Barbara Harris Whitfield's
Harris Whitfield is the author of many published articles
and five books, The Power of Humility (HCI), Full Circle:
The Near-Death Experience and Beyond (Pocket Books), Spiritual
Awakenings: Insights of the Near Death experience and Other
Doorways to Our Soul (Health Communications, Inc.), and
Final Passage: Sharing the Journey As This Life Ends (Health
She is a thanatologist (thanatology
is the study of death and dying), popular speaker, workshop
presenter, near-death experiencer, and therapist in private
practice in Atlanta, Georgia. She has been on the board
of Directors for the
Network and was on the faculty of
Institute on Alcohol and Drug Studies for 12 years.
Barbara spent six years researching
the aftereffects of the near-death experience (NDE) at the
University of Connecticut Medical School. She was a member
of the executive board of the
Network and has sat on the executive board of the
for Near-Death Studies. She is a consulting editor and
contributor for the Journal
of Near-Death Studies.
Barbara has been a guest
on several major television talk shows including Larry King
Live, The Today Show, Unsolved Mysteries, Good Morning America,
Oprah, and CNN.
which she shares with her husband, best-selling author Dr.
Charles L. Whitfield, provides timely and helpful information
on recovery from abuse, trauma, and addiction. Her site
is a member of the communities of several
dealing with recovery issues, abuse, trauma, PTSD, depressive
illness and moving forward into a whole life.
You can contact Barbara directly
via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please mention where you saw this article. The following
article is the first chapter from her book Final Passage
where she gives her testimony of the NDEs she experienced
and the profound aftereffects that followed.
My work with dying people
probably would have never come about if I hadn't died
myself. I know that sounds strange. How many of us die and
get to come back and talk about it? Not many -- we may think
-- but that's not true. In 1984, a Gallup poll reported
that one in every nineteen Americans has had an NDE. And
these first numbers include only adults. Since that time
we have acquired data on childhood NDEs, and they are almost
as prevalent as adult experiences.
I want to share my own NDE
with you, most importantly to tell you about what we call
the life review. Our research shows that only in about 20
percent of NDEs is there a life review. Since my NDE over
twenty years ago, I have focused my heart and my life on
the knowledge I received from the life review.
Some NDErs report seeing
their life review as if they are watching the pages in a
book. Others describe it as a film. My life review appeared
as a cloud filled with thousands of bubbles. In each
bubble there was a scene from my life. I had the feeling
I could bob from bubble to bubble, but overall it had the
feeling of a linear sequence in which I relived all thirty-two
years of my life.
During a life review, many
of us experience not only our own feelings, but the feelings
of everyone else -- as though all other people participating
in our lifetimes are joined. We can feel, then, how everything
we've ever done or said affected others. The sense is
that we don't end at our skin. It is an illusion that
we are separate. This deep review of our life shows us that
at a higher level of consciousness we are all connected.
This new perspective totally
changes our values and attitudes about the way we want to
live. Materialism decreases and altruistic values become
greater in most NDErs' lives. Almost all of us talk
about a sense of mission. If we were spiritual before, the
shift in values and attitude is not as apparent as it is
in someone like me. I had become an atheist when I numbed
out at an early age. Subsequently, my changes have been
obvious and profound.
A Need for Surgery
I was born with a deformity
-- a curvature in my lumbar spine called scoliosis. It never
bothered me until 1973 when it suddenly became the focus
of my life. The pain emanating from my lower back became
overwhelming, and the drugs I was given to control it numbed
everything out. I was hospitalized four times in the next
two years, each time for two weeks and with traction and
injections of Demerol to help alleviate the pain. Looking
back on it now, like many other NDErs I believe that my
life had gotten off track and my back pain was a metaphor
for my life.
1975, at the age of thirty-two, I was admitted for the fifth
time to the hospital. I underwent surgery -- a spinal fusion.
I awoke after the five-and-a-half-hour operation in a Stryker-frame
circle bed. This strange bed looks like a ferris wheel for
one person. There are two big chrome hoops with a stretcher
suspended in the middle. Three times a day the nurses would
place three or four pillows over me and then another stretcher
on top of them. They would strap these two stretchers together
with me in the middle, like a human sandwich, and turn the
bed on. It would rotate me up and then it would slowly move
me around onto my belly. The pillows made it more tolerable
because I was very thin. I had lost more than thirty pounds
over the two years of pain and using Valium as a muscle
relaxant. The surgery on my spine prevented me from any
movement at all. I couldn't move. The bed moved me.
The reason for using this bed, and for rotating me forward
and face down, was to drain my lungs and allow the skin
on my back to breathe so I wouldn't develop bedsores.
I remained in this bed for almost a month, and then I was
placed in a full body cast from my armpits to my knees.
About two days after surgery,
complications set in and I started to die. I remember waking
up in the circle bed and seeing this huge belly. I had swelled
up. The swelling was pulling my incisions open and it hurt.
I called for my nurse, and then I started screaming.
People in white came rushing
in. It was a dramatic scene like you see on television.
I had no idea what was going on because I hadn't become
a respiratory therapist yet. It seemed like everybody was
pushing carts and machinery, throwing things back and forth
over me. They hooked me up to all kinds of machinery, tubes,
monitors and bags.
Everything that was going
on was loud and overwhelming. I lost consciousness.
awoke in the hall in the middle of the night. The lights
were dim. It was quiet. I looked up and down the hall and
didn't see anyone. I remember thinking that if they
caught me out of the circle bed I'd be in trouble, because
I wasn't supposed to move. So I turned around to go
back into my room and found myself looking directly into
a public-address speaker. This isn't possible, I thought.
I remembered seeing the speaker when I was admitted. It
was mounted on the ceiling at least three or four feet above
my head. I moved into my room and looked down into the circle
bed and saw -- me. I heard myself chuckle because she looked
funny with white tape around her nose holding in a tube.
I was out of pain. I felt
calm -- incredibly peaceful -- in a way I had never felt
before. So I hung out with her for a while, but I knew that
Next, I was in total blackness.
I don't know how I got there. I was floating in darkness
with a gentle sense of movement. I knew I was moving away
from this life. I had left this life behind.
Then I felt hands come around
me and pull me into lush warmth. I realized it was my grandmother.
I used to call her Bubbie. She was pulling me close to her
in a wonderful embrace. She had been dead for fourteen years,
and I had never before thought of her existing beyond her
death. But I knew I was with her.
I suddenly realized that
what I had believed in the past might not be real. Maybe
my belief systems were really messed up. Maybe this was
real and everything else had been an illusion. As I was
thinking about how off base my beliefs had been, and as
I realized that my grandmother holding me was real, I felt
like I released a load of toxic pain
[i]. And as
I experienced that release, there was a sudden replay of
every scene my grandmother and I had shared during our nineteen
years together in this life. It wasn't just my memories
of her -- it was also her memories of me. And our memories
became one. I could feel and see and sense exactly what
she was feeling, seeing and sensing. And I knew she was
getting the same thing from my memories. It was both of
us together, replaying everything that we meant to each
other. It was wonderful.
I can still replay each memory
today, and they are as vivid as when they happened twenty-three
years ago in my NDE. One of my favorite scenes is when we
were cooking together. I was three or four years old. We
were alone in her kitchen, but the whole family was going
to come for dinner, so there was expectancy in the air.
My Bubbie pulled over a heavy wooden chair from her kitchen
table to the stove and picked me up and put me on it. She
stood behind and very close to me to help and protect me.
One at a time, she would put a little bit of mixture in
my hand, and I would form it into a ball and drop it into
this huge pot of boiling water. The pot was almost as tall
as I was on the chair. The pungent smell of fish saturated
the already humid air. I would put my hands to my nose and
yell Yuk! And she would laugh. After we finished, she pulled
the chair with me on it into the middle of the kitchen.
I screamed and laughed because it felt like she was taking
me on a ride. She wiped my hands with a wet cloth, but I
smelled them and yelled Yuk! again. I watched her take a
lemon and cut it in half. She rubbed a lemon half on my
hands and then wiped them with her already stained and wet
apron. Then she looked at me with such love in her eyes
and said, Don't move. Bubbie will be right back. She
came back with her hairbrush and brushed my hair for what
seemed like a very long time. It felt so good. Then she
made me long curls, twisting each lock of my hair around
her fingers. When she was finished, and she lifted me down
to the floor, I ran into her bedroom and looked in the mirror.
I looked just like Shirley Temple.
When the whole family sat
down for dinner that evening, she told everyone I had made
the fish. My aunts looked at me, very impressed. And as
they tasted it, they nodded their heads in approval and
told my mother what a good cook I was.
After our memories ended,
I stayed with my grandmother for a while. I loved her so
much. Then I started moving away. I had no control over
what was happening, but it felt all right that I was moving
away from her. I understood that she would be waiting for
me to return again, and that this place she was in was eternal.
So was I. My life had been a brief moment in eternity, and
I had no concerns or doubts that as this bigger eternal
reality unfolded it was perfect. Besides, the one I had
just endured for thirty-two years was so painful and constrictive.
This new reality felt like it would continually expand and
At that time I wouldn't
have called where I was a tunnel, but later, as a researcher,
I realized that tunnel is the closest word we have on this
plane. Whatever it was that I was moving through started
off totally black. Then I became aware that there was energy
churning through the blackness. As I watched the energy
move, shades of gray to almost white separated from the
churning. Out of the darkness Light was coming, and the
Light was moving way ahead of me. The Light and I were moving
in the same direction, but it was far, far ahead.
My hands were expanding.
They felt like they were becoming infinitely large. A gentle
breeze was wrapping around my body, and I could hear a low
droning noise that beckoned me. This unusual sound was taking
me to the Light.
Suddenly I was back in my
body, back in the circle bed, and it was morning. Two nurses
were opening my drapes. The sunlight was startling. It hurt
my eyes. I asked them to close the drapes. I tried to tell
my nurses and then several doctors that I had left the bed.
They told me that it was impossible and that I had been
a week later I again left my body in the circle bed. I had
been taken off the critical list, but I was still debilitated
and sick. I had been rotated forward onto my face. I was
uncomfortable. I seemed to have been left in that position
for too long. I reached for the call button, but it had
slipped away from where it was clipped on the bedsheet.
I started to call, then yell, then scream frantically, but
my door was closed. No one came. I wet the bed. I became
hysterical. I separated from my body.
As I left my body, I again
went out into the darkness, only this time I was awake and
could see it happening. Looking down and off to the right,
I saw myself in a bubble -- in the circle bed -- crying.
Then I looked up and to the left, and I saw my one-year-old
self in another bubble -- face down in my crib -- crying
just as hard. I looked to the right and saw myself again
in the circle bed, then to the left and saw myself as a
baby -- back and forth about three more times, then I let
go. I decided I didn't want to be the thirty-two-year-old
Barbara anymore; I'd go to the baby. As I moved away
from my thirty-two-year-old body in the circle bed, I felt
as though I released myself from this lifetime. As I did,
I became aware of an energy that was wrapping itself around
me and going through me, permeating me, holding up every
molecule of my being.
It was not an old man with
a long white beard. It took me a long time to use the word
God. In fact, I never used any word until I saw the movie
Star Wars and heard about The Force. By then, I was already
reading quantum physics, trying to figure out how I could
explain what had permeated me and was me . . . and you .
. . and all of us. Now it was here, and it was holding me.
It felt incredible. There are no words in English, or maybe
in this reality, to explain the kind of love God emanates.
God was totally accepting of everything we reviewed in my
life. In every scene of my life review I could feel again
what I had felt at various times in my life. And I could
feel everything everyone else felt as a consequence of my
actions. Some of it felt good and some of it felt awful.
All of this translated into knowledge, and I learned --
oh, how I learned! The information was flowing at an incredible
breakneck speed that probably would have burned me up if
it weren't for the extraordinary energy holding me.
The information came in, and then love neutralized my judgments
against myself. In other words, as we relived my life, God
never judged me. God held me and kept me together. I received
all information about every scene -- my perceptions and
feelings -- and anyone else's perceptions and feelings
who were in the scene. No matter how I judged myself in
each interaction, being held by God was the bigger interaction.
God interjected love into everything, every feeling, every
bit of information about absolutely everything that went
on, so that everything was all right. There was no good
and no bad. There was only me and my loved ones from this
life trying to be, or just trying to survive.
I realize now that without
this God force holding me, I wouldn't have had the strength
to experience what I am explaining to you.
I -- we at this
point, for we are one, a very sacred one -- God and I were
merging into one sacred person. We went to the baby I was
seeing to my upper left in the darkness. Picture the baby
being in a bubble and that bubble in the center of a cloud
of thousands and thousands of bubbles. In each bubble was
another scene in my life. As we moved toward the baby, it
was as though we were bobbing through the bubbles. At the
same time there was a linear sequence in which we relived
thirty-two years of my life. I could hear myself saying,
No wonder, no wonder. I now believe my no wonders meant
No wonder you are the way you are now. Look what was done
to you when you were a little girl.
My mother had been dependent
on drugs, angry, and abusive, and my father wasn't there
much of the time and did little to intervene. I saw all
this childhood trauma again, in my life review, but I didn't
see it in little bits and pieces, the way I had remembered
it as an adult. I saw and experienced it just as I had lived
it at the time it first happened. Not only was I me, I was
also my mother. And my dad. And my brother. We were all
one. Just as I had felt everything my grandmother had felt,
I now felt my mother's pain and neglect from her childhood.
She wasn't trying to be mean. She didn't know how
to be loving or kind. She didn't know how to love. She
didn't understand what life is really all about. And
she was still angry from her own childhood, angry because
they were poor and because her father had grand mal seizures
almost every day until he died when she was eleven. And
then she was angry because he left her.
Everything came flooding
back, including my father's helplessness at stopping
the insanity. If my father was home when my mother exploded
into one of her rages, he would close all the windows so
the neighbors wouldn't hear, and then he would go outside
and visit with them. Again I witnessed my brother's
rage at my mother's abuse, and then his turning around
and giving it to me. I saw how we were all connected in
this dance that started with my mother. I saw how her physical
body expressed her emotional pain. I watched as I grew up
and left my parents' house when I was eighteen. By that
point I had watched my mother undergo twenty-six operations,
twenty-five of which were elective. I saw myself as a child
praying for a doctor who could help my mother. One part
of her body or another was always in pain. She had two spinal
fusions on her neck, two or three on her lumbar spine. Both
knees, both elbows and one wrist were operated on.
As my life review continued,
I again experienced my mother starving herself because she
was told she had gotten chubby. Then she had to have several
surgeries for intestinal problems and constipation, and
during those stays in the hospital they would tube feed
her because she was so thin. She even had her toes shortened.
They called it hammertoe surgery. The real reason was because
she had a huge collection of high-heeled shoes that were
size four and one-half. (She always insisted on wearing
spike heels even with her bad back.) Her feet were growing
(as all of ours do as we get older) but she wanted them
to remain a size four and one-half. I watched myself with
her in a bubble as her orthopedic surgeon said, Florence,
you have two choices. Get shoes a half size bigger or shorten
your toes! He was laughing, but she chose the surgery. She
was in plaster casts for six weeks, taking even more painkillers
and sleeping pills.
I also saw her go through
psychiatric hospitalizations. During one of these, around
1955, I couldn't visit her for three weeks. I was about
eleven and was sure I had done something wrong. In one bubble
I could see myself finally being allowed to visit her. I
looked big for my age and my five-foot-two-inch frame towered
over her four-foot-eleven one. She weighed about eighty-eight
pounds. I was chunky. She lived on black coffee, sedatives,
painkillers and tranquilizers. I loved to eat.
In the bubble I was pleading
with her to cooperate with the doctors so she could come
home. She said, Oh, honey. This is like a job. I don't
need to be in here, but Daddy has three (health insurance)
policies so I make us money when I'm here. Blue Cross
pays all the medical expenses, and we get to keep the rest
from the other two policies. I could now feel her saying
that and she meant it. She believed it. I continued watching
and realized that nothing could have helped my mother because
she had no real understanding about why she was there. I
could hear myself saying, No wonder, no wonder. And then
the benevolent energy that was holding me would hold me
tighter and with even more love.
We continued watching my
mother in pain, always seeing doctors and always receiving
prescription pain killers, sleeping pills and tranquilizers.
My only feelings during this time were ones of loneliness.
I felt so alone when she was in the hospital. Then I watched
her abuse me when she was home. I could now feel that she
abused me because she hated herself. I saw myself down on
my knees by the side of my bed, praying for a doctor to
help my mother. What I didn't realize as a child, but
was understanding in the life review, was that she didn't
want anyone to help her. She thought her job in life was
to have doctors and be a patient. And she enjoyed being
taken care of in the hospital.
I saw how I had given up
myself in order to survive. I forgot that I was a child.
I became my mother's mother. I suddenly knew that my
mother had had the same thing happen to her in her childhood.
She took care of her father during his seizures, and as
a child she gave herself up to take care of him. As children,
she and I both became anything and everything others needed.
As my life review continued, I also saw my mother's
soul, how painful her life was, how lost she was. And I
saw my father, and how he put blinders on himself to avoid
his grief over my mother's pain and to survive. In my
life review I saw they were good people caught in helplessness.
I saw their beauty, their humanity and their needs that
had gone unattended to in their own childhoods. I loved
them and understood them. We may have been trapped, but
we were still souls connected in our dance of life by an
energy source that had created us.
This is when I first realized
that we don't end at our skin. We are all in this big
churning mass of consciousness. We are each a part of this
consciousness we call God. And we're not just human.
We are Spirit. We were Spirit before we came into this lifetime.
We are all struggling Spirits now, trying to get being human
right. And when we leave here, we will be pure Spirit again.
As my life review continued,
I got married and had my own children and saw that I was
on the edge of repeating the cycle of abuse and trauma that
I had experienced as a child. I was on prescription drugs.
I was in the hospital. I was becoming like my mother. And
at the same time, this energy holding me let me into its
experience of all this. I felt God's memories of these
scenes through God's eyes just as I had through my grandmother's
eyes. I could sense God's divine intelligence and it
was astonishing. God loves us and wants us to learn and
wake up to our real selves -- to what is important. I realized
that God wants us to know that we only experience real pain
if we die without living first. And the way to live is to
give love to ourselves and to others. We are here to learn
never to withhold our love. But only when we heal enough
to be real can we understand and give love the way love
was meant to be.
As my life unfolded before
my eyes, I witnessed how severely I had treated myself because
that was the behavior shown and taught to me as a child.
I realized that the only big mistake I had made in my life
of thirty-two years was that I had never learned to love
And then I was back, but
not in my body. I was behind the nurse's station. I
saw a metal circle with pillows tossing behind glass. They
were the pillows I had urinated on when I separated from
my body. I was watching them in a dryer.
I heard two nurses talking
about my case and about how my day nurse was so upset after
she found me that they had sent her home early. Then they
were saying that I was going to be in a body cast for six
months, even though they had told me six weeks, because
my doctors thought that I couldn't handle knowing. So
they were not going to tell me the truth.
Then I was back in my body,
back in the circle bed. The same two nurses came in to check
on me and I said to them, I left the bed again.
No, honey. You're hallucinating,
I was not on painkillers
at this point, so I insisted, No, I'm not hallucinating
[ii]. I left
No, you're hallucinating.
You can't leave the bed, they said.
Please call my day nurse
and tell her I'm okay, I responded. Tell her I'm
not angry with her. I know she was sent home early. And
don't lie to me by telling me I'm going to be in
a body cast for six weeks. Tell me the truth. I know I'm
going to be in a body cast for six months. And you should
have washed those pillows before you put them in the dryer.
I don't care for myself, but I care for the next patient.
Following My Heart
month after I came home from the hospital, my parents came
over to visit me. They had taken care of my children for
the month I was in the circle bed, so I understood why they
couldn't visit me in the hospital. However, I couldn't
understand why they weren't coming to my house. I spent
every day in bed. I weighed eighty-three pounds and the
body cast weighed thirty pounds. I wondered when they were
coming so I could tell them about my experience. Finally
they came, and I blurted out how much I loved them and that
everything that had happened to us was all right. I think
I even told them that I forgave them. They looked at me
like I was really strange and quickly left. After that,
I insisted on seeing a psychiatrist, hoping he would understand
what I had experienced. The doctor I saw didn't understand.
No one understood NDEs back then, so I realized that I couldn't
talk about it. I spent the six months in the body cast,
thinking about my NDE but not trying to tell anyone. Once
I was out of the cast and went through some physical therapy
to regain my strength, I decided to put the NDE away and
follow my heart.
First, I volunteered to work
in the emergency room of the hospital where I had been a
patient. I had many opportunities there to be with and touch
dying people. I felt real when I worked there. And everyone
else was real, too. In a setting where life and death are
on the edge every moment, only truth is spoken. My personal
life, however, was at the opposite end of the spectrum.
My husband, my friends and most family members were caught
up in their own games. No one seemed to be communicating
honestly. There was so much denial of feelings. I can't
deny that I too had been a part of it -- part of the materialism
and part of the numbness. But now I was different. It wasn't
their fault. I had changed. The only place I felt real besides
the hospital was on a college campus.
I became a respiratory therapist
working in the emergency room and the ICU, and my patients
were telling me about their experiences as they were dying.
And the ones who returned to their bodies told me about
their NDEs. I started writing about all this, in those days
calling my topic the emotional needs of critical-care patients.
Surprisingly, I was being invited to speak at professional
conferences and being published in respiratory therapy journals.
The emotional needs of patients was a new and hot topic
in healthcare in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Finally, I became a researcher
and could look for the answers I so longed to find. Because
my research was conducted at a university medical school,
all kinds of new knowledge were available to me. I could
frame and reframe not only the hundreds of experiences I
was studying, but also my own personal one. The story of
my NDE is in this book so we can have a foundation for the
way I participated in and describe the other stories you
are about to read.
Processing my Life Review
The NDE is never over if
we invite it to continue to affect us. It can continue to
grow in our lives if we nurture it. It continues to interpret
for us what we are doing here, what life may be all about.
Before my NDE and life review,
I knew I had been abused physically and emotionally by my
mother and neglected by both parents. I remembered most
everything. The problem was that those memories of abuse
did not arouse any emotional reactions in me. In order to
deal with the emotional and physical pain, I had numbed
myself not only as a child going through pain, but also
as an adult remembering it. I protected myself with my own
emotional Novocain, so I couldn't feel anything that
had happened in my childhood. Unfortunately, the numbness
continued in my adult life. Once I experienced my life review,
I could remove the Novocain from my past and re-glue the
pieces of my life together. I could begin to learn about
all the new feelings that were coming up.
Psychiatry calls emotional
Novocain psychic numbing. It is a common approach used by
children to get through painful times. Once we grow up we
have the choice of staying numb or remembering and working
though all those buried but painful numbed-out memories.
In my life review I also saw the beginnings of abuse in
the way I was reacting to my children. For me it wasn't
just a choice of numbness or healing. I needed to break
the chain of abuse. I needed to save my children from what
I had been through.
Starting to Wake Up
learned in my life review that the only thing that is real
is love, and the only way to share love is by being real.
Being real happens when we acknowledge our feelings and
continually share our truth. When we feel our feelings and
are real, we share our truth out of love. Then our relationship
with God and our self is healthy.
My parents and the rest of
my family and friends certainly weren't the exception
to the rule when it came to not understanding my new attitude.
I facilitated support groups for the
of Near-Death Studies (IANDS) for twelve years and the
biggest problem NDErs talk about is that no one understands
us. We experience a profound change in our values and attitudes
and need to talk about it in a support group. It is as though
we had lived our lives in black and white and were suddenly
shown colors. We no longer fear death. And this is just
the first of many paradoxes: Because we don't fear death,
we don't fear living. We love life in a whole new way.
We are more willing to take risks to help others. We work
with the dying because we get as much as we give by helping.
Our research also shows that
a history of childhood trauma, abuse and neglect is more
frequent among NDErs than among the control group. Many
people I have interviewed who have had an NDE came from
an abusive childhood steeped in addiction. We all have the
same story. We talk about how every time our parents started
drinking or taking pills . . . they were gone. Even if their
bodies were still there, they were gone. And so we grew
up numb. Because our parents had numbed out, so did we.
But our NDEs brought us back. They reminded us of who we
are. And to maintain our real selves we have to learn to
feel our feelings, share our truth and give our love. I
wrote in detail about the childhood abuse factor in my last
Spiritual Awakenings. Childhood abuse or trauma has
always been of interest to me because of my own history,
and because I hear about it so often in support groups or
when I give talks. Now it has been demonstrated statistically
in the research [iii].
I also wrote in
Spiritual Awakenings that we should not blame anyone,
but instead we should break the chains of abuse. When we
die -- if we re-experience our lives from everyone else's
perspective as well as our own -- there is only information
and feelings, perceptions and knowledge. We really can't
judge or blame others because we suddenly understand from
where we and everyone else is coming. We only judge here
in this earthly reality. Over there, with God, I was just
learning about this. The knowledge of what had happened
was pouring into me, and I was saying my no wonders! over
and over again. I came to believe that God doesn't judge
but wants us to learn so we won't make the same mistakes
again. My experiences showed me that God wants us to extend
love, not fear. If I can understand my childhood, and I
can name, express and let go of the emotions I have held
in since I was a little girl, I won't repeat my past.
My parents repeated their pasts because they didn't
know any better. Before my NDE and my life review, the old
way of conflict and numbness controlled me. Suddenly, I
was catapulted out of time and embraced by a whole different
way. Just as fast, I was back here wanting to forge new
ground. I have had a great opportunity and now I want to
share it. But I don't blame, and I certainly don't
want to judge anyone, including my parents.
And now, almost twenty-three
years later, my parents have died -- my dad in late 1992
and my mom in early 1994. My life review had set the scene
for the way I helped my father die and the way I observed
my mother die. In fact, my life review, what I learned in
it and, even more importantly, what I experienced in it
-- that a divine energy connects all of us -- have since
orchestrated all my relationships. With each person I have
attended in the dying process, I have also witnessed this
spiritual energy. I have given talks for hundreds of hospice
workers, and almost everyone agrees that this energy is
present. Hospice workers often tell me their stories of
God's loving energy being present during a client's
In all of the stories in
this book, I feel connected to this energy through my heart.
The prayer within my heart is constant and is the background
music orchestrating my experiences. When we are connected
to God's loving energy, it is the most powerful force
in the universe.
-- Chapter One excerpt from
Barbara's book Final Passage
All content copyright 2003,
2004 Barbara Harris Whitfield.
All rights reserved.
Used by permission.
I gave up was my old ineffective and even ignorant belief
A Course in Miracles calls the ego, and which is also
called the false self by Charles Whitfield and the self-psychologists.
are usually experiences of seeing things or hearing voices
that are really not there, in this reality. We will see
something scary, for example, in the physical space we are
in. By contrast, near-death and other transcendent experiences
happen in other realities or dimensions. We may begin here,
but the experience quickly moves to other realities. Also,
hallucinations are usually agitating and often transient
in memory, whereas transcendent or near-death experiences
are usually peaceful and benevolent, and we do not forget
Kenneth Ring and C. Rosing,
The Omega Project, The
Journal of Near-Death
Studies 8, no. 4 (1990): 211239, and B. Whitfield,
Spiritual Awakenings: Insights of the Near-Death Experience
and Other Doorways to Our Soul (Deerfield Beach, Fla.:
Health Communications, 1995).
"God has a dream
and the dream comes true each time one of
us awakens." - Barbara Harris Whitfield
Copyright 2007 Near-Death Experiences &