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BOOK REVIEW: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying)- Wisdom from a Near Death Survivor by Robert Kopecky

| 3 March 2019 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying)- Wisdom from a Near Death Survivor by Robert Kopecky

Llewellyn Books
March 2018
Paperback, $17.99 US
Reviewed by Natalie Salvo

Non-Fiction / Self-Help / Death & the Afterlife

50% Rocking

Near death experiences (NDEs) are a curious beast. While there have been some studies conducted, a lot of things remain unknown. Robert Kopecky is a self-styled expert on these, having experienced three of them himself. The title of his book, How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), suggests a funny and playful look at the topic, but is actually quite a serious and spiritual self-help tome.

I’d describe my three “near deaths” as having sent me into different powerful states of being, as well as to apparently different locations. They were more sensory here-and-now experiences than physical journeys off to specific destinations. So, while keeping some of those traditional ideals in mind, I’ll be discussing and describing Heaven in terms of those states of being–experiences of light, sensation and potential (in this earthly life or in lives to follow) rather than as any single, actual location we may actually arrive at.

Kopecky has had a career as an art director and illustrator. He is vague on the details of his NDEs, which seems strange given that this is what apparently lends him authority on the topic. The first involved a car accident when he experienced floating above his injured body. The second one saw him take stock of his life during a low-point in his self-destructive lifestyle. The third event occurred after he was beaten to a pulp and came to the realisation that he needed to be of service to people.

Humility is…less of a physical condition and more of a spiritual presence. It’s a centred, grounded emotional attitude whose appearance of quiet calm actually speaks very loudly about an unseen connection of great power and influence, and the potential for fulfilment on a very deep level. Humility, in its truest sense, has the quality of a force of Nature.

This book offers the tools learned from near death experiences without one having to go there. Kopecky repeats the same messages over and over again. The prose can be a little stuffy and expansive at times when the lessons can be summed up as: perspective, presence, and purpose.

At that point, you become a witness to the material world without being controlled by its ups and downs. You become a witness to the way your desires, your fears – your thoughts – can be defining your life in such a limiting way. You realise a new freedom, based on being loved, supported, and connected to the energy of liberated consciousness. All it takes is a little imagination, and a little action.

The perspective section is the longest part here. It describes things like: kindness, humility, honesty, forgiveness, compassion, and of being servient. At times Kopecky refers to quotes from philosophies or different religions. This section is unsurprising given that every religion seems to teach some form of karma and doing to others as you wish for them to do to you.

If you recall, in my second Near Death Experience I was given a kind of interactive picture show of certain parts of my life, and not the greatest hits but instead occasions when I was not honestly present in my reality. What that means to me is that in some mysteriously effective way all our actions are kept track of. Whether or not they’re entered into quantum data matrix (aka Aksasha, the Akashic records, the big book of our lives), there does exist an accounting of our karma. That was the source of my “life review.” It is a track record of sorts, the results of the causes and effects of our life choices. The seeds we plant determine how we grow toward our potential. Before you can realize Heaven, you have to accept that accounting and really take it to heart.

The part on presence is essentially a long-winded way of reminding people to act within the moment and to be in the here and now. The purpose section looks at things like meditation and cultivating healthy relationships. Some of this is practical and pop psychology 101. Kopecky is like a magpie gathering together colourful pieces of information from a number of different sources. While it’s pleasant enough to read, it is hardly revelatory.

There’s a simple set of priorities you can follow: What does the Universe give you to do? What can you do to help your life partners the most? And last (but not least) of all, what do you want for your own life? Answering the first two will answer the third.

This book includes around 15 exercises that open-minded readers can practice. These are little experiments that people can try on for size to incorporate into their own lives. A lot of this is rather warm and fuzzy in nature so there will be some people who will find this spiritual book quite inspirational.

How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying) is a sprawling and repetitive book where a multiple NDE survivor lives to tell the tale. This self-help guide draws elements from different religions and philosophies and encourages readers to rethink their lives. This kind of thing isn’t for everyone, but it could be a welcome panacea for those overwhelmed by existential angst. But others might take similar comfort in saying, “Go to hell.”

Category: Book Reviews

About the Author ()

Natalie Salvo is a foodie and writer from Sydney. You can find her digging around in second hand book shops or submerged in vinyl crates at good record stores. Her website is at:

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