Right up front I’ll make this disclaimer: I have always believed in God, as far back as I can remember, before anyone even told me there might be a Loving Power beyond ourselves. So in writing this you can say that I am biased, and you may be right.
But science is on my side.
Having death closer in on your schedule naturally makes you ponder the afterlife a little more than most people. So when I was diagnosed with cancer I started to research, not the religious side of what might be beyond, but the science of it all. I didn’t expect there to be much validated evidence on the subject but I was curious. Turns out I was quite wrong. There is tons of stuff on what comes after life.
Now I’m not talking clairvoyants or crystal balls here; I’m talking thousands and thousands of experiences of people from a vast array of spiritual beliefs or non-beliefs, chronicled and analysed by neuroscientists, medical specialists, social scientists and other very practical and brainy people.
Some of these people started out as complete skeptics. Some of them even had their own Near Death Experiences (NDE’s), despite being agnostics, atheists, or simply not interested in anything remotely woo woo.
Just one of the research organisations is IANDS – the International Association for Near Death Studies, Inc. This isn’t a bunch of people in purple robes chanting over candles. Some of the top members are up there in the genius category with a bunch of letters after their names and in the highest levels of their scientific fields. They have studied it and they believe.
But you want to know the really spooky part? It’s the amazing similarities between many, many of the NDE accounts. No two are exactly the same but, whether they are Christians, Buddhists, atheists, children, drug-overdoses or grandma dying from a heart attack, the commonalities between their experiences are remarkable. Way too remarkable to be coincidence. And no, the vast majority of them had never even heard of a NDE before so they weren’t copying either.
Of course the presence of an afterlife can’t be proven conclusively, as in replicated in a test-tube or proven by an algorithm, although quantum physics is getting closer. But there is such a thing as quantitative proof; where the sheer number of accounts makes it difficult to deny a fact.
And the really cool thing is that, according to the vast majority of people who have crossed over and returned, the other side is more amazingly incredible, peaceful, loving, and forgiving than we could possibly comprehend from here, so much so that most of them return with no fear of death at all. Of course, there are also exceptions and some folks don’t have a great time over there, but almost all return dramatically changed as people.
If you’re curious, look up the IANDS website, Google Near Death Experiences (not the YouTube videos of car crashes and such), or read any of the many books that have been written on the topic such as, Life After Life – Raymond Moody, or Proof of Heaven – Eben Alexander M.D. It’s pretty fascinating reading, whether you believe or not.
I already believed so I didn’t need any proof but, having read a bunch of these NDE’s, I find it even more comforting and calming. I’m not particularly looking forward to the downward spiral of cancer and a possibly painful end, (although my oncologist has promised me ample morphine). And I’m certainly not in any hurry to exit this side, whatever paradise might await.
But the topic of NDE’s and the afterlife is a pretty taboo one so, naturally, I am compelled to write about it. Nobody wants to talk about death and, as someone who is dying, sometimes that pisses me off. We live, we die, cowboy up and face it folks.
To end on a more gentle note, however, many of the people say that they are met by someone who has gone before them, or a beloved pet. I’d like my first horse, Torrey, to greet me carrying my wonderful friend, Nancy, from the photo above. I’ll jump on behind her and we’ll fly off into a supersonic rainbow of colours that we’ve never seen before, that we can smell, feel and hear, until we reach this incredible Being of Love that so many speak of.
Yup, that would be cool. Scientifically speaking.