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Near Death Experiences

In his groundbreaking book, Life After Life, Dr. Raymond Moody describes the elements common to the experiences of individuals who have been to the “other side” and back.  Reports of these near-death experiences bear striking similarities, including a sense of timelessness.

These common elements have one theme that was repeatedly stated: the near-death experiences were inexpressible, or that language had no words to adequately convey what had happened.  Centuries earlier Plato had gone even further, saying not only were words inadequate in expressing these ultimate realities but that words concealed, rather than revealed, the inner nature of things.  

Common elements reported by Dr. Moody

  1. Hearing an unusual noise—bells, wind, music, or ringing.

  2. Moving rapidly through a dark tunnel and seeing a light at the end.

  3. Being outside of the physical body, but still in the immediate physical environment.
  4. Many people also described being in a transparent or clear form.

  5. Being met by others who had already died— including spirits or family members.

  6. Meeting a being of light who felt like a loving warm spirit.

  7. Going through a life review in detail as well as a panoramic review -- evaluating what the individual had done with her life, regrets of things she had failed to do and re-experiencing the emotions that were associated with these events.

  8. Finding a barrier or border where they could not cross and having to return home.  Many could hear or feel others calling them back; most were overwhelmed with joy, love and peace, and did not want to return.

  9. After returning home, there were no words to describe the event.

    All the individuals considered life to be more precious after their experience and tried to cultivate more love for others; this love was unique and profound.  These people also felt it was important to look at the lessons that life offered them and to continue to seek knowledge.

Dr. Moody's findings compared to the Tibetan Tradition

Anthropologist Chris Kar indicates the five elements common to modern day documentation of near-death experience, such as Dr. Moody’s, and the Tibetan literature.

  1. Feeling early on a great wind or roar.

  2. Sensing themselves as different and separate from their bodies or not confined by them.

  3. Seeing a golden sun or clear white light.

  4. Emerging into the light or into the oneness.

  5. Experiencing a detailed but panoramic view of life or a life review process.