In our life, every act of kindness, every act of love, has a ripple effect. I have been going through some Near Death Experiences, and they all show the same pattern: first one is withdrawn from the physical body, and in many cases they can see or hear things happening around them - even outside the room of the doctors. The second stage tends to be going through the tunnel, at the end of which is a light. The third stage is that in the presence of a Supreme Being, God, Jesus, or angelic beings, one will go through a life review. Every single moment is recorded, nothing that is ever thought or done is lost. And what is being looked at in the life review? Every single act or thought of kindness - what was done for others. This afterlife, including the life review, the light at the center of heaven, was described in the 18th century in the waking visions of Emanuel Swedenborg. Now, with our modern medical science, there is just a sudden explosion of these testimonies. And one thing that is emerging that is consistent: its not about what your belief system is, its about how you live your life.
If you ask a materialist scientist, or a skeptic, they will say these are all imaginations, hallucinations, or products of oxygen deprivation. What these skeptics choose to ignore is that in the first stage of death, many have become clairvoyant and can see or hear things in a heightened state of awareness while their body lay dead. In this materialistic society, materialists ignore the evidence that shows that their life view is wrong because it does not fit with their view. This materialistic view, the way I see it, will gradually die out as science discovers the reality of higher and higher dimensions, realms that do not interact with physical light.
As I was going through some Near Death Experiences, I came across one by Erika which mentions how our life is like a ripple, a ripple that will effect others. I had already posted the picture above on my profile, and then found a Near Death Experience that confirms the truth of this analogy. Here is a video taken at 9th Annual Spiritual Retreat for Near Death Experiencers, St Louis, May 2014, of Erika talking about the day she died of a drug overdose from prescription diet pills:
THE LIFE REVIEW
After withdrawing from her body, and seeing herself in the third person, and going through the tunnel, she has a life review. In the first life review, she sees all the things in her life that she regarded as important, from a child to adult - such as losing a tooth, going through graduation and so on. Then she sees a pair of glasses and is told that these are God's glasses, and she is told to put them on so she could see how God sees things in our lives. She puts them on, and she sees a completely different story about her life - how she showed acts of kindness to others, some so small that she had forgotten about them. Some were just spontaneous that made people happy.
So what is life all about? Its not about personal success, nor about money or material things. It is all about love, compassion and kindness. Swedenborg shows from scripture that there are two levels of love: love towards others, but higher than that is love towards others as a result of love towards God. And this is why a belief in God is important: for without God, everything becomes a matter of the ego and self glorification. Without God there is no love, for God is love itself.
LIFE IS A RIPPLE EFFECT
Next, she turns to see God, who before was standing at her side. She sees God in human form, but not his face, but from the shoulder down. She then has a thought to look up as high as she can. God then lifts his arm and she is told to look up as high as she can - she looks as high as she can, where she could see the stars. Then in the palm of God's hand appeared a rock. God then lets loose the rock, and the rock begins to fall, and it falls for a long time. God then says, "I am the rock. I am the light." And as he says this she sees that now the rock is glowing, and is becoming a powerful and brilliant light. As the rock falls, it begins to fall in front of her, and then appears in front of her the largest body of water, a large lake or ocean. The rock falls into the ocean, and the rock makes one single ripple. This single ripple begins to grow in size, and it kept growing and growing until she could no longer see the border of the ripple. God then says, "You are the rock. You are the light. You are the ripple, that effects mankind." She then realizes we can effect people even if we never meet them.
I found this to be an interesting object lesson, for in it, there is some universal symbolism that is being used, which is explained in detail by Swedenborg in Heavenly Arcana (Arcana Coelestia, or "Heavenly Secrets"). In heaven, it is common for these symbolic or representative object lessons to be used to teach other spirits and angels, for learning never ends. Both a "rock" and the "light" are symbols of truth. An outstretched arm is a symbol of power. The ocean she saw could be the "sea of glass" that John saw in the book of Revelation - and the sea represents the lowest most outer form of heaven. Likewise, a sea represents our most outer forms where the effects of our intent takes place in act. A complete act is composed of the intention or purpose, the thought of how to fulfill the intent, and the act itself. Philosophically stated, this is end, cause, and effect. The object lesson is interesting, for the outstretched arm that drops the rock is the end, the glowing rock of light is the cause, and the ripple is the effect. It is a perfect, simple object lesson describing what Swedenborg goes into detail in many pages.
The other point that is interesting is that God first identifies himself as the rock or the light. Then he says that we are the rock and the light. What is the meaning of this? God is love or good itself, but when we do an act of love or good in our lives, it is God acting through us. This is how a relationship with God develops: it is in love, in the smallest of acts in our everyday lives.
LIFE IS A UNIQUE GIFT
Next she is told to look to her left and to her right. She sees this outstretched wall of shelves, and there were various colours that were magnificent, that took on a life of their own, which she has trouble describing. On these shelves are gifts, and no one gift was the same. Every gift was different. This wall of shelves went on forever, she could not see the end of this wall of shelves of gifts. Then God said, "Erika, in life I give each and every one of you gifts. And they are all different, because that is part of My plan." Then God said to her, "When you were born, I gave you the gift of patience, and I gave you the gift of beauty." Then when God said that, she immediately thinks, no that cannot be right, you did not give me the gift of beauty. She says, no, I made some very bad choices in my life, and it resulted in me taking those diet pills, for I thought I was never good enough and was trying to be what other men wanted me to be. She then realized in so doing she stifled what God wanted her to be. God then stopped her and said, "Erika, I gave you the gift of patience, and I gave you the gift of beauty." At that moment, she then knew what God really meant. That beauty came from within her heart. It is the love that she carried within her heart.
She then looks again, at all the unique gifts on the shelves, and realizes how unique and significant each one of these gifts was that God gives to each one of us. Then God said, "In life, I have more gifts to give to each one of you. And all one has to do to get those gifts, is to ask. But one has to be quiet, and listen, in order to receive them." And this was repeated to her multiple times.
THE LAST LESSON OF HEAVEN
Erika feels she was in heaven for a lifetime, and learned so many things. She then shares the last lesson she learned, and it was called the last lesson. She looks to the left, and she sees the planet earth. She sees the planet earth, how it is engulfed in flames, the flames were over the entire planet. She then starts to panic, and begins to think about her family, because her family was down there on earth. She panics and looks to God on her right. She then knows to look in front of her, and in front of her appears God's glasses again. She then puts on God's glasses so she could see things how God sees events on earth. She again looks at the earth, and sees it engulfed in flames, but now between the flames she sees these silvery, white "things" lifting off. She then realizes, that those are souls, and these souls are unscathed by the flames. They were lifting off, ascending from the earth and coming up behind her and God, and going into the region ("planet") of heaven. When she saw they were fine, she was very happy and joyful. But at the same time, she then feels an incredible magnitude of sadness from God. But she then says no God look its ok, they are not hurt. God then looks at her and says, "Erika, it is free will." Erika does not understand, but she could see that God was crying for those who chose separation from Him. In that moment she understood how much God loves each and every one of us, and wants that connection. God's love is so great that he lets us have that free choice to have that connection.
At the end Erika feels she is at home in heaven, and does not want to return, she feels her family will be fine. But God then said, "Child, you are not staying, you work for Me now, remember?" He then said, "Before you go, I want to give you two more gifts. I want you take the gift of patience, the gift of beauty, and now I am going to give you knowledge, and wisdom. And I want you to be quiet and listen to the people I put into your life. And when you speak, you will change millions of peoples lives."
And so, is it an accident that I came across this, and that you are reading this? Erika emphasizes at the end that each one of us is unique, and that is what make us each so significant and valuable in God's eyes. It is important to identify the unique gifts God has given us, and to grow them. Each one of us is meant to use those unique gifts in our earthly journey. Each one of us has different gifts, and when we come together, that is part of God's plan. For that is how the world will change.
Here is a song by Reflekt with Deline Bass, Need to Feel Loved: