Ep. 56: Dr. Raymond Moody — Is the End of Life Just the Beginning?

My guest this week is Dr. Raymond Moody, who brought the phenomenon of near-death experiences (NDEs) into the mainstream with his landmark 1975 book, Life After Life. In this episode we explored how the field of NDE studies has evolved in the past four decades, and discussed some of his latest thoughts about the boundary between this world and whatever is beyond. It was a fascinating conversation about the biggest questions facing each of us.

Topics we touched on included:
  • What has changed in the NDE world since Life After Life was published 44 years ago
  • The phenomenon of a shared death experience (see this discussion with Sharon Prentice about her own SDE)
  • The difficulty in explaining away NDEs as simple biological mechanisms within the body and brain
  • The study of unintelligibility and a typology of nonsense
  • Research on how common NDEs are (and why it matters how you ask participants about them)
  • The impossibility of speaking sensibly about dimensions beyond our three spatial dimensions
  • The popularity of nonsense in songs and books, as well as in religious experience
  • The difficulty in putting some dreams into meaningful words
  • The life review that is often part of an NDE
  • Life as an opportunity to learn to love
  • Encountering a Being of complete compassion and love, experienced as a light
  • Finding all-encompassing love and compassion in this life
  • Implications of NDEs for how we live this life
  • How an NDE is more like waking up than having a dream
  • Raymond’s introduction to NDEs by George Ritchie’s description of his own NDE
  • How the study of NDEs shaped Raymond’s life
  • The lack of a clear, sharp boundary between this world and the next
  • Memory as the central element of human identity
  • Death as “stepping out of character” and leaving behind the role we’ve played

Here are links to some of Raymond’s book (affiliate links):

Raymond Moody, Jr., MD, PhD, completed his bachelor’s degree with honors in philosophy from the University of Virginia and went on to earn a PhD in philosophy from UVA as well as an MD from the Medical College of Georgia.

He is a bestselling author of twelve books, which have sold millions of copies worldwide. He has also authored numerous academic and professional articles on near-death experiences and the relationship of language to consciousness. Dr. Moody continues to draw enormous public interest with his ground-breaking works on the near-death experience and other transpersonal aspects of grief and the dying process.

Raymond received the World Humanitarian Award in Denmark and was honored with a bronze medal in the Human Relations category at the New York Film Festival for the movie version of Life After Life.

He offers a variety of lecture/workshop presentations on the topics of near-death experiences, death with dignity, life after loss, surviving grief and finding hope, visionary encounters with departed loved ones, the healing power of humor, the loss of children, language and consciousness, and catastrophic tragedy causing collective grief.

Raymond trains hospice workers, clergy, psychologists, nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals on matters of grief recovery and dying. He is a featured expert in the media and has appeared on hundreds of local and nationally syndicated programs such as MSNBC’s Grief Recovery, NBC Today, ABC’s Turning Point, Oprah, and other popular talk shows on television and radio.

Find Raymond online at his website.

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