Monday, 10 March 2008

Andy Petro On Toward The Light

Andy PetroOn Sunday, 9 March, I had the honour of interviewing Andy Petro on Toward The Light. What really struck me about this timely interview is that it occurred at the same time that I was reading the book, Dying to Live: Near-Death Experiences, by Susan Blackmore. In it, Blackmore's citing the typical myopic view so prevalent in the mindset of those who insist that the five-sense version of 'reality' is all that exists ... and insinuating that what an NDEr goes through during a near-death episode is the result of drug-induced hallucinations or the symptoms of a 'dying brain' (hypoxia or anoxia) ... and so on.

Well, I've got plenty of excellent data whereby we can 'debunk the debunkers'! Please read chapters 13 & 14 in The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences by PMH Atwater. Also read, About the Continuity of Our Consciousness and Medical Evidence for NDEs ~ A Reply to Shermer by Pim van Lommel, located on my site here. Also read Science & Spirituality ~ A Challenge for the 21st Century, A lecture by Dr. Peter Fenwick here.

Now let's move to a special point I want to make that my dear guest so eloquently provided for us during this tremendous dialogue. I cannot tell you how many times I've been in dialogue with individuals who have been able to point out the vast difference between hallucinations and what occurs during a near-death state—such as the above-mentioned physicians/researchers, who've been my guests on Toward The Light.

Andy had his NDE 53 years ago as a result of drowning in a lake. What's interesting, here, is the fact that his memory of his NDE is as clear today as it was on the day that it occurred. He even mentioned this on the air—that whenever he speaks of his NDE, it's as vivid and clear as if it just happened moments ago. Not only that, but all of the emotions that he experienced way back then also resurface as fresh as a flower that's newly in bloom.

As he spoke of the powerful event leading up to, and the details of his NDE, I, too, found myself in tears and not only hearing his words, but knowing exactly what he was conveying in every minute detail! In fact, it was uncanny how similar some aspects of his NDE were to mine. For example, we both opted not to hover over or round our bodies, but, instead, travelled far and away from our physical bodies into the centre of Creation, as it were, and into the Light—being wholly enveloped in unconditional love—that which is too ineffable and lofty for the limitations of language to convey.

He described also being in a circular space where he saw multiple panes of 'cinema screens' that revealed the events of his life review all simultaneously. And when he looked at or thought about a certain screen or scene, he was suddenly in that experience. There was no 'chronology' as everything happened in the 'Eternal Now'—his using the very same words that I've used over the years in describing my own NDEs!

Another powerful point he made is the fact that never once did he feel 'judged' or 'blamed' for anything in any way whatsoever. He only experienced total love and acceptance at all times. He also saw that there was no need to see things as 'good' or 'bad', 'right' or 'wrong', but from the vantage point of what works versus what doesn't work—exactly as I've pointed out in my writings and talks as well! See how universal this is?

I felt like I was listening to a very old dear friend, and myself, bearing the same message simultaneously. In fact, he made this statement to me in an eMail: "Thank you very much for the most enjoyable hour that I have spent in years. It was almost as if we had experienced our respective NDEs together! Thank you again for the opportunity to relive that trip into the Light with a true friend."

Indeed, the love coming through this man, as he spoke, was unmistakable. He was so clear and full of compassion and a zeal for the wisdom and love we truly come to know through such profound experiences.

He, too, had been told that he had to come back to the earth plane, but he didn't want to. He, like myself, was not given the choice of whether or not to return and it broke his heart to be sent back to the physical plane. He was Home and he did NOT want to leave! Again, I heard my own words being echoed and I was in tears. Was I going to be caught crying on the air? I almost didn't care; that's how moving and real the entire dialogue was.

And that's a compelling point in itself: nothing is pretentious, here! It's something that stirs and resonates from the innermost core of your being when you've been through such a transcendent event. When you've had an NDE or similar experience, how can you not be so deeply moved when a fellow experiencer is describing his or her episode!? That's why this programme and these dialogues week after week are so profoundly meaningful and deeply impact people all over the world. The point, or bottom line, is to share the truth of unconditional love and the fact that we do live forever and that death is an illusion. This is, indeed, the prevailing message of the NDEr.

The love and peace that Andy garnered from his NDE are a deep contrast to his upbringing—being raised in a staunch Catholic environment where he went to church services (Mass) several times a week, went through the whole 'confession' and all of those imposed agendas of the church—even attending seminary and leaving just before taking his vows. He fell victim to ridicule after his NDE—whereas he was accused of being a 'pawn of the devil' and also considered 'crazy'. Consequently he tried to forget about his experience with the Light ... but he could not. Finally, after twenty years, he found doors open up to him whereby he discovered that he wasn't 'crazy' in the least and that he had, indeed, been with the Light—thanks to stumbling upon Dr. Raymond Moody's book, Life After Life.*

Again, I experienced nearly the same lapse of time before I was able to have my 'coming out' as regards being an NDEr and openly sharing it with others. The parallels between us are quite striking, indeed!

The point I want to make, here, is the fact that memories of hallucinations or that of a dying brain fade rather quickly and cannot remain so clear, unchanged and intact over such a lengthy passage of time! Nor can the memories of hallucinations conjure up such powerful soul-stirring emotions as these NDE scenarios do! Again, as I was listening to Andy divulge the details of his NDE, my own memories and emotions were so deeply stirred and it took everything I had not to burst out crying on the air! His words brought me back to my own NDEs—especially the one back in the mid-1970s and the uncanny similarity of so many of the details.

I dare say that drug-induced hallucinations and the symptoms of a dying brain can never impact one with such clarity, wisdom and love—not to mention the peace and freedom from all traces of fear! Furthermore, they also do not generate the powerful after-effects that the NDE does. PMH Atwater points out that after-effects produce behavioural traits that increase over time, not decrease, and remain fully intact. One is literally 'rewired' as a result of a near-death episode and one is altered forever—physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. People gain IQs that are literally off the charts and greatly enhanced psychic ability, and also talents in writing, music and the arts that were never in tact beforehand ... and so on.

As a result of his NDE over 53 years ago, Andy feels a profound sense of peace and knowing—no longer questioning his sanity or the fact that he is one with Source—the Light—and always loved no matter what.

Here is a special poem that he wrote, but he stresses that he's 'not a writer'—that he's a visual person and these words came to him in the wee hours, as if channelled through him. It is a powerful and moving piece of work that could not have been written better by a master. Here it is:

We Are All One … A Peace Poem
By Andy Petro

When I was a child I had visions of a land
That was aglow in white light, wherever you stand.
We laughed, we played … we were safe all day long
We delighted in each other … singing life’s sweet song.
We were all one … no killing, fear, or hate.
We were all one … what a wondrous, glorious state!

When I was a child I had visions of a place
That was filled with people of every color, belief, and race.
We celebrated our differences … what made us unique
Each person was important, and everyone got to speak.
We were all one … we stood together, hand in hand
We were all one … true peace was alive in our land.

When I was a child I shared my visions … my world
They yelled “thoughts from the devil” … and insults unfurled.
“Others are the wrong color, wrong religion, wrong sex!
God made us special … it’s written in His holy text.
We are God’s chosen … we’re saved by the bell,
We are God’s chosen … all the others are going to Hell!”

Now I remember … I know it’s life’s great start,
Visions of my childhood are real, and alive in my heart.
As a rainbow’s brilliant colors come from white light above
We can replace all terror, hatred and fear with our love.
We are all one … the idea is beautiful and true,
We are all one … its simple, obvious and easy to do.

Now we have visions of our planet in the sky
Now there are visions that no longer harbor lies.
We can see that war isn’t an answer, that Peace is a choice
We can see that life is wonderful when we speak with one voice.
We are all one … no one way is the best,
We are all one … its life’s ultimate test.

There's a profound similarity between the message of this poem and the awareness or memory I first remember having when entering this plane—that I came from such a realm as he describes here and that this earth-plane was not my home, was not real. I didn't belong here and I wanted to go Home!

Andy and I both felt the darkness of World War Two encroach upon us—he in America and I in the north of England as the bombs were falling all round us—and yet we both innately knew of a better world, a better reality ... and our NDEs brought back the memory of what is true and what is possible.

And that's why we were sent back—to remind everyone about the truth of what IS possible.

* The film, Life After Life is available through TTL in video or DVD format. FMI, click here.

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