NDE Overview


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Near Death Experience Overview

by Dr. Jeff.    

   The Near-Death Experience (NDE) may be defined as
"A lucid experience associated with perceived consciousness apart from the body occurring at the time of actual or threatened imminent death."  This definition is further discussed in the section "NDERF RESEARCH".

*** If you have experienced a NDE, please consider sharing the experience with us.  We hope our findings will help NDE experiencers further understand the meaning of their experience.***

NDE's are relatively common.  A Gallup Poll in 1992 led to an estimate that 13 million Americans may have experienced an NDE.  Research indicates approximately 30% of all people facing a life threatening event will experience an NDE.

Previous NDE investigators have greatly contributed our understanding of NDE.  What is clear is that NDE is not a hallucination or mental/psychiatric dysfunction.   They are real.  All NDE experiencers we talked with felt their experience was significant and meaningful.  NDE experiencers may have questions regarding their experience, yet have a deep sense the experience was real.

We are impressed with both the similarities and dissimilarities of NDE experiences.   While some experiencers have a detailed and prolonged experience, others have a shorter and less "dramatic" experience.  We believe all NDE experiences are significant and important in our quest to learn their meaning.

No two NDE experiences are identical, but within a group of experiences certain patterns become evident.  NDE experiencers describe one or more of the following (the order may vary):

Difficulty in explaining the NDE.  Ordinary language often seems inadequate to describe these extraordinary experiences.

Associated life threatening event.  The threat may be real or perceived, physical and/or psychological.

Separation of consciousness from the body.  Sensation of viewing surroundings from a place other than the physical body. Some may see their bodies from a distance.  Feeling the "self " is hovering overhead.

The ability  to see and hear details of events (which may be close or distant from the body) while unconscious.  These details (which may include a pronouncement of death) are often later confirmed by others who are generally astonished and mystified that the experiencer was aware of these events while unconscious.

Experiencing intensely powerful emotions.  These emotions may include ecstasy, fear, peace and calm.

6.    Hearing distinctive sounds.  Experiencers may report  hearing a variety of unusual sounds or noise.  They may be described as pleasant, musical, buzzing or ringing.

Passing into and through a dark tunnel. There may be feelings of floating into a cave, enclosure or void.   Movement may accelerate in the tunnel.  Occasionally another being(s) accompany this tunnel passage, though usually it is traveled alone.  A bright light is usually seen at the end of the tunnel, and is the destination of the travel through the tunnel.

Encounter with a bright light.  The light is often perceived as a being, either a spiritual being or a departed loved one.  The being is often described as intensely loving.

9.    Meeting others.  The experiencer may encounter other spiritual beings or departed loved ones. 

10.    Life review.  At times, experiencers are presented with a rapid panoramic review of their lives.  This review is very rapid, often extremely detailed, and often includes a presentation of how the experiencers actions affected others around them.  Some have received previously unknown information about ones life, i.e. adoption, hidden parentage or deceased siblings.

11.    Seeing or visiting beautiful locations.  Some experience travel to beautiful cities, libraries, gardens, pastoral scenes and shiny bodies of water.

12.    A sense of knowing universal order and purpose.  Some experience have a sense of deep understanding of the universe and/or life's meaning and purpose.

13.    Reaching a boundary.  The boundary may be a gate, cliff, fence, water, or some other barrier which the experiencer perceives may not be crossed if they are to return to the body.

14.    Awareness of future life events.  Although rare, some experience "flash-forwards" in time to witness themselves and events at a later time in their life. 

15.    Decision to return.  The decision to return to the physical body may be voluntary or involuntary.  If voluntary, the decision to return is often made following discussion with spiritual beings and is often associated with unfinished life responsibilities.  If involuntary, feelings of sadness, loss, depression and anxiety may follow. 

16.    Returning to the body.  Feelings of pain associated with the life threatening injury return.

17.    Special gifts.  Some experiencers report psychic or other paranormal abilities after an NDE.

18.    Changes of attitudes and beliefs.  A belief in God, loss of fear of death and a more loving interaction with others often follow an NDE.   Some NDE experiencers establish more loving relationships.  Other NDE experiencers find their change in attitudes and beliefs may alter previously established interpersonal relationship dynamics resulting in conflict with loved ones, family and friends.

Copyright1999 by Dr. Jeff and Jody Long