Near-death experiences: explanations, examples and testimonials

look into the hereafter?

"Suddenly I realized the whole thing and had the feeling, 'Here I was before'.(...) I felt that the way through the gate would mean my final physical death. Conscious of having the opportunity to return with the insight that this state of being is a reality more real than anything we understand here, and the thought of my young wife and three small children, I decidedReturn "(From: Pim of Lommel / Endless Consciousness).

Many near-death sufferers report bright light at the end of a tunnel.(Image: brueggerart /

Others, however, who reported similar experiences, were not near death, but had an epileptic seizure, suffered a traumatic experience or actively introduced this altered consciousness - through meditation.

Esoteric authors see near-death experiences as evidence of a life after death and pick out certain characteristics of these experiences that they see as evidence of this: seeing their own bodies from the outside, beings that appear, a tunn

el that those concerned see and enter"Supernatural light".

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Critical researchers emphasize, however, that neither these beings nor the view into a tunnel or the overwhelming light appear in the majority of people who make and interpret these pictorial worlds as self-produced. Neurobiologists soberly look at near-death experiences as symptoms that certain brain functions are temporarily shut down.

Thus, near-death experiences are comparable to shock, post-traumatic stress disorder, trance or anesthesia.

"Interviews with the Dying"

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross has made a name for herself in the German gossip press since she published "Near-Death Reports" in 1969 in "Interviews with the Dying".She claimed that many of those bordering on death had similar experiences: the separation from the body, the review of one's life, a journey through a tunnel and a fulfilling light.

The Christian Raymond A. Moody sent a similar message of salvation in "The Life After Death" in 1975: After death, it continues and the dying is beautiful.

Moody and Kübler-Ross were both believers and sought out exactly what suited their religious needs. Hubert Knoblauch, a sociologist, studied so-called near-death experiences without these esoteric-ideological glasses.

interviewed over 2,000 people on death-related experiences. The results were completely different from those of the two religious evangelizers: they could not be generalized. After all, 60% of East Germans and 30% of West Germans made terrible experiences.

How the afterlife is experienced depends on the sociologist Hubert Knoblauch on the cultural background of the person concerned.(Photo: sunnychicka /

Garlic could not confirm the beautiful death that follows certain rules. Garlic's conclusion was clear: "The whole design of the hereafter, which is encountered in the near-death experience, is of course from this world".In other words, how a person experiences this condition depends on the culture in which he grew up.

The patients examined by Moody all came from the same Christian fundamentalist milieu as he, and his questions were suggestive. So his "research" had nothing to do with science, but with the proclamation of faith.

What are the causes?

The causes of altered consciousness have been the subject of research for some time now. In the 1990s, scientists examined in a study possible changes in the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the brain.

Doctors of the Virchow Clinic let test subjects breathe quickly in 1994 and then fainted. The healthy clients showed similar pictures to near-death experiences: they saw their lives as "passing through the film" and thought they were leaving their bodies.

The psychic experience of leaving the body is also a core experience of the shamanic journey that a shaman takes in an abnormal state of consciousness. He goes into a trance with fasting, drums, drugs or dances.

A core element of this psychic journey is the experience of a tunnel, behind which is the entrance to an invisible world that can be as full of wonders as it is terrible. Even shamans believe that their bodies, so to speak, "die" while in this "other world".However,

shamans are well in a state where brain functions change, usually not in a situation close to physical death.

For the near-death experience, however, it is important that shamans also believe that they are on their journey to the other world, that is, a world of the dead, to penetrate and come into contact with the ancestral spirits.

Neurobiology has since discovered that these experiences are not spinning, but that trance, like hallucinogens, actually produces visual worlds similar to those of a dream. The difference to the drug rush, however, is that the shaman remembers his experiences in detail. Exactly the same applies to near-death experiences.

Oxygen deficiency was not the cause of the experience in patients with cardiac arrest, but seven of those who reported a near-death experience had even higher levels of oxygen than patients without such an experience.

According to a study, the patients' detailed memories show that near-death experiences are not hallucinations.(Image: vchalup /

The near-death imaginations could not be explained as hallucinations. The chief physician, dr. Parnia emphasized: "All patients were able to remember the experience very precisely and in great detail. This does not suggest hallucinations. "

Body tissues obviously affect near-death experiences - but not only in the face of real death. Dying people often report overwhelming happiness. But what Christians and esoterics represent as "proof" of a life after death proves to be a push of the organism to survive.

The same feelings of happiness are experienced by people in extreme situations when they are on the brink of physical stress. Even more: For many marathon runners, the euphoria that sets in after many kilometers of running is the reason why they take on these hardships.

People who are critically injured in a car accident, about to freeze, freeclimbers climbing an overhang, bungee jumpers, or drowning people, all report a state of bliss that is just setting in on the climax of stress.

Torture victims also know the experience that their minds are released from the body and they no longer perceive the pain. Agents even train themselves to consciously learn such conditions.

Instead of looking into the hereafter, the body is thus brutally around this world: The brain releases more happiness hormones, so that people in need survive the dangerous situation.

Scientists see so-called near-death experiences not as one phenomenon, but as different experiences that need to be explained differently, but all of which cause the brain to spew out high levels of specific substances and block others.

One of the elements of the near-death experience, from a Christian-esoteric perspective, is the feeling of leaving one's own body.(Image: Spectral-Design /

Christian Esoteric Perspectives

One of the bestsellers of religiously inspired NDE literature is the fundamentalist Christian Raymond Moody of America. He systematically divides the near-death experiences into twelve elements:

1. The Ineffable of Experience.

2. A feeling of peace and tranquility. The pain has disappeared.

3. The realization of being dead. Sometimes there is a sound after that.

4. Leaving the body or an out-of-body experience( LFS).Your own resuscitation or surgery is perceived from a position outside and above your own body.

5. Stay in a dark room at the end of which there is a small patch of light to which it draws the dying: the tunnel experience. They are dragged at high speed to the light, which is very bright but not dazzling.

6. Perceiving an off-world environment, a wonderful landscape with beautiful colors, beautiful flowers and sometimes music.

7. Encounter and communication with deceased.

8. Encounter with a radiant light or a being of light. The experience of perfect acceptance and unconditional love. One comes into contact with deep knowledge and wisdom.

9. Life-view, life-panorama or review of the course of life since birth. Everything is relived. You can see all life in a single moment, there is no time or distance, everything is simultaneous, you can talk for days about this life show, which lasted only a few minutes.

10. Foresight. One has the feeling of surveying and looking at a part of life that lies before you. Again, there is neither time nor distance.

11. Detecting a boundary. It can be seen that after crossing this limit, it is no longer possible to return to one's own body.

12. The conscious return to the body. It takes great effort to leave this beautiful environment. After returning to the sick body, one feels deep disappointment that something so splendid was taken.

Moody says: "A human is dying. As his physical distress nears its climax, he hears the doctor declare him dead. Suddenly he perceives an unpleasant noise, a peal or hum, and at the same time he has the feeling.that he moves very quickly through a long, dark tunnel. "

The Christian author explains how the soul seems to leave the body:" After that he suddenly finds himself outside his body, but in the same environment as before. As if he were an observer, he now looks at his own body from a distance. Deeply agitated in his feelings, he lives from this strange observation post from the resuscitation attempts. "

For some sufferers, the entire life runs in fast motion in the inner eye.(Image: okunsto /

stimulus processing?

Richard Kinseher, on the other hand, sees NDEs not as a dying process, but as a stimulus in the brain.

  • He writes:

    • In the context of NTEs, 'out-of-body experiences' with detailed perception of the environment are reported: To be able to have sensory perceptions, the sensory organs must first of all be functional so that sensory stimuli can be registered. Then these stimuli must be directed by nerve conduction to the brain for further processing. And only then - in the brain - does sensory perception arise.
    • According to my explanatory model, NTEs make it possible to experience how a single stimulus is processed by the brain - a unique phenomenon. It helps to understand how the brain processes stimuli, how to store and remember experiences. Here one could learn to understand basic ways of working the brain.
    • According to my explanatory model, NTEs are recognizable as memory processes or how a virtual simulation is created by the brain( OBE).In the ongoing since 2008, The AWARE Study 'one wants to explore NDEs as dying - i. Senseless research is conducted on patients. If this delays treatment, it would be bodily harm through questionable research.
    • NTEs clearly show how reminder events occur. As people grow older and suffer from diseases that affect their memory( dementia, Alzheimer's disease), every opportunity should be harnessed to understand how the brain works - so that useful therapies for forgetting can be developed.

    When do you experience near-death experiences?

    1) cardiac arrest in patients with a heart attack or serious arrhythmia
    2.) coma by brain damage in a traffic accident or a brain hemorrhage
    3) coma when people almost drown
    4.) If not breathing or sugar coma
    5.) Inloss of consciousness due to low blood pressure - shock
    6.) When allergies
    7.) In severe sepsis
    8) during anesthesia
    9) during an electric shock

    near-death experiences may occur, for example during anesthesia.

    In all these situations, brain functions are temporarily out of order.but

    near-death experiences also occur without the brain functions are damaged:

    1.) In diseases with high fever
    2.) When dehydration and hypothermia
    3.) For depression and mental Kriesen
    5.) In meditation, trance and ecstasy
    6) spontaneously with no apparent cause
    7.) In situations of fear of death - not necessarily real closeness to death, for example, if a truck aquaplaning drives up the car, or if we slip in mountaineering

    a Affected reported

    "a fewWeeks I went to the ambulance of a hospital for a harmless traffic accident for neck pain and cervical syndrome. There I did not want to lie down despite the advice of a nurse, although I was dizzy, which unfortunately resulted in a fall and the injury of an artery in my nose. What followed was only in recent weeks slowly piece by piece to mind back "

    In the OP suffered the patient in cardiac arrest". Anyway But since there were massive shock and circulatory problems and I responded actually allergic, followed by a cardiac arrest with resuscitation,thank god! !was successful. I've learned a lot from this phase, counting heart pressure, putting on the defibrillator and tuning. Partly as in a dream, partly totally distanced, partly totally objective. I got cold, and I went to the light through the tunnel so often described, saw dead relatives. "

    It describes an experience that esoterics see as evidence of the existence of a hereafter:" But I also heard a voice that challenged me,to come back. Who told me what I still want to do in life, how great life is. As I learned afterwards, that was the emergency doctor who was still present in the shock room. "

    She returned to life actively:" There was a moment when I realized( as clearly as it is subconsciously) that I wasstand on the border and how much I want to live. And it went back with the help of the doctors. "

    Like many others concerned, this borderline experience was an incision for them to take life more seriously than before:" Life is a gift. I also liked to live before, but I've just seen how strong my will to live really was. The doctors afterwards told me that I was fighting a lot. Do not throw it away recklessly, it's always worth it. "

    The experienced borderline experience leads many of those affected to live more consciously and intensively afterwards.(Picture: Denis Rozhnovsky /

    Mystical experiences

    near-death experiences show, many elements of which also report people who made the mystical experience: A positive-religious sentiment, a feeling of intense reality, the experience of a unit feeling, the transcendence of timeand space, a transience of experience, speechlessness about the sensations and paradoxical events.

    Mystic and near-death experiences also have in common that many of those affected then give meaning questions a higher priority than before and are deeply involved with religious and philosophical issues.

    Science and Religion answer these overlaps between near-death and mysticism differently. Religious authorities see evidence that the mystics look into the hereafter and those who are near-death experience an insight into life after death. In other words, they consider such experiences as independent of the brain and body.

    Agnostics, on the other hand, view these experiences as subjective and explain interpretations through socialization and culture.

    Psychology, psychiatry, and neurophysiology also know classic elements of near-death experience, such as stepping out of the body and see this depersonalization as a biological process. So there are autoscopic hallucinations in which someone sees a picture of themselves outside their own body. A basic pattern of visual hallucinations is the tunnel, which shows near-death experiences as well as shamanic journeys.

    Out-of-body experiences

    Out-of-body experiences are similar to near-death experiences in many ways, of varying length and duration. Those affected believe that they are detached from their body, a unity of their body, even if they are paralyzed or limbs were amputated.

    They feel no pain, they think they can float and glide through the air, feel invisible and see me in the 360 ​​degree angle. They believe they can glide through walls, people or blankets.

    These correspondences suggest that in near-death experiences, certain brain areas are equally activated and others paralyzed. Out-of-body experiences occur not only in experiences of near death, but in meditation, migraine and vascular brain damage, but also in the "aura", which precedes an epileptic seizure.

    Near-Death Experienced report of these LFSs, as well as hypnotized and ecstatic, LSD consumers as well as people under the influence of psilocybin or mescaline. Consciously bringing about AKEs is considered a "shaman's" tool in many cultures.

    meditation allows out-of-body experiences.(Photo: Coka /

    A sufferer describes an out-of-body experience that he did not associate with death:

    "When I was about 10 years old, I lived in my uncle's house with my older brother, the major in the US medical corpsArmy was. One night I lay awake on my bed and looked at the ceiling beams of the old Spanish building that housed the living quarters. I asked myself some questions about what I did there and who I was. Suddenly I get up from bed and go to the next room. There I felt a strange feeling of weightlessness and a strange happy emotional mixture. I turned on the spot to go back to bed when, to my astonishment, I found myself lying in my bed. This surprising experience at this young age gave me a kind of jolt that shook me back into my body, so to speak. "

    He experienced both the happiness and the" seeing his body from the outside as in the reports of near-death experiences.

    Another victim more clearly tells how he left his body:

    "I woke up around 3 in the morning. I meditated briefly lying down and then fell asleep again. A short time later, while still falling asleep, I clearly and consciously felt a kind of detachment of my body. It felt like a gentle to-and-fro. I remember that I was surprised by the ease of detachment. I floated from my bed over my wife on my back, then slowly turned and looked down at my EMPTY bed. "

    Similarly, the out-of-body experience with an NDE reads: "I saw the nursery room from above: the cots, my mother by my bed, and my figure( indistinct).(...) It seemed like I should hold back my strength and creativity.- The fact was that after this clear experience, I re-established contact with my body. For a while I felt around and body at the same time. I experienced the hospital room like my own "body."And when I saw the pain of another crying mother sleeping in the company of her terminally ill child, it hurt me everywhere. "

    Out-of-body experiences are also associated with so-called" dreaming. "An Affected Reported:

    "Then it suddenly changed again when my son was 1.5 years old. He was pretty ill and I was always worried that even though I had a baby monitor, I might not hear him at night if there was something wrong with him. It was very strange almost like the first time, my son started to cry and I was suddenly in his room, he was sitting in his bed. I wanted to comfort him but it did not work and then I "woke up" suddenly and heard over the baby monitor that he was really crying and went to his room. He was sitting in his bed exactly as I had seen before. That made me realize that it could not have been a dream. " Extraordinary Experience

    The imagery of near-death experiences is in part in line with lucid dreams, illusionary awareness( oneiroid syndrome) and a loss of consciousness caused by centrifugal force.

    Trance and Dissociation

    In a dissociative trance, sufferers lose the sense of personal identity, their awareness narrows down to certain stimuli. Movements and speech are reduced to repeating the same actions.

    Obsession Trance causes actors to temporarily assume a different identity, which they ascribe to a spirit or God.

    psychologists describe the perception that the personality is detached from the body as a dissociative experience.

    Oxygen Deficiency

    studies have found that some near-death experiences have a lack of oxygen or an excess of carbon dioxide in the brain. Artificially induced impotence in many cases produced out-of-body experiences, as well as feelings of peace and happiness, painlessness, light phenomena, a different world, mythical creatures and tunneling experiences.

    The interpretation is culture-dependent

    The sociologist Knobloch undertook a comprehensive study of near-death experiences and found that the otherworldly experiences claimed by Christian esotericists like Moody were not a common feature at all - the reports rather reflected diverse biographical, cultural and social imprints.

    No direct danger of death

    Near-death experience is a term that is easily misleading, as Garlic found that less than half of those affected were really in mortal danger. Conversely, very few of those questioned by him, who were actually on the verge of death, reported such an experience. Sociology therefore speaks of near-death experience.

    Garlic emphasizes: "Contrary to the usual claim of a consistent structure, there was a great diversity in terms of content."

    Conclusion: There are hardly any universally valid elements. On the contrary, typical culture-related patterns show up: angels or grim reapers.

    Ethnologist Hans Peter Duerr explains: "To believe that such abilities or conditions could sometimes detach themselves from the organism and go somewhere through a tunnel, for example, is as pointless as the idea of ​​hammering a thought flat with a hammer."

    What does brain research say?

    brain researchers consider death-related experiences to be the ability of the brain to make sense in chaotic processes.

    What do the religions say?

    Shamanic cultures take it for granted that the soul detaches itself from the body. Jakob Ozols summed this up as follows: "After death, the soul form separates from the body and carries on its own life, largely separate from the body. However, she always returns to the skeleton and especially the skull to rest. In the living it leaves the head only at night or in extraordinary situations, such as sudden fright, severe illness or in special states such as in trance and ecstasy. The soul figure may not stay out long. If she does not return soon, he will become ill, he will be exposed to many dangers, and he will even have to die on prolonged absence of the soul form. "

    The mythical religions of antiquity already refer to the paradisiacal elements that appear in some near-death experiences. Thus, the Sumerian myth of Gilgamesh recounts: "After a long time, he arrives behind the seas at the end of the world to the river Chubur, the last frontier before the realm of the dead. Gilgamesh left the world and crawled through an endless dark tunnel. It was a long, uncomfortable way. .. but in the end he saw light at the end of the dark tube. He came to the exit of the tunnel and saw a magnificent garden. The trees carried pearls and jewels, and above all, a wonderful light poured out its rays. Gilgamesh wanted to stay in the other world. But the sun god sent him back through the tunnel into his life. "

    Plato wrote about an experience bordering on death:" After leaving his body, he arrived at an otherworldly place criss-crossed by four huge caves. ..( Then, at the exit from the underworld, he saw `unclean and sullied souls';but on the way that led down from heaven, pure and purified souls. They all camped in a field and shared each other's experiences in each place from where they came. ..( those who descended from heaven) spoke of the immense joy and bliss they received there. "

    Light Visions Can Alsoregardless of near-death experiences occur.(Image: sdecoret /

    What does neurobiology say?

    The neurologist dr. Birk Engmann from Leipzig, says clearly: "Such experiences do not exist only after a past clinical death, but also in everyday life, in diseases such as epilepsy or when someone abuses drugs. So in the brain, different things can trigger the same reactions. I had a client who talked about light visions and thought he had had a near-death experience. It turned out that he had never been clinically dead in his life. "

    According to Engmann, the term is wrong in common usage:" Near-death is when one has survived a clinical death. It is not clear exactly what causes these phenomena, especially in clinical death. You can not study near-death phenomena at the exact moment they are likely to occur, the brain death just happened. "

    The neurologist explains," If someone is clinically dead, so the heart is at rest, then no more blood circulates through the body. Therefore, all organs are no longer supplied with enough oxygen and nutrients, especially sugar. The brain can only live without oxygen for about five minutes, after which nerve cells die off. Then it comes to irreversible damage and finally to brain death. If the brain gets too little oxygen at near-death, it can no longer function properly: Signals are no longer transmitted properly. "

    But what does that say about the experiences that tell those affected in iridescent colors. Engmann explains: "Thus, for example, light visions can develop in the occipital lobe, which processes visual input, even though there is no light at all. Out-of-body experiences in turn may arise in the area of ​​the apex and temporal lobe, because these brain regions are important for the self-living of one's own body and its localization in space. But that stops when you have survived the near-death and enough oxygen in the brain arrives again. "

    The neurologist Prof. dr. Dr. Wilfried Kuhn from Schweinfurt identifies NDEs by seven hallmarks: Awareness near death, experience, tunnel phenomenon, life review, extrasensory perceptions, spiritual transformation, difference to hallucinations.

    Birk Engmann is certain that near-death experiences can be explained neurobiologically and give no indication of a life after death.(Dr. Utz Anhalt)

near-death experiences refer to particular states of consciousness in which people believe they have been close to death or have already crossed the threshold to death. In fact, many of those affected were in a situation that immediately threatened their lives - for example, through a circulatory collapse.

Table of Contents

  • Looking into the hereafter?
  • "Dying Interviews"
  • What are the causes?
  • Christian Esoteric Perspectives
  • Stimulus Processing?
  • When do you experience near-death experiences?
  • Mystical Experience
  • Out of Body Experience
  • Experiences
  • Exceptional Experience
  • Trance and Dissociation
  • Oxygen Deficiency
  • The Interpretation is Culture-Dependent
  • No Direct Danger of Death
  • What Does Brain Research Say?
  • What do the religions say?
  • What does neurobiology say?

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