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Death-Related Experiences
Record Type: Review   ID: 919

The Eternal Journey: How Near-Death Experiences Illuminate Our Earthly Lives

Lundahl, Craig R., & Widdison, Harold A.

Melvin Morse, in the foreword, expresses the meat of this book in a few words: It is about what NDEs "teach us [about] what it is like to die, and in turn, how to fully live" (pp. xx). Although the authors provide what may be the most thorough description of NDEs and the NDE process to date, based on a reading not only of the cases they have collected but hundreds of cases collected by others, their primary aim is to study the import and implications of NDEs. NDEs do not only change the lives of those who experience them; secondarily, through reading about them they can also enlighten those who have not had an NDE. This is no armchair exercise. They quote Melvin Morse, who stated that "so many of society’s problems—drug addiction, depression, the chaos and despair of inner cities, and the environmental disasters we are inflicting upon ourselves—speak to the lack of understanding that all of life is interconnected and with purpose" (pp. 11-12). That we are interconnected and that our lives can be filled with meaning and purpose is what NDEs, and I will add, other types of EHEs, can show us.

Lundahl and Widdison extend the NDE process beyond the bounds described in most earlier works. They describe the period of life before birth and its activities and purposes. The next chapter is devoted to life on earth and its purposes. Then the authors show "how death is a transition from earth life into a past-earth life" (pp. 12-13), as indicated by published NDE accounts. The last 9 chapters are devoted to what NDE research reveals about various aspects of life after death. The points covered are extensively illustrated by quotations from NDE accounts of the afterlife. Chapter 15 discusses how pre-earth life, earth life, and post-earth life are interconnected. The final chapter reviews all the research findings in the preceding chapters and their significance for the human species as a whole as well as for all individual humans. This panoramic survey of the circle of life and death should provide ample pointers to meaning and purpose to educate many readers concerning why they should live intentional, purposeful lives instead of indulging in the world-destructive lack of reverence for life that is so prevalent today. It should also motivate those who are already living intentionally to deepen their involvement, taking it to new depths and heights of the conscious expression of our basic connectedness and awareness of the never-ending levels of meaning that we can personally discover and share with others and act in small ways that can make potentially momentous changes in the well being of earth and all its creatures.

Publisher Information:New York: Warner Books, 1997. Pp. ix + 294. Chapnotes: 272-288; Ind: 291-294
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