Grief Counseling, Happiness and Nonfinite Grief

Human happiness is very subjective and objective.  It is objective in that ultimately, human happiness exists in a state of complete love that can never be taken away.  In this ideal state of happiness, love is ever present and all desires and gains can never be stolen or taken.  Of course, this type of happiness is in impossible in a fallen world.  It is impossible to find love without the haunting thought of loss.  Everything gained, can be taken back.

With this type of fear, objective true happiness can never exist in this fallen world but only parts of it here and there in the present.   Yet, in this search, others turn to even less tenable forms of happiness that pend upon materialism,  fame and success.  These aspects are even more fragile than the objective search of love.   Love, at least true love, exceeds human limits, albeit it can be taken in the temporal world, but material and social sources of happiness are even on more insecure ground.   In themselves, they are not worthy of an end but only means to an end.

Hence, human beings look for happiness in many wrong places and find usually only fleeting moments in happiness, especially if “means” are designed as “ends”.  Human beings will always face tragedy and loss but it is important to understand happiness cannot be found in this world in its complete sense.  So it is extra crucial to place our values and love in only the most important people and ideals. Loss of anything, even the most valued, produces grief, but when value is over placed in only objects, then one opens oneself to greater grief over small things.  This is why it is crucial to understand the importance of attachment to only the most valued ideals or people.  Some would contend this is placing ultimate happiness in God or a form of life philosophy.

Due to human beings seeking happiness in every venue, people experience loss and grief in immaterial and material things.  When these attachment, whether worthy of love or not, are taken from the individual, a sense of dread and grief is experienced.  This type of dread and loss in the search of happiness can also manifest in things that are not tangible or connected to person, but can be losses associated with something that is not even in one’s possession.   Ideas that surround the ideal of happiness in life can also haunt and cause discord and grief in a person.  Unfulfilled dreams,  lack of opportunities, poor life choices, and non touchable ideals that would grant happiness are not found.

Sometimes grief is not tangible but is nonfinite. It lurks in thoughts of a different or better life.

 

The person hence possesses an nonfinite grief.  A gnawing grief that chews upon the person’s existential quest of perfection and happiness.

The article, “Grieving the Life You Expected: Nonfinite Grief and Loss” by Litsa from “What’s Your Grief” explores the many facets of nonfinite grief.  The article explores various schemas of how one wishes a particular life may have turned out and how this can cause discord and sadness in life.  The article continues to look at how one can face infinite grief in life and attempt to find happiness in the life that exists.  The article states, ”

“Nonfinite grief is the grief we feel when we lose these non-tangible things, watching our imagined future dissolve. In Nonfinite Loss and Grief, Bruce and Shultz define the grief that exists when life falls short of our expectations. They say that nonfinite losses are losses “contingent development; the passage of time; and on a lack of synchrony with hopes, wishes, ideals, and expectations”.

“Grieving the Life You Expected: Nonfinite Grief and Loss”. Litsa. October 16th, 2022. What’s Your Grief

To read the entire article, please click here

Commentary

From what we understand then about nonfinite grief, it is not tangible in itself, but is something that exists within the deepest parts of our souls.  It is a discontentment with how life or our trajectory of life has unfolded.  Some may be unware of it, but it is an overall unhappiness sometimes with existence itself.  Wishes, dreams, or what should have been start to play a central role in the life of the person.  This can be a life of the road not taken but also of the road that one wishes would have been available.  Individuals who have heavy crosses to bear, or wish to live a regular life due to an illness or a loved one with a disease. In some ways for those, this becomes similar to secondary losses of opportunity.

Learning to handle this general displeasure with life can be more for others.   Some individuals may carry a different life view.  It is not necessarily based upon how much money someone has or how many cars one owns.  While for some, these material gains may be a measuring stick, for many, we see unhappy wealthy people and very happy poorer people.   Hence it is based upon one’s own convictions and beliefs in what life means and should be.  It is about the ability to cope and adjust.  It is about possessing a world view philosophy or spirituality that guides one through the turbulent waters of life.  Many individuals do not possess an anchor that holds them still in the sea of life and they fall victim to many false faces of happiness.  They find regret and sadness in things and unfulfilled expectations.

Does this mean we should dismiss such general sadness?  While it is important to find a life view that guides a person, it is equally important to help those who do not possess an anchor in life.  Those with anchors can suffer enough, but those without, can find themselves in far more restless situations of unhappiness.

First, it is important never to dismiss any type of negative emotion.  Why someone is unhappy needs to be addressed and validated.  “Whats Your Grief” discusses that many schemas in life do not turn out how one wanted one’s life to turn out.  For example, someone who always envisioned a family and children, who never married or had children can live an empty life.  Others who envision a successful career but are struggling due to the market may also find displeasure with life.  So, the life or road not travelled can become a painful reminder about the current life itself.

It is OK to mourn the life you do not have.  It is OK to look and see what is currently wrong in the existing life.  This is important for a variety of reasons.  First, it is critical to acknowledge feelings so they do not gnaw at oneself from the inside.  Second, reflection leads to real change and adaptation.  While not everything can be changed in life, there are many things that can be improved or altered in a life style to maybe align oneself more closer to the desired end.

However, in acknowledging these feelings and looking for change, one must also realistically separate fact from fiction.  Certain things may not be able to be changed, or improved.  To be at peace with reality and adjust to the reality is key in finding happiness.  Somethings were not meant to be and when acceptance of that finally occurs, there can a be a peace.  This peace can also lead to alternate opportunities.   Furthermore, one does not need to completely despise the existence one possesses in contrast to one’s desired path.  There are good and bad in both viewed existences.

Again, a strong life view, spirituality or philosophy can help anchor an individual with these nonfinite losses and ghosts, but one needs first to understand what matters most in this fallen world.  If one chases objects and worldly things, then grief and loss and discontentment will be a constant in life.   We grieve too much over what matters and what life has given to worry over alternate losses.   This again does not mean to denounce or not try to find change if possible.  It does not mean that these feelings do not need validated either, but it does mean, we can reshape our ideas of hope and our own personal identity to fit the existence we have.  We can change what we can but we can also shape the existence we have into something better.

Conclusion

Nonfinite grief is real.  It is the road not traveled.  It is the life not fulfilled.  It is the career never started or the child never had.  It is a life long sadness.  Sometimes it is placed in more valuable pursuits, while other times it is placed upon trivial worldly things.  Regardless, it needs to be validated, understood and utilized to either help with current contentment or adjustment to something better.

Grief Counselors can help the sad of heart validate their feelings regarding “what if” or “how it should have been”, but grief counselors also need to help individuals reshape their identity and hope to the existing situation.  These acknowledgements can help a person fix certain things or at least adjust to the existence that is given and find the good in it.  Again, grief counselors can also help guide individuals to things more worthy of attention and within one’s own control.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.

Additional Sources

“What Is Happiness?”. Psychology Today Staff. Psychology Today.  Access here

“Intangible grief”. Heather McEwen.  August 25th, 2014. By Heart and Hand.  Access here

“What’s Intangible Loss? Definition + How to Cope”. Dr. Alejandra Vasquez, JD, CT.  May 2nd, 2022. Cake. Access here

“What Is Happiness and Why Is It Important? (+ Definition)”. Courtney Akerman. February 16th, 2019. Positive Psychology.  Access here

 

The Stations as a Source of Counseling for the Bereaved

Stations, Grief and Counseling

Many individuals suffer in life unfairly.  None more than Jesus Christ.  His passion and death serve as an example to Christians how to properly offer suffering to God and carry one’s own cross.  The Way of the Cross is not an easy choice in life.  It involves accepting the will of God and having utter faith in His ultimate plan.  As in the life of His own Son, the journey of the cross may not be a pleasant on earth.  Christians can meditate on the Stations of the Cross to better learn about suffering and the value of it.  It can be a tool to help others appreciate Christ’s suffering and sacrifice and also allow one to see Christ as a model of suffering to follow.   Christ tells all, to pick up one’s cross and to follow Him.  This may not be the news we wanted but it the is the news we need.

Christian Counselors, pastors, ministers, and priests all face suffering everyday when they speak to many who experience the worst in life, but by pointing to the cross, one can find an example of how to properly carry one’s cross in obedience even to death.  Christ as our suffering servant serves as an ultimate example but also shows us the love of God Himself to die on a cross for our sins.  This is why it is important to learn the Way of the Cross and to implement it into our spiritual life especially during Lent.

Many who walk the way of the cross, recount many parts of the four Gospels, while other parts stem from tradition or mere common sense.  From tradition, meditation and other accounts, many incidents that occurred during Christ’s trek to Calvary can be meditated and prayed upon.  It is essential in meditation to think back and suffer with Christ in thanksgiving and sorrow for His infinite gift of life.  One can learn so much by this meditation on the stations and become so much closer to Christ in the process.

History of the Stations

So what are the Stations of the Cross?  The Stations as a custom fall back to the 4th Century, when Christians could again in public walk the path of Christ in Jerusalem.  Upon the meditations, 14 points of emphasis emerged that highlighted Christ’s passion.  Again, some of these points of emphasis stemmed from Scripture, while others tradition.   Examples include the Christ’s multiple fallings and the pain of the women and Veronica.   These would be obvious occurrences and were related through other sources or as understood.  For instance, through the many meditations, devotion to the wounds of Christ on His Shoulder from the weight of the cross, or the bleeding of His knees from His many falls grew within the faithful.

The Stations hence were an early Christian devotion that emerged from the East and still to this day for pilgrims is a spiritual exercise.  It became a more consistent tradition in the West, when St Francis of Assisi brought the tradition back to his monastery from his trip to the Holy Land.  Through St Francis, the journey of Christ’s crucifixion became a more consistent tradition in the West communally and also individually.   To this day, the tradition is practiced in Western Churches during Lent with personal devotion any time of the year.

The Stations themselves consist of 14 stations.  Through the years different prayers have been compiled to accompany the faithful through the meditation of Christ’s sorrow or as it is also called the Way of Sorrow or Via Dolorosa.  The priest, deacon or chosen prayer leader walks to each station usually accompanied by a cross bearer.  Usually each station is accompanied with an opening repetitive prayer such as ” We adore you Christ and we bless you-because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world”  Within each station is a meditation and then a series of prayers with the congregation kneeling at certain points facing the particular station within the Church.   There have emerged different traditions with different focal points.  Some are the more traditional prayers while other ones focus on the thoughts of Mary during her Son’s horrible torture.

The stations teach Christians how to face suffering through imitation of Christ through His suffering and death on the cross

 

The Stations

We will now list the 14 Stations.

The First station is Christ before Pilot.

The Second station portrays Christ accepting His cross

The Third station recounts Christ’s first fall

The Fourth station accounts for Christ’s meeting with His Mother during His long trek to Calvary

The Fifth station refers to Simon helping Christ carry His cross

The Sixth station mentions the wiping of Christ’s face by Veronica

The Seventh station recounts Christ’s Second Fall

The Eighth station remembers the grief of the holy women

The Ninth station recounts Christ’s third fall

The Tenth station is the stripping of Christ garments

The Eleventh station reminds us of Christ’s horrible torment of being nailed to the cross

The Twelfth station is Christ’s crucifixion on the cross

The Thirteenth station is the removal of Christ from the cross

The Fourteenth station is the sealing of the tomb

Commentary

As one can see, the stations carry deep and meditative thoughts regarding Christ’s death.  Much of it stems from Scripture.  In this way, both Catholics and Protestants can find common ground in their Christian faith in celebrating and meditating upon these divine mysteries.  They feed the soul through scripture itself and also remind the soul of the great price Christ paid on the cross.  This is also why the stations are so beautiful as an aide to the suffering.

The stations show Christ as the ultimate example of accepting difficulty and hardship and showing obedience to God’s will.  They show the love of many towards Christ during His death and also show the pain of Mary, a mother, over the cruel death of her Son.  The lessons from the Stations and application to them to difficulty in life are without equal.

The stations bring us to the Holy Land, they take us to the heart of Mary, and help us appreciate the beauty and love of God through His death on the cross.  The stations allow us the honor to walk with Christ and to accompany Him and offer Him worship.  It teaches us the humility of Christ, the obedience of Christ, and the love of Christ.  It shows us the power of suffering in a fallen world and how Christ could turn death into life.

From a practical stand point, it helps us face our own crosses and Calvary and shows us to turn to Christ for help in offering our own cross in this life.

How many can learn from Christ through the Stations?

Wrongly accused?

Carrying unfair burden

Losing a son

Accepting one’s cross

Forgiving one’s enemies

Dying for a friend

Displaying humility and dignity in evil situations

In counseling, the bereaved and persecuted can find solace in the Stations while they mediate upon the sorrows of Christ.  Christ as the ultimate example, not only died for our sins, but also taught us through His behavior during His passion how to face evil in this world.

We learn through the Stations, the obedience, humility and love Christ possessed in His heart.

 

Conclusion

It is very recommended that all Christians participate in the celebration of the stations both communally and individually.  It is an act of adoration and thanksgiving to Christ but also a beautiful way to learn and understand the true meaning of Christian suffering.

Whether Catholic, Protestant or non -denominational, the worship of Christ through the meditation upon the Stations is a universal Christian tradition for all to share as Christians in one Baptism.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Grief Counseling Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.  Those who have already earned the basic Grief Counseling Certification and work in ministry are excellent candidates to earn this secondary certification in Grief Counseling.  The certification captures the unique perspective Christianity has on grief and how Christian Counselors, spiritual advisors, pastors, ministers and priests can better help Christians spiritually grieve in this fallen world.

Additional Resources

“History of the Stations of the Cross”. The Passionists. 2020. Access here

“Stations of the Cross”. Francis of Assisi. My Catholic Life! A journey of personal conversion!. Access here

“Praying Stations of the Cross, a Primer for Protestants”. Selah Center.  April 9th, 2022. Access here

“Four Reasons to Pray the Stations of the Cross Daily”. Philip Kosloski. Access here

 

Christian Grief Counseling Video on the Story of Job and Loss

Suffering in Christianity is transformative.  Through Christ, the Redeemer and Suffering Servant, suffering and death was forever altered.  Through death is resurrection and life over sin.  The story of Job is a prefigurement of Christ, or one who suffers without cause.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Grief Counseling Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Grief Counselor

 

Please also review the video below

Grief Christian Counseling Article on Good Friday’s Suffering of Jesus and Mary

The suffering and loss experienced by the Blessed Virgin on Good Friday is beyond the grief any mother should ever endure.   She suffered a spiritual martyrdom as her Son was crucified for the sins of the world.

The combined sorrows of Mary and Jesus, offered to the Father through Christ. Please also review our Grief Christian Counseling Training
The combined sorrows of Mary and Jesus, offered to the Father through Christ.
Please also review our Grief Christian Counseling Training

The grief of Mary and Jesus and Christ’s death are remembered during Good Friday and remind us the power of sacrifice.  Jesus was able to turn death into life and grief into joy.  This teaches the Christian to endure hardships and trials and offer them to the Father through our high priest, Jesus Christ.

Mary’s grief and loss also have immense value.  She offered her pain to Jesus and through her intimate suffering with him played a key role in our salvation.  Mary was not the source of our salvation, but her suffering and offering of her Son was pivotal in our redemption.

Eve played a critical role in our fall but was not the reason, like so, Mary, the New Eve, plays a critical role in our salvation.  She reflects and plays the role of Eve, as Christ is our new Adam.

In this, as Christians, while we reflect on the sorrows of Christ, we can also in good faith, reflect on the sorrows of His mother.  By doing so, all is reflected to Christ, as we meditate on the sufferings of mother and Son, New Eve and New Adam, immaculate and sacred hearts of both Jesus and Mary

Please also review our Grief Christian Counseling Program and see if it matches the needs of your ministry in Christian Counseling those in grief.

 

Christian Grief Counseling Article on Mourning a Loss Through Christ

Short article on how Christians should face the death of a loved one.  Christians are not immune to grief and loss but share a special bond with Christ in suffering.  Christ alleviates our crosses by helping us carry them because he experienced suffering himself.  Through this unique bond, the Christian can offer all loss and pain to Christ who in turn can offer it to the Father.  Grief has the potential to be a transforming event in a Christian’s life like all suffering.  It can retain spiritual value when tied to Jesus Christ.

Christians grieve no differently emotionally but spiritually through Christ they can offer it to God
Christians grieve no differently emotionally but spiritually through Christ they can offer it to God

The article, “How Should Christians Approach the Death of a Loved One?” by Megan Bailey investigates closer how Christians deal with the death of a loved one.  The article states,

The pain of a loved one is something we all must face at some point in our lives. While grief is an expected response to a significant loss, the unfamiliar emotions that arise can lead to feelings of helplessness, fear and isolation. As Christians, we can find hope in God and use Him as a source of comfort.

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Christian Grief Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional needs.

 

Christian Grief Counseling Certification Article on Grief and the Holy Family

Good article on grief and how love and grief in this fallen world are so entangled.  The Holy Family plays a special role in this story of love and grief and serve as a paradigm for all families to emulate

Please also review our Christian Grief Counseling Certification
Please also review our Christian Grief Counseling Certification

The article, The Feast of the Holy Family: ‘Grief is the price we pay for love.’ by Terrance Klein states,

“If we have lived long at all, we know that no one can love us like family, and no one can hurt us like family. And this is as true of the Holy Family as it is of our own. Indeed, pondering the Holy Family reveals the depth of Queen’s Elizabeth’s words, “Grief is the price we pay for love.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Grief Counseling Program, as well as our Christian Grief Counseling Certification

Grief Counseling Topics: Near Death Experiences (NDE)

Grief Counseling: An Indepth Overview of Near-Death Experiences (NDE)

With the advent of New Age, spiritual awakening has become the societal norm, with more and more cultures embracing the concept of alternative consciousness, in a bid to attain enlightenment and personal growth. One common spiritual phenomena reported widely since the last few decades is near death experience (NDE).

 

What Exactly Is a NDE?

A near death experience, abbreviated as NDE is a transcendental experience unique to an individual, which typically takes place just after a near brush with death. In a near-death episode, the person is either in coma( clinically dead), or feeling threatened in a situation where death is quite likely. These circumstances may include a serious injury from a car accident, bullet shock, childbirth, murder/rape, or suicide attempt. During NDE, the individual experiences feelings of detachment from physical self, levitation, and encounter with spiritual, otherworldly entities. People in trance states or in abject grief have often reported experiences similar to NDEs, even though they were not near death.

 

Two Types of NDE

Any near-death experiencer commonly reports either of the two types of experiences. One is pleasurable, and the other is distressing. Pleasurable NDE involves feelings of bliss, joy, fulfillment and spiritual awareness. On the other hand, distressing NDE brings feelings of terror, isolation, confusion, guilt and horror. This type is experienced by a smaller group of NDErs. Regardless of their actual type, NDErs almost always report that the experience was even more realistic and vivid than earthly events.

 

The Four Stages of Pleasurable Near-Death Experience

The pleasurable type of NDE is characterized by four phases that occur in a precise order for each and every individual who report this phenomenon. That being said, it’s important to note each NDE is different. It can include a random combination of phases and the phases may occur in any order. Sometimes, people report having experienced overlapping phases that seem to occur simultaneously.

 

Here is a discussion of four common phases observed in an NDE:

1.) Detached phase: This is the first phase, wherein the individual experiences dissociation from their physical body. During this time, they leave the earth realm to transcend into the third dimension. They report feeling light, detached and devoid of the five senses that dominate physical existence. They sometimes describe an unbelievable sense of freedom from guilt, pain, misery and of total well-being.

2.) Naturalistic phase: In this phase, people report being gradually aware of their surroundings. They get a better understanding of the surrounding reality and also report looking down on their bodies. They see and hear things just like they do in their physical self, but the only difference is that the perceptions are unusually clear and realistic. They often say they acquired superhuman powers, such as being able to walk through walls, float around, see through people and even understand the unspoken thoughts of people nearby.

3.) Supernatural phase: In this phase, people report passing into a tunnel and meeting entities and being in environments that are not common to the physical reality. They often meet deceased loved ones, spirit guides or non-physical beings like helpers. Communication at this stage is at the mental level and there are no discernible physical features in the entities they meet, yet they seem to recognize them easily.

Following this loving encounter, people are apparently drawn to a beautiful, bright light that is difficult to describe. It is all-encompassing, unconditionally loving, welcoming and yet not overpowering to the eyes. It pulls the person like a gentle magnet and makes them feel drenched in the zenith of bliss. People then try to enter the light, only to be stopped by a powerful ‘being’ who warns them from crossing the light and coaxes them to return back to their physical bodies. At this moment, many people describe experiencing a life review, wherein they see themselves for who they are, and realize their flaws, talents and the mistakes they have made in life so far.

Sometimes, they also get access to divine knowledge and profound mysteries of the Universe. Many people come back with future predictions that eventually turn out to be true! The best thing about the life review is that it is presented to the person in the form of miniature motion pictures that allow them to observe everything from a detached perspective, so that the feelings of sorrow, regret, guilt and misery are all toned down to a negligible extent. If anything, people feel uplifted and energized.

4.) Return: As the name suggests, the individual returns to their physical self. Some NDErs report arguing their return with The Light; they refuse to continue with their life on the physical realm and wish to stay around in the peaceful glow of the third-dimension. However, they are jolted back to their bodies whether or not they choose to return. When they do want to return, it’s usually because of a connection with living people, or a heightened desire to mend persistent issues.

 

Characteristics of Distressing NDE

The following are some common features of a distressing NDE:

-People report feeling powerless and non-existent. They feel as though as they are trapped in an eternal void with no one around.

-Sometimes, they experience being amid evil, demon beings, frightening, otherworldly creatures and scary noises. Often, they report being transported to hideous landscapes, which is a stark contrast from the beautiful, welcoming environment described in a pleasurable NDE.

-Few people have described feeling worthless and guilty during the life review stage. They feel negatively judged and insulted by the Higher Power.

-In rare cases of distressing NDE, people report having given up fighting or escaping the harsh circumstances of the other reality and asking for help from the Higher Power. When they do so, their experience immediately morphs into a pleasurable NDE.

-Then again, few NDErs have stated that their pleasurable experiences transformed into distressing ones.

 

How common are Near Death Experiences?

Thanks to medical advances, NDEs have been reported much more frequently in the last few decades. As public acceptance has increased, more and more people are willing to narrate their experiences. Depending on how rigidly NDE is described, studies have indicated that around 12-40% of people who have a close encounter with death later report having had an NDE.

Up to 200,000 Americans have claimed to have an NDE. According to a 2011 survey (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225835846_Different_Kinds_of_Near-Death_Experience_A_Report_on_a_Survey_of_Near-Death_Experiences_in_Germany) of 2000 people in Germany, around 4% had experienced an NDE. The 1992 Gallup poll by NDERF has stated that up to 774 individuals experience NDE in the United States alone.

Another 1982 Gallup poll revealed that among the 15% of Americans who reported an NDE, around 9% people had the typical out-of-body experience, 8% encountered spiritual entities, 11% said they entered a different dimension, and only 1% had disturbing experiences. These findings subsequently became published in “Adventures in Immortality” by the pollsters William Proctor and George Gallup Jr.

The possibility of having an NDE is independent of the person’s religion practice, economic background, life history, health status, sexuality and gender. Basically, it is an equal-opportunity phenomenon and it’s impossible to predict who will or won’t experience it, or whose NDE will be distressing or pleasurable.

 

How do near death experiences affect patients ?

Approximately 80% of NDErs claimed that their lives have been forever changed by what they experienced. In addition to returning with a profound spiritual outlook, as well as a renewed zest for life, people started observing psychological and physiological phenomena on a deeper scale. And this was true for teenagers, adults and child experiencers alike.
One common myth associated with NDE is that the experiencer has a heightened fear of death after the phenomenon. In fact, the result is just the opposite. NDErs lead a better quality of life, which is characterized by:

-An improved ability to fight present circumstances and have a better understanding of why things happen the way they do.

-A strengthened sense of self-confidence that arises from knowing one’s flaws and virtues. This feeling of true security provides bliss to the mind even in the face of utter chaos.

-A lowered fascination for material possessions, as the person finally realizes that true happiness doesn’t lie in accumulating a certain percentage every month, chugging drinks at the local bar or buying a bigger house.

-A higher than usual compassion, which extends to every being. NDErs have a deep-rooted gratitude for the little joys in life, and tend to forgive everything, as they finally understand the futility of chasing material comforts.

-An unusual love for solitude and silence, as people don’t need to rely on false objects of security to quieten their inner feeling of guilt or misery.

-Most importantly, people adopt a spiritual approach to life, as they know and believe that the spiritual realm is real and the material realm is a farce. This knowledge gives them a fresh perspective for all things in life, and they find it easier to cope up with daily hassles.

 

Has Medical Science Been Able to Explain Near Death Experiences?

According to 2011 study undertaken by Watt and Mobes at the University of Edinburgh,

(http://www.cell.com/trends/cognitive-sciences/abstract/S1364-6613(11)00155-0?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1364661311001550%3Fshowall%3Dtrue&cc=y)

near death experience is not a spiritual phenomenon, rather it is a physiological process that can be biologically explained. For example, the typical feeling of floating during NDE arises from the trauma of having had a close encounter with death. This has been linked with brain regions like parietal cortex and prefrontal cortex, the latter being involved in delusional beliefs observed in schizophrenia. Although the exact reason behind the feeling remains unknown, one probable explanation is that the person is trying to come to terms with the trauma of death.

A variety of theories have been put forward by medical researchers to explain the argument of meeting deceased loved ones during NDE. Parkinson’s patients (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ghost-stories-visits-from-the-deceased/) often hallucinate as a result of abnormal release of dopamine. In the same way, NDErs also undergo an abnormal release of another neurotransmitter, noradrenaline, which is mostly produced during trauma, and evokes the feeling of reliving moments from the present life, as well as auditory/visual hallucinations.

In 2003, The BBC reported a study by Dr. Sam Parnia at the University of Southampton which suggested the survival of consciousness even after clinical death (coma). This could be perceived as evidence of life after death.

A 2010 study of patients with a history of cardiac attacks revealed that there might be a link between seeing the gleaming orb of light during NDE and the level of carbon dioxide in blood. 11 out of 52 cardiac patients studied claimed to have an NDE. Researchers concluded that the excess CO2 in blood had a significant impact on vision, which ultimately caused them to perceive the tunnel and the brilliant light.

The most common obstacle to substantial research on NDE lies in analyzing them experimentally. After all, this is one phenomenon that is reported only after it’s over, and there are no real-time evidences to testify the same.

 

Ending Note…

All these scientific explanations raise several questions in our mind. If NDE is merely the outcome of our brain responding to trauma, why do the experiences follow a sequences that ultimately come down to the basic question of spirituality? Why do people report vivid events as if they occurred in precise order, despite being brain dead all the while? Why do they undergo a drastic and perennial transformation after returning back to their conscious state? And most importantly, how can a seemingly trivial, ‘biological phenomenon’ occur with equal probability for everyone, regardless of their medical history, mental health status, and so on?

Interestingly, advocates of near death experience confidently assert that this mystical phenomenon is not a casual by-product of the biological processes of the brain, rather it’s an actual life-changing event that is more realistic and empowering than anything they have ever experienced in the conscious state.

If you wish to learn more about Grief Counseling or Grief Counseling certifications then please visit our site. 

Christian Grief Counseling Program Article on Christianity and Grief

Good article about how Christian hope can the grieving see that grief and loss are only temporary.  This is the nature of Christianity and its view of suffering. It does not seek to escape grief, but embrace knowing that it is only temporary and has merit on this earth

The article, Christian faith creates hope that alters grief, by Very Rev. John D. Payne states,

“An aerial view of Egypt might shed some light on the ancient Egyptian fixation with death. Running the length of Egypt for some 3,400 miles, from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea, is the Nile River. Only about a quarter of a mile on either side of the river is living green.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Grief Counseling Program, as well as our Christian Grief Counseling Program

Christian Grief Courses: The Ways of Grief for a Christian

The article, “Grace for Our Grieving”, by Paul Tripp states

“Ministry, this side of eternity, will be marked by moments of grief, just like like Samuel’s.”

American Institute Health Care Professionals’ insight:

This is an excellent article on grief and the Christian faith.  It talks about how God sojours with us in our grief.  It talks about the grief that comes with grief and how grief can help us become stronger.  It also encourages Christians to not allow grief to damage our faith in God.

Christian grief courses are offered at AIHCP that examines these many issues.  Courses in Christian Grief can help the grief counselor who is Christian to better understand his or her own faith and train them to incorporate the science of bereavement with faith.

If you have any interest in Christian Grief Courses or certification, then please review the program.  The program is open to grief counselors who have completed all the required basic grief courses.  They are eligible to take the Christian Grief courses and become certified in this sub specialty.

Bare in mind, Christianity has a unique view on suffering and grief and this program helps highlights those ideals.  They teach the grief counselor about the many theological ideas on good, evil, suffering, the role of Christ in suffering, and the merit of suffering in this world.

#christiangriefcourses

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Christian Grief Counseling

 

American Institute Health Care Professionals‘s insight:

Christian counseling and christian grief counseling focuses on the grief of Christ as a central element in counseling  Christian grief counseling is special for Christians because it paints loss and grief in a different way

#christiangriefcounseling

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