1975, Dr. Raymond Moody's best-selling book entitled
Life focused public attention on the near-death experience like never
before. It was Moody who
actually coined the term "near-death experience." You can read
more about Dr. Moody at his website.
Moody is also the author of the following books, The
Light Beyond, Reunions,
After Loss, Coming
Moody recorded and compared the
experiences of 150 persons who died, or almost died, and then recovered. His
research describes the results of decades of inquiry into the NDE
He outlines nine elements that generally occur during NDEs.
A strange sound: A buzzing,
or ringing noise, while having a sense of being dead.
painlessness: While people are dying, they may be in intense pain, but as soon as they leave the body
the pain vanishes and they experience peace.
The dying often have the sensation of rising up and floating above their own body while
it is surrounded by a medical team, and watching it down below, while feeling comfortable. They
experience the feeling of being in a spiritual body that appears to be a sort of living
The tunnel experience:
The next experience is that of being drawn into darkness through a tunnel, at an extremely
high speed, until reaching a realm of radiant golden-white light. Also, although they sometimes report
feeling scared, they do not sense that they were on the way to hell or that they fell into
Rising rapidly into the
Instead of a tunnel, some people report rising suddenly into the heavens and seeing the
Earth and the celestial sphere as they would be seen by astronauts in space.
People of light: Once
on the other side of the tunnel, or after they have risen into the heavens, the dying meet
people who glow with an inner light. Often they find that friends and relatives who
have already died are there to greet them.
The Being of Light:
After meeting the people of light, the dying often meet a powerful spiritual being whom
some have identified as God, Jesus, or some religious figure.
The life review: The
Being of Light presents the dying with a panoramic review of everything they have
ever done. That is, they relive every act they have ever done to other people and
come away feeling that love is the most important thing in life.
Reluctance to return: The
Being of Light sometimes tells the dying that they must return to life. Other times,
they are given a choice of staying or returning. In either case, they are reluctant
to return. The people who choose to return do so only because of loved ones they do
not wish to leave behind.
Dr. Raymond Moody on
the "Being of Light"
The following is an excerpt
from Moody's excellent book
concerning the "Being of Light."
What is perhaps the most
incredible common element in the accounts I have studied, and is certainly
the element which has the most profound effect upon the individual, is the
encounter with a very bright light. Typically, at its first appearance
this light is dim, but it rapidly gets brighter until it reaches an
unearthly brilliance. Yet, even though this light (usually said to be
white or "clear") is of an indescribable brilliance, many
make the specific point that it does not in any way hurt their eyes, or
dazzle them, or keep them from seeing other things around them (perhaps
because at this point they don't have physical "eyes" to be
Despite the light's unusual
manifestation, however, not one person has expressed any doubt whatsoever
that it was a being, a being of light. Not only that, it is a personal
being. It has a very definite personality. The love and the warmth which
emanate from this being to the dying person are utterly beyond words, and
he feels completely surrounded by it and taken up; in it, completely at
ease and accepted in the presence of this being. He senses an irresistible
magnetic attraction to this light. He is ineluctably drawn to it.
Interestingly, while the
above description of the being of light is utterly invariable, the
identification of the being varies from individual to individual and seems
to be largely a function of the religious background, training, or beliefs
of the person involved. Thus, most of those who are Christians in training
or belief identify the light as Christ and sometimes draw Biblical
parallels in support of their interpretation. A Jewish man and woman
identified the light as an "angel." It was clear, though, in
both cases, that the subjects did not mean to imply that the being had
wings, played a harp, or even had a human shape or appearance. There was
only the light. What each was trying to get across was the they took the
being to be an emissary, or a guide. A man who had had no religious
beliefs or training at all prior to his experience simply identified what
he saw as "a being of light." The same label was used by one
lady of the Christian faith, who apparently did not feel any compulsion at
all to call the "Christ."
Shortly after its
appearance, the being begins to communicate with the person who is passing
over. Notably, this communication is of the same direct kind which we
encountered earlier in the description of how a person in the spiritual
body may "pick up the thoughts" of those around him. For, here
again, people claim that they did not hear any physical voice or sounds
coming from the being, nor did they respond to the being through audible
sounds. Rather, it is reported that direct, unimpeded transfer of thoughts
takes place, and in such a clear way that there is no possibility
whatsoever either of misunderstanding or of lying to the light.
Furthermore, this unimpeded
exchange does not even take place in the native language of the person.
Yet, he understands perfectly and is instantaneously aware. He cannot even
translate the thoughts and exchanges which took place while he was near
death into the human language which he must speak now, after his
The next step of the
experience clearly illustrates the difficulty of translating from this
unspoken language. The being almost immediately directs a certain thought
to the person into whose presence it has come so dramatically. Usually the
persons with whom I have talked try to formulate the thought into a
question. Among the translations I have heard are: "Are you prepared
to die?" "Are you ready to die?" "What have you done
with your life to show me?" and "What have you done with your
life that is sufficient?" The first two formulations which stress
"preparation," might as first seem to have a different sense
from the second pair, which emphasize "accomplishment." However,
some support for my own feeling that everyone is trying to express the
same thought comes from the narrative of one woman who put it this way:
"The first thing
he said to me was, that he kind of asked me if I was ready to die,
or what I had done with my life that I wanted to show him."
Furthermore, even in the case of more
unusual ways of phrasing the "question," it turns out, upon
elucidation, to have much the same force. For example, one man told me
that during his "death:"
The voice asked me a
question: "Is it worth it?" And what it meant was, did
the kind of life I had been leading up to that point seem
worthwhile to me then, knowing what I then knew."
Incidentally, all insist that this
question, ultimate and profound as it may be in its emotional impact, is
not at all asked in condemnation. The being, all seem to agree, does not
direct the question to them to accuse or to threaten them, for they still
feel the total love and acceptance coming from the light, no matter what
their answer may be. Rather, the point of the question seems to be to make
them think about their lives, to draw them out. It is, if you will, a
Socratic question, one asked not to acquire information but to help the
person who is being asked to proceed along the path to the truth by
himself. Let us look at some firsthand accounts of this fantastic being.
I heard the doctors say that I was dead, and that's when I
began to feel as though I were tumbling, actually kind of
floating, through this blackness, which was some kind of
enclosure. There are not really words to describe this. Everything
was very black, except that, way off from me, I could see this
light. It was a very, very brilliant light, but not too large at
first. It grew larger as I came nearer and nearer to it.
I was trying to get to that
light at the end, because I felt that it was Christ, and I was
trying to reach that point. It was not a frightening experience.
It was more or less a pleasant thing. For immediately, being a
Christian, I had connected the light with Christ, who said,
"I am the light of the world."
to myself, "If this is it, if I am to die, then I know who waits for
me at the end, there in that light."
I got up and walked into the hall to go get a drink, and it
was at that point, as they found out later, that my appendix
ruptured. I became very weak, and I fell down. I began to feel a
sort of drifting, a movement of my real being in and out of my
body, and to hear beautiful music. I floated on down the hall and
out the door onto the screened-in porch. There, it almost seemed
that clouds, a pink mist really, began to gather around me, and
then I floated right straight on through the screen, just as
though it weren't there, and up into this pure crystal clear
light, an illuminating white light. It was beautiful and so
bright, so radiant, but it didn't hurt my eyes. It's not any kind
of light you can describe on Earth. I didn't actually see a person
in this light, and yet it has a special identity, it definitely
does. It is a light of perfect understanding does. It is a light
of perfect understanding and perfect love.
|The thought came to my mind,
"Lovest thou me?"
was not exactly in the form of a question, but I guess the
connotation of what the light said was, "If you do love me, go back
and complete what you began in your life."
during this time, I felt as though I were surrounded by an
overwhelming love and compassion.
I knew I was
dying and that there was nothing I could do about it, because no
one could hear me ... I was out of my body, there's no doubt about
it, because I could see my own body there on the operation room
table. My soul was out! All this made me feel very bad at first,
but then, this really bright light came. It did seem that it was a
little dim at first, but then it was this huge beam. It was just a
tremendous amount of light, nothing like a big bright flashlight,
it was just too much light. And it gave off heat to me; I felt a
It was a bright yellowish
white - more white. It was tremendously bright; I just can't
describe it. It seemed that it covered everything, yet it didn't
prevent me from seeing everything around me - the operating room,
the doctors and nurses, everything. I could see clearly, and it
At first, when the light
came, I wasn't sure what was happening, but then, it asked, it
kind of asked me if I was ready to die. It was like talking to a
person, but a person wasn't there. The light's what was talking to
me, but in a voice.
Now, I think that the voice
that was talking to me actually realized that I wasn't ready to
die. You know, it was just kind of testing me more than anything
else. Yet, from the moment the light spoke to me, I felt really
good - secure and loved. The love which came from it is just
unimaginable, indescribable. It was a fun person to be with! And
it had a sense of humor, too - definitely!