The hereafter within us

Near-death experiences like this one have been more numerous over the last 15 years. This might be due to an improved resuscitation technology used by the emergency services, but also due to a rising interest in this theme. A lot of popular scientific books and also successful movies like “Ghost” and “Flatliner” deal with dying and the hereafter. Renowned scientists from various disciplines research these worldwide, unusual experiences within the framework of the “International Association for Near-Death Studies: (IANDS). The research director of the American IANDS is the psychiatrist Bruce Greyson, he also edits the quarterly Journal of Near-Death Studies. Sections of the IANDS have been established in many countries in the meantime. Over 3000 cases have up to date been investigated by around 60, mostly retrospective studies and collections of cases. It was established that: • Up to one third of all the people that were very close to dying or believed to have been close to dying, had a near-death experience. • During so-called deathbed symptoms, between 20% and 67% of all the dying suddenly experienced a variant of the near-death experience, a positive change of mood, saw “otherworldly” landscapes or deceased relatives, all according to culture. • What is interesting is that just as many people - between 20% and 71% - proclaim to have had experienced extrasensory perceptions like telepathy or clairvoyance. • Around a quarter of the population reports that out of body experiences - elements of neardeath experiences - often take place during everyday situations. Various pieces of circumstantial evidence suggest that the frequency of near-death experiences might even be underestimated. On hand of a sensitive questionnaire, one found that 29% of those that seemingly did not experience anything unusual when near death, did actually have such an experience. Those involved often remain silent because they are afraid of being discriminated against. One hardly ever asked about such experiences in European clinics and hospitals. A lot of people simply forget these dream-like, dissociative experiences or repress them because of their negative content. • Near-death experiences are not the prerogative of older people - children near death also have these experiences. They are in no way tied to demographic, sociological or psychological criteria. Elements of such experiences and similar cosmic-mystic experiences can also be produced through high doses of hallucination substances like LSD. Out of body experiences also happen during sleep, during deep meditation and under hypnosis or extreme stress, sexual abuse and also migraines or epileptic seizures. This indicates a universal proclivity for such states of consciousness. Accidents, life threatening illnesses, incidents during an operation or complications giving birth are classical triggers for near-death experiences. Those concerned are in no way biologically or clinically dead - heartbeat and breathing must not necessarily have ceased. Less than half of all near-death experiences basically happen when actually near dying. The concerned often simply expect to die. But these experiences seemed to be “more rounded” when genuinely near death.