Topic: OBEs During NDEs

Opening Statement

Out-of-body experiences (OBEs) are often thought to be mere dreams or hallucinations, and many may be such. But there is good reason to think that, at times, some persons' "point of view" does move from behind their physical eyes to points in space entirely separate from their bodies. Hundreds of personal experiences and a few laboratory and field tests confirm this ability.

Because the person having the out-of-body experience is, obviously, alive, it is not generally considered evidence for an afterlife. Nevertheless, OBEs often occur as part of near-death experiences (NDEs). When these excursions take place in medical situations where the patient shows no sign of brain activity, many folks conclude that the ability of the mind to exist independently of the physical body has been demonstrated, but has it?

Good Sources of Information on NDEs and OBEs

Science & NDEs
Consciousness Beyond Life
Closer to the Light
Saved by the Light

The Out-of-Body portion of a Near-Death Experience does not provide convincing evidence of Survival.

How do we know when someone is truly dead? Throughout most of humankind's time on earth, a person was considered dead when he stopped breathing. Then the ancients discovered the function of the heart and its stoppage became the measure of death. Today, most doctors would say that death occurs when there is no longer any electrical activity in the brain. But, within the cells of the various bodily tissues, life does not end just because the neurons in the cerebellum have ceased firing. Such life continues to generate heat and electro-magnetic fields in addition to doing creepy things like growing long fingernails on corpses.

So, until a body has truly returned to ashes and dust, some modicum of energy remains within it. Some part of it is still living. The question thus becomes: "How certain can we be that the experiences reported by the brain-dead voyager are not dependent upon this residual energy?" Given that an unfortunate without brain waves does actually exit his physical body and observe and accurately report scenes in the operating room — scenes his physical senses had no way of detecting — his ability to do so could still somehow depend on the cells that remain alive in his brain and elsewhere throughout his body.

This is especially true in the case of NDEs because the physical body remains sufficiently alive for the person's brain function to be restored; otherwise, we would have no report of the experience.

I conclude, therefore, that the experience of an OBE as part of an NDE can be suggestive of, but does not provide solid evidence for, Survival.

This is not to say that other aspects of NDEs have not provided supporting evidence for Survival. In particular, the corroboration of descriptions of other realms by numerous NDErs who are unknown to one another indicates that the experiences are neither dreams nor hallucinations.

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