Sunday, January 29, 2023

Thomas Berry: Views of death

Thomas Berry

“The challenges of life demand our full attention and concern, so I don’t normally entertain questions about death, or life after death. My basic orientation is that death is an intrinsic dimension of life. I am certain the universe will take care of us in death just as it has in life,” Thomas said. “But all of us end up reflecting on this question sometime or other and perhaps now is that time for you. I’ll give you my theory of death, and then you can tell me yours. No, let’s start with Teilhard de Chardin’s theory, which I believe is unique in the tradition of reflections on death and the afterlife primarily because he is thinking in the context of a developing universe. The vast majority of human reflection on death, including that of Thomas Aquinas and Dante, takes place in the context of a fixed cosmos.


“Teilhard’s thinking is that a complete annihilation at death cannot be the case because in order for humans to embrace the evolutionary challenges, they must have the sense that there is a way forward, that the future is open. If humans came to regard death as their end, they could still find value in caring for their families and others in need, certainly, but it would be nothing like what they would experience were they convinced their actions had eternal significance. In his later years, Teilhard’s deep concern became the activation of energy. He saw nihilism not as a moral mistake but as a cosmological dead end. His primary objection to the notion that the universe is meaningless is that such a conviction enervates humanity.


“There you have it. Teilhard’s faith in the universe’s development leads to his sense of immortality. Teilhard felt humanity as a whole will one day achieve a deep conviction of immortality and this will be on the order of a major evolutionary achievement, along the lines of aerobic respiration or photosynthesis. It will lead to a massive influx of energy into the human adventure.


As for myself,” Berry has said, “my thinking is darker, not in the sense of cynicism or depression, but in the sense of an appreciation for that which lies beyond language. I don’t believe that at our stage of development we humans have the cognitive capacities for understanding the deepest dynamics at work in the universe. Perhaps we will someday, but at the present time, the complexity of the universe far outstrips our theories."


Thomas Berry was a cultural historian (1914-2009) and a Catholic priest. His views are presented in a dialogue with cosmologist Brian Thomas Swimme in Swimme's 2022 book, Cosmogenesis (pp. 291-292). Catapult. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, 
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

John Newton, 1725-1807

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

The author of these words, John Newton, was a former slave ship captain. After surviving a fierce storm at sea, Newton became an Anglican priest and abolitionist.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Being thrown from a horse altered her life

I worked on a horse farm as well as having horses at home and being a lifelong rider. I 'took the rough out' of thoroughbred horses who had started at the track, and this particular day was no different: I was taking a young horse out under saddle for a ride. About a mile from the house and yards he threw me headfirst (by injury and marks on the road, I landed almost directly on top of my head) onto the hardpacked travel and clay road. I seemed to become aware of everything very acutely-- the sun, the wind, the grass blowing in the fields-- from where I was; I was far from the barns and house, but somehow I could see what was going on there. I saw everything that had happened that day from getting up at home several miles away, to starting my day at work feeding and mucking, saddling the horse I'd been riding, all as if I were an observer but I could see up close from above, see even myself, heard the conversations I had with others, everything.

I saw, as if watching from my, nowhere; everywhereness, myself riding out away from the house and getting thrown. I saw myself lying in the road and was curious and calm. I saw the horse make the additional 2 miles around the road back to the barn lot and another worker catch him; mind, this was miles from other houses. I saw my friend and employer look the horse over, look out over the fields for me, and get in the truck to head out on the road looking for me. I was not sure how this was possible but it was not distressing. I was glad that the horse went home. I remember watching myself be found and thinking that I must have died, yet I felt no pain. I saw people at my house miles away get a phone call, I saw the ambulance, and I just moved effortlessly from one place to another. I didn't seem to question why I wasn't in my body at all. I apparently started having difficulties in surgery and went somewhere.

I was on the road where I'd been thrown again, but I was walking and the sky was getting dark. A friend of mine who was deceased was walking with me, talking about my life and I knew that we were going together somewhere. The road became unfamiliar to me and the landscape desolate and cold. A lady of unintelligible age that I did not recognize sat at a crossroads; she told me it wasn't my time and that I had things to do before I could go any further. My friend went past this woman and told me that when it was time, she would be waiting for me. This lady I understood to be some kind of gatekeeper or something. She was not impatient but was firm with me. Suddenly I was seeing myself on a bed, my parents, and medical personnel and I could hear what was said.

My body was 'asleep' but my consciousness was alert. I went into my body and could feel pain and seemed to enter a dream state. I came around at some point and eventually told what I had experienced, which was validated. I had terrible difficulties with my memory for months after the accident but the things I had seen stayed clear as a bell even when I couldn't remember what I had heard in conversation a few minutes before. The emotional aspects of my experience while observing have never left me in the 27 years since. I had a lot of trouble with my vision, memory, headaches, and did a lot of physical therapy , and by the grace of God I wasn't paralyzed as initially suspected that I might be.

I have found that I have the same effect on human patients and for some time after becoming a nurse I chose hospice care to provide whatever comfort the dying seem to sense within me. I haven't talked about that with anyone ever because almost everyone I meet notices something they can't name but some are made uncomfortable by it, and for the first several years I felt like a freak. So much so that I spiraled downward in my late teens and attempted suicide. I was again spoken to by the same entity and assured that I had some purpose to fulfill. I'm not crazy, I don't have brain damage, and I'm not psychotic. I have had psychological tests done for my own peace of mind and understanding. As I have gotten older and experienced life more fully I have accepted that something extraordinary happened to me and it cannot be explained by the rigid narratives of organized religion. I have a deeply held spirituality of the interconnectedness of all life.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Korean worker's near-death experience

It happened when I was working at a construction site carrying bricks, as I was financially responsible for my family at a young age.

It was early morning when I was carrying bricks on my back and going up the zigzag stairs made temporarily against the outer wall of the four story building when I fell with the bricks to the bottom. Afterwards, I was lying on a bed covered with a white sheet over my face and I saw my younger sister collapsed and wailing on the ground. Simultaneously, I was going up in the sky and saw the city of Seoul. Over in the distance there was a commercial airplane getting ready to land at the airport and I went in and flew around on top of the heads of the passengers and looked around, even inside the cockpit. Then, I looked at the Christ the Redeemer statute at Rio de Janeiro, the Eiffel Tower, London Bridge, Sydney Opera House, and places around Hong Kong.

Suddenly, I saw in front of me images like a movie, playing everything I had ever done in my life from the time I was too young to remember any of them. When I was shown times when I had stolen a radish from a field because I was hungry, when I swore at someone, when I spat on the ground, and hitting my younger siblings etc. I felt tremendous pain in my heart when those actions were displayed in front of me. I remember vividly trying to avoid watching it but it was to No avail. While watching those scenes, I felt repentance for the bad actions I had taken deeply from my bones. Like being blown by a strong wind, I was inside a pastel colored deep fog which blew me to an extremely clean bright light in the distance. When I arrived, this color like of a baby chick, encompassed me with feelings of extreme peace and I conversed with an existence that I could not see and talked with feelings of thought and felt the answers. I knew there was an existence, a being, that was in the distance but could not see. I had No physical body, I just existed inside extreme peace with great sounding music coming from somewhere.

Suddenly, I remembered my siblings and thought of wanting to see them, and as soon as I thought this I was with my siblings in our hut and while looking at their faces, I felt nothing. As soon as I thought of a place I was instantaneously there, and while listening to the stories inside the bright light, I felt and realized that it was love.

I saw overwhelming lights of fireworks in the darkness outside a window. I wanted to go and see it so I struggled off the bed I was lying on and fell to the floor. My body felt limp like it had No bones and I couldn’t make any sounds to ask for help. I don’t know how long I was on the cold floor but someone laid me back on my back and it was then that I was told that I returned from the morgue.

When I was discharged from the hospital, I was known as the child that died and came back to life, so the hospital deputy director and the nurses all came out and sent me off., translated from Korean

Monday, January 9, 2023

Meets guardian angel in near-death experiance

I was in the middle of giving birth and in complete pain, when the pain just vanished. My body floated upwards. I looked around to see the room and the nurses panicking because I wasn’t breathing.

I seem to be pulled away from watching to see a domed, very large entrance with figures dressed in pure light. They were walking towards me. I really didn’t want to leave because it was peace such as I had never experienced before. I had a two-year-old son and was giving birth to a much-wanted second son. I just knew everything would be ok. I thought about what it would be like not to go back and I knew that everything and everyone would be fine. It was then that I looked to my side to see an angelic presence. The angel told me it wasn’t my time to go yet, I was still needing... I didn't hear the rest as I seemed to fall back into my body at extreme speed. I was greeted with extreme pain and nurses shouting, 'We got her back!' Then I was told to push. It took me fourteen years to talk about this experience because my son was not expected to live.

It was many years later, after going through multiple transformations in my life and health that I met that angelic presence again. He is my guardian angel and my guide who I talk to. I’m now a shamanic healer self-taught with so many beautiful experiences with the angelic realms and many other experiences. Before my near death experience, I was in an extremely unhappy relationship, and it was my guardian angel who came to my aid and gave me the strength to leave it.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Dying woman experiences death & resurrection

I was feeling deep despair caused by an incurable disease that was diagnosed by the doctors. It seemed to me that I had no chance to live a normal and pleasant life, filled with happiness and joy. I was desperate. My despair was so deep that every night I prayed to God to take me. I hoped never to wake up again. At the time, I thought that death was permanent and I didn't believe in life after death.

I used to live in a small studio on the ground floor in Paris. I was living from social aids and wasn't able to work because of my disease. The medical treatment was extremely tiring. Despite brilliant studies at the university and the beginning of a doctorate about a great French writer, I passed my time to wandering through the city, visiting some friends and being unable to find a meaning to existence. So it happened that I walked for hours in the city. I was trying to wear out my last vital energy and hoping every night that God would put an end to my existence. I don't know if I died on that evening, but before going to bed I was in an extreme state of physical and mental fatigue. My pulse seemed to be hanging by a thread. So, in bed I said my usual prayer. “Please God, call me back to you.”as I fell into a deep sleep.

On waking the next morning, I opened my eyes looked at my room. I felt extreme well-being, and very full of light. I realized that I was about one meter above my body. All around myself an unbelievable light was shining; white and very luminous, like a fluid. My body consisted of white, very strong light. Surrounding my light-body, there were magnificent white flowers. They smelled so wonderful, that I couldn't explore their scents completely. It was as if they was bouquets of lilies all around my body and they were also emanating light. I felt light and it was not a dream, my room was as I knew it, perfectly real around myself and behind the curtains morning dawned.

I understood that I wasn't in my body but hanging slightly above it. I felt alive and very light, happy and perfectly at ease. I had no fear, but knew that my physical heart might have stopped and that life was continuing outside of the body. Everything was so soft, so light; and so good and pleasant.

I sensed a presence at my right. This presence wasn't really distinct from me. It was a perfect, loving, sweet and pleasant, nice and sensitive part of myself. It was like an intimate companion knowing me from time immemorial, and yet was also myself. This presence that I thought was Jesus, was whispering something into my ear that I don't remember exactly. I was something like, “You/we have to go back now to the physical body, as I love you and everything is well.” Then I remember thinking, “I'm coming back.” I agreed to come back to my physical body.

My return to the physical body was so gentle and so simple. It was like a river gliding gently down into its bed. I remember that I laid down in my physical body, so tenderly, so gently and pleasantly. I was again back in my physical body when the echo of my sentence, 'I'm coming back' called for a follow-up, something like a goal about existence. Coming back why? I had been so happy and so calm. Then I remember saying, this time with my mouth in my physical body. “To love the world.” Such was my assignment. Then, I looked at my room, everything around me seemed calm and serene. Everything was as I left it the evening before, but there was an atmosphere of indescribable peace and simplicity. I saw that I was well awake and a choice came to me. I could go back to sleep to keep this experience deep down, or I could get out of bed and try to understand it. I decided that everything was ok, that what I came to experience was a gift. I looked at my room, slightly illuminated by the morning sun, and closed my eyes and went to sleep in perfect peace.

I experienced several strange experiences since, but this one remains engraved in my memory. It seems to me that I was resurrected on that morning by the grace of God. I keep in mind this sensation of peace and perfect well-being, that I try to find and/or to recreate as soon as I can by prayer or meditation, or simply by coming back towards my heart. I take very seriously my new 'mission' to love the world. As it seems to me that that's what we are here for - to learn to love.

Even though other experiences happened in my life (of which one was quite amazing), I keep this first experience as a proof of life after death and that we shouldn't worry at all. We are known, loved, supported and guided. We are loved so much, in such a gracious and gentle way, without any setbacks or suffering. If only we knew how much we are loved, and especially with this very subtle and strong quality, like the infinite scent of the flowers, like a gentle and perfect breeze. We are loved in all our details, in our tiniest aspects and everything in us that loves is called to exist for ever. Of this I'm convinced today.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Electrocution leads to experience of being home

I was an ornery child as my mother says and always going my own way and years beyond my age at the same time. I grew up with 3 siblings who I love dearly. I wanted to play outside, but none of them wanted to come play with me that day so I went exploring our 10 acres alone for fun. Parents always told us two things stay away from the cows and the electric fence. I remembered the soccer ball went under the fence the day prior so I thought if I would save the soccer ball my siblings might come out and play with me then. I was small and easily could fit under the fence to get it (and had done before I usually was the guinea pig) so I saw that the cows were nowhere to be seen so I at least listened to half of what the parents always preached and decided to move forward with my plan. My last coherent memory was that I was on the ground crawling toward the soccer ball about to go under fence.

All of a sudden, I am transported out of my body and surrounded by the brightest warmest light ever. The only way to explain it is our true home it felt very familiar it felt like home. I had never felt at "home" here on earth before or after this experience. I didn't feel or see my body I believe I was more like pure light source that just flows like a river pure love and joy. I was just so happy to be home. Then I hear the purest sweetest voice that said, "come with me, or stay, the choice is yours, but if you stay it will be difficult." It was only at this moment that I had realized I had died. I immediately thought of my earthly family and how I didn't want them to be sad because I had died at such a young age and so as soon as I consciously made that choice to stay I was transported back into my body that felt light-years away. Here is where it gets even more wild. 

When I came to my body was 10 feet away from the fence, uphill a bit and when I sat up our cows were staring at me. The cows that were nowhere in sight before. I sat there for a while or so I thought trying to process everything. I eventually went inside and asked my siblings who were still playing video games how long I had been gone. The most shocking part to me was when my sister said 30 minutes. What felt like a lifetime to me was only 30 minutes! I didn't dare tell anyone until years later because I didn't want to get in trouble for going close to the fence. In case you were wondering I didn't save the ball it still was on other side and I never went near that fence again. Kids listen to your parents! Although the heavenly being was right being here is very difficult after getting a taste of home I would still have made that choice even today. I remained close to the church and was a strong believer in Jesus throughout my childhood years.

Thomas Berry: Views of death

Thomas Berry “The challenges of life demand our full attention and concern, so I don’t normally entertain questions about...