Not a question so much as not understanding
A SPECIAL LETTER FROM AN ADULT WHO HAD A NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE AS A TEENAGER:
Instead of the usual question and answer format, this time I want to carry a letter written to me by Anthony. He’s an adult now, having had a near-death experience as a teenager. His letter is really a musing about things, yet his thoughts echo what he went through years ago and how that has changed how he views reality today. I think you will find his letter most interesting. ~PMH
Subject: Not a question so much as not understanding.
Dear Dr. Atwater,
My name is Anthony. I consider myself a humble, simple man. I have been reading different areas of your website, particularly the Q&A area. So much of what I read in your replies to the questions of others are things which I have come to understand myself over the years since my own Near Death type experience in my teens. That was over 25 years ago. I have come to understand much through my experiences of life through both common, physical channels as well as spiritual ones. I have had far more than my share of what many regard as psychic experiences.
I enjoy the views and insights on your site tremendously, but outside of places such as your site I have much difficulty understanding the general view of society and why there is so much emphasis on the body. Our bodies are merely the physical aspect of our being. To my understanding it seems clear that there are four fundamental facets to our total being. Body (Physical), Mind (Intellect), Heart (Emotion) and Soul (Spirit). But it seems to me that the general emphasis for the majority overall is on the physical and emotional aspects of our being. Many even doubt the existence of a soul or spirit altogether.
I wonder if those who believe themselves to be merely the body and brain truly realize how much it changes. Every single breath, every meal digested, and the various other bodily functions exchange the physical matter of their bodies with the environment. I have read that every minute around three hundred thousand cells die in the average person. If this is what they define themselves as, physical matter, then they are never the same person from one moment to the next. If a person loses an arm, leg or some other appendage they don't generally consider themselves any less of a person. And they don't look at the dust around their house (which is at least partly dead human skin cells) to be who they are.
I find myself wondering why they don't see themselves equally as the various forms of energy that their bodies produce or are 'within' them. I believe the typical mindset is that energy is something that we use, not something that we indeed are. And logic itself seems to dictate (at least to my mind) that we are just as much that energy as we are the physical matter, perhaps even more so. After all, what is a thought? It is not physical by any means we can detect. We can not set aside a thought or put it on a shelf and say, "here is my thought", now can we? We can write it down, certainly, but that is not the thought itself, merely the expression of it. The thought itself is a state of energy.
But even beyond cognitive thought there is life. Plants, microbes and various higher lifeforms have no brains and yet all these forms of life are aware on some level. If they weren't then how could they react and respond to environmental conditions? A plant moves toward the sun, works to overcome damage to it, spreads it's roots toward moisture. Microbes and those higher lifeforms which have no brains still seek out nourishment, flee from destructive influences and work to repair damage to them. And then you might look at a rock. It has matter, physical form, and yet it does none of the above. There is indeed energy at work within it or from the environment which affects it's density or state of erosion/radioactive decay, but as an entity itself it does not appear to take any form of action. It just sits there and 'takes it'. But even so, several cultures throughout history still consider such inanimate things to contain a 'spirit'.
So how is it, I wonder, that so many people question whether they are more than just this body and brain or not? Even quantum physics shows us that there is a basic 'awareness', 'knowledge' or 'connection' between 'physical' particles and light quanta or electromagnetic energy. QP even shows that these connections are non-local and not dependent upon time or distance. I don't get it. Isn't it obvious or is it just me?
You all know how keenly interested I am in food, farming, crops, and seeds. The techniques of Permaculture and Biological Farming I believe are the ways to go for the future of our world, to ensure good food and plenty of it. With Permaculture in mind, I highly recommend Mollison and Holmgren’s “The Permaculture Designer’s Manual.”
There is an important opportunity very soon you can take advantage of. Big Bend Ecovillage is sponsoring “Permaculture Design Certification Course,” July 27-August 13 at Big Bend Hot Springs in Shasta County, Northern California. They have an intergenerational ecovillage development there which is outstanding. The contacts I have for this are:
The official title of my new book is NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES: THE REST OF THE STORY. It comes out late January, 2011, hardcover, from Hampton/Red Wheel. I promise you the book will be controversial. More about this later.