Some people believe that to be religious means to be spiritual and vice versa. They might go to church regularly, and have a great knowledge and understanding of scriptures, and believe this is what it means to be spiritual. They may even treat people badly or even live like the devil, but because they go to church and know scriptures they believe they are spiritual.
Information gleaned from near-death accounts show that spirituality is very different from being religious. Perhaps the best way to distinguish religion and spirituality is to say that religion is the outward formula for guiding people inward to the spiritual force of love and compassion for others. In fact, religion and spirituality are so different, you probably know somebody who is so religious they’re not very spiritual.
A Summary of NDE Spirituality
The following information is a summary of the insights about spirituality gleaned from the near-death accounts:
According to near-death accounts, the reason for our very existence is to attain spiritual growth. We are more of a spiritual being than we are a physical being. We assume a body of flesh out of a desire for spiritual growth, to complete a mission for God, to qualify for higher spirit realms, to test our spiritual ideas we had before we were born to see if we actually possess these ideals, to obtain a level of self-realization, to re-discover higher knowledge in physical ways, to be more of a companion of God, to find the kingdom of heaven within, to achieve our goal of evolving into the higher spirit beings we once were, but with individuality, to make God stronger by spreading love which is God, to bring light in a world of darkness, but more importantly, to play, love, laugh, and live for the sole purpose of it because this is the way to holiness.
Love is God and loving others and everything is all that really matters. Everything else, our achievements and material wealth, is totally irrelevant. The important thing is to love people, nature, animals, and everything in creation. Whether people realize it or not, love is what we seek and need to sustain us. Although love is too immense and profound to be fully known in one lifetime, without love we are nothing. To love everyone as ourselves, we must love ourselves else our love for others is false. It is impossible to be really happy if we only have love for ourselves. Until we give attention to others, we will not be able to grow spiritually. Our choice is between the spirit of God (self-love, love for others) and the spirit of self (selfishness, love only for self). By conquering self, we can change and grow easily, and know ourselves to be ourselves, yet one with the Whole. When we do unto others, the same will be done unto us.
All paths eventually lead back to God – love. Love is the hard lesson we are here to learn more about and apply ourselves. While in a physical body, the kingdom of God is located within. Part of our mission is to manifest the kingdom into the world. Our goal is to attain a human-divine unity. As spirit beings, our core is perfect love – a spark of divinity. When our human nature fully recognizes the divinity within, self-divine-realization is the result. Part of this realization is that everyone is connected together through divine love – God. What one person does, affects everyone else. We are all of one spirit and to change the world we only need to change ourselves. One simple act of unselfish love affects everyone else. A simple smile has the power to alter the course of human history. The good we do for others will eventually come back to us. The important things is that we are to help each other rise to a higher level of love. Life is about people, not pursuits. It is about loving people, not things. To know love is not enough. It must be expressed. Whatever we become in life is meaningless unless it is done for the benefit of others. The ideal is to love others completely, unconditionally, more even than we love ourselves. It is the little things that count: a small act out of unconditional love.
Religious dogma means nothing on the other side. True religion is to love others as ourselves. It is what’s inside that counts. Love, not religious dogma, creates spiritual growth. What is important is what comes from the heart, not what one professes with their lips. Love in action is what lasts. The more we live in love, the closer we are to God. The way to heaven is through the practice of love. Love is the law of the universe and holds the universe together. The Golden Rule is the governing principle in the spirit world. Our state in the spirit realm is determined by our level of spiritual maturity. This is often attained through hardships that challenge us and help us grow and stay compassionate. Before we can really feel joy, we must know sorrow. This world is the tough course that helps create within us the tough love of God. Life is a cycle of improvements that ultimately leads to perfection.
Once we leave the physical world, we will step into the spirituality we have cultivated within ourselves. We then will view reality from an inward perspective instead of an outward one. Heaven and hell are not locations but are spiritual states of being. We grow to heaven. We don’t go to heaven. The spiritual state of being we attained on Earth is the spiritual state we take with us. We are all at various degrees of light which corresponds to various levels representing different stages of spiritual growth. The central factor determining our level of spiritual growth is the degree to which we have lived for the sake of others. Our ability to accept truth, to live by it, governs our progress in the spirit, and it determines the degree of light we possess. The higher our spiritual maturity, the brighter the light will shine from our spirit.
The chief purpose for returning to the physical world is for instruction that leads to the advancement of our souls in spiritual maturity. We are given all the opportunities it takes, as many lifetimes as it takes, to achieve it. Then, like the prodigal son, we return to our true home. Once we have learned the lessons needed in the physical world, we do not need to return.
The School of Love
We came into this world to have trouble and to learn from it. Unfortunately many people don’t realize this and complain about their bad luck and spend their lives chasing pleasure, fame and money. Then they die without making any spiritual progress. And so they waste life after life. It should be obvious that all we’ll take with us is our character, our karma and our abilities, and that we’ll have to live with people like ourselves. Therefore, our highest success would be to rise into the highest heaven through unselfish love. (Arthur Yensen)
The desire for spiritual growth arises from a desire to be close to God. (Nora Spurgin)
We can not dwell in the higher spiritual realms until we have perfectly qualified for it by a change of heart and mind, a significant amount of preparation, and by completing our mission. (Dr. Craig Lundahl)
God has a job for us. We don’t have to know what it is. We just have to trust and follow our heart. That’s because our heart knows more than our head does. (Dr. PMH Atwater)
All souls come to Earth to test their spiritual ideals to see if they are real. Only by becoming subject to the physical influences of the flesh and the laws of the Earth realm can a soul know for certain if they really possess that spiritual ideal. Through this process, the soul is tested and the result is self-realization. This is the purpose of the Earth realm. (Edgar Cayce)
In order for us to appreciate, benefit, and learn all we can from life, we must re-discover what we knew before we were born – now in physical ways. (David Goines)
In order to become one with God, work must be done to remember and find the truth. The truth is this: our true self is a spirit and our spirit is one with God. (Sandra Rogers)
While the ideal place to grow spiritually is on Earth (this is the reason for life on Earth), growth in the spirit world remains a possibility. There, however, in the absence of a physical body, growth is more difficult. The opportunity for the full range of love (child’s love, marital love, and parental love) is ideally available while on Earth. Love which has been misused or misdirected, is best corrected in a physical life. (Nora Spurgin)
Our ultimate purpose for existing is to be a companion to God. (Edgar Cayce)
If we worship the God within others through love, we will find the kingdom of heaven within. (Kevin Williams)
We are souls visiting and experiencing the physical realm in order to grow and evolve into the ultimate light beings that is our true origin and final destiny. (On AngelicView: An Eternal Light Experience)
[The light] showed me that God is love. By spreading love, you make God stronger. By making God stronger, He can, in return, help you. He told me your love has to be unconditional. That is the only rule here ally has. (an anonymous NDEr)
I heard the words, “Remember, pray without ceasing. Play, love, laugh, live for the joy of it. Have fun. Happiness is holy. The purpose of life is joy. Savor fully the loveliness of each experience. Self-awareness is the prayer of the heart. To pray without ceasing is to play. Play with the joyful abandon of the child, absorbed in the delight of each moment. Let go of obligation and duty. Live for the pure joy of being.” (On AngelicView: The Wise One)
Life is for living and the light is for later. (a child in Dr. Melvin Morse’s research)
Our lives are a golden opportunity to live a spiritual life in a world of darkness. (Daniel Rosenblit)
The highest purpose of our earthly connections is love. (On AnglicView: You Will be A Catalyst for Change)
Humanity has to think of life everlasting, manifested now in the present. This is very important. Life has been held very cheaply. Millions of people have been killed through devastation, torture, war, and man’s inhumanity to man. This has brought spiritual pollution on all levels. (Margaret Tweddell)
Love is the law of the universe. Hatred is a disease that kills nations. (Kevin Williams)
If we live true to the spirit we came to Earth with, we can progress more quickly. We do that by expressing the love of God that is within us, and we do that by loving God, ourselves, and each other. It is that simple. (Betty Eadie)
Love never hurts. Only the absence of love hurts. (Kevin Williams)
When we leave ourselves open to God to learn more about unconditional love, he readily sends us the people we need to learn to love without judgment. Put to the test, our spirits expand with greater love, God’s pure love, and it shines brighter within us. (Betty Eadie)
Love is Supreme
Love is really the only thing that matters. Love is joy! It all seemed so simple. If we’re kind, we’ll have joy. (Betty Eadie)
The absolutely only thing that matters is love. Everything else, our achievements, degrees, the money we made, how many mink coats we had, is totally irrelevant. It will also be understood that what we do is not important. The only thing that matters is how we do what we do. And the only thing that matters is that we do what we do with love. (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross)
There is only one truly significant work to do in life, and that is love; to love nature, to love people, to love animals, to love creation itself, just because it is. To serve God’s creation with a warm and loving hand of generosity and compassion – that is the only meaningful existence. (Dr. George Rodonaia)
He who understands nature walks close with God. (Edgar Cayce)
I was shown that love is supreme. I saw that truly without love we are nothing. (Betty Eadie)
Since love is supreme, opportunities for the practice of love will continue after death. (Nora Spurgin)
Love is too immense and profound to ever be fully understood or experienced in this physical world. Love is God. (Sandra Rogers)
What all people seek, what sustains them, is love, the light told me. What distorts people is a lack of love. (On AngelicView: We Are the Most Beautiful Creations)
Self-Love Versus Selfishness
Without feelings of self-love, the love we feel for others is counterfeit. We must love all others as ourselves. (Betty Eadie)
Above and beyond anything else, we must first learn to love ourselves non-judgmentally and unconditionally. Then we will actually love all people and all things the same way. (Laurelynn Martin)
Happiness is love of something outside of self. It may never be obtained, may never be known by loving only things within self or self’s own domain. (Edgar Cayce)
Our ultimate goal is not the complete loss of self-identity, rather, it is to know ourselves to be ourselves, yet one with the Whole. (Edgar Cayce)
How are we saved? By unselfish love. If we do only good things we will eventually run out of bad karma and only good things will happen to us, and vice versa. The purpose of karma is to force us to learn life’s lessons whether we want to or not. The only way to bypass karma is to develop so much unselfish love that paying for bad karma will serve no purpose – much like a college student challenging a course he already knows. We evolve faster through unselfish love. (Arthur Yensen)
Our minds are led by the spirit we are entertaining, the spirit of God or the spirit of self. People are led astray through self-centeredness, self-gratification, self-righteousness, self-glorification, self-condemnation, self-interest, and self-consciousness. The greatest enemy we will ever face is self – the false god. Jesus’ mission was to demonstrate to humanity how self-sacrifice and self-denial can overcome these selfish desires and how it leads to our complete restoration with the divine nature within us. (Edgar Cayce)
The conquering of self is truly greater than were one to conquer many worlds. (Edgar Cayce)
If everyone completely understood the afterlife, they’d quit trying to keep up with the Joneses and start learning how to live unselfishly. Here [in the world] we can change ourselves quite easily and should use this life to make ourselves into the kind of people we want to be in the hereafter. [The spirit world] is a miserable place for anyone who hasn’t learned internal harmony – characterized by unselfish love. (Arthur Yensen)
Our earthly selves, however, are constantly in opposition to our spirits. Although our spirit bodies are full of light, truth, and love, they must battle constantly to overcome the flesh, and this strengthens them. Those who are truly developed will find a perfect harmony between their flesh and spirits, a harmony that will bless them with peace and give them the ability to help others. (Betty Eadie)
In the Earth realm, as in spiritual realms, until we turn our attention from ourselves, we cannot in any way change our estate. (Edgar Cayce)
Not all people are lovable, but when we find someone difficult for us to love, it is often because they remind us of something within ourselves that we don’t like. (Betty Eadie)
The minute we judge others for their faults or shortcomings, we are displaying a similar shortcoming in ourselves. We don’t have the knowledge to judge people accurately here. Only God knows the heart of man, and only God can judge perfectly. He knows our spirits; we see only temporary strengths and weaknesses. Because of our own limitations, we can seldom look into the heart of man. (Betty Eadie)
We don’t have any knowledge or right to judge anybody else in terms of that person’s heart relationship to God. Only God knows what’s in a person’s heart. Someone whom we think is despicable, God might know as a wonderful person. Similarly, someone we think is good, God may see as a hypocrite, with a black heart. Only God knows the truth about every individual. (Rev. Howard Storm)
(To Be Continued in Part 2)