Near-Death Experiences happen to almost 800 people a day in the US alone, and surveys suggest that its a common phenomenon that has been experienced by up to 15% of the population. A “Near-Death Experience”, or short “NDE”, is defined as a profound psychological and spiritual experience that is generally known to occur during intense situations such as clinical death or trauma.
In history, we find descriptions of experiences similar to NDEs all the way back to Shamanic journeys in pre-historic times and in the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh dating back to about 2.700 BC. Later in 360 BC in Plato’s The Republic we find a very clear description of an NDE in the story of the soldier Er.
Even though the scientific revolution of the 19th Century did see some references to the NDE, it was not untill 1975 when Dr. Raymond Moody coined the term in his book Life After Life that interest in the topic sparked an explosion into mainstream media and thought.
Moody originally made the term to describe experiences by people who had been clinically dead, but since then the term has taken on a much broader meaning after finding that similar and identical experiences happen under very different circumstances such as: illness, intense fear, giving birth, deep prayer, meditation, vision quest, drug induced states, etc.
While each experience contain personal and subjective elements, the NDE can be characterized by certain universal core features that define the NDE with or without being close to death. Some of the most common features are:
– an Out-of-Body Experience
– a sense of being in another realm or dimension
– rapid movement towards what is described as “the Light”
– an intense emotional experience of profound: love, joy, peace and unity
– a positive or negative life-review of one’s actions revealing the emotional impact on others
– an experience of total and complete knowledge of all the secrets of the universe
– a point of return to the body