Atwater, L.H.D., Ph.D. (Hon.) survived three death events that produced three different
near-death experiences in 1977. She is one of the original researchers of
the near-death phenomenon, having begun her work in 1978. Today, her
contribution to the field of near-death studies is considered on par with
those of Raymond Moody and Ken
Ring. Her first two books, Coming
Back to Life and Beyond the Light, are considered the
of the NDE. With the publication of Future Memory,
she has expanded her work into areas of brain development that call for a
reconsideration of what is presently known about transformation
consciousness. She has done extensive research into the after-effects
and the analysis of common elements of the
NDE. Her research into children's NDEs led to
her writing, Children
of the New Millennium. Her latest book, The
Complete Idiot's Guide to NDEs, is in my opinion the most
comprehensive book on the subject of NDEs to date.
following are P.M.H. Atwater's insights into the NDE from her
book, Beyond the Light:
It Feels Like To Die
Any pain to be
suffered comes first. Instinctively you fight to live. That is
inconceivable to the conscious mind that any other reality could possibly
exist beside the Earth-world of matter bounded by time and space. We are
used to it. We have been trained since birth to live and thrive in
it. We know ourselves to be ourselves by the external stimuli we
receive. Life tells us who we are and we accept its telling. That,
too, is automatic and to be expected.
Your body goes
limp. Your heart stops. No more air flows in or out. You lose sight,
feeling and movement - although the ability to hear goes last.
Identity ceases. The "you" that you once were becomes only
There is no pain
at the moment of death. Only peaceful silence ... calm ... quiet. But you still exist. It is easy not to breathe. In fact, it
is easier, more comfortable, and infinitely more natural not to breathe
than to breathe.
surprise for most people in dying is to realize that dying does not end
life. Whether darkness or light comes next, or some kind of event, be it
positive, negative, or somewhere in between, expected or unexpected, the
biggest surprise of all is to realize you are still you.
You can still
think, you can still remember, you can still see, hear, move, reason,
wonder, feel, question, and tell jokes - if you wish.
You are still
alive, very much alive. Actually, you're more alive after death than at
any time since you were last born. Only the way of all this is different;
different because you no longer wear a dense body to filter and amplify
the various sensations you had once regarded as the only valid indicators
of what constitutes life. You had always been taught one has to wear a
body to live.
If you expect to
die when you die you will be disappointed.
The only thing
dying does is help you release, slough off, and discard the
"jacket" you once wore (more commonly referred to as a
body). When you die you lose your body. That's all there
is to it. Nothing else is lost.
You are not your
body. It is just something you wear for a while, because living in the Earth realm is infinitely more meaningful and more involved if you are
encased in its trappings and subject to its rules.
There is a
step-up of energy at the moment of death, an increase in speed as if you
are suddenly vibrating faster than before.
Using radio as
an analogy, this speed-up is comparable to having lived all your life at a
certain radio frequency when all of a sudden someone or something comes
along and flips the dial. That flip shifts you to another, higher
wavelength. The original frequency where you once existed is still
there. It did not change. Everything is still just the same as it
was. Only you changed, only you speeded up to allow entry into the next
radio frequency on the dial.
As is true with
all radios and radio stations, there can be bleed-overs or distortions of
transmission signals due to interference patterns. These can allow or
force frequencies to coexist or co-mingle for indefinite periods of time.
Normally, most shifts up the dial are fast and efficient; but,
occasionally, one can run into interference, perhaps from a strong
emotion, a sense of duty, or a need to fulfill a vow, or keep a promise.
interference could allow coexistence of frequencies for a few seconds,
days, or even years (perhaps explaining hauntings); but, sooner or later,
eventually, every given vibrational frequency will seek out or be nudged
to where it belongs.
You fit your
particular spot on the dial by your speed of vibration. You cannot coexist
forever where you do not belong.
Who can say how
many spots there are on the dial or how many frequencies there are to
inhabit? No one knows.
frequencies in dying. You switch over to life on another wavelength.
You are still a spot on the dial but you move up or down a notch or two.
You don't die
when you die. You shift your consciousness and speed of vibration.
That's all death
is ... a shift.
Time and space,
as we know them, exist only on the Earth realm. When you leave the
Earth realm, you leave such constraints.
There are realms
and dimensions of existence without number, ranging from the slower, more
dense vibrations of form to higher, finer streams of non-energetic
currents. And there is more beyond that, realities that cannot be measured
or described in the convenience of mathematics or mind-play.
Hell refers to
levels of negative thought-forms that reside in close proximity to the Earth realm. It is where we go to work out, or remain within, our
hang-ups, addictions, fears, guilt, angers, rage, regrets, self-pity,
arrogance, or whatever else blocks us from the power of our own light.
We stay in hell (and there are many divisions to this vibratory
level) for however long best serves our development. There is
no condemnation here, only the outworking of our own misjudgments,
mistakes, misalignments, or misappropriations (what some people call
In hell, we have the opportunity to either revel in our folly or come to
grips with the reality of consequences - that every action has a
reaction, what is inflicted on another can be returned in kind. We
experience the "flip side" of our despair or our demands,
"living through" the extremes of whatever we dread. This
is not a "punishment for our sins" but a confrontation with any
distortion of our sense of values and priorities. We do not leave
until we have changed our attitudes and perceptions.
Heaven is a term
used to describe levels of positive thought-forms that reside in close
proximity to the Earth realm. It is where we go to recognize or enjoy our
worth, talents, abilities, joys, courage, generosity, caring, empathy,
giving-ness, virtue, cheer, diligence, thoughtfulness, patience, loving
kindness, or whatever else reveals the power of our own light. We stay in
heaven (and there are many divisions to this vibratory level) for
however long best serves our development. There is a sense of benefit
here, as if one has found one's true home and all is well (what some
people call "recess", or a time of rewards). In heaven, we
have the opportunity to assess our progress as a soul, to evaluate pros
and cons and outcomes, to remember all truths including that of our real
identity. We experience the glory of love and the power of forgiveness.
This is not an
end point, but, rather, the realization of our purpose in creation's
story, how we fit, and what possibilities for future growth and learning
exist. We do not leave until we are ready for our next advancement either
in the world of form or beyond it.
No one knows how
vast creation is ... only that it has always been and will always be.
Shapes and embodiments change and alter, substance is recycled, but
existence exists, as does energy.
life, never ending and ongoing, forever and ever eternal. Yet its only
true movement (without the distortion time and space give) is expansion
and contraction, as if the existence that exists were capable of
breathing. What appears as a progression, a time-line of starts and
stops and ever-changing variations, is but an overleaf, an illusion, that
helps us to focus on whatever spot on the dial we currently inhabit so we
will accomplish what we set out to do (or at least have an opportunity
to), and not be distracted by The Truth that undergirds reality.
as an analogy, the picture we enjoy seeing, the progression of a storyline
with characters acting out a script, is but a trick of perception.
What exists, what is really there, is quite literally one electron at a
time (with black and white, and three at a time with color) fired
from the back of the television tube to the screen to be illuminated once
it hits the screen as a tiny dot. The continuous barrage of
electrons-turned-into-dots creates the appearance of images, as scanning
lines roll from top to bottom separating information coming in (new dots) from
information fading out (old dots). You adjust the vertical hold on
your set, not to remove strange bars appearing in the picture, but to
place all screen activity within the range of your own perceptual
preference. A television picture tube is nothing more than a
"gun" that fires electrons at a screen. Your mind connects
the electron dots into the picture images you think you see, while it
totally ignores the true reality of what actually undergirds the
operation. The way television operates, at least in our daily experience
of it, is an illusion.
Existence is a
lot like television. What exists, what really exists, can't be fathomed by
how it appears to operate or what it seems to be.
Realness of God
God is the one
presence, the one power, the one force and source of all. There are
no competitors to God, no reality existent outside of God. God is
omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), and
omnipresent (present everywhere). There is no place where God
is not, simply because nothing exists without God.
God is neither a
man nor a woman nor a thing.
God is no one's
father or mother or benefactor. These terms are used only to help us
understand relationships - ours to God - not to establish a more
human type of parentage. We use such terms as a matter of
convenience or because it is comforting to do so. We call ourselves
children of God because we do not know what else to call ourselves, and it
seems as good a term as any to use. We are made in the image of God,
not in the sense of physical appearance, but with respect to the power of
our souls and the potential of our minds. God is the Creator; we are
co-creators. It would be more appropriate and more in line with
Truth, if we called ourselves extensions of God or, perhaps, thoughts in
the Mind of God. It would even be appropriate to use another name for God,
like The Force, The One, The All, The Is-ness, The One Mind, The Source,
or whatever conveys that sense of deity that is without limitation or
boundary, beyond what can be comprehended.
While God is
more than any name, protocol, hierarchy, concept, or grandiosity could
describe or define; God truly is as near as our next breath - as close as
our next thought. We are part of God and existent with God. A belief
in separation, that we could possibly exist and have our being apart from
God, is the only real sin. This belief is of our own making. God has
not decreed separation; this we did ourselves by our own perception that
somehow, some way, we could transcend That Which Cannot Be Transcended.
God is not
dependent on our belief, for our belief or disbelief in God does not
affect God - only us.
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.
There is no one religion just as there is no "chosen" people or
person, nor any single way of regarding what cannot be fully comprehended.
We are all "sons" of God in the sense that we are all souls of
God's creation, without gender, without form, without nationality,
complete and whole and perfect as we explore the never-endingness of God's
wonderment. A spark from the essence of All God Is resides in each
and every one of us has an unbreakable connection, that thread or cord
that ensures we remain a part of That Which We Could Never Leave.
joy of recognizing and acknowledging our special-ness, our greatness, as
creations of God and as co-creators with God, is akin to being engulfed by
overwhelming floodtides of God's Glorious Love.
There is no
sense of "crime and punishment" in God's Light, only the clear,
complete, and total knowing that you are loved unconditionally and fully
- right now and forever more.
Truth in this
light, God's Light, is so powerful and so piercing, there is no way you
could lie, exaggerate, avoid, or deny what you have done with God's gift
to you, the gift of an embodied life in the Earth realm
abundant opportunities to learn and develop and grow - be the
best that you can be. This gift, the Earth life God gives us, comes
with a catch: We are to give the gift back.
We cannot keep
the life we have on the Earth realm, not our possessions or attachments or
relationships. What we can keep is our memories and our feelings of what
we have integrated into our heart of hearts from the experience of being
here, plus the love we have shared with others. This that we can keep
enriches God's experience of us as well as enriching our experience of
ourselves and one another. How joyful this is depends on what we did about
who we are.
Each gain or
loss anyone makes affects everyone else to some degree. That's because we
are connected, somehow, as sparks from the Mind of God. Everything
created either has a soul (independent power mass) or is capable of being
ensouled (from out of the group power mass). Because human forms
contain larger portions of a soul mass than many other types of form, they
represent opportunities of greater diversity, challenge, and involvement. Yet
even animals, minerals, plants, and planets, enfold degrees of ensoulment
replete with intelligence, feeling, and volition. Density of structure or
shape may seem to deny this, but the creative fire is ever-present,
All souls are
holy in God's Light, and all souls are loved.
And all souls
have a purpose for their existence and a reason for being who or what they
Whatever form a
soul empowers "fits" in creation's story, for each soul has a
job to do, a position to fill in the greater scheme of things.
And all souls
evolve. Nothing stays as it is because nothing is static, regardless of
how "otherwise" conditions may appear to be.
Evolution is not
restricted to linear progression. It only seems so.
Thus, the drama
of creation's story is unbounded - neither limited by our perception
of it, nor by our ability or lack of ability to comprehend it. This drama
is as stupendous as it is terrifying, as awesome as it is wonderful, as
miraculous as it is mysterious, as beautiful as it is the ultimate act of
all-consuming love. To witness even a glimpse of such glory, to know
the Real Truth of it, leaves a mark so deep and so profound you are
forever uplifted and transformed.
You return from
your NDE knowing we affect each other because we are all
part of each other, and that we affect all parts of creation because all
parts of creation interweave and interrelate with all other parts.
Any sense of aloneness or separation dissolves in the Light of such
We each matter.
And we are each challenged to "wake up" and realize that we
matter. Once we so awaken, our task is to act accordingly.
To know is not
enough. We must express that knowing. How we do that is up to us.
Although we are
each connected to the other and to all others, we are individual in our
choices, in the power of our will, and in the product or result or
consequence of our ever having breathed a breath in the Earth realm. The
responsibility we have for this totality of our being-ness is as freeing
and exciting as it is humbling. And it represents high adventure.
fear we have in living out our Earth life is not what might happen to us,
but what might be expected from us if we recognized who we are.
Dr. PMH Atwater's
Types of NDE
P.M.H. Atwater has
identified four distinctive types of NDEs. She
discovered elements similar to those described by Moody and Ring but
different patterning from what was billed as the classical version; each
pattern type was accompanied by a subtle psychological profile suggestive
of other forces that might be present. These four types have consistently
held up throughout two decades of interviews, observations, and analysis
regardless of a person's age, education, gender, culture, or religion. In
her book, Beyond the Light, P.M.H. Atwater used separate chapters to
discuss each of the four types. Below is a shorter rendition of the
Experience (Sometimes referred to as the "nonexperience")
elements such as a loving nothingness, the living dark, a friendly voice,
or a brief out-of-body episode. Usually experienced by those who seem to
need the least amount of evidence for proof of survival, or who need the
least amount of shakeup in their life at that point in time. Often, this
becomes a "seed" experience or an introduction to other ways of
perceiving and recognizing reality. Incident rate: 76% with child
experiencers, 20% with adult experiencers.
or Hell-like Experience (Inner cleansing and self-confrontation)
Encounter with a
threatening void or stark limbo or hellish purgatory, or scenes of a
startling and unexpected indifference, even "hauntings" from
one's own past. Usually experienced by those who seem to have deeply
suppressed or repressed guilt, fears, and angers and/or those who expect
some kind of punishment or discomfort after death. Incident rate: 3%
with child experiencers, 15% with adult experiencers.
or Heaven-like Experience (Reassurance and self-validation)
scenarios of loving family reunions with those who have died previously,
reassuring religious figures or light beings, validation that life counts,
affirmative and inspiring dialogue. Usually experienced by those who most
need to know how loved they are and how important life is and how every
effort has a purpose in the overall scheme of things. Incident rate: 19%
with child experiencers, 47% with adult experiencers.
Experience (Expansive revelations, alternate realities)
otherworldly dimensions and scenes beyond the individual's frame of
reference; sometimes includes revelations of greater truths. Seldom
personal in content. Usually experienced by those who are ready for a
mind-stretching challenge and/or individuals who are more apt to utilize
(to whatever degree) the truths that are revealed to them. Incident rate:
2% with child experiencers, 18% with adult experiencers.
Note: P.M.H. Atwater has noticed that all four types can occur at the same time
during a NDE, can exist in varying combinations, or
can spread out across a series of episodes for a particular individual.
Generally speaking, however, each represents a distinctive type of
experience occurring but once to a given person.
"All you may know of heaven or hell is within your own self." -
Copyright 2007 Near-Death Experiences & the Afterlife