Easter is the time of the year to reflect on life and death and – afterlife?
I have known 2 very reliable person who have reported after death experiences: One died clinically on the operation table, experienced an out of the body scene, where from the top of the room he saw the doctors fighting to resuscitate him. Then he passed through the often described dark tunnel with light at the end. There, he was received by friendly voices telling him not to be afraid. “We know all about you” – they said (for better or worse!). Then he went back to life. He said that he longed back to that place. An acquaintance of my uncle had the same experience.
A woman told me she was married to a German officer on the eastern front during WWII. I have seen his photo. One morning she awoke – seeing her husband in half. He told her he was well and that she should not worry about him.
She then noted the time and rushed to her sister, whom she was visiting, crying: “My husband has fallen, I know!” In fact he had – and as she was later told by his group leader, he had trodden on a landmine and was blown into 2 halves – on the day and at the time, she had noted for her experience. She cried telling me this and swore that it was true.
I had a friend, a vicar, who was visionary. He had witnessed many near death experiences – and seen white or black angels around dying persons. He really believed it – and he was no liar.
Three times he had the same vision of Europe´s horrible future – seeing it with open eyes, not sleeping.
Nonsense, you will probably say.
But now science has proved the existence of consciousness after death, so-called near death experience.
The Medical Daily 7 Oct. 2014: While medical schools teach doctors you only have five minutes after your heart stops before your brain is damaged, this is not precisely true; some people have been clinically dead for longer than that, yet their brains survive intact.
A new study of cardiac arrest patients indicates that 46 percent had memories of the time during which they were clinically dead, while two percent could explicitly recall seeing and hearing events related to their resuscitation. These results, the researchers say, suggest consciousness is present beyond the point at which scientists can detect it. Our minds, then, may be separate from our brains.
From Parnia S, Spearpoint K, de Vos G, et al. AWARE—AWAreness during REsuscitation—A prospective study. Resuscitation. 2014:
The four-year observational study used a three-stage interview process by which the researchers tested the accuracy of claims of visual and auditory awareness/memories during cardiac arrest and then objectively verified these claims.
Dr. Mary Neal, a member of the panel discussion, believes these after life experiences are not simple recollection. “It is qualitatively different type of memory,” said Neal, who drowned in a kayak accident, remaining underwater for up to 30 minutes. This experience, she said, of being dead is not the same as, say, her unforgettable memory of the day her son was killed.
Dr. Peter Fenwick, another member of the panel as well as a neuropsychiatrist, believes out of body experiences are very common, and have been recorded throughout the world and also throughout time. (Some believe one in 20 people will have an out of body experience in their lifetime.) During cardiac arrest, the brain is not functioning; however, many people have come out of their body to perceive what is going on around them. “This suggests the mind and brain can separate,” Fenwick stated. Some death-survivors, he noted, report hearing conversation taking place in another room, while others see not only the tops and sides of their body but also the bottom as well. Considering these experiences, Fenwick believes they may have entered a five-dimensional reality.
The Telegraph 7 Oct. 2014: The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely.
Scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria. Of 2060 cardiac arrest patients studied, 330 survived and of 140 surveyed. They found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted. “We know the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped”,
said Dr Sam Parnia, a former research fellow at Southampton University, now at the State University of New York, who led the study.
Although many could not recall specific details, some themes emerged:
1) “But in the case of a 57–year-old man, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, “The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three minute intervals. So we could time how long the experience lasted. He even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room.
2) unusual sense of peacefulness (20%) while nearly one third said
3) time had slowed down or speeded up.
4) Some recalled seeing a bright light; a golden flash or the Sun shining. Others recounted
5) feelings of fear or drowning or being dragged through deep water. 13 per cent said they had felt
6) separated from their bodies and the same number said
7) their senses had been heightened.
“Estimates have suggested that millions of people have had vivid experiences in relation to death but the scientific evidence has been ambiguous at best.
“We just don’t know what is going on. We are still very much in the dark about what happens when you die and hopefully this study will help shine a scientific lens onto that.”
Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander´s out-of-the-body experience
I have previously described the near death experience of Dr Eben Alexander, a Harvard-educated neurosurgeon, who fell into a coma for seven days in 2008 after contracting meningitis.
During his illness Dr Alexander says that the part of his brain which controls human thought and emotion “shut down” and that he then experienced “something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.” Dr Alexander says he was met by a beautiful blue-eyed woman in a “place of clouds, big fluffy pink-white ones” and “shimmering beings”.
The beings were quite simply different from anything I have known on this planet. They were more advanced. Higher forms.” The doctor adds that a “huge and booming like a glorious chant, came down from above, and I wondered if the winged beings were producing it. the sound was palpable and almost material, like a rain that you can feel on your skin but doesn’t get you wet.”
He added: “I know full well how extraordinary, how frankly unbelievable”. But what happened to me was, far from being delusional, as real or more real than any event in my life. That includes my wedding day and the birth of my two sons.”
Mike Adams, Natural News 12 Nov. 2012: brings more from Alexander´s book: Proof of Heaven. “The passage of “Proof of Heaven” I found most interesting is found on page 48, where Dr. Alexander says: “Through the Orb, [God] told me that there is not one universe but many — in fact, more than I could conceive — but that love lay at the center of them all. Evil was present in all the other universes as well, but only in the tiniest trace amounts. Evil was necessary because without it free will was impossible, and without free will there could be no growth — no chance for us to become what God longed for us to be.
Love dominated the afterlife to such a huge degree that the overall presence of evil was infinitesimally small.
• In the afterlife, all communication was telepathic. There was no need for spoken words, nor even any separation between the self and everything else happening around you.
• The moment you asked a question in your mind, the answers were immediately apparent in breathtaking depth and detail. There was no “unknown”.
• There also exists a literal Hell, which was described by Dr. Alexander as a place buried underground, with gnarled tree roots and demonic faces and never-ending torment. Dr. Alexander was rescued from this place by angelic beings and transported to Heaven – as he tells in the following video..
The Health System, University of Michigan: A study by Jimo Borjigin et al., showed shortly after clinical death, in which the heart stops beating and blood stops flowing to the brain, that rats display brain activity patterns characteristic of conscious perception. Researchers analyzed the recordings of brain activity called electroencephalograms (EEGs) from nine anesthetized rats undergoing experimentally induced cardiac arrest.
Within the first 30 seconds after cardiac arrest, all of the rats displayed a widespread, transient surge of highly synchronized brain activity that had features associated with a highly aroused brain. At near-death, many known electrical signatures of consciousness exceeded levels found in the waking state, suggesting that the brain is capable of well-organized electrical activity during the early stage of clinical death.”
Jimo Borjigin´s et al.´s original article writes: Following cardiac arrest, there was a transient rise of both feedback and feedforward connectivity for theta, alpha, beta, low-gamma (?1), and medium-gamma (?2) waves, which lasted for 30 s for gamma bands and 60 s for other bands (Fig. 4A).The levels of connectivity for all rats at near-death were nearly as high as waking for all frequency bands (except the delta bands) and significantly higher than anesthesia. Abstract of article here.
So, near death experiences are apparently real – but are they of physical or supernatural character?
A look at Borjigin´s graph above shows the EEG (assumed to be an indicator of consciousness) to be flat (isoelectric) after maximally 60 seconds.
The human experiences described above report consciousness for much longer time – after the patients were clinically dead. In one case there was still (normal) consciousness after 30 minutes of drowning!
So, much does indicate that consciousness is widely independent of the brain. The question of how thoughts are born – by physical brain activity – or a spark if God, called the soul has not been settled.
But apart from these considerations: Easter reminds us that one man did overcome pysical death. Although severely injured afte his crucifixion and normally he should have had mortal wound fever, he appeared before his disciples fit and unafected – although with his deep wounds – 2 days after he was crucified. His consciousness still lives – and he has promised his followers to experience a similar future as his after death (e.g. John 11:25–26).