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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 04-Aug-16 12:29:02

Is there an afterlife?

While we're unlikely ever to know for sure, says author Theresa Cheung, there are a startling number of accounts from those who have had near death experiences that point towards the possibility of an afterlife. What do you think?

Theresa Cheung

Is there an afterlife?

Posted on: Thu 04-Aug-16 12:29:02


Lead photo

Do you believe in life after death?

It’s unlikely that we will ever have solid scientific proof that there is life after death, but we do have something that comes extremely close and that is accounts of people who have actually died and returned to tell their stories.

These voyagers to frontiers unknown report astonishing glimpses of a world beyond, a world that shimmers with light, magic and love. Hailey sent me her story:

"In 2005 I nearly died on the operating table. I haemorrhaged and my doctor later told me that everyone thought they had lost me. I recall floating above my body and seeing the surgeon and staff panic as they tried to save my life. I didn't feel any panic myself. It was as if I was watching an interesting novelty. I wasn't involved.

Suddenly, I felt myself being blown feet first into a grey mist. I don't know why but I remember seeing my legs and bare feet bathed in yellow light floating into the mist. When I was in the mist I lived my life again. Can't explain it very well but I remembered everything and again there was that feeling of interested detachment. I wasn't involved. I just watched. Then I found myself in this beautiful place. It was the most gorgeous and glittering place I have ever seen – like a garden but so much more than a garden. I felt nothing but completeness and happiness. My mind was still. I heard music but music that I have not heard on earth before and the scenery about me was like nothing I have seen on earth either – it was so vivid and beautiful. It shimmered like crystal and diamonds. Then everything vanished and the next thing I recall is waking up feeling very sore and tired in the recovery room.

I don't know why but I remember seeing my legs and bare feet bathed in yellow light floating into the mist. When I was in the mist I lived my life again.

Everyone who knows me will tell you that afterwards I changed. I know I have changed. It sounds corny but I feel like I was somehow born again, starting my life again. I am more compassionate and considerate of myself and others. I live in the present. I'm not afraid to be loving and spontaneous. I see more clearly now."

Near death experiences (NDEs) occur when a person is clinically dead or dangerously close to death. There are many questions about NDEs but one thing is certain and that is they exist. There are thousands of reports from people who believe they have glimpsed life after death, and a recent scientific study led by Dr Sam Parnia from the University of Southampton, has tentatively proved that consciousness can survive bodily death by at least three minutes.

Initially, when I began to collect afterlife encounter stories, I thought the experience was extremely rare, but I could not have been more wrong. Over the years the stories have flooded in and one reason for that may be modern resuscitation techniques because thirty or forty years ago these people would have died and taken their golden stories with them.

Not surprisingly, there have been many doubts about the validity of NDEs and chief among these is the argument that the experience is simply a hallucination but this cannot explain why all over the world and throughout history thousands of men, women and children have reported similar sensations during NDEs despite radical differences in cultures and belief systems. How is that possible? Surely, if the experience was hallucination wouldn't each person imagine something different? Why are there such strong similarities? Why after their NDE do people consistently report that they have lost their fear of death?

Theresa's book The Ten Secrets of Heaven: Mysteries of the Afterlifeis published in paperback by Simon & Schuster, and is available from Amazon. You can also find Theresa on Facebook here.

By Theresa Cheung

Twitter: @simonschuster

Greenfinch Thu 04-Aug-16 18:42:07

I don't know but I believe there is an afterlife.Can a caterpillar imagine what it is like to be a butterfly ?

sunseeker Thu 04-Aug-16 18:59:08

Maranta How do you know there isn't an afterlife for an ant, slug or puffin. The afterlife could be heaven, reincarnation or a move to life on another plain.

How do you explain my seeing my late father? This happened after I had been discharged from hospital and was home in bed in the afternoon, resting, not sleeping and he had been dead for over 20 years at that point so it wasn't as if the grief was fresh and I was thinking of him all the time.

Maggiemaybe Thu 04-Aug-16 19:00:21

I always find it interesting that people are so certain one way or the other. How can we possibly know for sure until our time comes? Also, the near death experiences of others are dismissed so firmly as hallucinations, illusions. The people who've had these experiences don't normally read them like that.

Maggiemaybe Thu 04-Aug-16 19:02:44

Sorry, I meant to say so many people are so certain.... I'm sure there are many undecided as well.

NanaandGrampy Thu 04-Aug-16 19:49:24

Yes there is of course.

Don't ask me for proof ...I don't have any .

I just believe. And that's just fine by me. I don't need to persuade anyone else smile

wot Thu 04-Aug-16 19:53:34

Good for you,nanna, not being apologetic about it like I was.?

wot Thu 04-Aug-16 20:02:53

I just wish people who are grieving could draw some comfort from the belief that their loved one is are ok in the afterlife.

durhamjen Thu 04-Aug-16 20:17:35

If the person who died had no belief in the afterlife, is it right to say he must have been wrong?

Luckygirl Thu 04-Aug-16 20:20:18

Wot - all our wisdom is passed on - we live on in those we have influenced and those we have loved.

There is an implication that those who do not think there is an afterlife lack sensitivity, as in the comment about soop - she is a nice sensitive lady so how can she possibly not believe in an afterlife? I find that odd.

wot Thu 04-Aug-16 20:31:46

I know Soop is a lovely person. I don't know why I thought like that. Perhaps because she is lovely it seems such a waste for her not to go on forever. Maybe I'm nuts.

Luckygirl Thu 04-Aug-16 20:38:06

I know what you mean wot - there are many people who I think are so lovely they should go on forever. But I accept that life is just tough and our wishes are not always granted.

wot Thu 04-Aug-16 20:45:39

But surely if we go through all the journey of life; loving, learning etc there should be some reason for it. The miracle of birth, animals, nature can't all be a just for nothing?????? Arghhhhh! If only I didn't care! And my brain would stop questioning.

Maryp45 Thu 04-Aug-16 21:07:49

Agree with Anya, no

NanaandGrampy Thu 04-Aug-16 21:13:43

I like to think if the person who dies didn't believe in the afterlife .....they'll be really surprised when they get there smile

durhamjen Thu 04-Aug-16 21:14:35

Why assume it's just for nothing, just because there is no afterlife. Surely it's for everything we do in this life, trying to make the world a better place for future generations.

wot Thu 04-Aug-16 21:22:01

There has to be an ultimate end product though. Otherwise it's just a big unending wheel.

Luckygirl Thu 04-Aug-16 21:26:18

Human beings seem to be hardwired to seek answers that make sense and to impose reason where there is none. We would like there to be an "end product" and for there to be some reason to living, loving etc. - that does not mean that any of these are true.

It is indeed an unending (?) wheel - the cycle of life: we live, we die and our atoms return whence they came and someone else gets a crack at life.

durhamjen Thu 04-Aug-16 21:33:43

We tell our grandchildren that when granddad died all his energy went into everything else, just like energy from the sun and the stars goes into making food for us and other plants and animals.
Grandad's energy could be anywhere in the cycle of life. They prefer to think he's still vegetarian, though, a goldfinch in the garden, rather than the blackbird pulling out a worm.

wot Thu 04-Aug-16 21:33:59

But why???????

Casawan Thu 04-Aug-16 21:34:20

This talk of people waiting for you is scary. What if I got to whatever and found my ex waiting there?

wot Thu 04-Aug-16 21:37:31

I like that, durhamjen! My dad, who was very clever, believed that too.

Crafting Thu 04-Aug-16 21:38:41

I know many people who believe in God and many who don't. I don't think it is that easy to change anyone's mind. I believe and hope but don't know anymore than anyone else.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 04-Aug-16 21:44:14

No. Just a big nothingness. Like a dreamless sleep. What's to fear?

Good eh? smile

Penstemmon Thu 04-Aug-16 21:54:17

I hope not! When my turn on earth is done I hope my afterlife is in the people left on earth who care about me.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 04-Aug-16 22:12:48

But you won't be living that, will you? Other people remembering you is a different thing altogether.

Sorry, but the end is the end. There is no loving God waiting to enfold us under any sheltering wing.