Saturday, April 16, 2011

Who's Minding The Mind?

  In a recent experiment, psychologists at Yale altered people’s judgments of a stranger by handing them a cup of coffee.The study participants, college students, had no idea that their social instincts were being deliberately manipulated. On the way to the laboratory, they had bumped into a laboratory assistant, who was holding textbooks, a clipboard, papers and a cup of hot or iced coffee — and asked for a hand with the cup. That was all it took: The students who held a cup of iced coffee rated a hypothetical person they later read about as being much colder, less social and more selfish than did their fellow students, who had momentarily held a cup of hot java.
Findings like this one, as improbable as they seem, have poured forth in psychological research over the last few years. New studies have found that people tidy up more thoroughly when there’s a faint tang of cleaning liquid in the air; they become more competitive if there’s a briefcase in sight, or more cooperative if they glimpse words like “dependable” and “support” — all without being aware of the change, or what prompted it.Psychologists say that “priming” people in this way is not some form of hypnotism, or even subliminal seduction; rather, it’s a demonstration of how everyday sights, smells and sounds can selectively activate goals or motives that people already have.
More fundamentally, the new studies reveal a subconscious brain that is far more active, purposeful and independent than previously known. Goals, whether to eat, mate or devour an iced latte, are like neural software programs that can only be run one at a time, and the unconscious is perfectly capable of running the program it chooses.
The give and take between these unconscious choices and our rational, conscious aims can help explain some of the more mystifying realities of behavior, like how we can be generous one moment and petty the next, or act rudely at a dinner party when convinced we are emanating charm. “When it comes to our behavior from moment to moment, the big question is, ‘What to do next?’ ” said John A. Bargh, a professor of psychology at Yale and a co-author, with Lawrence Williams, of the coffee study, which was presented at a recent psychology conference. “Well, we’re finding that we have these unconscious behavioral guidance systems that are continually furnishing suggestions through the day about what to do next, and the brain is considering and often acting on those, all before conscious awareness.”
Dr. Bargh added: “Sometimes those goals are in line with our conscious intentions and purposes, and sometimes they’re not.”

Priming the Unconscious

The idea of subliminal influence has a mixed reputation among scientists because of a history of advertising hype and apparent fraud. In 1957, an ad man named James Vicary claimed to have increased sales of Coca-Cola and popcorn at a movie theater in Fort Lee, N.J., by secretly flashing the words “Eat popcorn” and “Drink Coke” during the film, too quickly to be consciously noticed. But advertisers and regulators doubted his story from the beginning, and in a 1962 interview, Mr. Vicary acknowledged that he had trumped up the findings to gain attention for his business.
Later studies of products promising subliminal improvement, for things like memory and self-esteem, found no effect.
Some scientists also caution against overstating the implications of the latest research on priming unconscious goals. The new research “doesn’t prove that consciousness never does anything,” wrote Roy Baumeister, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, in an e-mail message. “It’s rather like showing you can hot-wire a car to start the ignition without keys. That’s important and potentially useful information, but it doesn’t prove that keys don’t exist or that keys are useless.”Yet he and most in the field now agree that the evidence for psychological hot-wiring has become overwhelming. In one 2004 experiment, psychologists led by Aaron Kay, then at Stanford University and now at the University of Waterloo, had students take part in a one-on-one investment game with another, unseen player.
Half the students played while sitting at a large table, at the other end of which was a briefcase and a black leather portfolio. These students were far stingier with their money than the others, who played in an identical room, but with a backpack on the table instead. The mere presence of the briefcase, noticed but not consciously registered, generated business-related associations and expectations, the authors argue, leading the brain to run the most appropriate goal program: compete. The students had no sense of whether they had acted selfishly or generously.

In another experiment, published in 2005, Dutch psychologists had undergraduates sit in a cubicle and fill out a questionnaire. Hidden in the room was a bucket of water with a splash of citrus-scented cleaning fluid, giving off a faint odor. After completing the questionnaire, the young men and women had a snack, a crumbly biscuit provided by laboratory staff members.

The real-world evidence for these unconscious effects is clear to anyone who has ever run out to the car to avoid the rain and ended up driving too fast, or rushed off to pick up dry cleaning and returned with wine and cigarettes — but no pressed slacks.
The brain appears to use the very same neural circuits to execute an unconscious act as it does a conscious one. In a study that appeared in the journal Science in May, a team of English and French neuroscientists performed brain imaging on 18 men and women who were playing a computer game for money. The players held a handgrip and were told that the tighter they squeezed when an image of money flashed on the screen, the more of the loot they could keep.
As expected, the players squeezed harder when the image of a British pound flashed by than when the image of a penny did — regardless of whether they consciously perceived the pictures, many of which flew by subliminally. But the circuits activated in their brains were similar as well: an area called the ventral pallidum was particularly active whenever the participants responded.
“This area is located in what used to be called the reptilian brain, well below the conscious areas of the brain,” said the study’s senior author, Chris Frith, a professor in neuropsychology at University College London who wrote the book “Making Up The Mind: How the Brain Creates our Mental World.”
The results suggest a “bottom-up” decision-making process, in which the ventral pallidum is part of a circuit that first weighs the reward and decides, then interacts with the higher-level, conscious regions later, if at all, Dr. Frith said.
Scientists have spent years trying to pinpoint the exact neural regions that support conscious awareness, so far in vain. But there’s little doubt it involves the prefrontal cortex, the thin outer layer of brain tissue behind the forehead, and experiments like this one show that it can be one of the last neural areas to know when a decision is made.
This bottom-up order makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. The subcortical areas of the brain evolved first and would have had to help individuals fight, flee and scavenge well before conscious, distinctly human layers were added later in evolutionary history. In this sense, Dr. Bargh argues, unconscious goals can be seen as open-ended, adaptive agents acting on behalf of the broad, genetically encoded aims — automatic survival systems.
In several studies, researchers have also shown that, once covertly activated, an unconscious goal persists with the same determination that is evident in our conscious pursuits. Study participants primed to be cooperative are assiduous in their teamwork, for instance, helping others and sharing resources in games that last 20 minutes or longer. Ditto for those set up to be aggressive.
This may help explain how someone can show up at a party in good spirits and then for some unknown reason — the host’s loafers? the family portrait on the wall? some political comment? — turn a little sour, without realizing the change until later, when a friend remarks on it. “I was rude? Really? When?”
Mark Schaller, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, has done research showing that when self-protective instincts are primed — simply by turning down the lights in a room, for instance — white people who are normally tolerant become unconsciously more likely to detect hostility in the faces of black men with neutral expressions.
“Sometimes nonconscious effects can be bigger in sheer magnitude than conscious ones,” Dr. Schaller said, “because we can’t moderate stuff we don’t have conscious access to, and the goal stays active.”
Until it is satisfied, that is, when the program is subsequently suppressed, research suggests. In one 2006 study, for instance, researchers had Northwestern University undergraduates recall an unethical deed from their past, like betraying a friend, or a virtuous one, like returning lost property. Afterward, the students had their choice of a gift, an antiseptic wipe or a pencil; and those who had recalled bad behavior were twice as likely as the others to take the wipe. They had been primed to psychologically “cleanse” their consciences.
Once their hands were wiped, the students became less likely to agree to volunteer their time to help with a graduate school project. Their hands were clean: the unconscious goal had been satisfied and now was being suppressed, the findings suggest.

What You Don’t Know

Using subtle cues for self-improvement is something like trying to tickle yourself, Dr. Bargh said: priming doesn’t work if you’re aware of it. Manipulating others, while possible, is dicey. “We know that as soon as people feel they’re being manipulated, they do the opposite; it backfires,” he said. And researchers do not yet know how or when, exactly, unconscious drives may suddenly become conscious; or under which circumstances people are able to override hidden urges by force of will. Millions have quit smoking, for instance, and uncounted numbers have resisted darker urges to misbehave that they don’t even fully understand.
Yet the new research on priming makes it clear that we are not alone in our own consciousness. We have company, an invisible partner who has strong reactions about the world that don’t always agree with our own, but whose instincts, these studies clearly show, are at least as likely to be helpful, and attentive to others, as they are to be disruptive.

This was first published by Benedict Carey in July of 2007. I found it so fascinating I reprinted it for you to read. I wanted to find an example of the difference between the brain and the mind. Although they are considered one in the same, you will understand why I find the difference of the two the reasons for some of the strange things that I have experienced in my life. I hope you enjoy it as much as I.    theblogmeister

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Human Brain

   The human brain is a mysterious and almost uncharted realm. Despite the many technological advances and discoveries human beings have made, the human brain is still a mystifying entity. It is the most complex of most organs, the most powerful among them, as well. So many questions regarding the human brain are still left unanswered. We sometimes underestimate the power of the human brain, of the many potentials and capabilities it can do. Human brain power is almost impossible to describe and discern. What is it really, and how important is it to human beings?
  Brain power is the source of a person's intelligence, talents and potentials which is hardwired into one's brain. It has the power to do millions of things: it has the power to learn a language, perceive right from wrong, assess beauty and remember thousands of things all at the same time.How powerful is human brain power really? It is almost impossible to answer that question, but the closest estimation may be that of a supercomputer.
To improve brain power, we must have a general understanding of how our brains work. Our brains are built for novelty. Learning new skills and information is actually fun for our brains. But once the novelty of a certain stimulus becomes familiar, we tend to become bored and treat we begin to treat that a certain stimulus as a routine. This can be explained by a learning pattern that we humans learned long ago through habituation. For our complex minds, once a certain activity becomes a regiment, it simply isn't fun anymore.
  We can learn the different ways on how to use our mentality properly through Mind Power Training. The popularity of the brain's ability is now as powerful and as in demand as the training itself. There are many different training programs we can find from a lot of resources. Learning these will help us control our life. If we would learn the different techniques of brain power, we will be able to get what we want. It is much easier to fulfill our goals now if we get to learn how to use the abilities of our mind.
  What can our mind powers actually do? There are a lot of things about our mind that we have yet to be discovered. Many researches have been conducted and some hypotheses were already proven. The brain is the main control center of our body. It has the capacity to do many things. It controls our body and directs us what the body should be doing.
  The brain power that we humans possess is one of the most helpful and formidable tools at our disposal. No other animal has the potential to achieve the things that the human mind has created. Paintings, musical compositions, computers, and automobiles are just some of the things that we take for granted but would not have had we been, well, dumber. We only have a few genetic differences from apes, but that difference gives us Einstein, Mozart, and Shakespeare.The performance measure of the brain goes up to millions of suspended point operations per second. Certainly computers can do faster computation and mathematics than humans, but this does not make them any more superior to the human brain. For starters, the computer brain is mainly computational and operational, which acts on a task that they were programmed for. The human brain is cognitive, built primarily for the purpose of learning. In terms of other factors such as psychology and physiology, no one does it better than the human brain. Of course, brain power varies from person to person.
  There are a lucky few who are blessed with supernatural memory and extraordinary intellectual abilities. True, there are some who are born with superior intellectual abilities, but it doesn't mean that the rest of the human population cannot develop or awaken one's brain potential. Superior brain power does not depend on one's brain structure, inheritance of intellect from parents, or more. Rather, it is on learning how to tap your brain's unlimited potential and capabilities into activation or dormancy.
  Most people assume that human brain power decreases and wanes as one gets older. They just assume that this 'weakness' of brain power is a natural part of aging, but this isn't exactly the case. There are many ways to keep your brain alert and sharp even at a much older age. Fend off forgetfulness and memory loss by practicing simple brain techniques regularly. One technique to maintain brain power is to by learning a lot of things you previously do not know. Learn a new language, take up a new skill or hobby, and enroll yourself to a new course. By learning something new, your brain creates new neuron connections and stimulates the brain. Another technique is by challenging one's mind. Keep your mind active by performing mental tasks everyday. If you want to improve on a talent or ability, repeat and practice over and over many times a day to strengthen one's mind. Lastly, maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise to improve brain power.
  Brain injury can sometimes cause permanent changes in physical abilities, behavior and cognition. These changes are related to the area of the brain that is injured. The following outlines some of the common changes in behavior that may occur as a result of brain injury.

Frontal Lobe Brain Injury:


Difficulty performing tasks in sequence

Decreased spontaneity in interactions with others

Inability to think flexibly

Perseveration (a persistent single thought)

Problems with attendance (focusing on task)

Mood lability (changes in mood)

Social behavior changes

Personality changes

Decreased ability to problem solve

Brocas aphasia (difficulty expressing language)

Parietal Lobe Brain Injury:

Inability to pay attention to more than one object simultaneously

Anomia (inability to give an object its appropriate name)

Agraphia (inability to find the appropriate words for writing)

Alexia (difficulty reading)

Difficulty drawing objects

Difficulty in distinguishing left from right

Dyscalculia (difficulty in performing math activities)

Apraxia (lack of awareness of surrounding space or body parts)

Inability to focus attention visually

Decreased hand/eye coordination

Occipital Lobe Brain Injury:

Visual defects

Difficulty in finding objects in the environment

Color agnosia (difficulty differentiating colors)


Illusions (seeing objects inaccurately)

Difficulty recognizing words (word blindness)

Inability to recognize objects that are drawn

Movement agnosia (difficulty in recognizing an objects movement)

Deceased ability to write and read

Temporal Lobe Brain Injury:

Prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces)

Wernickes aphasia (inability to comprehend spoken words)

Difficulty recognizing objects

Short term memory loss

Difficulty remembering long term effects

Increased/decreased sexual interest

Persistent talking (only in damage to right temporal lobe)

Increased aggression

Brain Stem Injury:

Difficulty breathing/dependence on mechanical ventilation

Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)

Balance/movement problems


Sleep difficulties

Cerebellum Brain Injury:

In coordination of fine movements

Inability to walk



Inability to change directions rapidly

Slurred speech

Sometimes it can be difficult to sort out symptoms related to brain injury and symptoms which may be due to other factors that may be affecting the patient, such as use of medications, the loss of employment, financial stressors, ongoing legal issues, personal relationship issues and other health problems.

I thought it would be important since I am talking so much about the brain that I should give a little lesson on how our brain works.        theblogmeister

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Brain or The Mind: What's The Difference?

The brain is a structure with billions of cells that communicate with each other by means of neurotransmitters. It is made up of different sections that are responsible for certain duties. The brain learns more information in the first 3 to 4 years than it does its entire life. There is so much the medical profession has learned about the physiology and how the brain can re-learn to take up the slack if another portion is damaged. I have read a story of a child with a traumatic brain injury that required an hemispherectomy. That is a complete removal of half of the brain. Sounds like a death sentence, to me. What they found was remarkable. The half that remained learned to do the work of the missing portion of the brain. That is incredible. When there is a traumatic brain injury doctors now are able to surgically repair the trauma. The mind is something totally different. What makes someone a sociopath? Someone that has no conscious, whatsoever. Psychiatrists are spending time interviewing mass murderers to find out why their brain does not work like a normal individual. Personally, I believe the difference lies in the mind. My brain works as good as the average bear. I may have some memory problems due to my lifestyle at an early age. Other than that, it works okay. I cannot say that about my mind. At age eleven when I was told by a voice inside my head to skip school I saved my mothers life. When I called the plant that my dad worked the operator asked me for his extension. That same voice told me that my dad worked at extension 36. Now, if I would have been told beforehand the extension of my dad that would be the work of my brain. Retrieving information that I had been told would be the job of my brain. Making statements that I had no idea where they had come from was the work of my mind. I do not believe in fortune tellers or palm readers, that is just a money making scam. However, there has been many things that have happened in my life that defies logic. Webster defines logic as a system or principles of reasoning applicable to any branch of knowledge. Things that my mind has done has no principle of reason. That is the key word: reason. Now, check this out. Webster defines the mind as the totality of conscious and unconscious mental processes and activities. That is totally different than the brain. What is an unconscious brain? It is damn near coma, to me. So, my problem is what is responsible for knowing things I had not even heard? Hell, at eleven years old I didn't know an extension from extraction. I do, know, because I learned it in school. How did I know it at eleven? Something else that happened to me at a later age when I was thirty and had some knowledge, wasn't a dumb ass. My best friend and brother was killed in a car wreck. A couple days after he died something woke me up and my brother was standing at the foot of my bed. He looked a lot better than when I saw him in the ER after he died. I was not dreaming. I have had a lot of problems with nightmares because of my PTSD, so, I know when I am dreaming or not. This was most definitely a not. He stood there and told me to tell mom and dad that he was okay and happy, for them not to worry. Go back and read those two definitions. Which does it fit? Exactly, the mind. I know there is a difference and I will talk more about this at a later date. Thankx            theblogmeister

Monday, April 11, 2011

Incidence and Causes of the Near-Death Experience and Life Review Among the Elderly and Non-Elderly


One-hundred and seven elderly and non-elderly participants were recruited from the university setting and the senior setting. Questionnaires were filled out which examined the near-death experience (NDE) and life review. A Fisher exact test indicated no significant differences in the incidence of the NDE between the elderly and non-elderly. A small sample size did not allow for a statistical analysis of the incidence of the life review and the rate of onset of the NDE among the elderly and non-elderly. However, tentative speculation was made about the eight reported NDEs. In future research, either a recruiting method should be employed or a larger sample should be drawn.

Proposal for Incidence and Causes of the Near-Death Experience and Life Review among the Elderly and Non-Elderly

The near-death experience (NDE) has been around for centuries. Famous figures such as St. Paul and Gregory the Great have captured the public’s attention with accounts of what it is like on the other side (Zaleski, 1987). Much of the recent interest in the NDE began following Raymond Moody’s (1975) book, Life After Life, which described the phenomenon that people frequently experience when coming close to dying based on about fifty people who were interviewed in great detail. Through these case studies, Moody found anecdotal evidence that humans survive bodily death (Moody, 1975).
Soon, other researchers wanted to validate Moody’s work with more scientific approaches. One such researcher was Kenneth Ring. Describing many of the same stages that Moody did, he described the “core experience” of the NDE in five stages including peace and a sense of well-being, body separation, entering the darkness, seeing the light, and entering the light (Ring, 1980). However, not all NDEs follow that exact pattern. Some NDEs skip stages and certain aspects can be quite distinct from the typical NDE (Serdahely, 1989; 1995). Additionally, the core experiences do not occur with equal frequency. In one study, sixty percent experienced the “peace” stage while only ten percent “entered the light” (Ring, 1980). Other characteristics of the NDE include a sense of timelessness, a sense of death, and ineffability when trying to describe it (Sabom, 1982).
The NDE is defined as: “An altered state of consciousness occurring during an episode of unconsciousness resulting from severe trauma or other life-threatening condition, in which a series of well-defined characteristics are present. It is identified by self-report on a questionnaire using standard questions and by content analysis of anecdotal data using the Near-Death Experience Scale (NDES) (Greyson, 1983b) with a score of seven as an indication of a near-death experience” (Olson & Dulaney, 1993).
The life review is defined as: “a naturally occurring reminiscence; may be formalized into an intervention designed to assist the elderly to achieve ego integrity or may occur in other contexts, such as a near-death experience” (Olson & Dulaney, 1993). One question from the NDES, “Did scenes from your past come back to you?” was used to determine if a life review was present. If the participant indicated that they had remembered many past events or their past had flashed before them, out of their control, they were considered to have had a life review.
Ring (1980) found the life review to be a relatively common phenomenon that occurred in about twenty-five percent of his sample. Other studies have found this percentage to be as low as three percent (Sabom, 1982) and as high as over fifty percent (Atwater, 1994).
Life review in a non-NDE context has been found to be therapeutic. For example, people who reminisce have a better self-concept of themselves and their past (Lewis, 1971). Those who reminisce have also been shown to have higher morale than those who don’t (Coleman, 1986).
Erik Erikson’s final stage in human development is ego integrity vs. despair. In it, the integration of self becomes a goal for those in their final stage of life (Erikson, 1950).
The life review occurs more in the aged during life because of an older person’s actual nearness to death, because an older person is retired and has more time for self-reflection, and “the customary defensive operation provided by work has been removed” (Butler, 1963).
Two common theories of the NDE are a psychological explanation and a physiological explanation. Proponents of the psychological explanation believe that the threat of imminent death is so great that the NDEer is forced to depersonalize and create a story as a defense mechanism to help them cope with the trauma of nearly dying (Noyes & Kletti, 1977). Adherents of the physiological explanation maintain that the phenomena reported by NDEers is a result of a dying brain.
There are some aspects of the NDE that cannot be readily explained by these theories, however. Some people who were apparently “unconscious” at the time of their death report extremely detailed descriptions of doctors in the operating room, what surgery was being done to them, how the surgery was being done and what the doctors were saying (Sabom, 1982). It is common for a NDEer to find himself or herself hovering above their body, a calm bystander who often has little desire to reenter the physical body. Some people even have NDEs while being subjected to an autopsy and remember what was being done to them (Atwater, 1994).
Sometimes, this phenomenon is dispelled with claims that it is merely a hallucination, induced by drugs being administered at the time of death. There is good reason to doubt this. The NDE occurs even in the total absence of drugs. Additionally, many drugs result in a variety of experiences that are rarely similar to NDEs (Audain, 1999), although a few drugs, such as ketamine and DMT, have produced NDE-like phenomena. Indeed, NDEers who have also experienced hallucinations consider their NDE to be “more real” than ordinary reality which, in turn is “more real” than hallucinations they have experienced (Greyson, 2000).
The veridicality of some observations made by people during a NDE also creates greater doubt of the physiological and psychological explanations. Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper examined near-death experiences in blind people. Fifteen out of the twenty-three blind NDEers were able to see during their NDE. The verdicality of some of these visions were corroborated by others (Ring and Cooper, 1997).
Regardless of one’s personal philosophy regarding the explanation for NDEs, a closer examination of them is warranted. The NDE changes the lives and attitudes of these people drastically (Ring, 1980). Whatever the explanation is for the NDE, a better understanding of them is of importance to the scientific community.
In this study, I will attempt to determine whether a difference exists in the NDEs of the elderly and the non-elderly. Olson and Dulaney (1993) found that none of their elderly NDEers encountered a life review. This finding was surprising, as other research has shown that there appeared to be no distinct differences in the incidence of the NDE according to such categories as age, area of residence, size of home community, religious background, or frequency of church attendance (Sabom, 1982). Why should the incidence of the life review be any different?
Noyes and Kletti found that twenty-nine percent of their subjects had experienced a life review during life-threatening incidents. Those percentages become higher still when the near-death experience involved a near drowning (forty-three percent) or an auto accident (thirty-three percent) (Ring, 1980).
Ring speculated that a possible determinant of the incidence of a life review is the suddenness or unexpectedness of the near-death crisis. For instance, he found that the life review was reported by fifty-five percent of accident victims, while occurring in only sixteen percent of those in his other two categories, illness and suicide (Ring, 1980). Others have found the life review to be more common when the rate of onset is sudden rather than gradual (Stevenson & Cook, 1995). Could it be that the elderly, having already had time later in their life to reminisce, no longer need to review their life after they die? Could it also be that people who nearly die of illness have more time to review their life before they undergo a NDE? The elderly may undergo a NDE following an illness more frequently than the non-elderly who may experience more accidents or suicide attempts.
In order to determine possible causes of the absence or infrequency of the incidence of a life review in the elderly compared to the non-elderly, the rate of onset (sudden or gradual) of the NDE was examined. This may give some insight about whether the incidence of the life review within an NDE is a function of age or whether suddenness is also a determining factor. In order to remain consistent with Olson and Dulaney, the elderly are operationally defined as fifty-five or older. The non-elderly are thus younger than fifty-five.
In this study, the following questions will be addressed: Is the incidence of the NDE greater for the non-elderly than the elderly? Is the incidence of the life review greater for the non-elderly than the elderly? Does the rate of onset of a NDE correlate with the incidence of a life review?
Granted, even if a correlation would be found between the rate of onset of the NDE and the incidence of a life review, a causal relationship cannot be inferred. However, through future examination and different studies, this relationship can be more thoroughly understood.
Three hypotheses were developed. First, the incidence of the near-death experience would not be significantly greater for the non-elderly than for the elderly. Secondly, the incidence of the life review would be greater for the non-elderly than for the elderly. Finally, the rate of onset of the NDE would be correlated with the incidence of a life review.



The target population included one group of people aged fifty-five and older and another group of people below the age of fifty-five. A total of twenty-three elderly people were recruited from local nursing homes and a senior center in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. These participants ranged in age from sixty-two to one hundred. Their mean age was 77.1 with a standard deviation of 8.67. A total of eighty-four students were recruited from six classes at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. These participants ranged in age from nineteen to fifty-one. Their mean age was 22.7 with a standard deviation of 5.6. Five of the classes consisted of traditional students. One class had a high percentage of non-traditional, older students. Participants from all settings were of the intended age for that group. In other words, all participants at nursing homes and the senior center were age fifty-five and older and all participants at the university were under fifty-five.


A five-page survey was distributed in addition to a cover letter. The first part contained an initial page that all participants filled out in order to get demographic information and to determine which participants might have had a near-death experience. Writing utensils were administered when needed. By answering yes to two questions, participants were asked to proceed in filling out form one. On form one, Greyson’s NDES (Near Death Experience Scale) (1983b) was used to asses the incidence of an near-death experience. The NDES has high internal consistency, split-half reliability and test-retest reliability Greyson (1983b). A score of seven or over indicated a near-death experience. A score of lower than seven did not necessarily mean that certain aspects typical of the near-death experience did not occur. It meant that there was not enough evidence to label the experience as a near-death experience. If participants did not indicate that they might have had a near-death experience, they filled out form two which consisted of questions about their knowledge and beliefs about near-death experiences, but was not be used in this particular study. One reason for this form was so participants who indicated that they might have had a NDE would not feel isolated when filling out form one.


Most participants filled out the questionnaires in a group setting. Six participants filled out the questionnaires at their leisure after picking them up from a stack of questionnaires that was left for a week and a half period. At the university, the questionnaires were filled out at the beginning of class. First, a general explanation of the study was provided for them. They were informed that they did not have to participate and could stop at any time. Then, they were given the questionnaires and instructed to read and tear off the cover letter before proceeding. If they indicated on the first page of the questionnaire that they had a “close call with death” and had an unusual experience during this “close call” (Olson & Dulaney, 1993), they were directed to fill out form one. If they did not indicate both of these, they were directed to fill out form two. Participants were instructed to wait until everyone else had finished, although this did not always happen and was irrelevant in one of the senior settings in which everyone was waiting for a meal.
Although a standardized procedure was intended in order to prevent extraneous variables from affecting the results, this was not always possible. In the L. E. Phillips Senior Center, questionnaires were distributed to seniors who were waiting for a meal. The setting was informal and the seniors were approached one table at a time. Time constraints restricted a standardized introduction to the study. At one nursing home, the questionnaires were dropped off and seniors were able to fill them out at their leisure if they desired. Six questionnaires were obtained this way.
The seniors sometimes required assistance in filling out their packets. If they did not understand a certain question and asked for help or if they were taking an inordinate amount of time, assistance was provided. This was done by re-reading particular questions or telling them which packet they were supposed to fill out as indicated by their previous answers. Almost all university students had no problems in filling out the survey.
When participants were finished, their questionnaires were retrieved. In the case of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire classes, teachers were allowed to present their students with extra credit for completing they questionnaires if they so desired.


An analysis of 107 participants from the university and senior settings was performed in order to better understand certain features of the NDE, specifically the incidence of the NDE, the incidence of a life review and the rate of onset. Of the 107 respondents who had adequately filled out the questionnaire, 90 (84.1%) were female, 16 (15%) were male and 1 (0.9%) neglected to select a gender. Of the 84 non-elderly participants, 72 (85.7%) were female and 12 (14.3%) were male. Of the 23 elderly participants, 18 (78.3%) were female and 4 (17.4%) were male. The elderly population (M=77.1, SD=8.7) was much older than the non-elderly population (M=22.7, SD=5.6). It was hypothesized that the incidence of the near-death experience would not be more common in the elderly, life review would be more common in the non-elderly and incidence of life review and rate of onset of NDE would be correlated.
Of all respondents, (10.3%) indicated that they had had a close call with death and that they had an unusual experience at that time. Of these 11, 8 (7.5%) had a NDE as indicated by a score of 7 or more on the NDES (M=11.1, SD=3.1). In the elderly sample, 4 of 23 respondents (17.4%) had had a NDE. Two of the elderly did not respond as to when they had had their NDE. Of the two that did respond, one had their NDE 62 years ago at the age of 19. The other’s NDE occurred 39 years ago at the age of 34. In the non-elderly sample, 4 of 84 respondents (4.7%) had had a NDE. For the non-elderly, the average of 2 years had elapsed since their NDE. A Fisher exact test supported the null hypothesis that incidence of the near-death experience was not more common in the elderly than the non-elderly (p > .05, p = .063). Of the 8 NDEers, 5 (62.5%) experienced a life review. Of the 4 non-elderly NDEers, 3 (75%) had a life review. Of the 4 elderly NDEers, 2 (50%) had a life review. All 8 NDEers had a sudden rate of onset (100%). This data is presented in figure 1. The small number of NDEers prevented any specific statistical analysis to be done among that particular group. Tentative speculation about this population will be mentioned later.


An overall NDE incidence of 7.5% is consistent with previous findings. A 17% incidence of the NDE in the elderly and a 4.7% incidence in the non-elderly might seem like a great discrepancy, but due to the few NDEers, a more powerful statistic was used which did not result in a statistically significant difference. Maybe a larger study from which a greater number on NDEers could be obtained which would provide better insight as to whether or not differences exist between the two groups.
Due to few NDEs with which to analyze and because none of the seniors had had a NDE after the age of 55, it is difficult to speculate on differences between the NDE in the elderly and the non-elderly. However, insights can still be extracted from the data. Perhaps there are longitudinal effects among the different generations. One major factor that may play a role in the differences is that the NDE has only become more recognizable, if not more accepted in the general public in the past two decades.

An Australian sample of 173 respondents showed positive attitudes toward the NDE (Kellehear & Heaven, 1989). Perhaps younger people are more comfortable with their near-death experiences because they already heard about them before they experienced one themselves, or maybe they received support from people who understood what they had gone through. Perhaps the elderly people who had their NDE several decades ago were treated coldly by medics and loved ones when they told of their experience, causing them to either repress them or withhold from telling about them.
The data from the present study does not seem to indicate that the elderly have repressed memories of NDEs. The percentage of NDEs among the elderly (17.4) was actually much greater than the percentage of NDEs among the non-elderly (4.7).
One explanation for this finding is that the elderly people who had NDEs when they were much younger were not affected by any negative feedback if they in fact received any. A second explanation is that they have kept their experiences to themselves but were willing to relate them in an anonymous, relatively non-obtrusive format that the questionnaire provided. Yet another explanation is that these elderly people suppressed their memories of their NDEs, only to have them resurface after hearing about the phenomena following a resurgence in their popularity in recent times. A follow-up questioning of these people might inform this issue. Another obvious reason for the much greater incidence in NDEs among the elderly in this study is the greater number of years living that the elderly have had with which to experience a NDE.
Although the sample size was too small to be able to draw any conclusions from, a greater percentage of non-elderly people experienced a life review (75%) than non-elderly people (50%). This is in agreement with the hypothesis. Yet, it may be of even greater interest that two of the elderly NDEers did experience a life review. This runs contrary to the findings of Olson & Dulaney (1993) who found that none of the elderly NDEers had experienced a life review. They also indicated that through personal communication with them in 1986, NDE researcher Bruce Greyson also did not find the life review to be present among any of his elderly NDEers (Olson & Dulaney, 1993).
Although the two elderly participants indicated a life review by reporting that scenes from the past came back to them, they were not interviewed, which previous researchers of the life review have been able to do. An interview would help to confirm or disconfirm whether they had a life review.
A limitation of this study is that a non-random sample was used. Participants all lived or went to school in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. In addition, specific groups were selected in a non-random manner. However, generalization was increased by the selection of several different groups. Classes in different departments were selected and seniors were approached at three different senior settings. While the extremely high female percentage (84.1%) was somewhat representative of the populations being approached, it is quite unrepresentative of the general population. Reasons for such a high rate of female participation include the high percentage of females attending UW-Eau Claire, especially in library science classes, and the greater longevity of females in the senior setting.
Extraneous variables may have had an effect on this study. While the non-elderly all completed the questionnaire in a similar, classroom setting, the same cannot be said for the elderly. Where the questionnaires were completed was limited to the most convenient or practical place available. One group was approached table by table while they were waiting for a meal. Another group filled out questionnaires on an individual basis at their leisure by picking them up from a stack of questionnaires that was left at a nursing home for a week and a half.
Regrettably, an in depth analysis of the life review and the rate of onset of the NDE is impossible due to the small number of NDEers. This problem was complicated further in that all NDEers who responded reported a sudden onset. This finding is understandable considering that they all were non-elderly at the time of their NDE. This does not allow for any speculation as to possible correlation between the rate of onset and the incidence of a life review.
Future research is needed to determine what relationship exists between the rate of onset of NDEs and the incidence of life reviews. Perhaps in an interview setting, participants might be asked why they think they did or did not encounter a life review. Elderly NDEers could be asked whether or not they had gone through a reminiscence similar to that described by Lewis (1971) and Coleman (1986). If they had, it might be hypothesized that they would encounter life reviews less frequently than elderly who had not reminisced before their NDE.
A primary limitation of this study was the small sample size of NDEers. A detailed analysis of NDEers as well as adequate measures of incidence the NDE and life review are difficult to obtain simultaneously. In future research, one of two methods could be employed. Either NDEers could be recruited through various methods or much larger samples could be used. Recruiting NDEers would be easier to do, but the generalization of these samples would be less. Using larger samples would increase generalization, but such large samples may be impractical because of economic or time restraints.

This study was done by Benjamin Linzmeier
 from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

 This is some of the most in-depth studies I have found concerning NDE. It is amazing what the human mind is capable of. Stunning.    theblogmeister

Near Death Experiences Are Nothing New

Plato's Testimony of a Soldier Named Er and His NDE

Reports of near-death experiences are not a new phenomenon. A great number of them have been recorded over a period of thousands of years. The ancient religious texts such as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Bible, and Koran describe experiences of life after death which remarkably resembles modern NDEs. The oldest surviving explicit report of a NDE in Western literature comes from the famed Greek philosopher, Plato, who describes an event in his tenth book of his legendary book entitled Republic. Plato discusses the story of Er, a soldier who awoke on his funeral pyre and described his journey into the afterlife. But this story is not just a random anecdote for Plato. He integrated at least three elements of the NDE into his philosophy: the departure of the soul from the cave of shadows to see the light of truth, the flight of the soul to a vision of pure celestial being and its subsequent recollection of the vision of light, which is the very purpose of philosophy.
In Plato's Republic, he concludes his discussion of immortal soul and ultimate justice with the story of Er. Traditional Greek culture had no strong faith in ultimate justice, as monotheistic faiths do. Ancestral spirits lingered in the dark, miserable underworld, Hades, regardless of their behavior in this life, with no reward or punishment, as Odysseus learned in his Odyssey. But Plato, perhaps importing some Orphic, Egyptian or Zoroastrian themes, drew on the idea of an otherworldly reward or punishment to motivate virtuous behavior in this life. The first point of Er's story is to report on this cosmic justice; it is:
"..the tale of a warrior bold, Er, the son of Armenious, by race a Pamphylian. He once upon a time was slain in battle, and when the corpses were taken up on the tenth day already decayed, he was found intact, and having been brought home, at the moment of his funeral, on the twelfth day as he lay upon the pyre, revived, and after coming to life related what, he said, he had seen in the world beyond. He said that when his soul went forth from his body he journeyed with a great company and that they came to a mysterious region where there were two openings side by side in the Earth, and above and over against them in the heaven two others, and that judges were sitting between these, and that after every judgment they bade the righteous journey to the right and upward through the heaven with tokens attached to them in front of the judgment passed upon them, and the unjust to take the road to the left and downward, they too wearing behind signs of all that had befallen them, and that when he himself drew near they told him that he must be the messenger to humanity to tell them of that other world, and they charged him to give ear and to observe everything in the place." (Rep. X,614 b,c,d)
From the other tunnels came souls preparing for reincarnation on Earth. From above came souls happily reporting "delights and visions of a beauty beyond words." From below came souls lamenting and wailing over a thousand years of dreadful sufferings, where people were repaid manifold for any earthly suffering they had caused. Journeying on, the newcomers saw:
"..extended from above throughout the heaven and the Earth, a straight light like a pillar, most nearly resembling the rainbow, but brighter and purer ... and they saw there at the middle of the light the extremities of its fastenings stretched from heaven, for this light was the girdle of the heavens like the undergirders of triremes, holding together in like manner the entire revolving vault." (Rep. X, 616 b,c)
The cosmic axis is a rainbow light holding together the eight spheres revolving around the Earth, each guided by its Fate, a daughter of Necessity. One of these Fates casts before the crowd to be reincarnated a number of earthly destinies from which they may choose to be, for example, a tyrant, an animal, an artist, or, as Odysseus carefully chose, an ordinary citizen who minds his own business. Then, just before returning to Earth as a shooting star, each soul is required to drink from the River of Forgetfulness, so that all these cosmic events will fade from memory. Only Er was not allowed to drink and forget.
Thus Plato's cosmology is framed in the story of a NDE, although it obviously has been elaborated beyond an individual account into a collective cosmology. This amazing vision of the universal light, immortal soul, reward and punishment, reincarnation and even tunnels, is echoed 2500 years later in our contemporary NDE reports.
Plato's allegory of the cave in the Republic similarly reflects the centrality of the cosmic light of wisdom. Chained inside a cave, looking at a wall dancing with shadowy figures, residents take there figments to be reality:
"Such prisoners would deem reality to be nothing else than the shadows of the artificial objects."
But then one prisoner is freed and, climbing out of the cave with dazzled eyes, discovers the blazing sun and the true world that it floods with light.
"When one was freed from his fetters and compelled to stand up suddenly and turn his head around and walk and to lift up his eyes to the light, and in doing all this felt pain and, because of the dazzle and glitter of the light, was unable to discern the objects whose shadows he formerly saw, what do you suppose would be his answer if someone told him that what he had seen before was all a cheat and an illusion, but that now, being nearer to reality and turned toward more real things, he saw more truly?" (Rep. VII,515 c,d)
Plato uses the image to convey the soul's philosophical awakening to the realm of archetypal forms. Several parallels with NDE reports stand out. The shock of the discovery through the light, reversing all previous convictions, echoes loudly the experiencers' radical shift in consciousness. When the wanderer returns to the cave and attempts to awaken his mates to the true light, he provokes laughter and even death threats:
"And if it were possible to lay hands on and to kill the man who tried to release them and lead them up, would they not kill him?" (Rep. VII, 517a)
This reference to Socrates' death reflects the pain of misunderstanding and rejection felt by survivors of a NDE, and the subsequent difficulty adjusting to the ordinary world of shadows. The returning bearer of visionary discoveries is despised for upsetting the cave's established order.
The flight of the immortal soul toward an incredible vision of pure celestial being, Plato describes in the Phaedrus. Drawn out by love and beauty, the soul is carried as on a chariot pulled by two eager steeds, upward to join a magnificent circular parade of souls (the Milky Way), each following the Greek god it most favors (Ares for warriors, Zeus for wise leaders, Hera for royalty, etc.) All parade around the cosmic cycle, straining for a view of pure being in the center. Those who see more of it are reincarnated with more memory of the universal forms of pure truth, justice, beauty, temperance and love:
"..every human soul has, by reason of her nature, had contemplation of true being; else would she never have entered into this human creature ... Some, when they had the vision, had it but for a moment ... Few indeed are left that can still remember much." (Phaedrus, 249e-250a)
Like an initiation into a mystery religion, our eternal souls are enlightened by:
"...the spectacles on which we gaze in the moment of final revelation; pure was the light that shone around us, and pure were we." (Phadrus, 250c)

The purpose of philosophy for Plato is to remember that primal vision of pure, powerful Light. The very purpose of life is to remember that journey between lives, that pilgrimage between death and birth, to uncover that transcendent vision of Light revealed in NDE reports.

"To fear death is nothing other than to think oneself wise when one is not. For it is to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not even turn out to be one of the greatest blessings of human beings. And yet people fear it as if they knew for certain it is the greatest evil." Socrates

The light and the tunnel are a part of Plato's soldier's NDE over 2500 years ago. Is this strange, or what?    theblogmeister

Navy Seals In Iraq

Saturday, May 26, 2007 00:20

  Two Navy SEALs who recently returned from Iraq shared some of their combat experiences and described the progress they witnessed in Anbar province, during a panel discussion yesterday at the Naval Heritage Center here.
  Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian, a heavy weapons operator and breacher, and Lt. Chris, SEAL Team Five Bravo Platoon’s commander, are identified only by their first names for security reasons. They spent seven months in Anbar province training Iraqi security forces to operate independently.
  The SEALs painted an unfiltered picture of their experience on Camp Corregidor in the city of Ramadi, which was mortared an average of three times a day when they first arrived. “No matter where we went, whether it was a PortoJon, the chow hall, wherever, if you left 25, 50 meters outside of your base or outside your barracks, you had to have full kit on,” Brian said.
  As platoon commander leading a foreign internal defense mission, Chris held the reins in “developing Iraqi security force capability to fight insurgents or terrorists, in order to create a self-sustaining and capable Iraqi security force,” the lieutenant said.
During SEAL operations the platoon brought six to 10 Iraqis who either led or followed, depending on operational and tactical requirements.
  “We would go in at night under the cover of darkness and get positioned to over watch or basically provide support for an operation during the daytime,” Chris said. “We’re in there shaping the operation for decisive action. “So we get setup and we’re checking the environment out, looking at the battle space,” Chris said. “And as the Army’s coming through and we’re kind of covering them, we get attacked pretty heavily.” Brian, who was closer to the enemy than Chris, recalled the ensuing ambush.
“(The platoon) was in three different operating positions. Our operating position started taking fire,” Brain said. “It was ineffective – shots against the wall, stuff like that – we took a couple grenades against the side of the building.
“Shortly after, our two buddies who were down the street about 100 meters from me, they took heavy fire – rocket-propelled grenade attacks,” he said. “One of my buddies got fragged pretty good.
  “So when they called in a Quick Reaction Force to come pick him up, we had two Iraqis open the door and go out in the street. Well sometime during the night there was an IED left out there for him. It was either command-detonated or pressure-plate,” Brian said. “It was detonated; the Iraqi lost both of his legs at the waist.
“Two other guys were hurt really bad – my buddy Joe and my buddy Elliott – took it pretty bad,” Brian said. “Everybody bagged out of our operational positions. Once we heard guys were down we bagged out of there – we took off running down the street; running and gunning.”
Brian, Chris and the other SEALs consolidated near their “wounded brothers.”
“We grabbed both guys and brought them in a house and started taking care of the wounded to getting those guys ready for transport,” Brian said.
Elliott, one of the two wounded, was the biggest corpsman on their team – weighing 250 lbs. without gear, Chris recalled. “He was laying there bleeding out, and he was telling us how to fix Joe, with no concern for himself,” Chris said. “That pretty much sums up Navy SEAL corpsmen.”
Meanwhile, aerial surveillance showed “bad guys jumping roof to roof coming after us,” Brian said.
  “So Chris had a great idea,” Brian explained. “He said, ‘Everybody (get beneath) a door jamb, get down low, and I’m going to have these Bradley (infantry fighting vehicles) come through here and take off the second decks of all these houses.”
  In a bold decision, Chris ordered enough ordnance to destroy the second-story of the building in which they were taking cover, and where the enemy fighters were positioned.
“It worked great!” Chris said in a Texas twang and with a wide smile.
The tank artillery campaign crippled the insurgency, what Chris remembered as “two distinct 30-minute periods of intense” fire fights. After the heavy tank reinforcements arrived, Brian, equipped with a machine gun, said he “went through about 800 rounds total.”
  The mission the SEALs described was one of roughly 65 direct-action combat operations they engaged in during their time in Anbar province, including an operation on the following night.
  “This is the norm,” Chris said. “This is what you’re seeing on a daily basis; combined tribal and combined religious connection at things like funerals, mission planning out on operations. It’s amazing.”
  “After we were able to clear the city of (the enemy) in Eastern Ramadi, the people are able to go to the market, they’re able to talk with Iraqi policemen out in the street openly, U.S. forces were able to patrol out in the street,” Chris said. “It used to be very dangerous for us to even go down the road because of improvised explosive devices and sniper attacks and small-arms fire attacks.”
  “Tribal engagement,” Chris said. “This is us with Sheik Jossum up in Sofia, which was the genesis of the whole ‘tribal awakening.’ “We trained them in foreign internal defensive and they eventually were able to bring other tribes on board and it really opened up the Anbar province,” he said.
  After conducting about 110 combat operations with Iraqi security forces in Anbar, the mortaring at Camp Corregidor in Ramadi stopped, Brian recalled.
“We were free to exercise on base,” Brian said. “We were free to use the bathroom without having a helmet and body armor on.” Chris added, “That was about the best experience of the whole six months.”

Imagine all the different scenarios the soldiers had to go through, seeing their buddy blown in half, accidentally killing children, and the mental trauma they must have endured. Ask yourself if you could do what our soldiers are doing? Imagine the mental stress. That is why every time I see a soldier in uniform I shake his hand and tell him how proud I am of their service for our country. I challange you to do the same.      theblogmeister

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ascension: A True NDE


A True Story of A Near Death Experience

I spent the first 40 years of my life as an equal opportunity hater. I was filled with an underlying anger at everyone, including myself. My life had no real direction or purpose except for the gathering of possessions.
  I managed to destroy two marriages by sleeping around with any one I could find, and in the privacy of my own home (never in my public facade) was extremely verbally abusive to my wives. I felt that women were very weak (because they believed in something called love), and it was very easy to manipulate them just by lying, and telling them what they wanted to hear. I don't honestly know why I married them, for I had never felt this emotion called love. I considered it a waste of time to even think about it, for we are all going to die someday, so why bother. I never showed any affection toward them because that was not a manly thing to do! Women were necessary for only a few things: sex, cooking, and usually cleaning up the messes I left all over the house. Any questioning or protesting brought immediate vindictive anger, usually in the form of yelling or fighting.
  Men were a lot easier to understand; I felt that they were the only ones that I could have an intelligent conversation with. Besides, it was very easy to enter a room full of men and size them up to weed out the weaker ones, and have my conversations and arguments with the stronger ones. I only talked with what I considered to be a true man. I was usually quite polite with those who could help me in my career before I used some of them up, and then "stabbed them in the back". It was not very hard for me to take what I wanted from them: i.e. sex with their wives, or manipulation of their jobs.
I did not feel powerful in doing any of these things; I just felt that this was what a man was supposed to do. As for the rest of the world, I considered all of the wars and suffering of other people as a validation for the way that I was. If a few million people died through wars or starvation, that just left more in the world for me!
  I was addicted to watching the proliferation of violence on the television and in the movies, and listening to the angry conversations on the radio. With all of these built up layers of hate, anger and aggression, I was never able to enjoy life. Even the new possessions that I had gathered around me to show off to my friends would only give me a few days of pleasure, before they would begin to bore me and I felt the need to go out and buy more. I refused to look at my own misery; for there seemed to be a large black hole in my life, and no matter how hard I tried I could not fill it with anything permanently satisfying.

Near Death Experience

Approximately 11 years ago I was driving my camper home from an outing in the desert. Approaching a busy red lighted intersection at about 60-mph, I started to depress the break pedal. It felt kind of mushy as the pedal went straight to the floor. I was not going to be able to stop the vehicle, so I quickly decided to downshift the transmission to slow the vehicle, and swerve off the road into the sand. To my surprise, no matter how I tried, it would not shift. Having no options left to me at this time, I depressed the horn and plowed into the intersection. I managed to swerve around the first car in view and was then deeply broad sided by another vehicle, which flipped my camper on to it's side. Fortunately, I was later to learn that no one else was seriously hurt in the accident.
  As I was slipping in and out of consciousness in the paramedic's van, I remember seeing my clothes soaked in my own blood, for my head had been split open in two separate places. The last thing I remember was the doctors talking to each other at the hospital, and then I slipped into total 'unconsciousness'. I use this word to describe what was told to me, but in reality I was in some other plane both watching and aware of my spirit leaving my body. I could see my body below me for a few seconds, and then I was swept away at what felt like a great speed. I could see many colors of light on both sides of me, all starting to blend together. As I felt my speed increase, the colors appeared to become a blinding white tunnel in which I was traveling through.
I apologize if this sounds weird or strange to you, because it was even stranger to me. For the first time in my life I could feel no anger, and I absolutely felt no concern about what was going to happen to me. The many colors and blinding white tunnel that were around me I can only describe as beautiful (a word I rarely used in my lifetime, then in the wrong context and with an entirely different meaning). I had lost the ability to communicate, and was alone with only my sight and internal thoughts. I visited different types of worlds, many with different colored skies. I was shown many varied life forms and civilizations in this universe; some appeared frightening and some quite wondrously beautiful. My understanding of my previous life was so different from what I was experiencing. The only thoughts that kept repeating to me were "If I had only known of the beauty I was seeing: and that I must stop being so fearful and egotistical in the assumption that I was the only intelligence in the Universe". It was then that the voyage suddenly stopped, and I experienced an immediate loss of my sight. An extremely enhanced sensitivity to my emotions, thought process and surroundings had entered into my spirit.
  You will have to forgive me if this becomes difficult for you to understand, for words are quite inadequate, and sometimes useless in their attempt to express the true experience. All that I can give to you are these words that are here with us now. I was given a knowing (something entirely different than faith) that in our future to come; all written or spoken words will become an unnecessary form of communication.
  It felt as if I was suddenly stopped in a state or a plane of consciousness, totally surrounded by an orange/golden light. There were all kinds of spirit life forms that I could identify with, and quite a few that I could not. The feeling of peace was there, and for the first time in my life I felt a powerful unconditional love entering and surrounding my being. This love was all fulfilling, and I felt no need for anything else. I desired nothing but to remain in this place for an eternity. I have no idea how long I remained there, for time no longer had any meaning to me.
  I then felt the emanations of a highly evolved spirit come towards me, and the strength of his love and compassion pour out all over me. Through some means of telepathy he informed me regarding my many past lives, and started to question me. I felt compelled that I must answer truthfully to any questions that would be asked of me, for I knew that he would immediately know if I told a lie. He asked if I knew why I had been through this experience. I truthfully answered no. I was told that I had a long history of past lives filled with anger, aggression and hate. I was so stubborn that I needed this experience to realize that unconditional love is the most powerful force in this beautiful universe, and that it's beauty was made by a benign creator. I was then asked why I hated so much and caused hurt to so many people. I explained that if there was a god, then why had he created a world in which there is death, war and great suffering. Humans did not seem to care too much for each other, and I needed to survive. Somehow I felt that he had been given this same answer to this question many times, so I added the comment that many people live out their lives this way. He answered me by saying "Wars and suffering were not created by God, but were the creation of the human race, out of fear and hatred. God had created the human form to look different from each other, so that we would learn to increase our love for all kinds of forms. As far as death is concerned, we have all passed through many lives of our own." And he continued, "You should have listened to your inner self to realize that only the body dies: for your spirit was made for an eternity."
  "Death is the creator's greatest gift, used for the transition of your spirit into higher realms. The realm that you are now in and the powerful unconditional love that you feel would destroy the body that you formally inhabited. Your own spiritual evolution will automatically manifest to change your bodily form. You must learn that the creator is truly benign, for if it was not so, how could you continue to live life after life until your lessons are learned?"
  I started to ask him a question of my own, but I felt within myself something slipping. I then felt the sensation of swift passage again, and even though I tried, I could not reverse the process and return to that beautiful realm (of which I now lovingly call Home).
  My sight returned, and I watched my spirit go slowly back into my body. I again heard the doctor's voices. A sense of such great loss and sadness filled my spirit for there had been so much to learn, and it seemed that all of the love and peace that I had felt was gone. Then the most horrid event happened. All of my hate, anger and aggression came back into me. I had been violated! It was the doctor's fault for not leaving me alone, and letting me pass on. The shock to my spirit had been so great, I did not realize that I had brought something back with me.

 I was told that I had suffered no permanent brain damage, and that I had been totally unconscious for only about three days. But for some reason I could not make any more excuses for myself: my hate and anger were my own internal 'brain damage'. I did however suffer from some memory loss. After returning to work, I realized that my career as an Associate Engineer in the Electronics Industry was over. I could no longer work in that field, because many of the electronic formulas that I had studied in college were lost to my memory. I struggled with these lost memories for a couple of weeks, and became extremely fearful of the consequences. Not producing any productive work, I was compelled to approach my supervisor and try to explain what had happened. I made the mistake (unfortunately not only for the first time) of being honest with him in my experience. I watched him slowly back away from me as if I had a contagious disease. I was given my final paycheck and escorted out the door. During the next year I lost many of my friends by sharing even just a part of my experience. Anytime I broached the subject with my wife she would just scream at me to shut up for I was acting crazy. Feeling lost and totally alone with my experience, I withdrew into myself and rarely talked to anyone. It was during that time that I had a lucid dream that would start to change my life forever. I call it lucid for lack of a better word. The dream seemed to have a shining intelligence and awareness about it, and I was engaged in a two-way conversation with that highly evolved spirit from the NDE. I sometimes still experience lucid dreaming and lucid thought processes even while I am awake. Instead of fearing these experiences, I have slowly grown to love and trust them. The thought processes that enter my head through these spirits are sometimes so foreign to my own that I simply call these spirits the voices in my head.
  In the dream I was in a large room filled with many different colored translucent panels on the floor, which appeared to be made of some type of crystalline substance. There were pathways leading all around these panels so that a choice could be made as to which one might be entered. I was drawn towards the golden/orange colored panel and stepped on to it. Again I experienced a feeling of speed, and I was swept inward to a different state. I glanced to my left, and saw a group of women frantically applying make-up to their faces. To the right, I saw a group of construction men putting clothes into a locker room. I did not like the feelings of this place, and so I went to the center section of the room and attempted to step onto a bright white colored panel on the floor. The spirit's voice then spoke to me "You are not ready to enter there! No anger, hate, aggressive or fearful thoughts will ever enter through that panel." I was elated to hear his voice again, and asked the question, "How do I get out of this place?" He replied, "There was no such place as outward, but only inward! You have lost almost all of your friends, and feel lonely and confused. That was necessary for you to start the cleansing of your thought process. Thoughts are very powerful, and as you think, so you are. I and one other are here to help you through this process."
  Still unsure and distrusting, I then set up an appointment with a psychiatrist. I walked into her office, sat down, and stated that I had only one question for her. I asked, "A friend of mine was recently involved in an automobile accident. Is it unusual for a traumatic event to cause him to change his whole way of life?" I could tell by the look on her face that she knew that I was speaking about myself, especially because the scars on my face had not yet had a chance to heal. She replied that it was very common, and that if I had any difficulties with the problem, I could come to see her anytime.
  On the way home from her office, I had mixed feelings of validation and concern. How was I supposed to get rid of all of this anger and hate? I did not want to alienate myself from any more of my friends, so I took the chance and again discussed this with my wife. She informed me that she could not tell me how, since she never got angry, and that I was stupid in going into that office and paying someone to talk about my craziness. This was the last time that I ever talked to my wife about an experience that she could not understand.
  About a month later, again I experienced a lucid dream. The voice said "Why do you need validation from others for what I say to you? Your aggressive and hateful emotions emanate from the fear of the unknown, and your anger comes from the continuous judgments that you layer upon yourself and everyone else. You are to leave your family and all of your possessions behind, and go out into the world as homeless!" I could not believe what I had heard, and there was no way I was going to do that! I possessed neither the courage nor foresight in what I was being told to do. I pleaded, and asked for forgiveness to no avail. The beautiful spirit was silent, and for the next year my relationship with my wife deteriorated into ugliness. We would fight almost every night, and I found myself in a living hell. The thought of Karma continuously entered my head. The kinder I became (to try to save myself from the ordeal of homelessness), the more vindictive she became. It finally dawned on me that something had to change, because I had just been laid off from my job and my wife's anger had escalated into violence. I asked the voices again what I should do. "Leave now, and live in the streets as homeless. Take no money with you, or any form of ID. Do not attempt to look for work, or find any place at a shelter. You will beg for all of the food that you eat". So, filled with a great fear, I found some warm clothes, and telling no one in my family (my wife and her two grown children from a previous marriage) of my going, I headed out for the streets.
  The first few days were hard on me. I did not know how to beg for money for food, and I started to get very hungry. The nights were cold, and the only way I could think of staying warm was to sleep in the trash containers that were behind stores. I kept on walking during the day and did manage to finally get some food into my stomach. I found a place within the inner city where a group of people where living in boxes covered with blankets to try to keep warm. At first they seemed to be antagonistic toward me, but as they realized that I was there not to harm anyone, they did not bother me. By this time my stomach had shrunk in size so I needed less food to feel full. I started to share with them what little I had, and they eventually responded in kind. The group was composed of little children and their mothers, a few teenagers, and men, some of whom were alcoholics. As I slowly befriended these people whom society had forgotten, my compassion for them started to grow. I had always believed that homeless people were cruel, unkind, violent and drugged out. It was a shock to me to realize that was not always the case. Most of them had experienced some form of violent relationships in their home, and some of them had just given up on life and wanted to be left alone.
  One night, two strangers attacked us. Brandishing knives, they approached us. I was not about to let them hurt what I now considered to be my new family, and wrapping some cloth around my arms, I cautiously approached them (I had been a former Marine Corps Sergeant and been reasonably well trained in fighting techniques). I could not understand why both of them suddenly bolted and ran, until I turned around. My 'family' had bonded together, and with pipes and hammers they also had been approaching the attackers. After the ugly incident was over, and we set up watchers for the rest of the night, I had another lucid dream. I watched as the outline of a human form appeared before me, and I saw tiny sparkles of a beautiful bright light engulf the whole form. The sparkles of light looked exactly like the same sparkles that appear when you light a sparkler on the 4th of July. I could see these tiny lights sort of sliding off the arms and hands of the human form and falling to the ground. I saw the greatest concentration of them where the feet touched the earth. It also appeared that many of these lights were entering into the feet from the ground. I asked the voices what I was seeing. "You have now learned to feel compassion for other people. What you are now watching is the exchange of compassion, love, energy and light between the human form and this planet, which is also a living entity. This is the pure natural condition of the human form and it's spirit, and all other forms of life on this planet, as the creator intended." As I watched this exchange, I realized that this was the giving back to this world from which we all take so much. All of my possessions that I had surrounded myself with was used basically for my own ego (things used to impress someone else). I looked deep within myself, and found out that my begging and living in the streets had totally killed my ego. The amazing thing was, I did not miss it, nor did I feel I was less than or greater than anyone else in this world. Looking even deeper, I felt that the process of the peeling of the layers of anger was well on its way!
"You must leave this place now and go back home to your wife, for she is in the same angry and hateful state that you have been in and is suffering. She is miserable both in your staying, and in your going. Do not judge anything that she says to you, because her path to spiritual awakening will be harder for her than for you. Also remember that no matter when the words I will speak to her through you are spoken they will eventually enter into her, either in this life or her next lives to come. You will then have to leave her for the last time, but even this action she will eventually come to understand, for you and I will leave her a special gift that she will not forget to ease her suffering."
  I awoke saddened that I was going to leave this place, especially for the children. I could never have any of my own, and this loose knit family of mine had allowed me to spend some time with them. With the first tears running down my face, I told them that I would have to leave (it seemed inconceivable to me that a man should cry). My leaving seemed to effect a few others, for mine were not the only tears present.
  When I finally arrived back home, my wife told me that she had missed me very much, and that she had called the police department and had me listed as a missing person. At that moment I realized that some of my increased sensitivity from my NDE was still with me. It felt like some sort of ugly sickness or poison had traveled between the two of us, and I was immediately aware that she had lied to me. I said nothing in return to her, because she would not have listened anyway.
  This part of my life with my wife is the most difficult to write about, for I had been forbidden to judge. When I look back on my own life, and see the way I had been, most assuredly I had no right to judge anyone. Within two weeks I found a good job, but my wife could not hold back her anger and started to turn violent again. I have not mentioned this before now, but my wife was an alcoholic. Her drinking changed her from a loving and kind person, into an angry and sometimes violent person. This was hard to take, and even harder, now that I knew that I was not to judge: but I felt compassion anyway for this woman who I could no longer live with in harmony.
  One Saturday evening, she had gone to bed early from drinking too much beer, and lay passed out on the bed. As I lay next to her, I heard the voices instructing me on how to heal an old painful hip wound that she had received many years ago in a motorcycle accident. Ever since I had known her, she would wake up in the morning and limp around painfully for about 10 minutes before she could walk normally.
  Since I had never healed anyone before, I doubted that I could. The voices told me that for this healing to happen, I had to replace all of my doubting and all of my faith with a 'knowing' that this would work. After about two hours of concentrating only on the voices, I reached over with my right hand and gently laid it on her left hip. Both of my hands became extremely warm, and I became as one with her. I remembered the beautiful exchange between the human form and this world that I had seen previously; and then I could feel the hurt from her hip enter into me. It was then that I realized this healing was to be the gift for her that she would not forget. My wife immediately sat straight up in the bed and with great anger and vindictiveness said, "What are you doing? Take your hands away from me. I did not give you permission to do that!" Then she fell back on the bed and went to sleep. I watched her as she awoke the next morning and got out of bed. Her limping was gone, and her hip pain did not come back again. She did not seem to remember anything from the previous night, and went on with her life as if nothing had happened. Within two weeks, I received notice that my mother had died, so I drove to Arizona to settle her estate. I became friendly with some of her neighbors, and found them to be a great help for me in the support that I needed. One day when I was walking with them into an undeveloped portion of the desert, the subject came up about how useless the desert was without water, and how good it would be when the sub-division of houses would be built on this spot. I had always enjoyed wilderness areas, and the desert has always been one of my favorite places. They had moved on ahead of me, for I had stopped, and the voices came to me. I could clearly see where an underground stream of water was located, deep within the earth. It was a beautiful sight, and I was given a knowing of how to call the water to me.
  The voices asked me what I would do with this knowledge. My first thought was that I would try and use the water to destroy the homes that were going to be built on this spot. Immediately, the knowing was taken away from me, and the voices said "You are not yet ready for this gift, for it must not be used to destroy. The desert is not your private possession, but a place given to all out of love from the creator."
I had failed in my test for knowledge of power, and to this day I still remember the seeing of the stream and the song used to call it to me. But without the knowing, which has nothing to do with hope or faith, it will remain as just a beautiful seeing and song within my heart. I now realize that my process of un-learning is still not complete.
  Arriving back home, I again felt as if I was in a living hell. My wife was deriving some sort of perverse pleasure in trying to make me angry. She would scream, fight, and did manage once to hit me full face with her fist. But I did not respond. Many were the times that she told me that no one in my home loved or wanted me around.
  Suffering combined with compassion is a very strange feeling. It was then that another voice had entered into my lucid dreaming. Where before I had only heard masculine voices, I now heard a feminine voice speak to me. She asked me "What is the greatest gift from the creator? You cannot enter where you want to go without it." I was at a complete loss as to what was being asked. After some reflection, I realized that at no time in my life had I ever truly felt real love for a woman. I replied to that voice that the greatest gift from the creator was the love between a man and a woman. The voice then replied that "Love was a let, not a force or a possession. You must learn this, and keep it at all times close to your heart. Do not be afraid of this love, let it come freely into your spirit: for there is someone who is waiting to return this love in kind to you."
  I needed some time alone to think about what had been told to me, and try to find some peace in my life, so I went camping for a few days. I had chosen a spot next to a stand of trees, right next to a beautiful lake. The next morning, I tried to eat a snack of Dorrito chips, but when I opened the bag the campground became filled with wasps. I threw some chips to the ground for them to eat, but they didn't seem interested. Instead of the peace that I was searching for, all that I felt was agitated that they would not leave me alone. I heard a thundering voice in my head say "Why are you acting like a little child? You should have learned patience by now, and how to bring peace into your life. Be still and unafraid, and hold some food outstretched in your hand." It took me a few minutes to get rid of my fear, and very slowly I extended my left hand out with some food in it. I watched as the wasps landed on my hand, and started eating the chips. Peace filled my entire being, as the wasps covered my whole hand. I could sense that they would not sting or bite me as long I remained in this state of peace, and showed no fear. The weekend turned out to be very peaceful, with just the voices and the wasps. I shared every meal with them, and came back without one sting or bite.
  I returned home with an even more enhanced sensitivity in my being, and I told my wife what had happened. I was totally unconcerned with any reaction that I might receive from her. After receiving her usual response that I was crazy, the voices took over my entire being, and spoke to her. They told her of the healing of her hip, and the healing of my spirit through my near death experience with a clarity of understanding that I did not possess. I felt their words soften her anger somewhat, and she did not speak to me for a couple of days. Unfortunately this effect was not long in lasting, for she did not want to hear what was said. It seemed obvious to me that she was still addicted to her own anger and suffering, and was not going to change.
  That evening, I dreamed I was in a place with a beautiful blue sky, and I saw many colored translucent bubbles floating around. Some seemed to coalesce into groups with each other, while others just migrated from one group to another. Inside of these bubbles, were smaller circular objects with transparent conduits protruding from the inside of them, and I could see small sparkles of energy travel through these conduits from each circular object, with varying degrees of intensity. It was truly a beautiful sight, but I lacked the understanding of any meaning to what I was witnessing.
  The voices told me that I was looking at the human thought process. The coalesced bubbles were from similar thought processes, which grouped themselves together to form large families of bubbles. The smaller circular objects within the bubble contained all of the different thoughts that we have experienced during our current lifetime, and the tiny sparkles of light were the energy that we put into these thoughts. I could feel a certain sickness emanating from some of the groups: many others contained varying degrees of love, light and compassion. Again I was reminded of how powerful thoughts truly are and the creative effects that they have on the reality of this world and the universe, both of which are truly our home.
  It was unfortunate that my wife and I were eventually separated and divorced, because she had refused to give up her drinking, and we had grown too far apart. In actuality I had I became truly at a loss as how to explain all that had happened in my life to anyone, and I thought that no one else would understand.
  The voices told me to feel and see with my heart, and to look for what was on the inside of a person, and to ignore what was on the outside. My love for these voices has grown immeasurably over the years, for eventually I found the one woman I could truly love unconditionally. Her heart is also overflowing with love and understanding, and her compassion for gentleness and kindness is greater than my own. We have been together for over two years, without one single disagreement or argument.
  It was about 3 a.m. on March 26 of this year, when I swiftly sat upright in my bed, for the voices had told me that it was time for me to write of my experiences. I felt both uneasy and apprehensive, for I had never tried to put this experience into words. I tried not to take the voices too seriously, but I could not fall back to sleep. My tossing and turning awoke my beautiful wife and I told her of the dream. She also thought that it was a good idea. We both finally fell back to sleep, unaware of the implications of what I had been told.
  That very same day, I was included in a layoff from work, and somehow my wife's intuitiveness told her that what had happened would give me the time to write. If it had not been for her love and support, I doubt that this experience would have been put to words so soon. The intent of writing all of this down is not to just write a story about an NDE. I now know that this is not an exclusive experience. I consider myself to be no different than anyone else, but I still have this strange combination of feelings of compassion and suffering. The only difference is that they are no longer directed inward; but rather outward toward other people. I find myself so sensitive to our environment, that I am unable to watch television, read the newspaper or listen to the radio. I have not shut myself out from this world; its just that I can no longer think within its terms. I have experienced a very shifted view of a physical and spiritual reality, and it causes me great suffering to know that sometimes in this world, our anger can manifest itself with useless wars, untimely death and destruction of our own making. Even though we seem to be stuck in this cycle, it does not have to be this way.
  Truly, the healing that we all need is within our own thoughts. Somewhere during the course of this lifetime, we all have felt alone and afraid. This is the experience of the large black hole that we all try to fill up with something: i.e. drugs, sex, possessions, work, etc. The list is endless. If you don't believe that this is the truth, then take a real good look around you. Look at our world, your family, friends, and then take a real good look at yourself. This seeing is not a time for any judgments whatsoever, for anger and judging are one and the same. Rather it is a starting place of our own process of un-learning separateness. Instead of usual running away in fear from this, I am asking all of us to do the unusual: to have enough courage to stop, turn around and face it.
This un-learning of separateness requires no hope or faith for its fulfillment. It is a very natural state in the process of self-realization. You will find this black hole within everyone and that in most cases it will contain absolutely nothing. This nothingness is the driving force in our spirit that causes us so desperately to try and find some meaning to our lives. I cannot over emphasize the importance of this, nor can I just give it to you from my words. It must be experienced as the truth in all of us, by a brutal forgiving honesty. Once realized, it becomes obvious that we are all in the 'family of one', separateness having been dropped as we all search to fill this nothingness.
  The universe was created out of love, and we are all a part of that creation. The unconditional love that I felt during my NDE was very powerful. Instinctively we fear this kind of love by layering it with many conditions. The greatest fear we face is, will this love I give be returned? It's as if we all think that we only have so much to give, and that it might run out. We tend to look at other's failures as the only reality in this world, and become even more fearful of this powerful emotion. Somehow we have forgotten that the giving of love is the blessing, and returns to the sender an abundance of even more to give. This is the lesson that we all have to learn; this is what we need to fill that big black hole with! I know in my spirit that these lessons will be learned by all, and then we shall all be transformed into new planes, and be given even greater gifts to share.

Here is another example of a near death experience. The medical profession is split on whether these happenings are real or the result of an hallucination. If you asked this person if they were real I am sure the answer would be yes. The more I read about NDE I always go back to 1969 when my mother, at 33 years of age, had a NDE during a quadruple bypass heart surgery and come to the same conclusion: my mother believed it was real.     theblogmeister

A New Tool To Help The Veteran

The most common affliction combat veterans return home with is Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). Clinicians are finding new ways to treat those suffering from PTSD. This is a way to get treatment to those that are leery about seeking treatment in a mental health facility. If you think you may be suffering with this disease do not suffer in silence. Contact the web address in this article to get the help you deserve.  theblogmeister

 More than 2 million soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. According to RAND Corp. statistics, about 360,000 will suffer from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

One of the particularly heinous consequences of PTSD is it makes people lose trust in institutions set up to support them. They've seen so much and they've lost so much, they don't trust anyone but those who were in the trenches with them.

That's where the Internet comes in. We started as a community to help warriors and families support each other as they deal with life after war. To serve the community, we layer in services such as online support groups and online education. These services create the trust we need to persuade warriors and their families to seek our in-person services.

For National Guardsmen and women, the Internet is their life support when they return back to their local communities, where few people can understand what they've been through and how to help.

Through our online portal, Not Alone is helping military families, warriors and veterans heal from devastating psychological and emotional traumas including PTSD, depression, anxiety and alcohol and drug addiction. Without immediate access to behavioral health services, these traumas can have disastrous effects on warriors, their families and communities.

There are many examples of Nashville companies using the Internet to create health-care communities. Specialists on Call goes right into homes and delivers all sorts of therapies using video and other Internet-enabled technologies.

Healthways runs QuitNet, the world's largest online smoking-cessation program, where it has helped people save more than $3.8 billion by stopping smoking. at Vanderbilt University Medical Center allows patients to chat with their doctors, check lab results and pay bills online. In addition, using digital technology, Vanderbilt compiles all patient information for all doctors in one location, improving diagnosis and treatment. Using such instant compilation of all diagnostic information in the hospital wards is already saving more lives.

There are challenges, of course, with realizing the full potential of the Internet to create health-care communities, save lives and deliver therapy. The biggest hurdle for many entrepreneurs is persuading insurance companies to pay for services delivered over the Internet.

With its cost savings, easy access and community forming potential, it's only a matter of time before online therapy is accepted as the preferred mode of treatment for many health problems.

If you would like to learn more about how Internet communities enhance real-world communities, especially in health care, then please attend "Building Community Through Technology,'' the third in a four-part speaker series on Leadership and Civility in a Digital Age, moderated by former Federal Communications Commissioner Debi Taylor Tate at 7 p.m. April 12 at Lipscomb University's Ezell Center.

In addition to Not Alone and Vanderbilt, this session will also provide information about the Oasis Digital Connectors, which trains at-risk youth to become Internet teachers for the elderly and Now Playing Nashville, a city-wide events calendar designed to enhance awareness of the arts community in Nashville.

Please, take advantage of the opportunity and get whatever help you need. I want to tell all the returning veterans that we, as a nation, are proud of your sacrifice and sevice.                         theblogmeister