For Chapter 4, click here.
As the rock group The Police say in their song of the same title, “We are spirits in the material world.” While the hope of an afterlife certainly fuels our fascination with near-death experiences, we miss much of their significance if we take them only as interesting information about what will happen to us when we die.
Most of us have a number of years left in our lives here on earth before the afterlife will become a present reality for us. For us, the greatest significance of NDEs, as well as Swedenborg’s and others’ descriptions of the afterlife, is in what they mean for us here and now. If we think of the material world as an expression of the spiritual world, all these descriptions of the afterlife can take on this kind of here-and-now meaning for us.
If we read accounts of NDEs simply out of fascination for the descriptions of the spiritual world, it will not necessarily touch our hearts and lives. But if we think of them as patterns for our life here we are presented with a deep and lasting challenge. The Book of Revelation speaks of a city descending to earth out of heaven from God. Our knowledge of the spiritual world provides a blueprint: a plan that we can use to build communities based on mutual love and understanding right here on earth.
This community-building must start in the soul of each one of us. By starting on a spiritual path and taking the steps described one way in this book, and other ways in others, we lay the foundations for the heavenly city in ourselves. As each of us finds our own spiritual path, we will also be reaching out to those around us and forming a spiritually-based community, built on mutual love and understanding. This, I believe, is the direction we are being shown by those who have experienced the spiritual world and come back to tell us about it.
(Note: Links are not necessarily to the edition listed)
- Basford, Terry K., ed. Near-Death Experiences: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1990.
- Book of the Dead. The Egyptian Text. New York: Dover, 1967.
- Brinkley, Dannion. Saved by the Light. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.
- Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: HarperCollins, 1990.
- Dryden, S. H. Daisy Dryden: A Memoir. Boston: Colonial Press, 1909 (third edition).
- Evans-Wentz, W. Y., ed. The Tibetan Book of the Dead. London: Oxford University Press, 1960.
- Ford, Arthur. The Life Beyond Death. New York: Putnam, 1971.
- Gallup, George, Jr. Adventures in Immortality: A Look Beyond the Threshold of Death. New York: McGraw Hill, 1982.
- Grey, Margot. Return from Death: An Exploration of the Near-Death Experience. London: Arkana, 1983.
- Greyson, Bruce, and Charles P. Flynn, eds. The Near-Death Experience: Problems, Prospects, Perspectives. Springfield, IL: Charles Thomas, 1984.
- Grof, Stanislav, M.D., and Joan Halifax. The Human Encounter with Death. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1977.
- Kavanaugh, Kieran, ed. John of the Cross, Selected Writings. New York: Paulist Press, 1987.
- Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth, M.D. On Death and Dying. New York: MacMillan, 1969.
- Moody, Raymond, Jr., MD. Life After Life. New York: Bantam, 1975.
- Moody, Raymond, Jr., MD. Life After Life (Video). Cascom International, 1992.
- Moody, Raymond, Jr., MD. Reflections on Life After Life. New York: Bantam Books, 1977.
- Morse, Melvin, M.D. Closer to the Light. New York: Ballantine, 1990.
- Plato. Republic. New York: Random House, 1964.
- Rhodes, Leon S. “The NDE Enlarged by Swedenborg’s Vision.” Anabiosis Vol. 2, No. 1 (June 1982), p. 15-35.
- Rhodes, Leon S. Tunnel to Eternity: Beyond Near-Death. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 1997.
- Ring, Kenneth. Heading Toward Omega: In Search of the Near-Death Experience. New York: Morrow, 1984.
- Ring, Kenneth. Life at Death, A Scientific Investigation of the Near-Death Experience. New York: Coward, McCann, and Geoghegan, 1980.
- Ritchie, George G., M.D. Return from Tomorrow. New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell, 1978.
- Sagan, Carl. Broca’s Brain. New York: Random House, 1974.
- Sigstedt, Cyriel Odhner. The Swedenborg Epic. London: Swedenborg Society, 1981.
- “Silencing of Survival Instinct May Explain Near-Death After-Effects,” Brain/Mind: A Bulletin of Breakthroughs, Vol. 20, No. 18 (May 1995), pp. 1, 6.
- Swedenborg, Emanuel. Arcana Coelestia. London: Swedenborg Society, 1984–1995.
- Swedenborg, Emanuel. Heaven and Hell. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 2000.
- Swedenborg, Emanuel. The Heavenly City: A Spiritual Guidebook. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 1993.
- Swedenborg, Emanuel. Journal of Dreams. New York: Swedenborg Foundation, 1977.
- Swedenborg, Emanuel. The True Christian Religion. London: Swedenborg Society, 1988.
- Zaleski, Carol. Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near-Death Experience in Medieval and Modern Times. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
(Note: This is the Conclusion and bibliography to my book Death and Rebirth, first published in 2005 and currently out of print. This text and associated artwork are copyright 2005 by Lee Woofenden.)