Saturday, January 30, 2010

Near Death Experiences of Gays and Lesbians

This is the message many of us take away from from our churches...and sometimes our families. "YOU ARE GOING TO HELL." ....Being raised in a "Traditional Christian home" and being gay can cause sever emotional conflict that sends many of us on a personal journey away from religion to resolve our sexuality and our religion of birth. For many of us in the gay community...the condemnation can cease to be external and become an ever present voice in your mind. That same stance of condemnation causes a great many gay people to walk away from religion and spirituality entirely. That's not a judgement....it just is...and that was me for a time.

The voices I had heard all my life that said that being gay was an automatic ticket to hell had ceased to be the voice of sunday morning televangelists and had become my own. The emotional weight of which, would keep me up at night. I could not close my eyes to it...mostly becuase I knew that no matter how far away I pushed it from my mind, I would have to deal with it someday....especially that someday that all of us face...the end of our lives.So...as I was coming out, I also began dealing with the question "am I going to hell?" I began reaching out to other spiritual traditions and went in search of an answer that would put that question to rest, once and for all.

Thats when I discovered near death experiences. I had heard of near death accounts but had never previously given them much attention. Finally, the light clicked on..."well, most spiritual traditions are either written thousands of years ago and have been passed down such that their veracity can be compromised in the constant retelling, and many new age philosophies seem out to sell you something....what do the people that have been through death and seen it first hand have to say?"


Here I have to give my disclaimer: This is a topic that I know will not resonate with many people...either because of their preexisting religious beliefs...because they view it as nothing more than a scientific anomally...or because they just don't find any benefit in exploring the idea of death and the afterlife. It is not my intention to evangelize...I present this material from the perspective of one to whom these stories have helped find a measure of peace. I have resisted writing this for some time because it exposes that part of me that is very much still a work in progress. I can speak about being gay with much more confidence than I can about spirituality. And Finally...I am concerned that this will be the place where I get labeled a complete nutbar....but...good, bad, or indifferent, here we go.....

first some mood music...I love Fragile State and the imagery here is appropriate...



Near death experiences took on popularity in the 90's though they have been happening virtually forever. Much like being gay...people are shy to admit to them becuase of how they fear they will be percieved. This causes a problem with accurate reporting. Books about the NDE phenomenon have been in print since 1975 with Dr. Raymond Moody's book, "Life After Life". The popularization of the phenomenon has led to a stereoyped scenario of seeing a bright light, traveling through a tunnel, encountering some form of heaven and meeting deceased relatives, undergoing a review of your life and experiencing the effects of what you did to others in your life...good and bad, and meeting a being of light that experiencers often describe as being GOD who loves and accepts them unconditionally, without judgement.

Thats the standard account...now heres the reality....NDS's are as different as snowflakes and while some will fit the stereotypical model...just as many do not. Some contain no religious iconography whatsoever, while still others may be full of it, complete with angels and pearly gates. Some contain very negative and frightening imagery at first, although these are the exception rather than the rule, and usually end in a much more positive manner. Some near death accounts only involve floating out of their body and witnessing attempts at reviving their body, while others may go on ecstatic trips into what lies beyond death learning the secrets of the universe. Some accounts happen without physical harm...with only the belief that death is emminent. Those who commit suicide are just as likely to have a positive NDE as anyone else. NDE's happen across differing cultures and religions and in those a that identify as athiest. a few experiencers have woken up on the autopsy table or the morgue..... But the thing that is common in nearly all of them is the feeling of unconditional love and acceptance and an emphasis that we are here on the earth to learn and grow and the only goal worthwhile is to learn to love unconcditionally.....even here, for the sake of time I have had to greatly condense the variety and scope of the experiences which number in the thousands.

What struck me the most was that gay people were having experiences every bit as positive as the rest of humanity.


From the Near Death Experiences and the Afterlife website:

Christian Andreason is one such experiencer who brought his questions about his sexual orientation with him when he died. Andreason has quite a long account and his experience has alot of traditional religious imagery intermixed with non traditional imagery and being a musician, his NDE is filled with themes surrounding music. Andreason, also ambivelant about his sexuality, asks a very hesitant question of his guide:


When I got to Heaven, one of the first things I asked was about the very issue of bisexuality, as it had caused me a great deal of concern my whole life. My lady guide walked me to a room that had a large screen in it. On the screen, I saw two forms of Light conjoining with one another in the act of making Love. My guide then asked me to tell her which was the male and which was the female? I said, "I dunno!" She smiled at me and said it does not matter. She went on to say that the two Lights were what God saw when he looked upon us. She explained that God always sees us as our higher selves and that gender is a very temporary thing that will not be around forever. It was further explained to me that God himself is both a Mother essence and a Father essence to us, therefore; God fully understands our attractions for members of similar genders. It was told to me (or rather I was reminded) that there are no mistakes in the way each of us were made. God knew what each of us would be challenged and blessed with. We each act according to our heart (or developed Soul center) and as we mature Spiritually, we come up higher each time.
Liz Dale , a San Francisco based psychologist and near death researcher has been focusing her work on the near death experiences of gays and lesbians. here book "Crossing Over and Coming Home" contains about twenty accounts of near death experiences soley from gay and lesbian experiencers. One of the books accounts happened in 1991. Andre, a sound technician and musician from the San Francisco area, gives this very detailed account that began with a ruptured appendix. During his account, which turnes from a trip to Guerneville Ca into a mountain assent into heaven. Along the way, he askes his spiritual companions a fatefull question:
4:44 P.M. once again we began my review of my life. This time, I could see all the self-doubt that I had in my life centered around the question of my being of any worth to god, since I was a gay man. It was then that I mustered up the courage to ask these beings something I could sence they were waiting for me to ask. I asked, "Is it o.k. to be gay?" and they laughed and said, "who do you think made gay people?" I remember us laughing for what seemed like 1000 years. I felt like I fit in for the first time in my entire life....completely fit in.

Most of the other experiences that Dale collected don't address homosexuality directly, as the frank question above did. However, the fact remains that the experiences she reports are positive ones and the experiencer reports themselves as gay.

Also from the same page on near-death.com is the account of Helen, a lesbian who's account begins with her suicide attempt:

I remember being wheeled from the flat on a stretcher. Again, I floated above and could look down and see two men carrying the stretcher, and I felt secure and safe in the knowledge that I was walking away from all the chaos of my life. Again, I felt it was my decision to walk away. Then I remember a very powerful force pulling me towards a serene, very beautiful realm, a higher realm. I traveled very slowly along a tunnel toward a bright light, and I could feel an overwhelming sense of warmth and peace and whiteness. I wanted to walk into the whiteness, which was so tranquil and happy. It was like stepping into a vacuum, there was nothing tangible, no scenery to look at, but a tremendous feeling of being somewhere, like nirvana. I felt okay, as though this was where I was meant to be, as if I had arrived home, and I was at ease with myself for the first time in a long time.


I also felt at one with the forces of the universe, as though I was part of something much much bigger, and yet I was also the whole of it. It was a tremendously powerful feeling, and such a contrast to the despair and depression that had led me there.
Again, I want to emphasis that everyones experiences is unique to them and what Helen encountered may not be what you or I would encounter....I try not to judge them on content or opinions that I may not agree with as these stories come from people of all ages and backrounds. I just take it in.

Now from my favorite website on the subject of NDE's... NDERF.org,  the Near Death Experience Research Foundation is literaly a clearing house of thousands of submitted experiences. Some NDE's with gay content don't even come from gay experiencers...such is the case with these excerpts from William Sillyman's experience:

....When it comes to judging, God does not judge as so many religions practice, they do a really good job of guilting you to death. Guilt for looking at a woman or man, for taking a drink, smoking, etc. However, for you to defend your way of life, you are rewarded and praised.


....So many times religions will teach that actions and words can admit or restrain a person from entering the presence of God. These types of teachings, teach guilt and shame. For instance, if you say the words, “Shit, Damn or Hell,” that soul will not be worthy to stand in the presence of God. If a person chooses to live a different lifestyle than the norm, many religions will outcast the member from the group by scapegoating that individual and reminding the rest of the congregation how this individual will be cast into Hell and will never see the Light of God.


When I stood in the presence of my Creator, I had done things in my life that were not the Norm, but I felt no shame for them, I just felt loved. While I was there, I was able to see 4 old friends that I had had on this earth. These friends had all been killed in a car wreck after they had been hit by a drunk driver. Some would think that that was o.k. because they had been innocently killed. The drunk driver had also been killed. Yet he was there also. Why? Because the guys had all forgiven him for his actions. All five of them knew and agreed that their missions on this earth ended on that particular night.


Oh, I also forgot to mention, the four friends of mine, shouldn't have been in Heaven at all, because religion had condemned them to Hell. All four of them on this earth had been Gay. They had no shame or guilt for their way of life. Society had the shame and guilt. These were great guys, they never hurt another human being. Three of them even had younger siblings, and they not once ever Molested or Defiled them, in fact they protected them, even up to the day they died....

There is also the story of David H. who's bought with pnuemonia ends with a near death experience. He was self described as being, "angry with GOD because he is gay". This is an example of an NDE that begins with negative or frightening content that ends on a positive note and is well worth the read. unfortunatly it is too long to post here and breaking it up will make it incomprehensible.

also, is the story of Carry G. who encounters a being he believes to be Jesus:

I saw this encounter as my best chance to ask the being of light a question. I somehow knew this being was God, Jesus in fact. I had been struggling with homosexual thoughts since a teen and felt so ashamed, so I asked this being, "Is it alright to be gay?"


I could not see the face of this being, but I can tell you I 'know' it smiled and laughed. It did not laugh at me. It seemed to enjoy the fact that I asked my question as if it knew how hard it was for me to ask it and how earnestly I sought the answer. It 'looked' at me with such love (I felt this but again I could not see its face) and then the loving being said, "Carry, that is not the most important question." He said that with such gentleness; it clearly wanted to draw me into his life so that all my questions could be answered. Before I could ask, "What is the most important question?," it "touched" the top of my head. Again, I did not see this being touch me, but I know it did. And, when it touched my head my whole body became translucent. I could see right through my body and my clothes yet at the same time I could make out every detail even as I could see right through myself! Then, it poured something of itself in me, and a wonderful golden light poured into me. It was pure gold, a shimmering golden light. It was so beautiful; it was not like any ordinary light as this light was 'alive' with pure joy, peace, goodness, life. And, I watched as the golden light 'filled' up my feet and then my legs and then my whole body to the very top of my head. At that eternal moment, I felt so alive, so free, so loved, so joyful that I no longer wanted to be on this earth.

NDE Differences:

I will offer one last point and thats on why each NDE if different from another...if NDE's represent any kind of reliable account of what happens to us after death...then why does each person who has one undergo a different experience? Couldn't this all be explained as the halucinations of a dying brain?

As for the "dying brain" theory, some experiencer have revived hours later while litterally under the autopsy knife....yeah, not pretty. Many report traveling around the hospital they died in and can report places and things that they should not have been able to see that were later verified. In fact, in some cases, people who were born blind report having a faculty resembling sight in their experience. In addition, is the phenominon known as the "Fear death experience" in which an experiencer merely believes death is emminent and undergoes and experience even though no physical harm takes place...my favorite NDE of all time that demonstrates this is Marry W.'s experience. I whole hearedly reccomend reading it.

The difference in NDE's was once talked about in the account of Mellon-Thomas Benedict. The main point of which being, that the experience itself is colored by our expectations of what we will see after death...which includes unconscious bias. He says in his account:

I asked the light, "What is going on here? Please, light, clarify yourself for me. I really want to know the reality of the situation."


I cannot really say the exact words, because it was sort of telepathy. The light responded. The information transferred to me was that your beliefs shape the kind of feedback you are getting before the light. If you were a Buddhist or Catholic or Fundamentalist, you get a feedback loop of your own stuff. You have a chance to look at it and examine it, but most people do not.

Epilogue:

This is what I found when I began looking for my own answers about what happens to us when we die. What I found amazes me...but I still regard it with a grain of salt. How many of these experiencers would have their own agenda in falsifying a tale...for book sales or merely attention? I don't think that can ever be answered without submitting each NDE experiencer to a lie detector test. So, while I use this as a guide that life and the universe is ALOT more than I know or understand...its also alot more than any church has a handle on also. We may in fact be the toddlers of the universe....just beginning to take our first stumbling steps into a greater reality. But, even if most of the people who report an experience are misunderstanding whats happening to them or worse, making it up, ...then....if even one percent of the stories that I have read are true, than that alone radically changes the way I look at life, spirituality, and the messages I recieved about being gay.

I admit that I am an NDE hound and read each account voraciously. Jay has little patience for my NDE obsession. He always tells me when I am on about NDE's that, "If GOD asks me what I have to say for how I lived my life, I will say that I loved you and not feel bad about that.".......a beautifull statement...and frustrating at the same time because I usually want to talk about what I read...it just goes to show that everyone approaches life and death from very unique perspectives. For me its a powerfull subject that I never tire of considering....And I add...if anyone out there like to talk about such things or has an experience they wish to share..I will always be and eager listener, I love to talk about it and don't often get to...though I do not collect stories to repost here as I have no way of verifying them.

But now I open the conversation to you ..the reader to take these accounts and make of them what you will...no matter what conclusions you can draw about them, NDE's remind us how much we don't know about ourselves and the universe....I look forward to exploring that uncharted territory. 

31 comments:

  1. What an interesting topic. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thank you for this expansion on your last e-mail you sent me. I have enjoyed reading about the experiences of homosexuals in NDE's, and know that it is unlikely that I would have put this much effort into looking into it without you having written on it. Fascinates me. And, somehow, it is comforting - I wish I could explain it.

    I appreciate your humble honesty and hesitation when sharing about spirituality. I hope to one day become equally modest.

    Thank you for sharing this part of you, Bryan. Even if you are a complete nutbar, I think I would point to your appreciation of Star Wars rather than anything spiritual.

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  3. Hey Byran,
    Great blog! One of my most "interesting' stories that I have encountered before about the afterlife was about a woman that I work with. Her niece had some kind of weird childhood cancer very young. She died at age 4. BUT!! The weird things that she was saying before she died.She was EXTREMELY intelligent so she was verbally intelligent as well. She was saying things like..."Why is everyone crying...? She kept saying..."it is only a "life" it is "just a life" and "don't worry..they are coming to get me tomorrow"..and yes..they did.
    So, it makes us think about our lives here..no matter how short or long. I think we all have a purpose..I don't know what yet..but..if we are alive we have to keep helping our fellow human beings.
    I am trying and I know you are too...

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  4. fresh from the nutbar....NDE's in children are very interesting because they have often not been filled with religious indoctrination or ever heard of a near death experience...so what they report is kind of and untarnished by the idea that they created an experience out of their imagination based on things they've heard before.

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  5. Jake will love this post, I will show it to him, he likes stuff like this.

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  6. Thanks for posting this, I really enjoyed it!

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  7. Great disclaimer. I love how humble you are Bryan!

    I fall into the group of people considering it a scientific anomaly. Or not so much an “anomaly” because apparently it happens a lot. I just think it has a scientific explanation. I consider “science” as a preexisting belief (even if it’s not religious) though. When I talked about “bias” I think everything is a bias including scientific theories. I acknowledge that I have put faith in the relative credibility of scientists and formal education, but they could certainly be wrong or at least not 100% right. So I try to remain humbled about my own beliefs and not be too judgmental about the beliefs of others. I certainly could be wrong about what I perceive to be right or reality. The only time I have a problem with religion is when it starts asserting itself on the beliefs and lives of others. Other than that, I really don’t care who is right or wrong about how life came to be, if there’s God, gods, or none, etc.

    I also realize that my biases and just plain laziness are the reason why I don’t find any benefit in exploring the idea of death and the afterlife. Just like how I’ve decided to quit bother learning all the religions and compare them to my current belief of atheism and see which one is right. I really doubt I’ll ever get the answers. I just don’t think it’s possible. Of course I could be way wrong, and that’s always scary. But yeah I’ve already been biased in the direction of non-religion, so if I don’t believe in god/gods I blame them for creating me in a way where they stacked the deck against me in the first place. It’s like being gay and trying to live a straight life. You’re practically screwed to start with. And hopefully even if a god exists, it is the loving type of god who is omniscient and doesn’t really care who believes in him. As opposed to the vengeful needy egotistical judgmental god who sends people to eternal suffering just because we don’t all prostrate ourselves to him despite the fact that He/it already is omnipotent and omniscient and really shouldn’t need our reaffirmation. Or sends people to hell because they don’t believe in him even though I’d say the main problem is that he is a horrendous communicator (at least in my experience)

    That’s just me and my biases though. I respect that you’re being proactive about truth seeking. I definitely don’t think you’re a nutbar for that. I think the opposite! I think it’s great that you can discuss your beliefs no matter how controversial, and remain an independent thinker. I think being open-minded and an independent thinker is really important no matter what your beliefs. Both religious and non-religious beliefs (like eugenics derived from science for example) can be bad when taken too far and not critically evaluated. At the end of the day none of us really know the answers to everything, so I don’t think people should be judgmental or minimize the beliefs of others. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to be confident in your own beliefs or “think” somebody is wrong,. They should just realize that they key word is “think” and they should have humility in their own beliefs and assumptions. At some point they believe what they believe largely due to inertia (most people don’t constantly check and recheck their beliefs against all the beliefs out there), biases, and socialization (whoever taught them about life or whatever they were exposed to)

    The near death experiences thing is very interesting. When considering the validity of religion that’s 1 thing I haven’t thought that much about. Usually I’ve chalked it up to people just seeing things and interpreting them to be religious. Naturally I could be dead wrong. It’s just 1 of those things I don’t think I’d know unless I experienced it myself (and even then I wouldn’t know if it was just hallucination or something real) so I just sort of don’t think about it. I don’t know if that’s necessarily good or bad. It’s definitely something to think about now that this topic has been brought to my attention

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  8. that's why it's better to live in europe. we are not so religious as american.

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  9. I didn't want to make anyone consider a topic that is not a priority for them. I understand that there ate many people who just are not motivated by this at all.

    It was just something that was interesting to me...that touched on a gay issue. I hoped to inspire some conversation about it....which it did.

    There is so much out there we don't understand and I have to admit..I for one, cannot imagine death as being a "lights out" moment. That is just too depressing to imagine..but thats just me.

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  10. Haha you're so thoughtful. This is your blog though so you can talk about whatever you want regardless of whether people are interested about what you talk about or not. Fortunately, I find everything you talk about interesting anyways. I either relate or I learn something new that I didn't know or haven't thought about.

    I think the "lights out" thing bothered me more when I was younger. Once I kind of dropped my expectations for immortality (Heaven-wise), it stopped bothering me. Kind of how I've slowly been dropping my expectations for heterosexual marriage/having biological kids and accepting life as it is.

    I kind of imagine "death" to be like sleep. Except you never wake up. Like I wouldn't realize I'm dead. The way I see it, if death is like an eternal sleep that's fine, and if I'm wrong, and there's an afterlife and it's good (as opposed to like a Hell eternal damnation/suffering) then even better! I wouldn't mind being wrong about there being a Heaven as long as I get to be sent there lol

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  11. Soul-sleep is actually one of the topics discussed on this page:

    http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research06.html

    I say this not to sway you...what you believe is what you believe...but to offer a differing perspective.....scroll down to the "Some religious beliefs can be harmful" section.

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  12. I actually found that to be very interesting, as I am one that dose believe in those sorts of things. A disclaimer I also believe in ghosts, and spirits and demons and all that supernatural sort of stuff.

    faith, is something that I still have issues with its still something that I know I have not ironed out all the wrinkles with yet. It's a lot to do with I know what I feel in my hart, but it reconciling that with my understanding and all that. It may sound odd but even though I am not being all the way there my faith is still a very strong part of me, and it has helped me get threw some very dark rough patches even very recently. I know I believe there is a god, I get shaky on the calling my self a christian part, even though that is what I believe. I know its in big part do to the fact that i have not resolved all the things that I'm not sure are about being compatible or not. nor have I found what my "level of faith" is in the manor of "active participation". How every your post Bryan has given me some thoughts to chew on that could help me get one step closer to where I need to be.

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  13. I read it and it is definitely an interesting perspective. And for me kind of scary just because I currently believe death is a deep sleep (except unlike religious folk I don't think I'll ever be revived)

    "When we die, the reality we created is where we will live and what we will become"

    If I read that correctly, in the afterlife, if you believe death = sleep, then you will sleep. Whereas if you believe in Heaven or something like that or believe in a good supreme being, you will be "awake" and happy in that afterlife. This kind of scares me just because I'm currently atheist and think of sleep as being unconscious

    "If you don't believe in God or an afterlife, you will probably be kept in a sleep state for the first two to three day period. You will wake up in a beautiful meadow or some other calm and peaceful place where you can reconcile the transition from the death state to the continuous life. You are given teachings in the hope that you do not refuse to believe that you are dead"

    I can live for sleeping for 2-3 years as long as I don't go to hell or something. The upside is that it sounds like angels or something will try to convince me that I'm dead. I would imagine that wouldn't be too big of a problem. But I guess you never know...

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  14. ...you know...

    even though they categorized the belief in soul sleep as "harmfull", I think that kind of a misnomer. at the nderf website are tons of accounts by those who labeled themselves as athiest before their experience. None the less they had a positive experience...some with religious iconograghy...some not.

    I think the ultimate message of any near death experience is that its going to be o.k.....no matter what you believe waits for you after you die.

    a handfull of the atheists that had experiences continued to remain athiests after the event. which illustrates that everyone reactes to these experiences differently

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  15. Wow, Bryan, I can't believe you just wrote all of that at this particular moment. I'll explain why in a really long email message (sorry in advance) over at youtube.

    !!!!

    Matt

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  16. Bryan some scientists are collating experiments with NDEs - I think there was an article about it in Newsweek recently.

    Projecting pictures high in an emergency room that only someone high & floating out of their body could see (if they survived and could tell about it). I could be wrong but I thought it said something like results were going to be published this year.

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  17. Hi señor Bryan, I would like to start by saying that... this is something really interesting!. At first I was really confused, I have to admit, but then as I was reading along and doing king of research on other webs. I finally realize that I've been through NDE, or I think thats what it is, almost all my life to the point where it really scares me a lot! but I have never question what those experiences were and still are. Hmmm... very and super interesting(again)
    Thank you for posting and sharing this with everybody!

    OHHH! by the way! EXCELENT SONG! I got hooked to it and... I've been listening to it for like 3days now! thanks a lot, Bye sir.

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  18. @ric331 and Matt...

    If you guys are comfortable posting your experience here it may add to the debate. Otherwise, if you are not comfortable doing so in such a public forum..then I would be open to hearing your story. You can either email me on youtube or at gayfamilvalues@gmail. Your account will be handled as confidential and never read or posted without your permission.

    If you do tell your story please include a littel background about what led up to the experience. What your spiritual beliefs where before and how they have...or have not changed. also if you have previously read or heard about NDE's...and finally...what effect it has on you today.

    I will let you know anything I can that may relate to your experience.

    thank you :)
    Bryan

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  19. Wow! Fascinating Blog Post! I'm an atheist. I've always been fascinated by NDE's and similar matters.

    I think that part of the reason that some people may have genuine NDE's is that, much like our "fight or flight" response to stress in nature, in moments when we feel like our life is in danger of coming to a sudden end our nervous system kicks in to a hyper-sensitive or hyper-aware mode. Our sense of the passage of time slows down and things seem to be moving in slow-motion and our senses become hyper-focused. I think that we evolved this so that in times of danger we can take the split-second actions necessary to survive a bad situation. Any way, that just my own idea. Who really knows?

    Some times the idea of my extinction scares the hell out of me and I have trouble sleeping. I usually think of death like this in the follwing mental experiment:

    1) First, imagine nothing.

    2) Second, imagine not being able to imagine.

    That can be very scary. So I console myself with the following questions:

    How did you feel before you were born?
    Were you ever sad before you were born?
    Were you ever in any pain before you were born?

    The truth is that for billions of years the universe was completely fine before any of us ever showed up.

    I think that the time after our life is going to be rather like the time before our life. But we do live on for a short while in the memories of these we leave behind. That at least is how this atheist tries to deal with the fear of death and dying.

    Thank you Bryan for posting on such an interesting topic. And Jay's comment about defending his love for you before god was SOOOOO SWEET!!! and SOOOO BEAUTIFUL!!! You're SOOOO LUCKY!!! You both are!!!

    May the Force be with you!!

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  20. thank you mike...yes I am very lucky in being with Jay.

    I have to disagree with you on the brain chemical point. People don't report that time slows down, they report that it sceases to exist altogether. Many report seeing themselves from outside their body...that seems an odd survival mechanism for any reason other than psychological preservation. and why would we need to mentally preserve ourselves at the end? It would simply be time to go, yes?

    If we simply scease to exist...and I wont care because I wont be anywhere TO care...thats not really the problem...the problem is I care NOW. As long as I exist, then I can ask these questions and seek answers.

    Bryan

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  21. I appreciate your points Bryan, but for me personally, it is hard for me to believe that there is a higher-power that cares about what happens on this planet-let alone one that cares about individuals. I would like to believe in an after-life and that everything will be OK in the end... But, it's just real hard for me to believe that... Once again thanks for raising such an intesting topic. It's true what they say... The more personal, the more universal.

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  22. I heard this guy on Coast to Coast once. Very interesting. Lovely man, Dr John Lerma who has vast experience with the terminally ill/dying and works in the hospice movement in US there. Then there is Dr Melvin Morse who deals with terminally ill children.

    I don't mean to push any religion or religious perspective. But I have read bits and pieces on various religions and it often depends on how these things are interpreted and by whom.

    Just from the Christian perspective, it is said that we are 'made in the image of God'. In John's gospel we are told that this God IS Love. I 'see' it, in this context, that the 'image' of God in which we are made is the very capacity to love itself. Not so much a gender/orientation thing - but a loving thing.

    Jesus does say that we will be 'like the angels in heaven' when we leave this mortal coil. We are told to seek 'God,' who is Love; seek to know Love itself with all our mind, heart and soul; and in the seeking, living of this, we learn to truly love the self, and our neighbour.

    'God' - Love, is 'glorified' in the real living of Love. These commandments - to seek Love, and to learn to love self, and neighbour, truly, are the keys to the kingdom of God, 'within' us. Even modern pyschology and psychiatry would seem to agree with that.

    We must learn to truly love self if we are to wholly obey these of the 'greatest commandments' of God. And for we gay people, that can be a real challenge, especially when the very conservative, orthodox religious types are those who challenge us most, as they did Christ; and would have us actually disobey this very command to love - by having us actually learn to hate our very self, the image of God in which we are made, compromising/sabotaging our greatest good, the capacity itself to love. Love is its own reward, in this life, and any other I believe. Your partner is right Bryan. Love is the key, the answer - however it is experienced and lived, when it is true :-) Day by day to live for love, and love to live for this alone. Hard going very often. However :-) That's what I believe anyway. I've read a LOT on NDEs too over the years, and I believe they are real.

    http://www.squidoo.com/drjohnlerma

    http://www.drjohnlerma.com/home.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzOGlsnX8Us

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfFtRBgWq80

    http://www.near-death.com/experiences/experts06.html


    Interesting topic indeed. Take care.

    Kev

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  23. I do not understand that homosexuality is so critical ... There is nothing wrong! should see other people do things that are more worrying!

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  24. Everyone has their own views, and beliefs. No one can claim to know for 100% absolute sure about anything. For all we know life could just be a very long dream, and there could be an entirely different reality altotgether. Now, that may sound farfetched, but think about this for a moment.

    In a dream you are convinced it's real, everything seems real to you in that state, even though the natural laws don't apply you still think it's real, unless it's a lucid dream. So that being said, how can you prove this life isn't just a dream, and an illusion? If in a dream you feel 100% sure it's real, and it's not, couldn't it be possible that life is similar?

    I'm not saying I know the ultimate truth, just that no one can ever prove anything because everything we believe and think we know could just be a dream, or a kind of illusion, but then again, maybe I'm wrong, I only know what's true for me, I don't have the ultimate answers about the universe, or true nature of reality...

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  25. there is a website that proves life after death and there have been gay\lesbian ndes on that site but it also mention an nde of someone who was completly brain dead and the site also explains athiest ndes and heaven realms

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  26. Thanks for the encouraging stories here of NDEs. I have read positive and negative stories on other sites as well. But the one thing that is the same is belief in God and Jesus Christ who is our Savior gives us the positive results. Over ten years ago a professed atheistic cardiac surgeon became a Christian as a result of a terrifying experience of a patients's NDE. His name is Dr. Maurice Rawlings and he has written several books such as To Hell and Back, and Beyond Death's Door. It's disturbing, but it all goes back to Jesus. Remember the Exorcist? That was a true story. For years and years the one thing that drove the devil out of people was a Crucifix, the Name of Jesus, and Holy Water. Nobody should take that chance. It's not about orientation. It's about how you love God, and your fellow man. The Church of Satan's motto and profession is DO WHAT THOU WILL. You are your own god. Not so when you die apparently. Sometimes Lucifer paints rosy pictures for the really bad. Gay people need Jesus just as anyone else, we are all his children. He loves all of us. So, there is no reason to reject him as some do because of Christian hate. So, take care, and peace and love to all of you.

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  27. I am always disgusted by folks holding up these signs!

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  29. Bryan,

    This thread is so old, I doubt you'll ever see this comment, unless you get feed excerpt of everything posted in any blog you've ever done.

    I haven’t read this thread in a very long time, but I also remember a Depfox video where this interest you had in near death experiences came up. I think Jay called you a hippie in that video for being interested in that. Knowing now how freaky my reading habits can be at times, it probably won’t surprise you to hear me mention the topic I’m about to now. It’s a phenomenon related to near death experiences but one in which you’re not near death at all and, in some instances, you induce that state deliberately yourself. Yes, I’m talking about “astral projection.” One way that can be achieved is through high-dose psychedelic trips (acid, shrooms, peyote, DMT, etc.), but that way is completely uncontrolled and one which I don’t necessarily recommend. The other more controlled and much safer way to exit your physical body and travel elsewhere is through some sort of rigorous meditation involving what might be called “energy work” or opening “chakras”—which are non-physical energy centers in the body. There are about seven regional chakras in the body and I’ve forgotten most of their names because I haven’t read about such things in about a decade. (I think there’s one in the body’s mid-section called “solar plexis” and there’s another on the forehead, which is a third eye type chakra. Anyway, each chakra is opened by deep meditation of kind of falling into yourself and you start with chakras lower in the body and progressively move upward. Supposedly, once all the chakras are opened, your body is on some sort of higher frequency not characteristic of our normal experience of living on Earth and by continued vigorous meditation, you mentally climb out of your body kind of like psychic hands grasping and climbing an invisible rope.

    If someone does all of this successfully, their soul or “astral body” breaks free of the physical body and is able to roam freely in the so-called astral plane. You can fly anywhere you want by then, but navigation in that dimension is by the mind alone. While your astral body is out and about, your physical body is dormant and it appears like it’s asleep. Anyway, we all think of ourselves as a body with a soul but, while you’re traveling in the astral plane, you may experience things more the opposite: you’re really a soul with a body that is only useful in the physical plane—our everyday living experience on Earth but useless anywhere else.

    One note of caution that I’ve read about: Whether it’s for astral projection or other purposes, it’s not particularly safe to leave chakras open. Leaving them open keeps you on a higher frequency and in a realm where living entities of a kind you don’t want to deal with live and you could attract unwelcome attention and contact from them. Close your chakras as soon as you’re done using them for your own safety. Better yet, don’t go about opening chakras in the first place unless you have also learned how to close them when you’re done with them.

    Pretty freaky stuff I know and yes, this does come from the pseudo-hippie side of me that I’ve mentioned before. It’s just amazing the crazy stuff you can find on the Net. Anyway, since you do have that one isolated freaky interest in near death experiences, I’m taking the chance that you might also be interested in astral projection—not necessarily to actually do it but maybe read about it someday. Astral projection is sometimes used by the military for spying purposes such as reading secret documents. When done by an astral projectionist working for the military, the process is called “remote viewing.”

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  30. Life is Religion, Religion is Life, however one chooses to live their life is their religion, there's not distinction. The problem I find is that people interpret backwards. They see the bible as a way to define and understand what their religion expects, same with the Quran. But the reality is the conditions already existed before the books did, that are there to help us understand the spiritual evolution of human history and how God operates in our World. I've seen and heard to many NDE describes and found the Eternal Truth as the Christ, The Light, thE TRUTh spoke not to be true. However, there is no way of knowing if in Him is the ultimate Heaven and not a lower realm of Heaven. He spoke that he is TRUTH. Either he is, or He is a liar. Considering he is the Light SOurce of Heaven Itself in the Manifestation formed to flesh of Us of which we were made, and that He played a part in making Us..I see not reason not to. His was the Good News of Love and Eternal Life. Good grief, what's not to Love about that? Do not mistake the message with the messengers on earth. Everything good comes with a little bad on earth, we can receive some heaven on earth within us, but 'wihin' is not a dimension within ourselves, it becomes a part of our beingness, Christ said he would send it, and he didn't lie. And so it is. Through that we can discern the falisty and the TRUTH. It would be rather foolish not to want this, for Heaven's sake. There are other NDE experiences out there of people experiencing a hell, but they do not make the press as much since 1) if heaven experiences are not expected to be believed , then hell may be even more unlikely and 2) people can be ashamed for having seen hell. The good news is that either way people who come to tell of these experiences are changed people, Everything serves a purpose right down to why you might have had to call a friend earlier today. Everything is connected. It's impossible for it not to be. In regard to homosexuality and the bible , some opinion will doubtlessly need to be interjected to clarify this upfront, but homosexuality in the bible is not the same as what we think of it today, although in some cases it still is. The word did not even exist then. It is mostly referring to acts of homosexuality used to reverence non-existent gods which are nothing more than figments of the ego. some 'god's then were actually people themselves. Some sects had sex with children, and if one account is to be believed, they would kill them afterward as sacrifices to their gods which may have been what was going on in Sodom. In some ways, we mimic that today, the criminals. One thing seems certain though, pedophilia I cannot see God seeing in a favorable light for whatever reason. Again, if I take the Words of the man that was named Jesus but who is Emmanuel, "God with us", he said nothing about homosexuality as much as people want to twist and turn words around. He also said there's no marriage in heaven, these marriage debates today are nothing more than legalistic political issues, where people are not treated fairly. If it wasn't for 'straight' sex, homosexuality would not exist, or would it? He said Love love love. that was the message. There's way more to all this than we can conceive. In Heaven, time is irrelevant because nothing is relevant to anything else. everything is upside inside and and backwards inward outward, so words that are spoken of it take away the fullness of the meaning since it then works by subtraction to describe that which cannot be spoken. No words are necessary as we are in and of the knowledge of God so all is already understood.

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