I wrote this piece four days before Valentine’s Day, when, once again, all eyes, ears, and heartbeats are riveted on the theme of love, romantic or otherwise.
But for this piece, I’m veering away from the romantic or paltry thoughts and notions about love. I’m zeroing in on the transcendent character of love—that it exists even in the afterlife. And I dwell on this point from the perspective provided by Dr. Raymond Moody, an American philosopher, psychologist, physician, and bestselling author of 11 books who was named by the New York Times as the “father of near-death experience.”
Dr. Moody’s work, “Life After Life,” published in 1975, is the ground-breaking study of over 100 people who experienced clinical death (or near-death experience) and were revived—and who tell, in their own words, what lies beyond death.
The book, which has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide, introduces us to concepts associated with near-death experience—exiting from the body and rising above the scene, going through a tunnel or passageway of some sort, meeting an enlightened being and being enveloped in total love through a bright and comforting light, and being greeted or assisted by the spirits of loved ones who appear to be “timeless,” or not in their particular age when they passed.
Profound and beyond description
Out of these panoramic snapshots of the afterlife, I’m admittedly amazed at one so-important aspect: the experience of total love, as embodied in the incredibly brilliant, warm, and comforting light.
Dr. Moody writes: “People say that in this light they experienced a love that is so profound. It’s far beyond any love that we can experience while we’re alive; they are feelings of love, comfort, and peace that are beyond description.”
From the myriad and hyper-real near-death experiences of the people with whom he spoke, Dr. Moody provides readers one lasting lesson: “Reflecting on all the people with near-death experiences that I had interviewed, what I saw was whatever they had been chasing before their near-death experience—be it money, power, fame, etc.—when they came back from their near-death experience, they all said unanimously that what this life is all about is to LEARN TO LOVE (underscoring mine) because that’s what everybody saw in the panorama of afterlife.”
Deep and profound words. Which unavoidably prompt me to paraphrase what St. Teresa of Calcutta said: “At the end of life, what matters most is not how much we have acquired or achieved, but how much we have LOVED.”
Happy love month of February!