by Athanasios Komianos
“There are no words to describe my experience…” … is the phrase I heard more than any other in the presentations that I participated in the annual conference of the International Association of Near-Death Studies (IANDS) held in Arlington, Virginia. Over three hundred experiencers and researchers were gathered there from around the world. Of course many of them had come close to death and many actually crossed the threshold and were treated as clinically dead only to return here and tell us what they went through and what they experienced.
The message was clear death is nothing but a transition into another dimension. Nothing ends with biological death. Instead, everything starts then, actually verifying Plato and the fact that the soul yearns for its substance, that is its essence and its source.
The impressive thing is that three of the main speakers were credible and distinguished physicians who are spearheading unleashed onto the great walls of the reductive materialist logic. Among them Harvard neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, the orthopedic surgeon Mary Neal, the anesthesiologist Dr. Parti and other doctors hereby certify that the incarnating soul is but an infinitesimal part of the wider consciousness that surrounds us and infuses us. Physicists, biologists, pastors, businessmen and entrepreneurs, university professors, and military officials, builders, and sailors have submitted their experiences. I did not find anywhere “psycho-pathologies” that would fit them in the DSM straitjacket. Instead, I regret to see how irresponsibly and in what derision some of the experiencers were addressed, while their experiences were relegated to the side effects of medication, anoxia and illusions. And all this was done by the primary health providers, those who perform the ministry of health. What a shame!
If our doctors as part of their education were confronted face to face with people who went to the other side and came back , then they would understand how little is taught in universities and how little we really know about the nature of the world that surrounds us. If doctors and nurses knew that if they sat beside the patient and rested instead of standing up and aloof, patients would recover faster. Or if doctors knew that some patients when under anesthesia hear what is said in surgeries and were more careful on what they said then we would have better results, and better cooperation, and greater recovery rates.
In fact the IANDS just produced a movie that is specifically aimed at medical personnel of Intensive Care Units and physicians in general. It is featuring the testimonies of several doctors who are experiencers themselves, plus the indications that physicians should look for when dealing with an NDE. By giving them a guideline on how to go about such an experience and how to deal with the specific trauma medical doctors will hopefully start being more open to the spirit hypothesis. Even though I am not that optimistic still this step is a great move to the right direction. If traditional physicians shift their way of thinking then healing will be accelerated.
What is in it for us? Well, the findings of our profession have a lot in common with what these people discover in their momentary deaths. Of course there are many differences as well (like the time speed acceleration or the judgmental phase) but the fact is that as far as the LBL stage is concerned we have commonalities.
As for me at the conference I presented a paper entitled: Initiation in the Ancient Mysteries, Near Death Experiences and Regression Therapy. I tried to show that you do not need to pass the threshold of death to understand the hereafter. In contrast, the ordeal of initiation as were the Eleusinian mysteries of ancient Greece, or one flashback to the moment of death in a previous life as we regression therapists do today, will suffice to overcome one’s castrating fear of death.
The NDEs have to be separated in two categories. As Dr Sam Parnia in his latest book Erasing Death suggests the term near-death is not accurate when death did occur in some cases. When respiration stops, there is no heartbeat and the brain ceases to function, we then say that a person has died. But is that true? It seems that the real answer is (or should be): Not really, or, it depends. Because tissues and cells die at a different rate depending on the environmental conditions (i.e. temperature) or to which part of the body they are located. But so far, this is the consensus definition for what death is. So when people after having such an officially diagnosed death come back with images that are veridical of the conditions of their deaths then this alone signifies that there is indeed a spiritual reality.
In Norfolk VA, I met a lady that had a Near-Death and not Actual-Death experience. She was actually waiting for a liver transplant when her liver gave up on her, struck by non-alcohol induced cirrhosis. Everybody had given up on her but herself because the compatible liver could not be found. She believed that she would make it and so she did. The doctors knew that she would die any moment when a miracle happened and a spiritual surgery took place during the night. The roof of the room that she resided disappeared and light beings she described as angels surrounded her and started operating on her. She could feel them, she could sense them, she could smell them. When the operation was over, a frame of a picture of a young little boy came into her mind and she saw clearly that little boy’s features and facial characteristics. A little later she was informed that she was going for an operation and that a liver was found. When the operation was successfully over she talked about the child to the doctor in chief and there it was, her description matched totally with what she said. The donor was the seven year old boy of the picture she saw who died in an accident.
This interview lasted more than six hours and by just writing so few things about it I certainly do injustice, but you can take my word for it.
Miracles do happen and they are more than real. They are surreal.