We all have one thing in common.
When I had my accident, I should have died. Fortunately however, I defied the odds and survived. But, as with all of us, death will finally claim me.
And then? What then? Who knows what happens next. This is something I often think about. Some people believe in an afterlife, in Heaven and Hell. Others believe that is it. We live this eventful or non-eventful life, we die and our life is over. ‘Dust to dust, ashes to ashes….
Interestingly a team based in Norfolk, England has spent the last four years analysing the experiences of cardiac arrest patients. They have found that almost forty percent of survivors described having some form of “awareness” at a time when they were declared clinically dead.
Experts believe that the brain shuts down within 20 to 30 seconds of the heart stopping beating. Once that has happened it is not possible to be aware of anything at all. Clinically you are dead. That’s it. Full stop. Dead! But scientists have heard compelling evidence that some patients experienced real events for up to three minutes after this had happened. Once resuscitated they could recall them accurately.
The vast majority of people who have died reported seeing the famous ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’ It is the most common occurrence that people have when they are technically dead.
I wish I could chat to investigative journalist, Judy Bachrach. She has written a book, Glimpsing Heaven. In this are accounts of those who died and then returned to life with clear, vivid memories of what occurred while they were dead. Through interviews with scores of these “death travellers,” and with physicians, nurses, and scientists she has tried to unravel the mysteries of the afterlife.
One scientist Bachrach spoke to suggests that near death experiences may simply result from the brain shutting down, like a computer—that, for instance, the brilliant light often perceived at the end of a tunnel is caused by loss of blood or hypoxia, lack of oxygen.
“The problem with the lack of oxygen explanation is that when there is a lack of oxygen, our recollections are fuzzy and sometimes non-existent,” says Bachrach. “The less oxygen you have, the less you remember. But the people who have died, and recall their death travels, describe things in a very clear, concise, and structured way. Lack of oxygen would mean you barely remember anything.”
As well as “the light at the end of the tunnel” many people speak about an “out of body experience” and see their lifeless body beneath them when they are technically dead. That means they are an incorporeal spirit floating above their body. They can see everything that is going on in the room and who is in it. Any attempt to restore connectivity between the consciousness and physical body fails, leaving the person frantic for several moments. They see the people in the room with them and attempt to interact with them but they can’t because their body is lifeless and their spirit/consciousness remains awake. Every attempt to get the people around them to acknowledge them is futile.
Tony Cicoria is a neurosurgeon from New York. He believed death was death, and that was the end. Then he got struck by lightning. He was on a picnic with his family, talking to his mother on the telephone, when a bolt of lightning hit the phone. The next thing he knew, he was lying on the ground saying to himself, “Oh, my God, I’m dead.”
The way he knew he was dead is because he saw his mother-in-law screaming at him. And he called out to her and said, “I’m here! I’m here!” But she didn’t hear anything. Next he was traveling up a flight of steps without walking. He became a bolt of blue light and managed to go through a building. He flew through walls, and he saw his little kids having their faces painted. Right after that, he felt somebody thumping on his chest.
A nurse who was in the vicinity was hitting his chest hard. But he did not want to come back to life. Very much like other death travellers, he wanted to stay dead.
Todd Burpo, is the pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial, Nebraska. In his book “Heaven is for Real” he writes that during the months after his son, Colton, had emergency surgery in 2003 at the age of three, he began describing events and people that seemed impossible for him to have known about. Examples include knowledge of an unborn sister and details of a great-grandfather who had died 30 years before Colton was born. Colton also claimed that he personally met Jesus riding a rainbow-coloured horse and sat in Jesus’ lap while angels sang songs to him. He says he saw Mary kneeling before the throne of God and at other times standing beside Jesus. I know all this sounds incredible but maybe this little boy really did meet Jesus!
Numerous people claim to see at least one angel or spirit looking over them and seemingly taking care of them during their brief pit stop in death’s grasp. Some say they are aided by the spirit through the afterlife before they are sent back into their body. By a very large majority, the deceased that have returned to the living have said they felt an overwhelming sense of peace and calm. It is so powerful and loving that the soul/consciousness doesn’t know how to comprehend such a calming sense. According to numerous reports, the experience of death is so peaceful that many people who experience it do not wish to return to waking life. Imagine feeling something so good that you don’t want to return to the life you have been fighting so hard to retain.
When I die, I believe that I will go to Heaven. Heaven will be “peaceful and calming.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. Fine. Okay. How utterly boring! I love the excitement of life. One never knows what each day will bring. I worry that this calm, peaceful Heaven will bore me sick! I have spoken to my Lord about this. He knows my feelings. So I will have to trust in that.
I believe in the near death experience’s of those who were bought back to life. I think they sampled a cocktail of their final feast!