Those who have had a near-death experience have one thing in common; many experienced some sort of life after death. Although they all vary to some degree, the majority described the feeling like an out-of-body experience. What are the differences between science and the spiritual reality of the out-of-body experience during a near-death experience?
Beliefs of the afterlife are quite different among many different people and religions. Some believe there is nothing after death, while others believe there is a heaven and hell. Others believe in life here on earth in a different plane, and some believe in reincarnation. Regardless of these beliefs, study shows that those who have a recollection of their near-death-experience described some type of out-of-body experience.
According to a study completed in 2001, some explain their experience like a true out-of-body experience, while others say they had the feeling of being dead, and some saw a bright light at the end of a tunnel. Some even experienced a feeling of being very happy and excited during their near-death experience. The study shows the scientific reasons for what could possibly be happening to those during a near-death experience, and it all pertains to the brain.
For those who experienced an out-of-body experience, it was though they were floating around and could see everything that was going on. One man described his out-of-body experience.
“I was out of my body and could see my friends pulling me out of the pool and trying to revive me. I was dead, but could see and hear everything that was being said and done. All of a sudden I was in a dark place. I was alone for a few minutes and then I returned in my body.”
For spiritualists, an out-of-body experience is simply the soul traveling out of the body. The scientific reasoning for an out-of-body experience is due to sleep paralysis, or rapid-eye movement (REM), in which the person may be aware of what is going on, but not able to integrate the stimuli. Without being able to process the stimuli, the person will begin to hallucinate, giving the person the out-of-body experience.
What about those who just had that feeling that they were dead? Scientifically, this is known as Cotard Syndrome. Cotard Syndrome is a very rare mental disorder that causes a person to truly believe he or she is dead, even when that isn’t the case. This syndrome is caused by trauma to the parietal and the prefrontal cortex. Spiritually, when a person experiences near-death, it is normal for a person to realize the body is dead, but the soul lives on.
Many people describe their near-death experience as a travel through a tunnel towards a bright light. Some meet loved ones who have already passed, while on this journey to the bright light. Others see beautiful scenery and describe the light as supernatural. Scientifically, a person seeing a light at the end of a tunnel during a near-death experience could be caused by reduction of oxygen and blood flow, which in return causes loss of peripheral vision, also known as tunnel vision.
One remaining popular description of near-death experiences include having a feeling of happiness and excitement. Spiritually, those who feel happiness and excitement during death are experiencing remarkable events. Whether they may be seeing passed loved ones, beautiful sightings, or other supernatural views during a near-death experience, it is enough to cause great happiness. This gives many hope that an afterlife truly exists.
Scientifically, this happy feeling is caused by disruptions in the pre-frontal cortex and reward-circuits of the brain. This will likely cause a person during a near-death experience to feel happy and excited.
Reportedly, this study is only hypotheses and is only based on what people have reported during their near-death experiences.
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