There’s an interesting article making the rounds about the recent services for Steve Jobs. His sister, Mona Simpson, shared in the eulogy she delivered at the late Apple CEO’s memorial service that his surprising final words from his deathbed were, “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.”
That sure makes a person think and wonder what he was experiencing at that moment. Did he see “the light” that is described by those who have had near death experiences? Did he get the grand question of life answered? Did he finally discover for himself the meaning of life? What experience was he describing? Guess as we may, we can’t know for certain until our time comes as well.
From the website howstuffworks.com comes a description of “Near Death Experiences” that is the closet thing to the death experience we’ll ever know on this side of life. Maybe it is some of what Steve Jobs was experiencing during the last moments of living on Earth.
- Intense, pure bright light – Sometimes this intense (but not painful) light fills the room. In other cases, the subject sees a light that they feel represents either Heaven or God.
Out-of-body experiences (OBE) – The subject feels that he has left his body. He can look down and see it, often describing the sight of doctors working on him. In some cases, the subject’s “spirit” then flies out of the room, into the sky and sometimes into space.
- Entering into another realm or dimension – Depending on the subject’s religious beliefs and the nature of the experience, he may perceive this realm as Heaven or, in rare cases, as Hell.
- Spirit beings – During the OBE, the subject encounters “beings of light,” or other representations of spiritual entities. He may perceive these as deceased loved ones, angels, saints or God.
- The tunnel – Many Near Death Experience subjects find themselves in a tunnel with a light at its end. They may encounter spirit beings as they pass through the tunnel.
- Communication with spirits – Before the NDE ends, many subjects report some form of communication with a spirit being. This is often expressed a “strong male voice” telling them that it is not their time and to go back to their body. Some subjects report being told to choose between going into the light or returning to their earthly body. Others feel they have been compelled to return to their body by a voiceless command, possibly coming from God.
- Life review – This trait is also called “the panoramic life review.” The subject sees his entire life in a flashback. These can be very detailed or very brief. The subject may also perceive some form of judgment by nearby spirit entities.
Once upon a time I thought I was going to be a scientist and in those days I saw things more in black and white complete with a fair certainty there was nothing after death. That was a perspective of youth, peppered by religious abuse by a mean stepfather. Years of living and experience since have taught me much and opened my mind to a much broader perspective. As I get older seemingly inching slowly but surely toward my last breath, it has become much easier to envision a life after death.
I once told my son something like this: “If my beliefs about spirituality and there being an existence of some sort after death is not true, my life will still have been better for my beliefs”. I stand firmly behind that thought today stronger than ever.
Mellen-Thomas Bendict is a man who went through a profound near death experience. Part of that experienced he described this way: The light explained to me that there is no death; we are immortal beings. We have already been alive forever! I realized that we are part of a natural living system that recycles itself endlessly.
Steve Job’s sister who is professor of English at the University of California also said in the eulogy “Steve was like a girl in the amount of time he spent talking about love. Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods.” There is one thing I have learned for certain that causes me to agree strongly with what she said. Love is the solution to everything and I do mean EVERYTHING. Peel the layers of anything far enough and love is always the answer.
This morning I am grateful for my life and thankful for my beliefs that the experience of living has given me. My gratefulness extends to Steve Jobs who I always had respect for. With his last act of life he gave us a morsel to encourage thought and discussion of what lies on the other side. Today because of those simple words he said I am a little less afraid of what lies in the great beyond. Thanks Steve!
I respect more the person who struggles with his faith than the person who is confident in his skepticism. Robert Brault