Barbara Harris Whitfield's
Harris Whitfield is the author of many published
articles and five books, The Power of Humility (HCI),
Full Circle: The Near Death Experience and Beyond
Spiritual Awakenings: Insights of the NDE and Other
Doorways to Our Soul (Health Communications,
Final Passage: Sharing the Journey as This Life
Ends (Health Communications, Inc.).
is a thanatologist (thanatology is the study of
death and dying), popular speaker, workshop presenter,
near-death experiencer, and therapist in private
practice in Atlanta, Georgia. She has been on the
board of Directors for the
Kundalini Research Network
and was on the faculty of
Institute on Alcohol and Drug Studies
for 12 years.
spent six years researching the aftereffects of
the near-death experience (NDE) at the University
of Connecticut Medical School. She was a member
of the executive board of the
Kundalini Research Network
and has sat on the executive board of the
for Near-Death Studies.
She is a consulting editor and contributor for the
Journal of Near-Death
Barbara has been a guest on several major television
talk shows including Larry King Live, The Today
Show, Unsolved Mysteries, Good Morning America,
Oprah, and CNN.
which she shares with her husband, best-selling
author Dr. Charles L. Whitfield, provides timely
and helpful information on recovery from abuse,
trauma, and addiction. Her site is a member of the
communities of several
dealing with recovery issues, abuse, trauma, PTSD,
depressive illness and moving forward into a whole
can contact Barbara directly via email at:
Please mention where you saw this article. The following
article is the first chapter from her book Final
Passage where she gives her testimony of the NDEs
she experienced and the profound aftereffects that
| 1. Healing: Barbara's Story
My work with dying people probably would have never
come about if I hadn't died myself. I know that
sounds strange. How many of us die and get to come
back and talk about it? Not many -- we may think
-- but that's not true. In 1984, a Gallup poll
reported that one in every nineteen Americans has
had an NDE. And these first numbers include only
adults. Since that time we have acquired data on
childhood NDEs, and they are almost as prevalent
as adult experiences.
I want to share my own NDE with you, most importantly
to tell you about what we call the life review.
Our research shows that only in about 20 percent
of NDEs is there a life review. Since my NDE over
twenty years ago, I have focused my heart and my
life on the knowledge I received from the life review.
Some NDErs report seeing their life review as if
they are watching the pages in a book. Others describe
it as a film. My life review appeared as a cloud
filled with thousands of bubbles. In each
bubble there was a scene from my life. I had the
feeling I could bob from bubble to bubble, but overall
it had the feeling of a linear sequence in which
I relived all thirty-two years of my life.
During a life review, many of us experience not
only our own feelings, but the feelings of everyone
else -- as though all other people participating
in our lifetimes are joined. We can feel, then,
how everything we've ever done or said affected
others. The sense is that we don't end at our
skin. It is an illusion that we are separate. This
deep review of our life shows us that at a higher
level of consciousness we are all connected.
This new perspective totally changes our values
and attitudes about the way we want to live. Materialism
decreases and altruistic values become greater in
most NDErs' lives. Almost all of us talk about
a sense of mission. If we were spiritual before,
the shift in values and attitude is not as apparent
as it is in someone like me. I had become an atheist
when I numbed out at an early age. Subsequently,
my changes have been obvious and profound.
| 2. A Need for Surgery
I was born with a deformity -- a curvature in my
lumbar spine called scoliosis. It never bothered
me until 1973 when it suddenly became the focus
of my life. The pain emanating from my lower back
became overwhelming, and the drugs I was given to
control it numbed everything out. I was hospitalized
four times in the next two years, each time for
two weeks and with traction and injections of Demerol
to help alleviate the pain. Looking back on it now,
like many other NDErs I believe that my life had
gotten off track and my back pain was a metaphor
for my life.
1975, at the age of thirty-two, I was admitted for
the fifth time to the hospital. I underwent surgery
-- a spinal fusion. I awoke after the five-and-a-half-hour
operation in a Stryker-frame circle bed. This strange
bed looks like a Ferris wheel for one person. There
are two big chrome hoops with a stretcher suspended
in the middle. Three times a day the nurses would
place three or four pillows over me and then another
stretcher on top of them. They would strap these
two stretchers together with me in the middle, like
a human sandwich, and turn the bed on. It would
rotate me up and then it would slowly move me around
onto my belly. The pillows made it more tolerable
because I was very thin. I had lost more than thirty
pounds over the two years of pain and using Valium
as a muscle relaxant. The surgery on my spine prevented
me from any movement at all. I couldn't move.
The bed moved me. The reason for using this bed,
and for rotating me forward and face down, was to
drain my lungs and allow the skin on my back to
breathe so I wouldn't develop bedsores. I remained
in this bed for almost a month, and then I was placed
in a full body cast from my armpits to my knees.
About two days after surgery, complications set
in and I started to die. I remember waking up in
the circle bed and seeing this huge belly. I had
swelled up. The swelling was pulling my incisions
open and it hurt. I called for my nurse, and then
I started screaming.
People in white came rushing in. It was a dramatic
scene like you see on television. I had no idea
what was going on because I hadn't become a
respiratory therapist yet. It seemed like everybody
was pushing carts and machinery, throwing things
back and forth over me. They hooked me up to all
kinds of machinery, tubes, monitors and bags.
| 3. Barbara Whitfield's First Near-Death Experience
Everything that was going on was loud and overwhelming.
I lost consciousness.
awoke in the hall in the middle of the night. The
lights were dim. It was quiet. I looked up and down
the hall and didn't see anyone. I remember thinking
that if they caught me out of the circle bed I'd
be in trouble, because I wasn't supposed to
move. So I turned around to go back into my room
and found myself looking directly into a public-address
speaker. This isn't possible, I thought. I remembered
seeing the speaker when I was admitted. It was mounted
on the ceiling at least three or four feet above
my head. I moved into my room and looked down into
the circle bed and saw -- me. I heard myself chuckle
because she looked funny with white tape around
her nose holding in a tube.
I was out of pain. I felt calm -- incredibly peaceful
-- in a way I had never felt before. So I hung out
with her for a while, but I knew that wasn't
Next, I was in total blackness. I don't know
how I got there. I was floating in darkness with
a gentle sense of movement. I knew I was moving
away from this life. I had left this life behind.
Then I felt hands come around me and pull me into
lush warmth. I realized it was my grandmother. I
used to call her Bubbie. She was pulling me close
to her in a wonderful embrace. She had been dead
for fourteen years, and I had never before thought
of her existing beyond her death. But I knew I was
I suddenly realized that
what I had believed in the past might not be real.
Maybe my belief systems were really messed up. Maybe
this was real and everything else had been an illusion.
As I was thinking about how off base my beliefs
had been, and as I realized that my grandmother
holding me was real, I felt like I released a load
of toxic pain . And as I experienced that
release, there was a sudden replay of every scene
my grandmother and I had shared during our nineteen
years together in this life. It wasn't just
my memories of her -- it was also her memories of
me. And our memories became one. I could feel and
see and sense exactly what she was feeling, seeing
and sensing. And I knew she was getting the same
thing from my memories. It was both of us together,
replaying everything that we meant to each other.
It was wonderful.
I can still replay each memory today, and they are
as vivid as when they happened twenty-three years
ago in my NDE. One of my favorite scenes is when
we were cooking together. I was three or four years
old. We were alone in her kitchen, but the whole
family was going to come for dinner, so there was
expectancy in the air. My Bubbie pulled over a heavy
wooden chair from her kitchen table to the stove
and picked me up and put me on it. She stood behind
and very close to me to help and protect me. One
at a time, she would put a little bit of mixture
in my hand, and I would form it into a ball and
drop it into this huge pot of boiling water. The
pot was almost as tall as I was on the chair. The
pungent smell of fish saturated the already humid
air. I would put my hands to my nose and yell Yuk!
And she would laugh. After we finished, she pulled
the chair with me on it into the middle of the kitchen.
I screamed and laughed because it felt like she
was taking me on a ride. She wiped my hands with
a wet cloth, but I smelled them and yelled Yuk!
again. I watched her take a lemon and cut it in
half. She rubbed a lemon half on my hands and then
wiped them with her already stained and wet apron.
Then she looked at me with such love in her eyes
and said, Don't move. Bubbie will be right back.
She came back with her hairbrush and brushed my
hair for what seemed like a very long time. It felt
so good. Then she made me long curls, twisting each
lock of my hair around her fingers. When she was
finished, and she lifted me down to the floor, I
ran into her bedroom and looked in the mirror. I
looked just like Shirley Temple.
When the whole family sat down for dinner that evening,
she told everyone I had made the fish. My aunts
looked at me, very impressed. And as they tasted
it, they nodded their heads in approval and told
my mother what a good cook I was.
After our memories ended, I stayed with my grandmother
for a while. I loved her so much. Then I started
moving away. I had no control over what was happening,
but it felt all right that I was moving away from
her. I understood that she would be waiting for
me to return again, and that this place she was
in was eternal. So was I. My life had been a brief
moment in eternity, and I had no concerns or doubts
that as this bigger eternal reality unfolded it
was perfect. Besides, the one I had just endured
for thirty-two years was so painful and constrictive.
This new reality felt like it would continually
expand and flow.
At that time I wouldn't have called where I
was a tunnel, but later, as a researcher, I realized
that tunnel is the closest word we have on this
plane. Whatever it was that I was moving through
started off totally black. Then I became aware that
there was energy churning through the blackness.
As I watched the energy move, shades of gray to
almost white separated from the churning. Out of
the darkness Light was coming, and the Light was
moving way ahead of me. The Light and I were moving
in the same direction, but it was far, far ahead.
My hands were expanding. They felt like they were
becoming infinitely large. A gentle breeze was wrapping
around my body, and I could hear a low droning noise
that beckoned me. This unusual sound was taking
me to the Light.
Suddenly I was back in my body, back in the circle
bed, and it was morning. Two nurses were opening
my drapes. The sunlight was startling. It hurt my
eyes. I asked them to close the drapes. I tried
to tell my nurses and then several doctors that
I had left the bed. They told me that it was impossible
and that I had been hallucinating.
| 4. Barbara Whitfield's Life Review
a week later I again left my body in the circle
bed. I had been taken off the critical list, but
I was still debilitated and sick. I had been rotated
forward onto my face. I was uncomfortable. I seemed
to have been left in that position for too long.
I reached for the call button, but it had slipped
away from where it was clipped on the bed sheet.
I started to call, then yell, then scream frantically,
but my door was closed. No one came. I wet the bed.
I became hysterical. I separated from my body.
As I left my body, I again went out into the darkness,
only this time I was awake and could see it happening.
Looking down and off to the right, I saw myself
in a bubble -- in the circle bed -- crying. Then
I looked up and to the left, and I saw my one-year-old
self in another bubble -- face down in my crib --
crying just as hard. I looked to the right and saw
myself again in the circle bed, then to the left
and saw myself as a baby -- back and forth about
three more times, then I let go. I decided I didn't
want to be the thirty-two-year-old Barbara anymore;
I'd go to the baby. As I moved away from my
thirty-two-year-old body in the circle bed, I felt
as though I released myself from this lifetime.
As I did, I became aware of an energy that was wrapping
itself around me and going through me, permeating
me, holding up every molecule of my being.
It was not an old man with a long white beard. It
took me a long time to use the word God. In fact,
I never used any word until I saw the movie Star
Wars and heard about The Force. By then, I was already
reading quantum physics, trying to figure out how
I could explain what had permeated me and was me
. . . and you . . . and all of us. Now it was here,
and it was holding me. It felt incredible. There
are no words in English, or maybe in this reality,
to explain the kind of love God emanates. God was
totally accepting of everything we reviewed in my
life. In every scene of my life review I could feel
again what I had felt at various times in my life.
And I could feel everything everyone else felt as
a consequence of my actions. Some of it felt good
and some of it felt awful. All of this translated
into knowledge, and I learned -- oh, how I learned!
The information was flowing at an incredible breakneck
speed that probably would have burned me up if it
weren't for the extraordinary energy holding
me. The information came in, and then love neutralized
my judgments against myself. In other words, as
we relived my life, God never judged me. God held
me and kept me together. I received all information
about every scene -- my perceptions and feelings
-- and anyone else's perceptions and feelings
who were in the scene. No matter how I judged myself
in each interaction, being held by God was the bigger
interaction. God interjected love into everything,
every feeling, every bit of information about absolutely
everything that went on, so that everything was
all right. There was no good and no bad. There was
only me and my loved ones from this life trying
to be, or just trying to survive.
I realize now that without this God force holding
me, I wouldn't have had the strength to experience
what I am explaining to you.
I -- we at
this point, for we are one, a very sacred one --
God and I were merging into one sacred person. We
went to the baby I was seeing to my upper left in
the darkness. Picture the baby being in a bubble
and that bubble in the center of a cloud of thousands
and thousands of bubbles. In each bubble was another
scene in my life. As we moved toward the baby, it
was as though we were bobbing through the bubbles.
At the same time there was a linear sequence in
which we relived thirty-two years of my life. I
could hear myself saying, No wonder, no wonder.
I now believe my no wonders meant No wonder you
are the way you are now. Look what was done to you
when you were a little girl.
My mother had been dependent on drugs, angry, and
abusive, and my father wasn't there much of
the time and did little to intervene. I saw all
this childhood trauma again, in my life review,
but I didn't see it in little bits and pieces,
the way I had remembered it as an adult. I saw and
experienced it just as I had lived it at the time
it first happened. Not only was I me, I was also
my mother. And my dad. And my brother. We were all
one. Just as I had felt everything my grandmother
had felt, I now felt my mother's pain and neglect
from her childhood. She wasn't trying to be
mean. She didn't know how to be loving or kind.
She didn't know how to love. She didn't
understand what life is really all about. And she
was still angry from her own childhood, angry because
they were poor and because her father had grand
mal seizures almost every day until he died when
she was eleven. And then she was angry because he
Everything came flooding back, including my father's
helplessness at stopping the insanity. If my father
was home when my mother exploded into one of her
rages, he would close all the windows so the neighbors
wouldn't hear, and then he would go outside
and visit with them. Again I witnessed my brother's
rage at my mother's abuse, and then his turning
around and giving it to me. I saw how we were all
connected in this dance that started with my mother.
I saw how her physical body expressed her emotional
pain. I watched as I grew up and left my parents'
house when I was eighteen. By that point I had watched
my mother undergo twenty-six operations, twenty-five
of which were elective. I saw myself as a child
praying for a doctor who could help my mother. One
part of her body or another was always in pain.
She had two spinal fusions on her neck, two or three
on her lumbar spine. Both knees, both elbows and
one wrist were operated on.
As my life review continued, I again experienced
my mother starving herself because she was told
she had gotten chubby. Then she had to have several
surgeries for intestinal problems and constipation,
and during those stays in the hospital they would
tube feed her because she was so thin. She even
had her toes shortened. They called it hammertoe
surgery. The real reason was because she had a huge
collection of high-heeled shoes that were size four
and one-half. (She always insisted on wearing spike
heels even with her bad back.) Her feet were growing
(as all of ours do as we get older) but she wanted
them to remain a size four and one-half. I watched
myself with her in a bubble as her orthopedic surgeon
said, Florence, you have two choices. Get shoes
a half size bigger or shorten your toes! He was
laughing, but she chose the surgery. She was in
plaster casts for six weeks, taking even more painkillers
and sleeping pills.
I also saw her go through psychiatric hospitalizations.
During one of these, around 1955, I couldn't
visit her for three weeks. I was about eleven and
was sure I had done something wrong. In one bubble
I could see myself finally being allowed to visit
her. I looked big for my age and my five-foot-two-inch
frame towered over her four-foot-eleven one. She
weighed about eighty-eight pounds. I was chunky.
She lived on black coffee, sedatives, painkillers
and tranquilizers. I loved to eat.
In the bubble I was pleading with her to cooperate
with the doctors so she could come home. She said,
Oh, honey. This is like a job. I don't need
to be in here, but Daddy has three (health insurance)
policies so I make us money when I'm here. Blue
Cross pays all the medical expenses, and we get
to keep the rest from the other two policies. I
could now feel her saying that and she meant it.
She believed it. I continued watching and realized
that nothing could have helped my mother because
she had no real understanding about why she was
there. I could hear myself saying, No wonder, no
wonder. And then the benevolent energy that was
holding me would hold me tighter and with even more
We continued watching my mother in pain, always
seeing doctors and always receiving prescription
pain killers, sleeping pills and tranquilizers.
My only feelings during this time were ones of loneliness.
I felt so alone when she was in the hospital. Then
I watched her abuse me when she was home. I could
now feel that she abused me because she hated herself.
I saw myself down on my knees by the side of my
bed, praying for a doctor to help my mother. What
I didn't realize as a child, but was understanding
in the life review, was that she didn't want
anyone to help her. She thought her job in life
was to have doctors and be a patient. And she enjoyed
being taken care of in the hospital.
I saw how I had given up myself in order to survive.
I forgot that I was a child. I became my mother's
mother. I suddenly knew that my mother had had the
same thing happen to her in her childhood. She took
care of her father during his seizures, and as a
child she gave herself up to take care of him. As
children, she and I both became anything and everything
others needed. As my life review continued, I also
saw my mother's soul, how painful her life was,
how lost she was. And I saw my father, and how he
put blinders on himself to avoid his grief over
my mother's pain and to survive. In my life
review I saw they were good people caught in helplessness.
I saw their beauty, their humanity and their needs
that had gone unattended to in their own childhoods.
I loved them and understood them. We may have been
trapped, but we were still souls connected in our
dance of life by an energy source that had created
This is when I first realized that we don't
end at our skin. We are all in this big churning
mass of consciousness. We are each a part of this
consciousness we call God. And we're not just
human. We are Spirit. We were Spirit before we came
into this lifetime. We are all struggling Spirits
now, trying to get being human right. And when we
leave here, we will be pure Spirit again.
As my life review continued, I got married and had
my own children and saw that I was on the edge of
repeating the cycle of abuse and trauma that I had
experienced as a child. I was on prescription drugs.
I was in the hospital. I was becoming like my mother.
And at the same time, this energy holding me let
me into its experience of all this. I felt God's
memories of these scenes through God's eyes
just as I had through my grandmother's eyes.
I could sense God's divine intelligence and
it was astonishing. God loves us and wants us to
learn and wake up to our real selves -- to what
is important. I realized that God wants us to know
that we only experience real pain if we die without
living first. And the way to live is to give love
to ourselves and to others. We are here to learn
never to withhold our love. But only when we heal
enough to be real can we understand and give love
the way love was meant to be.
As my life unfolded before my eyes, I witnessed
how severely I had treated myself because that was
the behavior shown and taught to me as a child.
I realized that the only big mistake I had made
in my life of thirty-two years was that I had never
learned to love myself.
And then I was back, but not in my body. I was behind
the nurse's station. I saw a metal circle with
pillows tossing behind glass. They were the pillows
I had urinated on when I separated from my body.
I was watching them in a dryer.
I heard two nurses talking about my case and about
how my day nurse was so upset after she found me
that they had sent her home early. Then they were
saying that I was going to be in a body cast for
six months, even though they had told me six weeks,
because my doctors thought that I couldn't handle
knowing. So they were not going to tell me the truth.
Then I was back in my body, back in the circle bed.
The same two nurses came in to check on me and I
said to them, I left the bed again.
No, honey. You're hallucinating, they said.
I was not on painkillers
at this point, so I insisted, No, I'm not hallucinating
. I left the bed.
No, you're hallucinating. You can't leave
the bed, they said.
Please call my day nurse and tell her I'm okay,
I responded. Tell her I'm not angry with her.
I know she was sent home early. And don't lie
to me by telling me I'm going to be in a body
cast for six weeks. Tell me the truth. I know I'm
going to be in a body cast for six months. And you
should have washed those pillows before you put
them in the dryer. I don't care for myself,
but I care for the next patient.
Following My Heart
month after I came home from the hospital, my parents
came over to visit me. They had taken care of my
children for the month I was in the circle bed,
so I understood why they couldn't visit me in
the hospital. However, I couldn't understand
why they weren't coming to my house. I spent
every day in bed. I weighed eighty-three pounds
and the body cast weighed thirty pounds. I wondered
when they were coming so I could tell them about
my experience. Finally they came, and I blurted
out how much I loved them and that everything that
had happened to us was all right. I think I even
told them that I forgave them.
They looked at me like I was really strange and
quickly left. After that, I insisted on seeing a
psychiatrist, hoping he would understand what I
had experienced. The doctor I saw didn't understand.
No one understood NDEs back then, so I realized
that I couldn't talk about it. I spent the six
months in the body cast, thinking about my NDE but
not trying to tell anyone. Once I was out of the
cast and went through some physical therapy to regain
my strength, I decided to put the NDE away and follow
First, I volunteered to work in the emergency room
of the hospital where I had been a patient. I had
many opportunities there to be with and touch dying
people. I felt real when I worked there. And everyone
else was real, too. In a setting where life and
death are on the edge every moment, only truth is
spoken. My personal life, however, was at the opposite
end of the spectrum. My husband, my friends and
most family members were caught up in their own
games. No one seemed to be communicating honestly.
There was so much denial of feelings. I can't
deny that I too had been a part of it - part of
the materialism and part of the numbness. But now
I was different. It wasn't their fault. I had
changed. The only place I felt real besides the
hospital was on a college campus.
I became a respiratory therapist working in the
emergency room and the ICU, and my patients were
telling me about their experiences as they were
dying. And the ones who returned to their bodies
told me about their NDEs. I started writing about
all this, in those days calling my topic the emotional
needs of critical-care patients. Surprisingly, I
was being invited to speak at professional conferences
and being published in respiratory therapy journals.
The emotional needs of patients was a new and hot
topic in healthcare in the late 1970s and early
Finally, I became a researcher and could look for
the answers I so longed to find. Because my research
was conducted at a university medical school, all
kinds of new knowledge were available to me. I could
frame and reframe not only the hundreds of experiences
I was studying, but also my own personal one. The
story of my NDE is in this book so we can have a
foundation for the way I participated in and describe
the other stories you are about to read.
| 6. Processing My Life Review
The NDE is never over if we invite it to continue
to affect us. It can continue to grow in our lives
if we nurture it. It continues to interpret for
us what we are doing here, what life may be all
Before my NDE and life review, I knew I had been
abused physically and emotionally by my mother and
neglected by both parents. I remembered most everything.
The problem was that those memories of abuse did
not arouse any emotional reactions in me. In order
to deal with the emotional and physical pain, I
had numbed myself not only as a child going through
pain, but also as an adult remembering it. I protected
myself with my own emotional Novocain, so I couldn't
feel anything that had happened in my childhood.
Unfortunately, the numbness continued in my adult
life. Once I experienced my life review, I could
remove the Novocain from my past and re-glue the
pieces of my life together. I could begin to learn
about all the new feelings that were coming up.
Psychiatry calls emotional Novocain psychic numbing.
It is a common approach used by children to get
through painful times. Once we grow up we have the
choice of staying numb or remembering and working
though all those buried but painful numbed-out memories.
In my life review I also saw the beginnings of abuse
in the way I was reacting to my children. For me
it wasn't just a choice of numbness or healing.
I needed to break the chain of abuse. I needed to
save my children from what I had been through.
| 7. Starting to Wake Up
learned in my life review that the only thing that
is real is love, and the only way to share love
is by being real. Being real happens when we acknowledge
our feelings and continually share our truth. When
we feel our feelings and are real, we share our
truth out of love. Then our relationship with God
and our self is healthy.
parents and the rest of my family and friends certainly
weren't the exception to the rule when it came
to not understanding my new attitude. I facilitated
support groups for the
of Near-Death Studies
(IANDS) for twelve years and the biggest problem
NDErs talk about is that no one understands us.
We experience a profound change in our values and
attitudes and need to talk about it in a support
group. It is as though we had lived our lives in
black and white and were suddenly shown colors.
We no longer fear death. And this is just the first
of many paradoxes: Because we don't fear death,
we don't fear living. We love life in a whole
new way. We are more willing to take risks to help
others. We work with the dying because we get as
much as we give by helping.
research also shows that a history of childhood
trauma, abuse and neglect is more frequent among
NDErs than among the control group. Many people
I have interviewed who have had an NDE came from
an abusive childhood steeped in addiction. We all
have the same story. We talk about how every time
our parents started drinking or taking pills . .
. they were gone. Even if their bodies were still
there, they were gone. And so we grew up numb. Because
our parents had numbed out, so did we. But our NDEs
brought us back. They reminded us of who we are.
And to maintain our real selves we have to learn
to feel our feelings, share our truth and give our
love. I wrote in detail about the childhood abuse
factor in my last book,
Childhood abuse or trauma has always been of interest
to me because of my own history, and because I hear
about it so often in support groups or when I give
talks. Now it has been demonstrated statistically
in the research
also wrote in
that we should not blame anyone, but instead we
should break the chains of abuse. When we die --
if we re-experience our lives from everyone else's
perspective as well as our own -- there is only
information and feelings, perceptions and knowledge.
We really can't judge or blame others because
we suddenly understand from where we and everyone
else is coming. We only judge here in this earthly
reality. Over there, with God, I was just learning
about this. The knowledge of what had happened was
pouring into me, and I was saying my no wonders!
over and over again. I came to believe that God
doesn't judge but wants us to learn so we won't
make the same mistakes again. My experiences showed
me that God wants us to extend love, not fear. If
I can understand my childhood, and I can name, express
and let go of the emotions I have held in since
I was a little girl, I won't repeat my past.
My parents repeated their pasts because they didn't
know any better. Before my NDE and my life review,
the old way of conflict and numbness controlled
me. Suddenly, I was catapulted out of time and embraced
by a whole different way. Just as fast, I was back
here wanting to forge new ground. I have had a great
opportunity and now I want to share it. But I don't
blame, and I certainly don't want to judge anyone,
including my parents.
And now, almost twenty-three years later, my parents
have died -- my dad in late 1992 and my mom in early
1994. My life review had set the scene for the way
I helped my father die and the way I observed my
mother die. In fact, my life review, what I learned
in it and, even more importantly, what I experienced
in it -- that a divine energy connects all of us
-- have since orchestrated all my relationships.
With each person I have attended in the dying process,
I have also witnessed this spiritual energy. I have
given talks for hundreds of hospice workers, and
almost everyone agrees that this energy is present.
Hospice workers often tell me their stories of God's
loving energy being present during a client's
In all of the stories in this book, I feel connected
to this energy through my heart. The prayer within
my heart is constant and is the background music
orchestrating my experiences. When we are connected
to God's loving energy, it is the most powerful
force in the universe.
Chapter One excerpt from Barbara's book Final
|All content copyright 2003,
2004 Barbara Harris Whitfield.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
| 8. Notes
I gave up was my old ineffective and even ignorant
belief system, which
A Course in Miracles
calls the ego, and which is also called the false
self by Charles Whitfield and the self-psychologists.
 Hallucinations are usually
experiences of seeing things or hearing voices that
are really not there, in this reality. We will see
something scary, for example, in the physical space
we are in. By contrast, near-death and other transcendent
experiences happen in other realities or dimensions.
We may begin here, but the experience quickly moves
to other realities. Also, hallucinations are usually
agitating and often transient in memory, whereas
transcendent or near-death experiences are usually
peaceful and benevolent, and we do not forget them.
See Kenneth Ring and C. Rosing,
The Omega Project,
Journal of Near-Death
no. 4 (1990): 211239, and B. Whitfield,
Insights of the Near-Death Experience and Other
Doorways to Our Soul
(Deerfield Beach, Fla.: Health Communications, 1995).
Final Passage: Sharing
the Journey as This
by Barbara Harris Whitfield
In this groundbreaking
book on the spiritual
nature of death and
dying, Barbara shares
with you her near-death
experiences and the
stories of individuals
who, assisted by her
loving help, left this
life with dignity.