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What Happens in a Near-Death Experience?

What Happens in a Near-Death Experience?

Everybody knows the story of the RMS Titanic. On April 15, 1912, the ship sunk in icy waters carrying 1,514 people. Not enough lifeboats were onboard, and when the first rescue ship arrived 90 minutes later, most of the passengers had perished.

It’s common knowledge that 28-degree water will kill people in short order. What’s only beginning to become known, however, is that it’s possible to bring them back to life after they’ve been pronounced dead. Since the Titanic sunk and movies have been made about it, a sea change has occurred, so to speak, in our understanding of death and the brain. We now know that cold preserves brain cells.

“As a result,” says intensive care physician and near-death expert Sam Parnia, “hypothermia is now commonly advocated as a form of treatment for this purpose. Furthermore, we know the transition from reversible to irreversible death also depends on many other factors, but if someone’s body temperature drops after death, the speed by which the cells reach the point of irreversible damage and death slows down considerably.”

The upshot? “Today we would not necessarily have declared those people dead,” says Parnia. He believes that a team of highly trained physicians could have returned them to life.

The implications are obviously dramatic and far-reaching. “We simply don’t have all the answers,” he says. “But we do know that the once held philosophical idea that there is no way back after death is not accurate and that there is a significant period of time after death in which it is fully reversible. The goalposts have moved, and we don’t know where the science will take us. Perhaps we should define death not by some arbitrary physical point or moment linked to a specific physiological change in the configuration of certain cells whether in the brain or otherwise but in terms of when a person’s consciousness, mind, psyche and soul—the self—have been lost forever and cannot be retrieved.”

These ideas are at the core of the online course The Intelligent Optimist will host on three Wednesdays in May (May 8, 15 and 22) with Parnia and two colleagues, former cardiologist and near-death researcher Pim van Lommel and Eben Alexander, a physician who wrote about his own near-death experience in the recent New York Times bestseller Proof of Heaven.

The course is sure to be controversial, advancing new ideas about the characteristics of the afterlife based on Alexander’s experiences, Van Lommel’s interviews and Parnia’s research and the potential impact of this growing awareness on our everyday lives.

What is the relationship between spirit and the body? And how does the stunning new evidence of the survival of consciousness beyond death in the field of near-death studies impact our everyday lives? Find out at this controversial, first-time summit with some of the leading voices in the field. Learn more: http://theoptimist.com/events-courses/courses/life-goes-on

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Life Goes On: A Life-and-Death Panel Discussion
Bestselling Author Eben Alexander and Near-Death Experts Sam Parnia and Pim van Lommel

Hosted by The Intelligent Optimist (formerly Ode magazine)
Dates: Wednesdays, May 8, 15 and 22
Time: 11 a.m. – 12:30pm PDT
Location: Online
Price: $125 Early Bird, $150 after April 15
Learn more by clicking here

Read more: Health, Intelligent Optimist, Life

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Jurriaan Kamp

The Intelligent Optimist is a community centered around a magazine, a website and online events and courses. We focus on the people, passion and possibilities changing our world for the better.

149 comments

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6:13AM PDT on May 9, 2013

You don't need an NDE to come to a realization you are a spirit and not a body. Also, it doesn't hinge on any particular religious idea. It's just natural and plain as day.

9:18AM PDT on May 8, 2013

Thanks

1:22AM PDT on May 4, 2013

(sorry, I have inadvertently sent several of the same message, and here is the continuation of it which didn't come out!) . . . I was engulfed by the most amazing and indescribably powerful love, joy and peace. When I returned to my body it took me a while to realise I was still here on earth because I had definitely been out. The way I could leave my body which was going through the accident, without feeling any of that, leads me to the comforting thought that maybe people in disasters such as 'plane crashes might have left their bodies before any huge physical suffering occurs, and instead be experiencing something loving and joyful on their journey home.

1:15AM PDT on May 4, 2013

Many people have had NDEs and have come back to tell about them. It's sad when people who haven't had such experiences try to find all sorts of explanations other than what happened to these people actually happened. Similarly, people who have faith in God usually do so, not blindly but because of their personal experience while others who haven't had such experiences make fun of them. Thinking of my own NDE, when I didn't actually die, chemical reactions while dying are unlikely to explain what I experienced, which was the same sort of thing reported by those who come back after being clinically dead for several minutes. In my experience during a car crash, just being sure I was going to die was enough for my spirit to leave my body and start out on the journey the 'back-from-clinical-death' people describe, and although I was not dead or even badly injured, I returned to my body knowing that life goes on after our time on earth is done. During the experience everything slowed down so that a split second, during which the car was written off, seemed like ages, the way time changes in the C S Lewis Narnia stories, if you have read those. I must have been thrown around inside the car as seat belts were not obligatory then, and a huge box full of cans of food on the back shelf of the car would have thrown its contents over me, yet I felt none of that. I was going down a tunnel of whirling colours, like you see when a washing machine is spin-drying its contents, and I was

1:15AM PDT on May 4, 2013

Many people have had NDEs and have come back to tell about them. It's sad when people who haven't had such experiences try to find all sorts of explanations other than what happened to these people actually happened. Similarly, people who have faith in God usually do so, not blindly but because of their personal experience while others who haven't had such experiences make fun of them. Thinking of my own NDE, when I didn't actually die, chemical reactions while dying are unlikely to explain what I experienced, which was the same sort of thing reported by those who come back after being clinically dead for several minutes. In my experience during a car crash, just being sure I was going to die was enough for my spirit to leave my body and start out on the journey the 'back-from-clinical-death' people describe, and although I was not dead or even badly injured, I returned to my body knowing that life goes on after our time on earth is done. During the experience everything slowed down so that a split second, during which the car was written off, seemed like ages, the way time changes in the C S Lewis Narnia stories, if you have read those. I must have been thrown around inside the car as seat belts were not obligatory then, and a huge box full of cans of food on the back shelf of the car would have thrown its contents over me, yet I felt none of that. I was going down a tunnel of whirling colours, like you see when a washing machine is spin-drying its contents, and I was

1:15AM PDT on May 4, 2013

Many people have had NDEs and have come back to tell about them. It's sad when people who haven't had such experiences try to find all sorts of explanations other than what happened to these people actually happened. Similarly, people who have faith in God usually do so, not blindly but because of their personal experience while others who haven't had such experiences make fun of them. Thinking of my own NDE, when I didn't actually die, chemical reactions while dying are unlikely to explain what I experienced, which was the same sort of thing reported by those who come back after being clinically dead for several minutes. In my experience during a car crash, just being sure I was going to die was enough for my spirit to leave my body and start out on the journey the 'back-from-clinical-death' people describe, and although I was not dead or even badly injured, I returned to my body knowing that life goes on after our time on earth is done. During the experience everything slowed down so that a split second, during which the car was written off, seemed like ages, the way time changes in the C S Lewis Narnia stories, if you have read those. I must have been thrown around inside the car as seat belts were not obligatory then, and a huge box full of cans of food on the back shelf of the car would have thrown its contents over me, yet I felt none of that. I was going down a tunnel of whirling colours, like you see when a washing machine is spin-drying its contents, and I was

9:39PM PDT on May 3, 2013

I would like to see someone come back to life after their body has beem cremated.

7:22PM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

interesting

2:43PM PDT on Apr 17, 2013

@RosemaryH: What can I say? The truth sometimes hurts. Should a doctor tell a person with cancer that they are 'fine?' To the patient, that would be comforting news, indeed, but it would be a lie and a terrible disservice, as well. There's just no easy way to say it: there is/are (very most likely) no god or gods, and you're wasting precious time and money having anything to do with Him/Them. And before you bring up the rather irrelevant point about religions "helping the community," may I point out that every benefit churches provide can and are also provided by secular (non-religious) means. For a clear view of the only difference between what motivates religious and non-religious charites, for example: a non-religious charity is funded and run by good people who want to help their fellow humans, whereas the religious charity is prompted, at least in part, by promises of heaven and threats of hell. The religious must rack up those good points to offset their bad points so they can sit on clouds and play harps for eternity. Not the purest reasons for being humane, is it. "Get on the stick, or when the Rapture comes, you'll be ground-bound." Heh! You religious people - you're just so damned strange!

3:34PM PDT on Apr 16, 2013

i agree with rosanne h as i had a NDE myself and it did change my life forever and made me appreaciate even the little things in life and to be as happy as i can every day i posted here about it allready. i was hitching a ride a month after it and preacher picked me up i told him and he said it was a warning from god.and 4 years after it i started to become a vegetarian

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people are talking

might help some and that'll make it worth it

i dont care what you say, theres research out there proving that many vaccines have been compromised…

Who did not feel shocked or remember one of these facts?

It´s good that these beautiful people are sharing their spirituality.

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