While the so-called near-death experience (NDE) is a relatively commonly known phenomenon, scientists have for the first time encountered what appears to be a near-life experience (NLE).
The very first documented NLE account came from 41-year-old Donna Malloy, who lives on New York's Upper East Side. Not knowing where else to turn, Malloy contacted researchers at the International Association of Near-Death Studies to report that she believed herself to be in the midst of a persistent and ongoing near-life experience. IANDS referred Malloy to NDE expert Kevin Williams, who was intrigued by Malloy's story.
For one, Malloy explained to Williams, she has what she considers a near-career in the insurance industry.
"It's not a real career," she clarified, "because I'm not progressing professionally and it doesn't require any particular talent or skill. But it's more than a job in the sense that at this point it would be tough for me to find work in a different field."
Malloy also described her "near-love-life" to Williams: she's registered with several online dating websites and occasionally communicates with other registered users online, but her online chats have not translated into many real-life relationships (although that could be on the verge of changing, as one of Malloy's online dating acquaintances recently sent her a Facebook friend request, which she has accepted).
Williams agreed that these details were consistent with a near-career and a near-love-life (or even a not-so-near-love-life) - which seemed to suggest that there could indeed be an overarching near-life occurring as well. In an effort to verify the realness, or lack thereof, of Malloy's spiritual and philosophical existence, Williams probed into her values, beliefs and ethics.
"Well," she told him, "I think it's wrong to lie, but I actually lie a lot. I'm Christian, but if you put a gun to my head and asked me if I believe in Jesus or even God, I'm not sure what I'd say. I think it's probably good to eat well and take care of your body, but I don't exercise except sporadically and I drink too much. I say I love my family but honestly, on a practical level, if I never saw them again -"
Williams stopped her there. "Yup, I'd say you're having a near-life experience. Or as near a near-life experience as anyone can really experience."
Malloy's convincing NLE account prompted Williams to explore the possibility that other Americans might also have had, or be having, NLEs.
"The results were astounding," he reports. "From my research, it appears that more people are having near-life experiences than are having actual life experiences! And in many ways, near-death experiences seem to be nearer to real life than near-life-experiences. I'm not sure what to make of it. But it sure does explain a lot."