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We continue to derive insights from so-called near-death experiences (as, apparently, did St. Paul: 2 Corinthians 12:2-4).

Your body is only a temporary residence (one could also say "temple") and when you leave, like a house, it is empty.

At the time of death, our lives will be shown to us as at the cinema, with God or an angel or sometimes a deceased relative explaining why we met everyone we met, why everything that happened happened, and how all we experienced was meant to teach and test us. We will be astonished at how everything connects.

Many are the near-death lessons. 

One comes from a writer and publisher named Harry Hone in northern Virginia, who suffered a heart attack on December 15 back in 1976 and recounted the experience several years ago at the age of 91.

Said Hone in an interview with journalist Tammy Cohen:

"During the short time I was 'dead' and in this other world of darkness and light, my entire life flashed before me. It was just like an authentic replay of one of those This is Your Life television programs.

"It began with startling suddenness with the very first frame and flashed across the screen of my vision -- from birth to death -- in the twinkling of an eye. I first saw the place and the house of my birth.

"I was shown the 'highlights' of my life -- the times when I increased the totality of my share of the light, and the times I diminished it.

"In 'this' world, I had often complained that the life I had lived was not the life I had envisioned for myself. During and after the replay sequences, I could see clearly that it was.

"True enough, I had wanted certain things -- but I also saw I had 'imaged' something else. In asking and praying for a happy and successful life, I saw that I repeatedly doubted the outcome of my prayers. In other words, I wanted something in my mind, but beset by doubt, I imaged something entirely different.

"That retrospective instant replay of my life emphasized one dominant theme -- that the imagination is the place where all things are born. If you 'image' something, and then develop the image, your life will reflect the picture. In the Bible it says, 'as ye sow ye shall reap.'"

After his recovery the Virginian found -- as do other "near-deathers" -- that he possessed an element of precognition: could see some things before they happened.

We are careful with near-death episodes that may contain New Age elements, at the same time that we draw deep lessons from those that are of Jesus (like Paul's).

Concluded Hone, "Even though I've now lived through nine decades, I harbor absolutely no fears about dying.

"During my brief stay in that other world, I developed a deep love for it that I will always find difficult to explain.

"It was a welcome release from the trauma of what we call real life.

"You can take my word for it, this world as we live it is a battleground on which we fight an unending war. The other world is the place where we find the 'peace that passeth all understanding.'

"I should know -- I've been there."

[Tammy Cohen's book is The Day I Died]

[Weekend special: The Other Side]

[resources: afterlife books and Phoenix retreat, Mass: new world order, coming times (Dec. 5)]

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