat ourselves kindly and compassionately. And have a sense of humor about the whole thing.

Several chapters in my book tackle these issues. Here are two related excerpts:

.........

From Chapter 16

I Don't Want To Go Back
By Near-Death Experiencer Howard Storm

I never saw God, and I was not in heaven. It was way out in the suburbs, and these are the things that they showed me. We talked for a long time, about many things, and then I looked at myself. When I saw me, I was glowing. I was radiant. I was becoming beautiful -- not nearly as beautiful as them -- but I had a certain sparkle that I never had before.

Not being ready to face the Earth again, I told them that I wished to be with them forever. I said, "I'm ready, I'm ready to be like you and be here forever. This is great. I love it. I love you. You're wonderful."

I knew that they loved me and knew everything about me. I knew that everything was going to be okay from now on. I asked if I could get rid of my body, which was definitely a hindrance, and become a being like them with the powers they had shown me. They said, "No, you have to go back."

They explained to me that I was very underdeveloped and that it would be of great benefit to return to my physical existence to learn. In my human life I would have an opportunity to grow so that the next time I was with them I would be more compatible. I would need to develop important characteristics to become like them and to be involved with the work that they do. Responding that I couldn't go back, I tried to argue with them, and I observed that if I bear that thought -- the thought that I might wind up in the pit again -- I pled with them to stay.

My friends then said, "Do you think that we expect you to be perfect, after all the love we feel for you, even after you were on Earth blaspheming God, and treating everyone around you like dirt? And this, despite the fact that we were sending people to try and help you, to teach you the truth? Do you really think we would be apart from you now?"

I asked them, "But what about my own sense of failure? You've shown me how I can be better, and I'm sure I can't live up to that. I'm not that good." Some of my self-centeredness welled up and I said, "No way. I'm not going back."

They said, "There are people who care about you; your wife, your children, your mother and father. You should go back for them. Your children need your help."

I said, "You can help them. If you make me go back there are things that just won't work. If I go back there and make mistakes I won't be able to stand it because you've shown me I could be more loving and more compassionate and I'll forget. I'll be mean to someone or I'll do something awful to someone. I just know it's going to happen because I'm a human being. I'm going to blow it and I won't be able to stand it. I'll feel so bad I'll want to kill myself and I can't do that because life is precious. I might just go catatonic. So you can't send me back."

They assured me that mistakes are an acceptable part of being human. "Go," they said, "and make all the mistakes you want. Mistakes are how you learn." As long as I tried to do what I knew was right, they said, I would be on the right path. If I made a mistake, I should fully recognize it as a mistake, then put it behind me and simply try not to make the same mistake again. The important thing is to try one's best, keep one's standards of goodness and truth, and not to compromise these to win people's approval.

"But," I said, "mistakes make me feel bad."

They said, "We love you the way you are, mistakes and all. And you can feel our forgiveness. You can feel our love any time you want to."

I said, "I don't understand. How do I do that?"

"Just turn inward," they said. "Just ask for our love and we'll give it to you if you ask from the heart."

They advised me to recognize when I made a mistake and ask for forgiveness. Before I even got the words out of my mouth, I would be forgiven but, I would have to accept the forgiveness. My belief in the principal of forgiveness must be real, and I would have to know that forgiveness was given. Confessing, either in public or in private, that I had made a mistake, I should then ask for forgiveness. After that, it would be an insult to them if I didn't accept the forgiveness. I shouldn't continue to go around with a sense of guilt, and I should not repeat errors. I should learn from my mistakes.

"But," I said, "how will I know what is the right choice? How will I know what you want me to do?"

They replied, "We want you to do what you want to do. That means making choices, and there isn't necessarily any right choice. There are a spectrum of possibilities, and you should make the best choice you can from those possibilities. If you do that, we will be there helping you."

.......

From Chapter 29

It’s All Good
By Near-Death Experiencer Amy Call

My Guide stood by at a certain time... and he lovingly stayed as my support while I had a kind of life review. I never felt chastised at all, even though I know I've been very cruel at times and have hurt many people. I've lost my temper in horrible ways and I have had great trouble with forgiveness, and yet, I felt only love and understanding through the entire life review. What it felt like was that I was being given the opportunity and the gift of being able to stand back and more fully understand and love myself. I was able to feel exactly what others around me had felt during my life. I understood how everything I did and said and even thought had touched others around me in one way or another. I was able to even enter the minds and emotional centers of many who had been around me, and understand where they were coming from in their own thinking; how their own personal views and life experiences had brought them to the places where they stood. I felt their struggling and their fears; their desperate need for love and approval -- and more than anything, I could feel how child-like everyone was. With every person I viewed, including myself, I was able to see and feel with a Higher Mind and Eye. And the feeling I had toward everyone was nothing less than what a loving mother would feel for her children at toddler age.

It was actually comical at times. I could feel how the "Elders" as I will call them (those who are Helpers on the other side, who have mastered themselves in many or all ways, and help work with us) see us and find so much humor in the way we do things. It might seem brutally annoying to consider when we are in the midst of a great argument or drama that is playing out in our lives that the Elders view these things very much like when a mother sees her two-year-old scream and cry and bop another child on the head with a stuffed animal. The mother doesn't want her child to "fall apart" and become hysterical and cry. She feels for her child, but at the same time, she sees a little bit of comedy in how seriously the child takes what is usually a trivial drama. She continues to love her child and thinks the world of it, hoping it will go on enjoying the day, living and learning.

This was a big light bulb moment for me, because I had entertained the dark idea, during my life, that every little less than perfect action of mine, was being watched "by God," and judged with anger or great sadness. I felt constant guilt for my mistakes and belabored over the dread of "being watched" with severe or at least very stern eyes. I wanted to please, and I believed that I was so often falling short. This had been a maddening way to live. So getting the chance to view others from a much Higher Frequency was wonderful, to say the least. And knowing how much love I felt as I watched or sensed others in their personal situations, made me want to live more in joy rather than guilt and worry. No one was mad at me.
 
#32
Hello all, I really enjoyed the discussion. Shared it on all my social medias. As an ex-sceptic the words God and Jesus have always made me cringe (Eckhart Tolle was the first person to get me to even hear about the topic without rolling my eyes) and I personally have only ever known a type of spirituality that has stemmed from the intellect not the heart, but I decided to share it anyway since I could absolutely tell that there was so much more depth there than the typical xtian/catholic accounts... something much deeper going on. The language used was as precise as they could make it for such a nebulous topic and you can tell they wanted to convey as much detail as possible.

Yesterday I had to leave work with an upset stomach. A lady gave me two Tums on the way out and by the time I got home I felt a bit better. It was a calm lovely spring Massachusetts day and the windows were open. I bought the book on kindle, started reading. There was a link to the videos. It's a completely open link -- I could link it to the forum right now if I wasn't in fear of offending the author (although I have an inkling he didn't do this to appease capitalism, he probably had a higher calling.) If you don't buy the book you at least have to see those videos / NDE accounts. They were very well-chosen excerpts.

I was reading and watching videos one after another, making great headway. I hit Chapter 12, Mary, "Everything is made of LOVE" and when it first started I was already judging her - her voice, her appearance, her references to jesus/god, etc.. I think I was just distancing myself, but as her enthusiasm built up by the second half her language moved from a 'woe is me' story to this interconnected universe thing, TEARS CAME OUT OF MY EYES. This may not seem incredible to you, but I haven't properly cried since... a long, long time. The last episode of six feet under was the last time I can really remember crying properly. I've asked gurus how to cry, therapists, I've asked facebook to give me lists of sad movies and none of them even budged me (funny enough, I seem to be more apt to cry at happy things, not sad things.)

Anyway, I "got it." A tiny seed in my heart got it. As stupid and terrible an ending as this is to the human mystery, the universe is just like the show LOST: at the end we are all together and laughing and hugging and it was all just an experience between us and god, and god is whatever we aren't at the time and we are everything that is and shadowboxing it all like mad. THAT is the answer to all the UFO mysteries, and bigfoot, and aliens, and conspiracies, and human nature, and telepathy, and death, and hallucinogens, and all the rabbit holes I've been down since I was changed by my telepathy experience - God.

After my telepathy experience in college I said to my friend, "was that God? was that aliens?" and didn't know why I had asked him that. As an atheist it didn't even make sense to ask that. I was asked by a telepathy researcher recently if it felt like there was someone else involved in the telepathy besides myself and my friend and I said yes. As silly as it sounds it might have actually been a prompt from god. It's crazy, but it's like each person's life is a bespoke experience... trending towards the transcendental object at the end of time, which is the reunion of us with god. We cast ourselves out of the garden of eden, and then came scrambling back through time. We always knew what the ending was going to be, it was the journey we wanted.

I've been a dirty new ager hoping for a "new earth" and wanting to leave this plane of existence so bad. Disgruntled with everything, "the energies" (emotional weather patterns of humanity) have been especially hard this past 2-3 weeks. Then this book told me to shut up and start appreciating the things around me. Forget trump, forget all the nonsense of the world. Be the secret agent in corporate america, carrying this energy and distributing it in the corporate world. My heart has already learned these lessons so it's easy for me, I'm already service-to-others oriented. I'm still saving the ants and the spiders that accidentally find their way indoors, I still send love to the flowers and the plants.

But I feel more at ease about it now. Something clicked. This is all much more personal than I realized.
Wow, what a beautiful post. A lot of people (me included) have found the content of the book, including the videos and their transcripts, transformative. If anyone else want to watch the 30 videos that are referenced in the book, they are posted here:

http://thepurposeoflife-nde.com/videos/

And here:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnvQgQAXv8D9zB_xIoH9v62f9OnewwCjr
 
#33
Also I can't remember where I found it on the IANDS youtube channel (I'll go chase it down if desired), but I remember a lady telling her NDE and she said she was brought to hell and she was able to witness all the people being tortured and screaming, but she realized that all of them could get up and leave at any time. None of them were held their against their will -- they all believed they DESERVED torture. When they were done torturing themselves, that's when they were ready to forgive and change and move on.
These are universal themes in hellish NDEs -- and in the hellish realms and experiences we experience in this world...
 
#34
Also, David, are you aware of all the interesting evidence for re-incarnation, and do you have a take on it?

David
Reincarnation is another topic that needs to be examined more carefully. While most of the people in this forum probably know there is strong evidence that supports the case FOR reincarnation, it's important to know that there is equally compelling evidence that suggests reincarnation does not actually exist the way we commonly imagine it does. I have a page up on NHNE's Formula website that includes some down the rabbit hole comments from Bruce Greyson, Howard Storm, and myself:

https://the-formula.org/greyson-storm-reincarnation/
 
#35
These are universal themes in hellish NDEs -- and in the hellish realms and experiences we experience in this world...
So is this then the resolution to the casino analogy? If our lives are but a series of memory-wiped trials, in which we learn - that has a good integral vibe to it as a paradigm. We live and we learn. Like a gambler in a casino, win some, lose some, lesson learned. One can relax in the joy of knowing that it is simply a process of spiritual development. Take it seriously of course, but relax... do your best. Go back to source, contemplate what you have learned. Try again. As Lieutenant Aldo Raine said in Inglorious Basterds "Damn Good Deal!";;/?

damn good deal sm.png

But once one introduces the concept of equal reality of hell, the game changes entirely. The casino analogy is no longer compatible as a paradigm. It becomes starkly serious.

Let's use this allegory. If a man walked into my house and said "I am going to entertain your family (soul group) each evening - there will be challenging games, you might win and you might lose, and your whole family will grow, and grow closer with the process." - I would be fine with that. What a blast! But if the man added as a side note buried way down in the entertainment agreement fine text, "however on an estimated 4% of the nights, I am going to shoot you and rape your kids. But don't worry about that right now, just relax and grow."

I am going to kill that man immediately on the spot (indeed this is what the Nihilist has done). As there is no difference between 96%-benevolent and 100%-malevolent, in a closed iterative Draconian ontology. A formal fallacy of logical inconsistency has arisen.

So, the only resolution to this (aside from Nihilism) is that we are more powerful as beings than we understand (in reference to your quote above), and we create the very hellish illusion to begin with. In reality, it cannot exist, except in our mind-of-choosing. Yet those around us do exist as I did not create them, I did not precipitate the Big Bang nor this place, and the higher realms (should they be real) are not created by our disposition, as they existed independent of our choosing as well. Then they could be the only real reality, could they not? (I know that there is no ready/easy answer to this...)

The bottom line, the idea of pure hell/hellish (not just initially scary) as being viscerally as real as are the 'heaven' scenarios - sort of breaks down the integrity of the paradigm. It is believable until we say that hellish is just as real as is heavenish. At that point the Nihilist can call our game and reject it as false.
 
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#36
Thank you Alex and David, I'd been looking forward to this one. I have a couple of posts, first a comment on the interview, then I'll mention an experience of meditating on Hell.

I would suggest Alex that the question 'What do we make of Hellish NDEs?' isn't the right one. The reason being; I think we're quite comfortable with them just as long as they conform to our world view. So if someone reports encountering a Hell that is 'the absence of love', that makes sense to us. The kind of Hell represented in Robin William's What Dreams May Come, a Hell that is a product of thought, I personally don't find disturbing. It's a Hell that makes sense to me.

What I think we do find disturbing is NDEs that don't conform, especially if they're Hellish in nature. The NDEs people have where they are sent to Hell for not believe in Jesus say, where instead of meeting a God of love they encounter judgemental Old Testament Jehovah!

Prior to accounts of NDEs disseminating, it would have been reasonable to assume they might have told us which religion is true. If absolutely everybody met either Jesus, Krishna or Mohammed then we could have reasonably concluded which was the one true religion. Of course they didn't do that, rather they seem to confirm all religions are true! Atheists may draw from this that they are products of an individual's psyche, those of a more spiritual persuasion may believe God is appearing in the mythic language most suitable for the individual. One Truth wearing many masks.

Most NDEs may lend themselves to this interpretation, with a deeper truth of love and oneness being the objective factor, and the form it appears in being subjective. But what happens when people report meeting a different God, one of judgement instead of love? This threatens the idea of a core objectivity.

We might suggest that these worlds are mythic constructs that capture something of the reality of the Absolute, whilst missing other parts. So maybe if a person is for whatever reason more in sync with a God of judgement then that's what they'll get. Maybe they'd be better served by it. It's not that there encounter is false, just that it may not be the whole truth.

In attempting to do an interview series on Hell I found that people who had had very religious Hellish NDEs were reluctant to talk to with me. I don't believe they wanted to be questioned as to where their experience cold have had symbolic elements, they clung to a literal interpretation. Some have become church pastors. The people who would talk, like Angie Fenimore, were open to their experience being symbolic. They maintained a sense of mystery around it.

I think the big question for me is if NDE realms do indeed contain a mythic element, why do some of our myths show up and not others. I asked around on NDE forums to see if anyone had ever come across an account of an identifiably fiction character (where we could identify the author) showing up in an NDE. Zero. No one had ever heard of this. The best I got was a unicorn and Albert Einstein. No one has ever reported meeting Darth Vader or Freddie Kruger. I could speculate with reference to the Tibetan concept of tulpas, thought created worlds, but I really don't have a good answer to this.
 
#37
Here's some writing on my experience of meditating on Hell.

The image of Hell has always loomed somewhat large in my life. From watching Bugs Bunny cartoons s a kid (Yosemite Sam went to Hell and me the Devil), to HBOs prison drama Oz, I've always been attracted to Hellish realms. I think I have a sense that there's spiritual gold to be found there.

This reached a crescendo a few years back when I engaged in a running dialogue with a fundamentalist Christian friend. She introduced me to literature critical of 'the New Age' from a Christian perspective. It was of a vastly better quality than I'd anticipated, comprising mostly of people who'd have very negative experiences around meditation or channelling (mostly channelling) which had been alleviated by calling on Jesus Christ.

I was further impressed at the theological rebuttal they had to the doctrine of Oneness. Essentially they saw it as a diabolical deception, if the Devil could convince us we are one with God through inducing a counterfeit spiritual experience, we then wouldn't think we needed the redemption of Jesus and we'd end up going to Hell. Now, I'm just amazed that someone had that thought!

I really wanted to engage with these ideas as fully as I could, so I would sit and meditate upon them. It was challenging, as if I wanted to contemplate any issue I would do so by first connecting to that place of Oneness. It was my foundation. Now however, the foundation itself was the thing I was being asked to question, but what do I stand on to do that? It's not easy.

What started to open up was a deeper sense of the fires of Hell and the presence of evil. An openness to the possibility I was deceived in everything I thought I knew by a malevolent force (I'd read Descartes Meditations when I was fifteen so I was familiar with this in principle). I meditated on this to the point that it infected my dreams, on several occasions I woke in the night to a waking dream of falling into Hell having fallen for Satan's deceptions. This was extremely scary as I thought I might actually be dying at these times (I think because I was bordering on an ego-death inherent in the expedience).

On the final occasion this happened I found myself in my bed having the feeling of being sucked into Hell. I would always fully resist this and attempt to pull myself back into fully waking consciousness (it did feel like something that was really happening). On this occasion I steadied myself enough to acknowledge that I would either face this or be running from it forever. I would take the chance that in entering into the experience I would die and actually go to Hell. I turned and faced the image fully and allowed myself to fall into it. I could see Satan on his throne and it felt like I was surrendering down at his feet.

As soon as I stopped resisting and fully embraced it the fire transformed into a classic mystical experience of an infinite ocean of love, from which I was not separate. That had been the true nature of the fire all along, my resistance to it had made it burn.

Whilst I still find Hell a deeply fruitful (and somewhat fearful) realm for contemplation, this experience did fundamentally shift my sense of hadephobia. It made meditating on Hell ultimately a positive experience.
 
#38
A great discussion! I go along with most of what has been said.

As I see it most of us are engaged in a search for truth which gradually becomes a search for spiritual truth. Our paths are very diverse but the goal is one. Some may include an NDE others religious experiences or very dark times. Often we learn from each other and there is no need for animosity. At some point we leave this world and continue our journey through vast spiritual worlds using those spiritual qualities we have developed.

I have not had an NDE but did read Life After Life when it first came out and others that followed. Then followed zen, TM and finally Baha'i which resolved things for me at least.

I see some great links above which I shall definitely check out.
 
#39
During this podcast, hellish experiences, either during an NDE or whilst living in this world, were likened to “watching a scary movie”. The suggestion being that bad times are necessary for our growth, and are only temporary illusions anyway. I feel this could be right.

However, I recently watched an online video showing a young Scandinavian hiker being beheaded in Morocco, after what would have been an utterly evil ordeal. I watched this because I couldn’t believe people would actually do such things, and, as a father to a young girl, I felt I should understand the dangers that exist. The image of this young woman crying for her mother with her head half severed will haunt me forever.

Some people believe that our reality is analogous to a massive multiplayer online game. Because of the suffering that goes on, I sometimes wish it was like a single player game instead, with all others as non-player characters controlled by the consciousness hierarchy. That way, all suffering, except for my own, would be a hoax. It may be wishful thinking, and, of course, believing you are the only real person in the world is a bit extreme (solipsism), so I try to avoid giving it too much thought!
 
#40
Reincarnation is another topic that needs to be examined more carefully. While most of the people in this forum probably know there is strong evidence that supports the case FOR reincarnation, it's important to know that there is equally compelling evidence that suggests reincarnation does not actually exist the way we commonly imagine it does. I have a page up on NHNE's Formula website that includes some down the rabbit hole comments from Bruce Greyson, Howard Storm, and myself:

https://the-formula.org/greyson-storm-reincarnation/
I read that page, and Bruce Greyson's comment that there were cases of two children remembering the same past life - I had not heard of that before.

The idea of reincarnation staggered me when I first encountered it. It is particularly odd that some physical characteristics are frequently passed on in a very strange way - someone who is shot (possibly the fatal wound) produces birth marks in the same location in the child claiming to remember his past life!

Nevertheless, I do try to adhere strongly to the "follow the data" rule. Several areas of science seem to have gone off the rails because of clever reinterpretations of the evidence. For example, there have been a series of studies in different countries that looked at cholesterol levels in the blood (including the 'bad' LDL component), and found that those with high cholesterol lived the longest!

http://vernerwheelock.com/179-cholesterol-and-all-cause-mortality/

Obviously this calls into question a whole concept of lowering blood cholesterol (or LDL), but scientists came up with an ingenious hypothesis to brush this data away (if you are interested I'll PM you more details, so as not to derail this discussion).

However, I think Bruce Greyson's observation may be explained because as you mention time seems to not exist 'up there' - something that many NDEers comment on.

I have thought quite a bit about this, because without time most of the ideas that even NDEers talk about cease to make sense. For example, almost all verbs such as 'want', 'hope', 'develop','observe', etc seem meaningless in such a context. My best guess is that there are two dimensions to time - ordinary time and spiritual time (to coin a phrase). I.e. they can see our entire time line at once, but they can act in another time dimension - potentially altering our ordinary time lines.

Given a setup like that, there is no reason why successive reincarnations need happen in the 'right' order, and two kids remembering the same past life might be two kids with the same soul (I am not too keen to use that term, but it is probably clearest in this context).

David
 
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