Among the many important messages from near death experiences (NDEs), the one thing that stands out is the sensing of the Universal Connectivity between all manifestations. This is in contrast to the individuation which currently drives the human psychology on this planet. In the analytic psychology of C. G. Jung (Ref. 1), individuation is defined as the process by which the self is formed by integrating elements of the conscious and the unconscious mind.
This identification is a result of two things: 1. Limited awareness and 2. the Instinct of self-preservation in living beings. When awareness expands, we sense the source of this limited self and talk about the Universal Self. In Sanatana Dharma, the ancient philosophy of India, this Universal Self is called the Purusha – the source of all manifestations in the universe. Purusha is like a primordial fire from which many sparks leave, get embroiled with the nature and, at the culmination of their awareness, rejoin the flame to complete the cycle.
Carl Sagan, the noted astrophysicist, writes in his book ‘Cosmos’ that only a cyclic process can be eternal.
In the early stages of development, human beings must have thought that the moon is self-luminant and that moonlight emanates from it. With widening awareness, they understood that it is actually the sunlight reflected by the moon. This metaphor can be used to explain the relationship between the limited self (the moon) and the Universal Self (the sun). During the NDE, the human being is temporarily thrown into the Universal Consciousness and, hence, feels the source of all things. That is the basis for sensing the connectivity between all beings during the expansive awareness. In the next paragraph, we see the expression of an NDEer (Lori, E; nderf.org) about this connectivity.
‘We are all made of the same light, the same energy Being so connected, and seeing the similarities in myself and others has made it extremely easy for me to communicate with people and to support their journeys here on earth. I am able to tell people with complete certainty that we are all connected, that we are all one. I know there is absolutely nothing to fear about death; it is just a transition away from the physical.’
Another NDEer, Victor Solow, has given an interesting account of his NDE in the October 1974 issue of the Reader’s Digest. The following lines appear in it:
‘A recurrent nostalgia remains for that other reality, that condition of indescribable stillness and quiet where the ‘I’ is part of a harmonious whole. The memory softens the old drives for possession, approval and success.’
The above perceptions are a far cry from that of the habitual neurology in which the present humanity is caught. The very fact that sectarian practices are thriving and creating serious conflicts among the various groups indicates that the connectivity mentioned above is expressly denied by them. What is needed is a revolution in the outlook of people which is currently being guided by individuation – both in pampering the ego at the level of a person and, at the level of groups, in being at logger heads with each other through identification with a nation, belief system etc. Many Enlightened Masters – like Krishna, Buddha, Jesus Christ, to name a few – have come and gone but, as of now, the universal connectivity is sensed only by a very small part of the human population. In that respect, the current research on near death experiences has been playing a supportive role to that of the Masters.
The Sanskrit word ‘Athma’ is usually translated as ‘Soul’ in English. However, there is a lot of difference between the content of those words. While ‘Athma’ is considered a spark of the Divine and so is the same in all beings, the ‘Soul’ is meant to mean a separate entity identified with each person. For the ‘Soul’ the individuation applies. That is how they can talk about a particular ‘Soul’ going to eternal heaven or hell maintaining its separate identity. In contrast, the ‘Athma’ has no separate identity. At nirvana or liberation, the spark rejoins the flame whence it came. It is like the space in a pot merging with the expansive space outside when the pot is broken; the inner space has always been of the same nature as the outer space but the pot, by its shape, gave it an illusory identity. Thus, the ancient philosophy of Sanatana Dhrama has emphasized the connectivity between all beings through the quality of oneness at their essence.
Truth has to be universal and cannot be the exclusive property of any sectarian group. Connectivity also being universal, it can chime in with Truth. Reflections on this matter of connectivity and the associated oneness can lift us to higher levels of esoteric perception. That would make us look at all beings with respect and dignity, leading to global unity and a caring humanity. The joy of global cooperation and international camaraderie would become a day-to-day reality. Harmony and joy would then reign on this wonderful planet.
Related matters are covered in the author’s website.
About the Author
The Author: T.C. Gopalakrishnan was born in Madras (now Chennai), India, in 1941. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978. He served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait. Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled ‘In Quest of the Deeper Self’ is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.
Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies. He presented a paper at the 2011 conference of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. Functions as a freelance counselor for peaceful living. He lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in south India, with his family. Now he and his wife are both retired and currently involved in developing a fruit farm at a village 20 km from their residence.
- The Silly Science of Near-Death Experiences (psmag.com)
- Top Five Phenomena That Offer Evidence For An Afterlife (philosophers-stone.co.uk)
- There Probably Is An Afterlife (monkeywah.typepad.com)
- Proof of Heaven? The Science Behind Near-Death Experiences (fora.tv)
- Afterlife (2011) (docdailyblog.wordpress.com)
- Studying the Great Beyond: The Afterlife Experiments (weird.answers.com)
- What it’s really like during a near-death experience (news.optuszoo.com.au)
- NDEs, Mexican Bat Caves & Service Projects (secretempath.wordpress.com)
- The 2013 Society of Psychical Research Conference, Part II (gratiaetnatura.wordpress.com)
- Reality and Near Death Experiences (consciousnessstuff.wordpress.com)