Monday, November 1, 2010

Evidence of the Afterlife

This time of year -- the end of October and beginning of November -- has long been marked by festivals of the dead in many cultures around the world.

But in a grief support group, the subject of death and spirits and the afterlife is a daily one.

As I wrote in a post at the Beacon a few years ago:

Support is invaluable after a loss. And finding ways to honor and remember your loved one is also very important.

But what I think we all want most is some assurance that this is only a temporary separation and we will see our loved ones again, including the animals we love.

Some people find that assurance through religious faith. And there are scriptures and other religious teachings to support that belief. Over the years, though, I've met some people who'd unfortunately had others of their religious faith insist to them (whether through well-intended ignorance or a dislike of the importance of pets in other people's lives) that pets do not go to heaven. Fortunately, in all the cases I'm aware of, we were able to reassure those people that they will see their pets again, and that not everyone who shared their religious belief agreed with whoever had ignorantly tried to dispel their hope of eventual reunions with their pets on the other side.

But you don't need any religious faith to believe in an afterlife and reunions with your loved ones, including your pets.

And no one who joins our community has to share any of our other members' beliefs, whether religious beliefs or a belief in an afterlife. We don't care -- and I especially don't care -- whether you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan, or a member of any other religion or belief system. (I personally don't believe God -- or the Light, or Source, or whatever name you choose -- cares, either. I believe what matters is love, which should be shown toward all of Creation, and kindness, which is love in action.)

Skeptics are also welcome. But we'll tell you about personal experiences that have led us to believe, independently of what any religious faith might say, that our pets' spirits, like ours, live on.

Those experiences fall into two groups, ADCs or after death communications, and NDEs or near-death experiences. (ADCs would also include the experiences mediums themselves have before they relay information to others, but the term ADC refers to unmediated communications.)

There have been a number of valuable studies of these types of experiences.

One researcher, Dr. Jeffrey Long, an oncologist, has studied both ADCs and NDEs.

He had his wife Jody, an attorney, have set up very interesting websites to help their research. I've been directing people to their website on ADCs, the After Death Communication Research Foundation, since I first saw it in 2003. The ADC stories there include some about pets, such as this one:

Rhonda H's ADCs

Their Near Death Experience Research Foundation website also has personal accounts of experiences involving pets who had crossed over before that person had the NDE, like these:

Johnathon's NDE

Wayne R's NDE

Dr. Long has written a book based on that NDE research.

Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences lays out nine lines of evidence from NDEs that he considers proof of the afterlife.

You can read more about his book and the nine lines of evidence on this page:

Evidence of the Afterlife:
The Science of Near-Death Experiences