No Ferrari for this Doctor
Posted on 05 September 2016, 6:29
One of the effects of the near-death experience (NDE) often reported by experiencers and researchers is a transformation from a materialistic way of life to a more spiritual one. I have read accounts of scores of such transformations over the past 40 or so years, but I can’t recall any that exceeds the transformation experienced by Dr. Rajiv Parti, (below) as related in his recently released book, Dying to Wake Up: A Doctor’s Voyage into the Afterlife and the Wisdom He Brought Back.
As the head of anesthesiology at the Bakersfield Heart Hospital in California, Parti enjoyed a very luxurious lifestyle. “My goal was bigger everything – house, cars, art collection, bank accounts,” he tells his story, further mentioning that he looked forward to graduating from a Porsche and a Hummer to one day having a Ferrari in his garage, and that at one point during his 25 years at the hospital he took a nine-month sabbatical in order to trade on the stock market, sometimes making a million dollars in one day, but then losing it just as fast. He lived in a neighborhood of “mini-castles,” each one designed to match the image the owner wanted to project.
Driving through his neighborhood, Parti recalls, was like a spin through Disneyland. “The community was hermetically sealed, safe from the outside world, and I had come to believe that meant safe from physical illness as well.” Doctors don’t get sick, he had come to believe. But reality soon hit home, first with a diagnosis in 2008, at age 51, of prostate cancer, followed by surgery and various complications, including incontinence, impotence, and a dependency on antidepressants. There were five more surgeries and then an infection around an artificial sphincter, filling his abdomen with pus. It was during the surgery, in 2010, to clean out the infection that Parti went out-of-body. He recalls going up toward the ceiling, then looking down at the surgeons and nurses, and being mesmerized by the scene below him.
Then something happened which Parti did not understand. “It was as though my field of vision became much wider and my consciousness expanded well beyond whatever it had been before, as though all of my senses had the ability to see, and what they saw could easily be different scenes,” he explains, going on to say that he dropped in on a conversation between his mother and sister in New Delhi. He later verified the conversation with his mother and the clothes they were wearing.
But the NDE turned hellish and he heard a “voice” tell him that he had led a materialistic and selfish life, something he knew was true. He recalls seeing his patients as “profit centers,” and having little empathy with them. When they attempted to talk with him about personal concerns, he cut them off so he could rush home to his computer and play the stock market. “I lived inside my own carefully constructed bubble. I had forgotten about illness and death. I had forgotten about fate and destiny.”
Ashamed of his self-centered life, Parti prayed for a second chance and was then greeted by his father, who appeared 30 years younger than when he died. His father accompanied him to a family gathering, the ancestors welcoming his to a different realm. Advice on becoming a more loving person was given before he was guided toward a “Being of Light,” by two beings he interpreted as “angels.” One of the angels told Parti that he doesn’t own his possessions; they own him, and that breaking the bonds of materialism will bring him to a higher level. The Being of Light informed him that he would return to his earthly life and become a “healer of souls.” Parti was unable to identify the Being of Light as male or female as the brightness of the light kept him from seeing “it.”
After a feeling of deceleration, Parti found himself in the recovery room, where the fellow anesthesiologist was there to welcome him back to consciousness. When Parti attempted to tell him of his out-of-body experience, the anesthesiologist appeared disinterested. As evidence of his experience, Parti told the anesthesiologist that he overheard his off-color joke during the surgery concerning the odor of the pus. The anesthesiologist responded that he must not have given him enough anesthesia. Having monitored the anesthesia and knowing how much he had received, Parti informed him that he had given him enough and attempted to tell him about other aspects of his NDE; however, the anesthesiologist appeared uncomfortable and excused himself. The surgeon reacted similarly when Parti tried to relate his experience to him. Other doctors, his colleagues, reacted with similar indifference, even antipathy.
Parti recalled that some of his patients had tried to tell him of their out-of-body experiences and meeting departed family members during surgery, but he was always too busy to hear them out. Now the shoe was on the other foot and he didn’t like it. As Parti interpreted it, he was a victim of karma – you reap what you sow.
As you might surmise at this point, Parti gave up his medical practice, downsized his house and cars and began learning to live with less. His wife, a dentist, supported him in his new pursuit. “In a matter of months, we had confronted our materialism and won,” Parti states. “By talking rationally and separating our needs from our wants, we had changed the nature of our egos by 180 degrees. Rather than needing more to feel good about ourselves, we discovered the wisdom of less….” Parti is now practicing “consciousness-based healing,” which is grounded in meditation.
There is much more to Parti’s intriguing story, so much more. Some of it will exceed the boggle threshold of even believers. Of course, the debunkers will laugh it off as a dream, but it seems well established in NDE research that such transformations are often life-changing and go far beyond the influence of mere dreams, which are generally fleeting and vague. If they are not fleeting and vague, then it may be a semantics issue, i.e., they are not “dreams.” Whatever Dr. Parti experienced was very “real” to him and I don’t think any debunker is qualified to second-guess him. As Dr. Raymond Moody, the psychiatrist who did pioneering work in the field of near-death experiences, states in the Foreword of the book, Parti’s story is one of transcendence and transformation. He calls it “one of the most astounding and complete near-death experiences I have heard in almost fifty years of investigating this phenomenon.”
Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
Next blog post: Sept. 19
Not to be a contrarian here but perhaps some of what you are responding to is just the writer’s style in description. I think that many people perhaps would describe and compare an environment where everything was perfect, grand and beautiful as ‘Disneyland’ or ‘Disneyworld’. I think I myself would do that. And where I live, comparing my house with the houses of people on the other side of town in exclusive gated subdivisions, I might describe them as ‘mini castles’ safe from the outside world—-at least compared to my small house by the river.
I really don’t think that Skeptics will pick up on what bothers you about Parti’s descriptions. It didn’t bother me and I am a real true skeptic. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 7 Sep, 14:15
I see the point you were making and I agree that dreams are not life changing. There are those who put a lot of importance on dreams but I’ve never had one that made me want to alter my daily routine much, if at all. As you say, NDE’s are much more of a life changing event. I should have read your post a little more closely. Cheers.
Rob Hanks, Tue 6 Sep, 21:54
If numerous people have a particular experience (no matter how unreal someone may think it is) changes a person for the good….isn’t that even a slight indication that there may be something going on that is bigger than ourselves…and that “this thing” is also something GOOD?
Yvonne Limoges, Tue 6 Sep, 20:48
I don’t doubt that Dr. Parti and his wife could have been well off and lived in an affluent neighborhood, adjacent to a golf course. But come on.
“Driving through his neighborhood, Parti recalls, was like a spin through Disneyland. The community was hermetically sealed, safe from the outside world.” “Mini-castles, each one designed to match the image the owner wanted to project.” This still sounds exaggerated to me. And with respect, Rob, I know several rich people who trade options big time and have never made (or lost) anything remotely like a million dollars in a day. Not impossible, but very unlikely.
What does it matter if the description of Dr. Parti’s previous lifestyle has been tweaked up for greater contrast with his present values? Only that it might induce some skepticism about his NDE account, for which his testimony may be totally accurate.
Rick Darby, Tue 6 Sep, 20:13
Rob,I was just taking the skeptics point of view. If these NDEs are just dreams then why wouldn’t they concern things which the dreamer is most interested in—-in this case, money? I think that the fact that the content of the NDEs are ‘other-worldly’ suggests, to me anyway, that there is something more going on with NDEs than just dream content. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 6 Sep, 15:46
I just did a Google Earth search of Bakersfield, focusing in on homes around golf courses, since Dr. Parti said he lived on a golf course, and I found some pretty luxurious homes, maybe not mini-castles, but at least mini-mansions.
I think Amos was just countering the debunking view that the NDEs are all dreams, sort of a tongue-in-cheek comment.
Thanks to all for the comments. I was trying to think of an NDE book (individual story) that I would rank over this one. The only one I could think of that might rival it is “The Phaselock Code,” by Roger Hart, published in 2003. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. It is still available at Amazon and at Bookfinder.com
Michael Tymn, Tue 6 Sep, 08:23
In the UK, anesthetists are the highly paid professionals. In the USA it seems to be the same (see link) “Anesthesiologist is the highest-paying job in America, on average — but it’s only the top-paying profession in 14 states”. http://uk.businessinsider.com/top-paying-job-in-every-state-2016-9/#alabama-general-internist-1.
Jon, Tue 6 Sep, 07:29
Mike, as usual a great article. I can certainly see how he could have made a million dollars in one day since I day trade the stock market myself. Just trade derivatives such as stock and index options. Trading in these will also allow you to lose the same amount as well. And usually more quickly than you gained them.
I must say that every NDE that I have read about transforms the individual experiencing it to become more centered toward loving and helping others and less interested on material things. Amos seems to think it should have been the other way around. Not so! When a person has a real NDE and experiences the atmosphere of the spiritual realm, it will change their life completely and will greatly enhance the more important characteristics of their personality, those being kindness and love towards all of God’s creation.
Rob Hanks, Tue 6 Sep, 04:13
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 5 Sep, 20:45
Don’t forget his wife was a dentist. It could be that all of their income came from her dental practice. The dentists I know seem to be doing OK. Seriously, the combined incomes of a head anesthesiologist at a heart hospital in California and a California dentist probably was more than adequate for an opulent lifestyle. -AOD
From what you summarize of Dr. Parti’s NDE, his experience seems generally congruent with similar reports by others; one more data point in the pattern we are gradually discerning of the spirit world.
That said, I can’t help feeling his ghostwriter jazzed up the story of his earlier materialistic life for the sake of drama. Even the head of anesthesiology at a hospital doesn’t make the kind of money that would enable him to live in the kind of luxury claimed. Mini-castles? “Hermetically sealed, safe from the outside world”? Professor Betty, is there such a neighborhood in Bakersfield?
I don’t believe he made a million dollars in a day trading stocks. He would have to have put up a fortune and leveraged it to the hilt. Institutions can do that, individuals other than George Soros and the like can’t.
Were the specifics of his spirit encounter embroidered?
Rick Darby, Mon 5 Sep, 15:16
I think it is interesting that a man with the lifestyle of Dr. Parti didn’t have a ‘dream’ of more wealth and opulence. Where were the streets paved with gold? Why didn’t the ‘dream personages’ tell him how to make more money in the stock market—-how to get his coveted Ferrari; where to find a bigger house?
If this were a ‘dream’, why did it have such impact on a man’s life that he would drastically change course in his pursuit for more and more wealth when that had been the goal of his whole career? There is no ‘dream’ that I have had that was clear enough to make me change the course of my life in any way; no ‘dream’ that ever caused me give up my job and the small possessions I have to reach out to help other people. Those who think Parti’s experience was a ‘dream’ must have more interesting dreams than I ever have. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 5 Sep, 13:39
In a sense Dr. Parti’s NDE was a cure for a disease, one he didn’t even know he had. Often we don’t understand why a successful treatment works, but we’re glad that it does. Even the most skeptical medical person must admit that if NDEs make these huge positive changes in people’s lives, they are valuable and should be taken seriously. They are therapeutic no matter what one understands them “really” to be.
Elene, Mon 5 Sep, 08:28
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