Author William J. Peters and I discuss his new book, At Heaven’s Door: What Shared Journeys to the Afterlife Teach About Dying Well and Living Better. This is a beautiful conversation on the deep mysteries of death and how we can use this inevitable unfolding to create enormous meaning in our everyday lives.
William Peters, a licensed psychotherapist, is the founder of the Shared Crossing Project. William has developed a series of leading-edge programs that introduce audiences to a broad assortment of experiential based curricula and practices. These programs focus on preparation for a conscious, connecting, and loving end-of-life experience, and they invite exploration of the topic of life after death.
In 2000, Peters was volunteering at the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco when he had an extraordinary experience as he was reading aloud to a patient: he suddenly felt himself floating in midair, completely out of his body. The patient, who was also aloft, looked at him and smiled. The next moment, Peters felt himself return to his body…but the patient never regained consciousness and died.
Perplexed and stunned by what had happened, Peters began searching for other people who’d shared similar experiences. He would spend the next twenty years gathering and meticulously categorizing their stories to identify key patterns of what is now known as the “shared crossing” experience. The similarities, which cut across continents and cultures and include awe-inspiring visual and sensory effects, and powerful emotional after-effects, were impossible to ignore.
Long whispered about in the hospice and medical communities, these extraordinary moments of final passage are openly discussed and explained in At Heaven’s Door. The book is filled with powerful tales of spouses on departing this earth after decades together and bereaved parents who share their children’s entry into the afterlife.
Applying rigorous research, Peters digs into the effect these shared crossing experiences impart—liberation at the sight of a loved one finding joy, a sense of reconciliation if the relationship was fraught—and explores questions like:
- What can explain these shared death experiences?
- How can we increase our likelihood of having one?
- What do these experiences tell us about what lies beyond?
- How can they help take away the sting of death and better prepare us for our own final moments?
- How can we have both a better life and a better death?
At Heaven’s Door is a groundbreaking, authoritative exploration—rich with powerful personal stories and convincing research—of the many ways the living can and do accompany the dying on their journey into the afterlife.
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Paul Samuel Dolman, author, podcaster, and speaker, presents What Matters Most (the book!) a series of interview transcriptions from more than twenty inspirational Nashville and Tennessee residents, including special guest the journalist and author Bill Moyers.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, former Governor Don Sundquist, Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal, Grammy Award-winning entertainer Wynonna Judd, and many more share intimate and inspirational aspects of themselves.
This twentieth anniversary edition also features bonus material from thirty more notables from Tennessee, including local business owners, spiritual leaders, coaches, radio personalities, authors, and educators.
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