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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Contemplating Our Mortality Amidst a Pandemic

Aug 30, 2020 01:26PM ● By Katta Mapes
It’s at times like these with the virus situation that we might have to step back and look at our mortality and that of our loved ones. The media barrage of the number of cases and deaths during this lockdown puts death right in front of us daily.
This is also a time when we may have the free time to consider such lofty ideas as the meaning of life and what happens to us at death and beyond. Now more than ever, the International Association of Near-Death Studies (IANDS) group may provide some hope and understanding as we try to make sense of all this.
The IANDS website says, “Arizona IANDS has chosen the mission of bringing together a community that listens and shares the evidence for the universal nature of a loving consciousness that includes us all.”
Even before the rise of virtual meetings, IANDS was developing its online resources to provide access to members around the world. Now their virtual platform is even more capable of bringing us into a world of learning, understanding and sharing information about what may happen at death and after death.
Tucsonan Chuck Swedrock was one of the original social/spiritual entrepreneurs who started the IANDS, which is a global nonprofit, registered 501(c)(3) affiliate of IANDS. Swedrock’s core belief explains his purpose in starting this group: “I’m here because I was meant to be here and form groups for discussion and to gain some perspective.” He says that the jury is still out on whether we are: physical beings having a spiritual experience or spiritual beings having a physical experience.
IANDS sharing groups (ISGOs) have been around for many years, offering insights from people who have had near death experiences, or NDEs. So many have shared their experiences along with the various ways in which their lives were transformed by these NDEs and other spiritually transformative experiences. While substantially profound, these incidences are often difficult to share with friends and family who may fear or disbelieve such events.
Now Swedrock and others are working to bring all of this to others through various virtual options. These include: small group discussion platforms of various types as a safe place for people to share their experiences; forums for professionals in healthcare and hospice to share their encounters with death and dying; a healing room for those who grieve the loss of a loved one; webinars offering speakers on many topics related to NDEs and their life changing effects; annual IANDS conferences with a broad spectrum of presenters; courses offering classes in mediumship and other skills development; and book club meetings with authors of books on topics related to the IANDS mission.

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Katta Mapes, M.A., M.Ed. is a freelance writer and book author who is dedicated to promoting social, emotional and spiritual well-being for all. She is co-author of The Big Picture of Life. Connect at [email protected] (hablo español).