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Words will not come close to capturing the feelings, but I’ll try: total, unconditional, all-encompassing love, compassion, warmth, safety, belonging, understanding, overwhelming sense of being home, and joy.

That’s a quote from a set of over 3600 testimonies of near-death experiences collected by radiation oncologist and NDE researcher Jeffrey Long. As he recounts in his book Evidence of the Afterlife, Long became fascinated with the subject when a friend told him about her NDE, in which, as she put it, “I found myself with a mystical being of overwhelming love and compassion.”

Earlier, in the above-mentioned Life After Life, Moody had investigated over a hundred NDE cases. As he reported:

 The love and warmth which emanate from [the] being…are utterly beyond words, and [the person] feels completely surrounded by it and taken up in it, completely at ease and accepted in the presence of this being…. [This description is] utterly invariable.

Starting in the late 1970s, Dutch cardiologist Pim van Lommel, who had been an atheist as long as he could remember, found himself repeatedly amazed by NDE accounts of resuscitated cardiac-arrest patients at the hospital where he was working. Van Lommel launched a 20-year study of NDEs. In 2001 he published his results in The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals, and in 2010 he brought out his book Consciousness Beyond Life.

As van Lommel wrote there:

The] encounter [with a being of light] is always accompanied by an overwhelming sense of unconditional love and acceptance.

The most remarkable NDE yet on record occurred in 2008 to neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, who described it in his huge bestseller Proof of Heaven. Alexander had this to say:

The unconditional love and acceptance that I experienced on my journey is the single most important discovery I have ever made, or will ever make….

 If you search “unconditional love” at Jeffrey Long’s site, you get about 300 cases of people using that exact phrase in their NDE reports. It seems a far cry from Dickinson’s harsh, unfair deity.