“… these experiences humanise us.”

Just recently I was chatting with one of the presenters from the IANDS conference, at which I was also a featured speaker, who had spoken about the topic of shared near-death experiences.  Even though I’ve had several of these myself with both my father and my husband, I had not come across the publicising of the concept before, so was fascinated both by his work and by his own lived experience of the phenomena.

As researchers do, we talked about our research, our lived experience, and the impact of the phenomena we studied on ourselves and on our lives.  I told him that my research evidenced the fact that after-death contact humanises the experient; he liked that, not having heard such an interpretation before.    And the reason for that lay in the meaning that people drew from the subjective experience of their after-death contact, which also evidenced shared commonalities.

The impact of after-death contact challenges how we define and understand ourselves as human beings, how we define and understand ourselves as spiritual beings, and how, ultimately, we live in our social and cultural worlds.  It can shape or redefine previously held spiritual beliefs as it can awaken us to the reality of an afterlife, and to the understanding that death as an event in our lives represents a profound transformation enabling individuals to live as a spiritual being in the spiritual universe.

In reflecting on after-death contact, and shared-death experiences, it seems to me that the teaching being conveyed in such events is that physical death does not end or define an individual’s existence, and that death is actually a permeable barrier between material and non-material reality.

(CDMA, https://unsplash.com/photos/Sqo3LG0pMJM)

Michele T Knight Written by:

Dr Michele Knight is a Social Worker, Social Scientist, researcher and independent scholar. Her interest and research in the end-of-life has its origin in the lived experiences of her own bereavements, her near-death and shared-death events, the returning deceased and attitudinal responses to those experiences. Since 2006, she has been extensively involved in community development, support and advocacy in both a professional and community services/voluntary capacity in the areas of bereavement and grief, hospital pastoral care, and academic lecturing/tutoring. Her PhD, Ways of Being: The alchemy of bereavement and communique, explores the lived experience of bereavement, grief, spirituality and unsought encounters with the returning deceased.

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