Often, it is the fear of the unknown that drives man to the limits of sanity. Of all things that are considered to be frightening on this earth, the fear of death is probably the most widely experienced feeling.
What if some people have had the chance to take a peek inside the veil that separates life and death? What if… they had looked death in its eyes but managed to hold on to the temporal shells of their bodies? What if they have had… a Near Death Experience (NDE)?
As the name implies, people who have had this experience are often very ‘near’ to death… clinically or otherwise. The experience itself seems to manifest in the progression:
- A very unpleasant sound/noise is the first sensory impression to be noticed
- A sense of being dead.
- Pleasant emotions; calmness and serenity.
- An out of body experience: a sensation of floating above one’s own body and seeing the surrounding area.
- A sensation of moving upwards through a bright tunnel or narrow passageway.
- Meeting deceased relatives or spiritual figures.
- Encountering a being of light, or a light
- Being given a life review.
- Reaching a border or boundary.
- A feeling of being returned to the body, often accompanied by a reluctance.
Most scientists are quick to dismiss any such claims as hallucinations or some kind of neuro-biological phenomenon. A smaller group of paranormal researchers hold that NDEs are the evidence for the existence of an afterlife. Regardless, a person who has had a NDE truly believes in what he/ she experienced. And on that faith alone, their lives are changed forever, from that moment onwards, such as having a greater appreciation for life, higher self-esteem, greater compassion for others, elevated spirituality, greater ecological sensitivity etc.
Dr. Michael B Sabom, a cardiologist and Professor at the Emory University Medical School was a skeptic, but changed his opinion upon doing a bit of his own research. One of his case studies can be found here.
Contrary to popular belief, NDEs are probably not a modern phenomenon. One documented case that is well known in the Indian spiritual circles is the story of Ajamila, which can be found here.
Myth? Legend? Believe it or not… where the question of “what happens close to or after death?” is concerned, truth and fiction lose their meaning.