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On Near Death and Out of Body Experiences! Part II
In this advanced technological era, death has been given a new meaning. In earlier days a person was considered dead when his or her heart beat stopped. But nowadays a person is not considered dead until the brain dies out. Even after the heartbeat of a person stops, the brain takes some time to die. People have been revived after their heart has stopped for some seconds with the help of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The time that passes between a heart failure and subsequent brain death (when a person is clinically dead), and the time between a heart failure and a cardiopulmonary resuscitation is the real enigma. People who have gone through this stage have told dramatic stories. This is a state that is still to be fully explored. Today doctors consider a person clinically dead only when brain death occurs.
There have been accounts where people have experienced out of body experiences without their will. These kinds of occurrences which happen without the presence of volition are very confusing to the investigators of this subject. Such people initially get really frightened. The feeling of leaving the physical body and going to places that are removed from the physical world is flabbergasting. Mostly when such people meet other people with similar experiences, their fears dissipate. Such transformational experiences have a definitive effect on changing one’s life. Recipients of such experiences have later accurately described the details of their journeys. They have explained the size of the room they visited, the number of people, their description, the location of the building or house, the furniture inside the house etc. such descriptions can sway the biases of most staunchest of skeptics. But that is not what has happened in the past. Just a handful of scientists have ever found the subject worthy of their time. No consistent studies have taken place. This has caused OBEs to be called another piece of non-scientific woo-woo. Again, the people whose lives have been changed by the OBEs do not think the same way.
After studying numerous cases of NDEs and OBEs researchers have found uncanny resemblances in them. Parapsychologists and psychologists believe that this might be due to a universal rule followed by every dead person. Others believe that this is due to the reason that somewhere in the deep and dark corners of our minds, we all have a similar psyche and thus the experiences that we have, such as the NDEs are similar. They believe that this is the time when our primal psychological build ups prove to have a common basis.
Studying these similarities, a scenario can be created which shows how a person feels during an NDE. People have a sensation of weightlessness at first and then they feel they are freely floating in air, free from all bodily bonds. Some people feel as if they are looking at themselves from above. Then they realize that the feeling of pain has vanished and all their troubles and anxieties have subsided. They experience a sense of tranquillity.
Then comes the stage when people realize that they are having out of body experience. Many people say that they feel as if they are passing through a dark tunnel with a bright light at the end of it. Some say that they feel as if they are rising up to the heavens and as if some force is pulling them upward. Some people also describe that they have seen other people at the end of such tunnels which fill them with peace and love. Some have experiences that their whole life that they have lived slips past their eyes as if it were a video reel. Some have also said that after such experiences they had been filled with joy because of which they were reluctant to come back.
Is the subject of NDEs worth research?
Dr. Eben Alexander, who is an American neurosurgeon and who was a staunch skeptic of such phenomena because of his conditioning by virtue of his profession, experienced a severe attack of bacterial meningitis which induced a coma in the year 2008. Subsequently he went through a near death experience that changed his life forever. He has described this experience in his book Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife. He explains how his views changed after this profoundly transformational occurrence. The biggest problem with being skeptical about such experiences is that the skeptic has never had such an experience and that’s the long and short of it. The person who has gone through such a happening does not care what the skeptics say, because the recipient has personally experienced it. My firm belief is that the rigidity of the other side to not even make space for the possibility of existence of such a phenomenon smacks of arrogance and dogmatism.