I have very conflicting thoughts about near death experiences. On the one hand you could say that those who have experienced it, really did leave their bodies since there have been experiments which have possibly proven it.. but then there’s the scientific side of things which attributes these experiences to cerebral hypoxia.
There have been numerous experiments designed to better understand near death experiences (NDE) one of the more well known experiments started in 2008 and is set to fully end sometime this year. It has so far involved hospitals in the UK, USA and Austria and is lead by British medical professor and resuscitation specialist Sam Parnia. So far they have found that patient awareness occurred paradoxically some minutes after the heart stopped, at a time when the brain ordinarily stops functioning. If it wasn’t the brain that was creating the ‘hallucinations’ then where were these images and experiences coming from?
The skeptical scientists of this world believe that NDEs happen when the brain is starved of oxygen (cerebral hypoxia) it’s just a result of the dying brain. This theory sounds very plausible but it contradicts the many experiments that have shown that patients in hospitals whose hearts had stopped had somehow experienced things which a brain that was so starved of oxygen couldn’t possibly imagine or recall later once the patient was fully conscious again.
In reality we don’t have enough knowledge of how the brain works or how it functions when it’s starved of oxygen… we don’t even know what dreams are and why we have them. One major thing supports the theory of cerebral hypoxia being the cause of NDEs and it is that people tend to have slightly different experiences depending on their cultural background. If someone from a Christian background believes he went to heaven or hell and someone from a Hindu background sees Yamarāja (the Hindu god of the dead) it implies that NDEs are a product of our imagination and of course our cultural and religious backgrounds.
The one thing that keeps me from siding with the skeptical scientists is that even though people from around the world have different NDEs depending on their backgrounds, some elements are the same no matter where they’re from and what they believe. A bright light, a tunnel, seeing loved ones who have passed on are very common experiences. The fact that religious experiences coincide with these other experiences should not discredit them, since it could even be possible that all religions are correct or that the loved ones who have passed on could be projecting something comforting to the dying person so that their transition into death is peaceful. Another thought here is that some of the core elements of an NDE have even been reported by children of 3 years old and younger. In other words, they had NDEs at an age where they should not have been influenced by culture or tradition.