What happens to the soul after we die and is there life after death? Eyewitnesses describe their near death experience stories as extremely positive. Since ancient times, different civilizations and people have told their mythical stories about the afterlife and the reincarnation of the soul. The Egyptians, the Incas, the Sumerians, the Romans, the Aztecs, the Hellenes, the Indians, and many others believed in it and that death is not the true end of our lives. In the modern European world, this topic has been a taboo for a long time. Not much is explained about death, and even less about its mysterious possible continuation. However, this is changing. As medicine advances, many patients die (their heart stops or they stop breathing for some reason), but through modern technology and medical equipment, they are resuscitated and often brought back to life.
A near death experience
During this process, many go through the so-called NDE – “Near-Death Experience”. In addition to clinical death, it can also be provoked at times when we are “near death” (for example, in an accident, fall from a height or in other incidents), as well as at times when death is expected to occur. Most people are disturbed by what they experience in the gap between life, death and life again. They are often afraid or ashamed to talk about their near-death experiences, so they are not thought of being crazy or being laughed at. Medicine officially declares near-death experiences as hallucinations, mental pathologies, self-scanning of the brain as a survival technique, fantasies, manifestations of the imagination. Over time, more and more patients began to share their strange visions with doctors, medical staff, psychologists, psychiatrists, and even the media. Thus, near death experience stories gain popularity and become available to more people. Contrary to clinicians, many researchers are intrigued by the unusual, even supernatural accounts of their patients who have experienced NDE. They begin to study them in depth and build theories and hypotheses about their appearance and essence.
Life after life
The first to officially examine the NDE phenomenon and allow himself to speak publicly about it was Raymond Moody in the book – Life After Life, which became an instant bestseller. It was first published in 1975. In the book, the author describes over 100 cases of people who fell into “clinical death” and subsequently returned to life. Their near death experience stories completely overturned the recent understanding of life and death and life after it. Moody first coined the term Near-Death Experience and quickly became a world-renowned author and mentor in the field. His examples and writings inspired many future researchers of the mystical phenomenon. It is important to note that most NDEs are positive. Patients describe them as pleasant experiences. But there are also those that are frightening and bring unpleasant sensations.
What do people see in near death experiences?
In near-death experiences, people see, hear, and feel a wide variety of sights, sounds, and feelings. We will list the most common among them, but we must not forget that everything is strictly individual and there is no exact rule about what we would experience when experiencing the threshold of death.
– Sensation of separation of the spirit from the body and being carried in the air (levitation);
– Elevating and watching your own body and the doctors in the room (or other people) trying to revive it;
– Going into places that people liken to Heaven or Hell;
– Visions associated with symbols, revealing karmic connections, fragments of past lives;
– Meetings with long-dead loved ones and relatives; a feeling of being among familiar people;
– Bright light;
– A long dark tunnel and a light at the end;
– Strong heat;
– A pleasant feeling of calmness, harmony and peace;
– A feeling of boundless love and bliss;
– Encounters with God and/or other celestial beings;
– Flashback of current life (seen as a scrolling book or film);
– Disappearance of pain;
– Fear and anxiety, etc.
“Explosion in Activity”
The anesthesiologist Dr. Dimitar Dimitrov says in one of his interviews that from a medical point of view, NDEs are conditions in which we have impaired or stopped blood circulation or impaired or stopped external breathing. That is, there is no gas exchange between the lungs and the atmosphere. In these conditions, the patient is in a coma. And if action is not taken within minutes, the patient will die. The theory that scientifically explains NDE is that when blood circulation is stopped, there is a strong excitation of the brain. Something like a “burst of activity”. It is during this period that one reaches the strange visions, sensations, supernatural experiences. At this moment, the body fights with its last strength against the coming agony and releases a large amount of endorphins. Thus, the anesthesiologist explains the pleasant sensations such as separation from the body, light, warmth, all the pleasant feelings and emotions described by the patients. And he claims that NDEs are actually memories or things that at some point in our lives have strongly impressed our brains. In other words, a flashback to memories.
“I knew I was immortal, that I was eternal, that I would always be…”
Among the thousands of people with near death experience stories is Janey Smith. During the birth of her second child, she died, after which doctors managed to bring her back to life. Here’s what she says:” I was fully aware of everything. I was in the dark. I couldn’t see anything. I thought this wasn’t meant to be. I’m not supposed to know anything, but I did. What happened? At that moment I felt something leave my body. It leaked. It went up from my chest to the top of my head. I could feel it and hear it. At this point, I found myself in a kind of gray fog. I knew I was dead. As I stood in the fog with this realization, I remember feeling very joyful and excited because I knew I was also very much alive. Very lively. I was totally conscious. I began to pour out feelings of gratitude. I didn’t say it out loud, but my very being said, “Thank you, thank you, God, for making me immortal. I wasn’t gone.” She also shared that after that she seemed to merge with a white light in which she felt nothing but boundless love, security and protection. Surrounded by the light, Janey felt an incredible rapture and rush of “all knowledge.” “What I knew was that I was immortal, that I was eternal, that I was indestructible, that I always was, that I always would be, and that I would in no way be destroyed.” As the light began to fade, Janey Smith found herself in a beautiful green meadow. She is describing the all-encompassing light around her as golden, different from the previous one. It does not emanate from a specific source, but seems to flow from the center of each flower or plant. The colors around, she says, were unusually beautiful and saturated. Colors such as we have never seen on Earth flashed before her eyes. After taking a few steps, she saw a small rise in front of her. On it – a group of 18-20 men and women. As soon as she thought that she would like to talk to them, the soul of the physically dead woman was instantly transported to the heights. Before her eyes – below the level of the horizon, something like a city was revealed, but in fact she knew that it was “a whole world”. Several men approached her. She told them, “I know I’m dead. I know what’s going on.” One of them answered her:”Yes, it is, but you cannot stay here. It’s not your time to be here just yet.” As they talked, they “didn’t move their mouths,” Janey recalls. They spoke telepathically. The two exchanged a few more sentences, where the man told her she will forget once she returns to her body. That’s how it went. Janey Smith can’t remember the secrets the stranger revealed to her, but she remembers her out-of-body near-death experience well. Or better to say “experience at the time of death”. After a moment, the woman’s consciousness (soul) returns to her body. She opens her eyes and sees the doctors and nurses hanging over her.
More Near Death Experience Stories
Bulgarian journalist Plamen Grigorov is one of the people who had NDE. He is not worried about the reactions of others to his “strange” stories and talks freely about what happened to him. After being given a supposedly harmless pain-killing injection, he falls into a coma. What happens next? “I really felt the presence of Death – says Grigorov. – Rather, I felt it like the horses of Death. I felt as if I was tied to four horses and they were crucifying me in space. I saw myself tied as it really was—crucified to the bed.” He saw the small door in the room as the door to Death. And he shared that he was very tense during the whole incident. He did not experience the peace that most people talk about. His story continues: “A doctor comes in with a big syringe and says, ‘Today is Friday.’ One of you must die’ and turns to me. I start screaming for help, with all my energy, with my mind trying to escape. And I was able to move the bed.” But the door turns out to be too small and the bed gets stuck in it. Darkness reigns everywhere, but there is a “blue light” on the doorstep. Through it, Grigorov could see the dead moving up and down. All who are on the doorstep to meet him are dead Bulgarian writers. One of them (Nikolai Petev, who in real life was also sick at the time) approaches him and says: “Plamen, if they choose me, I will give you something to take back.” Apparently they really chose him, because Grigorov sees him walk through the door (die) and turn blue. Then three very tall (5 meters each) human figures appear in front of the journalist – beautiful, with very straight facial features. They begin to ask him questions in some strange language, as he later realized, as if it was coming from a church organ. At that moment he understood that his fate depends on the answers to these questions – whether he will live or die. An “energetic invisible being” was also present on the stage, who after his answers either said something or remained silent. He knew that this was the appropriate assessment of what he said. After the coma, Plamen cannot remember a single word of this one-of-a-kind interrogation… From all the near death experience stories described above it is clear that after we die, a part of us – some call it soul, others consciousness, energy, etc. – remains alive.
The idea of the reincarnation of the soul
Reincarnation (the rebirth of the soul) is a philosophical and religious concept, according to which after a person dies, his soul leaves him and continues on his way to be reborn later in a new biological form. The meaning of reincarnation is to acquire different experiences and new knowledge in each of our lives, which will raise our soul higher and higher until it finally reaches its final “liberation” and stops being reborn. The idea of reincarnation sees the soul as immortal and the material body only as its temporary home, which is impermanent and wears out, reaching its physical end. The term reincarnation itself comes from Latin and literally translates as “re-entering the flesh.” Entering a new body (of a human, animal, plant, or other living being), people automatically forget the history of their past lives. The soul keeps this information, but it is inaccessible to consciousness. Today, the idea of the reincarnation of the soul goes beyond the boundaries of the Eastern religions, for which it is characteristic, and becomes an increasingly common vision of esotericists (and not only!) all over the world. One theory claims that even in Christianity, which fundamentally rejects the concept of reincarnation, it exists. That the resurrection of Christ, which happened three days after his death, is a kind of reincarnation, albeit in the same body – a return of spirit to matter. In recent decades, the so-called regressions became very popular. Regression is a type of hypnotic technique by which we can recall one or more of our past lives. In addition to philosophy and religion, science has also been studying the phenomenon of the soul for years and has tried to clarify the question of its existence and immortality from all possible points of view.
Dr. Stuart Hameroff, an American anesthesiologist and university professor, together with Sir Roger Penrose, a mathematician and physicist, after years of research and looking at the soul through the lens of quantum theory, categorically state: “After people die, their soul returns to the universe and it does not die”. Although for them the soul is not exactly what it means to esotericists, but is rather a pure quantum information contained in microtubules in the brain. Still the ultimate transfer of energy out of the body (or into the afterlife) as a process is the same. “
After death – says Rudolf Steiner – the human spirit goes through a period when the soul rejects the inclinations that attract it to physical existence, to obey only the laws of the spiritual world and free the spirit.”
The famous psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung reminds us: “Parapsychology sees scientific proof of the continuation of life after death in the fact that the dead appear – as ghosts, spirits or through mediums – and share things that were known only to them.”
There are a number of scientists and researchers around the world looking for the answer to the question of what the soul is and what happens to it after our earthly journey is over. One great example of research on the path of the soul after death is the work published in the book of Prof. Dr. Dechko Svilenov “Life after death”. It is based on the near death experience stories of people who fell into clinical death and then were resuscitated. In his interview, the long-time BAS (Bulgarian Academy of Science) scientist shared: “In two words, medical science says that a person has a soul that continues to live after biological death.”
However, skeptics and some medical professionals believe that near death experience stories are nothing more than stories created by our own imaginations. As for the very idea of the reincarnation of the soul – for them it is simply a human illusion that fuels people’s hopes that with death their life will not end and a part of them will continue to exist. A few years ago, a cosmology and physics professor from the University of California – Sean Carroll announced in an interview that “life after death is impossible because of the laws of physics.”
However, there is no way such words to be accepted by the billions of “ordinary” people and many scientists around the world who continue to believe in the existence and reincarnation of the soul and that there’s purpose for us to be here and now!