What exactly is an NDE?


A Near Death Experience, commonly abbreviated as NDE, is also referred to as an out of body experience. According to Pim Van Lommel, the distinguished Dutch cardiologist, who has spent over 30 years studying the phenomenon, NDE’s: ‘.. are the reported memories of all impressions experienced during a special type of consciousness, containing several specific elements as experiencing traveling through a tunnel, seeing a bright indescribable light, the viewing of one’s life as in a movie, encountering persons that passed away or the observation of the individuals own reanimation. This specific state of consciousness can take place during a cardiac arrest, meaning during a period of clinical death, yet also during severe illness, or even without a specific medical cause. This experience almost always causes radical and continuous changes in life attitude, usually eradicating all fear of death.’

According to the American NDE- researcher Bruce Greyson NDE’s: ‘are far-reaching psychological occurrences containing transcendental and mystical elements, usually happening to a person nearing death or finding themselves in situations of severe physical or emotional danger’

According to professor Janice Holden, the present chairlady of IANDS, the International Association of Near Death Studies NDE’s: ‘are reported memories to drastic psychological experiences containing generally psychic, transcendent and mystical elements. NDE’s occur during a specific state consciousness rising during a moment of real or threatening physical, psychological, emotional or spiritual dying. These experiences are followed by a specific set of after effects.’

According to Rev. G. Gordon Allen an NDE is:‘a specific state of consciousness, in other words an out of body experience. A time where the physical body stays behind and the consciousness of the person starts traveling into the spiritual domain. During the NDE the person does not experience any physical pain, because the body is no longer the container of the indwelling spirit which has effectively left the body. During the NDE the individual experiences a variety of occurrences depending on that person. The most important of all the experiences, all the people having had an NDE report, is a feeling of total unconditional love, as if coming home to a place where one is loved immutably and which one never wants to leave.’

As early as in 1975, Raymond Moody wrote his first book on NDE’s. Moody described the elements commonly occurring during an NDE.  This is not to say that in order for the experience to be called an NDE all elements should be part of it. Most people experience several of them. It is a rare occurrence that all the elements are being reported by one individual. Please note that the order of the elements may differ from person to person as every NDE is a unique experience.

The elements of NDE according to Dr. Raymond Moody:

  1. An almost impossible experience to put into words
  2. A feeling of peace and quiet. No more pain.
  3. Realization of being dead. Sometimes persons hear sounds.
  4. Out of body experience: the persons see themselves laying in the emergency room being reanimated.
  5. Dark NDE: experiencing a dark space, fearful (hellish NDE)
  6. Experiencing a tunnel, being drawn towards the light with uncommon speed.
  7. Observing non-worldly surroundings. Heavenly landscapes, beautiful colors, flowers and sometimes even music.
  8. Meeting and communicating with deceased persons.
  9. Encountering spiritual beings or Light beings.
  10. Experience of absolute and total unconditional love.
  11. Sudden dawning of deep spiritual knowledge and wisdom
  12. Seeing their life pass by as a movie as from birth. In one moment the whole life is being observed. Time and distance do not seem to exist as everything seems to be happen at the same moment.
  13. Flash forward: getting a feeling of sensing a part of life they are now still going to live. No time and distance in that fore view.
  14. Observing a limit. The person knows that once that threshold passed there is no returning back to the body.
  15. Conscious return into the body, this mostly creates a feeling of deep sadness because the beauty has been taken away from them

Different authors have written about the phases of an NDE. If you want to dive really deeply into the matter, we recommend you buy the wonderful book by Pim Van Lommel: Infinite Consciousness, a scientific vision on Near Death Experience. This book only came out in October 2007 and will be available in English in 2008. It contains everything you ever wanted to know about NDE and is written by a cardiologist who wanted to write a book on a spiritual subject from the scientific perspective. The book is a breakthrough in the medical world and became a bestseller in the Netherlands only 3 weeks after it first came out. It is now being translated in many languages. Van Lommels conclusion is a remarkable one for a scientist as after his extensive research and study of the phenomenon, and after having spoken to over 400 people reporting an NDE: Consciousness is not a function of the brain. Even when the person is clinically dead, his or her spirit lives on in the spiritual domain. This means that death is not the end. It may be the end of the existence of this particular body, but the spirit lives on in another dimension.

Please note that the information on this page has been mainly translated from Mr. Van Lommels book which we strongly recommend as a page-turner read!


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