The research on Near Death Experiences (NDEs) over the recent decades has brought in significant awareness regarding the afterlife. That leads us to ask a probing question regarding the preparedness to meet the afterlife. It is an exploration that can enrich our lives.

A lot about the afterlife has been talked about in human history. However, they have been mostly from religious scriptures and speculation. As a result, the messages vary from one belief system to another, each system swearing that theirs is the right one. The lack of agreement between them tells us that they are more in the form of “One believes what one wants to believe” than one of open-minded exploration. Simple common sense would alert us to the fact that the afterlife cannot be sectarian in its content, that there would surely be universality about it. The sectarian attitudes are primarily man-made and so they vary from one group to another. As a result, they cannot contain something that has the characteristics of being universal.

The messages from NDEs are a result of returning from a short exposure to the afterlife and so they are from a firsthand experience of what lies on the other side rather than from interpretations of scriptures. It is also noticed that a universal vein of pointers runs through all the NDE messages. Thus, one would attribute greater credibility to them rather than to the interpretations of religious texts that lack the universal content. The messages from NDE help us assess the relationship between the way we live and the nature of our afterlife.

Explorations on the preparedness to meet the afterlife can significantly help us bring about a spiritual order in our life, here and now. That will surely have its favorable impact on our practical life too. In this article, we look into some aspects of NDEs that throw useful light on the link between the way we live and what meets us on the other side.

The Primary Message
One of the most significant pointers from NDEs is the fact that what we carry with us from ‘here’ to ‘there’ is the way we have treated others – the harsh or kind treatments. Our social success and failure have no value there at all. During the Life Review of NDEs, the entity is actually made to go through what his recipients experienced at his hand during the just finished lifetime. On those occasions, the Light also tells the discarnate entity about possible alternative behavior so that the person at the receiving end is not made to feel sad. Those pointers help us understand how important it is to be unconditionally kind and gentle to our brethren, be they human beings or otherwise. No doubt, religions also teach similar attitudes but such verbal instructions cannot have the same impact as the messages from a firsthand experience such as an NDE. Besides, the religious preaching is sectarian in character, so they cannot be as appealing to one’s intuition as the messages that recognize universality of human life on this planet.

Negative NDEs
It has been observed that about 3 to 4 % of the cases studied indicated very unpleasant NDEs. These have been mostly of the people who had lived a violent, riotous life or who had strong guilt feelings about themselves. More research is needed to establish those correlations firmly. However, the fact that a majority of people have had very pleasant NDEs indicates that just paying some attention to our life (in terms of treating others) can make the afterlife a pleasant journey of higher spiritual dimension.

What can help us move into abundant feelings for all is the recognition that all are moving towards Divinity through evolution across many lives. Then, there would be the unconditional sympathy that permeates our psychology in our relationship with one and all. This is what is typically absent in the humanity of today, leading to division amongst people and the consequent arguments, quarrels and war. The awareness of all of us being on a long journey, across many incarnate and discarnate periods, gives us a truly cosmopolitan outlook. Further, there would be spaciousness in time so that one can sit back, relax and organize one’s life to be in tune with the journey. This freedom from claustrophobia in time has tremendous impact on our psychology leading to a peaceful life here and now. It would be characterized by self-care and empathy.

he Impact of Self-awareness
Self-awareness can be said to be the most fundamental virtue because in its wake other virtues fall in place effortlessly, as byproducts. Such awareness brings about a natural austerity in our lives. The austerity that comes by merely following instructions cannot have the same depth and constancy. When this awareness moves into the region of the afterlife through the NDE messages and self-reflections, life acquires sacredness. That is, the life here and now is transformed into one of wholesome and holistic content. One can expect that it will have favorable significance in the afterlife too.

The Flood
The NDE messages tell us that, on the other side, we are flooded with unconditional love, the likes of which we can never experience on earth. In order to be able to receive that humongous blessing, we should have a level of consciousness that is evolved enough to be in resonance with it. That capacity cannot come through giving oneself over to belief systems because such a situation can only support self-centered activity in the name of spiritual involvement. The evolution of consciousness is directly related to self awareness.

Imagine a river flowing full. A person going to it with a water-truck can return perhaps with 8000 liters of water; one with a bucket can only have about 20 liters and the one with a cup will return with just one-fifth of a liter. So, what we receive on the other side depends on the level of our evolution based on self-awareness and the associated maturity.

In his book “Stillness Speaks”, Eckhart Tolle says the following:

“When death is denied, life loses its depth. The possibility of knowing who we are beyond name and form, the dimension of the transcendent disappears from our lives because death is the opening into that dimension.”

The significance of life cannot be appreciated if we do not reflect on whence we came, who we are and whither we are going. Hypnotic regression has thrown a great deal of light on all three of those aspects. The NDEs tell us a lot about the afterlife. Related reflections would obviously focus on the long journey (experiencing the myriad things that this planet can give) because, with deepening self-awareness, something can be done during our lifetime to make that journey fruitful.

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Author's Bio: 

Gopalakrishnan T. Chandrasekaran was born in Madras (now Chennai), India. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978; served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait.

Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled “In Quest of the Deeper Self” is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.

Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. He lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in the southern part of India, with his wife Banumathy. Blog: