I encountered the unconditional love myself once in a non-NDE mystical experience when I was 23. It was stunning; I had come into the light’s presence via a Jewish pathway, and, seeing myself as a deficient Jew as well as human being, was amazed by the total acceptance, encompassing past, present, and future.
And yet, though that sense of amazement and gratefulness stays with me to this day, the deity’s attitude makes sense—more sense than the callous hypocrisy of Dickinson’s “father.” We are flawed and weak, inevitably falling short of even our own standards, let alone divine ones. We were made that way. Why punish us for it?
That is not to say the NDE record tells us we can do anything and get away with it. As NDE researcher Kenneth Ring notes in an interesting piece about him, and as I discussed in the previous article in this series, “there is the other side of the coin—the life review.” That is, a widely reported component of NDEs in which, as one person described it to Ring:
Multitudinous actions or thoughts, derived from my own meanness, unkindness, or anger, caused me to feel the consequent pains of other people. I experienced this even if at the time I had hurt someone, I had chosen to ignore how that would affect them. And I felt their pain for the full length of time they were affected by what I had done.
If it sounds rough, many near-death experiencers report that it is. But as Ring adds:
in these life reviews, justice is seemingly always tempered by a kind of mercy that allows most of us to re-experience our lives without teeth-gnashing anguish and remorse.
There is never any condemnation—you are not judged….
You are already forgiven.
You are only asked to look at your life, and to understand.
After so many centuries of speculation, at last some empirical data is coming our way, and some things are falling into place.