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Monday, August 1, 2016

NDEs by Shirley Martin

I’ve never had one, although I’ve read quite a bit about them.  I’m referring to Near Death Experiences.

The term Near Death Experience is often misused.  So let’s discuss what it is not.  It doesn’t mean you almost drowned, or that you almost had a fatal  car crash.

How do you define a near death experience?  Here’s the online dictionary’s definition: “An occurrence in which a person comes very close to dying and has memories of a spiritual experience, such as meeting dead friends and family members and seeing a white light when death was near.”  We see from the study discussed here that a person can be unconscious when he has this experience.  And of course, it can involve so much more than is given in the above definition.

The pathfinder in the study of near death experiences is Dr. Raymond Moody, who wrote “Life after Life” in 1975.  In this blog  posting, I quote almost entirely from  “Evidence of the Afterlife, the Science of Near Death Experiences” by Jeffrey Long, M.D. and Paul Perry.  Over ten years ago, Dr. Long, a radiation oncologist, developed an online questionnaire for people who have had NDEs, asking them numerous questions about their experiences but narrowing the study down to nine lines that best describe their experience.

On the study of near death experience, Dr. Long considered a person to be near death if the person was so physically compromised that he would die if his condition did not improve.  The NDErs studied in the doctor’s book were generally unconscious and often apparently physically dead with the absence of a heartbeat or breathing.  The experience had to occur at a time he was near death.  Besides that, the experience had to be lucid.

Dr. Long divided the NDEs into nine different aspects, or elements.   Not everyone had all nine elements.

The first element is lucid death.  One person had a brain hemorrhage in which he knew he was dead.  When he realized that he was dead, a great warmth of love enveloped  him.  If there is any one word that describes what goes on during a NDE it is love, an overwhelming warmth and love.  This patient was in a coma for three days.  During this time, he “saw” a world economic downturn and a nuclear explosion in North Korea.  Sound familiar?

A second aspect of NDE is an out-of-body experience.   In many NDEs, the OBE is the first element.  (It goes without saying that some people have an OBE when they are nowhere near death.)   Out of body means the separation of consciousness from the physical body.  We have all probably known of people on the operating table who floated up to the ceiling and could see the doctors working frantically on their body.

The third element is blind sight.  Doctors have found that many people who were born blind develop vision during the NDE.  They can see the same sort of things that other NDErs do.

A fourth element consists of people who had a near death experience while under anesthesia.  Many of these people may already have been near death before the operation.  A case study involved a man who experienced complications during surgery.  At first, all he saw was darkness.  Then he felt himself being pulled through a dark tunnel and coming out to a bright light.  After that,  he met his grandmother, who was dead.

The life review is an interesting element.  In this case, people see pictures of the life they have lived.   Many say it is like watching a movie of one’s life.  Here, the person is shown how he had hurt someone else, and he feels their emotions.  Some describe it as “life flashing before their eyes.”  Sometimes, spiritual beings accompany the person who is having the life review.  Some NDErs say their life review consisted of feelings rather than events.

A further aspect of the NDE is a family reunion.  Many see their loved ones who had died before.  We often read of a border that separates the NDEr from the loved  one, a border over which he can’t pass.  The near death experiencer is made to realize that once he crosses this border, there is no returning.  Often communication with their loved one is through telepathy.  People who had died years or decades before are often encountered.

Mark Twain said, “Death is the starlit strip between the companionship of yesterday and the reunion of tomorrow.”

Skeptics say that NDErs fabricate their experiences.  Yet very young children–five or under–are known to have had NDEs.  Dr. Long’s research reveals that very young children had every NDE element that older children and adults do.

What about people from other countries, especially non-Western countries?   Are their NDEs similar to those of people from the United States and other Western countries?  Dr. Long’s study is the largest cross-cultural study of NDEs ever done.  The doctor hired interpreters who have helped him in his research..  From his study we see we see that the NDE is the same throughout the world.

The last element in the doctor’s study–the ninth element–reveals that people often change their lives after their near death experience.  For one thing, they are no longer afraid of death.  Many people become more sympathetic, empathetic, and kinder.  They become more considerate of others.  Many realize that facing death is not the end but the beginning.

In thinking about NDEs, bear in mind that Dr. Long’s study is quite intensive and comprehensive and was conducted by a radiation oncologist.  So we can safely assume that the accounts registered in this study are factual.

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