The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

338 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGthrough is part of life. It's impossible to run away. If you runaway, you will only come to face your suffering in an evendeeper way later on.Besides, while it is true that the majority of near-deathexperiences that have been collected have been good ones,there is still some speculation as to whether this reflects theactual rarity of negative, terrifying experiences, or merely thedifficulty in recollecting them. People may not want or consciouslybe able to remember the darker or more frighteningexperiences. Also the near-death experiencers themselves stressthat what they have learned is the importance of transformingour lives now, while we are still alive, for we have, they say "amore important mission while we're here." 39This transformation of our lives now is the urgent andessential point. Wouldn't it be tragic if this central message ofthe near-death experience—that life is inherently sacred andmust be lived with sacred intensity and purpose—wasobscured and lost in a facile romanticizing of death? Wouldn'tit be even more tragic if such a facile optimism further deepenedthat disregard for our actual responsibilities to ourselvesand our world that is menacing the survival of the planet?THE MEANING OF THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCEInevitably some have tried to show that the events ofthe near-death experience constitute something other than aspiritual experience, and reductionist scientists have tried toexplain it away in terms of physiological, neurological,chemical, or psychological effects. The near-death experienceresearchers, however, doctors and scientists themselves, havecountered these objections lucidly one by one, and insistthat they cannot explain the whole of the near-death experience.As Melvin Morse writes at the end of his magnificentbook Closer to the Light: Learning from Children's Near-DeathExperiences:But near-death experiences appear to be a cluster of events so thatone cannot understand the total by looking at its various pieces.One cannot understand music by studying the various frequenciesof sound that generate each note, nor does one need to have adeep understanding of acoustical physics to enjoy Mozart. Thenear-death experience remains a mystery 40Melvin Morse also says:

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