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The Advantage of Having Been Dead!
By: Rev. Dr. William Wong

 

I've been clinically dead twice.  The first time was a few weeks after my first communion in 1962.  It happened returning home from confession, having freed my soul of all the terrible mortal sins a 7 year old can commit.  I had bet my guardian angel, with whom I had free and open conversations, that I could get across Brooklyn's 6th Ave before the red Chevy van could get to where I was.  He warned me not to; but the bet was on.  Of course I lost.  The truck hit the right side of my skull and torso causing immediate loss of consciousness and sending me flying through the air landing some double digit feet away from the point of contact.  

Anyone familiar with New York in the 60's may remember that ambulances then were no more than chauffeured meat wagons.  There were none of the  life sustaining devices or care available today.  Emergency rooms were very different as well.  They were usually staffed by old docs about to retire or in semi retirement who just wanted to keep their hand in or make some money to tide them over.   There were no resuscitation machines, no high level trauma care, in NYC we did not even know those existed until we saw them on TV programs set in California later that decade.  (And they still did not make their appearance on the streets and hospitals in there until the mid 70's)! 

I was DOA by the time the ambulance got to the hospital and once there my body was placed on a gurney pushed to one side of a hallway covered over with a white sheet.   According to the doc there I was quite dead. 

My first recollection was of a really bad headache bringing me to consciousness.  On opening my eyes I saw white.  Not the white of Heaven but definitely the white of interior lighting seen though a cotton sheet.  As is done with the dead the sheet covered my head.   I remember feeling my hands crossed over my chest and turning my hands over using my fingers I drew my fingers against the sheet and cleared it off my face.   I saw the opaque glass globes of lights hanging from short chains.   Sitting up slightly and propping myself up with my elbows I announced that I had a big headache, which surprised a bald man who was writing something with his back to me on a counter a few feet away.  He turned around to look at me,  then promptly tore up a piece of paper he was writing on.  The paper may have been yellow.

My next passing occurred at 28 during a bout of pneumonia.  Going into respiratory arrest, I realized I was lifting up from the bed and being drawn into a tunnel with what looked like white lights or portholes running parallel on either side of the tube.  As I ascended, things got progressively brighter and I was progressing up at quite a speed!  Looking back for a short moment, I worried about my wife and baby daughter.  A soothing and reassuring voice told me softly not to worry everything was taken care of.  At that, I looked back up and proceeded with not a care.  As I went up I realized I was becoming smarter, and when I emerged into a beautiful warm bright light, surrounded by more love than I could have ever imagined existed, I realized I knew everything about everything from the most difficult physics  question to the secrets of biology.  I knew everything there was to know and everything was so easy to know!  That was astounding! 

In a moment, a presence appeared I took to be Jesus.  (Others who have undergone NDE's have seen their understanding of God or a Buddha / Christ like person).  With unspeakable levels of love he put an arm around my shoulder and we chatted, him telling me it was not time for me to be there yet, that I still had work to do.  I did not want to hear that.  Everything was so peaceful, loving and beautiful that I wanted to stay.  Next thing I remember I was going back down the tube and as things got darker I was losing the knowledge I had acquired.  The darker it got the less of my new smarts I had but I forced myself to remember that once I had known everything there was to know and that it was all so easy. 

My soul being slammed back into my body, as I was forced back to life, I bolted upright on the bed and started to cry.  I cried uncontrollably for half an hour, not wanting to be back in the realm of hardship, pain and deceit. 

Since my second NDE I've had absolutely no fear of death.  Dieing is simply a change of address.  Since my second NDE I can't understand anyone fearing death, it's akin to fearing release from prison! 

So what am I getting at by relating these two experiences?  It's simple.  People are afraid to die.  It's ok for  those who have no religion, no spirituality and no faith to be afraid.  They don't expect anything after their miserable stay here.  But I've noticed that people of faith, especially people of great faith are afraid of death and afraid to die.  And I'm here to say that despite the circumstances of one's passing, death should be greeted with joy as a liberation from the pain and tears of this outpost in the hinterlands of creation. 

If a person has real faith in the tenets of their religion, in their concepts of spirituality, in their beliefs in an afterlife then why should they fear going there?  A wonderfully gifted spiritual leader of my acquaintance can manifest the sent of roses when she prays and connects with God.  Yet this same gal is afraid of crossing over!  If you have that connection we all seek with God, why fear the moment of becoming one with Him/Her/It?  

We've seen this fear lately in the stories of the peoples reaction to the gal who was taken off of life support and in Catholics reaction to the pope being near death.  They pray or were praying for the maintenance of  life in these individuals, regardless of how miserable, limited, sickly or demeaning that life may have been.  To these “believers” a shade of life, no matter how awful, was preferable to death!  The folks who prayed for this were actually showing that they did not believe fully in their faith, did not fully believe in an afterlife, did not fully believe in a reward for having lived a good life. In short that they did not fully believe in the basic fundamental promise of all religions world wide – an afterlife free of pain, misery, sickness and trouble.  Whether it's in the spiritual bliss of the Christian or Bahi Heaven, or the anthropomorphic earthly Moslem paradise, or in the Oneness  and Nirvana of Buddhism, or the end of the cycle of existence of the Hindus, all who “believe” are promised something as a reward for the pains of their learning existence on earth.   It should only be those who have lived a “bad” life filled with the “malum in se”, i.e. things that are bad in and of themselves, who should fear death and what comes after.   The rest of us should look forward to our release from this “reform school” with joy and expectation. 

None of this should be taken to condone taking ones own life.  Cutting out of school early only condemns you to have to repeat the grade, and if it was a bummer this time going back and doing it over isn't going to be any better!  Our passing from this plane of existence should be on God's timing, not ours.  

While I may not be looking forward to the circumstances of my next transition, hopefully this time I'll be allowed to stay.  I will be overjoyed to finally be allowed off this near God forsaken rock in space and get back into my real life.  When that time comes, be sure to have a rousing Irish wake and be happy for me!!!

 
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