The Being Of Light: Account 1
So I made a promise in my last post that I will be doing a project over the coming months while the AWARE study is ongoing and in the absence of any new data on research into NDEs. That project is to analyze accounts from NDEs about the Being Of Light, and try to understand better the nature of this being who is often described as the most significant experience of the core NDE experiences.
Many have referred to this being as God/Jesus/Mohammed/Buddha etc, as he seems to represent all they believe to be true about that figure. However, for the sake of these posts, and since we do not know for sure who or what this being is, I am going to refer to it (for we do not know whether it is a she or a he, or something altogether beyond our understanding with regard to sex), as BOL. I will use the pronoun IT to describe BOL because although this depersonalizes the being, I do not want to infer my own sex bias upon this being.
The first series of posts on this subject will refer to specific accounts, or sums of accounts. I will attempt to uncover common themes about the nature of this being, to try to understand it better and also to identify any outlying descriptions that might point to inconsistencies and therefore call into question the validity of these accounts.
The first account from my favourite NDE, is the one recounted by Howard Storm (http://www.near-death.com/storm.html#a02):
“I don’t know how to explain to you that I knew it knew me, I just did. As a matter of fact, I understood that it knew me better than my mother or father did. The luminous entity that embraced me knew me intimately and began to communicate a tremendous sense of knowledge. I knew that he knew everything about me and I was being unconditionally loved and accepted.
The light conveyed to me that it loved me in a way that I can’t begin to express. It loved me in a way that I had never known that love could possibly be. He was a concentrated field of energy, radiant in splendor indescribable, except to say goodness and love. This was more loving than one can imagine. I knew that this radiant being was powerful. It was making me feel so good all over. I could feel its light on me – like very gentle hands around me. And I could feel it holding me. But it was loving me with overwhelming power. After what I had been through, to be completely known, accepted, and intensely loved by this Being of Light surpassed anything I had known or could have imagined.”
Amazing! Just incredible that there might just be this being that we meet after we die that fits this description. I almost can’t wait! At this stage I am going to pull out the key words or phrases that he uses to describe the BOL, and as I report on and present more accounts, I will do the same for each account and separately compile a spreadsheet to methodically examine consistencies or contradictions.
Key words and phrases:
Goodness and love
I’m going to leave it there for now. Maybe you might want to contemplate this account for a few moments. Imagine if this being is real. How does that make you feel?
I experienced the Being of Light in around 1972 during a Christian experience (prayer for forgiveness while alone and awake). I felt overwhelmed by love and mentally told everything was OK with me, I was eternal and everything (in the world) was happening according to a greater plan (even the bad things).
I don’t proselytise Christianity and these days believe that the BOL has more in common with NDE and meditative experiences (transcendental. Christian, Sufi, chanting etc.) than Christianity.
I think the experience stems more from the destruction or suppression of the ego (born again) which occurs during NDEs and during repentance.
That is an interesting insight, and if NDEs are true, then it would seem that your religion, or lack of, may not determine whether or not you get to meet the BOL at the end of this existence. However, I too had an experience, which I will recount in a later post, in which I encountered the BOL, and that was also through a Christian act of repentance, although in a dream. My sense is that because this was the route through which I had the encounter, I should be true to the experience and share my understanding of the teachings of Jesus when appropriate (I avoid that here for the most part though). Also, I have learned that there is a difference between the kind of encounter, or experience you get when you meditate , and the kind of experience where you directly praise “God”.
Although there are Christian Mystics who have reported these experiences centuries ago, I was despairing of discovering someone who also experienced the Light and Love after repentance. I did seek to continue a spiritual journey through Traditional Christian Churches but found them mired in ritual or simple recitation of scripture. By no means do I deny the power of repentance through Christ.
To fill in my experience in more detail, the act of repentance was at first undertaken as a challenge with little expectation but after an insincere start, I was plunged into a classic “dark night of the soul” feeling that life was accidental and the universe cold and empty. When I recommenced my repentance referencing Jesus, I was filled with despair and unworthiness and at that point my surroundings became suffused with Golden Light (not a “being” as such). Yet the Light had intelligence, power and radiated the most powerful love At me.
I can’t say they are related, but I have also had premonitions, out of body experiences (though impossible to validate), and overpowering impulses that have since protected me from harm, and led to life-changing events.
They lead me to conclude that consciousness is not physically generated by the brain.
In my experience, traditional churches are not the place you will find much “spiritual” action. However, some of the evangelical and charismatic churches can be a bit judgemental, although not always. I feel very connected to God or the BOL when I worship him in my church, I just have to ignore the preacher’s message sometimes! I had a similar feeling of unworthiness once, and a similar experience of his unconditional love for us. It really is unconditional, he accepts and loves us just as we are…of course he hopes that we will learn from him and improve, but his love isn’t dependent on that improvement.
In the book ‘At The Hour of Death, by Karlis Osis and Erlendur Haraldsson’, the BOL is absent from the numerous accounts that were collected prior to the publication of Moody’s Life after Life.
Do you know from the literature on NDE’s, when the BOL was first reported?
I think your use of the acronym BOL, for Being of Light should be reconsidered, although BOFL seems worse somehow.
Open to suggestions, but yes, BOFL doesn’t quite cut it either. I must confess, I haven’t read that book, but it is now on my reading list. Do you think this being was induced by Moody’s book?
Hardly, here is a 1907 Hopi NDE that features something similar: http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2015/02/a-1907-nde.html
Moody may have simply popularized it.
Sure Moody popularized, and also categorised the various core elements. My Father had an NDE when he was a kid in the early 50s, and the way he recounts it shows that it contained many of the core elements. However, was his memory somehow affected by hearing and seeing about NDEs on the TV?We will never know. The fact there are accounts, as you point out, prior to Moody’s book which contain some of the elements, are supportive of the validity of the experience.
Also, I believe that “At the hour of death” focused on the related, but different, phenomenon of death bed visitations.
The book ‘At The Hour Of Death’ is different from Moody’s, it describes the experiences and visions of those, that in most cases, die within hours of their ‘other-world’ encounters. The parallels with NDE’s are obvious and extensive.
It also has the benefit of gathering data from both America and India, giving a cultural and religious comparison. Full of statistics, and peppered with anecdotes, it is a must read.
Moody’s first encounter with NDE’s, came from George Ritchie who said:
I was not sure when the light in the room began to change; suddenly I was aware that it was brighter, a lot brighter, than it had been. I whirled to look at the night- light on the bedside table. Surely a single 15- watt bulb could not turn out that much light? I stared in astonishment as the brightness increased, coming from nowhere, seeming to shine everywhere at once. All the light bulbs in the ward could not give off that much light. All the bulbs in the world could not! It was impossibly bright: it was like a million welders’ lamps all blazing at once. And right in the middle of my amazement came a prosaic thought, probably born of some biology lecture back at the university: I’m glad I don’t have physical eyes at this moment . This light would destroy the retina in a tenth of a second. No , I corrected myself, not the light. He. He would be too bright to look at. For now I saw that it was not light but a Man who had entered the room, or rather, a Man made out of light, though this seemed no more possible to my mind than the incredible intensity of the brightness that made up His form. The instant I perceived Him, a command formed itself in my mind. Stand up! The words came from inside me, yet they had an authority my mere thoughts had never had. I got to my feet, and as I did came the stupendous certainty: You are in the presence of the Son of God.
Maybe Moody was so impressed with the ‘Man made out of light’ or MOL ;), that he questioned his NDE subjects about this phenomenon, and in some cases he hit the jackpot.
So perhaps the MOL, or IT was experienced before Moody’s book, but the right questions just weren’t asked.
I still like the idea of your analysis of keywords!
MOL…and that’s better than BOL? How about LOL 🙂
Anyway, that book is now on my reading list.
If I hadn’t had my own experience (which was actually in the dark, no light), and met very credible people who report similar things from NDEs about a supremely loving being, then I would question whether Moody had indeed created a meme that repeats itself through the power of suggestion. But I don’t believe that to be the case.
I don’t believe that to be the case either, the data was gathered from physicians and nurses through interviews and surveys after the patients had died, so there was no way to verify the experiences. However, in the book ‘At The Hour Of Death’, light was mentioned numerous times, but it just wasn’t personified.
Visions beyond this life again had the perceptual quality of intense “light.” An engineer in his forties suffered a heart attack. He described things lit in very bright light coming toward him just before his death. He said, “Now I am going to die. Please don’t disturb me— no medicine.” His mood changed to serenity and peace, and he died in ten minutes.
If the above example was taken from someone who had recovered, then it would be classed as an NDE, and perhaps the ‘things lit in very bright light’ could be described in more detail.
As a suggestion, the kindle version of the book makes cross checking so much easier, especially useful if you want to get your teeth into the stats