Suicide Epidemic Relates to Spiritual Vacuum

Earlier this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an article about the alarming 28% rise in suicide deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2016. The issue was recently punctuated with the celebrity suicides of Kate Spade (June 5) and Anthony Bourdain (June 8), leaving many to wonder how such visibly successful and seemingly fulfilled people can take their own lives. Such assumptions fail to acknowledge that suicide is often a more fundamental existential disorder of disconnection and purposelessness.

From my perspective, suicide deaths are largely the result of the spiritual vacuum in our secular culture. Spirituality, in this discussion, is an acknowledgment of meaning and purpose in our lives, as well as a sense of deep interconnection with others and with the universe at large. Some gain spiritual growth through religion, although conflicting orthodoxies tend to diminish our knowing of the reality of such a guiding force at the core of our lives, at least for some. Unfortunately, the predominant scientific materialism of our era supports a notion of separation and meaninglessness that only contributes to the spiraling desperation reflected in this sad explosion of suicidal behavior.

Suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state, especially those in the Midwest and New England, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the CDC: “In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and is one of just three leading causes that are on the rise.”

An editorial in the British Medical Journal reported that the recent decline in overall life expectancy in the US is mainly attributable to the rise in suicide and substance abuse.

In fact, many people who die by suicide are not known to have a diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Life challenges often contribute to suicide, such as those involving interpersonal relationships (42%), problematic substance abuse (28%), physical health problems (22%), job/money concerns (16%), criminal legal problems (9%), or loss of housing (4%). The largest group is thus associated with a perceived lack of love in their lives, in the form of relationships gone wrong (or that never form in the first place).

Firearms are the most common means used by people who successfully commit suicide. In 41% of these cases, the person had a known mental health condition, and in 55%, the person had no known mental illness. Pulling a trigger is far too easy an action, and allows tragic ease to accomplish the goal, whether it is ending one’s own life, or taking another.

One of the most important steps to take if one is concerned about a possible suicide is thus to separate such easy means (i.e., guns or potentially lethal drugs) from the potential victim, though accomplishing this task is not always as simple as it should be.

Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, reports that rising rates of depression, loneliness and anxiety, as well as the opioid crisis and economic turmoil (such as that following the 2008 economic meltdown), are likely linked to the rising rates of suicide in America. Those primarily due to depression, loneliness and anxiety might well be prevented through an improved safety net of connection and purpose, manifested through healthier social relationships and a deeper sense of purpose in our existence. Especially in our very “me-focused” culture, the great value of serving others as a purpose often allows a solution to what otherwise might lead one towards suicide.

We continue to rely almost entirely on people themselves to tell us if they are suicidal, “yet nearly 80 percent of people who die by suicide explicitly deny suicidal thoughts or intentions in their last communications,” according to Matthew Nock, a professor of psychology at Harvard University.

Alarmingly, in May 2018, an article in the medical journal Pediatrics reported that twice as many children were hospitalized for contemplating or attempting suicide in 2015 compared with 2008. There has been a 70% increase in the rate of suicide among girls (ages 10-19) from 2010 to 2016, which also hit a 40-year high in 2015. Where has our society gone so wrong as to fail our children in this way?

Any given suicide might involve more than a single factor, but the overall problem will become more manageable through a deeper cultivation of connectedness and caring for each other. Rates of depression are rising globally, and instead of sweeping the stigma of mental illness under the rug, we would benefit from more open and candid sharing of our feelings and concerns with one another. Acts of kindness and caring, learning how to listen to others’ sharing of their feelings and problems, raising an alarm when we are concerned about others, and keeping those identified as possibly at risk safer by removing easy access to lethal means, such as guns and potentially deadly medications and drugs – all of these can contribute to an alleviation of this depressing epidemic of suicide.

Suicide is invariably a complex issue, with any one case presenting significant challenges. In my role sharing my NDE and its implications for humanity, I frequently address questions about suicide, and we may find a natural remedy from within the NDE community.  Our good friend and colleague, Dr. Raymond Moody, has reported that one of the few categorically true observations to be made about suicide is that, if one attempts suicide and experiences any of the features of an NDE (encountering brilliant light and an overwhelming sense of a divine force of love in the universe, meeting souls of departed loved ones, etc.), then he or she will never attempt suicide again.

The commonly encountered pattern is that those who fail in suicide attempts are generally doomed to repeat their attempts. So this powerful effect of NDE elements preventing future suicide attempts is remarkable, indeed. NDE reports from observation across the veil also suggest that, during the life review, those who succeed at suicide likely witness a profound sense of love that others and the universe at large have for them, and gain comfort from that revelation, but they also realize the deep pain that many felt in their loss.

In short, suicide is never the right answer. The more we can nurture a sense of connectedness and purpose in our lives (of “spirituality”), the less likely people will be tempted to “end it all.” The other fact of this discussion is that suicide will never work as an escape from worldly problems, especially as one comes to realize that modern consciousness studies imply the reality not only of the afterlife, but of reincarnation. That particular dodge (of suicide) doesn’t solve the soul’s challenges and necessity of facing the issues at hand – if ignored or avoided, they will only be repackaged in a different form for one’s next incarnation. The world of transpersonal psychology is filled with such stories of soul challenges arranged over multiple lifetimes – all with the purpose of growth and learning. NDE experiences clearly show that the guiding compass of our soul journeys is one that acknowledges the binding force of love that connects us all.

There is no way out, but through. It is better to deal with the big challenges in this lifetime, never resorting to suicide as an exit plan. Together with medical or mental health treatment, as appropriate, meditation and centering prayer often yield access to our higher soul, and to guidance in helping us see this grander vision of our challenges, and of their solutions.

If you know someone who is struggling with thoughts of suicide right now, please get help. I have posted some resources and information on the FAQ page here: What about Suicide?

26 replies
  1. William Lane
    William Lane says:

    I am on my way home to Calgary, Alberta after having attended the event you presented at in Melfort, Saskatchewan. First, let me say how much I enjoyed the presentations and meeting you and Karen who spoke briefly about her minor transgressions as a ‘nearly’ teenager. She spoke of ‘knowing it was wrong’ (especially once apprehended) and very clearly learned a valuable life lesson.
    During over twenty five years in law enforcement I enjoyed great personal satisfaction from having helped many youths who were heading down the wrong path. I continue to enjoy that satisfaction through contact with many of those now ‘not so young’ people and seeing what they have achieved.
    In Canada our laws are now such that a person cannot form mens rea (in other words, knowing right from wrong) until turning twelve years old. I personally believe that we recognize right from wrong at a much younger age and not recognizing that has caused and continues to cause great issues in our society. Children are allowed to conduct themselves in all sorts of inappropriate and illegal ways with no fear of any sort of consequence. As they age (I won’t say ‘mature’) that feeling, or sense of not being responsible for their own behaviour continues. We now have a great segment of our society who feel that way and behave accordingly. Nothing is their fault as they pursue the ‘ownership’ of more and more physical ‘stuff’, believing that those possessions will bring them happiness. In order to acquire that ‘stuff’ they are forced to work longer hours and more days while losing the essential connectedness that we all thrive on. I look around at people glued to their electronic devices, eating in silence at restaurants despite being out ‘with’ family, friends or colleagues, all of whom are also lost in their own electronic experience where they become lonelier and lonelier despite having more and more ‘friends’, a behaviour which is perceived by many people as somehow being ‘normal’.
    ‘Back in the day’ when I was a police officer parents of children I took home for whatever transgressions were shocked that their child would commit such acts, particularly in light of the fact they they ‘give Johnny everything he needs’. I would point out to them that what their child was mot certainly NOT getting was their love, respect and rules to be followed.
    Now, here we are with generations of lonely people who see no way out except to take their own liffe.
    I’ve rambled on, far oversimplified some things however wish to express again how much I enjoyed the Melfort event.
    All is well

    Reply
  2. Alex
    Alex says:

    Eben, there are neuroscientists like Anil Seth who believe consciousness is a product of the brain and memories are stored in it. My question for you is why they are wrong? NDE’s and the other work they are doing at UVA’s DOPS seem like reasonable evidence for consciousness not being produced by the brain, but Anil Seth’s claims show otherwise.

    Reply
    • Eben Alexander
      Eben Alexander says:

      Nahm – NDEs are NOT caused by DMT. Some people have been attracted to considering DMT as a causal agent due to the extraordinary visions and mental experience present in NDEs, and the fact that DMT “trips” and NDEs, in spite of their “ineffability,” can sound similar by verbal description. Some of the most important transcendental features of NDEs, such as reaching a border of no return, life review, extrasensory perception, and precognitive visions of the future, were relatively underrepresented in the DMT population in this paper, because such elements are powerfully connected with the soul’s journey, thus are major components of the NDE, and not necessarily expected to appear in a DMT trip. I do believe that such hallucinogens tap into the same realm that is witnessed in an NDE, and with the proper spiritual approach, DMT might help to mimic and partially duplicate some of the life-changing lessons of an NDE for an individual soul seeking such knowledge on their journey. As we discuss in our new book, Living in a Mindful Universe, certain techniques of meditation, especially using Scared Acoustics NeuralHelix technology to influence the brainstem in liberating consciousness, can produce much of what one gains through NDEs, but through meditation alone. Chris Bache, in his book Dark Night, Early Dawn, compares LSD directly with binaural beat brain entrainment, concluding that the sound can take you at least as far as the psychedelic, but it requires a more protracted and dedicated form of engagement. It should be obvious that use of such meditative techniques involves a dedicated practice over a long period of time to garner meaningful results and insights. DMT and other psychedelics create too much “noise” making it difficult to harvest the lessons from the journey, a main reason we prefer meditation to psychedelics in those seeking such experiences.
      As to the PDI delusion scale, note how “belief in telepathy” and other beliefs qualify as “deluded” whereas many scientists who study consciousness realize telepathy is real — just one example of how such a scale is very misleading and should not be used, placing their results in a dubious light.
      They conclude with “This study’s findings warrant further investigation to address the putatively strong overlap between the phenomenology and neurobiology of DMT (and other psychedelic) experiences and ‘actual’ near-death experiences, particularly given some of the scientifically problematic yet influential claims that have been made about NDEs,” referencing my book Proof of Heaven as the source of “scientifically problematic yet influential claims that have been made about NDEs.” As long as they continue trying to explain NDE’s entirely from a physicalist/brain-based perspective, they will continue to be most frustrated. Such extraordinary human experiences cannot be so simply explained; likewise just taking a dose of DMT will taunt them with similarities, though the profound nature of NDEs requires a much grander theater of explanation than our simplistic materialist neuroscience can offer. Trying to dumb the explanation down to “it’s the same thing as this hallucinogen” reveals a profound ignorance about the nature of NDEs.

      Reply
  3. Richard Krauland
    Richard Krauland says:

    Eben, Eben, when your children were young, you probably took them to restaurants that had the paper placemats, filled with games to entertain children. 0ne game was the maze. You “Start Here” and trace a line to the “End”. I noticed back then that if you started at the “End” it was very quick and easy to get back to the “Start Here”. So it is with spiritual solutions.

    Once you are aware of our spiritual nature, God, and the teaching of Christ; it is as if you already know the right answer. So the path to it is clear. However, if you are still searching for the Truth, then many wrong turns are possible. Our assertions simply fall on deaf ears.

    I am writing a book now, my first, that will start with our scientific knowledge and it’s limitations, and tear down the false walls between science and God. Everyone believes in science. Many do not believe in God. As you know, these are NOT mutually exclusive. That’s my message. Similar to your own. I believe that we can help those many by dissolving the conflicts between science and religion.

    Reply
  4. Margaret Coles
    Margaret Coles says:

    Hello all, Dear Friends. I did aim to link in again before today, there you go, one can aim, then events can either “get in the way” or defer ideas and plans. But all is well here, by the power of love and prayer. My daughter has calmed somewhat, lengthy chats,medical and social support, reassurances shared within the family group and a sense of always belonging and being watched over by God and the angels. It seems too, quite synchronistic that Brother Peter joined this site. He and I have introduced ourselves to each other and are getting along like old pals! Happiness and unhappiness can manifest on various levels, a myriad of reasons why we might feel sad or happy, down the line of “one to ten” a version too of what gives us contentment or not. What do we expect out of life? Eventually, most of us realize that what we put in, we get the reflection of that back. Living consciously is the trick, studying our own motives, drop the bias attitude, keep in mind “There go I” stance. Plus, don’t watch trash on the screen! Much love, Blessings and wishes for a healthful and pain free life. Margaret.

    Reply
  5. Margaret Coles
    Margaret Coles says:

    Good Morning, everyone. Just a brief connection, I am due to go out. Talking to my daughter just now, she told me she did not want to be here, but “Don’t worry Mum, I am too much of a coward to do anything drastic. I am afraid to live and afraid to die” She believes, as do many others that chem trails are to some degree or another responsible for the downward trend of any feel good factor that humanity might have. Any thoughts on that? I will return to this later today. Much Love and Blessings to all. PS. you have taken on quite a task Eben, covering this subject, the well being of humanity. M. x

    Reply
    • Peter Anthony, JSC
      Peter Anthony, JSC says:

      “Afraid to live and afraid to die,” is a common feeling that most people actually have at some level. To be reminded of the GOAL – what’s beyond the “finish line” after “a race well fought” – and that would A LIFE OF UNIMAGINED BLISS!! and doing amazing things, whatever your heart desires with all your family and friends forever! BUT THAT IS for later – for now – we are here to help each other recognize this really, this goal and the struggle we all have to get there! Margaret, you daughter seems to be posed to make some excellent decisions: to IMAGINE HEAVEN (and the work involved in getting there) I would recommend a superb audiobook at Audible.com entitled: “Imagine Heaven” by John Burke, or a hard copy at Barnes and Noble – also getting in touch with a blog such as http://www.rjoy4u.org – which I moderate – or contact me direct at : – I am involved in a new Initiative to help steady the ship, balance the sailors, and encourage smooth sailing ahead – til we pull into the celestial port that awaits us all – no matter who we are! Blessings on your day! Fr. Br. Peter Anthony, JSC

      Reply
  6. Peter Anthony, JSC
    Peter Anthony, JSC says:

    A basic “Handbook for Humans” ought to be written: which simply states that there are three parts to being human: the spiritual, the mental, the physical. Each needs to be introduced to children when they are very young, which means that the parents first have to buy into the project. A child will thrive when ALL THREE AREAS ARE ADDRESSED, and nurtured with “appropriate food” and then a balance will begin that has all the elements needed to get through the journey of life, which is all one big testing ground, a determination of what strengths, talents, abilities we possess not for ourselves, but for the good of others. I have heard it said recently that MY LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME, its about YOU! We are each here to help each other get to the finish line of life, so we can “pass the final exam” and then enter into a dimension that has no words to adequately describe it – but the hints given by people who have been there and back make it all worthwhile.
    LOSING FOCUS OF HEAVEN our true home – no matter what “religious” or non-religious persuasion you are engaged – is the cause of losing our balance and falling – into all kinds of distortions and faulty thinking, reasoning and acting, especially regarding the purpose of life, and just how fragile but glorious it will one day be – AND THIS CAN LEAD TO THE HOPELESS actions of ending one’s life. But to do that is to fail the final exam if it is done while there is any chance to reverse the decision. Only the giver of life has the jurisdiction and authority to say when it will transition to the new dimension.
    I am starting in my own venue an initiatiative to FOCUS ON HEAVEN – which touches also on the other two areas of MENTAL BALANCING, and PHYSICAL CARE FOR SELF and balancing life in the body.
    I had a cousin commit suicide when he was in his mid 20’s 40 years ago – I conducted his burial services – but I was certain that his mental capacity, and physical imbalances were strong enough to leave it entirely up to God on how his life review would be conducted and ended. ALL GOD DOES IS LOVE, all Jesus does is love.
    I find that the best antidote to physical anxiety, mental stress and spiritual dryness: is simply to BE STILL AS A STATUE – very very still – and breathing deeply at first, then more gently with time: repeat: “JUST BE” “JUST BE” JUST BE!” over and over again – until there is calm, until there is peace, until the merry-go-round in the brain ceases – til you are flooded with peace and joy and hope – the longer you can do these exercises the better the results: I do it dozens of times a day – and it works! I suffered from GENERAL ANXIETY for years – and I am taking an antidepressant – but the domestic monastic life I lead, keeps the guard rails up for me – and its pretty smooth sailing. In my opinion antidepressants if administered and monitored properly simply allows you to slow down enough to be YOU – the real you – and if your SPRIT/MIND/BODY is out of whack in any way – then the first order is to “get them all spinning simultaneously and musically making the gentle whirring sound of health, peace of mind and generosity of heart!
    Blessings Fr. Br. Peter Anthony, JSC ono

    Reply
  7. Laljee Verma
    Laljee Verma says:

    Dear Dr Alexander,
    You are on spot when you say “spiritual vacuum exist in our secular culture”. Indeed that is the case. Suicide rates are on the rise all over the world. Farmers and students in India are mainly the victims due to unrealised dreams and aspiration. Hope is essential in life, but with hope desire takes birth, and when it acquires demonic shape of expectation it becomes a passion. If expectations are not met negative vibrations dominate a mind. To my reckoning mind can be considered in three dimensions; the Instinctive (basic faculty acquired from animal kingdom), the Rational (specific attribute which flowers in human mind), and Intuitive (a faculty specific to human mind). Development of human mind is rather a complex phenomenon inclusive of genetic, epigenetic, experiential, and environmental stresses and contribution. Thus every individual mind is unique. Human mind is like a wandering wild horse, and when a disappointment is conceived disproportionately in some individuals it leads to apathy where one feels life not worth living. Struggle to survive and face challenges dives into abyss. Family and societal support is relevant, which unfortunately is dwindling by the day in a fast moving material world.
    I totally agree that objects that may be used to commit suicides must not be at hand. It will reduce the risk of emotional suicides at the spur of a moment.
    Importance of spirituality in life cannot be underestimated. Spirituality adds to positivity of mind. Most important is to understand that you are not the sole owner of your body. It is a divine gift. Divinity and nature, all are stakeholders, all have a share in the property we call a body. Since we do not own it wholly we only have partial rights over it. Such concepts can develop if one tethers to spirituality in whatever form or concept. And, being spiritually inclined may not mean being only religious. Conceptually,it means being an important and relevant part of this ardently interconnected world, and indeed the universe.

    Regards,

    Reply
  8. Lou
    Lou says:

    Dr.Alexander:
    Very important and cogent topic, for my family in particular. I lost a brother to suicide and my adult daughter has tried at least twice. She suffers from severe, recurrent depression(as another poster previously mentioned about her child). As an expert on the brain, I am not going to tell you about how difficult and resistant to treatment some depressives are. My wife, son and I continually struggle to help, but we feel that this is almost a losing battle. Shock therapy, drugs(of many types), group therapy, etc have been not very effective. I have learned of a new magnet based modality that has supposedly shown some very good results, but my daughter believes that nothing can help her. We are not giving up, but every day is a bit of an adventure, getting her through the day, alive.

    Reply
  9. Daryl Paulson
    Daryl Paulson says:

    So true. When there is nothing to live for except pain and suffering suicide looks good. Science has looked at only the objective world and made claims about all of life which does not work. There is also the subjective side which includes feelings, beliefs and religion. These are critically important In life.

    Reply
  10. Melissa Thompson
    Melissa Thompson says:

    Dr. Alexander, my eldest son has suffered for 18 years with severe mental illness. I’ve seen him struggle for years attempting to function in a world where mental illness is not understood….though alarmingly on the rise. Deep within my core I have always had a strong feeling that I will lose him one day to suicide. He has always said that he’s thought about it but is afraid to ever take his life. Recently….he attempted suicide for the first time. I have seen his pain for so long that I completely understand his desperation to be free of his brain and pain, but I am equally as desperate in trying to make him understand how precious his life truly is! He has been on psychotropic meds for so long….his brain is tired….his body is tired…he is tired..simply tired of “fighting” for stability and a sense of “normalcy” and acceptance in a world that he feels is cold and judgmental….I guess what I am trying to say is that the hopelessness that people feel is very real, and very debilitating. Human existence…what’s it all about? I believe that we exist for eachother. We are here for the “edification” of the body. We are here to learn…to help eachother and lift eachother up in our times of difficulty. I pray for enlightenment always…..I pray for The Devine to speak and work through me to not only help me save my son, but show me how to save others from feeling so completely disconnected, unworthy, undeserving of any life at all….happy or otherwise. I believe that our lives are predestined. We have a plan that we must fulfill for our soul’s growth and elevation. I believe that we are spiritual beings having human experiences, but being human is not easy. In fact, for some people being human is nearly impossible. I believe the reason that some people manage to keep going, no matter how hard life is, and why others simply cannot cope is completely based upon their souls spiritual level. It’s easier to leave it all behind and start over than it is to be here and endure, no matter what pain family members remaining have to endure. Each life that we live elevates our souls back home….that is, IF we make it through! Some people are nearing spiritual maturity while others are just starting out and not so strong! Each of us will one day complete “earth school”, but with each incarnation ….while we are here, we are here to help eachother by loving, accepting, forgiving, doing what we can to make life bearable. I pray always to be a light in the darkness for all who is in need. All life is precious…always! Not one soul is more privileged than another…we are all one in God!

    Reply
    • Laljee Verma
      Laljee Verma says:

      Dear Melissa Thompson, I do not know what mental illness your son suffers from but presume that he may be on antidepressant, and other psychotic drugs. Most such medicines have severe side effects. I hope he is under periodic review. Consider if you think it worthwhile.

      Reply
  11. Shirley Kirkwood
    Shirley Kirkwood says:

    We have a variety of reflections and opinions about suicide. However, when my husband took his life after various medical interventions failed, our children understood his decision even though it was devastating. When he could not do any of the things that gave him purpose and a reason for being, he did not wish to go on. I had heard a conversation he had with an oncologist friend about medical assisted suicide before we were married and he had read several books by men who chose to die. I now live in a retirement community and know how sometimes one wonders what purpose they might have. Doesn’t it seem immoral to continue the tests, surgeries, treatments for people our age (over 75) when the expense and need for continued care are the future? There are serious questions for us to consider. Do we want to bankrupt our families? No easy answers but good questions to think about?

    Reply
  12. Margaret Coles
    Margaret Coles says:

    Dear Laurie, just a quick hello and empathy with your painful condition. Your pain levels may go down if you give up Potato, Peppers of any kind, Tomatoes and Aubergines. Plus, I take Tumeric every day. This is my prescription, passed onto me by my dear, one time school friend. 1/4 teaspoon of Tumeric, ditto for Ginger, a grind or two of black pepper, a 1/4 teaspoon manuka honey and the measure of a thumb of boiled water. Added to this I put in a couple of grains of Himalayan pink rock salt, which stops vertigo, after three days my attacks stopped. You can take this “jollop” as I call it twice a day, and it will/should ease your pain levels. I pray so. I may well add to the links of the other dear friends in a day or so. We are all linked, family. Much Love, Margaret.

    Reply
    • Rev Fr. William Dinga
      Rev Fr. William Dinga says:

      I use Bromelain (Pineapple Root) at any Health Food Store – 500 mg 600 gdu – does wonders for my arthritic and sciatic and pyriformis syndrome symptons all the way down to my feet! Praying for you!

      ps dosage depends on the pain – i take up 1 every 3 hours (max of 6 per day)

      Reply
  13. Rev Fr. William Dinga
    Rev Fr. William Dinga says:

    Dr. Alexander, I too have been brought here non-coincidentally, providentially. I have posted in a few other topics here, but this one hits the nail on the head. I am a retired Catholic Priest who is also quite an active Monk / Hermit as of Feb 5 of this year! The religious congregation – as of yet not recognized by the Catholic Church primarily because, now that my co-founder has been “transferred to headquarters” – transitioned to Level II Heavenly Dimension – has recently been jettisoned into a new dimension of its own. Until we “get a third member” – now actually, since Br. Richard Paul Andre, JSC, RN has passed, we need two more members seeking profession of commitment – Br. Richard told me to “keep the group going as long as I can.” With this new inspired initiative “Imagining Heaven” – all of a sudden “we” Brother and I, each in place, have a lot of work to do to make a difference in a world that is growing sicker, and darker and more hopeless everyday. I agree this is a major contribution factor to the suicide epidemic.

    Let me at this point say that after 43 years a priest, 12 years as a monk and many experiences as hospital support and chaplain, with some time in at Norfolk General Hospital in the late 1980’s as chaplain – a Level 1 Regional Trauma and Burn Unit – I have seen a lot, heard a lot, and helped a lot – most of the time to my own amazement.

    Now I will turn 70 on the 13th, and have just enrolled in the American Institute of Health Care Professionals / Grief Counseling Certification Program – to supplement the independent study I am doing with reported NDE cases. Though I have never had one per se – i have had many dozens of SNDE experiences, SPIRITUAL NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES and am in the process of writing my own book this subject. So, I am at the right place as the right time. I am just half way through reading “90 Minutes in Heaven” by Don Piper, and “Imagine Heaven” by John Burke, and “To Heaven and Back” by Dr. Mary Healy, MD. “The Everlasting Man” by G.K. Chesterton, is also excellent!

    Just as an aide: I would love to hear of NDE reports or even SNDE reports from my fellow priests and monks and nuns – as I would consider them in a class by themselves.

    My initiative then entitled: “Imagining Heaven” Focus Development Facilitated by The Joyful Servants of the Cross – http://www.rjoy4u.org. I would love to augment all my current research, studies and applications to help any who are suffering the loss of anyone at all, even pets – and those contemplating taking a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

    On the get go: we must remember that we are SPIRITUAL beings, who experience life in a human body, for the sole purpose to populating the Kingdom to Come, and to pass the entrance exam to get in – quite literally – TESTS TESTS TESTS that’s what life is all about: God needs to determine how badly we want to be with him there forever – so he must test our use of free will – and under a wide variety of conditions. So giving up before the last trumpet (class bell) will disqualify you from the entire game. And that would truly truly be so sad.

    Professional Persons in the SPIRITUAL MENTAL and BODILY Health Professions are here to help. But, spiritual must come FIRST – or else the rest will never make any sense at all.

    If I therefore can help anyone please let me know.

    Re suicide: back to the original topic: take this away from this posting: UNTIL WE CAN FIRMLY ENVISION THE GOAL – LIFE IN HEAVEN – we will never be able adequately to make the trip through earthly life. We might make it – but it could have been so much easier! The Joyful Servants of the Cross among many many other interested persons are here to help!

    Blessings of Peace, Joy and HOPE
    always HOPE
    Fr. William Dinga, Jr.
    Glen Allen, VA

    Reply
  14. mike horrigan
    mike horrigan says:

    I can say tha my life changed on the day of my spiritual experience .I call it my spiritual awakening .Just like meeting an old friend it fills the soul with happy memories we might have otherwise have let die within .I say Awakening ,because it awoke in me that knowing i was there before and this is but a transient step to true fullfilment in love .Unfortunatly i will admit my intrest in materialisim has shrunk ,in in knowing this non eternal stage of our journey is for learning to forgive others in their misleaded lives .If we could know how worthless these possesions really are ,And discover that there is a guiding hand always waiting to be acknowledged .To offer ourselves in our lost state and allow the master to steer our ship to calmer waters.The problem is this cargo full of false perceptions become a heavy ballast that can sink us if we dont off load and throw the pride over board to allow humility lead us to the source of all peace and tranquility.I dont count it strange to have received this email ,as there have been a spate of sucides in my area lately one was a close friend and im sad for her as she had a terrible childhood and failed marriage .I know that THE CREATOR is loving and will aid in her journey to eternal happiness .For she was a beautiful soul. Sorry im feeling it right now.Love from Ireland .If you ever come to ireland dont try to leave without shaking hands at least .

    Reply
  15. Laurie wise
    Laurie wise says:

    Yes. I want to respond. I’ve had chronic back pain for 8 years which has worsened. Fusion now possible but I have now developed osteoporosis in low vertebrae which makes fusion between these vertebra a high risk. The screws can pull out making a second high risk attempt necessary. I’ve suffered so much. Hurts to sit stand for long or load. I have little quality of life. I think when u suffer and no answers, to end your life has to be understood by a God of Love. We would not let an animal suffer like this.
    Also, the “ opioid crisis”, is causing a backlash to pain patients who are loosing thier pain meds. I’ve read suicides are increasing in this desperate and vulnerable population. These people are not addicts.
    Any thoughts appreciated.
    Thankyou

    Reply
    • Rev Fr. William Dinga
      Rev Fr. William Dinga says:

      The God of Love will not condemn, however, in a life review, especially at this juncture, you would most likely condemn yourself for doubting God’s grace, his strength, his offers of hope, his solution to an “opioid epidemic” ! then where would you be: may I recommend just sitting very very still, very very quietly, and JUST BE !!!! JUST BE!!!! JUSSSTT BEEEEEEEE!!!! at peace, with your God with his strength
      with his healing – for as long as you need each time. “Be still, BEEE STILLLLLLLL be still and know that I AM GOD – and I love you beyond all telling, you are safe, you arm in my arms, and you will be fine JUST FINE!

      Try it! and see what happens!

      Reply
    • Eben Alexander
      Eben Alexander says:

      You raise some interesting and valid points. In writing the blog, I was most focused on the sad state of suicide in our country as an epidemic of hopelessness mired down in a world devoid of spiritual connection. However, the alleviation of suffering, especially as it relates to those with terminal diagnoses, is a different issue. As a physician, I understand how important it is to relieve suffering, and that careful, ethical consideration of euthanasia is warranted in some specific cases. The opioid crisis is a complex, yet related, issue, largely due to the greed of certain pharmaceutical companies and some physicians who functioned as “pill farms”. The victims of that crisis deserve kindness and compassion in trying to get them off of the addictive drugs, while still best managing their significant pain problems. Opioids can reset one’s pain tolerance, and in some cases are directly responsible for the subjective pain that those addicted to them can suffer.

      Reply
    • Richard Krauland
      Richard Krauland says:

      Laurie, I too have suffered from lower back pain for many years. I’ve had two surgeries on my spinal cord, two separate rhizotomies, and many injections. I have also suffered from Chrohn’s disease since 1976; and I was paralyzed from the neck down in an auto accident on April 13, 2001.

      But, so what!! Life is good. God loves us. Once you can realize that, REALLY KNOW that; then these complaints become mere annoyances. Easily overcome. Here’s how:

      1) read the Gospels of Christ. At least one of them. I was only 22 pages into the Book of Matthew when my heart was changed. And I have been an extremely positive person ever since.
      2) Christ says that EVERYTHING that you pray for in His name will be given to you. Not “most”, not 99%, but, everything. I am no longer paralyzed, and I see miracles every day. You HAVE TO give this a try.
      3) once you get yourself right with God, all your problems will be solved. The Gospels tell you how to do that.

      It worked for me and MANY others. There us nothing special about me. You can do this. Please try.

      Reply
  16. Margaret Coles
    Margaret Coles says:

    Oh my, Eben, here we go again, another synchronicity! You know me and that a section of my family are going through “stuff” The situation is building up and breakdowns are, for more than one, threatening to manifest., although that has not been expressed. After a deep conversation with one member of the family, the words came into my mind, “The scum is rising to the surface”. So many people within my circle of friends, family, associate’s, neighbours are experiencing events, reactions to that and falling by the wayside. So we see this manifestation of breaking down, some may complain about it, others deny it. But we see it within close links and this entwines round and round into ever widening circles. So we have also put the Planet into this mess as well, bless her. We must look at ourselves honestly, own to the fact that we as a species, have caused disorientation along many roads of existence and looking at the continuing natural disasters, must put our hands up. I continue to stand still and “listen” for guidance, I continue, in the quiet, sometimes within the noise too, where the sound of silence can still be noticed, if one is tuned in to the right wave length. Thank you very much for bringing this to our notice. Love and Blessings as always to everyone. Margaret.

    Reply

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