Archive for near death experiences

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 8.21.14 PMI received a complementary copy of this book for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

One of the best books I read and reviewed in 2014 was Dr Penny Sartori’s The Wisdom of Near Death Experiences.  Dr Sartori has followed up this work with a new book featuring more of her findings, What is a Near Death Experience?

Dr Sartori is one of the leading authorities in Near Death Experience (NDE) research.  I like that she takes a scientific approach to the topic, based on her 17 years as an intensive care nurse.  “I passionately believe that NDEs have something to teach all of us, even if we have never ourselves had a near-death experience or anything like it,” she writes.

As in her first book, What is a Near Death Experience contains many fascinating stories of NDEs.  Like this one: “One of the clearest examples of a dBv (death bed vision) that I have seen occurred when I was working in ITu,” she relates. “I saw a patient begin to gesture, smile and talk to someone I couldn’t see. He seemed so happy. He talked this way for about 30 minutes and then fell asleep. The following day he told his family that during the night he had been visited by his mother and grandmother, both of whom were dead, and also his sister. He couldn’t understand why his sister would have been in his vision, though, seeing as far as he knew she was still alive. Of course, that wasn’t the case –she’d died the week before, but his family had kept her death from him, for fear of upsetting him. A few days later he died entirely at peace.”  This and many other stories in the book, based on her first hand observations, lead me to believe NDEs are to be taken seriously, even though I’m not quite sure what to make of them.

I also like how Sartori deals with objections.  Such as the near death encounters with relatives – are they real or just a figment of the NDE person’s imagination?  “NDEr meets deceased loved ones, and several cases in my own research have revealed NDErs did not meet the relatives in their NDE who they would, when asked during life, most wish to meet,” she writes. “If wishful thinking were the trigger for an NDE, we would expect that the fulfilment of the wish – meeting our closest relatives rather than distant ones; and finding our fondest friends, rather than acquaintances –would be the likely outcome.”  Many of the stories she relates are positive NDEs, regardless of the person’s religious beliefs. “It’s the calmest and clearest I’ve ever felt,” said one.  “The closest I can manage is to say that it felt like I was surrounded by and filled with pure love and contentment.”  But Sartori also tells of NDEs that are frightening to the person.  “Why are some NDEs distressing and others not?” she says. “We have no clear evidence why some people have pleasant NDEs and others have distressing ones.”

Sartori doesn’t claim to know everything about NDEs.  “Science doesn’t appear to offer us any realistic or robust answers –all we can do is keep researching, keep recording the experiences and talking about them, then analyze them as closely as we can to watch the patterns emerge,” she writes. “However, just because our current science cannot explain NDEs does not mean that these are not real.”  If you are interested in NDEs Sartori’s two books on the subject are musts for your library, and I look forward to reading more from her in the future based on her continuing research.



Comments (0)

Becoming AwareI received a complementary copy of this book for review purposes.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Lisa Garr is best known for her internationally syndicated radio program, The Aware Show, where for the past 15 years she has interviewed new thought leaders from a variety of scientific and spiritual pursuits.  “On my shows I purposely do not share much about myself,” she says, “because I like to give the guest the platform so that their message can shine.”  Now Lisa gets to tell her own story in her first book, “Becoming Aware: How to Repattern Your Brain and Revitalize Your Life”.  And what an amazing story it is.

I like how the book is organized.  In Part 1 Lisa tells her story of how she became “aware”.  In these tales of her growing up years, including time with her famous aunt (the actress Teri Garr) we get to know Lisa as a person before she she gets into “life lessons” in the second half of the book.  Her most powerful story is her account of a near fatal bike accident while racing in the 1999 California State Mountain Bike Championship.  On the verge of overtaking the leader to win the race, Lisa suffers a horrific crash, plunging down the side of a mountain.  After suffering a severe head injury, Lisa recalls, “I don’t even know if there are words that could explain the level of consciousness I experienced, something that is much more expansive than anything I’ve ever known … This was a place of complete, unconditional love.”

There it is again.  If you’ve read my reviews of Near Death Experience books in the past (including accounts from Anita Moorjani and Eben Alexander) each tells of a place of unconditional love beyond this life – a place Lisa describes so well in her book, too.  My spiritual practice is based in the unconditional love of Spirit, and it is comforting to read these NDE accounts as further proof that such Love is the key to all existence.

But you don’t have to be on the verge of death to achieve this level of consciousness.  In the second part of the book Lisa gives the reader a series of “Awareisms” so that we, too, can experience our own expanded level of consciousness.  Such “Awareisms” as:

  • We’re powerful beings who were put here to live very fruitful lives.  Quite often what stops us is … us.
  • Know that bad things happen, but your reaction to these bad things is what really matters.  Of course, you’re not immune to negative events, shock, and criticism, but what counts is how you deal with them when they happen.
  • Quite often our biggest life failures push us into our greatest successes.  Always put life on pause and look for the lesson in each disappointment.
  • Helping others quiets your mind and releases your own restless energy.  It’s a complete win-win situation.

These “awareisms” and others each have an accompanying story to drive home the point.  Lisa uses quotes from a variety of experts in addition to sharing her own experiences.  In this part her years of interviews serve her well, as she tells how she applies the lessons she has learned from her guests to her own life.

Lisa Garr at the Denver I Can Do It conference, April 2015

Lisa Garr at the Denver I Can Do It conference, April 2015

I was fortunate to hear Lisa Garr speak in person at the recent Hay House “I Can Do It” conference in Denver.  Hearing her story, which she said was the first time she told it in front of a live audience, motivated me to read her book.  I’m glad I did.  More than an accomplished interviewer, Lisa has life lessons of her own to share.  I recommend you read “Becoming Aware” to learn more.

I received a complementary copy of this book from Hay House for review purposes.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

top 10 things dead people want to tell youWhat happens to us after we die?  If you are at all curious about this subject, as I am, you may want to read Mike Dooley’s new book, “The Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell You”.

The skeptic in me immediately questioned where Dooley was coming from.  “Does Mike Dooley REALLY talk to dead people, or are the dialogs with the deceased in the book just something he made up?” I wondered.  I put that question aside and found solid advice for living in the book’s 240 pages.

Dooley starts off to say we don’t really die, and that this life’s purpose is to teach you lessons.  After death, he says, “loving guides soon appear, glowing, radiant, and joyful. They orient you and answer your questions. They teach you. Remind you. Love you. Show you. Everything becomes clearer. You remember the hopes and intentions of your recent life and why you chose it.”  I liked Dooley’s emphasis on love.  Maybe, just maybe, all the insecurities and failings we feel in this life will be consumed after death in an ocean of unconditional love.  “They (the dead) are elated to find that not only are they immortal, but they’re approved of, appreciated, forgiven, and adored, just exactly as they are,” Dooley writes.  “If only, they solemnly think to themselves, I’d known this while living … how different things might have been.”

Dooley’s message of love after death is similar to what I have read in “near death” experience books – first hand accounts of people who have glimpsed the other side – like Anita Moorjani in Dying to Be Me, and Eben Alexander in Proof of Heaven.  I found these autobiographies more compelling and believable than Dooley’s book.  And from an outsider’s perspective on death, I liked Penny Satori’s The Wisdom of Near Death Experiences better for a more detailed, scientific study of the topic.

Nevertheless, Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell You still had an impact on me.  “The dead, with their advantage of perspective, see love everywhere,” he writes.  I want that perspective, too, and for a time I had it when reading Dooley’s book.  How quickly I forget, though.  I’ll revisit the pages of Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell You next time I need a reminder of the love that is here for me now.

You can get Top Ten Things Dead People want to Tell YOU from these sources:

Hay House


Barnes and Noble

wisdom of NDEsI received a complementary copy of this book for review purposes.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

In her new book “The Wisdom of Near-Death Experience: How Understanding NDEs Can Help Us Live More Fully” Dr. Penny Sartori builds a convincing case that out-of-body, Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are very real.  Drawing from her experience as a registered nurse caring for dying patients and from her own research, Sartori shares a number of captivating accounts of NDEs.  “As long as one has not experienced an NDE themselves,” she writes, “it seems impossible to really understand the impact and the life-changing after-effects of this overwhelming experience.”

I like how Sartori includes NDEs from a variety of people.  The young and the old.  The religious and the agnostic.  Those who had positive NDEs and some who didn’t.  “I am not trying to prove or disprove an afterlife,” Sartori writes in the first few pages of the book, though most of the experiences do tell of consciousness after the body appears to have died.  “What I have been trying to do is gain a greater understanding of the dying process so that care for dying patients can be enhanced,” she says.  Her approach is scientific, and not to prove or disprove any particular world view of what happens to us after we die.

Sartori was initially a skeptic of NDEs.  When a dying patient relays an experience of meeting her deceased mother in a beautiful meadow, Sartori thinks the woman “must have been hallucinating or had too much diamorphine. I never gave it a second thought and I didn’t question her further; I simply listened.  It was a few years later … that I was to realize the significance of what she had said.”

That patient early in her nursing career had a NDE experience similar to what Sartori was to find from others.  During a NDE, she writes, “most people are sent back by the deceased loved ones or ‘being of light’ that they meet. They are often told that it is not their time or that they still have work to do. Often the individual is left with a sense that there is a mission in their life they need to accomplish, though they do not know what that mission is.”

More than NDE stories, the book also touches on the doubts a person with a NDE encounters from friends and relatives.  One woman looks back on her NDE as a child.  She asks her grandmother about the beautiful lady she had met during her NDE. Sartori relates, “her grandmother told her not to ask such questions and from then on believed the young girl to be possessed and always reminded her of it.”

I have reviewed accounts of other authors’ near death experiences (Anita Moorjani and Eben Alexander).  While moved by those first hand stories, I feel Sartori’s work is the best book I have read yet on the subject.  “It’s time to acknowledge that NDEs are a very valid phenomenon and to treat people who have an NDE with the respect that they deserve,” the author concludes.  Reading “The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences” caused me to reconsider my views on death, and I suspect it will do the same for you, too.

Comments (0)

I received a complementary copy of this DVD for review purposes.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 7.41.41 PMYou may have heard of Dr. Eben Alexander’s near death experience.  The victim of an e coli infection, Alexander was clinically dead for a week.  Alexander did not expect what came next – a visit to a spiritual dimension that his scientific training could not explain.  Alexander has shared his story in his New York Times best selling book “Proof of Heaven” in addition to appearing on media outlets nationwide.  I first became aware of Alexander’s story from his interview on Oprah’s Soul Series and on the Jeff Probst show.  While those interviews gave me a glimpse of Alexander’s ordeal, his most in depth interview I have heard yet is on the new DVD “A Conversation with Raymond L Moody Jr & Eben Alexander III”.  It is a compelling discussion between Alexander and long time Near Death Experience (NDE) researcher Raymond Moody.

“Dr Alexander’s experience is the most fascinating and amazing that I have heard in almost 50 years I have been investigating this phenomenon,” says Moody early in the program.  With his NDE background, Moody is the perfect host for the interview.  I liked how Moody relies on his own medical background and his experiences with other near death cases to pose intelligent questions to Alexander.  “I’ve seen your medical records – in a very real way you were dead,” Moody remarks which leads Alexander to say his disease was a “1 in 10 million” case that should have been fatal.

After the severity of his illness is established, Alexander delivers a vivid description of the heaven he experiences on the other side.  Tales of a murky existence suddenly interrupted by a bright spinning light, visions of riding on the wings of a butterfly with a beautiful young woman, soaring through scenic valleys and over villagers dancing in merriment.  This sounds more like words of a poet rather than a Harvard trained neurosurgeon!  I thought at first “what drugs was this guy on?”  Yet Alexander tells of an incredible love he experiences on the other side.  “You are loved, cherished dearly forever, there’s nothing you can do wrong  … you have nothing to fear,” his female companion tells him.  Alexander later discovers a link to this mysterious woman from his past – watch the video to find out what that is.

The primary message of Alexander’s story is the unconditional love of the spiritual dimension.  “The teaching just flowed … love is the tremendous overwhelming constituent of all that exists,” he says.  This message of God’s unconditional love resonated with me deeply, and caused me to consider that there was truth in the doctor’s story.  One other near death experience book I have read and reviewed, Anita Moorjani’s Dying To Be Me, also talks about this unconditional love on the other side of death.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Alexander has his critics.  The Center for Biblical Spirituality’s Donald Whitney asks “Where is Jesus in this experience?”  Skeptic Michael Shermer says it is “not likely” Alexander actually went to heaven.  To these critics I say: watch the video.  Alexander comes across as very intelligent and sincere in describing his experiences.  The logic of his story may be easy to pick apart by cynical minds, yet the feeling in which he tells of his adventure is genuine.  It is left up to each viewer to decide whether Alexander is credible.  I for one believe him.  If you are at all interested in near death experiences, I recommend this DVD highly.



Comments (2)

Dying To Be Me (Book Review)

Posted by: | Comments (4)

If you are like me, you don’t think much about death.  As those close to us pass away, though, the question will inevitably come up: “What will happen to me when I die?”

Anita Moorjani had that question, too, before being stricken with cancer.  In her new book “Dying To Be Me: My Journey From Cancer, To Near Death, To True Healing” she tells a fascinating story of her brush with death, and in the process gives hope and comfort to those of us who would rather avoid the subject.

I like how Moorjani delays getting into her cancer diagnosis until chapter five.  In the early pages the reader gets to know Anita through her stories of her youth.  “Because of my Hindu roots, I grew up to believe in karma and reincarnation,” she writes, yet she attended a Catholic grade school.  The conflicts in these two belief systems became apparent to Moorjani early in life.  A Catholic classmate tells her “You need to tell your parents to take you to church to pray to God every Sunday, otherwise you won’t get to heaven when you die.”  Later she tells of backing out of an arranged marriage, and how she meets her future husband Danny.  We get a full picture of the “pre-cancer” Anita, with the cultural and family issues she had to work through.

When Moorjani’s best friend Soni is diagnosed with cancer, as well as her husband’s brother-in-law, she is paralyzed with fear that she, too, may get this dreaded disease.  Soon thereafter she discovers a lump on her shoulder, and her worst fears are realized after a medical exam.  She has lymphoma.  Moorjani tries yet is frustrated with various alternative healing methods.  “I didn’t know what was good for me and what wasn’t, because each system of healing espoused a different truth, and they all conflicted with each other,” she writes.  “This confusion only added to my already overwhelming fears.  And as the terror tightly gripped me in its vice once more, I watched helplessly as my health rapidly deteriorated.”

Moorjani describes in detail her hospital stay, and the painful tests she had to endure.  Eventually she loses consciousness and her husband is given this grave diagnosis from her doctor: “There’s nothing we can do for your wife.  Her organs have already shut down.  She has tumors the size of lemons throughout her lymphatic system, from the base of her skull to below her abdomen.  She won’t even make it through the night.”

Moorjani relates her feelings of being detached from her body during this time.  “What I can only describe as superb and glorious unconditional love surrounded me, wrapping me tight as I continued to let go,” she writes.  “The term unconditional love really doesn’t do justice to the feeling, as these words have been overused to the point of having lost their intensity.”  With this feeling of peace and love she returns to consciousness, and miraculously her body starts to heal on its own.  Her doctors are baffled.

The best part of the book are the concluding chapters, where Moorjani explains her new understanding of God, Spirituality, and life with the lessons her near death experience taught her.  She posts her story on the internet, where it is discovered by inspirational author Wayne Dyer.  Though reluctant at first to tell of her experience to a wider audience, Dyer encourages her to publish a book and appear with him at various conferences.

Anita Moorjani’s book at first glance appears to be about death and how we can better deal with it.  But it is really a story about life.  Grounded in an understanding of the unconditional love of God, she encourages the reader to “express your uniqueness fearlessly, with abandon!  That’s why you’re made the way you are, and that’s why you’re here in the physical world.”

You can get “Dying To Be Me” from these book sellers:

Hay House


Barnes & Noble

This is another book review in my partnership with Hay House.  I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.