They are known literally by describing the posthumous journey in the Tibetan Book of the Dead or from a book that introduces us to the posthumous journey in the form of "Letters to a Dying Friend" /Grosz, 2001/. Research by Moody and Keneth Ring is significant. They are important, among other things, because they were the first available literature to bring transpersonal psychology to our country.
In our culture, we get a description of experiences mostly from people who have gone through clinical death and come back. In their narrative, there are regularly consistent elements of the journey, an experience of perception of what is happening as an observer, an experience of dual reality, and a gradual tendency to be drawn into the other associated with disconnection from the physical body, and life to date, and in response to the question of whether it is a good time to die or not, the decision to go back.
The experience itself generally transforms man in terms of a greater appreciation of life, greater interest and openness and love for others, while their interest in personal status and material wealth is diminishing. Most of those who have returned have a higher spiritual dimension, a deeper sense, a deeper meaning in life in their lives (see Ring, 1984).
Their crisis can be triggered by the fact that their view of everything around them changes quite fundamentally, while their surroundings remain the same as before their experience. Help consists of giving the possibility to share openly. The integration of the experience into everyday life can be hampered by often strongly positive emotions associated with what they "experienced" there.
Additional information about this category /quotes from the book: Grof, Stanislav. Grof, Christina. Crisis of spiritual development. Prague: Chvojka Publishing, 1999. ISBN 80-86183-09-2/
World mythology, folklore, and spiritual literature contain many vivid descriptions of experiences associated with death and dying. The entire sacred texts were devoted solely to a detailed account of the man's afterlife: the Tibetan and Egyptian Book of the Dead and their European counterpart, Ars Moriendi (The Art of Dying).
In the past, Western science has disregarded this "funeral mythology" as a figment of fantasy and imagination of the non-educated.
But the situation changed radically after Raymond Moody's bestseller Life after Life was released, scientifically confirming that dying could become a fantastic transpersonal adventure.
His report was based on the testimony of 150 people who had experienced a death encounter - in many cases, they were declared clinically dead - but regained consciousness and told their experiences.
Moody has described that people with near-death experience have often seen a colorful, incredibly condensed record of their entire lives, a vivid overview lasting a few seconds. Under these circumstances, consciousness can detach itself from the body and float freely over the whole scene, observing it with curiosity or disinterested amusement; wander to different distant places.
Many described the journey through a dark tunnel or funnel leading to the light of supernatural brightness and splendor, to a divine being emanating infinite, embracing love, forgiveness, and unconditional acceptance. In a personal conversation, perceived as meeting God, they were instructed about the meaning of existence, its universal laws, and were given the opportunity to evaluate their past against these new criteria. Then they decided to return to everyday reality and a new way of life in accordance with recognized principles.
In only one of these documented cases, the attending physician was familiar with the characteristics of the near-death experience, which is very striking, especially considering that the medical profession is dealing with death and dying today and every day. Since the first edition of Life after Life, there have been many popular books and other studies on the subject: they have all confirmed Moody's observations and have received considerable public media attention.
Experiences of near-death often trigger spiritual crises as they drastically change the notions of reality among those who go through them. These completely unexpected events are a surprise: car accident during rush hour or a heart attack while jogging in a few seconds can throw their protagonists into a fantastic visionary adventure that shred to pieces the world of daily reality.
As we have noted, after these experiences many people get a spiritual insight into the existence, values of life and revelation goals they received in a near-death state, and undergo a transformation characteristic of all successfully completed spiritual crises. Thanks to the recent dissemination of new information in the books of Raymond Moody and others, individuals who will be in close contact with death in the future will more likely be better prepared for these challenging experiences.