A guest post by LaDonna Remy
Belief in the After Life is closely linked to one’s predominate belief system. It is either supported or dismissed under religious, philosophical, and/or cultural beliefs. It is a guiding source of comfort or pain when loss occurs and can assist or even prolong the grief process.
Of interest while this belief is a corner stone of most predominate world religions, and research exist in regard to near death experience, the idea that connection exist between the physical and spiritual world remains a place of intellectual dismissal. Prayer, ritual, and ceremony honoring the departed occur across the continent and still reports of connection with the spiritual realm in an individual’s life are discounted or reasoned away by complex trauma, grief, or one’s emotional stability.
The linkage to validating life after physical death, and possibly connection, might be found in the vast body of knowledge that exist in the area of Near Death Experience (NDE). Many books and scholarly articles are written chronicling personal near death experiences as are those researching this subject matter. Books such as, Psychology and the Near Death Experience, by Roy C Hill Psy .D and To Heaven and Back, by Mary C Neild M.D. provide personal and others accounts of connection to consciousness (see resources at the end of this article).
Some of the most compelling research-based information around NDE and life after death is provided by Dr. Jeff Long. Dr. Long, a Louisiana based oncologist who authored the New York Times Best Seller Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near Death Experiences and God and the Afterlife: The Groundbreaking New Evidence for God and Near Death Experience, has provided a considerable body of evidence supporting the existence of life after death. Doctor Long’s nonprofit organization’s NDERF: Near-Death Experience Research Foundation, which he provides with partner Jody Long an attorney, researcher, author, and supporting author for “Evidence of the Afterlife, is dedicated to providing research, information, resources- including links to further research studies and authors, opportunity to share personal accounts, and personal accounts from all over the world.
Due to his scientific background, clinical training, and dedication to research, Dr. Long is recognized as one of the most credible sources of information in Near Death Experience (NDE) research. He has been interviewed by many media outlets (including Peter Jennings of ABC, NBC Today, The Dr. OZ Show, the History Channel, and National Geographic) and provides compelling information and evidence in this area. Among the most notable findings in Dr. Long’s work is the existence of common experience across cultures and religious beliefs of those who report experiencing connection with the spiritual realm during a near death experience. He reports these to be, a separating of consciousness from the physical body, observing the lifeless physical body and resuscitation efforts if these occurred, experiencing being surrounded by a profound sense of love and connection, connecting with loved ones who have previously passed from the physical world, engagement in a life review, and making a decision to return to physical form.
To address the skeptical mindset that dismisses NDE, and the belief that explanation is rooted in the chemical shutting down of the brain and/or hope in the afterlife, Dr. Long notes there is no tangible medically grounded explanation for memory of NDE. He indicates this is due to the fact that once the human heart stops beating blood flow to the brain stops. He notes at that point, “measurable brain activity ceases and it is impossible to have memory”. These are medically and scientifically supported physical occurrences which support his overall findings. A pattern that is consistent within each experience utilized in his substantial research.
Lastly, Dr. Long (among other author’s and researcher’s) reported that an enduring impact of the NDE is a lasting sense of peace. This, he states, is due to the fact that one knows and believes in the existence of life after death, and actively engages in the living of a more purposeful and loving life throughout one’s remaining years.
In the mission statement on his and partner (Jody Long’s) website NDERF (as noted above and in the resources section of this post) his purpose is clear. “If enough people read about love, peace, and hope, maybe they can change to become more loving, compassionate people who truly live their lives without fear. We can then change the world to become a better place like heaven on earth-as above, so below”.
As a clinician, who supports many as they journey the grief process, I recognize that belief in a higher power and the ongoing connection to our loved ones are healing resources. I don’t offer this information in pretense, but as hope in grief and in living an intentionally connected and conscious life. It is hope that sustains us and in today’s world hope, love, and compassion (as Dr. Long suggests are possible) are needed life lines.
In closing, I offer the beautiful writing by Henry Scott-Holland.
Death Is Nothing At All, by Henry Scott-Holland
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
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National Hotlines: Treatment Referral Helpline: (1-877-726-4727)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-825
Psychology and the Near-Death Experience: Searching for God. Hill, Roy C. Psy.D
Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near Death Experiences. Long, Jeff M.D,
God and the Afterlife: The Groundbreaking New Evidence for God and Near Death Experience. Long, Jeff M.D,
God’s Fingerprints: Impressions of Near Death Experiences. Long, Jody.
From Soul to Soulmate: Bridges from Near-Death Experience Wisdom. Long, Jody.
To Heaven and Back. Neild, Mary C. M.D.
90 Minutes in Heaven. Piper, Don.
The Near Death Experience Research Foundation Face Book Page. https://www.facebook.com/NDERF
The Near Death Experiences Research Foundation Research Studies https://www.nderf.org/NDERF/Research/Research_Overview_Right.htm
The Near Death Experiences Research Foundation Podcasts https://neardeathexperiencepodcast.org/