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Unusual Experiences, Philosophy,Hinduism, Buddhism, Reincarnation
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Perhaps the first of his kind, preparing the way for the "Sun of God" (inducing NDE's) through "baptism by water" (controlled drowning). He was certainly widely known and respected for his work, so much so that Jesus came to him for his NDE. John's skill consisted of submerging the person in his care, sensing when they were OOB, and then when they have had their Vision of the Light, and then pulling them out of the water in time for their recovery.

Tough work, with a pretty unique skill set. But somebody had to do it.
Huh???
I wasn't aware of that face - very interesting. Are there any writings to go more in depth and detail?
DavidMcA wrote: I wasn't aware of that face - very interesting.


I think you meant "fact". And I think we should be completely honest - there is no such thing as "fact" when investigating such matters. We put the pieces together as best we can with the information we have, in a way that makes sense for the event and the times. What I am positing, of course, is that what we call an NDE has been around for a long time and has been used by various religious sects. They called it a "Rite of Initiation" or "Rite of Passage". To my knowledge, John is the most widely known for his work in using it. The ONLY recorded example I know of.

The baptism ceremonies of today are such empty rituals compared to what it was originally used for. The Church squeezed all the life and truth out of it, and other rituals, centuries ago. John wasn't putting a few drops of water on the head and reciting some incantations. That is meaningless compared to a submersion resulting in a direct experience of the Light.

Are there any writings to go more in depth and detail?


Not that I'm aware of - this is a conclusion based on my own work. But there is similar type of investigation in Rudolph Steiner's book "The Gospel of St. John" regarding the Raising of Lazurus - another NDE-related event, an induced-NDE-gone-wrong if you will that Jesus had to "fix". It's one of his best books IMO, and the chapter on the Raising of Lazarus goes into some detail of the initiation rite that he didn't come out of in the expected time.
Its an interesting theory. There are obviously symbolic links between baptism and NDEs. In fact NDEs from drowning are often very deep and positive...
Still, in those days Jewish people were very familiar with ritual baths. To this day Jewish habitation is often proven by archeologists because baths 'mikvehs' are foud at a site. Full immersion was certainly normal and quite regular (especially for women).
What was not at all normal was talk of the after life or contact with the deceased (which was punishable by death), and I am quite convinced that John would have been stoned to death almost immediately had he regularly gone as far as your theory suggests.
Interesting in this respect is that the apostle Paul's description of his own experience (STE or NDE) refers to experiencing 'things of which it is not permitted to speak' (referring to this law and its capital punishment).
Besides, without an AED device his survival rate would have been miserable making him a murderer. Not really the kind of man that draws such crowds as he obviously did.
Interesting points you make both pro and con my theory. I'll add a few in response.

By all accounts, John was not a "mainstream" character and was not a product of the religious or cultural mainstream. By modern standards, he was "fringe folk", a dropout, a religious fanatic. By the time historical accounts pick him up, he was an ascetic living a very unconventional life, albeit with a very clear sense of purpose, not the anarchist Jesus was but of very similar focus. Like Jesus, his purpose was at odds with the political/religious establishment of the day (Pharisees), they were suspicious of him, kept an eye on him and, unable to find fault, chose to let him be for many years. In MANY religions he is revered and considered to have been "without sin".

There is good reason to think that John spent time with and was trained by the Essenes, who were in that area and practiced various baptism rituals long before Jesus' arrival.

By positing that "John was an NDE practitioner" does NOT mean that EVERY baptism he performed was an induced NDE. Most likely, they were in the minority. In esoteric/occult organizations, every piece of knowledge and ritual is scaled/adapted according to the recipient's age, development, condition, etc. You would not be inducing NDE's in a child, or in someone not prepared to receive the vision. That too would have been part of his skill set / training.
Yes, quite possible that he had contact with the Essenes, as Jesus most likely did too.
The trouble is that we have so little in the way of hard evidence either way. For all we know Jesus and John were space aliens who teleported to earth to lend a hand. It may sound shocking to some (probably not to you though ;-) but that's really how little we actually know...
John was certainly a rebel, especially considering who his father was! In precisely that way he was very much a product of the establishment; a rebellious one! Perhaps his relation to the priesthood kept him alive as long as it did.

Personally I prefer to default to the mainstream view unless there is strong evidence to the contrary. Having said that it is only with the caveat that the mainstream protestant view is (almost) as unlikely to be as near or far from the truth as any other plausible explanation that takes into account the little we really know.
Baptism Originally Was A Near-Death Experience
==========================================================
Dr Melvin Morse would probably go along with it
http://news.discovery.com/human/psychology/near-death-experience-expert-arrested-in-daughters-torture-120809.htm
Interesting links, Rey. Not sure I'd go out of my way to solicit Mr Morse's endorsement, though! :)

DennisMe wrote: The trouble is that we have so little in the way of hard evidence either way. For all we know Jesus and John were space aliens who teleported to earth to lend a hand.


Well that's precisely why we're left to put disparate pieces together in order to try to make some sense of it. And, IMO, phrases like "hard evidence" lend a false sense that "scientific" confidence can be had in matters like this. Scientific "facts" come and go in time. The discovery and adoption phases get lots of press; not so much when one is supplanted by the new kid on the block, and quietly slips into obscurity...

It may sound shocking to some (probably not to you though ;-) but that's really how little we actually know...


I am no stranger to science and engineering, I've made my livelihood in it for many years.

John was certainly a rebel, especially considering who his father was! In precisely that way he was very much a product of the establishment; a rebellious one! Perhaps his relation to the priesthood kept him alive as long as it did.


Could very well be.

Personally I prefer to default to the mainstream view unless there is strong evidence to the contrary. Having said that it is only with the caveat that the mainstream protestant view is (almost) as unlikely to be as near or far from the truth as any other plausible explanation that takes into account the little we really know.


Probably a wise posture for the admin of an NDE website to take :)

Just to be clear, I am not arguing that an NDE is a "spiritual" experience. Personally, I have come to dislike that word. There's nothing "spiritual" about something that is right-here-right-now-every-day, even if we are not aware of it. We can not at present have our "normal" waking awareness and be in contact with the Light for long. We know it consumes our autonomy. But the existence of "whatever-that-Light-is" that we contact in an NDE (and other ways) is, to me, unquestionable, and as tangible and mundane as the green chili stew that simmers on the stovetop right now.

I doubt I am alone in that conviction.
I'm confused.
You don't view the nde as a spiritual experience?
Define "spiritual". Then we can talk about it.

I say this because I don't think we all have the same "working definition" of that word. I know mine has evolved over time. Things I once regarded as "spiritual" and given a special, aspirational feeling, are now just normal, the-way-it-is. I have become them. Or they have become me. Or both. :)

I see this as a positive development. Once you have attained what you were once aspiring to or covetous of, your understanding of it changes. It reminds me of a Zen saying, paraphrased as:

In the beginning, a tree is just a tree.
On the Path, it is much more, full of meaning.
In the end, a tree is just a tree.
Rey wrote: Baptism Originally Was A Near-Death Experience
==========================================================
Dr Melvin Morse would probably go along with it
http://news.discovery.com/human/psychology/near-death-experience-expert-arrested-in-daughters-torture-120809.htm


:D
Precaud wrote: Define "spiritual". Then we can talk about it.


In the context of discussing NDEs, I would define spiritual as that which is not physical.
ccndr wrote:
Precaud wrote: Define "spiritual". Then we can talk about it.


In the context of discussing NDEs, I would define spiritual as that which is not physical.


That is about as broad as it can be. I'm not sure what to do with that in the context of ano1's question.
Your quote:
I say this because I don't think we all have the same "working definition" of that word. I know mine has evolved over time. Things I once regarded as "spiritual" and given a special, aspirational feeling, are now just normal, the-way-it-is. I have become them. Or they have become me. Or both. :)


I have been though those phases too.
I generally think of things as being spiritual or earthly. Though I am a spiritual being and all things are ultimately spiritual.
Here on earth it is difficult to always see the spiritual, and so we feel separated and often times miss the spiritual happenings.
Earth is not blissful. To me there was blissful and very different from here. There, spiritualness absorbed me, and I it... but in a very different way than here on earth.
ano1 wrote: I have been though those phases too.

Yes, I think they're perhaps inevitable as one lives with this experience for some time.

ano1 wrote: I generally think of things as being spiritual or earthly. Though I am a spiritual being and all things are ultimately spiritual.
Here on earth it is difficult to always see the spiritual, and so we feel separated and often times miss the spiritual happenings.

I think we're on the "same page" with perhaps some small differences in emphasis. One of the great lessons of an NDE is, as you say, that we are in fact "spiritual" beings; not of this earth or of the body, but with an existence separate from it (with caveats - see below). And from that moment a great adjustment begins in our "I-ness", our ego, our identity. It gradually becomes less attached or enmeshed with the body/persona and increasingly aligned with the "spirit" or "light" which it recognizes as its source.

I avoid the word "spiritual" because everyone I have known who uses it (including myself in earlier days) gives it a decidedly emotional slant, something they "long for" or "aspire to", which gives it a "feeling-oriented" emphasis which I think is unbalanced. This imbalance is reflected in their personal lives, because emotions are very body-centered, and thereby at odds with a genuine "spiritual" experience. I see this as counterproductive. And so I prefer to just describe it as I saw it and sensed it; a radiant, magnetic Light, bliss and intelligence, both the source and the destination for smaller life forms such as ourselves.

ano1 wrote: Earth is not blissful. To me there was blissful and very different from here. There, spiritualness absorbed me, and I it... but in a very different way than here on earth.

Yes, completely. And here is where the "caveats" come in.
: We can not exist separate from our body for very long.
: And, we can not maintain a personal, separate awareness in the presence of the Light for very long.

And so, for as long as the body which we inhabit exists, our ego, our identity leads a "dual life"; one through our body and the personality built around it, the other though our growing awareness and attachment to the Light. And if we are a healthy, conscientious person, we will want to live both of these "lives" well.

Is it better than having just "one life", through the body/personality? Yes, I think so. But it brings with it a new realm of challenges. And that, as they say, is a whole 'nuther matter.

I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you about this. Daily life doesn't give us many chances to.

Peace,
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