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A near-death experience (NDE) is a personal experience associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, total serenity, security, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, and the presence of a light. 38%-50% of the American Adult population who come close to clinical death have had a near-death experience.
Explanatory models for the NDE can be divided into several broad categories, including psychological, physiological, and transcendental explanations. Research from neuroscience explains the NDE in terms of various physiological and psychological factors, while some NDE researchers in the field of near-death studies advocate for a transcendental explanation.
The equivalent French term expérience de mort imminente (experience of imminent death) was proposed by the French psychologist and epistemologist Victor Egger as a result of discussions in the 1890s among philosophers and psychologists concerning climbers’ stories of the panoramic life review during falls. In 1968 Celia Green published an analysis of 400 first-hand accounts of out-of-body experiences. This represented the first attempt to provide a taxonomy of such experiences, viewed simply as anomalous perceptual experiences, or hallucinations. These experiences were popularized by the work of psychiatrist Raymond Moody in 1975 as the near-death experience (NDE).
Researchers have identified the common elements that define near-death experiences.Bruce Greyson argues that the general features of the experience include impressions of being outside one’s physical body, visions of deceased relatives and religious figures, and transcendence of egotic and spatiotemporal boundaries. Many common elements have been reported, although the person’s interpretation of these events often corresponds with the cultural, philosophical, or religious beliefs of the person experiencing it.
Another common element in near-death experiences is angels. 46% of Americans believe in angels, and have claimed to see them during their NDE’s. This is particularly true for patients in a clinical setting.
Even though no single feature is found in every NDE, the traits that have been reported by NDErs are as follows:
- A sense/awareness of being dead.
- A sense of peace, well-being and painlessness. Positive emotions. A sense of removal from the world.
- An out-of-body experience. A perception of one’s body from an outside position. Sometimes observing doctors and nurses performing medical resuscitation efforts.
- A “tunnel experience” or entering a darkness. A sense of moving up, or through, a passageway or staircase.
- A rapid movement toward and/or sudden immersion in a powerful light (or “Being of Light”) which communicates with the person.
- An intense feeling of unconditional love and acceptance.
- Encountering “Beings of Light”, “Beings dressed in white”, or similar. Also, the possibility of being reunited with deceased loved ones.
- Receiving a life review, commonly referred to as “seeing one’s life flash before one’s eyes”.
- Receiving knowledge about one’s life and the nature of the universe.
- Approaching a border, or a decision by oneself or others to return to one’s body, often accompanied by a reluctance to return.
- Suddenly finding oneself back inside one’s body.
The Near Death Experiences Research Foundation is devoted to the study of NDE and support of those experiencing NDE and related experiences.
Check out NDERF here: http://www.nderf.org/
Thanks to Misha for being on with us. Really fun episode!
Find the raw unedited transcript here: http://www.thehumanxp.com/nderf-transcript/