Dr. Penny Sartori, Are NDEs All Light and Love? |374|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    Dr. Penny Sartori, Are NDEs All Light and Love? |374|
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    Dr. Penny Sartori is a front line near-death experience researcher. Her conclusion — it’s about light and love… well mostly.
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    photo by: Skeptiko
    I have an interview coming up in a minute with the very excellent Dr. Penny Sartori, about her new book, The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences. I’ve covered near-death experiences a lot and I seem to have a little bit of a different take on it than others who cover the field. It’s especially fun to talk to such an accomplished scientific researcher as Dr. Penn Sartori, but, I wanted to contrast that with a little movie clip, maybe this one…

    (Movie clip from Ted2… Nurse calls out ) Code Blue – Room 134.

    There’s nothing quite like Seth MacFarlane in a teddy bear costume, I never could bring myself to watch those Ted movies, but it’s an interesting cultural overlay on this topic of near-death experience, because one of the questions is, to what extent is this over-the-top fear of death we have a product of our medical establishment and our media? And to what extent does near-death experience science relieve that fear of death, and lessen the grief associated with death? As we’ve talked about before research suggests, it clearly does… in fact, it seems to be overwhelmingly better than any other treatment we know of… but to what extent is medicine responsible for perpetuating [fueling fear of death as opposed to reflecting what we already feel, believe and have been culturally instilled with?

    So, that’s one of the topics we talk about today with Dr. Sartori. We also talk about this “light and love” thing, which I think is so interesting and is the focus of her latest book. Of course, the “light and love” NDE coincides with the data. If you look at Dr. Jeff Long, he’s collected the data and it’s certainly about light and love 80% to 90% of the time. But, what about those other times? What about the hellish near-death experiences? What about the black void that some people face and fear so greatly?

    So, those a couple of things we talk about. We also talk about the connection between near-death experience and other transformative experiences. Very, very interesting stuff from just a terrific guest, who really does have a great new book. I hope you check out The Transformative Power of Neath-Death Experiences.

    My interview with Dr. Penny Sartori is coming up next on Skeptiko.

    (continued below)
     
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  2. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's questions at the end of the podcast:

    What do you make of the light and love stuff? Can we hold onto that as something that the near death experience science is telling us? Is that a fundamental part of the near death experience, or is it just another cultural overlay, another distraction that we're drawn to because we want it to be that way?
     
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  3. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    This was a really valuable interview.

    I think that Alex raised an important point in this interview - why do (most) NDE's seem so tied to physical events - hi-tech resuscitation etc. I mean if people reach a point in their lives where an NDE is needed, why don't they get them in bed - say! Penny seemed to be saying that the technological advances and the increase in the number of NDE's may be part of an evolution of consciousness - I don't know, in some NDE's, it is almost as if a celestial mistake was made!

    As for the "everything is love" question, lots of people seem to tackle it, but end up not saying much. Nothing but love sounds a bit like nothing but ketchup - great for a moment but rapidly nauseating! Maybe that realm is so different that people can't describe the rest?

    David
     
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  4. NDE's are tied to technology because people who used to die now survive and can tell us what happened because of advanced medical technology.

    But people do sometimes have "NDEs" without being near death. They are called NDE like experiences - when people have the components of an NDE but not when they are near death. I've had many: Meeting spirits, feeling out of the body, feeling not weighed down by the physical body. Feelings of intense love, oneness, the presence of God. Seeing a boundary you cannot pass, beyond which is a region of great beauty.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  5. NDEs can transform more than just the people who experience them.

    Here is an excerpt from Lessons from the Light by Kenneth Ring and Evelyn Elsaesser which explains how knowledge of NDEs deters suicide:

    As far as I know, the first clinician to make use of NDE material in this context was a New York psychologist named John McDonagh. In 1979, he presented a paper at a psychological convention that described his success with several suicidal patients using a device he called "NDE bibliotherapy." His "technique" was actually little more than having his patients read some relevant passages from Raymond Moody's book, Reflections on Life after Life, after which the therapist and his patient would discuss its implications for the latter's own situation. McDonagh reports that such an approach was generally quite successful not only in reducing suicidal thoughts but also in preventing the deed altogether.

    ...

    Since McDonagh's pioneering efforts, other clinicians knowledgeable about the NDE who have had the opportunity to counsel suicidal patients have also reported similar success. Perhaps the most notable of these therapists is Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist now at the University of Virginia, whose specialty as a clinician has been suicidology. He is also the author of a classic paper on NDEs and suicide which the specialist may wish to consult for tis therapeutic implications. (14)

    Quite apart form the clinicians who have developed this form of what we migh call "NDE-assisted therapy," I can draw upon my own personal experience here to provide additional evidence of how the NDE has helped to deter suicide. The following case ...​
     
  6. http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2018/03/love-is-natural-state-of-consciousness.html

    Love is the natural state of consciousness.

    God is love.

    When people experience the presence of God, they perceive this.

    The natural state of consciousness is love.

    At a higher level people naturally love each other. But on the earth plane we may be fooled by the illusions of the physical world. Fooled into thinking we are not loved. Fooled into not loving.

    When you are relaxed, you approach your natural state.​
     
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  7. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    A couple personal thoughts on the negative NDE's. I was listening to Tom Campbell on YouTube several days ago and he was talking about our inborn ability to manifest reality through our thoughts. This is most easily demonstrated materially by looking at the placebo effect. It is well established medical/scientific fact that if you think you will get better/are taking something that you THINK will make you better, then you will in fact get better. Norman Vincent Peale has his famous "The Power of Positive Thinking" book and most of us have heard of "The Secret." It seems apparent that we are able to shape reality (to a degree) with our thoughts. It is Tom Campbells thought that when we are out of body, we are much more capable of shaping our surroundings with the power of thought. I think (do not know of course) that many of these people who have negative experiences are just creating this scenario through their fear. I think that MAY be a partial explanation. I don't believe that people are "experiencing the afterlife" during NDEs but it is likely some out of body transitory phase, probably similar to the "astral plane" visited by people who experience OBE's, either induced or spontaneously. These people, (who experience OBEs either willfully or spontaneously) if they are care-free and confident going into their experience, they are likely to have a good spiritual experience. The reverse is true if they are scared. This is all according to Tom Campbell who is an expert.

    Similarly, I don't know to what extent people are able to shape their NDE's through their thoughts but I believe the ability must at least help explain (if not totally explain) the negative NDE's. While there are objective signposts to NDEs, there is clearly a subjective component influenced by mindset and culture and probably state of mind.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  8. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    Yea exactly. NDEs are not the only STE's. People have STE's while completely healthy all the time.
     
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  9. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I think Alex's point was that NDE's often seem to be in the form of guidance delivered at an opportune moment, but that moment seems to be generated by the availability of modern technology.

    David
     
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  10. LetsEat

    LetsEat Member

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    I'm more of the opinion that everyone has NDE's and OBE's but only with newer technology do we accidentally remember them.
     
  11. Oh, okay. But the modern technological view makes people much less open to other forms of communication such as religion, mediums, dreams, signs, etc often using symbolism, so it is only fair that THEY use the technology to communicate in a more direct way that modern scientific literal minded people will be more open to.

    If we don't listen, THEY have to shout.

    On the other hand, NDEs are not really new. People had them in the past but no one collected reports and studied them scientifically until recently.

    And the technology might sometimes just be a correlation not a cause, because often people are really dead but are sent back, or experience "miraculous" cures as part of the experience that cannot be attributed to the medical treatment.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
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  12. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    This may be so, but I am always cautious about explaining away tricky evidence. Orthodox does this so frequently, and it has created a mess in a number of areas.

    David
     
  13. http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/06/why-doesnt-everyone-who-survives-near.html
     
  14. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I think we need to put NDEs into a wider cultural frame here. Yes tech developments are generating more instances of people having NDEs and having vivid recall, but this is in an environment in which acceptance of post physical existence is either less common or more constrained by dogmas - so such things are more spectacular disruptions of the normal cultural discourse. We tend to see these experiences in individual contexts, because this, of course, how they are reported. But the impact is cultural - eg we are discussing the subject.

    NDEs are not new, and neither are post mortem encounters with the recently deceased. What is new is not just the tech and related skill that intervenes when people might otherwise expire, but the cultural discourse and the means by which it is transmitted.

    Behind NDEs and other experiences there does appear to be some kind of coherent and intentional agency. I don't mean God in any literal way, but I do embrace the idea of intentional agents representing a deeper/higher (strange how we can mean the same thing with seemingly conflicting descriptors) ideals and intents.

    If we see these events are intentional and collaborative their value/meaning transcends purely personal/individual benefits/lessons and become cultural phenomena. By that I mean that a NDE may be intended to convey, by the experience, truths to a wider audience than immediate intimates - so that a wider cultural/social benefit is obtained.

    So even though the obvious focus of a person experiencing an NDE is intensely personal that does not mean that the intent of precipitating the NDE is at that level of the individual experiencer alone. Long's book, for example, harvested individual experiences and forged a powerful instrument for compelling individuals and communities to re-assess their ideals and beliefs- once they accepted the fundamental premises. The divine is, I think, engaging in engineering a social good by stimulating individual and shared responses - like this forum.

    This is usual. But the ability to communicate and share intense individual experiences has been transformed into an incomparable potential. We are being, I suggest, massaged by stimuli in an unprecedented way. Some of us are being rudely slapped around the ears because we are still half asleep.

    The NDE extends the actuality of human consciousness/being beyond the physical/biological, and that places upon us an onus to determine whether our primary nature is organic and physical, extending into the metaphysical - or primarily metaphysical extruding into the physical and organic. It is one thing to make an intellectual affirmation and another thing entirely to personally establish a visceral and existential affirmation of the latter.

    When is enough evidence enough and when do we stop fighting battles long ago won? Whether NDEs are positive or negative is meaningful only when we accept that the NDEs articulate an affirmed reality. That is, we can't and shouldn't use the positive/negative question as part of the proof. Its like arguing about good/bad fairies before you have arrived at agreeing fairies are real - and then getting that the agreement of their realities raises way more complex notions than anything to do with whether they are good/bad.

    You can't decouple NDEs from OBEs, or from the many other ways in which the metaphysical dimension of our reality is affirmed. Otherwise it is like trying to prove car from a radiator while assuming that gearbox, engine and steering wheel are unrelated. NDEs are a component of a complex series of human experiences that, at the very least, tell us that the nature of our being transcends the material and biological.
     
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  15. Steve

    Steve Member

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    I don’t go for this, if their transformative power is to believed. What about the supposedly new ‘supernatural’ skills NDEs are often supposed to bring the experiencers? Do they only apply if we do remember them?
     
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  16. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    Tech might increase the rate they happen, but tech certainly hasn’t invented the experience. But I don’t know why technology couldn’t be used for spiritual purposes in the first place. Didn’t Alex do a show in that very topic actually?

    I want to ad to the “why doesn’t everybody experience (or remember) an NDE during death” comments. We know when we can call a body “medically dead.” We don’t know specifically when the spirit splits from the body. For many, it seems it happens essentially right at the point of physical/medical death. Other times though, people’s NDEs start BEFORE bodily death. I think it’s possible that in many of these cases, the person wasn’t actually fully physically dead (remember there’s no way for us to know when a body is “dead” for sure. Maybe there’s undetectable activity which persists in many people after they are declared medically dead. And this, or perhaps other factors, keep the soul “bound” to the body. And since the soul is still bound, it works through the brain and since the brain is not working, you remember nothing. Or there may be more complicated spiritual/physical “laws” which generally hold the spirit to the body until “X” should happen to the body. And we may just not know what X is or maybe can not detect it. In short, we can’t say for sure when the soul SHOULD split from the body. And if the soul is still attached to the body when the brain isn’t working, it probably won’t remmber anything.

    I also think it seems apparent that “the other side” gives us hints and clues at its existence, but that it also clearly hides itself and doesn’t want to “give too much away” for common knowledge and it seems there is supposed to be some level of mystery maintained. I think it’s possibly for this reason also that not everybody remembers an NDE.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
  17. KindaGamey

    KindaGamey Member

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    I reblogged this interview on FB with a rant about how important it is that we socially acknowledge NDEs to understand what it truly means to be human, that there is life beyond the veil of death, that its more important even than UFO disclosure (although in my John Mack book one of his patients floated the idea that the beings and the god realm are directly related because the source would damage us in this material density to interact directly), and then I remembered there was a time when the general populace knew that there was an afterlife, accepted it openly throughout all rungs of society, and yet we were still a-holes. It didn't change anything, did it? Did it not have as much an association with "love and light" as it does now? I imagine NDE stories must have recurred throughout history, but then again, I don't want to assume that the other realm stays the same relative to us through time - certainly we've changed like crazy, why wouldn't it? Our interpretation may change. And if thoughts make reality then our interpretations on that side may be two-way streets - they may affect the observed.

    I don't think one gets bored of / destimulated by "love and light" when we return to source because it isn't a stimulation or a projection onto your being, it's the feeling of the absence of disconnectedness/disharmony. We no longer have a hole in our hearts because we're all reunited. That's the impression I get. According to all the crazy things I've read we go back to source for a recharge / vacation after a physical or non-physical life and then really only emerge when we want growth / new experiences or because we've been 'called' by pained civilizations somewhere in the multi-verse. They need help and we go and incarnate and change from within.
     
  18. Radish

    Radish Member

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    Edit: As requested by David Bailey on page 3 of this thread I should mention that I'm an NDEr.

    David, I think you're missing something with that. 'People' as 'spirits' have very different datums, reference points, relative to people currently manifest in material incarnation. Imagine an environment where love is actually part of the environment itself (quite literally part of the very environment itself) and is a fundamental part of the nature of the beings in that environment. Imagine an environment where love is regarded as the very highest good and the appreciation (and living) of that is fundamental to the nature of the beings there. Once you do that you might start to understand why love wouldn't become "rapidly nauseating". In my intellect I understand where you're coming from with the statement - however my experience (NDE) knows that intellectual stance to be false; just born of sheer attachment to the illusion - and the associated dramas, 'good' or 'bad' we are so attached to the dramas - we materially incarnate beings exist in and we are mightily socialised into holding that view. It's a mistake to think that once 'in spirit' you will be entirely the same as you are now, especially when it comes to beliefs/opinions/attachments held. Datums and reference points will change and you with them in your interior being (for want of a better way to phrase that).

    I would also add that love as spoken of by people who have NDEs is frequently very, very different from what we experience as love here in material incarnation. The love that we have here on Earth is less than an dilute thimbleful of an ocean that can be experienced in an NDE. There is so much written in 'New Age' teachings of unconditional love and that we should practise that on Earth. The problem for the New Age crowd is that unconditional love just doesn't exist in any of us here on Earth - we can't do it, we have no notion at all of what it is, just how comprehensive it is. (Though I do accept that there might well have been exceptions to that for some individuals, but they are vanishingly rare even if they ever existed on Earth at all.) I recently came across A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and I think, now, I would go along with that part of what it is saying with respect to love. There is what ACIM refers to as special love, which humans practice and mistake for real love. And then there is the love extended by God equally to everything as One (with Itself, though there is no separation), which is a whole different ball-game - and very few people on this planet will be able to conceptualise what that difference is. So I would also say that love (as spoken of by NDErs) might not be what you imagine it to be. To use your metaphor, the 'ketchup' is very different to how you currently conceptualise 'ketchup' to be - and it could never be nauseating, it is utterly, without exception, the highest good. It is that 'much' that you need to understand, not overlook as of minor-interest. Why do you think NDErs speak of it so much? They're not missing something - you are.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  19. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I want to add to this that we are assuming we share an understanding of what love is. For me it is a Big Idea that has many layers of meaning. Is it unreserved positive regard and affection? Is it tinged with personal emotion and sentimentality? Is it informed by deep insight and wisdom? It does seem that love in the NDE context includes not being judged, being seen for who one 'really' is, encountering wisdom and insight, experiencing warm and unreserved regard - and the like. I could happily live with that.

    It does seem, from other sources, that who we are to those who live beyond the physical is different to who we are to people here with us. The very nature of being human in a physical body brings deep personal sentiments associated with being physical (parental love is very different from the love between mates or friends etc). Those sentiments do not endure beyond the physical, apparently.

    And what also does not endure beyond the physical seems to be our sense of what reality is - so encounters tend to be much more with what we might regard as appearances frequently generated by expectations and beliefs. This seems to be a common and constant theme - as if in actual death and NDEs we encounter what really amounts to a dream - so if we believe in pearly gates and St Peter that is what we will experience. Our psyches are conditioned by physical life and belief - and that conditioning initially prevails - and the presence of other agencies is interpreted through the filter of that conditioning.

    Of course I can't vouch for this. This is what I have read, and it has been consistently reported over many years. Personally I accept it as probably true.
     
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  20. Charlie Primero

    Charlie Primero Member

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    It seemed to really bother Alex that NDE's tend to have a "cultural overlay"; ie. Hindus meeting Hindu gods, Christians meeting Jesus, etc.

    That doesn't bother me. It seems as it should be.
     
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