Death in the Holographic Universe


Several Near-Death Experience researchers such as Dr. Kenneth Ring, author of “Life at Death,” have pointed out that the Holographic Universe model offers a way of understanding these experiences as ventures into the more frequency-like aspects of reality. For instance, many patients describe their experiences as entering a realm of “higher vibrations,” or “frequencies,” where everything is made of light and sound. The sounds are described as “celestial music” more like a “combination of vibrations” than actual sounds, and the lights are described as “more brilliant than any on Earth,” but despite their intensity do not hurt the eyes. Dr. Ring believes these and other observations provide evidence that the act of dying involves our consciousness being shifted away from the ordinary explicate world of appearances into the implicate holographic reality of pure frequency.

Ring is not alone in his speculations. In the keynote address for the 1989 meeting of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), Dr. Elizabeth W. Fenske, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Philadelphia, announced that she, too, believes that NDEs are journeys into a holographic realm of higher frequencies. She agrees with Ring’s hypothesis that the landscapes, flowers, physical structures, and so forth, of the afterlife dimension are fashioned out of interacting (or interfering) thought patterns. ‘I think we’ve come to the point in NDE research where it’s difficult to make a distinction between thought and light. In the near-death experience thought seems to be light,’ she observes.” -Michael Talbot, “The Holographic Universe” (246)

Another decidedly “holographic” feature of NDEs is the commonly repeated notion that, in the afterlife realm, time and space as we know them cease to exist. NDErs have reported that, “it has to be out of time and space. It must be, because the experience cannot be put into a time thing” and “I found myself in a space, in a period of time, I would say, where all space and time was negated.” It seems inside this 4 dimensional holographic universe our consciousness experiences the explicate movement of space and the passage of time using a holographic physical body to navigate. Outside the hologram, however, consciousness experiences the implicate at-one-ment of all space, time, and matter. Many have reported that in the afterlife realm they didn’t even have a body unless they were thinking. One NDEr said, “If I stopped thinking I was merely a cloud in an endless cloud, undifferentiated. But as soon as I started to think, I became myself.

In addition to those mentioned by Ring and Fenske, the NDE has numerous other features that are markedly holographic. Like OBEers, after NDEers have detached from the physical they find themselves in one of two forms, either as a disembodied cloud of energy, or as a hologram-like body sculpted by thought. When the latter is the case, the mind-created nature of the body is often surprisingly obvious to the NDEer. For example, one near-death survivor says that when he first emerged from his body he looked ‘something like a jelly fish’ and fell lightly to the floor like a soap bubble. Then he quickly expanded into a ghostly three-dimensional image of a naked man. However, the presence of two women in the room embarrassed him and to his surprise, this feeling caused him suddenly to become clothed … That our innermost feelings and desires are responsible for creating the form we assume in the afterlife dimension is evident in the experiences of other NDEers. People who are confined in wheelchairs in their physical existence find themselves in healthy bodies that can run and dance. Amputees invariably have their limbs back. The elderly often inhabit youthful bodies, and even stranger, children frequently see themselves as adults, a fact that may reflect every child’s fantasy to be a grown-up, or more profoundly, may be a symbolic indication that in our souls some of us are much older than we realize.” -Michael Talbot, “The Holographic Universe” (246)

Perhaps the most holographic aspect of NDEs is the life review. Dr. Ring calls it “a holographic phenomenon par excellence.” Many NDErs themselves have used the term “holographic” to describe the experience. “It was an incredibly vivid, wrap-around, three-dimensional replay of my entire life,” said one NDEr, “It’s like climbing right inside a movie of your life,” said another. “Every moment from every year of your life is played back in complete sensory detail. Total, total recall. And it all happens in an instant. The whole thing was really odd. I was there; I was actually seeing these flashbacks; I was actually walking through them, and it was so fast. Yet, it was slow enough that I could take it all in.” Thus the experience is holographic both in its panoramic three-dimensionality and also in its incredible capacity for information storage. NDErs lucidly re-experience every single thought and emotion of not only their lives, but the thoughts and emotions of everyone else they ever came in contact with! They feel the joy of people who they treated kindly and the pain of people they treated poorly. No thought or emotion, theirs or anyone else’s they ever knew remains private.

In fact, the life review bares a marked resemblance to the afterlife judgment scenes described in the sacred texts of many of the world’s great religions, from the Egyptian to the Judeo-Christian, but with one crucial difference. Like Whitton’s subjects, NDEers universally report that they are never judged by the beings of light, but feel only love and acceptance in their presence. The only judgment that ever takes place is self-judgment and arises solely out of the NDEer’s own feelings of guilt and repentance. Occasionally the beings do assert themselves, but instead of behaving in an authoritarian manner, they act as guides and counselors whose only purpose is to teach. This total lack of cosmic judgment and/or any divine system of punishment and reward has been and continues to be one of the most controversial aspects of the NDE among religious groups, but it is one of the most oft reported features of the experience. What is the explanation? Moody believes it is as simple as it is polemic. We live in a universe that is far more benevolent than we realize. That is not to say that anything goes during the life review. Like Whitton’s hypnotic subjects, after arriving in the realm of light, NDEers appear to enter a state of heightened or meta-conscious awareness and become lucidly honest in their self-reflections. It also does not mean that the beings of light prescribe no values. In NDE after NDE they stress two things. One is the importance of love. Over and over they repeat this message, that we must learn to replace anger with love, learn to love more, learn to forgive and love everyone unconditionally, and learn that we in turn are loved. This appears to be the only moral criterion the beings use. The second thing the beings emphasize is knowledge. Frequently NDEers comment that the beings seemed pleased whenever an incident involving knowledge or learning flickered by during their life review. Some are openly counseled to embark on a quest for knowledge after they return to their physical bodies, especially knowledge related to self-growth or that enhances one’s ability to help other people.” -Michael Talbot, “The Holographic Universe” (250)

Many dying individuals have reported encounters with other beings, such as dead relatives or friends, ‘guardian spirits,’ or spirit guides. Particularly common seem to be visions of a Being of Light, which usually appears as a source of unearthly light, radiant and brilliant, yet showing certain personal characteristics such as love, warmth, compassion, and a sense of humor. The communication with this Being occurs without words, through an unimpeded transfer of thoughts. In the context of this encounter or outside of it, the dying individual can experience a partial or total review of his or her life, which almost always involves vivid colors and a three-dimensional, dynamic form. The message from this experience seems to be the realization that learning to love other people and acquiring higher knowledge are the most important values in human life.” -Stanislav Grof and Joan Halifax, “Human Encounter with Death” (154-5)


People on their death beds will often speak of seeing angels, deceased friends/family, seeing bright warm lights of love, or having their entire lives flash before their eyes. These visions begin to reconcile traditional notions of “heaven” and the “afterlife” with the actual experiences of current and historical near-death  experiencers. It appears the seeming finality of death truly is a physical phenomenon only and consciousness lives on forever.

I would like to commence this section by emphatically stating an extremely important truth which everyone should know and understand beyond any possible doubt: There really is no such state as ‘death.’ What many people believe to be the finality of ‘death’ is in fact no more and no less than the transition from one state of life and reality, that of the physical matter, to a state of life of a vastly finer density of the Universe.” -Adrian Cooper, “Our Ultimate Reality” (145)


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