Joan Halifax-Grof, a medical anthropologist specializing in psychiatry and religion, speaking on transformation and human consciousness, transformation and initiation and visionary states, and transformation and the experience of death. Grof was at conference titled “Exploration into the Forces of Life.”
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
We are increasingly aware that our sense of life is both be pinned down and Rich by studies of death. Dr. Joan Halifax graph is a medical Anthropologist too long with her husband and studied LSD therapy for terminal cancer patients. They co-author the book The Human encounter with Death at a recent conference titled and exploration into the forces of Life, Dr. Halifax graph spoke on the transformation and experience of death exploring the therapeutic potential of mystical experiences. The conference was sponsored by the University of Nebraska extension Division and was held recently in Lincoln 1972. I was sitting at a videotape room at the Maryland psychiatric Research Center.Watching stand work with a woman who is dying of cancer as I did for several months and the early days of my work there. Puzzling why was LSD used in this way? Not really understanding it very well. Feeling some very deep ambivalence has about the utilization of such a powerful substance. with anyone not to say to people who are dying of cancer. day after day, I would go to the research center and like the Good anthropologist sit on the periphery of enactment watch with Wonder and a great deal of humility. At the extraordinary and awesome events that would occur in the treatment sweet day after day. Sometimes I would sit in that videotape room and Shake. Unwilling really two-faced the reasons for my fear. Sometimes I felt a great deal of joy. on occasion I had the opportunity to Talk with the individuals with him stand with working. to hear about their lives to hear about their pain their sorrow. And then the context of these psychedelic sessions. to see their Spirit their psyche transformed the most extraordinary way In ways which were really quite puzzling to me. I'd had not very much experience with a mind-altering substances and about that time. I was beginning to do training sessions myself. And yesterday after yesterday morning session. I talked briefly about the topography the map that's emerged from the work with psychedelic substances. The this rather grand map emerging from Saint sitting in about 4,000 sessions. And talked about the kind of cormatrix in that map. That being that it appears as though many many individuals. When their psyches are opened the psychedelics. or by other means appear to engage death and some very profound way. and in the process of that engagement move into a deeper understanding As they experience and I say experience. Play very serious way. particularly icing for psychedelics because the confrontation with death when one has ingested psychedelic seems quite real. And quite overwhelming. An engagement with death and the surrendering to it. Inevitably gave rise to the experience of rebirth. experience of being reborn into a whole new way of being as I began to experience this myself in my own sessions. And with my anthropological knowledge and readings in history and and mystical literature. Became apparent to me. And of course it was immediately and has been for a long time a parent to stand. That the Paradigm that are the Matrix that seems to emerge. has confidence in mystical literature of all ages seems to be the key Nexus and Rites of Passage initiation rites Temple Mysteries. Is the idea that individuals live and die and are reborn periodically in a single life trajectory. This is happened and all ages in all cultures of the world in many forms. What was indeed exciting to me was that there seemed to be? a very profound relationship between the manifestation of these experiences when the psyche is open and the cultural manifestations. that is to say many anthropologists have done comparative work and mythologist done comparative work in the area of mystery religions and experiences of death and rebirth in initiation rites. If you have been so bold or so wise as to see the relationship between an individual's inner experience. And experience is it's manifested on the cultural level. The evidence from stands work seems to indicate then. that intrinsic an unconscious part of our big is this very extraordinary knowledge of death. not necessarily culture-bound but within us all and the subsequent knowing and I say knowing the capital K. the phenomenon of rebirth where else in our culture beside 1 treatments weed in Maryland. Do we have this opportunity? Not many places I imagine. Except in the Silence of our own lives. And what are the implications of the fact that we must self transform? without our culture reinforcing giving relevance to this process people in transformation very often enter into back not very often always inevitably enter into a state called liminality. the stage where you were between 6th and between a state characterized by chaos frequently by confusion Who are the liminal people in our culture? This conference has given us a good idea who the birthing mother. Did you besant child? the middle-aged individual the elderly individual the individual categorized is sick. an individual between health and health and the individual who is facing death. Indeed. We are all facing death. But those who stand on the threshold. now when we think about these various life stages and the points of transformation in the unfolding of our life trajectory. Each know that I've indicated and that has been a point of exploration in this exploration into the forces of life. Is characterized with a great deal of negativity? If You besant Youth is not yet an adult nor is he or she a child The pregnant woman's body is swelling. And in many cultures including our own air condition is deemed one of disease. The unconscious is a sacred territory. a precious domain 1 which should be explored with wisdom. And a great deal of caring. Using the substances indiscriminately to me is a wretched Affair and very dangerous. In traditional societies, the ululation of these substances is always occurs within the context of the sacred. Indeed. There are a few sacred context. Bible Dynamic enough In our own culture where the use or non-use but the experiences similar to psychedelic experiences can occur. Even the clinical use of these substances has problems I speak from experience. some of the clinical and some of it personal during the year where I worked at, Maryland. I allowed myself to explore my own unconscious with psychedelics. Simultaneously, I was deeply engaged in the work with people who are dying of cancer. After I had that inside that rainy day on that rainy day and Baltimore in the videotape room. I realize that I couldn't stand there as a an objective Observer any longer that I had to enter into the process become a facilitator. Any transformational process occurring with these individuals who are dying? So I asked Dan and the research center was possible for me to participate as a CO therapist. Permission was granted. As a result, I'm standing before you today to share with you a little of what I know, which is barely that. Where have the forms gone? What can we do to revitalize old forms reinvent new ones and why anyway? That in our lives periodically, sometimes frequently we encounter profound crisis. Ultimately, we will encounter our own deaths which will perhaps be the deepest crisis in our life. in order to cope effectively with these transformations we go through Rites of Passage. speaking from the point of view of a preliterate individual It's a rehearsal. These enactments for the penultimate transition when we encounter our own deaths. There are not many opportunities that our own culture to experience this rehearsal. If the energy is inherent in the transformative process emerge frequently they manifest is something we call psychosis. As a result of that people get institutionalized. Although there are there's a lot of energy in the state of California to buy certain individuals in California. To provide a very safe and supportive context where an individual's can experience the psychic and physical Odyssey. but very few persons are places allowed at or you can take these energies and Jen them into your organism. Perhaps we see on one level the basis for many psychosomatic illnesses. Are the energies can manifest in another way? In society in general leak insidiously into the fabric of our world not just of our own culture, but affect many other cultures. witness Vietnam the Middle East crimes in our cities and such these murderous impulses these aggressive malignant impulses, which indeed we all Harbor in some form or another for us some of us it's difficult to know that that is true. Others of us feel a great deal of shame or anxiety when such impulses manifest. Could we can consume them in front of our television sets? And I movie theaters in our newspapers or magazines. inadequately It's not an easy process going within the alternatives are a few for us, though. It is going over then. or not engage the process of life with full awareness before I went to Maryland to the Maryland psychiatric Research Center. I was working at the University of Miami School of Medicine doing number things including including consults all over the hospital. In the process of this work, I had the opportunity to share time with several individuals who are dying of cancer. other individuals who were severely burned people with multiple sclerosis any number quotes terminal ailments and as I was in the department of Psychiatry and trying to develop some quotes self-consciousness, I observed my reactions to these individuals rather closely. The fear the anxiety the desire to run away to not be with these people. I watched myself adroitly adapting the doctor stands. And I was teaching first and second-year medical students about doctor-patient relationships. trying to be radical and then seeing myself fall into the very trap switch Healthcare professionals fall into am I forced myself reflected reflectively to explore the questions. Why was I doing this? Why was I working with people who are dying severely diseased. Why was I so frightened uncomfortable? Why did I not want to do it? And why did I do it in the way? I was doing it. Many of those questions I could not answer when I was in, Maryland. Some of them I could I realized I was experiencing a lot of fear. I realized with every dying individual with whom I worked. I was confronting my own painful mortality. I realized I was feeling extraordinarily helpless. What could I offer these four souls? simple Comfort little solace It was an awesome experience for me those few years in Miami an experience of wanting to withdraw. And not allowing myself to do it. An experience of forcing myself to engage with those forces of existence. And not knowing exactly why. And Maryland, I began to understand the process more clearly. I saw the root of my fear. It was plunged into the Centre of ignorance about the whole area called death and dying. I knew nothing about death experientially. Except perhaps for a very severe car accident or two in my life and some illnesses, but I have not allowed myself to be aware and engage those processes. And out of that ignorance coming from lack of experience. And nothing in my culture I could use as a manual as a guide. I was developing belief systems about death and dying. Feature common to us all some of which I still Harbor reluctantly, but I have to admit to it. In the process of my own psychedelic Explorations, I encountered death repeatedly time and time again was really a dreadful and most painful sequence of experiences. I think perhaps too dramatic for many constitutions including mine to be quite Frank. Took me. used to integrate those experiences The death of Confrontation was rather complete as far as I was concerned. And I witness this also with the individuals who are dying. With whom we worked. that when the experience of death unfolded into the level of or the conscious awareness of an individual it was not something like a thought. Or a fantasy not at all. It was real as real as me standing up here looking at many of you. And it was frequently terrifying. And physically very painful. And it wasn't until we completed the work with my first patient that I saw the reasons clearly. It seems that many individuals when they're dying. When given the opportunity which is indeed rare. to express their feelings to explore this area arrived at some rather extraordinary conclusions conclusions, which those of us, who are pellet healthy or relatively healthy have not the opportunity to explore. Death is a crisis. And in crises the psychic organism opens blossoms efflorescence. unfolds the most ineluctable way And provides fabric of relevance. Which is not generally available to us and our normal ordinary waking lives. sometimes quite available in the dream states We work with these individuals intensely. I wanted to know what this was about this thing called Death an event a process. What were its Dynamics? What is the phenomenology would I have the opportunity to be with someone at the moment of death? Would there be an individual who would die and be resuscitated? Could I have the opportunity to query this individual about his or her experience? All these things presented themselves and do time to me. And ultimately transform my life very profoundly. And I realize that what I was doing was not necessarily doable by many others. except certain aspects of it were for to be with someone at the point of death to share that experience to allow yourself a total engagement in that process. Is a profound learning experience? One which my standing up here cannot convey except in the dimmest way. And one which I recommend to each of you. In fact, I would implore you to do this. Because it will have profound implications not only in terms of the individual with whom you are with. But also in terms of how you experience your own death. I'd like to share some of the experiences with you. What is it like to die Montan? Well one woman with whom we work said to her niece. You can never know death until it's happening to you. You really never know that. This is true. Montaigne wisely said however that we cannot know that but indeed we can reconnoiter it. This is a statement of wisdom indeed. We worked with a young black man, 29 years old to a cancer of the colon. He'd been diagnosed as terminal 6 years prior to our working with him. I would like to underline terminal. We are all terminal. It seems a great Injustice 2 demon individual terminal. Other than ourselves all of us. Indian was lying in the hospital bed six years prior to our contact with him. A hole in his belly. It's performed a colostomy. Feeling really confused in a lot of pain very depressed. Not knowing what the hell it happened to him. And he overheard the surgeon and an intern outside the door saying this guy is only got three weeks to live. Well, if you're black and I'm in Baltimore. You're treated fairly carelessly. 6 years later We're sitting with his and his wife him and his wife. His wife has asked us to not disclose his diagnosis to him. And subsequent interviews with Dean and Flora separate interviews. We learned that in fact Dean had known his diagnosis for 6 years, but didn't want to tell Flora because who's going to deliver the guy's got cancer. Flora I said I can't take it. You mustn't tell him you have to alleviate his depression. He won't eat you can't sleep. The situation is terrible, but don't tell him. And in a very dramatic conjoined interview, we facilitated the disclosures. And Dean said and rage God damn. It's my body. I have a right to know. my mind opened and I thought my god what have we done to each other here these people have lived together for 6 years. The healthcare professional say the Flora. He's an emotionally weak person Flora you can't take it and they've lived in this network of Lies. She becoming pregnant by another man him actually getting another woman pregnant. In his condition them having a third child during the 6-year time. rage justifiable existing between them and a fantastic loyalty one, which I I mean, I can't tell you how incredible human beings are, you know? And I felt really humble in that moment. awestruck Dean's first session I did not participate in was one where he regressed into childhood. He been a foster child terribly abused by a series of foster parents. beaten scorned passed from family to family between the moon transformed into the many houses in which he live in Stan in the nurse transformed into those abusive parents foster parents. The session was typified by a lot of paranoid ideation a lot of anxiety pain. The odd the nurse in the session happened to be pregnant. And Dean had tremendous had tremendous desire to attack her to hurt her physically and it was a very complicated session. I saw the video tapes afterwards and really felt really uncomfortable about it. When he was coming down from the session though. He said I don't know what all this means. Dr. Groff, but the It's not as bad as all that. I have enough being who has was by this time Hospital addict. Can you imagine being black? Having terminal cancer I say that in quote and being a hospital Attic in Baltimore, Maryland real. uncomfortable position Needed any case decided to withdraw from the UN parody in the Dilaudid to Morphine compounds that he was taking. And he got down to one Dilaudid a day, which was extraordinary within about three weeks after the treatment, which was in June. And he went to work at the mother and infant care project a mother and infant care project in downtown Baltimore as a research assistant. I was mad have been bedridden for year-and-a-half and suffering from excruciating pain really curious. I mean the session didn't seem to be that conducive to the alleviation of pain and psychological distress and yet this extraordinary thing happened and he was filled with zest. He hadn't really experienced the death process is we know when psychedelic sessions but something that happened that was very fundamental. And he stayed in extraordinary shape until about September condition began to worsen them by early November. He was again bedridden in pain and mid-november Flora called us up and said listen. He's in trouble again. There was no contact by the way during the interim. Which is something else. I'd like to tell you about the minute I can remember. In any case we asked her what was happening and she said this and so and it was in the second phase of our work with Dean that we went into the school the disclosure process about his disease. We also did something which I felt for my work in Miami was extremely important. We got out of the clinical setting. I really didn't like the idea of these people traveling into the research center and I sitting there like it at Mr. And Mrs. Co-therapist and doing our work very tidily not really knowing a damn thing about the family. What was the home like and what was it? What was the context of this individual's experience life experience? So we began to make visits in the home and sometimes daily visits and this is extraordinary because we had the opportunity to work for the children in a way that was again revelatory apropos that woman's question last night. Children are amazing. I would rather work with a family of with children in it than not. They perform so many extraordinary supported functions there a source of such wisdom. They don't have the kind of perception. We do have death that has been shaped by an experience in this culture. and so with these children and working in the home. We grew very very close to Dean and Flora. And I think that the trust between us. Provided an opportunity for the second LSD session which occurred in January to unfold in a most unusual way. The second session was we could call it a positive classic one, which as a sitter in the session I sat there and when you sit in these sessions or when you're with a person who is ill or when you're with a person who is mentally diseased. Or person who is dying. To allow yourself to tune into that person's space and a very complete way. Is something that is extremely powerful and can be very fulfilling for both you and that other individual. And in this particular session I had an incredible time. He was driving very interesting ontological Concepts from his unconscious the idea of the cycles of Life the cycles of death and rebirth, but they were experienced almost conceptually and not necessarily as something experiential per se. He saw all of the Universe from the total Universe to the galaxies to our own Earth. And the nature of our Earth to the individual and all the micro dimensions of the individual as well as the psyche constantly transforming constantly dying and being reborn the needs an electable and eternal Cycles. He saw his body's left off and he saw himself engaging a new body at a later time. He also had one point saw this great Panorama of glittering Jewels much like the the crystal I showed you yesterday. It felt that in that Divine Light the presence of God a Christian God a beneficent God was manifested and that the light was pouring down on him and he was reaching up toward the light and there was a point he felt that he almost touched that light as though it were a physical entity but not quite later. He said I will become that light when I die. He came he came down from that session in a state of very quiet Joy. Went home and we get visiting him and I remember one evening. We all sitting on the bed with Dean Florence tan and I and the kids Flora said just don't understand it. Dean was laying down. Looking really like that a black Christ. Just beautiful. Suppose, I just don't understand. He's the one who's dying and I'm the one who's suffering. And I realized at that point something else. The we had not spent enough time with Laura. with the spouse and the focusing our entire energy directing our entire energy at Dean but including the family was inadequate. Each individual that family was encountering death in some form. And this is not to be forgotten. Dean stayed in a very mellow space for quite a while one day. We got a call from the BBC a lot of networks because of The Sensational aspects of this work have called us up. And we had avoided all contact networks with the BBC said they were doing a medical program and wanted to interview us about our work and maybe film sequence with us working with someone and in this work all the people with whom we worked were in the final stages of life and all your all. None of our patients survive divorce. And so the person who would survive the longest in our project would work with us with Dean and I called up Dean and then got on the phone and he said I'd love to do it. And of course he would as he said this is my opportunity to tell people of my experience of dying and I only have one opportunity this life. And so the BBC came and I laid a whole trip on them. And I said and by this time Dean's condition was very severe the cancer metastasized into the nerve plexus and he was extremely debilitated though psychologically in a very good space and I said to the BBC, you know, this man is in an extremist and We must respect the situation in which he finds himself and I would be most grateful that if at any point, we ask you to leave either the house where you'll be filming him or the treatment sweet that you do so course, I'm being like that. So on a Tuesday Morning camera crew and I got in the car and drove to the Caldwell household and I knock on the door and I said well floor. Can we go and see did Jesus? Well, honey. He's out back what waxing the car? I really felt kind of foolish as usual. So we went around the house and their Dean was just dressed exquisitely with his Turtle Wax on the Buick and really going at it and then we went up and Ice into the house and we wanted to film sequences him having breakfast with the kids and you don't usually have breakfast up in his bed. He insisted that he didn't want to do that. He want to have it downstairs in the living room. And he said it's just like I get up in the bed in the morning and I'll walk downstairs and you just feel me doing the whole thing that this is a man by the way, he had multiple surgeries in the abdomen whose bones were the beginning to disintegrate Hood falling down those stairs once already and broken her leg that it barely mended who's very fearful of those stairs for takes the cameramen did at beans and sister cuz I didn't do that one quite right and I just I couldn't believe it. By the way by this time then headed had a cassette recorder prior to the BBC advance and used to sit at home during the days when floor and the kids were away talking into the recorder or when Santa I went there just telling about what was happening in his head and we typed these things up and give him lots of copies need hand them out to all the neighbours. Another thing that he would do would be we had videotaped all his his to LSD sessions and he used to invite his friends over to the videotape room to this via shows. He was really just too much. I'll tell you in any case the family went very well and the treatment day came up and then took his LSD and what happened was doing that day. He had a kind of mixture of the first and second sessions. He had some very deep manifestations of malignant anxiety coupled with some very ecstatic experiences during one part of the session. He became extremely stressful of all the women in his life would betrayed him which was all women as far as he was concerned that moment in time and got into a negative transference situation with me and started accusing me is all the women in the world of these terrible Injustice has This was very difficult for me to experience because I had been extremely close to him and sometimes in daily contact over periods of months and it was devastating. I love this man very much. And also there was this guy in the videotape. I'm very nice fellow but he was filming the whole thing. But that will maybe these manifestations of distressed can be alleviated by the absence of the cameramen. So I discreetly ask Vic the cameramen to please leave the treatment sweet. He did and have 15 minutes later Dean takes off the eye shades looks around. He says, where's Bick he's part of this whole thing. So we had to bring the camera and back and at this point something rather extraordinary happened because Dean had the insight. That there was something below this distrust. That was Trust. And he went and made the most extraordinary statement about truthfulness. The idea that there is a universal truthfulness and that distrust gets programmed into our organism at a very early age and he'd been in in the it was the Korean war or the Vietnam War for several years and I had been a real Rowdy kid is a teenager kind of a JD juvenile delinquent and had done a lot of bad kind of stuff and had created lots of situations of distress in addition to the normal situations arising out of his life and at that point he seemed to transcend the whole area of distressed in a rather beautiful way. When he came down from the session. And for the next few weeks he seemed to be and what we would call kind of Zen consciousness. At one point he said to me Joan. It's kind of like I'm beyond feeling and Isis. What do you mean he says but it's as though I have been through everything. And I'm just here now and you know, this wasn't a man who is reading wrong Dawson or our other sages of the Contemporary West. This is a man who is driving his own cosmology out of his psychic experiences. He felt as though he had to cut through all affect. All emotion and was experiencing life in a very clear way. And realized his organism was close to death. And in fact about 5 days after this that statement. The ureter which connects a kidney he only one kidney left with his bladder became infected clogged occluded and he subsequently became uremic and was hospitalized. At this time the surgeons said to Flora well Flora if we don't operate it'll be a matter of days before he dies. If we do operate his chances of survival are very few. And if you should survive the operation is chances of survival in terms of normal life expectancy of a person who has a tube sticking out of his side where the urine drains it's very very dim because of infection and other problems posing this dilemma the floor. 4 day or two floor couldn't decide what to do. And finally she made a poor decision to made up her mind to in fact, I'll give permission for the operation. The surgeons were to come at 3 on Thursday afternoon didn't show up. They didn't even send word there. We were sitting around waiting for the end to be taken into surgery. No one showed they gone home. Being by this time. This was nine days if uremia was quite Delirious frequently 8 days into uranium rather. We left the hospital about 9 or 10 at night went home in about 5 in the morning Florida called and said listen, you people come to the hospital. We just got a call from Dean. He sounded real strange, but he said he had a vision of stand. So we went over to the hospital there got got that. To the hospital about 6. And by this time Dean was comatosed his eyes glazed barely breathing. family members from Pittsburgh were there Cousins in the Baltimore neighborhood with their and friends I guess about a dozen or so people standing around the bed Flora visibly shaken. I move over mood over and Embrace Dean for no real reason that I knew of except that I'd somehow I felt that he needed that. Maybe I needed to do that. Also. I'm sure I did and he'll Flora in the other arm who's just clean to the bed fearfully and full of grace. You before that happened or actress that had been that earlier that spring we've been in Kansas and talked with a man named tarthang tulku rinpoche. So Tibetan Lama and I'd ask him. Should I have the opportunity to be with someone who is dying? What what do I do? I mean what what happens? Well, he said to me you don't read from the Tibetan Book of the Dead because that would be appropriate and I said, okay, he says what do you do when he says You find the thing within yourself, which would be correct to do. It also read a book called this time this Moment by Laura Huxley earlier that year and energy describes how Aldous when his first wife Maria was dying of cancer procedure to talk to her when she was just at the door of death in a way has almost like a hypnotic technique telling her that you would move out of Darkness into the light. Remembering his words. I began to say them repeatedly and very slowly a kind of Western Mantra form that spontaneously emerged for several hours ice just gently said and then others of asset around the bed. There's nothing to fear If you experience Darkness light will come allow yourself to move into the light. The light might appear overwhelming. And yet you understand this light and will experience no fear move into the light it brings great. Peace. Many forms of that emerged in the several hours we spent together. About 10 in the morning all of a sudden we heard this noise and the orderlies had arrived. With the card onto which they rolled in and took him off to surgery. Hi, I must tell you. This is typical by the way in in hospital settings and his hat had happened to us and not quite like this before but we've known a number of other instances is this and what would have been happening in terms of the family constellation of rounding was that we had allowed ourselves to grieve and relinquish him into death. And to be part of that process of dying in a very complete and ultimately fulfilling way. And it was as though he were being rested from this process. And we all sat there dumbfounded. and indeed helpless he had two Cardiac Arrest during surgery. We went into the Intensive Care Unit late in the afternoon and being intubated everywhere if you can imagine in the mouth and nose in the kidney everywhere. Coming out of anesthesia this little I kind of rolls up and looks at me and says very groggily and unclearly you changed your dress. But this is a man who's apparently comatose who was not able to respond to a the pressure of our hands gave no indication through the vocal channel that he in any way shape or form understood that we were there. In fact, I felt it too, you know his eyes were just staring glazed into nothingness and how could even focus on the fact that I have changed my clothes? Then he gave me another little shocked at one point during our mornings verbal meditation. So much grief had was welling up in me. I couldn't prevent the tears and wouldn't have anyway my face which is flooded with tears. And he gave me another little poke on that one. I saw you crying. Any proceeded to describe the people who were in the room as a way of verifying that indeed he was sufficiently in this world to know what was happening around him. I asked if you had any other experiences and indeed he had they were as follows. He described so-called objective reality accurately. He also described the fact that he was experiencing what we were saying as we were talking to him. Experienced himself in a great cloud of darkness in the cloud would open up and he would experience the slight Welling from above and within him. And he experienced a great sense of peace and Bliss. And he felt that he was in a situation of total love and Trust. He also experienced something else. He said was like a movie picture. on the hospital ball and he says in that movie picture. I saw the faces of all the people that I'd beaten up and wronged in my life. of all the Asians that I've killed of all of my wrongdoings He said it was the most painful experience of his life. rather like a Last Judgement scene And he said I don't think I have to go through that one again. He lived for two and a half more weeks. in a state of extreme mental clarity with three hospitalized because of course the kidney was not properly functioning. Call Flora up at the office and said Flora want to see you she came to the hospital. She said he said honey go home and get me a clean pair of pajamas. Flora walked out of the hospital room. Five minutes later a nurse walked in. Andy and he died his heart that simply stopped I was really grateful to this man for sharing so much of his experience with us. His experience prodded Stan and I to examining the literature of near-death experiences more literature is emerging at that point. There was several classic study, but perhaps the most important studies done by a man named. Dr. Russell neues where he described describes three phases in near death experience, which seemed to be rather typical and which includes some of the elements which The Experience. I'd like to share these with you. I feel it's important to communicate models and maps to people because if you find yourself on some unbidden territory, it's nice to have a map indicating that not only have others traversed that terrain before but that you can also find your way. North describes the first stage in a near-death experience particularly accidents where death comes suddenly It's one of resistance. The organism doesn't want to surrender to the process of death. And it was Justin's can often take the form of survival type activity. Incredible things very particular kinds of thoughts related to protecting the physical organism. Very precise calculations. Man named Albert. I'm in the late 1800s Swiss geologist who spent a lot of time climbing mountains describes a fall. He took from Mountainside and in the process of this all he was like, you know, the typical Swiss geologist with a little wire rim glasses and if he's falling down this cliff and it's just a matter of seconds among other things. Set flash into his mind something as follows. I'm falling down this cliff and if I should survive and should I hit my face or head and my glasses are on and the glass shatters? I might blind myself. We're probably took his glasses off and put him in his pocket. He had a similar experience when he was thrown from a wagon and was able to put his body in a position where he fell face down and to the left of a wheel. So the wagon went over him in such a way as not to crush a relaxing just to stay in the severe bruise and it recorded a number such instances of Survival Resistance in survival activity, which a rather extraordinary now as I'm talking as I'm falling down this Cliff this is real time. But if we can call it space time is very different. In an LSD session in the state of spontaneous mystical consciousness of 2nd and stretch out into eternity and the mind so complex Lee Hyun. I believe Consciousness as we experience it in these unusual states of being our right is rather holographic in nature. And so we can experience the laminates complexly fuse together simultaneously and indeed in the car accident. I had I had some experience and so can verify it from from my own life. the resistance quickly moved into the second stage which noise called Life review and this has been amply recorded in a number of places even Herman Melville and DeQuincy and other riders in the 18 in the 19th century. And in the early 20th century have many accounts at this when individuals life seems to pass like a Flash before them. The whole life can be like a movie unfurling before one's eyes what can be selective in terms of those experiences which were deeply positive or deeply negative as in the instance of Dean where he experienced all the bad things in his life and that it had a very purging effect on him number of other individuals experience only the most positive things. And the third phase noise is called Transcendence and this is when the individual. transcends the past for example We can look at this in terms of the aging process. We know from working with aging people that the age of very often spend a great deal of time exploring their past activities. And at a certain point in the Life death process that kind of experience is transcended completely and noise and a number of other individuals. I have described this set of transcendence. The one being an experience of cosmic Consciousness Peak experience and experience of deep Bliss. Peace serenity. I'm moving into the Beyond. In to Heavenly Realms. However, we want to describe these domains of experience. I want to conclude. All the talk with a few ideas for you. I would like to invite you to allow yourself to come in contact with a dying individual. And to be aware of your feelings and explore that space within yourself. By talking about Dean and giving you know, his ideas about death. I'm trying to convey the idea that infect death itself. Awesome. It's quite other than we imagined or most of us would imagine. And at the pain we as survivors experience as death is emerging to a loved one or occurring to a loved one comes from the deep attachment we feel for that individual the subsequent feelings of loss and emptiness. Which must be worked through? And from the fears that have been predicated by our society. And have emerged from our fantasies our imaginations in the programs of our culture. Allow yourself to be with and to observe yourself. And should you have that rare opportunity to go through a totally transformative experience be it Madness certain forms of illness. or in some kind of non spurious ritual context allow yourself the great privilege of surrender. learning surrender indeed is an important thing. Because it is that experience which will have to which we will each have to fully engage at the time of our own deaths. Or our deaths will be deeply painful. And should we as living creatures have this experience of death and rebirth? Then perhaps we will know more clearly. the opportunity we have and living deeply and totally each day of Our Lives. The totality of ourselves is attacking Affair Don Juan set. We need only a very small portion of it to fulfill the most complex tasks of life. Yet when we die, we die with the totality of ourselves. A sorcerer ask the question. If we are going to die with the totality of ourselves. Why not then live without totality? Thank you. You've been listening to dr. Joan Halifax grow a medical Anthropologist co-author of the human encounter with death. She is presently a scholar in Residence at esalen Dr. Halifax Groves talk on transformation and the experience of death was given at a conference titled an exploration into the forces of Life sponsored by the University of Nebraska extension division held recently in Lincoln.