Posted by: Jody Glynn Patrick | 06/17/2012

Reincarnation? Shared near death experiences? Meet Ray Moody!

After obtaining his M.D., Dr. Raymond Moody worked as a forensic psychiatrist a maximum-security Georgia state hospital. In 1998, he was appointed Chair in Consciousness Studies at the University of Nevada. Between the beginning of his career and now, he became one of the most recognized names in death research, and a counselor often called upon to help parents deal with the death of a child.

Like most pioneers, he’s a maverick with maverick ideas. Having the chance to hear Dr. Moody present his theories on the “shared near death experience”, his latest area of interest, was too good to resist, so I found the $175 fee for the two-day “Final Passages” conference hosted by Promega in Madison, WI.

Likely Dr. Moody is most famous in psychological circles as the originator of the (now common) expression “Near Death Experience”, which he put into print at about the same time Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was outlining her theory about the five stages of grief.I know I was studying their research and reading both authors’ books in college at about the same time, in the late 1970s.

More recently, Moody’s book, Life After Life, was made into a movie of the same name.

The World Humanitarian Award winner is still writing, working as a counselor, and spending time, as always, in research. These days he is most fascinated with the idea of shared near death experiences. He told me that also of fascination for him is one particular component of the near death experience — the “nonsense”-speak of the dying as if in greeting to visitors from another plane of existence — those loved ones who died before them. He’s identified eight or so (don’t quote me as giving the correct exact number) of different types of nonsense speech, giving very interesting examples of them over dessert.

Dessert? Yes! It was my THRILL to be able to snap up a dinner invite to learn from the master. He’s been my secret mentor (it was a secret to him, anyway) for more than 30 years, and I highly recommend his books. In 2010, he published Glimpses of Eternity which describes the shared death experience, in which people gathered at the bedside of a dying loved one describe events such as being lifted out of their bodies and accompanying their loved one part-way into another realm.

Glimpses of Eternity is the first book to suggest the phenomenon of  shared death experiences. In it, he describes deathbed moments when entire families see the now-famous “bright light”, or they all swear that they saw the room change shape. The life-review, once believed to be a very private event and possibly the brain’s way of preparing for death, seems now to possibly be an external, sharable event; family members tell of watching a loved one’s life review and later recount things they could never have discovered by another means.

Moody is obviously a brilliant man and he believes in reincarnation (thinks he’s had 9 previous lives), which is good enough for me to consider it for my own belief system. Presently, I’m reading his book Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife (2012). He now lives in rural Alabama and confided that his greatest concern these days, given his travel schedule, is missing his 11-year old daughter, which is why he is limiting his speaking engagements.

If you ever get the chance to meet him, it is well worth the price of admission.

Dinner and desert with my mentor. What a treat!

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