Monday, November 15, 2010

“It Gets Better” by Christophor Coppes

When I was reading my Dutch newspaper in Amsterdam I was struck by a news item about a YouTube video urging American high school students not to commit suicide. I understood that so many of these fine young people had taken their lives lately. The reason was that they couldn’t cope with the harassment they had had to endure in school. I wished I could have spoken to them before they had taken up the gun, the rope, or the pills. Similarly, I also wish I could speak to all those people who are in despair because of the Great Recession, or who feel cast away due to their unemployment caused by the recession. All of these people feel that they are on a dead-end street. To all of them I would like to say: you are valuable beyond your imagination. There are no lesser souls. I would also want to stress that it will get better, and I will explain why.

In my book I discuss some of the main messages that Near-Death Experiencers (NDErs) bring back with them. One of these messages is that every single one of us is important. The reason is that everyone has one or more valuable tasks to fulfill while being on earth. One NDEr said, “No-one would be here unless we have a task. You experience something yourself, or you help someone to experience something.” Without a doubt our presence on earth is required. Our task may not be something important in the earthly sense, but it is always something important to the Light that some NDErs see during their experience. It might be something as simple as sweeping streets or working in an office, or something more difficult such as raising children.

It is not only our task that makes us important, but also the fact that we are part of the Light…. Many NDErs say that we all carry a spark of the divine Light within us or…that we are a part of the Light. For that reason alone we should have absolute respect for others…and for ourselves, as well! There are no lesser souls. And this doesn’t only apply to humans; we should also respect animals and all of nature, because the Light is in everything.

This brings me to another important message that comes in loud and clear from many NDEs. We all are part of a “unity universe” in which everything is profoundly interconnected. For me the clearest example of this is that during a life review, we will be able to see and feel exactly what we did to others. This feeling will come in a very peculiar way. We will be able to see and feel this as if we were the other person…. For instance, we will feel the happiness of the people we did something nice to, and we will feel this as if we were them, as if our deed had been done to ourselves. Conversely, this will also happen when we have harmed other people. In our life review we will feel their pain ourselves, as if we had harmed ourselves.

The profound interconnection with everyone else and with nature also means that everything we do will ripple through universe. In fact, we have a creative power within us. We are able to create ripples that travel through this unity universe, to places that we might never visit in our lifetime. This can be compared to a pond, where every bit of water is in connection with the rest, and if we threw a stone in one end of the pond, the ripples would spread to all sides. Similarly, all our positive, loving actions will be felt throughout universe and will add energy to it, while the negative ones will have the effect of freezing energy.

So now we know some of the important messages—everyone has a task, everyone is part of the Light, we are all extremely important, and we are all profoundly interconnected. Why then are there problems and all kinds of setbacks? Why are there bullies who make our lives miserable? Why is there such a deep crisis that affects so many of us? The Light that NDErs sometimes get to meet is always described as unconditional love. And since It is unconditional love, It is not particularly interested in your sexuality or whether you are employed. Many gay people...have had an NDE and found out that they were loved anyhow. Being gay was not an issue at all on the other side, nor was being unemployed or any other characteristic you may think of. The only thing that mattered was how much compassion the NDEr was able to demonstrate and to what extent he or she added light to universe.

The Light doesn’t take pleasure in people having problems. Problems don’t exist to thwart us. They seem to occur to give us the opportunity to make choices. The more choices we have, the more opportunities there exist for us to learn about love and to develop compassion for people. Problems in fact challenge us to choose the most optimal alternative. It is about how we deal with a problem, about the emotion we choose to have. And remember, our choices have an effect on the unity universe. We have a creative power, because our positive emotions, thoughts, and actions ripple through universe. That is why we should never give up. We should always try to create positive ripples. Even when it seems dark, we have to create more light. A good way forward is to look around and try to see where you can help someone else. We have to keep in mind that positive acts are beneficial to everyone, including us. Service makes people happy: those whom we serve, but also the ones who serve. Service binds the love in us.

And now it’s time for a little warning: Many NDErs would advocate against suicide, because it is no good solution. You will discover that your problems don’t go away. Moreover, committing suicide is like a huge negative ripple in this world, and you’ll most probably regret it. You’ll regret throwing away all the good opportunities in life to practice compassion. But on a positive note, your presence on earth is required; you are indispensable to this world, you are absolutely important. Everyone is. Allow yourself to cope with…problems and to come through them. Because, when you do—either by finding a good solution or just because of the passage of time—you will find yourself in a new situation. It will get better. In addition, you will be wiser, thanks to your experience. And you’ll be able to breathe freely again.

This also applies to the economic crisis we are in. In my book, Messages From the Light, I wrote about how NDErs see the economic and environmental problems we face. It is my assumption that the Great Recession is here to remind us that we are interconnected in a profound way. We can’t just do something and have the illusion that we can simply walk away from what we did. School bullies should not have that illusion, nor should the people who sold sub-prime mortgages on a grand scale to people who couldn’t afford them in the first place. We will learn from it. We will learn that our focus has to change from a short-term self-interest to a longer-term “our-interest.” It will get better, once we change.

Christophor Coppes holds a PhD in economics and has worked for many years in the banking industry. His interest in near-death experiences dates to 1979, when he read Raymond Moody’s Life After Life. A few years ago, he wrote a book in which he compares the essence of NDEs with those of five world religions. In 2008, he became president of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) in the Netherlands. Christophor is a board member of the Society for Worldwide Dentistry and has participated in dental projects for underprivileged school children in Kenya and Cambodia. He lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Praise for Messages From the Light:

"This book plainly shows that denying the spiritual values, inherent in NDEs contributed to the worldwide economic calamity. In this sense, this book gives an amazing insight into how we can best change our behavior"

-Raymond Moody, MD, author of Life After Life

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