Dr. Lynn Echevarria will deliver her talk, Exploring Life and the Afterlife: Near Death Experiences, Science, and Spiritual Perspectives, at the LRCA Seniors Centre on January 21.
Echevarria is an Emeritus Professor of Yukon College. She has taught women’s studies, masculinities studies, and sociology over a 20 year period. Her greatest interest is in the life histories of people and the advancement of women and community.
Echevarria’s talk combines her long time personal interest in stories of near death experiences with the best available scientific thought about consciousness, and spiritual perspectives on death and dying. This will be one of the last times Echevarria presents her talk.
“It’s really been a privilege to do this work and meet people along the way,” Echevarria said.
She began her talk in 2016. After relocating to the Diamond District from the Yukon, Echevarria honed her presentation.
“The first thing I did was I went over to my neighbours, and I told them I was planning on this talk,” Echevarria said. “I asked them, ‘would you be my first audience?’ Right next door was where I started out – poor souls. I had a flip chart, I didn’t have any visuals created. It was probably boring as heck,” Echevarria said.
Since then, Echevarria has presented her talk across Canada, and even in the United Kingdom.
In Western cultures, there is much anxiety and fear around death. Echevarria works to dispel those perspectives with her talk.
“This isn’t a frightening topic, not the way I present it. It’s full of hope, full of love, full of expectation, and it really informs how you live this life – that’s what I think is really good about this topic. Each of these fields of inquiry, NDEs, spiritual perspectives, and science are all talking about a very important thing that connects us all together,” Echevarria said.
Spiritual practices and religious beliefs around death and the afterlife differ greatly. However, Echevarria has studied the Qu’ran, the Bible, Baha’i teachings, Buddhism, and other faiths to bring together a unity of perspectives on life and the afterlife.
Despite the differences of peoples in religious and spiritual perspectives, Echevarria said most people have a similar near death experiences but not all people have a positive experience. Some (==Most==) people go to a place Echevarria referred to as a void – a place of darkness, and nothingness free of pain, a place of unconditional acceptance. Some people are comforted by the void, while others are distressed by it.
“What NDE research tells us is that this void experience is an incomplete near death experience. They haven’t gone far enough, they haven’t gone long enough, or they haven’t given themselves time to slow down from this crazy, hectic life we live and just be,” Echevarria said.
After all her research on the subject, Echevarria is ready for, and looks forward to her own death experience.
“I am looking forward to it, but I don’t think it will be all positive. We die the life we live. I’m in my 70s now. I’ve had periods of my life where I’ve chosen to do the wrong thing,” Echevarria said.
“When you go over, it’s not this life review that goes over like a video. What is coming out is that you don’t only see your life, you see how you have affected other people. It’s a much more profound experience of understanding yourself. Fortunately, it is one of compassion, because apparently the spiritual beings that accompany you in that process are not judging you. You are judging you. How hard is that going to be?”
Echevarria was careful not to give away all her knowledge before giving her talk in Ladysmith. The talk begins at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, January 21. For those unable to attend, a full version of her talk is available on YouTube.