OVERVIEWS ON Near-Death Experiences (NDEs)
- Some Highlights from my Sept. 11 Talk to the APL Chapter of IANDS
- Highlights from Frontiers of Knowledge. [Includes key references.] Much, if not most, of the NDE research is conducted by scientifically trained medical doctors and psychologists. NDEs with out-of–body experiences (OBE) are producing very strong evidence that human consciousness is independent of the human brain and can exist outside the body. [See below]
- Blog Posting on NDEs and Research of:
- Importance of NDE Findings for Understanding Our Soul Nature July 27, 2011. [click here]
- Comparison of Rich NDEs with Between-Lives Regression [click here]
1. Some Highlights from my Sept. 11 Talk to the APL Chapter of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS). [09.18.14 Post]
In my presentations, the primary NDE case I described was that of New Thought leader Jan Price. I selected it because Jan’s NDE is one with very rich experiences in the spiritual realm. It represents what NDE researchers would label as a “full-blown” NDE.
In my summary of the comparison between NDEs and between-lives regression, I emphasized the following points:
- Jan’s experiences with her dog Maggi, brought up the issue: Do animals evolve to have human-like experiences? There is no mention of this is Newton’s between-lives cases.
- Why are NDE more impactful? (Many NDErs have psychological and/or physical changes.)
I picked up the idea that NDErs might be experiencing DNA changes because of their experiences–including being psychic. (This was attributed to Pim van Lommel, a major NDE researcher in conversation with the NDE author Judy Bachrach: Glimpsing Heaven.) P.M.H. Atwater in her large book, The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences, provides a comprehensive overview of the psychological and physical changes NDErs experience. She has two categories for each: most common (80 – 90% experience) and quite common (500 – 79% experience). The most common psychological ones include many psychic and spiritually related ones: becoming psychic/intuitive, knowing things (closer connection to Deity/God, prayerful).
I picked up the idea that NDErs might be experiencing DNA changes because of their experiences–including being psychic. (This was attributed to Pim van Lommel, a major NDE researcher in conversation with the NDE author Judy Bachrach: Glimpsing Heaven.)
2. NDE Highlights from Frontiers of Knowledge [Updated 2012.12.21]
Much, if not most, of the NDE research is conducted by scientifically trained medical doctors and psychologists. NDEs with out-of–body experiences (OBE) are producing very strong evidence that human consciousness is independent of the human brain and can exist outside the body. Many NDEs, especially those with rich spiritual realm (“heaven”) experiences are providing glimpses, and in some cases details, of the afterlife.
One surprising fact about NDE is how common they are. A major poll (Gallup) estimate that approximately 5 percent of Americans have had some elements of an NDE. Similar results were obtained in a German poll.
The above percentages seems very high, and a factor contributing to the large percentage is that not all near-death like experiences are produced by individuals who temporarily died. This is clearly evident in Atwater’s summary of the results from an International Association for Near-Death Studies questionnaire of 229 respondents who considered themselves to be near-death experiencers (NDErs).
- 23 percent experienced the phenomenon during actual clinical death,
- 40 percent at a time of serious illness or trauma, and
- 37 percent had theirs in a setting unrelated to anything that could be construed as life-threatening.
The surprising finding is the large percentage had their experiences under non-life threatening conditions.
I and many others consider the NDE research findings of the last 40 years to be breakthrough development in consciousness research. They invalidate one of the basic premises of mainstream medical and psychological research: that consciousness is a product of the evolutionary development of the physical brain. Emily Kelly writes, “In our opinion, no future scientific or philosophical discussion of the mind-brain problem can be fully responsible, intellectually, without taking these challenging data into account.” Based on his research finding, van Lommel goes even further:
“We reached the conclusion that the scientific approaches outlined so far fail to offer a satisfactory, irrefutable explanation for either the occurrence or the content of an NDE . . . Looking at the interaction between consciousness and the brain, we concluded that consciousness cannot be seen as the product of brain function.”
Another significant experience found in many NDEs are the individual’s consciousness “journeying” to the spiritual realm, a place of nonphysical reality, and describing its experiences and observations of that realm. In some of these NDEs, the individual’s consciousness is given the choice of staying in the spiritual realm or returning to their life—supporting the concept that there is an entity, called the soul, which continues after death. This information provides input for answering the first existential question I posed in the introduction: “What happens to us when we die? Is there an eternal soul consciousness that continues on?”
From his research, van Lommel writes, “It is hard to avoid the conclusion that our endless consciousness preceded birth and will survive death independently of the body and in a nonlocal space where time and place play no role.”
Key References Used for NDE Chapter
My major sources for NDEs are the following researchers: Raymond Moody, Jr., MD; Kenneth Ring, psychologist; Michael Sabom, MD; Jeffrey Long, MD; P. M. H. Atwater, LHD; Pim van Lommel, MD; and Bruce Greyson, MD. Three of the NDE books that I reference heavily are;
- Atwater, P.M.H., The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences: The Ultimate Guide to What Happens When We Die (Hampton Roads, 2007).
- Van Lommel, Pim, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (Harper Collins, Inc., 2010).
- Long, Jeffrey and Perry, Paul, Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences (Harper One, 2010).
The major Near-Death Experience Websites are:
- www.iands.org (International Association for Near Death Studies—IANDS)
- www.nderf.org (Near Death Experience Research Foundation—NDERF).
All the above websites provide a vast amount of information on the NDE phenomena, individual NDE cases, and highlights of NDE research. The following example from the IANDS website provides a great overview of NDE research and findings:
- Peter Fenwick, ” Science and Spirituality: A Challenge for the 21st Century,” The Bruce Greyson Lecture from the International Association for Near-Death Studies 2004 Annual Conference. http://iands.org/research/important-research-articles/42-dr-peter-fenwick-md-science-and-spirituality.html.
Two youtube videos on Pam Reynolds amazing NDE produced by BBC titled “PAM SEES GOD. NDE Pam Reynolds. Amazing!” are wonderful introductions to the amazing experiences that can occur in NDEs and the efforts by researchers to substantiate the reality of the reported experiences.
- Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNbdUEqDB-k
- Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osfIY4B3y1U
Overviews and highlights of most of the books I have referenced can be found at the www.Near-death.com website:
- Moody, Raymond A., Jr. Light Beyond: New Explorations by the Author of Life After Life (Bantam Books 1988).
- Kelly. Emily W., Greyson, Bruce, and Kelly, Edward F., “Unusual Experiences Near Death and Related Phenomena,” Irreducible Mind.
- Price, Jan, The Other Side of Death (Fawcett Columbine, 1996)
- Ring, Kenneth and Valarino, Evelyn Elsaesser, Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-Death Experience (Moment Point Press, 1998/2006)
- Ring, Kenneth and Cooper, Sharon, Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind (William James Center for Consciousness Studies, 1999).
- Sabom, Michael, Light and Death: One Doctor’s Fascinating Accounts of Near-Death Experience (Zondervan Publishing House, 1998)
- Zaleski, Carol, Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near Death Experiences in Medieval and Modern Times (Oxford University Press, 1987).
- Holden, Janice Miner, Greyson, Bruce, and James, Debbie The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigations (Praeger Publishers, 2009).