My research has shown that out of the respondents who experienced an NDE, 30 (96.8%) felt an out-of-body existence, 21 (67.7%) had a vision of their life as a short film, 24 (77.4%) felt a sense of peace and ease, 22 (71%) experienced a feeling of joy, and as many as 29 (93.5%) saw some form of light at the end of the tunnel.
People who have gone through the NDE phenomenon believe in a large percentage that what happened to them is true. Some even believe that the part they lived through during their experience, whether it was a heart attack or some kind of accident, even if it lasted shortly in the real world (not longer than 10 minutes), their recollection of these events was consistently at an impressive level, even twenty or more years after the event, as Eben once said, “Too real to be real” (too real to be true). (Alexander, 2012) In longitudinal studies (Lommel, 2019), it was shown that these people remember all the details precisely. For instance, respondent 31 demonstrated that after 28 years, he knew exactly where everyone sat and what each person said. Of course, he also remembered which side of his trousers and belt the doctors cut through.
It should certainly be taken into account that this research was conducted on a small sample, and it is necessary to conduct further studies on the NDE phenomenon in our environment-region.
Personal Reflection on the Obtained Results and the NDE Phenomenon
Reading many papers, books, and listening to/watching thousands of interviews dealing with this phenomenon, and finally with my research and, of course, my experience, you might wonder why respondent #31 was mentioned multiple times and why we often take him as an example, why did we have exactly 31 respondents? .
I was born on May 31st, and I am respondent #31, I am not only investigating what happened to someone else but also what happened to me. Thus, this work is not just academic, but also my journey to the next chapter of my life. What do I think about this? Here is what I think; Well, first, this life is just a step in a series of steps. What comes next is actually precisely what we’ve learned in this chapter (life), and it leads directly to our next step. Most of us think that if we build churches, temples, or mosques, our heavenly life (paradise) is ensured. But I, and thousands of others who have gone through this, believe that these actions mean nothing. In the end, we see and carry with us only what we did selflessly for the benefit of humanity. As I mentioned earlier, when we see that life film which is so short yet so long, where every moment of our love towards others is felt from both sides (ours and those to whom the gesture was directed), then we should know that this life is actually a prelude to what’s coming, where we become what Harari (2015) would call “Homo Deus”, which translates to – man-god.
Whether we are on that path or a completely different one remains to be seen. However, research indicates that there is indeed something after this life, which is why I deliberately titled the paper “Is there life after life?”. Many believe in it, and science has confirmed that consciousness can exist without a body. According to Lommel, “According to the current, still widely accepted material paradigm, where people think that consciousness is a product of brain function, there would be no conscious experience during a heart attack since the brain ceases to function. What we know when people experience a heart attack – they are unconscious for a few seconds, bodily reflexes are gone, brain reflexes are gone, the gag reflex is gone (you can put a finger in the throat and nothing will happen), and the corneal reflex or pupil dilation does not respond to light, the breathing center near the brain stem stops functioning, so breathing stops, clinical findings show that the brain doesn’t function at all, EEG shows a flat line between 10-20 seconds, so there’s no measurable electrical activity in the brain, in that period there’s no brain function at all, and yet there are people who report enhanced consciousness, with the possibility of perception, emotions, cognition, memory…”
And all of this should have been impossible at that time.
“Consciousness is everywhere, beyond time, beyond space, both inside and outside our body, and our body and our brain only function as an interface, a transceiver. It receives information from consciousness, and the body and brain send information back to consciousness,” Van Lommel (2001).
In this day and age, with the science we possess, we are still limited but I hope that in the near future, we will hear much more about this phenomenon, and as science progresses and our cognitive perceptions evolve, I hope we will think more in terms of “What can I do for you?” (to brighten your day). As I wrote in one of my blog posts – we need to get used to giving gifts, and a gift doesn’t have to be material, it can be a smile or a hug (“A gift can be a smile, a kind word… I deliberately highlighted these words, think about it for a moment. A smile is a gift, so give it often, to those you love and to those you don’t know. It costs you nothing, but you can change someone’s life with it”).
In conclusion, I would say that as future psychologists, we need to be very empathetic and give the gift that our profession describes, which is listening. Sometimes listening opens up a person like a book, and we see things that we would never notice in conversation. It’s up to us to spread this knowledge and educate ourselves more by reading new research and following what science says about this phenomenon. Maybe one day science will surprise us all. Until then, we remain ready and willing to listen, hoping that people in our community will start talking about this phenomenon without fearing that someone might think they’re crazy.
And with that, I leave you, dear reader, in the hope that this read has piqued your interest in this very important subject.