Heading Towards Omega book review
Following on from my review of the book ‘Consciousness Beyond Life’, I thought it would be useful to write about another excellent, thought-provoking book on the Near Death Experience phenomenon; ‘Heading Towards Omega’ by Kenneth Ring.
‘Heading Towards Omega’ focusses on people’s reports of their Near Death Experiences, including episodes they experienced decades before, the circumstances of their NDE and the effect those NDE’s had on their lives and their view of life and reality. The experiences of those subjects closely match those reported in ‘Consciousness Beyond Life’. Both describe separating from the body, viewing their body from outside, observing people in the room, awareness of a tunnel, a light at the end of that tunnel, a realm of light, the presence of loved ones, encounters with higher individuals filled with love, the reviewing of their life so far, their decision to return to their body, their return and connection with the physical world - along with its pain and intensity and physical limitations - and, finally, their the return to a waking, aware state.
Unlike ‘Consciousness Beyond Life’, ‘Heading Towards Omega’ isn’t trying to prove the basis for the NDE experience, but acting more as a testament to what the subjects found. I found these reports profoundly affecting. They had a clear message to impart, something all the NDE subjects consistently agreed on. The fact that this message came from ordinary people who did not have an axe to grind or were seeking profit from their experience, made, for me, it all the more compelling. In many cases, the NDE subjects had kept quiet about their NDE for a long time after the experience because, when they talked to others about what they had witnessed, they received ridicule, shock and distress. Fortunately, Ring’s research, his earlier books and the efforts he made to act as an understanding ear enabled many of those subjects to come forward.
Here, in brief paragraphs, is a summary of what the NDE subjects reported when they were asked about key elements of existence, life and reality:
God: There is no God in the sense of a male figure. God is described in the book as ‘the universe breathing’ or a source or the ultimate source of love. In this sense, God for a NDE’r is close to the descriptions of the Tao in the Chinese religion of Taoism.
Our lives: Our physical life is a temporary event. Its content, the challenges we face during our life, is not random but partly pre-determined by ourselves. This is at odds with the view, espoused in many major religions, that God decides what happens to us, whether we like it or not. NDE’rs give a very different answer, saying that we decide, with the help of higher individuals of love. We set up the future challenges in our physical lives, sometimes to make penance for what we did in previous physical lives, sometimes to give us challenges to overcome.
Material things: Possessions, badges of rank, property, assets, etc are all of minimal importance. Most who experienced an NDE lost almost all concern for amassing wealth after their experience. According to the NDE subjects, to be focussed on amassing material wealth is pointless, since all you are doing is losing yourself in the ephemera of a single reality that you inhabit for the purpose of improving yourself spiritually. You will, after a while, physically die and leave that reality, taking your mental and spiritual state with you but leave all that ephemera behind.
Good acts: It is important not just to do one or two major good things in our lives but to be a positive, friendly, helpful person all the time. Smiling at people as you encounter them, projecting warmth and friendship, acting as a shining example of positivity, this is something to aspire to do, every day, as much as one can.
Honesty: Deception, lying, negative comments, all these are an anathema to an NDE’r. Several subjects reported that they avoided lying in any way if they could after their NDE, as it distressed them greatly.
Death: Death is not to be feared. In fact, several subjects stated that if people knew how wonderful the after-life was, many people would kill themselves straight away. Interestingly, the NDE’rs do not, with only rare exceptions, try and commit suicide after their NDE. The reason they give for this is that they have a life to lead and there are achievements they want to carry out. They do, though, live the rest of their lives with the knowledge that when it ends, they will return to an utterly beautiful place.
Hell: There is no Hell and no after-life judgement by God. We judge ourselves after we die and the after-life reality we experience is influenced by our state of mind. Some individuals therefore, who have a very negative state of mind, will experience an after-life that other, more loving people would regard as hellish, but no one is put in Hell by God.
That, I think, covers the main points of the NDE subjects’ reports. I would recommend to anyone interested in these ideas to read the whole book. Reading the first-hand descriptions by the people who’ve experienced an NDE, who come from all walks of life and many of whom tell very emotional and affecting stories, gives another level to the subject beyond dry discussions of theory. For those who do read the book and enjoy it, I’d definitely recommend ‘Consciousness Beyond Life’ as a subsequent read. Reading both books could be an outlook-changing experience. It was for me.