Have You Seen the Light?

You’re flat lining. The light is fading from your eyes as doctors yell something and rush you down a hallway of florescent lights. Suddenly, you feel like your floating and you are moving through a dark tunnel. At the end of a tunnel is a bright light. You rush toward it and become engulfed by it. But then you wake up, sitting in a hospital bed. The doctor tells you that your heart had stopped for a solid two minutes. As you try to explain what you saw and felt in your time out, you realize that you are among the 4-9% of people who have had a near-death experience (NDE).

What does it mean? To some, the common experiences found near death are an indication of the afterlife and soul. Others write the tales off to the random impulses of a dying drugged brain. However, some facets still remain unexplained. Why are NDEs so vivid and illuminating at a time when brain function is barely existent? Are you simply filling in the details later and attributing it to the near death experience?

There are several common experiences generally attributed to NDEs:

  • A sense of being outside one’s physical body
  • A sense of movement through darkness or a tunnel
  • Intense emotions
  • Heightened perceptions
  • Experiencing a great light or darkness
  • Perceiving a spiritual realm
  • Encounters with deceased loved ones, spiritual beings and/or religious figures
  • Knowledge of the nature of the universe
  • A life review
  • A sense of oneness and interconnectedness
  • A border of no return
  • A sense of having knowledge of the future
  • Message regarding life’s purpose

NDEs have a profound effect on people. In one survey by the International Association for Near-Death, 98% of people who had NDEs said they now believe that there is life after death. Additionally, Over 80% of surveyed NDErs expressed a strong increase in their concern for others and that life has meaning or purpose. Every day over 600 people in the U.S. experience an NDE, with some estimates indicating a higher number. Whatever the cause of the events, their effect is life changing.

Additional Resources

NDERF, Accounts of Near-Death Experiences: http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Archives/NDERF_NDEs.htmlo

Skeptiko Near-Death Experience Skeptics Running Out of Excuses: http://www.skeptiko.com/near-death-experience-skeptics-running-out-of-excuses/

International Association for Near-Death Studies Key Facts: http://iands.org/about-ndes/key-nde-facts.html

The Columbus Dispatch Essence of Near-Death Experiences Still Debated: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/05/29/essence-of-near-death-experiences-still-debated.html

National Geographic Near Death Experiences Explained? http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/04/100408-near-death-experiences-blood-carbon-dioxide/

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