How Near-Death Experiences Transform People_Featured_, Dying and Near Death Thursday, October 25th, 2012
P.M.H. ATWATER, L.H.D. | New Dawn Magazine
My research has shown me that the near-death experience is not some kind of anomaly, but is, rather, part of the larger genre of transformations of consciousness. The clue most researchers miss is stress; specifically, the intensity which comes from that stress (known in shamanism as “high stress”). The entire pattern of aftereffects and the degree to which people change, can be traced to that factor. It’s the intensity that shifts experiencers into what is called a “threshold experience” – one that straddles the boundary between this world and other worlds, between the brain and that which lies beyond what the brain can access, between reality and miracles, mind and spirit, life and death, heaven and hell, sanity and insanity.
Once we understand this shift, we can begin to unravel how the transformational process works. At the threshold of who we think we are and what lies beyond body and brain, is the core of ancient mysteries. We are transformed by the Oneness we find there.
My research of near-death states spans 33 years and covers nearly 4,000 adult and child experiencers. Not counted in this are the many sessions I held with significant others. Before my own near-death experiences in 1977, I was equally involved for over a decade studying and experimenting with altered and mystical states, psychic phenomena, and the transformational process, involving over 3,000 people. For some reason unknown to me, my research projects were never small. I have always preferred looking at things from multiple angles and differing views. Police investigative techniques have been my protocol throughout. Since this method relies heavily on observation, comparison, and analysis, it is never constrained by words, language, or culture. Numerous sources of verification are used, and this can include questionnaires for double checking previous findings.
This work has enabled me to recognise that near-death experiences are not some kind of anomaly, but are rather part of the larger genre of transformations of consciousness. We single them out as “different” because near-death states occur mostly at accident scenes, in hospitals, or in environments where devices are available to record vital signs thanks to trained emergency personnel. Contrary to the notion of how these episodes form, the scenarios they cover, and the pattern of physiological and psychological aftereffects that usually increase overtime – is the fact that near-death-like experiences (where death is not imminent) and impactual spiritual transformations (regardless of how caused) manifest the same patterning.
What links these types of in-depth transformational experiences is stress; more importantly the intensity of that stress.
Before such an episode occurs there are stressors, conditions in the experiencer’s life, that point to either unrest or inattention. And these are present universally. What caught my eye with near-death and near-death-like states were episodes that occurred under these conditions:
- during major life junctures;
- when a decision needed to be made, and at times of deep dissatisfaction,
- disappointment, frustration;
- when feeling hurried all the time or excessively strained;
- while “running a tight ship,” insisting on personal control;
- as lifestyle maintenance toppled one’s ability to keep it going;
- alongside pushing limits – at work, at play, in everything;
- when demanding and strict rules limit one’s beliefs and activities;
- without existence of meaningful goals, or when in strong denial;
- during “happy” times that were really a façade;
- when overly satisfied or complacent.
The common thread present in each situation is stress. Even with babes and the unborn. Mother’s stress, as well as that of the father, can readily become the child’s stress. Sometimes it’s as if children have their experience for parents or doctors or significant others… to relieve or heighten their stress.
And the type of stress I recognised was the kind that pushes a person beyond his or her limits, beyond that which is “safe”… a threshold experience.