Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Do NDEs Change DNA? + Memory Loss and the Afterlife


"A question just came to me and I thought I'd ask you as a researcher. Do you suppose having an NDE changes one's DNA? Has anyone thought to research this possibility?

"My sister and her husband are involved in creating DNA activation through soundscapes, and I thought if sound could affect our DNA, the brief exposure NDErs have to the Light may activate otherwise dormant cells or centers upon re-entry. In the case of the Light striking the DNA, it could cause a mutation, an addition or subtraction or enhancement in the human being's DNA structure. Because, don't you find that most NDErs over time, live at a higher level of consciousness and live their passion in service to humanity and the planet? Each in their own unique way following their spiritual path? A switch was flipped and we were 'turned on?' Anyway, just thought I'd ask."...Diane


There is no specific research that I know of about DNA changes after a near-death experience. Yet, many speak about that very thing as if it were a foregone conclusion.

There is no question about the prevalence of physiological changes afterward, and these involve the brain/mind assembly, the nervous system, digestive system, and skin sensitivity. You can track these kind of changes, and I am, in the current book I am writing which wraps up my research and completes my theoretical model. The DNA, however, requires a different type of research and that has yet to be done. In one of the books, I believe it was "Beyond the Light" or maybe "The New Children and Near-Death Experiences," I tackled this subect, looking for threads, connections, that might indicate any DNA changes in a parent who had a near-death episode could be passed onto his or her children. I couldn't find anything substantial to indicate that this type of DNA alteration became hereditary. No "tit for tat." That was many years ago. Today, I tend to think better of the idea. I have no doubt that DNA changes occur. My question has always been: can that particular type of change be passed from parent to child?

When we are speaking of DNA and how it can be affected by the environment, social structures, and interpersonal behavior, the new findings coming out from the scientific world are quite stunning, especially the fact that DNA communicates with other DNA, every day, constantly. The spread of outreach with this particular communication is almost beyond belief. . . and can be verified in scientific experiments. And, yes, DNA changes per se are indeed hereditary in the human family. So, why can't I find what I am looking for with near-death experiencers? Maybe it's the way I am looking. We'll see. PMH


"I am a Catholic yet ecumenical Christian. I do not get too caught up in the human traditions (although I know they have their meaning), but focus on the spirituality of letting go of human selfishness and becoming as He was (Jesus), unconditional love. I am a mechanically-minded person and find stumbling points in my belief or faith when things like my following questions come up, and I cannot understand how they work or are possible.

"I have an uncle who is 92 years old and has problems with remembering many things now. He still remembers family but forgets many things from moment to moment. He is a special person in my life, and it hurts to see him this way. When I think that he is this way because of physical breakdown of his brain, I wonder if we got it all wrong and this is all we are.

"When he passes from this life, will he remember again? Are we (our souls) so subject to this physical world that we can get like this and be 'righted' again when we shed our bodies? I just don't understand how it all works. Can you help me with at least some understanding?"...Bob


Bob, no one understands how aging works nor the fullness of purpose life in physical bodies affords us. What we can gain succor from is that treasure trove of inspiration and blessing that comes from such sources as esoteric and faith traditions, mysticism, and phenomena that edgies the borders of life and death. We have so much we can turn to for aid. And that aid is rich and wonderful, and very comforting.

For those who need a little more help, phenomenal occurrences have now been researched to such a degree, that what used to be "simple faith" now has real power behind it. Just investigating what we've learned from near-death experiences is quite overwhelming in its stirring affirmation that all life has purpose and meaning, that nothing is wasted, and that no one is forgotten. Experiencers tell us that we each have a job to do, a mission to perform, just by being alive. Big or small doesn't matter, nor does it matter whether or not we accomplish our job. Following in life what seems most to matter, what pulls at us, gets us there. Read "The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences." That should help to expand your thoughts about this.

The dying process is just that, a process. And that process for most of us takes a great deal of time, as we unwind and slowly disappear as the spark we once were. This process is natural and nothing to fear. It is what we grow through as we prepare to cast off our bodies and set our souls free. Instead of focusing on how much your Uncle has lost with the essence of who he once was, focus instead on what he had and what he did with his 92 years. You have more to celebrate with his life than you have to regret as he diminishes. Perhaps my audio presentation, "As You Die," might be helpful now, for your Uncle and for you.

No one likes to see a loved one fade, nor do we want to consider that the same thing will happen to us. I cannot speak to the fear in your heart, but I can speak to the joy in mine. After dying three times myself, and investigating the deaths and near-deaths of thousands of others, I can affirm that this life neither begins or ends at either birth or death, that forever can be counted on, and that the condition of our body/mind complex does not reflect the power resident within our soul. Love your Uncle - all that he was and all that he is and all that he will ever be. Be patient with his leaving and be gentle with yourself. We all have much more to be thankful for, than to regret. PMH


*** The International Association For Near-Death Studies has just announced their coming fall conference to be held near San Diego, California. Theme is: "Transformed in the Light: Helping Humanity through Enhanced Abilities Following NDEs." Dates are October 16-17, but actually there may be something going on October 15 and 18. If you're like me, you'll plan on all four dates, just in case. And, yes, I will be there. Those wishing to submit papers, should contact the IANDS office for details: services@iands.org. Their website is www.iands.org.

*** IANDS is cooperating with a television company on a possible TV series about near-death experiences and their impact on people's lives. Experiencers are invited to submit their stories. The full criteria is located on my website at www.pmhatwater.com or with IANDS, www.iands.org.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

If Suffering is an Illusion, isn't Joy? ...and Are There NDE Prodigies?


"If eternity is so perfect, why am I currently in a state where it seems terrifying to me?"...Justine


Because you have yet to shift your focus from the external world to the internal one. That can take time. Try a meditation class or contemplative exercises. Or, maybe visit a Unity Church or a Center of Spiritual Living, if either is near. Sometimes just playing tapes in your car as you drive to and fro will open up other avenues of thinking and feeling, or, taking a yoga class. As long as you believe that the world around you in your only source of truth, you will never be satisfied with your life or how you feel. I can only offer suggestions and perspective. Action, the willingness to proceed and discover, is up to you. PMH


"I really appreciate your answer, but I have one more question. Isn't embracing the idea that perception is illusion, just embracing the idea that everything is meaningless? If suffering is an illusion, isn't joy? If everything is empty and one, how are we to spend our time? Wouldn't anyone be miserable just sitting still and feeling the Oneness of everything for all time? I guess the only meaning I understand is happiness and fulfillment, which seem impossible in a universe of constant flux. Is there a point after which we can feel only bliss?"...Justine


My dear Justine, if nothing else, please take up contemplation, then prayer and meditation. Begin there. Everything is real and not real at the same time. It all depends on how you view it. Everything has meaning and is purposeful, even if it seems as if it could not be so. Whatever we do, whoever we become, fills out, expands or changes our trajectory - where we are headed in the ultimate scheme of things. Nothing is wasted. Nothing. And nothing is forgotten - it just changes in meaning and purpose as we change. Emptiness is so full that it is bursting at the "seams" with potential and possibility. And there is such fascination and wonder in every "drop" of creation that boredom is non-existent. How can I possibly explain a rose to you if all you have ever seen throughout the years of your living are weeds? How can I possibly show you God's Love, The Love That Holds The Universe Together, if all you have ever known are expectations and the feelings that accompany them?

This e-mail can't do it for you. Instead, allow your heart to speak to you. Allow what is already within you to surface. There can be no other way, no other proof, no other truth for you, but that which arises from the wellspring of wisdom inside your inner self. True life, true living, true joy, begins when you do. PMH


"I've been obsessed with NDEs over the past few years now, and something interesting struck me while I was thinking about them today. I've noticed that people who've been close to death/died multiple times, either always seem to have an NDE or they never do. I have yet to come across an NDEr who's died multiple times who hasn't had an NDE during his or her deaths. I know that you've had three NDEs yourself. I find this interesting; my guess regarding this thought is that perhaps some people are born with some prodigy ability to induce at least an out-of-body experience (even if they're not aware of it), just as certain people are prodigies in other areas such as music, cooking, sports, etc."...Ronnie


Well, maybe. Really there's no way any of us can prove your idea one way or another. I have encountered people who died multiple times and did not have an NDE in either one of them and felt cheated that they didn't. I have run across people who had multiple experiences, then went through other death events but did not experience any more near-death states. I have met people who seemed to alternate in the sense that in one death event they had a near-death experience, the next they did not, then they did again, and then they did not. The one with the most near-death experiences in my research base was a man who had 23 of them. He was in his early forties when I met him. He was not expected to live at birth, then went on to have serious complications and difficulties that continued throughout his life. At each crisis, he had another NDE, without fail. I asked him why, and he said something to the affect that each one gave him the energy and the courage he needed to keep on living. . . they were like "vitamin pills" for him, or "life-shocks." So, if you just look at his case, your theory falls apart. He wasn't "born" to have near-death experiences. That they happened, kept him alive. PMH


* The International Association For Near-Death Studies (IANDS) now has available an online course covering the near-death phenomenon. Called "Near-Death Experience: An Online Educational Course," it is designed primarily for healthcare professionals, but can be used by anyone. CEU credits are currently available for some; later on for people nationwide. Dubed the "best-ever introductory course," you can see for yourself by accessing this address: www.iands.org/education/educational_credits/ceu-course-home.html.
Anyone interested should contact IANDS directly at www.iands.org.

* Dates have been set for future near-death experiencer retreats at The Mercy Center, St. Louis, MO. These dates are:

  • July 15-18, 2010
  • May 12-15, 2011
  • April 27-30, 2012

IANDS sponsors these highly successful spiritual retreats, led by Linda Jacquin, Dave Bennett, and Bill Taylor. The website to learn more about experiencer retreats is www.neardeathexperiencers.org. To reach those in charge, contact:

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