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How Much Do We Really Know About Life After Death?

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Be honest. We all know we’re going there, but what do we really know about life after death? Like, is there one or what?

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

By David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

About Life After Death…

How did you feel when the question first crossed your mind?

When did you realize that living doesn’t just go on forever?

Like most of those I grew up with, I became an adult as a casual Christian, not following any religion closely or knowing much about it. Then, it went away altogether. I went to church for weddings and funerals, and when it came to life after death, I didn’t waste a lot of thought because it was impossible to know.

silhouette photo of a person standing on rock
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Questions about life after death shouldn’t change my way of going about my business. If I needed fear or hopes for heaven to inspire doing the right thing, I was weak.

The heaven I heard about wasn’t especially appealing, something like an eternity with nothing to do. And honestly, it seemed more like a balm for lessening fears of death.

But while I wasn’t concerned about dying, I hated the idea of not being alive. Not being here as the days go by with new adventures, new people, new places, not seeing how the world changes — that felt awful.

Still, we couldn’t do anything about it, anyway, could we? Beliefs and brilliant ideas can’t change facts.

Meeting Up With Ghosts

Coincidence can bump anyone off course.

My coincidence was meeting an intensive care nurse and hearing her stories.

She stood next to death many times, inspiring her to the first great pioneer on death and dying, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist, studied the death experience. Early in her research, she met an acquaintance in an elevator.

The friend encouraged to continue her studies because of their enormous value in easing the grief amplified by death. Simple enough — except that the woman who approached Kubler-Ross was a former patient, and she died some several before.

A patient returned after death and assured her of more to come.

Kubler-Ross’ bestselling book, On Death and Dying, became a textbook for caregivers, explaining what the dying experience. Later, she wrote about what comes next.

New vistas opened. We began seeing a universe apart from our everyday lives. And they, in turn, exposed us to new meanings and explanations about being human human.

Learning About Life After Death in Dr. Raymond Moody’s Pioneering Work

In 1975, Dr. Raymond Moody published his breakthrough book, Life After Life. It recounts his patients and what they experienced near the end of life.

Collected from patients, sometimes clinically died and later revived, and others transitioning into death, the stories shocked in their detail. And they rarely took an expected religious tone, even in patients who were religious,

Most startling, their stories suggest a life after death seen at a distance.

Dr. Moody called these “near death experiences,” NDEs, journeys into a universe between life and death from which both states are observed.

Fascinating as they were, the NDE experience could neither be scientifically verified or repeated. Still, the details were irresistible. Escort came out, for example, and greeted many patients on the border at the end of physical life.

Often, the escorts were familiar, friends and relatives who died before, even individuals the subject was not aware had died until discovering it during the NDE. Other times, the escorts were religious figures or helpful strangers.

Most exciting were common tunnel experience where the dying entered a passageway to another world where they’d resume their next (or after) life. Tantalizing glimpses of something profoundly strange and unknowable.

Or, so we thought.

But Dr. Moody’s research hit a wall. His NDE patients never got far past that tunnel, and many never got there at all.

Dr. Michael Newton’s Journey Of Souls

While talk about NDEs, their validity and what we might learn expanded public awareness, a void opened from the absence of conclusions.

Then, Dr. Michael Newton, a counseling psychologist, stumbled onto “life between life,” LBLs, and necessary insights emerged.

You can read more details about how this occurred in Newton’s Journey of Souls, Case Studies of Life Between Lives. But briefly, while using past life regression therapy to help a patient uncover the source of feelings of extreme loneliness, he witnessed his patient’s entry into an apparent foundation for all life. It was not a past life, as we knew them, nor life itself, but an eternal universe between them.

The door Dr. Moody cracked burst open.

An avalanche of information about what happens after death and between lives has accumulated since 1994 when Dr. Newton published his discoveries in Journey of Souls.

Dr. Newton, joined by psychotherapists around the world, recorded thousands of histories of recalled LBLs that startle with their consistency. They tell us about who and what we are, why we are here, and what we can expect.

We learned that the core of us, our essential lives, is eternal and that we go through many incarnations, working toward a sort of universal harmony. In all of their studies, the ultimate goal is never totally clear.

We have many miles of discovery ahead of us.

A Final Word About Life After Death… For Now

Dr. Newton speculates that all the information isn’t available at this point in human evolution, and it may be withheld. Nonetheless, we assume goals for the lives we emerge into and we review our progress over many lifetimes.

Voluminous details gathered from so many histories makes denying that essential truths are revealed absurd.

We’ve gained insight into the mysteries of intuition, coincidence and beliefs that that we are helped by ineffable guidance, inexplicable insights and nudges to action.

Sone will never accept life after death, no matter what the evidence, and others who will want more before being convinced.

But, as with the theory of evolution, enough of the case is known to call the essence closed.

There is a life after (or between) lives. It leaves it to us, now, to discover more about this newest of territories.

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