Bill Walker

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By: Bill Walker
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An essay about the book, Life After Life, by Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D.


Bill Walker

Part 1

The book, Life after Life, strives to draw the attention and interest of the reader to the phenomenon of life after death and what, if anything may exist beyond physical death. Is there another plain of consciousness just beyond our veiled reality? Or, when we die, is it just lights out for all of eternity?

It does not matter what, religion, race, or social class you come from, we all share two common life elements. First, a biological birth, and second, an equally biological cease to all body functions, otherwise known as death. The book follows a wide range of beliefs, feelings, and practices. A few examples of these would be philosophy, psychology, theology, and medicine. But even when all of these beliefs and practices are combined the individual is left with little more then his or her own personal convictions when dealing with a subject as shrouded as death. This usually leaves the individual searching to find a social group or system of beliefs that he or she feels most comfortable with.

The author offers support, almost entirely through interviews, to the theory of life after life, but unfortunately very little factual evidence. (When this book was written the subject was so new that no one really had a clue of how to document this experience. Luckily, this is changing with many modern advances that have taken place since.) At several points throughout the book the author stresses that all of his information is second hand, and that there is little if any practical process for obtaining information on this subject, at this time. (Fortunately things have changed a great deal since then. This book was written in 1975.)

Dr Moodys most promising attempt of offering some basis to the theory of life after life comes near the end of the book. Here, he tries to expel some of the more common explanations for the near death phenomenon, by finding the weaknesses of these explanations. (Even decades later, these weaknesses are still debated throughout the medical establishment.) For example, one explanation states that the brain could be experiencing the effects of a lack of oxygen, thus causing the mind to create a hallucinated climax. However, in many of these cases there wasnt any physiological stress of the required type for this experience to take place. In other words, there was no lack of oxygen to the brain for the amount of time that it would take for this to occur. Another explanation given was that most of these patients were sick and hospitalized, and most likely on some sort of drug therapy program at the time of this experience. Once again, the hypothesis given was that this caused a hallucination or vivid dream. But, as before, when many of these patients charts were evaluated, many were not only, not taking any drugs known for hallucinogenic side effects, many werent on any drug therapy at all during their hospitalization. Dr. Moody then goes onto provide a very interesting, and in my opinion most convincing, set of parallels. One parallel of many from, The Bible, that may refer to life after death, and near death experiences is, Isaiah 26:19.

Thy dead shall live together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye shall dwell in dust for the earth shall cast out the dead.

In most of the cases studied those experiencing this phenomenon talked of first rising in the air while also hearing music that was comforting and yet almost foreign to them and being flooded with feelings of rejoice. And finally almost all of these people had feelings of no longer being of this earth.

What I personally find even more remarkable then the passages from, The Bible, were the similarities found in, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, a book that was written around the eighth century from beliefs that had been passed down from generation to generation of sages. This book describes a set of stages, including out of body travel by the soul, that are experienced after death. These stages have an almost uncanny similarity to the stages described to Dr. Moody from people who, almost certainly, had never read or even heard of such a book.

Bill Walker
07/22/11 04:39:45PM @bill-walker:
I'll add part 2 tomorrow, Saturday.

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