The question of life after death is an age-old one. While some think that death is the end, there are plenty of others that believe the opposite, based on their experience of nearly dying, or technically dying but coming back to life. We’ll examine accounts of consciousness after death, what we can learn from near death experiences, and hear from those who have returned to life after near death experiences.
What Is a Near-Death Experience?
A near-death experience (NDE) occurs when an individual is medically dead, near death, or believes themselves to be near death. The phenomenon often has a lasting impact on the individual long after their return.
It's estimated that NDEs happen in 10-20% of cases where an individual's heart stops. NDEs are believed to happen to about 5% of the general population.
What Does Dying Feel Like, According to an NDE?
Bruce Breyson, M.D. identified 16 key experiences that are common among NDEs. These comprise the Greyson Scale:
Time moving faster or slower than normal.
Thoughts occurring faster than normal.
Witnessing scenes from one's life.
Experiencing a sudden understanding of oneself, others, and/or the universe.
Having an overwhelming sense of peace.
Experiencing a great feeling of joy.
Having a deep sense of connectedness with the universe.
Seeing a bright light.
Having heightened senses.
Awareness of things happening elsewhere.
Witnessing visions of the future.
Having an out-of-body experience. *In 92% of cases, scenes witnessed in these experiences are accurate.
Visiting a magnificent otherworldly realm.
Experiencing the loving spiritual presence of a divine being.
Having encounters with those who have passed.
Coming to, but not crossing, a point of no return.
Other experiences common to NDEs are:
Encountering spiritual beings sometimes identified as angels.
Communicating telepathically with spiritual beings.
Feeling a release from the constraints of time.
Finding a new outlook on relationships.
Losing the fear of death.
Experiencing disappointment at returning.
Here’s how Advisor Tina Lee describes what dying feels like:
“Since I have had a near death experience, I think I am very qualified to assure you all that death is not the end; it's our reward for living here on this earth. Your soul knows when it's time to depart this world and during the dying process we are lifted from our painful bodies and are allowed to float above our bodies as we watch ourselves take our last breath.
We are not sad to not be in that body, in fact most of us are glad not to be in that body anymore. When souls realize that they are passing on to their true home, they are filled with joy and feel the connection to everything and everyone in this entire universe.
All the questions that we ever wanted to know are known in an instant. That's when those whom we have loved and lost meet us on the other side. We are so happy to see them, and they are so overjoyed to us.
They explain why you were on earth, what your life mission was and whether you were able to achieve that mission. If you couldn’t achieve that mission, there is no judgment; soul simply gets with its Guides and plans another life to achieve the same mission again. The soul is allowed to rest and rejuvenate before it is allowed to come back and do another mission.
All religions are like spokes on a wheel. They all lead to the same place, God consciousness. It is a struggle to be born and it's a struggle to die, but if you don't fight leaving your body, it's effortless. Remember, we are spiritual beings and Earth is not our true home." "Energy can never be destroyed, only transformed." Albert Einstein
Explaining a Near Death Experience
Some scientists attribute NDEs to possible causes like:
Release of an unknown neurotransmitter.
Response to a lack of oxygen.
A hallucinogenic reaction to drugs administered.
What Happens to Consciousness After Death?
The more spiritual hypothesis is that consciousness existed before the universe. Time and space are a construct of the mind, formed like a shell around our spiritual selves. Quantum consciousness takes the view that consciousness exists independent of the body and can easily exit it upon the point of death. Multiple universes exist at once, and the consciousness can migrate between our current physical realm and the spiritual one.
What Near Death Experiences Teach Us
Those who have an NDE are often changed for life. They report:
Having less interest in material goods.
Feeling more compassionate, forgiving, and caring.
Become less risk-averse and living life to the fullest.
After Death Examples of People Who Have First-Hand Knowledge of a Near Death Experience
Here are four authors that have gone on record with their beliefs and experiences to say categorically that death is not the end.
Dr. Eben Alexander, "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife"
In 2008, Dr. Eben Alexander fell victim to an E. coli meningitis infection; an infection that put him in a coma for a week. Brain scans showed that the parts of the brain that allow thought and consciousness were not functioning. Alexander’s chances of recovery were slim. Against all odds, the Harvard neurosurgeon came round, but he did so with an inspirational story to tell. According to Alexander, he spent his week in a coma exploring Heaven. During this time, he met a young woman; a woman who he later realized was his biological sister whom he had never met.
Colton Burpo, "Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back"
The story of four-year-old Colton Burpo’s near-death experience enthralled America so much that the book—written with the help of his parents and contributor Lynn Vincent—later became a smash hit film. When Todd suffered a burst appendix, doctors told his parents that their son was going to die. Todd not only survived but came back with a compelling account of meeting the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, and Jesus. He also spoke of a sister who had died in his mummy’s tummy; a fact that the little boy was previously unaware of.
Sylvia Browne, "Life on the Other Side: A Psychic's Tour of the Afterlife"
Life on the Other Side is not American psychic and author Sylvia Browne’s only book. It is, in fact, one of a long stream of her written and audio works to explore life after death. In Browne’s view, it is not a possibility, but rather a certainty. This book draws on Browne’s remarkable career, using experiences such as hypnosis sessions, personal research, and psychic experiences to offer an inspiring and reassuring account of the afterlife: a peaceful and tranquil place where loved ones await their reunion with those still to pass over.
Deepak Chopra, "Life After Death: The Burden of Proof"
In Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, bestselling author and public speaker Deepak Chopra turns his attention to what happens after death. He explores the evidence that "the other side" is not separated from life by an impassable wall, but rather it is a simple continuation of the same soul journey. Chopra uses a healthy blend of scientific discoveries and ancient wisdom to argue his point that consciousness is eternal. In doing so, he has created a must-read book for anyone who seeks the answer to the question of what happens after death.
If you’d like to explore the concept of life after death further, you may find that speaking with a Death Doula or receiving a past life reading will offer proof and inspire faith that death is not, in fact, the end.
The Personal Story of Psychic Tina Lee, “A Walk on the Spiritual Side”
When the unexpected happens - a car accident, choking, a coma - you might find your soul traveling between this world and the next. Those who survive often describe the sensation of floating above their bodies, that they're heading toward a bright white light, recalling all their memories and even coming into contact with loved ones who have already passed on. As a comfort to those who struggle with a fear of death and dying, Psychic Source Advisor Tina Lee describes her own near death experience in more detail:
“Over my 25-year career as a psychic I have learned many things that I feel could help others. The most important thing I have learned is that we are spiritual beings that live forever, and earth is not our true home.
I was in a coma for 2 1/2 weeks because of a nasty bout with pneumonia; I was put on a ventilator for a period of time to give my body time to heal. While in the coma I discovered many things on my journey to the edge of death.
The first thing I learned is that death isn't painful. I felt myself lift out of my body and I watched as the doctors and my family struggled to deal with my body’s issues. I noted I was not too upset by the situation and I was weightless, without pain. This was fascinating to me. Having pneumonia is very painful, especially when you breathe, but here I was floating in the room hovering over my body, pain free. To be honest I was grateful to not be in my body. I was unconcerned with my condition. I was worried about the pain and grief my family was in over my illness.
It was then that I saw the beautiful light that comes for us all. In this light there was so much love, it pulled me to it, I was drawn to it so much that I was unable to resist the pull it made me feel. I could feel myself being drawn to it quite quickly and I was joyful about going toward it. I was surrounded by beings that were made of light. These were like old friends to me, I felt that I had known them and loved them for much longer than I could remember. I felt more love in that one moment than all the love I experienced here on earth in this earthly existence.
It is a beautiful place that we go to after this life and I am looking forward to going back one day. When I came out of my coma, I could see people's auras. An Aura is a person's energy field produced by their soul while in a flesh and blood body that can't be measured by our tools today. I learned quickly by watching these energy fields around people that they shifted and changed according to that person's thoughts and emotions. I saw that when people fought, their energy fields become enormous, with the winner of the fight absorbing the energy produced. That's why after a fight with someone you feel you drained and defeated because you gave your energy away when you reacted and became angry.
I hope that the glimpse I have given you into what is there that we cannot see helps those of you it resonates with.”
What Does a Person Feel When They Come Back From Death?
When people experience an out-of-body sensation that allows them to communicate with those on the other side, they're not always happy to return. If you've had a near-death experience in the past, you might be yearning from for the love you received from the people who've passed as you were floating between this world and the next. Learning to navigate the present physical world again after an NDE can be challenging or even disorienting. It can help to work with a psychic or spiritual advisor who is accustomed to experiencing and even interacting with spiritual forces on different planes. If you've had an NDE, you are far from alone, and you may experience phenomenal personal growth from this fascinating experience.
If you’d like to learn more about what dying feels like from someone who has passed on, consider speaking to a psychic medium. Psychic readings are effective ways to bridge the gap between the living and the dead.Get a Reading
Discover even more Near Death Experience stories as told by some of our Psychic Advisors.