Below is an excerpt from the book Nothing Better than Death, copyright Kevin Williams, 2007.
Kevin Williams is the owner and webmaster of near-death.com, which is a tremendous internet resource for information on the near death experience. In addition to many fascinating personal accounts of NDE’s, it offers numerous studies and articles that synthesize these accounts and weigh the evidence they present against various spiritual teachings and scientific theories.
What Happens to People Who Commit Suicide
by Kevin Williams
NDEs suggest the quality of our lives after death is not necessarily determined by how we died, but by how we lived. Unfortunately, life can be extremely difficult at times – so difficult that many people choose to end their own lives.
This raises some important questions that need to be answered. Is suicide justifiable if a person is terminally ill and suffering unnecessarily? Should we help those who are suffering from a terminal illness die with dignity if they choose to do so? Don’t physicians often extend a terminal patient’s suffering rather than extend their quality of life? Isn’t it a basic human right to be able to control one’s own death and destiny as one sees fit? Is falling on a grenade to save the lives of others an act of suicide? Is constantly feeding a junk food habit an act of suicide? Wasn’t Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem an act of suicide due to the fact he knew this action would result in his death? If it is our choice to be born, as many NDEs suggest, isn’t this choice an act of suicide considering the choice results in our deaths?
I personally believe the answer to all these questions is
yes. Although suicide may be justifiable in some cases, it does not give us the right to hurt other people by doing it. A suicide can leave a gigantic hole in a family – one that can never again be filled. The emotional damage inflicted on families by suicide is often the real tragedy. It has been said a suicide dies only once, but those left behind die a thousand deaths trying to understand why. NDEs reveal there are serious karmic penalties for hurting others. However, not all suicides result in hurting others, nor do all suicides have negative consequences.
While there are documented accounts of very beautiful NDEs resulting from suicide, there are also hellish accounts. This suggests the act of suicide itself is not a factor in determining whether a person has a beautiful NDE or a hellish NDE. However, it is possible for a hellish spiritual condition already existing within a person to be carried over and continue after death. Many suicides happen by people already experiencing a hell on earth for one reason or another. In this respect, death does not remove a pre-existing hellish spiritual condition unless the brain caused this condition. Many people who commit suicide are mentally ill. Because mental illness is a physical disorder of the brain, the mental illness ends with brain death and does not continue after death. This is true because people born blind have gained their sight during an NDE. Other handicaps have reportedly been removed from experiencers upon death.
Religious leaders sometimes warn people that suicide is an unforgivable sin leading to eternal damnation in hell. This is not what the NDE reveals. NDEs do describe life as being an inescapable learning experience. Suicide has the ability to postpone this learning experience from being completed. NDEs describe
hell as being a temporary spiritual condition rather than a permanent place of torture.
Dr. George Ritchie learned during his NDE what happens to some people who commit suicide. According to Ritchie, the quality of life a person initially finds after suicide is influenced by their motive for committing it. He classifies suicide in the following three ways.
(A) The first classification are those who kill themselves in order to hurt someone, get revenge, or to kill themselves out of hatred for someone else. According to Ritchie, these people
haunt the living by being aware of every horrible consequence their suicide had on others.
(B) The second classification are those who, because of mental illness, confusion, or a terminal illness, take their own life. Ritchie states these people are allowed many opportunities from God to grow in love just as any other person would who had not committed suicide. In other words, there are no negative consequences for them.
(C) The third classification are those who kill themselves from drug, alcohol, or any other addiction. According to Ritchie, these people can become
stuck in limbo, trying in vain to satisfy their addiction until eventually something frees them. This condition is often called an earthbound condition.
NDEs reveal there is no condemnation from God for our actions. The problem many suicides face after death is the difficulty of forgiving themselves for the horror they put people through by taking their own life. One remedy for helping a suicide cope with this predicament comes from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, an ancient Buddhist book of the afterlife. The Book of the Dead is one of the oldest books on earth documenting NDEs. In my view, this source should be given great respect.
The Book of the Dead mentions people who succeed in committing suicide and become imprisoned in the experience of their suicide. Accordingly, they can be freed from this condition through the prayers of the living and by them imagining streams of light pouring on them. Such actions free the person from the pain and confusion of their suicide. The Book of the Dead also mentions that people have no choice but to follow any negative karma resulting from their suicide.
NDEs report people choosing their own destiny in life before they are born. While this may be true, it may also be true that we change this destiny by committing suicide. This is assuming nobody is predestined to commit suicide. NDEs reveal a perfect universal plan being worked out by God. Perhaps this perfect plan is not thwarted by suicide. There is no reason to believe it is. But if a person cuts short their destined time for life because of problems coping, these problems may not necessarily go away. These problems may also be complicated by the added burden of knowing the full horrible consequences of their action on others.
People who are thinking of killing themselves can learn a great deal from NDEs. Some NDEs suggest there may be nothing worse than rejecting God’s gift of life, thereby destroying an opportunity for spiritual advancement. Not only that, some experiencers have observed suicides existing in an earthbound condition of temporarily being
slaves to every consequence of their act of suicide. Such souls have been observed hounding and hovering around living family members and friends, trying in vain to seek forgiveness. Some of them have been observed existing in a grayish fog and shuffling around slowly with their heads down. Perhaps these earthbound souls become freed from this condition when their natural destined time for death occurs. This condition is very likely only temporary. Some experiencers have even observed such souls being helped in the afterlife.
Sandra Rogers’ NDE is a good example of what can happen when a person unjustifiably cuts short their life. When she committed suicide, she was given only two choices by the being of light. One choice involved being revived and living out the rest of her days. (This was the choice she chose.) The other choice involved remaining in the light with the condition of having to reincarnate at a future time to re-experience everything that led her to commit suicide in the first place. Sandra’s NDE demonstrates how people must overcome their problems in this life or else face them again in a future life. In Sandra’s case, committing suicide did not solve anything.
If we delay dealing with these problems by committing suicide, we may only compound them. Perhaps the greatest enemy we face is ourselves. Our problems may never go away unless we conquer them. NDEs reveal people carrying their non-physical problems with them after death. Perhaps one of the reasons we are born into this world is to overcome such problems. If don’t overcome them, we may have to reincarnate until we do.
Another interesting NDE resulting from suicide is the NDE of Angie Fenimore. After committing suicide, Angie found herself in a hellish realm of psychic disconnection and torment. The anguish she experienced within herself in life had manifested itself in the spirit after death. A being of light, whom she identified as God, asked her, Is this what you really want? Angie realized none of the other suicides in this hellish condition were aware of God’s presence. God told her, Don’t you know that this is the worst thing you could have done? She realized then she had thrown in the towel and because of it, she had cut herself off from God and His guidance. She felt trapped. She told God, But my life is so hard. God’s reply was, You think that was hard? It is nothing compared to what awaits you if you take your life. Life’s supposed to be hard. You can’t skip over parts. We have all done it. You must earn what you receive.
Angie’s NDE gives us a unique insight into unjustifiable suicide. It suggests that one of life’s purposes is to grow through suffering. It validates the truthfulness of the phrase No pain. No gain. This principle is also found in the Bible where it describes how suffering creates character, wisdom, perseverance and stronger faith. NDEs reveal the fact that everyone has a destiny to fulfill and a mission to complete. Part of this destiny may include suffering for the purpose of learning and growing. It probably also includes learning from past-life mistakes, paying back karmic debts and receiving karmic rewards. The fact that near death experiencers are often told their time to die is not yet here suggests our time of death is predetermined. Suicide can possibly prevent a person’s mission from being fulfilled. Sandra Rogers’ NDE suggests the remedy for this is reincarnation.
Many people commit suicide due to mental illness. One of life’s lessons may be to learn how to cope with depression and overcome it. An overwhelming desire to commit suicide is one of the biggest indicators of clinical depression. There are many medications available that can help clinical depression. If a person is thinking of committing suicide because of depression, seeking medical help may be one of the smartest decisions of their life. Nevertheless, NDEs such as Dr. George Ritchie’s indicate that mentally ill people who commit suicide are given the same opportunities after death as those who die naturally.