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Opening Heaven's Door: Investigating Stories of Life, Death, and What Comes After
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Opening Heaven's Door: Investigating Stories of Life, Death, and What Comes After [Format Kindle]

Patricia Pearson

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Revue de presse

“The word is out: you don’t die when you die. That’s the message from around 15 million Americans who have experienced a near-death experience, as Patricia Pearson, in sparkling prose, shows in this enormously engaging book. I know, I know: this premise causes serious intellectual indigestion in die-hard skeptics, but we should not be diverted by their leaky arguments. The fear of total annihilation with physical death has caused more suffering in human history than all the physical diseases combined. Pearson’s message is a Great Cure for this Great Fear. This book conveys deep meaning and hope. It takes the pressure off and makes life more fulfilling and joyous. There is only one reason why you should not read this magnificent book: if you have a secret way not to die. But since the statistics so far are against you, let Pearson be your guide.” (Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters)

“Pearson brings her blend of humor, sympathy, and keen critical intelligence to a topic that is all too often off limits to writers of her caliber. This is exactly the smart book on the possibility of an afterlife that readers curious about the topic but leery of mush have been looking for.” (Ptolemy Tompkins, author of The Modern Book of the Dead and collaborator with Dr. Eben Alexander on Proof of Heaven an)

“Pearson has brought us something rare: a unique blend of gifted storytelling combined with exhaustive scientific research about dying, grief, and spiritual connectivity. Opening Heaven’s Door leaves us enthralled that death’s mystery may be life’s solution.” (Allan J. Hamilton, MD, author of The Scalpel and the Soul)

“In this compelling and provoking read, Patricia Pearson examines death and dying with uncommon thoughtfulness, asking questions too rarely asked. Moving and insightful, Opening Heaven's Door is an important work for all of us struggling with the inevitably of death.” (Steven Galloway, author of The Confabulist and The Cellist of Sarajevo)

“Your life is over the moment you die. So I used to believe, with something like religious fervor. And then I read Opening Heaven’s Door, and such is the power and art, the passion and rigor of Patricia Pearson’s writing that I’m not nearly so sure of myself. This is a splendid book in all the ways a book can be splendid. It is a book to be read and re-read and urged upon friends.” (Barbara Gowdy, author of We So Seldom Loo)

“Patricia Pearson’s Opening Heaven’s Door is a fascinating examination of the conclusion of all our struggles and victories: the instant of death. This omnivorous journey through grief and neuroscience and spirituality carries the reader swiftly along and into places we can never truly know—but Pearson provides an unprecedented glimpse.” (Kevin Patterson, award-winning author of)

“‘On the night of my father’s death,’ said the author’s sister at their father’s memorial service, ‘I had an extraordinary spiritual experience.’ How can you put down a book that begins like that? Hardheaded and openhearted, Pearson has brought together riveting accounts of near-death experiences that will shake your assumptions about where life ends, and what death means. For seekers and skeptics alike, Opening Heaven’s Door is profoundly comforting, questing, and wise.” (Marni Jackson, author of Pain: The Fifth)

“This remarkable new book by Patricia Pearson is a rare thing: bringing journalistic rigor to an impossible question… The book succeeds so well because it favors questions over answers, humility over certainty, and (when called for) crunchy ice-breaking humor over earnestness. But mostly it succeeds because of its unabashed concern with love, as it’s experienced not just by those at heaven’s door, but by the human tribe that’s inevitably left behind when someone dies. Love, too, is a mystery that changes us.” (The Globe & Mail)

“A wide-ranging account of discoveries and evolving understanding about life, death, the afterlife, and the true dimensions of consciousness. Numerous firsthand accounts, observations and results of scientific research provide a readable primer on psi phenomena, significantly expanding our understanding of the realities of our existence.” (Light of Consciousness magazine)

“Readers will be humbled and filled with a sense of hope rather than fear as they realize that the deaths of loved ones, or even their own deaths, are not losses, but simply transitions. A fascinating and candid analysis of the process of dying.” (Kirkus Reviews)

"Quite a book. A lot of marvelous material. The quality of books on this theme varies enormously. This is certainly a substantive, eloquent, and worthwhile effort.” (Anne Rice, on her public Facebook page)

Pr??sentation de l'??diteur

People everywhere carry with them extraordinary, deeply comforting experiences that arrived at the moment when they most needed relief: when they lost a loved one. These experiences can include clear messages from beyond, profound and vividly beautiful visions, mysterious connections and spiritual awareness, foreknowledge of a loved one’s passing—all of which evade explanation by science and logic. Most people keep these transcendent experiences secret—deathbed experiences, Nearing Death Awareness, and shared death experiences. Individuals and families guard them for fear they will be discounted by hyperrational scrutiny. Yet these very common occurrences have the power to console, comfort, and even transform our understanding of life and death.

Prompted by her family’s surprising, profound experiences around the death of her father and her sister, reporter Patricia Pearson sets out on an open-minded inquiry, a rare journalistic investigation of Nearing Death Awareness. Pearson discovers that roughly half of bereaved people, as well as nurses, hospice workers, soldiers, and others who constantly observe the dying, have had intimations of enduring bonds that can radically help people to process their grief and their fear. Opening Heaven’s Door offers deeply affecting stories of messages from the dying and the dead in a fascinating work of investigative journalism, pointing to new scientific explanations that give these luminous moments the importance felt by those who experience them. Pearson also delves into out-of-body and near-death experiences, examining stories and research to make sense of these related but distinct categories that shed light on Nearing Death Awareness.

Countless people experience these coincidences when a loved one dies, while others experience such visions while they are dying themselves. These phenomena point toward a larger spiritual reality, and the reality of life (or something else) after death, yet are ignored in a cultural framework that dismisses anything that cannot be explained by the physical brain. But by dismissing or discounting these occurrences, we hamper our own healing. Challenging current assumptions about what we know and what we are still unable to explain, Opening Heaven’s Door is a groundbreaking, beautifully written exploration that will forever alter your perceptions of the nature of life and death.

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37 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Do You Believe Your Own Lyin' Eyes? What About Your Heart? 21 mai 2014
Par Henry Brand - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Opening Heaven's Door begins with a deeply personal spiritual experience shared by Patricia Pearson's sister and Father, with its subsequent affect on her family. Her sister Katherine, suffering from metastatic breast cancer, is embraced by the presence of her Father at the moment of his unexpected death.
This embrace leaves Katherine feeling elated for several hours before she gets the news that her Father has died. Katherine eventually succumbs to her cancer, but the spiritual elation she experiences in the process, and shares with the family leaves its imprint on those surrounding her.

Not given to superstition, but unable to deny the authenticity of what she witnessed, Patricia Pearson set out to discover more, and write a book about it. One critical turning point was an encounter at a Christmas party with a University friend, with whom she tries to share the story of her dying cancer-stricken sister experiencing the crisis apparition presence of their Father, and the subsequent numinous experiences leading up to her sister's passing. The friends response was coldly materialistic: "I don't mean to be unkind, but it is very likely your sister was imagining these things."
Pearson was starting to see what she was up against.

Researching historically documented events, as well as conducting her own interviews with friends, strangers and people referred to her while preparing to write the book, Pearson was struck by the fact that at least fifty percent of us (70 percent in Norway) have had encounters with the Divine, interpreted positively and negatively, yet we are almost universally afraid to publicly talk about them. I suspect the percentage is higher, but the social controls placed upon us by our Western intellectually "enlightened" culture forbid acknowledging them outside of, perhaps, family and close friends. Discussion is silenced by a mutually understood socially imposed shaming.
But Patricia Pearson is not ashamed. If anything, the quest for authentic understanding seems to drive her.

A (very) brief overview:
In Chapter one, An Unexpected Vision, Pearson describes her personal experiences with the numinous, and how it shook her hard-nosed approach to the world. Like most people, she hardly gave much thought about the depth of spiritual reality until she encountered the events surrounding her Father and sister's death. These events prompted her to open up and start asking people outside of her immediate family if they had encountered similar experiences. Of course they had, it happens every hour of every day, all around the world.

This leads to Chapter two, What the Dying See: The Phenomenon of Nearing Death Awareness. Interviewing hospice nurses, she feels welcomed and is relived to find that her experiences were not at all unusual. She is starting to find her 'tribe'. Encounters with previously deceased loved ones and acute awareness by the dying of their precise time of departure is accepted as normal by many folks working in the hospice field. Testimony after testimony by hospice nurses, patients and family confirm a common numinous thread among people in their last days of this life. From the perspective of the overall narrative, Pearson is in the midst of building a case for a purpose that will be clearer in the later stages of the book.

In Chapter three, Signals and Waves: Uncanny Experiences at the Moment of Death we encounter more investigation into crisis apparitions. This is where living people unexpectedly encounter the sense of, if not the actual physical appearance of a deceased person at the precise moment of death, even though they may be separated by many miles. We're given plenty of anecdotal descriptions, along with evidence backing up the credibility of those reporting their experiences. There's one story of an exhausted living person 'astrally' saving the life another, and discussions with researchers about their views of what is happening during these events.

Chapter four, Astral Father: The Phenomenon of a Sensed Presence deals with the under-reported phenomenon of a sensed Presence guiding people in life threatening situations to safety. This is an apparition often called "The Third Man". This chapter documents cases where aviators, arctic explorers, POW camp escapees and others are led to safety by either a Voice, or an outright physical Presence. People graced by these experiences are often the most reluctant to describe them for fear of ridicule. It's so obvious and easy for the most meaningful experience of their lives to be quickly dismissed as delirium. I believe Pearson spends a lot of time researching this event precisely because it is all too often reassuringly swept under the carpet, even by spiritually open people.

In Chapter five, Be Still: How the Dying Attain Peace is where Opening Heavens Door starts to take on a different tone. Starting out with more Third Man stories, Patricia Pearson gets increasingly confident. Having already built an overwhelming case of anecdotes, testimonies and documented events, she starts to dig into why Western culture tends to be dismissive of such phenomena. Why do we want to avert our gaze? Let's face it, individually and as a society we aren't comfortable with taking numinous experiences at face value. After all, there are enough frauds, materialist philosophers and genuinely mentally unstable people in this world to reinforce our dis-belief systems. But that's the point, it isn't out doubts, it's our beliefs that send us spinning and therein lies the problem. Without condescension, Pearson deftly dissects these beliefs better than I can do justice to in a book review, so better yet, read the book.

Chapter six, Deeper: What NDE's Tell Us About Where the Dying Go deals with near-death experiences, a spiritually transformative event that I consider to be the purest numinous experience of all. Here we delve into the spiritually rich world of people who KNOW where they've been, and don't give a rats about any stinkin' materialist 'explanations'. Pearson addresses the major skeptical objections, but more importantly, she lets the experiencers make their own case. Respect for the experience itself is a baseline for this book.
Acknowledgement is given to the fact that different cultures may interpret their experience quite differently, because when we try to explain something that words cannot describe to ourselves and others, we reflexively fall back on our shared familiar world for reference and stability.

Chapter seven, The Enchanted Boundary: Living in the Aftermath is where Patricia Pearson deals with her own doubts. Not to be confused as Raymond Moody-like waffling, this is a heartfelt, intellectually honest book, and this chapter is devoted to the poetic tension of living in a perfectly valid physical world while trying to understand its spiritual aspect at the same time. At some point, something has to give. But give into what?
Without spoiling the end, suffice it to say that Pearson caps off her case by describing four final personal experiences concerning her deceased sister; events that an outside observer would find compellingly convincing. Her internal struggle over these events is beautifully described in these last pages and I have to say, Patricia, I completely understand.
Thank you for a wonderfully informative and inspiring work!
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A beautiful bridge across the divide between the rational and the sublime 27 mai 2014
Par Richard Redmond - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
The power of this book comes from Patricia Pearson having one foot in her heart and one firmly in her mind. She expertly weaves the stories of those who have had extraordinary near-death experiences and those whose loved ones, including her own, have passed, with the illuminating insights of hospice workers and other palliative care givers. Then she provides a steady and dispassionate look at the copious scientific literature on death and dying to encourage a more open, understanding, and supportive holding of the widespread experience of many people that death is perhaps neither final nor terrifying.

The most powerful parts of the book for me were the observations on how so much of the scientific literature cannot explain much of the mystery surrounding death and/or near death experience in terms of brain function. There is less woo-woo here and more of just a clear and fascinating walk through the extensive literature of the last 100 years that simply cannot be consigned to a rigid rationalist box. This is thanks to the work of numerous psychologists, physicians, and neuroscientists who have been willing to allow evidence to speak for itself, and then to ask very difficult and important questions about the nature of consciousness and who we are.

There is a wonderful detailed, and extensive, notes section that will guide the interested reader to a vast array of primary sources on this topic. The weight of clinical observation and scientific evidence that this book provides or refers to will give even the most skeptical reader an opportunity to reflect on how important it is to examine even extraordinary phenomena with an open mind when there is such a compelling literature documenting it. A constantly evolving scientific world view that must now encompass quantum entanglement and 'spooky action at a distance' should benefit from a new consideration of this material.

Finally, the book is beautifully written. Ms. Pearson brings her journalist A game - and she writes from her heart. That is a powerful combination that makes for a great read that challenges the mind and feeds the soul.
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Informative, entertaining, and persuasive 16 juin 2014
Par Leon J. Page - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This is a remarkable, indeed brilliant, life-changing book. The author surveys the considerable scientific literature relating to, among other topics, near death experiences, terminal lucidity, a sensed presence upon the passing of a loved one, and reports of a "third man" experienced in harrowing ordeals. The author deals fairly with the evidence, theories, and counter-theories, but leads the reader, nevertheless, to conclude that there's an awful lot about life, consciousness, and the universe that our science, even our senses, can't even begin to adequately describe.

The book persuasively argues that modern rationalist, post-Enlightenment culture has lost the ability to recognize and accept such phenomenon. (Rather than seeking attention, many who experience, say, an NDE are reluctant to talk for fear of being branded mentally ill.)

In reading the book over a single weekend, I found myself repeatedly reminded of that line in Shakespeare's Hamlet: "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Buy this book. Thoroughly engaging, you'll have a difficult time putting it down. The book transforms one's perspective, and provides great comfort to the soul concerning the things in life that matter most.
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A quest 29 juin 2014
Par Michael P. Maslanka - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
I generally do not buy books like these. Either too much religion or too little science. But since the author is a legit journalist, I did. Her father dies. And her terminally ill sister says that at the moment of their dad's death, he visited her. So the author decides to put her skills to use and write about NDE's and how the dying die. Hospice workers say that they know death is near ---even when there is no imminent threat of it---when the dying speak in travel metaphors:do we have the passports? Or why are those flight attendants just standing around? Or, in he case of my grandmother, Is your father getting the car? The NDE stuff is very interesting with reports that there is no life review---rather, the person feels the good he did to others(ie how they felt when he was kind) as well as feeling) as well as the evil and the cruel. One NDE experiment took two groups who experienced cardic arrest, with one reporting an NDE and the other not. Each group was asked to describe the life saving measures taken. The NDE group aced it;the non-NDE group did not. The ending resorts back to the personal with her sister "visiting" her. Her quest to understand is over. Putting the book down after fininshing it you will believe there is something more--a lot more---than the lights simply going out. Take a read.
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A great read! 31 mai 2014
Par Alexia Brake - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Answered many questions I had with experiences that I had with dealing the loss of loved ones. There is no doubt in my mind there is a heaven and that there is indeed life after death.
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