Just reading this book had a profound effect on me. Dr. Jeffrey Long has done an in-depth study of Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) which crosses over several boundaries - age, place of birth, gender, and prior knowledge of NDEs. A survey was given to known NDEs who responded to questions carefully worded to detect fraud. I will attempt to provide the information which Dr. Long’s research has provided. It will be an overview of a vast amount of knowledge contained in the report.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Light From the Sky - Wikimedia
A Near-Death Experience may occur while a person is undergoing surgery or has had a serious accident. The person may be near death or already declared clinically dead. There is a pattern of elements that occur in NDEs which obliges the researcher to conclude that the Near-Death Experience was real and not imagined or fabricated by the victim.
Twelve Elements that are Present in a NDE
Those who have had a NDE report the following experiences:
1. Out-of-body experience (OBE). Separation of consciousness from the physical body.
2. Heightened senses.
3. Intense and generally positive emotions or feelings.
4. Passing into or through a tunnel.
5. Encountering a mystical or brilliant light.
6. Encountering other beings, either mystical beings or deceased relatives or friends.
7. A sense of alteration of time or space.
8. Life review.
9. Encountering unworldly (heavenly) realms.
10. Encountering or learning special knowledge.
11. Encountering a boundary or barrier.
12. A return to the body, either voluntary or involuntary.
Those who have had this experience often do not seek to share their memory with others, lest they be considered crazy or perhaps they have not assimilated the experience totally until a certain amount of time has elapsed.
Respondent Differences are Additional Proof
In order to demonstrate that the phenomenon is universal, Dr. Long and his associates collected data from the following groups also:
1. Children under five years old, and a second group of children from six to sixteen years of age. The innocence of these respondents and their answers indicated that the NDE was real.
2. Gender - There was no difference between the experience of males vs. females who had experienced an NDE.
3. Place of Birth - In order to account for cultural differences which might accept or deny the possibility of an NDE, respondents were sought from several continents, all of whom demonstrated the same elements of an NDE with the same frequency.
4. Prior knowledge of NDEs. There was no difference in the elements remembered by those who had heard previously about NDEs and those who had no prior knowledge of the phenomenon.
The Oprah Factor
Skeptics raised the question of whether increased knowledge of NDEs is now present due to stories related on television, and therefore decrease the legitimacy of those who claim to have experienced such an event. Dr. Long compared the responses to survey questions from people whose NDE occurred before 1975 with those whose NDE occurred after 1975. The very first publication concerning NDEs occurred in 1975 when Dr. Raymond Moody released his study entitled “Life After Life.” Before this, the general public were largely unaware that such an occurrence existed. It was shown that the same elements occurred in the pre-1975 group as in the post-1975 group, and with the same frequency. This study suggests strongly that the content of an NDE is not influenced by prior knowledge of the existence of an NDE.
Review of Life
When some persons undergo an NDE, real events from one’s life are seen as though they are scenes from a movie. The person watches himself interacting with the people in his life. He is able to feel how he has made others feel during certain events of his life. Often, the result is that the survivor makes important changes with the rest of his/her life. A spiritual being sometimes accompanies the person having a life review. One of the lessons of a life review is that knowledge and love are two elements we take with us when we die. Those who have a life review therefore tend to revere knowledge and love more highly after the NDE. Of all the elements of the NDE, the life review is by far the greatest catalyst for change.
The Out-of-Body Experience
The Out-of-Body experience (OBE) occurs in approximately half of all NDEs. Those who experienced the OBE are able to see surrounding events such as their own unconscious body from a height above it or the hospital personnel below who are trying to revive them. Many of the personal experiences related by respondents give credence to the Out-of-Body experience. A woman who suffered cardiac arrest was being inserted with a tube when it was noted that she had upper dentures which were removed and placed in a cart drawer in the operating room while the woman was comatose. A week later, the woman reported having an OBE and described the people present and stated that her dentures could be found in the cart drawer.
An Interesting Sub-Group
Case reports have been described of individual who were born totally blind and had experienced an NDE with the typical elements, including those with visual content. One woman, blind from birth, stated that she was above her body in the emergency room and watched as medical personnel tried to revive her. She recalled visiting a beautiful unearthly realm, meeting deceased friends, and experienced a review of her entire life. She was wearing her wedding rings which, of course, she had never seen. She was able to describe her wedding rings in detail, whereas before she had never understood the concept of vision.
Personal Stories of Respondents
Dr. Long included the personal stories of a number of respondents, all of whom spoke of similar experiences while they were undergoing the NDE. Some related that mere words could not reveal what the experience was like. Some recounted that they seemed to have knowledge of all things in an instant. Many did not wish to leave the other-worldly area to return to their bodies, but were often told that there was much work for them to do yet.
Most respondents revealed that they were no longer afraid of death after they experienced their NDE. They had a new or renewed belief in an afterlife. They related that it was a life-changing experience in that they appreciated life more, became kinder to others, no longer coveted material goods, and were much happier.
You May Want to Look Further into the Topic
This overview gives just a smattering of the information that was collected and reported by Dr. Long and his associates. You may not be a believe, but I am certain this analysis will lead you to look further into the study of Near-Death Experiences as they give evidence of an afterlife waiting for all of us.
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