Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the near-Death Experience

By Kenneth Ring; Evelyn Elsaesser Valarino | Go to book overview

Chapter Twelve
Crossing over into the Light

The concerns of the previous chapter—how the NDE can help us deal with death—naturally raise the perennially speculative issue of what happens following the cessation of all biological function. Although no living person, however sapient, can bestow on us absolute knowledge concerning life after death, many NDErs nevertheless speak with great certitude on this point and as a group are convinced, almost unconditionally, that some kind of postmortem existence awaits us all. Indeed, even a casual perusal of the NDE literature would be sufficient to demonstrate just how prevalent these beliefs are among those still living who have doubtless come the closest to crossing the bourne from which Shakespeare taught— wrongly, as it turns out—no traveler returns.

Having now read so many narratives of NDEs, you may already have a deep grasp of just why those who have returned from death's brink to tell us their stories testify with such assurance about the self-evidentiality of an afterlife. But before we begin to examine the virtually universal belief structure of NDErs on this point, it pays to take a few moments here at the outset to focus in closely and dilate upon the very moment that seems to presage the transition from physical life to another kind of life altogether. It is just here that we can see most clearly how the individual is confronted with such a powerful vision and feelings so overwhelming that it is simply impossible not to recognize with one's whole being that one has crossed over into Greater Life.

To illustrate this point of transition and awakening in the NDE, let

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