Please ensure you watch the following enclosed videos.
Dr Thomas Fleischmann is an emergency doctor and has been witness to over 2000 deaths. In his TED presentation, Dr Fleischmann briefly describes the four manners of dying, and the common symptoms seen in his patients just before death. However, he’s also observed the overwhelming recurrence of near-death experiences (NDEs). He walks us through the common stages among all NDEs.
- All dying patients exhibit a profound feeling of peace just before death;
- some experience consciousness separate and float above their body (and can accurately describe the physician’s actions on resuscitation);
- an initial timeless black void;
- followed by bright warm and loving light;
- greeting by relatives or someone familiar;
- life review outlining the consequences of their actions and speech, yet, without external judgement (we become our own judges by experiencing in real-time the consequences of our words and actions) but enveloped with understanding and in unconditional love;
- all surviving NDE’s exhibit profound personality changes after the experience, and all NDE’s lose their fear of Death after the event.
This phenomena is experienced across all cultures and religious or atheistic denominations.
Dr Peter Fenwick’s collection of NDE’s and their overwhelming commonalities can be viewed here.
Dr Christopher Kerr is the chief medical officer at The Centre for Hospice and Palliative Care. His experience and research illuminate the universal spiritual experience among those about to die. Their experiences are overwhelmingly peaceful, comforting, familial and unexplainably familiar.
A Higher Dimension
All NDEs appear to see a higher dimension of reality intermingled with this one.
Most dying patients begin to perceive other beings; specifically ‘deceased’ family members, friends, colleagues and strangers, as they approach death. But surprisingly, all of them experience no fear, angst or dread (as you might expect); but rather, a profound enveloping sense of peace, love, joy and comfort.
The terms, deceased or dead has to now only refer to 3D corporeal dissolution. If we accept the inevitable conclusion from our previous argument that we are not the body nor the mind, but everlasting Consciousness, then the “death” of the body can be considered as nothing more then a continual transmutation of the visible.
Remember in previous posts the discovery by theoretical physicists of an extra seven dimensions? You’ll also recall how it’s our brain that constructs a picture, not our eyes, and the brain’s particular configuration limits our perception to 3-dimensional reality.
The perception of a higher dimensional reality makes sense when we consider the brain’s biochemical unravelling or its destruction altogether in the dying process. Once the brain’s functional integrity to limit 3D perception is compromised, the experience of further dimensional awareness is inevitable.
Perhaps this is why anything that disrupts neurochemical and neurostructural brain function reveals extra-sensory perception. The visual and auditory phenomena experienced through brain trauma, stimulation, pathology, brain death, hallucinogens and children’s brains (in-development) may not be delusions at all, but the genuine perception of extra-dimensional space-time.
Remember, higher dimensions don’t necessarily mean out there somewhere distant. They’re right here and out there simultaneously: in essence, everywhere.
In the fifth instalment (Seeing is Believing?), I made the argument that if our 3D sensory reality was all there was, then no pathology or hallucinogen should reveal anything extra.
If what we perceive with our senses was real and finite, then what we should only see in pathology, hallucinogenic trips, or indeed NDEs is a fading of 3D reality.
No other phenomena should ever be perceived.
But this isn’t what’s experienced at all. Couple that with the thousands of catalogued NDEs and we must have a considered expectation of Consciousness following death.
Fate or Destiny?
I believe everyone, at some time in their lives, has recognised some unexplainable, coincidental (timely), phenomena they can’t make sense of—in essence, Providence.
For me, these beneficent “coincidences” happened numerous times, but it’s the overtly lucky, synchronous or jarring that sticks to memory as absolute proof of co-joined worlds. It’s as if someone or something is accompanying me; guiding, helping, or even subverting my choices.
For example, how many times has this happened to you?
You’re trying for something, but no matter what you do, something keeps getting in your way. Later, you discovered that not getting it was a disguised blessing that lead you down a more fulfilling path.
What about singular unexpected and uncommon events (like a chance encounter, accident or disease) that changed the course of your life in an instant, for better or worse?
Noticeable providential events can be ascribed to meaningless chance by reductive materialists. However, I always have a feeling these sceptics aren’t telling the truth. I know because I went through a sceptical phase. In this phase, I was the centre of the universe, and anything good that I achieved was my responsibility, but anything bad was just random chance (or someone else’s fault). Funny how that works. A causal universe ruled by Newtonian mechanics. My destiny was my responsibility. Period.
Of course, deep down we know and feel that’s not completely true.
We feel our will is a tiny fish in global current sweeping through our lives. We can work and try, and sweat, and beg, and do everything under the sun to attain a particular goal.
But if the right ideas and knowledge, from the right past, and/or the right people, at the right time, in the right place aren’t present, you’re headed down a very different trajectory. This points to both the obvious interconnectedness of all things, but also to the occasional, undeniable hand of providence at work in our lives.
One only has to pay careful attention to our past and have confidence in one’s reflective judgement. It isn’t intelligent nor rational to have an automatic, default blanket scepticism of everything contradicting one’s current base of knowledge.
That’s dogmatic cynicism.
Wisdom, on the other hand, is the ability to perceive gaps in our understanding, recognising our limited knowledge, investigating and thinking through new information.
Rationality is a wonderful thing and very useful for cutting through observable phenomena. But as we’re learning through advances in theoretical and quantum physics, NDEs and new discoveries in neuroscience, reality is much stranger than it appears.
Oftentimes, cynicism is just stubborn ignorance. That is, we’re unaware of what we don’t know; and aware of what we don’t want to know. And there’s an awful lot that we don’t know, nor understand.
I consider myself to be quite rational and empirically minded, yet, I’m also not a reductive materialist. Nevertheless, at the chance of losing face, I have to admit when I was very young I remember feeling entities watching me. I call them entities now because I remember I couldn’t see them. I thought I’d see someone in my peripheral vision, then it’d disappear when I turned.
However, I have to honestly acknowledge I don’t know if it was imagination, a side-effect of fear, or an artificial memory. Therefore, I just naturally categorise those as unreliable and probably false.
There are, however, two particular auditory events in my adult years that are as real and vivid as the sound of my voice, and were instrumental in literally saving my life numerous times.
The two auditory events were while I was driving and lost in thought, therefore, not paying attention to the approaching intersection.
The first time was after a martial arts training session (after ALS diagnosis). I was starting to feel the inhibiting effects on my body, and the realisation of what was to come weighed heavily on my mind. I was on my motorbike and about to ride through a green light of an intersection, when a sudden startling scream of my name boomed in my head as if it was coming from my right side.
I’m unsure how to describe or explain the simultaneous male/female (androgynous) sound of the scream, and the Portuguese pronunciation of my name. This is odd to me and rules out imagination because I think in English, not Portuguese. But it was so loud, familiar and shattering, that it made me look right, brake hard and stop me from being side-crushed by an oncoming truck.
I remember vividly looking right and seeing the delivery truck’s headlights swerve just in time to miss my front wheel by a few metres. Two factors here. If I hadn’t of stopped due to the scream, I would’ve been further forward and inevitably died from the direct side impact. Secondly, the truck’s swerve was only possible because there wasn’t another vehicle next to it.
While some people may boil it down to luck, I know better. I was there, I know what I heard and what the consequences were.
The other time, I nearly drove past a stop sign in my 4-Wheel drive and missed being crushed by a 100km/h semi-trailer by inches. Again, the same booming, familiar, shattering scream alarmed me in time to prevent my imminent death.
I’m not claiming anything supernatural. I am, however, perhaps making a connection between what I experienced and what the dying experience also. That is, an altered state of Consciousness able to perceive a higher dimensional moment.
Of course, this implies that “dead” relatives or friends are not dead at all. Rather, they’re existing in all places and all times simultaneously—as are we. That’s theoretical extra-dimensional physics for you.
If your mind can’t fully grasp this, you’re not alone. I have a difficult time too, because our ingrained 3D perception of spacetime is linear. That is, we perceive time flowing in one direction towards the future. Yet, Einstein proved time is not only relative to space, distance and speed, but also that it doesn’t separately exist in one continuum; if at all.
At this stage, you have multiple options.
If you’re scientifically minded you’ll have to consider and trust both the physicists’ discoveries of extra-dimensional reality, and the combined expertise and experiences of the physicians at the beginning of the post.
If you’re spiritually minded, then the scientific explanations are probably irrelevant and unnecessary.
However, the third option is that no matter what information you’re presented with, you’ll decide to remain resistant to anything contradicting your current finite world view.
There’s a saying:
I hope you remember that the sole purpose of this series is to provide a framework to dispel your fear of death.
I’ve presented you with the same (concise) knowledge and evidence that shaped my understanding to such an extent that when the cards were down, no existential fear arose. None of the information presented has to affect your daily life. However, if death is something that terrifies you, it may be worthwhile spending some time broadening your horizons, by listening to both those that have experienced clinical death and those professionals who attend to it.
Both mistake the tree for the forest.
You’re Not Alone
A Neurosurgeon’s Journey
Dr Eben Alexander, a prominent Neurosurgeon and stout atheist, awoke one day in 2008 with excruciating back and head pain. His neocortex and brain stem was severely damaged and riddled with a very specific, rare and untreatable bacterial meningitis. The infection was so severe, he spent seven days in a coma and artificial life support. Dr Eben Alexander was essentially brain-dead. His attending physicians saw absolutely no possibility of recovery. If Dr Alexander revived, they estimated a few months in a vegetative state followed by death. Consciousness was impossible with so much damage to his brain.
But Dr Alexander was conscious—just not in this dimension.
Dr Alexander “awoke” in what he can only describe as a ground worm experience. He found himself in a dense environment surrounded by what appeared to be roots and blood-vessels and a constant, pounding sound. He didn’t have a body; he was pure awareness in a timeless void. In the distance, an orb of pure light, emanating white and gold tendrils approached and suddenly created a rip in the environmental fabric. The tear revealed an ultra-real reality saturated with colour, joy and love. Flying through this higher-dimensional valley, he found himself accompanied by a beautiful girl that he somehow fully recognised but knew he’d never met. Her message to him was simple: you are loved!
On awakening, his perception of this reality was fuzzy, but his memory of his brain-dead journey was clear as crystal. Over the next few months in recovery, he wrote down his experience. Then, the unexpected happened. He was given a photograph by his blood-relatives (Dr Alexander was adopted) of his deceased sister whom he wasn’t aware he ever had. The shocking revelation was, his deceased sister was the beautiful girl accompanying him in the afterlife!
He’d never met her before, and he didn’t even know she existed. How could she appear in that alternate reality and have the immediate experience of recognition?
In the next instalment, we visit reincarnation.
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Also published on Medium.