Is there life after death? It used to be said that no-one has ever returned to tell us, but now it is increasingly common for those pronounced clinically dead to be resuscitated, and in many cases to relate their experiences.
What is surprising is the striking similarity of the majority of these experiences. The one feature that comes up in almost all cases is seeing a very bright but not dazzling white light, which is associated with an overwhelming sense of unconditional love. Many people report beautiful scenery and music. Often they meet dead friends, pets and relatives. In some cases they don’t know who the person is until they search old photographs at a later date. The feeling of bliss is so intense that few people want to return, or if they do it is with a heavy heart.
My aim here is not to try to prove that we are immortal. What interests me is the wisdom that experiencers bring back from their encounter with death. Their new understanding radically alters their lives. They become less interested in material things, and more focused on being of service to the world. They are more patient, more caring, more aware of other people's feelings. They speak of love as the only thing that matters, and that we are all connected, not only to each other, but to the entire universe, to each star and each atom.
The radiant light experience has been known to living people too, not only by St Paul on his way to Damascus, but in more recent times by Dennis Shipman and others, always marked by intense love and understanding. And the wisdom is not new either. It is pretty much in line with the writings of a long line of mystics from pre-Christian times through Christians such as Julian of Norwich and through Sufis such as Rumi and Hafiz.
This message that we are all one could not have come at a better time. If anything can now save this fragile skin of life clinging to the surface of the globe, it will be the power to overcome our petty differences and work together for the good of all.