Glimpses of Eternity by Dr. Ray Moody (review)

April 23, 2024

What Is Shared Death Experience? 

I heard famed near-death researcher Dr. Ray Moody speak on NDEs and shared death experience in 2015. But I didn't fully understand what a shared death experience was until I read Glimpses of Eternity (affiliate link) earlier this week.

A shared death experience occurs when a person takes part in the spiritual experience of someone who is dying. This experience can take many different forms. And Glimpses of Eternity does a great job of showcasing that.

Accounts of Shared Death Experience 

Dr. Moody didn't hear about shared death experience until after his ground-breaking book on near-death experience, Life After Life (affiliate link) was published in 1975. The shared death phenomena has been studied before however (as doctor Moody points out), going all the way back to the early days of the Society for Psychical Research.

The 19th century book Phantasms of the Living (affiliate link), written by two prominent members of the Society, includes multiple examples of what were once called deathbed visions. Several cases from Phantasms of the Living are included in Glimpses of Eternity.

Shared death experience has also been discussed by Melvin Morse. MD in his book Parting Visions (affiliate link).

Like most of Dr. Moody's books, Glimpses of Eternity, features a wealth of first-hand accounts. These accounts include full-fledged out of body NDE-type events, the observation of  unusual phenomena around the dying, extraordinary dreams and more. 

I enjoyed reading these reports and feel there is a lot that we can learn from them.

Elements of a Shared Death Experience

In Glimpses of Eternity. Dr Moody provides a list of features common to the shared death experience. He is also very clear in saying that shared death experience may include several or as few as one of these elements and that he is aware of no shared death experiences that includes them all.  

While most shared death experience occur in a waking state, Dr. Moody cites some that have occurred in dreams, including the 1988 shared death experience described by Melvin Morse. MD in Parting Visions.

The fact that some shared death experiences occur in dreams was of special interest to me because I once had an unusual dream about someone who was near death and then recovered. This dream included some of the elements Dr. Moody associates with shared death experience:

  1. A change of geometry, where rooms either change shape or appear to open into another reality Dr. Moody describes as a "different and larger dimension."
  2. A mystical light that Dr. Moody considers to one of the most profound features of a near-death experience. This light is often described as having substance. According to Dr. Moody it is "no ordinary light" but one that may lead to mystical experience and spiritual transformation. This light may fill the room, be observed in the eyes of the dying or in the translucent glow of the entire body of the person near death.
  3. Music that has no physical source but can be heard by the dying and others present.
  4. Co-living a life review similar to the type reported in a classic NDE except in this case the dying and healthy observer share the experience.
  5. An out-of-body state which Dr. Moody describes as a "fairly common" element of a shared death experience. This element is cited in some of the most profound and NDE-like shared death reports.
  6. Encountering unworldly or "heavenly" realms which may include a border or barrier. As with many NDEs this border may be a bridge, river or other boundary.
  7. The appearance of a fine mist that may have a human shape and tendency to drift upward and disappear.

What Can Shared Death Experience Tell Us?

When I heard Dr. Moody speak, he was quite excited about shared death experience. This was because the shared death experience contradicts the main argument people make about NDEs. This argument--that an NDE is the product of a dying brain--cannot be applied to perfectly healthy people who share the experience of someone else's passing.

Some first-hand shared death experiences described in Glimpses of Eternity involve entire groups of (healthy) people. In these cases, members of the group perceived varied - though coherent - phenomena. One or two observers might perceive light or a vision of the departed, for example, while others only hear music or have a sense that something unusual is happening. This supports the idea that the shared death experience is telepathic in nature. 

Sometimes shared death experiences are predictive. At other times they announce that someone has died in another location. The fact that certain elements repeat from experience to experience is compelling.

The part of Glimpses of Eternity (affiliate link) that impressed me most, however, was the idea that shared and near-death experience may have played a part in the formation of religious beliefs about the afterlife. Noted individuals like Egyptologist Cyril Aldred, NDE researcher Kenneth Ring, PhD and Dr. Moody himself have all made this suggestion. To me, this makes sense. 

Instead of undermining religious belief, I think it supports it.

Please check back for future posts on dreams, mystical experience and more, including my upcoming video about my own experience!


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