Opening Heaven's Door

Opening Heaven's Door

What the Dying May Be Trying to Tell Us About Where They're Going

Book - 2014
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From the award-winning, groundbreaking author of A Brief History of Anxiety...Yours and Mine comes a touching, exhilarating, challenging exploration of the inexplicable gleamings of another world many of us experience, in life, in grief, and near death.

Sparked by extraordinary experiences that occurred in her family when her father and her sister both died in 2008, Patricia Pearson was launched on a journey of investigation into what she calls "a curious sort of modern underground--a world beneath the secular world, inhabited by ordinary human beings having extraordinary experiences that they aren't, on the whole, willing to disclose." Roughly half the bereaved population, about 20% of those near death who recover, and an unreported number of the dying witness or experience a sensed presence, the mystery of near-death awareness, and, if they are not in horrible pain or medicated into unconsciousness, rationally inexplicable feelings of transcendence and grace as they depart on the journey from which none of us return. 

Pearson brings us effortlessly into her illuminating quest for answers, inspiring us to own up to experiences we may never have shared with anyone. Secular or religious, all of us wonder deeply about these things if we let ourselves, and also about the medical, social and psychological implications of understanding what it means to pass through heaven's door.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, c2014
ISBN: 9780307360137
030736013X
Branch Call Number: 133.9013 Pea
Characteristics: 295 p

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callig
Jul 14, 2016

This is yet another NDE [Near Death Experience] title, with the standard promises of love, compassion, non-judgementality and unicorns to come. But it adds more research than most, making it worth mining.
Apparently, after we all transubstantiate, our lives of destructive piggery are ignored like so much passed gas , mere faux pas. Welcome aboard- here's your halo!

One ex-arms dealer said he felt stabs of pain from family members of those killed by his guns, but killing a whole world, the future of ones own species and very possibly, all others on earth, for trivial pleasures, seem not to even rate even such passing pangs.
No NDE'er in this book, or in any other such book, ever murmurs more than faint regret over his or her own life. Only saints have NDE's?
Don't sweat it, our doting sugar-daddy/mommy God will just smile and melt you with super love and forgiveness. [If true, Adolf Hitler must be vastly relieved.]
Religious afterlives, however idiot ["77 lovely virgins"] and revengeful [save for karma and reincarnation, tho you could call the latter torture!], offer some sense of re-balancing, of justice.
The afterworld reported by NDE'rs is to Meaning what Disneyland is to reality, recognizable as far it goes, which is not very far.
Judgement-free love? Whew- that'll come in handy. Everybody relax, have another drink. Don't worry: you're not responsible and even if you are, there is no hell! [No, i don't want one either, but this complete opposite extreme is vaguely disturbing too.]
Up to very recently our imaginings about After were mostly fear and guilt ridden; now they're equally bulging with expectations of rewards. How strangely similar.
Sarcasm aside: life is meaningless without the possibility of failure. And what can happen, will. And then? Failure has no meaning without self-knowledge [ easily ignore-able] and without consequences. And if failure has no meaning life has no meaning, surely?
Y. Kason, a doctor who had an NDE, and then investigated the subject, relates the story of a soldier who had a grenade dropped in front of him, and had full-blown NDE, only the grenade didn't go off. Neither Kason nor Pearson say his NDE was a delusion, generated by his brain, but it is a hard conclusion to avoid. The only other explanation: God goofed. [Oopsie- i thought it'd explode so i sent an angel!]

The book glosses over ESP/PSI research in general and mentions that Wikipedia is useless on such because of the manipulation of skeptic activists who present it all as debunked. Nothing to see here folks, move along. Science has it all figured out.
[Achtung! We haff learned that your reductionist quotient and your techno-consumerism levels are both down citizen, so you are scheduled for re-conditioning.] Apologies to Germans for the stereotyping but not to arrogant skeptics.
One aspect i would've loved to seen included is the single best acid test of NDE's in general- OOB verification.
There is, or was, a movement underway to put symbols on top of operating room shelves, so that when patients claimed to be looking down on their bodies they could be asked if they saw any strange pictures, and if so what. That would pretty well settle the whole matter of believe-ability of OOBE's at least [except for skeptics, who would find some way of ignoring it!].
Finally, tho i do find skeptics as close-minded as their opposites, i must admit i find Pearson revealed credulity in regarding synesthesia as a glimpse into a transcendent afterlife. It's just sensory cross-talk, fun and exotic certainly, but it proves nothing. [Why? It's different in every synesthete- in every case the individual sees different colours, hears different sounds in response to particular words].

d
Dexter_Morgan
Nov 08, 2015

I found this book both fascinating and comforting.

ontherideau May 03, 2015

A couple of things brought me full stop to absorb the thought. And I can tell you that the chapter Be Still is based on true events.

o
ownedbydoxies
Aug 10, 2014

When her dad and sister die within a couple of months of each other, and after her sister has an encounter that's unexplainable in ordinary terms, the author embarks on a course of study and exploration. This book looks at a variety of opinions and experiences and tries to remain unbiased throughout. Interesting. After my own experience, I know what I believe, but it's always interesting to read about others' experiences.

l
lunatucker
Jul 15, 2014

Fascinating...and touching also. I recommend this book, absolutely.

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