The near-death experience [NDE] is hardly a new concept. First named in his 1975 work Life After Life, Raymond Moody was but one of many researchers and investigators to explore its nature and metaphysical significance.
It is interesting to note that he had Elisabeth Kubler-Ross write the preface to this book in which she ‘bemoans’ the fact that she had investigated over 20,000 cases but had not written about it or named it.
Numerous other first-hand experiences emerged in the form of books, films, articles. The New Age exploded with personal descriptions of the NDE. This was followed, of course, by the hard-core skeptics who have waged a relentless war against the spiritual significance of the NDE. They have asserted that it is essentially a hallucination caused by lack of oxygen to the brain, or too much carbon dioxide or to an anesthetic or any other insult to the brain.
The problem with these attacks is–they don’t really explain the phenomenon or how a ‘damaged’ brain can produce such consistent, nearly permanent memories. A recent discussion with a patient about her own ‘mini’ NDE will explain further. To paraphrase: Years ago I was operated on in the middle of the night for massive gynecological bleeding. I was in the recovery room as everyone was leaving but began to bleed once again. I went into shock and everyone was panicking. I next recall floating out of my body and could ‘see’ the gynecologist about to leave the hospital. It was about 2am and he couldn’t wait to get out and get some sleep. But strangely, he hesitated at the door. There was no one around him either. I can’t explain why, but he did. Just then he heard the stat page from the recovery room regarding my worsening condition. It was strange that I felt so peaceful, so detached from what was happening to my physical body. The next thing I recall was in the recovery again, after he had re-operated on me to stop the bleeding. About a week later I mentioned what had happened and how he hesitated before leaving the hospital that night. He was speechless and just shook his head. He remembered hesitating but couldn’t explain why. It seemed clear to me that if he would have left the hospital, I probably wouldn’t have made it.
Now, this NDE did not provide many of the typically described phenomena, the visitation with deceased relatives, the dark tunnel, the white light. And I have described other cases in my book Meta-Physician on Call For Better Health. But what struck me was the simplicity and truth to this experience. There is no way to explain the out-of body perception that this woman had. No appeal to physiologic or chemical disorders can explain how she could have ‘seen’ the gynecologist and his hesitation at that moment. No skeptic can offer ‘explanations’ for what happened.
Sometimes we just have to accept the most logical, though perplexing and metaphysically challenging conclusion: that our consciousness can exist independently of our physical body. Does lead one to accept the existence of our soul? Perhaps. Do you have a better explanation?