“My life flashed before my eyes.” It’s a common saying when people recount a scary experience, but it’s an actual experience reported by a multitude of near death survivors. During a near death experience (NDE), the life review is extremely rapid and “replays” every incident in a person’s life, from birth, to death. Sometimes this happens in the company of a significant figure like Jesus or a respected teacher, and sometimes it happens while the person is alone standing outside of his or her body. There is no external judgement of any incident. There is only a personal judgement on the part of the soul experiencing it.
The experience itself can be very profound. P.M.H. Atwater, a researcher who has been studying near death experiences most of her life relates the following near death experience:
“[He was] a mafia hitman whose life review involved him reliving everything he had ever done, good or bad, as well as the consequences. He also had to live through whatever happened to each person he hurt as if he were them. He felt all of their pain, lived through their circumstances, and faced their grief. He was incapable of hurting another person after that and devoted the rest of his life to serving the poor through various church programs.”
Atwater, P. M. H. (2009-01-09). Near-Death Experiences, The Rest of the Story: What They Teach Us About Living and Dying and Our True Purpose (p. 23). Hampton Roads Publishing. Kindle Edition.
According to Atwater, people can return from an NDE with higher IQ, greater creativity and even newly enlarged psychic capabilities. Some experience a preview of certain events in the future which eventually unfold as predicted. Although many near death experiencers report a sense of universal awareness and love, this translates mostly to changes in attitude by the recipient rather than to new knowledge. A person may change the course of his or her own life as a result of an NDE, but no one returns with the secret formula for a revolutionary new technology or knowledge about life on other planets.
The life review also happens when a person permanently enters the world of spirit. It is a phenomenon commonly recounted through mediums. It appears to happen immediately after death while the soul is still on the transitional plane before the soul has made the decision to cross over. As in the example above, the spirit experiences each episode not only through its own senses, but also through those of the other people involved. This gives the experiencer the advantage of fully understanding the effect his or her actions had on others who may have experienced a joyful experience, or had to suffer abuse at their hands. Once again, there is no external judgement. It is the sole responsibility of the spirit to acknowledge its actions so that it can work toward growing and evolving toward God.
The Life review does not confer a lasting universal awareness on the spirit. No new information or universal knowledge is imparted. When people die, they don’t learn the secrets of the universe or whether reincarnation really happens. It’s reasonable to assume that this is the case because if all souls were simply given universal knowledge and understanding, there would be no real need for spiritual evolution. Why would there be so many evil minded ghosts if everyone were to gain perfect understanding upon their death? Why would it be necessary to write a chapter about Spirit Lies and Tall Tales (chapter 19)? Indeed, why would God bother with human souls at all if He wanted to create us to be more perfect than the angels in the first place? (The answer to that question is that God wants us to evolve so that He too can evolve when we return to Him. He invested part of himself in us so that we could return to him with unique histories and attributes.)
The spirit is simply made aware of its shortcomings and is given an insight into how his or her behavior has affected others so that it can begin the process of spiritual evolution within the spiritual realm. The knowledge comes later by dint of its hard work. Even after the life review, the spirit retains its earthly personality including its beliefs and prejudices.
The life review doesn’t seem to have a direct effect on the soul’s spiritual buoyancy, or the level to which it eventually ascends or descends when it crosses over into the mainstream spiritual realm. The purpose of the life review is apparently to allow the soul to inspect the elements of its life in a dispassionate way in order to allow it to adjust its spiritual trajectory, hopefully for the better. It is, however, up to the soul to make the proper adjustments.
It is likely that a majority of souls not only acknowledge their faults, but resolve to correct them. The resolutions happen immediately, but the actual corrections take a lot of hard work and spiritual time. It’s up to the spirit to decide how to proceed, whether to remain in spirit or perhaps even to reincarnate to make up for the lessons it failed to learn in its earthly existence. The corrections that each spirit strives to make within itself as a result of its life review generally pay off with spiritual advancement.
Unfortunately, not all spirits are willing to make the difficult changes necessary for advancement, and some of the more negative ones refuse to acknowledge their wrongdoing. Those persons who never developed a conscience while living on the earth are not likely to benefit from their life review when they enter into Spirit. They may even stubbornly double down on their negativity. Others are just like spousal abusers who swear that they will never abuse again. They promise themselves that they will change, but their resolve is only temporary. They soon forget their vows of spiritual reform and continue on with the same old mindset. Spirits like this are likely to fear crossing into the light and become earthbound voluntarily. They are not “doomed”, but they have to learn their lessons the hard way. Eventually, most souls “wise up”, cross over and begin to evolve.