The uncertainty of life after death may be called into question after scientists proved consciousness after the heart stops beating.
A recent study of 2060 patients from 15 hospitals across the UK, US and Australia, found that individuals experienced real events up to three minutes after they were clinically dead. It is commonly believed that only hallucinations were experienced in these events, according to Dr Sam Parnia, the director of resuscitation research at the State University of New York. However, The Awareness during Resuscitation (AWARE) study, sponsored by the University of Southampton in the UK, used objective markers to establish whether the experiences were real or hallucinatory.
Their results showed that 39 per cent of patients who survived cardiac arrest described awareness, but could not explicitly recall the events. 46 per cent experienced a range of mental recollections and nine per cent had experiences compatible with a near death experience. Two per cent demonstrated showed full awareness known as an out of body experience, and recalled seeing and hearing specific events.
“This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with real events when the heart isn’t beating,” Dr Parnia said.
“In this case, consciousness and awareness appeared to occur during a three-minute period when there was no heartbeat. This is paradoxical, since the brain typically ceases functioning within 20 to 30 seconds of the heart stopping and doesn’t resume again until the heart has been restarted.”
A high number of patients were eliminated from the study due to death, fatigue or leaving a stage two interview incomplete, although two very specific individuals stand out among the crowd.
“I was up there, looking down at me, the nurse, and another man who had a bald head… I couldn’t see his face but I could see the back of his body. He had blue scrubs on, and he had a blue hat, but I could tell he didn’t have any hair, because of where the hat was,” one cardiac arrest patient recalled.
Dr Dianne Morrissey, author of You Can See The Light and Anyone Can See The Light, was 28-years-old when she was electrocuted. She then experienced an insightful near death experience, which is explained in her book – “Suddenly, I was aware that I was inside a vast, seemingly infinite blackness. I wasn’t sure where this blackness was in relationship to the Earth, but for some reason I was unafraid. My blackout period was brief, for I now found myself back in my home, but in a new form. I was transparent, yet I still looked like me.”
There is still much uncertainty surrounding life after death, but there are things to consider when pondering the existence of consciousness after the heart stops.
Quantum physics has proved through physical tests that a higher field of consciousness exists in this universe, and the Ruling String theory also assumes that in our material universe there are many other dimensions of energy.
Previous near death research, done on Pam Reynolds in 1991, confirms that the mind is independent from the body. Ms Reynolds underwent a brain operation when her blood was directed from her brain while she was in a state of artificial coma. Wires were attached to her head so brain waves could be measured, which later proved that no brain waves travelled during the half an hour she was under. Thought processes were prevented and no hormone releases could occur. Hallucinations were not possible in the state she was in and yet she still experienced events that were easily recalled.
Ms Reynolds recalls floating out of her body, observing all details of her operation from above. She then floated through a tunnel to a world of light, there, she met her dead grandmother and other people. She said the beings there lived in a paradise dimension and possessed positive energy. With their energy, they strengthened Ms Reynolds So that she could go through her operation successfully. In a BBC interview, Pam Reynolds explained she thought she had experienced the breath of God. Dr Micheal Sabom, cardiologist, wrote a book titled Light and Death which includes detailed medical and scientific analysis of Ms Reynolds’ near death experience.
Multiple studies on reincarnation exist that prove consciousness lives on after the body. Thousands of reports have been investigated, with witnesses accurately describing previous places and situations, even though they had no previous knowledge or experience of them. One of the most well known reincarnation researchers is Professor Ian Stevenson, from the University of Virginia. In 40 years he examined over 3000 reincarnation claims throughout the world and often he found that there were similarities in behaviour with the former incarnation.
Many Lives Many Masters is the true story of psychiatrist, Dr Brian Weiss, who graduated from Columbia University and Yale Medical School. After years of being trained in the study of human psychology, he found it hard to believe in anything that wasn’t proved by cold hard science. But in 1980 when he met his 27-year-old patient, Catherine, he was shocked at what unfolded in the following therapy sessions. As explained in the book, Catherine suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias which affected her day-to-day life, and for 18 months Dr Weiss tried traditional methods of treatment. When this didn’t work he tried hypnosis, which he believes is an excellent tool to help a patient remember long-forgotten incidents. Under the instruction of Dr Weiss, Catherine was able to relax her body, sharpen her memory and bring back forgotten traumas from her early childhood. After explaining a drowning experience and molestation from her alcohol reeking father, she then started recalling past life memories that seemed to be the cause of current anxieties. For the first time Dr Weiss was confronted with the concept of reincarnation, which he thought “only Hindus… practiced”.
Catherine remembered living 86 times in a physical state, in varying places on Earth, both male and female. She could recall vividly the details of each birth, her name, her family, what she looked like, the landscape and how she died. In each lifetime she experienced myriad events, “making progress… to fulfil all of the agreements and all of the Karmic (from Hindu concept of Karma) debts that are owed.”
Catherine revealed much more during these sessions. While she was still under hypnosis, she explained that as she floats from her body following each death, she is aware of a bright light, which provides her with energy. She said while she waits to be reborn, she learns things about life and our journey from “the Masters”.
These events, among many, could call into question the common perception that the mind stops working once our heart stops. There’s only one question now, what truly happens once our mind escapes our bodies? Do we reincarnate or move onto another plane of energy? Do we see loved ones who have passed before us? These questions, we cannot answer. – Alana Scott
Top photo from disparkys’ Flickr photostream.