A couple of days ago I saw a beautiful and inspiring post on dying on a discussion list I am on of folks interested in trans-traditional spirituality. The author, Don Parchuta, is a physician (Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases) who has recently become a priest as part of his spiritual quest and service. I asked his permission to share the essence of his post and he gave it, so feel free to pass this on if it will help anyone. I agree with everything Dr. Parchuta said except for a scholarly quibble on one item – a very small number of Near-Death Experiences (NDEs), 5% or so, are frightening to the experiencers, although not necessarily inherently negative. Perhaps doing most of his observations of the dying in Hawaii……nobody has a negative experience there….. 😉
Parchuta’s post, responding to a discussion elsewhere:
I hope you will find what I have to say helpful to this discussion. I have been with many dozens of dying people over the years. I have taught courses in death and dying and in my “Day of Healing” presentation I spend a couple of hours on healing the fear of dying.
First, I have almost never seen anyone with a chronic disease, who knew they were dying, die badly with proper medical care and medical and spiritual preparation. These folks pass on serenely and beautifully. It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life to care for them in this process.
Secondly, as they are dying, they leave their physical body and can translocate (some say each person has an astral body that does this). They can describe events that are happening simultaneously (e.g. a freeway accident) that they have no way of knowing from their bed in the hospital or at home. Some go to faraway places they’ve always wanted to visit but never have or to favorite places. Others go to places of light and indescribable beauty and peace. They will say if I walked in and sat down and touched them -“Why did you call me back – it was soooo beautiful and peaceful.” Some will converse with people who have died.
Thirdly, Gene’s experience [reference to another discussion list] is very common in some places, especially those with a high spirituality and consciousness, and culturally, open to such things, like Kauai HI, where I lived for over a decade ( Yeah, I had to leave paradise to come back and fight the RCC of Boston). I find them less common in busy urban centers but not uncommon. They take several forms – the person at the time of death, or up to 2-3 days after goes to those they love in distant places to reassure them. Sometimes they take the form of an animal, especially a large bird, and go to their loves ones, or a butterfly hovering around a person or landing on them
The one year anniversary of the death of a loved one is always difficult and yet people report seeing the deceased person in a dream, hearing their voice inside, an animal visit etc – always reassuring the survivor that they are OK.
Betty’s experience is also not uncommon
Fourthly, there is a burgeoning field called Neurotheology centered at U of Penn medical school that seeks to show that consciousness exists outside the brain. They have some incredible reports and data.
Fifth, I have seen a number of people with Near Death experiences, and have read extensively on all the reports,
People travel through a tunnel of light or to light
The experience is ALWAYS pleasant, no judge, hellfire and brimstone
At the other end, others, whether relatives, friends, Jesus, or whomever, are always welcoming, never condemning, judging or scary
If there is a Judge – it is you judging yourself and your life – no one else
Most people find it so wonderful they do not want to go back but are told they need to return because they have more to do
Here’s the biggest mind blower – on return, they have absolutely no fear of their actual death- any fear they had is gone – they are at peace for whenever that time comes
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