Author Penny Sartori reveals how near-death experiences (NDEs) can not only completely alter your perspective on death, but also empower you to live a more meaningful, fulfilled life
There are so many positive ways in which an NDE can change our lives. During the course of my research I have found that NDEs can encourage us to:
• Confront mortality and release fear
• Live life in the moment
• See the ripple effects of our actions on others
• Develop compassion
Confront mortality and release fear
There’s no denying that these experiences force us to acknowledge our mortality. Accepting the existence of NDEs means accepting the inevitability of our own death. This is a key step to releasing our fear – we know death will happen, we accept it will happen and we know from the NDE accounts that it need not be anything to be afraid of. It is a well-known psychological fact that when we confront our fears, they usually begin to disappear.
Many NDErs believe that they have actually experienced death – they have already died, and now that they have come back to life, they know what to expect when death does eventually come.
Live life in the moment
It may sound like a cliché, but understanding that death really will come to us all has the knock-on effect of helping us to appreciate every moment, to live what can be called mindful lives. Learning about NDEs has taught me, for example, to make the most of my time with my parents, who live overseas. Not only am I aware of my own mortality, I’m aware of theirs, too. The effect also ripples beyond my closest relatives to experiences and friends: ‘What if this is the last time I go to the beach?’ and ‘Would I be afraid to tell my friends how much they mean to me if this were the last day of my life?’ NDEs can help us to learn to appreciate every moment as if it were our last.
They also remind us that we can’t take our money and possessions with us when we die. Rather than being a slave to a job they don’t enjoy or spend too long doing, or succumbing to the trappings of having money, many people who’ve had a NDE learn to let go of possessions and instead value moments and experiences in the spirit of connected, mindful living.
Focus on maximizing your moments
Try this exercise. Ask yourself: What if today were the last day of my life? Spend five minutes considering your answer. Use the following questions as prompts, but allow your thoughts to take you in their own direction, if you wish.
• Would you be doing something different to what you’re doing right now?
• Would you have planned your day differently?
• What would you like to say to family and friends?
• What experiences would you want to fit in – perhaps those you’ve been too embarrassed or intimidated to try; or those you’ve felt would make you feel or look silly?
• What would you most like to eat?
• Now think about what would flash before you if you were to have a life review. What would be the stand-out moments from your life?
About the author
Dr Penny Sartori PhD, RGN is an expert in NDEs, having been an intensive care nurse for 17 years and then undertaking a PhD in the subject. She is the author of the bestseller The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences (Watkins), and lectures internationally. Her new book What is a Near-Death Experience? (£7.99, available from Watkins Publishing) is out now.