I want to Google, for example, 'Entheogens and NDEs' etc, (see title) and find inclusive explorations about how these supposedly different fields of inquiry inter~relate.
I think by synthesizing anomalies of human experience we may begin exploring deeper into the Mystery. 'Mystery' not as some static 'thing' but ongoing dancing of exploration, dynamic and alive...
I don't however disregard specialization, dedication to one field of inquiry. I am aware that I am reaping the fruits of such specialization or dedication when I review, for example, case histories of reincarnation, UFOs, and so on. People utterly devoted to their particular field. But there also really needs to be synthesis -"the combination of ideas into a complete whole"- too. A de-compart-mentali-zation between disciplines of research and exploration and feeling and experimentation.
I had a very powerful Out of the Body Experience (OBE) some years ago. I am not going to describe the whole experience, but try and communicate the sense of being 'out of the body'--what it feels like, as best I can. I am doing this, because when I have been reading sceptical arguments against the possibilities of NDEs, OBEs, etc etc, I sympathize, in a way, with people speaking from a place of not actually having had an experience I am about to describe.
Some sceptics, however, claim to have had a nonordinary experience and then later will question its validity. And so is the case with some psychedelic adventurers who will claim their trip was remarkable but after keep to the reductionist viewpoint that it was just a 'chemical ride', or 'distortion', 'delusion', and so on.
I often sense such an attitude to those who seem to cling, for dear life, to a mechanistic paradigm they find themselves in, and which--for many of them--they get funding from! They often are also not embracing of any synthesized approach, so as to see patterns that correlate into a dynamic whole, albeit they will usually use a wide brush to paint all non-ordinary experiences, and phenomena, as merely materialistic, and if not understood now, they assume their mechanistic brains will grasp it in the future when their measuring instruments are more advanced, and so on.
My OBE began after I had gone to sleep in bed. I got up to go to the toilet, and when I got there I couldn't urinate, or pee ;).
When I returned to my bedroom, I saw my sleeping body on the bed, and on either side of it were an adult male and female!
Now, when I originally got out of bed to go to the toilet, I remember the darkness being more tangible than usual. There were points of light, very similar to how darkness can be seen when observed on psychedelics; 'photons', many red, not bright but deep red. And there was a glidey feel to walking.
A strange feeling. A spongy sense where my feet met the ground..
Recently I saw a video made by a well-known author recalling his OBE, and he also gets up from bed to go to the toilet, and has trouble opening his bedroom door, then realizes why; looking close, his hand had gone through the door, he then looks back and sees his sleeping body in bed.
Now, interesting! For him his hand goes through his door. For me I opened my door! I never sleep with the bedroom door open, and 'I' did go to the toilet. Don't ask me to explain...
I felt the same as I do as a physical body but with more energy, and there was a sense of magic. Not as in the furniture morphing into strange shapes or anything, or scenes suddenly changing into another scene which often happens in 'ordinary' dreams. Things looked the same, but there was an air of anything could happen.
The male and female, who I saw on either side of my sleeping body, communicated to me telepathically. Later in the experience, I had contact with two mythical-looking beings, one of tthem intimately, who had been wearing masks of people close to me, and, when they took them off, underneath they looked like Satyrs!
The whole experience, I came to find years later, was also a powerful Divination which is still unfolding today!
At the end of the main drama of my OBE, I run to my bedroom, see my body still sleeping on my bed, and jump into my it, and then I merge body-length with my physical form, and as I do I see my OBE arm enter my physical arm, looking very pointillist, in comparison, finally merging with my sleeping arm.
There are other OBErs, and NDErs, who may report experiences involving feeling themselves feeling like orbs of light and energy with 360 degree awareness all around! Etc,...
People's experiences are unique and dynamic.
A great example of this is Mellen-Thomas Benedict's NDE which is rightly being called one of the most inspirational Near Death Experiences ever reported. I personally find this so!
The context within which Mellen was living before he 'died' was in a state of despair because of the disrespect he felt was being shown to nature by most people whom he considered a "cancer" of the Earth. He blames this worldview on the terminal cancer he contracted, and which became his 'killer', and he warns us about holding fast to similar negative worldviews.
Previously, to his NDE, Mellen had begun exploring different religions, and alternative healings, and had an openmind about the diversity of spiritual beliefs, and this attitude he took to his Near Death Experience.
Often NDErs report coming into contact with a loving intense, all encompassing light. Mellen was remarkable inquisitive with this light and his curiosity's found that the light was interactive, and telepathically informed him that people bring their own life experience to it. Christians will see Jesus, Buddhists, the Buddha, and so on, others may see relations, it really is how we interrelate with the Imaginal Realm, or Mystery, or whatever you choose to describe this experience.
He asked questions of the light and received deeply healing answers :
"Then the Light turned into the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen: a mandala of human souls on this planet. Now I came to this with my negative view of what was happening on the planet. So as I asked the Light to keep clarifying for me, I saw in this magnificent mandala how beautiful we all are in our essence, our core. We are the most beautiful creations.
The human soul, the human matrix that we all make together is absolutely fantastic, elegant, exotic, everything. I just cannot say enough about how it changed my opinion of human beings in that instant. I said, “Oh, God, I did not know how beautiful we are.” At any level, high or low, in whatever shape you are in, you are the most beautiful creation, you are.”
His vision dramatically, and deeply, resolved the negative assumption he had before about 'humanity' which he'd felt was cause of his disease. His cancer disappeared after his powerful NDE!
He also saw that all reality was alive, and that he, and everyone is immortal, but unlike may NDErs interpretations of their experiences as meaning the goal was to evolve away from reincarnation into physical bodies, Mellen understood that this process itself was sacred (which is the understanding of Goddess religion, symbolized by the Serpent that sloughs off its skin eternally to show new skin underneath). And when he asked the light what the "purpose" of all of this was, he was told there is no purpose.
I loved that answer, because it gells with the insights I remember enjoying many years back, reading Alan Watts, when he would compare life to a purposeless dance. You do not begin a dance with the 'purpose' to get to some 'end point'--the purpose is the dance itself which is purposeless; which is the meaning of the dance.
As soon as you demand a purpose you seek a goal, and then are caught in linear time. So it is not really I am meaning that we should just do what the hell we want and not give a damn, but rather have insight into the wisdom of purposelessness which is also a sense of nonlinear time, and ecstatic experiences of timelessness.
To explore NDEs, and how they relate to similar reported ways of naturally-occurring NDE-like states, and inducing of NDE-like states of consciousness, I suggest an exploration of what death may mean.
What do you feel when you hear the word 'death'? Just think before you move on reading ? What images do you get? What thoughts?
Did it connote a definite end of physical life as though it has nothing to do with 'life'? I am guessing that is what many people think. We usually get the image of physical death, and then....nothing? And there is a dread associated with the term because of fear of losing people we love, and our own death.
But can death also mean transition from one state of being to another?
When I think of life and death, I see, first of all, 'death' and 'life' as being two words. They are also nouns. So it is easy then to conceptualize these two terms as being static and non-related. We are schooled to think like this. To separate and fragment whole and dynamic reality into extremes and bits.
But I am rather understanding life and death to be utterly an interrelated nonlinear fractal process, where it is impossible to have 'one' without the 'other'. One implies other, as death implies life, and vice verse.
So transition isn't only from 'physical' to an 'after life', but also from an afterlife to here, and also in every moment; a moment 'dies' and is 'reborn' simultaneously! Eternity is not separate from time. What the warrior mindset, orthodox religious, and modern mechanistic outlook do is replace nonlinear sense of time with linear time, where an end is not a begining which is an end and so on. Rather they imagine an end that is FINAL.
Rather, time and eternity, are states of consciousness, and altered states of consciousness can bring you the same insights that NDEs can! However if you insist that time is mechanical and linear and that's it, then that is what you git!...unless.....
"The question is: Can we learn to manipulate brain-states to induce otherworldly experiences? Can we break down the perceptual barriers between this and the "next" world? The important thing to remember is that if there is an "afterworld", it must be very close, perhaps as close as our dreaming world is to our waking. Dying, in short, may best be conceptualized in terms of altered states of consciousness. If this is so, the solution to the mystery of death must lie somewhere in our own consciousness."
One of the most ancient ways of inducing altered states of consciousness are the sacred plants, fungi, potions, etc, that humankind has used in sacred rituals. With the experiences have come the descriptions of a death/rebirth experience, and insights such as the importance in life to "die before you die", and doing so you discover your eternal nature which expands your sense of being:
"Another metaphor from ancient mystery religion is spiritual death and rebirth. This terminology can be found in the New Testament. This was also a theme of the most ancient historical Middle Eastern religions, in Mesopotamia, in Egypt, and in Greece, where a number of dead and resurrected gods were worshiped. This includes Dionysius in Greece, Osiris in Egypt, and Attis the consort of Cybele in the Middle East. In Tibetan Buddhism this approach to spiritual practice is found in the Bardo Thodol. Enlightenment is understood by the Sufis as “dying before you die”. Shamanic visits to the Other World, the Bardo, or the Spirit World, which are found in many tribal cultures from around the world, are simply journeys of awakening by another name." (my emphasis)
One of my earliest psychedelic experiences gave me the insight that time was extremely amusing in that it didn't--at the time--mean anything. My fellow Trippers, and I, found this certainty so amusing we wrote the time on a wall in the room we were in and fell about laughing looking at it, we wrote "It is 20 to 2!"
The important thing to grasp, I think is that timelessness in its fullest sense does not demand we await Near Death Experience, or actual physical death, but we can experience timelessness 'here'.
Stanislav Grof, other consciousness researchers, and psychonauts, know from psychedelic experiencers, and personal entheogenic experience,and/or such non-drug techniques like Holotropic Breathing, that timelessness, the eternal, is always 'here':