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21 Days - 5

21 Days - 5

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Published by: Volnei Ramos Martins on Sep 20, 2012
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09/02/2013

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24
Day 5
Near-Death Experiences
I was still in the room, but instead of being sick in my bed I left my body and floated up to the ceiling. I saw my body like a dead pig dressed in my clothes. My children wept over me, and this caused me intense pain. I tried totalk to my family, but no one could hear me.
The subject of near-death experiences is not new, even to me. I've often read of peoplereporting experiences like the one quoted above. There are hundreds of books, newsreports, documentaries, even a couple of Hollywood movies talking about that. It's nosurprise that so many people report such experiences today - they are influenced by thisoverflow of information
.
Umm... Please re-read carefully the quote. What do you notice?
Nothing special. It seems to me the typical near-death experience you would read aboutin a tabloid.
You mean the kind of thing lots of people think they have experienced because they're influenced?
Yes, exactly.
Well, the quote is from Lingza Choki, a Tibetan aristocrat who lived (and nearly died...) in the 16thcentury. That's a few years before tabloids.
Oh.
Oh, yes. Let's start by addressing this first, common misconception. Near-death experiences, whichfrom now on we'll refer to as NDEs, are not a phenomenon of the last 40 years. They have beenconsistently reported by all civilizations throughout history. A very similar account, for instance, canbe found in the Hammurabi Code from ancient Mesopotamia, dating back to ca. 1760 BC. This initself is an enormously fascinating subject. If you are interested, a scholarly but very readable reviewis available from Oxford University Press (Zaleski, Carol.
Otherworldly journeys: Accounts of near-death experiences in medieval and modern times
. 1987).
You have surprised me again there. Can we start the NDE thing from the beginning,then?
All right. As usual, it is difficult for me to select points which are salient for our discussion amidst theocean of available information. As I have done with previous subjects, I will select one particularsource to get us started.On December 15, 2001, the highly respected international medical journal,
The Lancet 
, published a13-year study of NDEs observed in 10 different Dutch hospitals. This is one of the very few NDEstudies to be conducted prospectively, meaning that a large group of people experiencing cessation
 
 
25
of their heart and/or breathing function were resuscitated during a fixed period of time, and wereinterviewed. Through those interviews the doctors discovered who had experienced NDEs and whoha
dn’t
. The advantage of this type of study is that it gives scientists a matched comparison group of non-NDE patients against which to compare the NDErs, and that in turn gives scientists much morereliable data about the possible causes and consequences of the near-death experience.Of the 344 patients tracked by the Dutch team, 18% had some memory from their period of unconsciousness, and nearly 12% (1 out of every 8) had what the physicians called a "core" or "deep"NDE. The researchers defined that as a memory by the patient from their period of unconsciousnesswhich scored six or more points on the scale published by Dr. Ken Ring in his 1980 study,
Life at Death: A Scientific Investigation of the Near-Death Experience
,. This scale includes:
 
A sensation of floating out of one's body. Often followed by an out-of-body experience where allthat goes on around the "vacated" body is both seen and heard accurately.
 
Passing through a dark tunnel. Or black hole or encountering some kind of darkness. This is oftenaccompanied by a feeling or sensation of movement or acceleration. "Wind" may be heard or felt.
 
Ascending toward a light at the end of the darkness. A light of incredible brilliance, with thepossibility of seeing people, animals, plants, lush outdoors, and even cities within the light.
 
Greeted by friendly voices, people or beings who may be strangers, loved ones, or religiousfigures. Conversation can ensue, information or a message may be given.
 
Seeing a panoramic review of the life just lived, from birth to death or in reverse order,sometimes becoming a reliving of the life rather than a dispassionate viewing. The person's lifecan be reviewed in its entirety or in segments. This is usually accompanied by a feeling or need toassess loss or gains during the life to determine what was learned or not learned. Other beingscan take part in this judgment like process or offer advice.
 
A reluctance to return to the earth plane, but invariably realizing either their job on earth is notfinished or a mission must yet be accomplished before they can return to stay.
 
Warped sense of time and space. Discovering time and space do not exist, losing the need torecognize measurements of life either as valid or necessary.
 
Disappointment at being revived. Often feeling a need to shrink or somehow squeeze to fit backin to the physical body. There can be unpleasantness, even anger or tears at the realization theyare now back in their bodies and no longer on "The Other Side."
Yes, this very much corresponds to what I have heard on NDEs. The first explanationthat comes to mind is that these are hallucinations produced by a dying brain. It seemsquite possible to me that a mind deprived of oxygen would start producing fantastic
images…
 
Have you ever tried LSD yourself?
Oh, God, no!
Have you ever worked with schizophrenic patients?
 
 
26No - of course not.
Well, if you did
try LSD or know about the delirium of schizophrenic patients
you would knowthat hallucinations indeed belong to the same category of experiences as those reported by NDErs.
You see?
No, wait a moment. I am not saying they are the same thing, I’m just saying they belong to the same
category of experiences. There are three main objections that invalidate the hallucinatoryexplanation of NDEs. First: anybody familiar with drugs- or psychosis-induced hallucinations knowsthat they come in an infinite variety of forms. No two acid trips are ever equal, no two schizophrenicpatients report the same hallucinations and very often the same patient goes through extremelydifferent experiences. NDEs have an astounding degree of consistency: independently of age, race,education, religious beliefs, NDErs have reported the very same experience for the last 5,000 years.Second: if NDEs were indeed hallucinations produced by anoxia, why do only 18% of the patientsexperiencing anoxia report an NDE? Third and possibly most important: if you look at theelectroencephalogram of a person experiencing hallucinations you see a very, often extremelyactive brain. The EEG of NDErs is flat
 
that’s why they are considered clinically dead. How do you
explain the richness of the experience with a brain showing no electrical activity? Even moreastonishingly, how is it possible that an apparently non functioning brain can activate themechanism that supports long-term memorization (NDErs recall their experience with the samedegree of detail when interviewed again several years later)?
I don’t know… I have no explanations.
Could it not be an effect of the drugsadministered to the critically ill patient?
Then, how would you explain that patients who were given completely different drugs
or no drugsat all
report exactly the same experience? Let me quote Dr. Pim Van Lommell, the author of theDutch study I mentioned before, to address some of the most common criticisms of NDEs.
Our results show that medical factors cannot account for theoccurrence of NDEs. All patients had a cardiac arrest, and wereclinically dead with unconsciousness resulting from insufficientblood supply to the brain. In those circumstances, the EEG (ameasure of brain electrical activity) becomes flat, and if Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation is not started within 5-10 minutes,irreparable damage is done to the brain and the patient will die.According to the theory that NDEs are caused by anoxia, allpatients in our study should have had an NDE, but only 18%reported having an NDE... There is also a theory that NDE iscaused psychologically, by the fear of death. But only a verysmall percentage of our patients said they had been afraidseconds before their cardiac arrest - it happened too suddenlyfor them to realize what was occurring. More patients than the frightened onesreported NDEs. Finally, differences in drug treatments during resuscitation did notcorrelate with the likelihood of patients experiencing NDEs, nor with the depth of their
NDEs.”
 And.
And?

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