Sunday, August 5, 2012
Are Near Death Experiences similar to experiences of advanced stages of Meditation?
Near Death Experiences, as we know, happen suddenly and have occurred to people of different faiths, even to those who do not believe in Him…they, are, therefore, “equal opportunity’ experiences. They can occur in people of any age. “The near death experience is said to occur when a person is close to death or actually clinically dead, but has been resuscitated or somehow survives to recount an intense, profoundly meaningful experience “ (Cherie Sutherland ‘”Within the Light” ) Most of the time an NDE is characterized by a feeling of peace, getting out of one’s body and being able to actually see whatever is happening “down below’ to the physical body (and also to be able to recount it in vivid detail later) .Often a sensation of travelling very quickly through a dark tunnel, generally towards a light, an encounter with the spirits of deceased relatives or friends or a ‘being of light”, an instantaneous life review and for some, entrance into a ‘world of light”. Some Near Death Experiencers (NDErs) have reported feeling that they are being guided, many realize that whatever one is, is a result of one’s thoughts. Most people who have experienced an NDE lose the fear of death (advanced meditators feel the same way).An NDE is a deeply spiritual experience…as is meditation. They feel that the only way one can find the path of understanding is by looking within themselves and going deeper and deeper. Many have developed the ability to communicate with people telepathically (a lot of advanced meditators do too). Similarly the out of body experiences are very similar to those experienced by those who have progressed in meditation and, therefore, spiritually. A tremendous feeling of compassion and a sense of unconditional love for all develops in almost all who have experienced an NDE ….does it not sound familiar? Everyone who meditates too feels the same….as they develop atmabhav”, love unconditionally and feel for everyone. Some feel that they must give love to everyone, even to those who bother them! Seeing a beautiful light is a very common experience….. “for nine days I was enveloped in a cocoon of golden light. Unconditional love poured from my heart; I was in a state of grace. Compassion, innate harmony and healing energy were my being ” (“Within the Light”). A feeling of being spoken to … something like a thought transference is also fairly common.. Most of them understand that “whatever happens is for your good”, and that whenever something bad happens to them it is only temporary and that they would grow from it. Just like those who have “awakened” through meditation, they understand that everybody has an obligation to contribute what they can to life and to mankind. Those who have advanced spiritually by meditation, have also reported seeing brilliant, scintillating divine light, which communicates with them through thought (“as is the human mind, so is the cosmic mind”) Most NDErs understand that the reason they did not actually die was because their work on this earth was not over and needed to be completed by coming back and that death was not the end, actually “there isn’t any death…it’s a just a different state of consciousness”. Some have described the realization they had after an NDE that we come here to accomplish certain things and that each of us have a destiny and that our higher self works out what we have to do and what is best for us before we come here. Sanatana Dharma has always believed that we keep coming back because of our karmas and desires, something which all advanced meditators have also realized. Loss of ego, compassion, kindness, a caring attitude for all is a very common result as also a feeling, a clear understanding that we are all interconnected…every plant, every tree has a consciousness of its own….and that we are connected to them. The concept of time disappears. A lot of those who have experienced an NDE feel that it is not a Near Death Experience but an actual death. NDErs have described an accurate description of specific, unique, events happening around the NDEr’s unconscious physical body that the person could not have seen or heard. This is called a “veridical perception”. NDEs has been reported in blind people and in someone who underwent brain surgery, with eyes taped, blood drained from the brain and cooled during repair of a blood vessel, and a small speaker producing a clicking sound! Almost all NDErs have reported having found improvement in themselves after the episode, some going to the extent of becoming totally spiritual There have been so many cases of complete cure of their medical problem following and NDE. One very important case in point is that of Anita Moorjani( Source: the internet) who was suffering from terminal Stage 1V B Lymphoma who had been told by doctors that she did not have more than 36 hours to live! They are the ones who understood the mechanics of Energy Healing, one of the best ways of transferring cosmic energy to a patient is done meditatively. There are numerous reports of patients being healed completely through meditative energy transfer. Am quoting some of her experiences …”I was shown how illnesses start on an energetic level before they become physical. If I chose to go into life, the cancer would be gone from my energy, and my physical body would catch up very quickly. I then understood that when people have medical treatments for illnesses, it rids the illness from the body but not from their energy so the illness returns. I realized that if I went back, it would be with a very healthy energy. Then the physical body would catch up to the energetic conditions very quickly and permanently. I was given the understanding that this applies to anything, not only illnesses…physical conditions, psychological conditions, etc. I was ‘shown” that everything going on in our lives was dependant on this energy around us, created by us. Nothing was solid…we created our surroundings, our conditions, etc depending where this energy was at. The clarity I received around how we get what we do was phenomenal! It's all about where we are energetically. “ She also realized that whatever happened to you was based on the choices you made in life…like she was shown that if she went back to life she would be completely cured but if she didn’t she would obviously be dead( she could actually “see” both versions of the doctor’s written reports)! As we now know, she did come back and made a dramatic recovery with a full and permanent cure, in addition, she experienced a complete “healing” We must not go with the idea that all Near Death Experiences are positive….they can be negative also. Very advanced meditators, can, if they chose, experience negative ones as well. I must add that NDEs often do have a cultural basis also, for example, Indian NDErs experiences may be a little different from those in the West due to cultural and religious beliefs. Meditation as we are aware leads to feelings of happiness, well being both physically as well as mentally, improvement in health, peace of mind , a quiet mind, profound increase of knowledge with a very clear understanding of why what is happening, every day events and situations start making sense, more and more knowledge is received, nothing else matters except to merge with Brahma, beautiful music can be perceived (depending upon what level of evolution one has reached)along with so many other things , visions, experiences of Divine Light, and the meaning of life becomes clear with one experiencing “happiness without any reason” (the Dalai Lama)and a feeling of bliss which may progress on and on…..and on…. Most of the time the benefits of meditation happen over a period of time, slowly but surely one keeps progressing, enjoying every moment of the journey. Here one savours every moment and can contemplate on every experience…any doubt can be removed by one’s guru. The final result, for one who has evolved, is always an intense desire to be with Him at all times and to help others on to the path. One feels for others…soul beauty takes precedence over physical beauty…the intention is always to benefit mankind in any way possible. In addition, meditation leads to feelings of profound peace, very often out of body experiences, development of “powers’ called ridhis and sidhis, clairvoyance, clairaudience, feeling of “knowing” everything, sometimes connection with deceased relatives and friends, contact with other spirits along with interaction with them, feeling the presence of enlightened beings around them, realization of being “guided” by evolved spirits or angels, visions of previous births, sense of interconnectedness and above all a profound feeling of intense LOVE for all beings. Almost all these experiences can be very well explained if we understand how meditation progresses through the ascension of the chakras as well as involvement of the various “koshas” as described in yoga. With gradual transgression of the muladhar chakra, one develops grounding, balance and stability, going beyond the Svadisthan chakra, means transgression of the negative traits like kaam, (Lust) krodha ,(anger) lobha,(greed) moha, (delusion) mada (pride) and matsya (envy). As one progresses beyond the Manipur chakra, one develops a better vision, both outer and inner, a better understanding of things. Going beyond the anahat chakra, feelings of love, peace , harmony, empathy, kindness, compassion, unity, forgiveness etc start ruling us. This love is of the unconditional type. When one has gone beyond the vishudhi chakra, a tremendous increase in one’s thought process, better realization of the truth and appreciation of the ‘Aum ‘ sound( “shabd’) is better appreciated, which is well heard at the anahat chakra(this why the chakra is so named). The nature of the primordial sound gradually changes gradually as one progresses beyond the various chakras. Involvement of the Agya chakra means the opening of the “third eye” associated with” Sat, Chit, Anand “ where Sat is Truth, Chit is consciousness and Anand is bliss, along with their realization. This translates into a better appreciation of the primordial sound (music) as well as visions of the divine light. All of the abovementioned occur in an NDE as well. By the time one reaches this stage, one has transgressed the Manomaya as well as the Vijnanmaya koshas ie the Mental and the Intelligence sheaths which are associated with a tranquil mind, peace, and revelation of tremendous knowledge, wisdom and Divine splendour. Finally, opening of the sahasrar chakra, reveals the full splendour of Divinity, knowing everything there is to know setting the stage for merging with the Creator. Similarly as one transgresses the ‘Annamaya Kosha’ or the food sheath through meditation, one gets a feeling of well being along with an improvement in physical health. Consciousness pervades every cell in the human body and the communication between the self and every cell improves tremendously. Dr Candis Pert in her famous book “Molecules of Emotion’ has shown how information can affect matter by demonstrating the presence of Neuro peptides of emotion interacting with the neuroreceptors present on the cell surface…if both are compatible, the information enters the cell and brings about the desired reaction inside the cell. This communication is enhanced by meditation bringing about an improvement in the functioning of the body (“as is the atom, so is the human body”) The transgression of the pranamaya kosha affects our breath which becomes more even resulting in a lot of benefits. This makes our mind quiet and tranquil as a result of which the Manomaya kosha is affected along with the most beautiful experiences associated with revelation of knowledge. This is followed by the involvement of the Jnanmaya kosha or the Sheath of Knowledge resulting in the acquisition of different levels of chetna or awareness. The veils of Ignorance slowly lift, followed by the light of knowledge shining brighter and brighter. At this point thoughts are concentrated on Brahma alone.(Bimal Mohanty “The Spiritual Approach to Life”) One finally reaches the level of the Anandmaya kosha or the bliss sheath…where there is nothing but bliss! One touches Divinity manifested as brilliant, golden…silvery…scintillating…cooling…light (prakash), a feeling of happiness never before experienced…a total understanding of everything…the truth is revealed in all its brilliance! As is apparent, all these are part and parcel of an NDE. Meditation can lead to merger with the Divine in Samadhi… “the drop becomes the ocean”, time loses its significance and stands still, all involuntary functions stop…one actually experiences nearness to physical death or death for practical purposes….Jesus Christ said “I die every day..” a lesson for all of us! It is, therefore clear that meditative experiences are same as those of an NDE…but one need not wait for an NDE to occur….one should meditate and merge with the Divine with His grace and become part of the ONE!