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To heaven and back

People who have had a near-death experience say it changed their lives for the better. Can virtual reality allow us all to share that insight? Jini Reddy investigates

Some time back, I interviewed Anita Moorjani, the author of Dying To Be Me. A few years earlier, she’d had a profound near-death experience, or NDE. She was close to end-stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma, her organs shut down and she fell into a coma. Yet Moorjani says she felt light and free: ‘It’s the best I can ever recall feeling. I felt unconditionally loved. It was like I was pure consciousness and was everywhere at once.’ As she spoke, Moorjani exuded a glowing energy, which lifted me and stayed with me for weeks. When I asked her what she’d learned about this life, she said: ‘It is something we are supposed to treat as a gift; to enjoy and revel in. The difficulty is putting that into words.’

Although not all people who’ve had NDEs tell identical stories, there seems to be a common thread: ‘coming back’ with renewed purpose and a zest for life. In 2009, Maya Campbell had a NDE when her heart stopped. She was in a coma for two months and, post-recovery, Campbell radically changed her life.

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