Reincarnation? Shared near death experiences?
Like most pioneers, scientist and medical doctor Raymond Moody is a maverick. Having the chance to hear Dr. Moody present his theories on the “shared near death experience”, his latest area of interest, was too good to resist, so I attended a two-day “Final Passages” conference hosted by Promega in Madison, WI.
Likely Dr. Moody is most famous in psychological circles as the originator of the (now common) expression “Near Death Experience”, which he put into print at about the same time Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was outlining her theory about the five stages of grief.
More recently, Moody’s book, Life After Life, was made into a movie of the same name.
The World Humanitarian Award winner is still writing, working as a counselor, and researching new ideas. He's most fascinated with the idea of shared near death experiences. He explained to me one particular component of the near death experience — the “nonsense”-speak of the dying as if in greeting to visitors from another plane of existence — those loved ones who died before them. He’s identified eight or so different types of nonsense speech, and while we enjoyed dessert, he offered very interesting examples of them over dessert.
Dessert? Yes! It was my THRILL to be able to snap up a dinner invite to learn from the master. He’s been my secret mentor (a secret only to him) for more than 30 years, particularly when I was establishing myself as a grief counselor and police crisis interventionist.
In 2010, Dr. Moody published Glimpses of Eternity which describes the shared death experience, in which people who gathered at the bedside of a dying loved one later describe events they witnessed. It is the first book to suggest the phenomenon. In it, he describes deathbed moments when entire families see the now-famous “bright light”, or they all swear that they saw the room change shape. The life-review, once believed to be a very private event and possibly the brain’s way of preparing for death, seems now to possibly be an external, sharable event. Family members later recount things they could never have discovered by another means.
Moody is obviously a brilliant man and he firmly believes in reincarnation (thinks he’s had nine previous lives). Presently, I’m reading his book Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife (2012), and I find he's still my mentor (and now he knows it, too).