Although NDErs sometimes report distressing experiences involving feelings of powerlessness, isolation, torment, or worthlessness, such reports are much less frequent than reports of pleasurable NDEs. These points are probably most relevant to people experiencing grief and loss:
- It can be helpful to note that a psychospiritual descent into what we think of as hell has been the experience of saints and sages throughout history and across cultures. Every world religion has its mystics who seek ultimate wisdom, and an encounter with one's own fear seems to be an essential step toward spiritual maturity. There is no evidence that "good people" have pleasant experiences and "bad people" have frightening ones. It can be comforting to know that evidence from both the mystics and scientificresearchers indicates that, whatever the experiences along the way, the ultimate condition of consciousness is one of peace.
- Some NDEs include a life review. In this review, the NDEr typically re-views (sees again) and reexperiences every moment of his/her life. At the same time, the NDEr fully experiences being every other person with whom the NDEr interacted. The NDEr feels what it was like to be on the receiving end of his/her own actions, including those that caused others pain. The NDEr usually reports feeling profound remorse, along with extreme regret that the harm cannot be undone. This understanding is likely to be extremely painful, it is said to be more a corrective than punishment for its own sake, for at the same time, NDErs typically report learning that the ultimate purpose of life is to be a more loving person.
- Some people report having had a mostly distressing experience involving overriding feelings of terror, isolation, and/or torment. Research studies have suggested that a terrifying NDE is an incomplete NDE, and that experiences that run their full course resolve into the peaceful, healing, even euphoric kind.