Dr. Raymond Moody introduced the concept of NDE, or Near Death Experience in 1975 to millions with his best-selling book Life After Life.

Well before and since Dr. Moody’s book, countless people from all over the world have reported having a NDE, or Near Death Experience.

Most NDE accounts have similar themes, such as feeling completely detached from the physical body and any pain, traveling through a tunnel to “the Light,” feeling deep love and compassion, experiencing an incredibly vivid and beautiful world where there is no fear, meeting loved ones who had previously died, encountering wise guides, no organized religion (what they experience doesn’t always match their beliefs), and life reviews including experiencing key moments but from the other person’s perspective.

Adding to the evidence is some NDE experiencers giving detailed accounts of things that happened when they were “dead” that they couldn’t have possibly known, such as conversations by medical staff inside or outside the room, or events with loved ones miles away.

Skeptics say NDEs are not really spiritual experiences, but just biological or even delusion. They say they can be explained away by brain states that happen from stress, dying, and drugs, or mental illness.

Psychiatrist Bruce Greyson disagrees. In a panel discussion of psychiatry and NDEs by www.IANDS.org, he gives the main differences between mental illness and NDEs. Below are his words from the slides of his presentation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZMbjB0Q75E

Comparison of Near-Death Experiences and Psychotic Experiences

Mental illness includes dysfunction, distress, paranoia and a change with meds.
NDE includes growth, meaning, altruism, and no change with meds.

Both include visions, odd beliefs, and changed roles.

NDE usually occurs during life-threatening or otherwise extreme situations. The other doesn’t.

NDE is usually rare and of short duration. The other isn’t.

NDE usually occurs in absence of a mental disorder, intoxication, or metabolic derangement. The other doesn’t.

NDEs usually follow prior normal functioning. The other doesn’t.

NDEs are specific and detailed. The other isn’t.

NDEs are patterned, structured, and non-random organized. The other isn’t.

NDEs are consistent across individuals and cultures. The other isn’t.

NDEs may include verifiable perceptions, such as out-of-body perceptions. The other doesn’t.

NDEs are compatible with religious or spiritual tradition. The other isn’t.

NDEs are unrelated to events in the physical environment. The other isn’t.

NDE is recalled as real or hyper-real. The other isn’t.

NDE memory persists over time without fading. The other doesn’t.

NDE memory remains vivid over time. The other doesn’t.

NDE memory retains original detail over time. The other doesn’t.

NDE has insight into meaning of the experience. The other doesn’t.

NDE distress, if any at all, lasts only until experience is integrated. The other doesn’t.

NDE has a positive exploratory attitude toward the experience. The other doesn’t.

NDE has the desire to share with other experiencers. The other doesn’t.

NDE has the absence of symptoms of mental illness. The other doesn’t.

NDE has the absence of thoughts of harming self or others. The other doesn’t.

NDE has the ability to maintain jobs and relationships. The other doesn’t.

NDE has the absence of legal difficulties. The other doesn’t.

NDE has increased sensitivities (e.g., to electromagnetic fields). The other doesn’t.

NDE has positive outcomes over time; life becomes more meaningful, increased joy, decreased fear, expunged fear of death, feelings of increased connectedness to others, and less self-absorbed and more altruistic. The other doesn’t.

NDE is unaffected by antipsychotic medication.

You can have both at the same time, or one and then the other.

One of the psychiatrists in the video apologized for their colleagues in the field who didn’t believe and, or downplayed their patients’ NDEs.

The following videos were recommended for more information about NDEs: “The Near Death Experience: What Medical Professionals Need to Know” by Roberta Moore; “Life After Life” by Peter Shockey, based on Dr. Raymond Moody’s book “Life After Life”; “Afterlife” by Sir Paul Perry.

Copyright © Stephen Petullo, Scott Petullo

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