Once in a while, God sends things our way that change us forever.
The book The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot was one of those special divine gifts sent my way. It greatly expanded my understanding of God, life, and death. One of the concepts the author touched upon, was near death experiences or NDEs. NDEs are accounts of people who either “flatlined” at the hospital and were revived, or were at the brink of death, and had vivid, otherworldly, out of body experiences which they were able to share once conscious. Most people report initially finding themselves inside a vibrating tunnel with a vibrant light at the end, sometimes also being aware of angelic presences around them. Curious, I searched youtube to see if I could find authentic accounts of near death experiences, and what commonalities they held.
What I discovered, changed me forever!
I distinctly remember watching an ordinary woman’s personal NDE, who retold her experience of being in the presence of God. Through her testimony, I was met with two surprises that revolutionized how I approached God and earthly life:
- The woman described feeling completely loved and accepted by God.
- The woman had the sense that everything on Earth was happening exactly the way it should be, and that everything was perfectly unravelling
So what’s so revolutionary about her experience, when God has revealed over and over that He is the Most Compassionate and Most Merciful, and that nothing in the heavens nor the earth happens without His knowledge/permission? The answer is that at that time, before being exposed to NDEs, I was under the impression that:
- Muslims had pretty much exclusive rights to God and heaven
- Human affairs are in shambles, and that is very upsetting to God
The undeniable fact of God’s limitless mercy had previously been overshadowed by my latent arrogance, which was greatly disturbing. There is no going around the terrible truth that most contemporary prominent religious teachers/guides from the major world religions, teach their communities to worship a sectarian God Who favors their particular faith community over all others. Even though everyone testifies to God’s infinite mercy and compassion, few are spiritually enlightened enough to realize and express what Dr. PMH Atwater (who exprienced 3 NDEs in her lifetime) stated, “God is not a member of any church or religion. It is the churches and the religions that are members within the vastness and the glory that is God.”
“Life reviews” are another awe-inspiring aspect of many near death experiences. The life review is usually initiated by an angel, who communicates telepathically to the individual, hence removing any chance of misunderstanding. People who had detailed near death experiences describe life reviews as instantaneous, and yet filled with minute details from all moments of your life.
One man who went through an NDE described the life review moments from when he was eight years old. He was mowing the grass, and from the life review perspective, could count all the mosquitos and use his senses to gain much more knowledge about his past experiences than he had did at that time. He described how he not only saw everything from his past in vivid detail, but also felt all his emotions and sensed all his thoughts at that time. The life review gets even more amazing, as he was able to feel what others around him felt as a result of his actions throughout his life. He was able to pick up each thought and emotion from everyone he ever touched, whether he had realized at that moment in his life or not. Other people also mentioned that they were shown the ripple effects of their actions to a certain degree. These accounts reminded me of the Quranic verse:
And the book is placed, and thou seest the guilty fearful of that which is therein and they say: What kind of a book is this that leaveth not a small thing nor a great thing but hath counted it! And they find all that they did confronting them, and Lord wrongeth no one.” Quran 18: 49
The life review aspect gets weirder and weirder, as people explain that not only do you feel what other people felt from your words and actions, but also the responses of plants and animals. One man talked about how as a child he had once looked admiringly at a plant, and in his life review, he felt the love and appreciation radiating from the plant towards him! He never realized until then that plants can read our emotions, intentions, and thoughts.
Reading and watching multiple NDE accounts, I realized something very important: our purpose in life is to be the most loving, caring, and forgiving person we can be, because after death, we will experience our deeds, not from our own perspective, but from the perspective of those whom we affected. Even the smallest acts of kindness and cruelty can make a deep impact on life around us.
People who have had even deeper near death experiences, where they toured heavenly realms, also expressed their surprise at seeing individuals from various faith groups residing in heaven. They discovered that God does not care so much what religion we are, or even if we are part of a religion, but whether we use our religious/spiritual understanding to become a better, more compassionate, and whole person. Many mentioned that although religion is not a prerequisite for entering heaven, it was certainly beneficial, if the person practiced their religion to the best of their ability, since religious practices are there to help us grow spiritually.
Reading the NDE accounts significantly changed how I view God and the afterlife. They actually brought me closer to God and my faith, in a way that made me much more open towards others with differing beliefs. If there’s one thing NDEs have taught me, it is that God does not hold grudges, God does not have “beef” with anyone, and God is not angry. In fact, God is the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate.
Perhaps the greatest service NDE accounts did for me, was to demystify death. I was quite terrified of dying before, because I didn’t know what would happen to my essence once my body shut down. Would God be angry with me because I committed so many sins? But the NDEs are a sign of great hope. How merciful is our Lord, that He sends some people back from the brink of death with His messages. Through the people who experience NDEs, God tells us that we should not have any fear, that He is indeed a loving God, and that we should all do our best to grow closer to Him by being good to each other in this life.