Dr. Raymond Moody, Ph.D., MD is a world-renowned scholar, lecturer, and researcher, and is widely recognized as the leading authority on near-death experiences.
Dr. Moody is a best-selling author of twelve books, including Life after Life and Reunions, which have sold over 13 million copies worldwide.
Life after Life is the groundbreaking, bestselling classic, now available in a special fortieth-anniversary edition includes a new foreword from Eben Alexander, M.D., author of Proof of Heaven, and a new afterword by the author.
Raymond Moody is the “father” of the modern NDE (near-death experience) movement, and his pioneering work Life After Life transformed the world, revolutionizing the way we think about death and what lies beyond. Originally published in 1975, it is the groundbreaking study of one hundred people who experienced “clinical death” and were revived, and who tell, in their own words, what lies beyond death.
A smash bestseller that has sold more than thirteen million copies around the globe, Life After Life introduced us to concepts—including the bright light, the tunnel, the presence of loved ones waiting on the other side—that have become cultural memes today, and paved the way for modern bestsellers by Eben Alexander, Todd Burpo, Mary Neal, and Betty Eadie that have shaped countless readers notions about the end life and the meaning of death.
He has also authored numerous academic and professional articles on near-death experiences and the relationship of language to consciousness. Dr. Moody continues to draw enormous public interest with his ground-breaking works on the near-death experience and other transpersonal aspects of grief and the dying process.
Dr. Moody has enlightened and entertained audiences all over the world for over four decades. He offers a variety of lecture/workshop presentations on the topics of: life after life experience , near-death experiences, death with dignity, life after loss, surviving grief & finding hope, visionary encounters with departed loved ones, the healing power of humor, the loss
of children, language and consciousness, and catastrophic tragedy causing collective grief.
Dr. Moody is the leading authority on the ”near-death experience”— a phrase he coined in the late seventies. Dr. Moody’s research into the phenomenon of near-death experience had its start in the 1960’s. The New York Times calls him “the father of the near-death experience.”
Enjoy my conversation with Dr. Raymond Moody.
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Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 030
Alex Ferrari 0:09
I'd like to welcome to the show Raymond Moody. How you doing, Raymond?
Raymond Moody 0:13
I'm doing great. Alex, it's so great to see you.
Alex Ferrari 0:16
Thank you so much for coming on the show. We've, we've had a few conversations prior to this one. And I've been looking forward to this conversation for weeks now. I'm glad you're feeling better, which is good. And, and we're gonna kind of get into the weeds about your experience. So my first question to you is, what was your any one and D or near death experience? What started this whole journey of your life?
Raymond Moody 0:44
It had to do with the fact that I was not religious, how was born and raised in the south, my dad was a hardened surgeon, military Medic, Medic from World War Two Pacific theater, I gather that he was just kind of turned off by religion. So I grew up free. I had no idea that anybody took the notion of an afterlife seriously until I was 18 years old, and read it in Plato in my first year at the University of Virginia, as and immediately decided to major in philosophy. And at the end of Plato's Republic was the story about a man who was bleeding dead and resuscitate it and that Plato obviously took it seriously. Man told up this amazing experience. Three years later, I met Dr. George Ritchie, who was a professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia. And I heard his story of the same thing close call with death. Subsequently to that through a PhD in philosophy and an MD and a residency and psychiatry career as a forensic psychiatrist, I have had the wonderful privilege as it is islands of interviewing literally 1000s of people from all over the world who went to the brink of death and came back at these amazing stories.
Alex Ferrari 2:13
That's amazing. Now, what is your view of death after doing all your research in near death experiences?
Raymond Moody 2:22
Well, you know, since I was 18, when I started and I was 77, I'm 77 now it's kind of hard to you know, unwind all those things. But I mean, it's obviously the people I've interviewed who had near death experiences that changed my life I you know, I am a logician trying to try just love critical thinking and logic. I was a professor of logic before I went to medical school. And, you know, in reality in the real world, proof of life after death in 2022, that's just not possible. There's very real logical reasons that were stated very well by David Hume, the great skeptic and, and Plato himself. And with the knowledge that that is, it's not currently possible to draw a logical inference on it, I will confess to you, nonetheless, Alex, that I have just sort of given up, I don't know what else to say, except that, to my utter astonishment, because it's still very counterintuitive to me, I think that there is life after death. But not only that, I think that we're in a position now to have entirely new ways of looking at this. That will, I think, result in you know, reproducible, but rather startling observations about how to think about it. So I think we're on the track. And, and at the same time, like, I just give up, I just, you know,
Alex Ferrari 4:09
Let go, just like, you just let go you're like, that's what it's gonna it is what it is.
Raymond Moody 4:13
I you know, I never felt for that thing about oxygen deprivation to the brain. But based on this, because I'm one of my own medical school professors told me that she had an identical experience of leaving her body and seeing the slide and so on in the presence suffer dying mother, when she herself was resuscitating her mother not not herself ill or injured, and subsequently that up, up to talk to that hundreds of people for sure who, who were there at the death of someone else, and during someone else's death. The bystanders themselves have the same experience of leaving their body going up with toward a light and a number of cases. I have actually Chaly empathically co living the dying individuals will holographic wife review? So since the bystanders are not ill or injured it, you know something else is going on, rather than oxygen deprivation to the brain.
Alex Ferrari 5:19
Now did you you were to my understanding the first person to kind of start bringing these kinds of ideas like the light in the tunnel and, and in your relatives being there you were the ones to introduce that into the into the zeitgeist back in the 70s. Is that correct?
Raymond Moody 5:34
That is right. And that's what and it's nice of people to say that to me. And at the same time, I always immediately go on to say that yeah, but I got it from Plato and the great philosophers. The reason why my my description of it hit home, I think in the 70s were two things. Number one, I am not a parapsychologist. I mean, I did this is not a personal criticism. I love I have dear friends who are parapsychologist they're just the sweetest people. And for that reason, many times kind of naive. I mean, for somebody to say, in 2022, that the question of life after death can be a scientific question. Well, that make made people make people feel good for a moment because people love the word science, even they, even when they don't know what it is, right. But, you know, Paris psychology is a pseudoscience, and in my opinion, creating a sort it's a there's a professional issue of professional ethics involved in it, because to tell people that there's a sore proof of life after death. Well, that's irresponsible. Suppose, for example, that people who are grieving, get comforted because of that. And then some while later, they hear that that work was shown to be faulted, as all of it is, then, you know, at some professional ethics problem, but people have the, you know, I think that there are ways where people can find out this for themselves. Now, they don't have to worry about somebody with a doctoral trademark, their name talent, is, is there a ways to look into it for yourself?
Alex Ferrari 7:27
Now, when was a you've mentioned that Plato had the descriptions did when was the first real did Plato say, tunnel of light, bright white light? When was like who were in throughout history, another Tibetan Book of the Dead? All these kinds of what our I mean, obviously, the Egyptians had their their Vive, and the Greeks have theirs as well. But really, the the concept that we know today, was that ever really laid out in the same way before you came along?
Raymond Moody 8:02
Well, I guess wasn't no, no. But the reason is that, you see, by 1974, when I wrote that book, The the cardiopulmonary resuscitation developed to such a pitch that I just, I was fortunate to come along. At a time where I had, I just, there were just many cases of it. Right? So I was there, because of the CPR, whereas going back, even 200 years, all these things occurred, or 1000 years. But it was very unusual. You see, 1000 years ago to survive a close call with death. But now we have means of bringing people back. So that's why my, my book got all the attention. Plus, as I said, you know, I just very cautious and daring, not at a modesty but at a realism that you got to be very careful in how you evaluate things like this. I mean, it's not easy to give evidence or proof of life after death. We don't even know what we're talking about yet. But, but I'm not trying to talk this subject down because I say that we're now on the verge of whole new developments in it, but it's not gonna come from Paris psychology, which is pseudoscience.
Alex Ferrari 9:29
So what with all the experiences that you've had, interviewing near death experiences? I mean, when you did the first one, when you did your very first interview, and you heard these the story, in your logical mind, because there's there might be people listening and more and more possible people listening like this is a bunch of hogwash. And we've all we've all heard the kind of blinding light and I mean that you know, the light the tunnel, your relatives being their life. review these kinds of things. These are concepts that are now in the zeitgeist. But when you first heard it, you weren't you didn't go into it. Did you go into it? Like being a believer? You went into it being a scientist almost.
Raymond Moody 10:12
Well, you'd have something I just Alex, I don't like that term believer. I mean, I, you know, I am a person who just doesn't know.
Alex Ferrari 10:22
Okay. So you came in with an open mind in other words.
Raymond Moody 10:26
Yeah. And I, when I heard Dr. George Rishi. Talk about his experience, which took place when he was a recruit in the army in late December 1943. And camp Barkley, Texas. George was a 20 year old from Richmond, Virginia, who joined the army. And he told me about how he had a cardiac arrest, which lasted at least nine minutes. I talked to the physician many years later, Dr. Francis, who was advised that I'd say that's the most amazing thing I've heard of in my decades of practicing medicine, but I can't Can't it happened. And, and George was just such an absolutely great guy. My parents, by the way, from Puerto del Georgia, George from Richmond, Virginia. After I'd already written and published my book. I found out that my dad was right there in camp Barkley, Texas, right where that happened. And I was there in utero, because mom and dad had moved from the ordinary day to camp Barclay, Texas. So my dad go to officers Candidate School. If they weren't there in early September 43. I was conceived in late September 43. George's experience was around the 24th. Now my mom and dad moved away from count Barkley December 29 1943. So I was there. In utero, this thing happened.
Alex Ferrari 12:09
That's remarkable why why do you think that we as, as humans have such are so intrigued with this? I mean, obviously, we're the only creature to my understanding on the planet who understands that they're going to die. You know, the animals have the blessing of bliss, that they don't know that they're going to die. At least we don't think they do
Raymond Moody 12:32
I have had any conversations
Alex Ferrari 12:34
With lions or tigers or bears? Generally, you haven't you haven't seen a tiger sitting there going, Oh, God, I only got a year left. What am I going to do with my life like this
Raymond Moody 12:45
Right and I haven't seen any Tigers take the big, big circle around the funeral.
Alex Ferrari 12:50
Right! I haven't seen much of that. So why do you think throughout history, we've been so intrigued as a species about this topic.
Raymond Moody 13:01
You know, Alex, I think the answer comes more from your field. And from my field, you know, what people say is, oh, this is wishful thinking. Right? Well, I know in my life, many, many wonderful people, including my best friend of life, Milton Friedman, that not the economist, but presidential speech writer who didn't want there to be I mean, it's wish fulfillment is just it, whether it doesn't matter whether people wish or don't wish this the it is or isn't regardless. But where I have come to this in reflection, Alex, is that what is your personal identity? And that's a big philosophical question. Plato said it was the immaterial. So Locke said it was our memories. David Hume said, I can't find anything in there other than the temporary impressions. So it's big, but why I think and I bet you probably think this way too. I think that human life is a story. Right? And even your consciousness is, is narrative directed. When some new event happens to you in life, what do you do you your mind automatically waves it and to their life story? And you as a filmmaker? No, no, what is it the cool knockoff effect? Right? If you if you put any two random images in a sequence pic are not likely going to build a narrative. So what I think is this thing we're in is the hyper future version of what you guys do out there in Hollywood, in my opinion, I think this is the movies and the whole thing Setup of life, you may say, Well, that's a simple logical fallacy because what you're doing is you're taking one aspect of the human life, namely the theater and projecting it out as a model for all. And I understand that fallacy which Aristotle identified. However, what I think is it happened the other way around. I think the reason why what reason we have the theater is that just as I learned when in my geriatric psych, Gayatri career, I got to talk to some eminent celebrity, knowledgeable, refined, reflective people who just would go back and say, you know, Raymond, the older I get, the more the impression about uncanny impression develops, when I look back at my life that has been a story or a movie or a novel, or a play, or whatever term they used. And I think that's how the theater I mean, you know, we all know the story, high status there in Athens and the, the the chorus that have been going on for a long, long time. And then for reasons on now, FESPA steps forward, it creates the sensation, the Greeks all it's all about competition, think the Olympic Games. Last Helicon first winner Escalus second word, Sophocles, third were your remedies, and 50 years, the theater became a profession. So what I'm getting at is, I think this thing that we're in is kind of like the theater, the way I gather is just like, that's what people naturally come to as they grow older. This has been a kind of script for a story. And then as I gathered, not, you know, from my own, when I put this together, I gather that you we die, then we go through some incomprehensible process. And then we're back on another story. As both of my kids have assured me, I don't. Yeah, I mean, in terms I, I learned this from my two kids, because, you know, they never went to church. My wife and I don't talk about life after death. We talked about the phone bill was for dinner that, you know, so but they both, you know, just independently recalled where they were before they came to us. And we adopted both of them at birth. So I watched this unfold. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 17:30
It's really interesting, because as a storyteller, you know, you start studying Joseph Campbell's work of the heroes with 1000 faces and the standard hero's journey. And the reason why that story, the hero's journey is so powerful that any culture, any language will understand the hero's journey is because it is a map or a representation of our own journey through life. We all have everything, everything that's Luke Skywalker goes through anything that you know, Harry Potter goes through any of these major characters go through, we go through them in our own lives and what you know, the call to action, like, Okay, do you want to go to that new job or not? Do you want to go into this relationship? Or not? Do you want to leave or the call to action to leave your ordinary worlds, then the adventure then the things that you learn along the way, the point of no return where you get past a point where you can't go back to the ordinary world anymore, you have to keep going forward? These are all lives and I've been saying this, and I'm not the first to say this, but I mean, Shakespeare said it very well is the world is a theater of a play at the middle stage, and we are mere actors. And I truly, truly believe that. I think it was a Yogananda apparently, Honza Yogananda the the great mystic, the Indian mystic, who said about movies specifically which other than love this quote, he's like, no matter what you see on the screen, bad good people killing each other people loving each other, all these things. You look at it, and we take it It's insanity to believe that that serious? Yes, it's insanity to believe all of that is real. But that's what we do with our lives because but when you're so focused on the screen, what you need to be focused on is where the light is coming from. This and I was just like, wow, that is that is deep on multiple multiple, because he came around when movies were starting to really get into the, into the zeitgeist of, of America and of the world and movies. And now it's turned into not just movies, but television and storytelling, and storytelling in every form. We're addicted to it. It is part of it's an addiction for all of us. I mean, it started with books because you created a story's out of what you read. But now, visually you have everything
Raymond Moody 20:06
Is just terrific. Because it's and you know, it's like I often ask people and ask people this for about 10 years, I've been observing this, I asked at one minute, I have an audience, I, I say, let's suppose that you were diagnosed with a terrible infection that required that you be isolated all by yourself on a desert island for 10 years. And they could, they could, they would send you over there in a cargo plane with plenty of room for all the food and water and medicine they're going to need for 10 years. But in addition, there's some extra RAM, so they can send a DVD player. And let's say 10,000 DVDs. And so what I ask, ask people under that circumstance is, would you choose all comedies? Only three people, I've only said that they would, and they had a little goofy look in their eyes. If he asked me out, he said, but what I'm getting it is then I say, Well, would you? Would you take along some tragedies? And they will share? Sure. And I said, Well, when you were all by yourself on that desert island watching that tragedy, would you be crying? And they say, Well, sure, because that's the experience of tragedy. And I think this is the setup we're in now. Right? It's like, it's I kind of the way I've put it together. It's, you know, Plato, by this way, and following on with what you're saying, in his old age, his last book was the laws. And in it, he says, We are God's totally. He began it by saying, you know, really, if you think about it for just just think about it. He said, there's not much to a human life. It's not very important. He said, and we are God's toy. And he said, and hero, the best way of dealing with this life is just sword play. Right. And so going back to the desert island story, I mean, yeah, I see people all the time, standing in line for a roller coaster. Or, for example, with my daughter, that was not me, standing in line with her people standing in line for two hours to get on a roller coaster. Knowing full well, that when they're upside down at nine miles an hour, they won't want to be there. And I think life is kind of that what is a mean, you know, I've been through some Gosh, awful, terrible things you mentioned, I've just been a terrible illness lightly. And, you know, just a month, I was feeling terrible. And so the thing is that when we're in it, we might be kicking and screaming and protesting, even though in a larger sense, we might have set it up, we chose to do you see, as a physician, Alex is that every illness is a state of is an altered state of consciousness. Think about it, every one of them, even having a cold, your your consciousness goes to the back of your throat. See it from there. Every illness has its own peculiar alterations and consciousness. So illnesses can be a learning experience, too. So, you know, while we're in here, it's just like the movie too. I mean, I'm not motional horror movies. I'll go there with my daughter and hold my hands over my eyes. But, you know, it's, you choose to go see a horror movie. Right?
Alex Ferrari 24:10
It's really interesting. It's really interesting, because, you know, I've read in the texts I've read over the years and studies that I've done is that we you know, they say that the soul decides to come here to have experiences to have different experiences you can be experienced as a man in a certain time period a woman has a certain time period of race at a certain time period, a certain professions, certain things like that, because those all give you different experiences. My experience in the film industry is very different than someone who's in the baking business, or someone who's in the financial business is completely different set of experiences. And I think your your analogy of the or your story of the Desert, desert island story is really profound. Because if you had 10,000 stories you would watch, would you choose all comedies because comedies make you feel good. But at a certain point, you'll get bored. Just like if I won a 20 $400 billion, I am the richest human being on the planet. And I can buy everything I want to buy. And I can have every experience at a certain point when things are always going good, good, good, good, good. You throw you you actually yearn for an obstacle you earn for something different. And that is the nature of us as human beings. So why wouldn't it make sense that a soul would want to experience different things tragic possibly have great happiness, great power? Great, you know, being a slave. All these things? It? You know, isn't that's the concept of multiple lives and coming back, and you know, because if we only have the one, man, some people really won the lottery, and some people really didn't. If it's if there's just one of these.
Raymond Moody 26:01
That's right. Yeah, yeah, I just, like I said, I not banned religious, I'd never been exposed to the idea of reincarnation. But it came up by my kids brought up in my life. And I mean, it looks I Well, for one thing, they told me, just what they told me was true, but it was before they were born. Like, Carter was just out of nowhere. He was Dad, watching, watching what turned out to be the National Geographic Channel. I was flipping through the channels, and I flipped through the National Geographic chin card again, very anime Dad, Dad, that's my village back. So documentary on village life in China, said, yeah, that's my village where I was with my other mommy and daddy and my other brothers and sisters for it. And I was sure. And then as though to orient me, he said, Yeah, and then I was up in the trees, looking at you and Mommy lion and the graphs. And I knew exactly what he's talking about. Because we had, we were in Greece. And we were exhausted from the plane ride and the attendant at the archaeological sites that just go out and out of grass. Take a nap, there was nobody else there. Big trees. We were talking about adopting a baby. I mean,
Alex Ferrari 27:35
It's pretty, it's pretty remarkable is pretty is pretty remarkable. Now. So if you can, can you take the listeners through a near death experience, as you understand it like what's the process of kind of what you from, from all the interviews you've done over the years?
Raymond Moody 27:53
Yes, well, first of all, there is a family resemblance. And that if you look at 1000s of cases, you see about 15 or 20, common ailments. But not everybody has the whole picture. And one person may have one or two or three of these things, or seven or eight, some people have the whole picture. And it does seem to correlate very nicely with how long the person was in a state of cardiac arrest. That the longer the cardiac arrest goes on, the more complex this experience becomes. But what people say is that at a certain point, they may hear the doctor or nurse or somebody else say, Oh my God, he's dead. We've lost words to that effect. But from their point of view, I hear people all the time say in one terms or another. I've never been so alive as my hurt that doctor say I was dead. Because people say it's kind of like waking up. And that you say you withdraw from body, you leave your body. You can say the resuscitation team saying going on down below. You don't hear voices usually but you can hear you can understand what the doctors and nurses are communicating or thinking really is what they say. At a certain point you realize, oh, I'm dying or something they say they proceed through a passageway of some sort like a hallway or a tunnel or come out on the other side into this incredibly brilliant and warm and loving light. They say just taken up into comfort and peace. They say they see and spirit for relatives or friends of theirs who have already passed away who seemed to be there to meet them. And they undergo holographic panoramic memory, where they say that time stands still there in a timeless state, and in a sort of hologram displayed all around them. They see every action they've ever done. And they re witness it not just from the perspective they had, they don't when they were doing the action, but they are also empathically embedded and the consciousness of the person with whom they're interact. So you, if you do something mean to somebody, then you feel empathy, you feel that person's pain and hurt. And everybody goes out of this say that objects, many people say that this is in a company with a being of shear of light, to lay, say, complete compassion of love, who can see this is sort of helping them. Think about it. And they say, there are no words, but that it's the thought comes that What have you done with your life, or how have you learn to love scalp people say, because they say whatever you had been chasing by creating buzz, like a friend of mine, their experiences, and me too, you know, if, or the people who are looking for money, or power or fame or for knowledge is where you know, chasing knowledge. But whatever anybody is chasing, they say that what comes clear in this panorama is that the important thing is to learn to love. Because they say that's just and then some people say, I have no idea how I got back, I was sent this light, it's just back in my body. Other people say that we're given a choice, that you can either proceed with this, or you can go back to the life you've been leading. And yet other people say you got to go there tell you got to go back. There's things left to finish, but they're not told what it is.
Alex Ferrari 31:53
You've got work to do. Yeah.
Raymond Moody 31:57
And then there are things beyond that. Some people say that they see into a realm, an entire realm of existence that seems to be predicated on the search for knowledge. And then beyond that, a realm of sheer light. But but you know, the ones I sketched out, there are the most common ones that people say when they come back, they say I'm just not afraid of death it not, not that they would want pain in the process, but rather that they say that they learn from their experience that what we call death is a transition into another reality.
Alex Ferrari 32:39
And the the realm of knowledge is can you kind of can you go a little bit deep? I haven't heard that one before.
Raymond Moody 32:47
Yeah, yeah. All of the people that I have now, maybe a dozen to 20, who have had this particular aspect of it. They were had these cardiac arrests that just don't make medical sense. You know, I have a friend of mine. I loved her dearly. I knew her for 20 something years till she died. She her doctor, her hurt told me he said she was dead, right? 40 minutes. And I mean, the way she came back, it was just it's too much to believe but But what people say is that they're like, Here's George rishis. Description was very graphic. He said that if you try to imagine Caltech and MIT and Harvard and Yale and Princeton, and all the Sorbonne and all of squeezed into one place, he said, You can't even begin to imagine this. But he said, they're the people in there who are pursuing knowledge. And George said that there was one aspect of this realm that he said you could compare it to a live warrior. And he said, he noticed that in one section of that live where he was dedicated, he said to the holy books of the universe.
Alex Ferrari 34:23
Well, can you can you elaborate on the holy books of the universe?
Raymond Moody 34:27
Well, I wish he could be you know, it's an I've heard the same things. That's the another thing that people with these extremely in depth, near death experiences tell us is that, that you see that this thing we're in is is kind of an illusion. It's like a protection candidate, which I've kind of figured out by myself may what I say it becomes very clear when you You meant it. You mentioned that The whole while not you didn't mention Plato's cave. But you mentioned the idea.
Alex Ferrari 35:05
Well, yeah, it's the allegory of the cave is very similar to what Yogananda said, But he he had that he attached it to today's. Yeah, well, you know, that makes so much Oh, yeah. Look at the light, don't look at the projection.
Raymond Moody 35:18
Yeah. And Plato said the same thing, release it, you know, it's like, we're in prison than this thing. And, you know, it's like, he thought we had an absolutely kind of deity. And so far, we can think about it, and see the illusionary quality of it
Alex Ferrari 35:37
But this is, uh, but, you know, from all a lot of the research and readings and experiences I've had, you know, we choose this, we choose this, this experience, we choose, what's going on it is the universe, to my under, to my very miniscule understanding of the universe is that nothing happens without choice, even when you are, you know, I had a conversation the other day with a wonderful guest, and we were talking about fear, and breaking through fear, and that we, you know, we as, as humans, we just are fearful of so many things through society and family and, and conditioning and things like that. And only when you decide to let go of the fear, does the universe open the doors, but they won't open the doors until you say you're ready. So they won't force anything upon you. In a sense.
Raymond Moody 36:29
That certainly is how life feels and breakfast. When you're in the midst of it. It's immersive. Right? Exactly the point where I can, you know, I would over the years, I would have these little insights that oh, yeah, this is an illusionary Larry experience, and, but then, you know, then the police knock on the front door, I mean, you know, some, some terrible noise, and yeah, so then you're immersed immediately in it again. But I've gotten to the point where I can keep the streams go on, like, I can pretty much all the time, kind of cognize, or realize that it's a theatrical or illusory thing. And at the same time be burped by it, you know, and, and, and pleased by and frightened by it, and all the things.
Alex Ferrari 37:22
It's kind of like, when you're acting in a movie, you're immersed in the scene, only when you're you pull back a few months later and watch an edit or watch a cut of that scene, can you then see things at a different perspective, because you're not just seeing your part, you're seeing the design of the scene, the design of what the director is doing the design of what the production designer is doing the music, it's coming up all the other actors in the scene, you're able to see things so much clearer. But when you're in the scene, and I have had the unfortunate duty of being an actor, at one point in my life, just very shortly, and just being in that scene, you you don't see anything else, you are just worried about your lines, you're worried about the reaction you're worried about this moment, it is is metates acting is almost a meditation, because you are in the moment in the moment.
Raymond Moody 38:20
I know. I mean, I'm not an actor, but I was a comedian for a while, and I was my characters, you know, there's no question about it. And still, they, they still come to me. And yeah, and, and it's a number of actors and actresses and a great performer, as well. Tell me specifically about their near death experiences, talents, and made that very comparison. It's like the one woman that is 1976 I guess they were in New York. And she was a very famous performer, and delighted that I didn't know she will, which is I understand not so happy when I meet somebody who doesn't know me from. So anyway, we had a great time. She was a great performer. And she said she was very famous for a certain role. And it went on for some time. And then she said that night that she walked off the stage left that roll behind. That was a very powerful feeling for her. Now flash forward several years and her near death experience. And she said Raymond the closest birth thing I have to prepare that was that night I walked off the stage finishing up that role. And I've heard others say that same make that same metaphor or analogy.
Alex Ferrari 39:42
Yeah, because when you are an actor, especially like on Broadway, when you're playing the same character again and again and again, day in, day out, might be the same scenes but you're still in the skin of that character. And when you finally leave that character behind, I know the actors from Harry Potter They spent the decade making all those movies. And that's who they were they grew up as these characters. It is such and when they walk away from it, they just like, who am I?
Raymond Moody 40:17
Yes, I can imagine that very easily.
Alex Ferrari 40:20
Yeah, especially at that young age. Now, out of all those, you said there was like 1215 different common common elements. What is the what was one of the more rare ones that is not seen very often, in a normal, you know, normal near death experience, in a during with your experience, the average? You mean?
Raymond Moody 40:45
Okay, Uummm.. one that is very rare all I've heard maybe a couple of dozen cases of it. But nonetheless, it's statistically rare, is that people will say, they will sort of, I don't know whether it's metaphor or literal, but they will talk about a line, they say they saw a line, whether they could see the line or not. But they may say it was like a wall or something. And they said they had the complete awareness that that was the limit that they if they had crossed over that line, they wouldn't have been able to come back.
Alex Ferrari 41:25
So the point of no return going back to our story. It was a point of no return. So if they crossed that threshold,
Raymond Moody 41:32
That's right. But they have a hard time explaining that. See, I just knew that. If it if I went past that, then I would let me come back.
Alex Ferrari 41:44
Did you ever in your in your research. Did you ever come across because I'm assuming they're not having conversations. They're not having conversations like you and I are having it's almost a minute, but it's a mindset. It's a knowing almost like, Oh, I know where I'm at now. Or sometimes if I'm assuming there's some times that they forgot who they were, they needed more help, remembering who they truly are, as opposed to where they have been correct? Yes. And that more is that more why relatives and other people are there to kind of remind them no, no, it's okay.
Raymond Moody 42:19
I'm assuming. I'm assuming it's it is, I mean, it does seem that there is a weaning process from the earth, you know, that, that but it takes place in no time. But still it is a process. And and a very graphic way a lot of people have putting it is they say that? It's like waking up from a dream. It's like, when you and the morning when you're waking up. And the dream is kind of slipping away as what was that even though it seems so real. But now you have that feeling that I'm back to reality. And they said that's what that feeling of oh, the dream is over now went back to reality, that that's how they compare it.
Alex Ferrari 43:11
It's almost like a decompression. If you've been deep sea diving, it's like you need Yeah, it's a time period that you need to acclimate yourself back to where you
Raymond Moody 43:22
You certainly don't want to get the spiritual bands,
Alex Ferrari 43:27
The spiritual bands, and I've heard you know, from your research, did you ever deal with children and
Raymond Moody 43:35
I did talk with lots and lots of kids, but I talked with enough of them to know that it's the same thing as the adults they had may have a different language. But one thing I noticed, I talked within a certain period of time to three people who were 11 years old, but what happened to one was the patient I just ran into I was a medical student doing my pediatrics and he just brought it up. This was long before I was known for this he just was talking and he said about a year ago that about a year ago I had almost died and and it was right there in his chart undersize. Look there it was. And it was they wrote down that he had seen all this and then Two Girls One was a girl who was in my son Samuels class when he was that age and then another I met at a church that I want to lecture at. And I didn't have a chance really to get to know the boy very well because it was a quick meeting but the young ladies I met I would say and and these are I would say that the the maturity was up, you know, you could say See that these kids who were 11 were out of place on time because they had they gauge you the aura of somebody who was maybe around the age of 30, or something that was my observation that it seemed to be growing up
Alex Ferrari 45:20
I imagine it does affect your, your, your experience, to say the least. Now is I've been I've heard so many stories over the years of psychedelics, having comparisons to near death experiences of people going down the light, have you done any studying? Or do you have any opinion of psychedelics versus new deck spears? And and how some of them can be similar sometimes?
Raymond Moody 45:46
I don't really have enough experience to make those sound judgment, Alex, so I will just go ahead and make my breakfast judge.
Alex Ferrari 45:56
Fair enough. Fair enough, those are always the most entertaining ones, the reckless judgments,
Raymond Moody 46:01
Right! And what I gather I have, over the years, I've interviewed quite a number of people who had both psychedelic experiences and near death experiences. And the general tenor I get from their descriptions is that there was a similarity that was such that I am required to use similar wording. But that the, the experiences had a very different quality. That whereas the, the psychedelic experience was interesting, and enlightening, or whatever, that the the near death experience had the quality that people have very hard to describe. They say it's like hyper reality. They say if you can imagine more real that real, whereas the psychedelic experiences not so much, but none of this was to put down their psychedelic experiences. They said, Yeah, these these are interesting. And, and I'm naturally they naturally think about, you know, in comparison to the near death experience, but they did make that observation that it's, like at a higher level of reality. And I'm adding those words to, to what they said.
Alex Ferrari 47:31
So similar to, and I'll use my horrible analogy, but like fast food versus fine dining.
Raymond Moody 47:39
Well, there you go. That specifically apropos, because there did seem to be almost not an aesthetic dimension to it. But if you can imagine what esthetics would be transferred one level up. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 47:57
Yeah. Cuz I mean, fast food will get you hot. Get you that that endorphin rush? And it tastes really good. But when you can do fine dining, and you eat something you'd like every bite is like, whole, it just it takes you transcends it goes to your your both. They both get you there, but at a completely different level.
Raymond Moody 48:15
There you go.
Alex Ferrari 48:17
I just add on I just thought, it just means
Raymond Moody 48:20
I'm a very limited guy, but I'm marijuana Max is on there. I got it. Cuz I tell you, that's enough for me.
Alex Ferrari 48:32
Raymond Moody 48:33
Yeah. My dad was very liberal and name wise. I was asking him one time this was back in the early 70s. Before LSD was even illegal. Oh, yes. I asked him. I said, Dad, you know, I've been thinking about LSD. He really you could say he was he was putting thought into. And then at last he said, Well, Robin, he said, I think you're psychedelic enough as it is. And I think he was right.
Alex Ferrari 49:02
I think so. Now after all this experience, with with your your life experience and everything. What is your personal understanding of the creative force, that thing the universe, just your own personal take on it all, from your kids point of view as well that they've talked to you about things and also your just life experience at this point in your journey? What's your whole idea of it?
Raymond Moody 49:28
Well, listen, I wish I was a sales type, but I'm not. And you can guess you're in that same boat, frankly, it's like, I'm just, I'm wanting to write stuff. I don't want to sell stuff. But but now that you raised I do want to talk about this book that I published recently, God is bigger than the Bible. And what I've just reflected Alex on all the wonderful people that I met over the years who've talked about their encounters with God or this I are being in their near death experiences and and even though I was not raised to religious person that sort of rubbed off on me and then in 1991 had my own direct personal experience with with God. And man, I just I know it sounds psychotic, both,
Alex Ferrari 50:22
But what but what was it? What was that experience?
Raymond Moody 50:24
Well, I was going through a tough time and and Alex, it's like this came from above the most pure compassion, and knowledge and understanding and insight. And I immediately learned something I'd always kind of scoffed at religion, among other things for people out, people think they got a nail to God, what this, the Master of the Universe is gonna feel like he needs his ego stroked, being to nail. And so what I found out, though, was that what that's all about is you can't stand up, I was sitting in this chair. And it was like, my body just changed into wax. It just flowed to the floor, I was just, and you are in a state where you would gladly if somebody put a sheet of paper and said, Well, you want to continue this forever. Absolutely. Sign me up. And one of the big problems we have in this society is to acquainting religion with God, you know, it's like I am I like the way I say it is that I've talked about every day several times a day. And and God has never said a word to me about religion. I think if God had been religious, they would have said something done. And you know, it's like rich religion is a distorting lens that stands between people and their Creator. And you know, I end the book I talk about God, Visa V creativity, and it's, you know, these creations to we're trying to get, require your children and my children to study the biblical account and Genesis of creation, right alongside to biology textbooks. Well, I've say, Yeah, well, folks, I'm a creationist tuber am a new creationist. And what I say is, that guy is creating everything all the time. And that I do think just like the this group is saying, you know, that there should be creation should be taught in schools, but it shouldn't be taught in science, it should be taught as a humanities. And the idea would be to teach all of the great creation stories from all over the world. And let to see how important that is and to think about this whole notion of of create creation because I said, you know, God the idea that God created you know this in six days and then rested on ridiculous I say, God is creating it all now.
Alex Ferrari 53:17
Fair, fair enough. Fair enough. Now, in your in your travels, with with near death, near death experiences, did they did you have much experience with past lives that they talk about past lives like, Oh, I remember this, I remember that. Now. Once that was on the other side, I saw myself as this or that. I mean, you kind of touched on it with your son a little bit. But anything along those lines?
Raymond Moody 53:46
Yes, there were there was a small number of people that I talked with an interview and them about their near death experience. Who said that they were able to see parts of their previous locks often at the beginning is like one man told me it's kind of like if this something zoom through really quick
Alex Ferrari 54:06
Like a trailer, like a trailer before the main movie.
Raymond Moody 54:10
And but the interesting thing about this was the both of these people that I had initially were Southern Baptists, and not in any way connected with the notion of reincarnation, but subsequently, I've heard that at that time, I was living in the deep south. So you know, I just heard heard this from all over the world that or more More commonly, that people say that because of my near death experience, I didn't see anything specifically there which made me think that there's reincarnation but the sense I got is definitely that that was you know, in other words, they have a sense in the state that there's something to reincarnation that like that might be the you know, the Further on and the process for.
Alex Ferrari 55:02
I mean, they've been talking about it for about 5000 years over and in India. So I mean, there's something and there is some sort of talk about it here and there, but to me it always makes sense.
Raymond Moody 55:17
It is and you know, is s&m, Alex that this, this reincarnation is not part of Western culture or the history of it, because Pythagoras claimed to remember eight of his path past lives. Plato wrote about reincarnation, and they accepted it a couple of other early Greek philosophers. So the, it's it's not true that it could be that reincarnation is a recent import into the West.
Alex Ferrari 55:50
Very interesting. Now I'm going to ask you a few questions that I asked all of my guests. What do you believe?
Raymond Moody 55:57
I already sell Amway products Alex No, I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding.
Alex Ferrari 56:04
Now, do you want Mary Kay in your life? No, I'm joking. What do you believe? Is your mission here in this life?
Raymond Moody 56:13
I honestly believe not trying to be evasive or anything. Alex, I honestly believe, I don't think I can know that told us over. I think and this life review process is where you kind of see that. And I don't think really i is i, the impression I get from all the people I've talked to is no matter how eloquent you are, how intelligent and you just can't prepare yourself for this, that even though I've heard 1000s and 1000s of people, I, I feel sure that I will be just as surprised as any of the people I have talked to were when this happened.
Alex Ferrari 56:56
Now, why do you believe we're all here?
Raymond Moody 57:01
I think that a big part of it is to experience story, your your life story, and the love and the relationship and the interconnections that come with that. And then I also think, although as not as sure this one, but I do, do think that you can take the learning you make here, you can take that across with you is what I understand from a lot of people. It's like a lot of people say that during these life reviews, that this being that their width sort of focuses in on some specific things, where they've been learning. And even though there's no words, they say the thought comes, that's very good is sort of very interesting, that even after you come here that will go on for eternity, as a lot of people say, you get the impression that the process of knowledges is a terminal.
Alex Ferrari 58:06
And any last words in regards to the message you want to put out into the world with your work.
Raymond Moody 58:12
Well, I just want to talk directly to our people watching this and listening to this. And I just thank you so much for paying attention to us. And I hope you got something out of this. And I do think that we are in a situation of world history right now where the the spiritual dimension of life or sort of be rationally comprehensible? I do think so.
Alex Ferrari 58:46
I agree things that in the 70s were looked at, like you're insane are now commonplace meditation, yoga, just those two examples alone. I mean, when you were if you were meditating in the 70s, you're like, oh, man, he's gone. That's right. And now there's apps. That's true. But I but I truly appreciate you taking the time to, to come on the show and share your experiences and your journey with us. I truly appreciate it man.
Raymond Moody 59:16
And likewise, it's I just had the greatest time I guess. I guess maybe I could sum this up with the the subtitle of the book I just mentioned is that I think that we are God's stories. That's what we are.
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Links and Resources
- Dr. Raymond Moody – Official Site
- Life After Life: The Bestselling Original Investigation That Revealed “Near-Death Experiences”
- God Is Bigger Than the Bible
- The Light Beyond
Also check out our other NDE conversations
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