by Miriam Knight May 16, 2015
This book is a worthy addition to the near-death experience literature. It begins with a tautly written account of an ice climbing adventure in Alberta, Canada. What started out as a day climb by two college friends turned into a nightmare that would test to the very limit their physical and emotional
strength, and ultimately their will to live. One of the pair – the author – was left hanging off a ledge when hypothermia had sapped all his strength and judgment. In this state he experienced a classic NDE, but his description of it adds a powerful new interpretation to the commonly agreed elements.
Despite the overwhelming love and beauty of being in the presence of God, he had a powerful sense of obligation to return to physical life, knowing that his death would destroy his parents who were just recovering from the loss of his sister. I think it's fair to say that the rest of his life was really an attempt to somehow recapture that ineffable connection with the divine. He became a minister, serving congregations in New England, but never shared his experience with anyone other than his wife and spiritual mentor. It was not until a Congregational crisis had gotten really ugly that he stood up in his pulpit, threw away his sermon, and declared that he was not a man of faith, but a man of total belief and knowing his connection to the creator.
One of the fascinating aspects of this book is that the author, while firmly rooted in the Christian faith, is also a long time meditator and yoga practitioner. This gives him the perspective to offer an interpretation of his experience of heaven and hell, sin and redemption that is both Christian and universal. A quick and rewarding read.