Traverse City Record-Eagle

Body & Soul

March 29, 2014

Senior Focus: Expert to talk about near-death experiences

What happens when you die can be a source of mystery, uncertainty or fear for many older people.

Researchers are finding the clinical evidence for a life after death subjective and arguable. Yet, many people are having near death experiences following a similar pattern, giving anecdotal credibility to the concept of something more after death.

What exactly is a near death experience (NDE)?

The simple explanation, “A near death experience is a mystic experience that happens when people are close to death, flat line or their heart stops,” said Mary Robling.

Robling holds a Master’s Degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma, with advanced studies in Medical Ethics and certification in Spiritual Direction. She is now a doctorial candidate in Spiritual Direction ­ writing her dissertation.

The term, “near death experience” originated in 1975 in the book Life After Life by Raymond Moody, MD. Since then, many more researchers have begun to study the circumstances, contents, and aftereffects of NDEs.

In 1985, Robling lived through a near death experience at the Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla. She was having multi-organ failure from an unknown cause, resulting in a coma.

In some sense, Robling’s NDE had classical elements, “Having an out of body occurrence – seeing the medical staff working on you. You may be able to read your medical records, see a great brilliant light that emanates unconditional love and feel yourself drawn to that light. People may or may not see relatives who have gone before them.”

“Those are all elements of a NDE, but the core experience is when a person has a sense of becoming one with the light and some people, like me, go beyond that and can see the inter-connectiveness of all of creation, flooded with love beyond anything you have ever known or ever experienced,” Robling explains.

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