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Death-Related Experiences
Record Type: Review   ID: 39

Parting Visions: Uses and Meanings of Pre-Death, Psychics, and Spiritual Experiences

Morse, Melvin, with Perry, Paul

 Just as near-death researchers Raymond Moody, Ken Ring, and Bruce Greyson are relating NDEs to other types of exceptional experience such as Kundalini awakening, mirror visions, and UFO encounters, here another near-death researcher looks into psychic and spiritual experiences and other pre-death experiences, including NDEs. Thus, he is looking into three of our major classes of EHEs: psychical, mystical, and death-related. This is a big step forward and is to be applauded. However, as is appropriate, he still concentrates on those types of experiences as they occur in association or relationship to death, as in premonitions of death, after-death visitations, and healing visions. In that sense, he is mainly dealing with our one class of death-related experience, but that is a very large class indeed, and Morse delves into it, working with first-person accounts of experiencers and his own trained observational skills. A common factor that he finds in these exceptional experiences associated with death is that they are healing visions-not the kind of healing that enables the dying to live but the kind of healing that enables the living to go on living better, because of the assurance the visions provide that their departed loved ones are cared for and happy. Morse is of the opinion that "whatever their origin, death-related visions are powerful medicine, capable of affecting body and mind alike. Because of their healing powers alone they deserve rigorous study" (p. xiii). He also observes that even though people "have been healed by their visions, some even renewed, ... they still doubt their own experience because of social and cultural conditioning" (p. xv). This points to the need, as this Journal has been advocating, to honor one's experiences and in some way help to change the negative social and cultural narratives in which they are usually embedded. We need positive narratives for exceptional experiences. In this book he presents a number of visions and his analysis of them. He invites readers to make their own analyses. One very important observation his own experience led him to is that there are no coincidences. Moreover, "when we dismiss these events as mere coincidence, we are dismissing and trivializing our own spiritual being" (p. 181). Another is that "once we accept that a light can come to us when we die, and that we can interact with that light, we must ... [recognize] that that same light can interact with us at other times during our lives" (p. 183). A third is that even if these experiences cannot be used as proof, nonetheless they can "help us discover the meaning of life, which is different for each of us" (p. 187). I very much applaud this life-potentiating approach Morse is taking to these so-called "anomalous experiences" associated with death.
Publisher Information:New York: Villard Books, 1994. 206p. Bibl: 191-206
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