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Spiritual Transformation During NDE's

How do other people describe their near-death experiences, and how do those descriptions compare with the blissful awakenings which occur in meditation, other spiritual practices, and sometimes spontaneously?
Here’s a chart that compares the two. It was developed by P.M.H. Atwater through decades of study which began in Boise, Idaho, in 1966, when she founded a metaphysical research and education organization, Inner Forum.
P.M.H. developed these descriptors out of her interviews with other people about their experiences and her own cosmic illuminations in churches and during her meditations, prayer states, visions, and three NDEs.

This chart is excerpted, with Atwater’s permission, from her book Beyond the Light, pgs. 152-156.

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Spiritual Transformation During NDE's

  1. 1. 1. Onset Spiritual Transformations Floating or being flipped out of one’s body. Many times a presence of warmth or heat. There can be odors, like perfume or a flat ozone-tinge-of- ammonia smell; and sounds, like popping or snapping or crackling. All faculties are present but heightened. A feeling of being suspended follows, which can be disorienting or confusing at first. The Near-Death Phenomenon Floating or being propelled out of one’s body. Warmth, smells, sounds, sights can be experienced as all faculties are present and heightened. A disorienting sense of suspension is generally followed by a short-lived desire to contact those who are still embodied and/or to explore familiar earthly environments.
  2. 2. 2. Acceleration Spiritual Transformations Motion is physically felt as vibrations increase. This movement is generally of two types: ascending force (more commonly described by the duo- traditions of Kundalini/Ku, where energy resident within the body rises up the spine, then bursts out through the top of the head; descending force (held traditional as the Christos effect), where energy outside a person’s body enters into the head or heart area, then passes down through the body. With either directional current of force, the individual can sway, jerk, spin, swing or whirl around, or rock back and forth. Colored lights may flash. The Near-Death Phenomenon Motion is physically felt as vibrations increase. Usually one enters a tunnel or dark space, which is sometimes spinning or spiralling. There is a sense of speed, of rushing along. Snapping or popping sounds are present in some cases, but the sound of a wind whizzing or whooshing by is the more common. Directional currents of force can be down (descending) or up (ascending), yet in a strange way both directions often seem to occur simultaneously. Lights can flash, voices can be heard, shadowy beings can be glimpsed, or passage can be silent. (Passage can be instantaneous if there’s no tunnel.)
  3. 3. 3. Breakthrough Spiritual Transformations Popping sounds are often heard, even the reverberations of an implosion, or a wind rushing by, or singing, or music of some kind. An overwhelmingly powerful light, usually yellow/gold/white, draws one to it (sometimes through a passageway or vortex). Positive sensations include: total freedom, the ability to fly, ecstasy, euphoria, loss of body weight, floating, screaming for joy, dancing, laughter spasms, a feeling of being engulfed by love, warm, peace, happiness. Negative sensations include: pain, nausea, fainting, headache or coma, temporary blindness or deafness, sobbing, temporary paralysis, sweating, high fever, the inability to eat or drink or remember. The Near-Death Phenomenon One is drawn to a powerful and brilliant light, usually yellow/gold/white. Sound effects increase once the light is reached. In positive cases, a music not heard on earth is present along with great warmth and a feeling of ecstasy, euphoria, and total joy. Unconditional love floods one’s being and all knowledge is suddenly possessed. Everything is bright, even translucent, with shimmering luminous colors and pleasant smells. There is a feeling of freedom and happiness. In negative cases, sounds are often either dull, deafening or absent. Chilly, cold, or cool temperatures are reported the most, along with a pale, dull, or gray cast to the light. There is a sense of anxiety or confusion or foreboding. Pain and fear can be felt, or a need to scream, or a strange paralysis where all one can do is observe and listen.
  4. 4. 4. Result Spiritual Transformations Actual illumination is as symbolic in content as it is literal in message. It can be accompanied by geometric, color, and light abstractions and luminosity, as well as by great swells of music. Angels may be present and/or light-beings, loved ones, religious figure, and animals. Scenarios range from gorgeous landscapes and instructional gatherings to revelations of creation’s story and how life is to be lived. The Near-Death Phenomenon Actual illumination is as symbolic in content as it is literal in message. Revelations of a heaven or a hell are made known and life is explained. In many cases all of creation is viewed. There are usually people present, sometimes even animals. Depending on whether positive or negative, beings can be angelic, of The Light, deceased family members, religious figures, or they can be demonic, gruesome or twisted, zombies, or those who ae nude and lifeless. Scenarios also vary: Breathtaking beauty and involved instructional sessions are common with heavenly versions; threatening whirlpools, storms, or denuded landscapes are the most reported with hell-like cases.
  5. 5. 5. Aftermath Spiritual Transformations The degree of aftereffects depends on the impact of the breakthrough. Most common changes are: simple/direct mannerisms that appear child-like; a glow to the skin and a twinkle to the eyes, a charm that attracts; a sense of confidence and control; detached yet loving behavior; the presence of “knowing,” and/or gnosis; increased psychic abilities (sometimes called Gifts of the Spirit); loss of relevance for time or space; heightened and expanded senses, lessening of needs and wants, increase in a joyful attitude; service to others; increased morality and energy. (For more detail about this, refer to Bucke’s material on Cosmic Consciousness.) There is usually much doubt about what happened and a reluctance to discuss it. Long bouts of depression often follow before understanding and acceptance come. People who go through this process (called “initiation” in spiritual or esoteric traditions) are usually labeled insane by culturally advanced societies, and revered in underdeveloped ones. The Near-Death Phenomenon The degree of aftereffects depends on the impact of breakthrough. Most common changes are: a sense of unconditional love for all people; a childlike naivete and openly curious spontaneity; a sense of timelessness and the loss of any identification with “place”; a disregard for former rules and limitations; the emergence of psychic abilities including the gift of healing and joy-giving; a noticeable reduction in fears and worries; the ability to “see through” problems; a lessening of needs or wants; a certain detachment from the physical body while becoming more energized and enthusiastic about the ways to serve and help others—including the community; a charmed way of communicating, more inspired, happier, more moral and responsible. Although near-death survivors are accepted and tolerated in today’s society, more so than even just five years ago, they are still subject to involuntary commitment to mental hospitals by the medical establishment (as sufferers of “psychosis”), and they can still go through long bouts of depression and confusion as they deal with readjustment complexities and the possible specter of insanity.