Today there is much interest in the topic of what happens to our soul after we die. Although there are no definitive answers, perhaps the closest we can come is to examine the universal and cross cultural phenomenonof near death experiences.
As part of research for my book, Soul Service (Balboa Press,2013) www.soulservice.info, I spoke with Dr. Raymond Moody who has done so much research on this topic. According to Dr. Moody, a near-death experience can be defined as an event of someone who was pronounced physically dead then returned to life. Common elements of a near-death experience (NDE) are the sound of noise, movement through a tunnel, still having a body but different from a physical body. Often there is the presence of others, a loving spirit or being of light. A life review is typical and a sense of approaching a border that signifies the difference between life and death. Being told to return to the body and then having that experience profoundly affect the survivor’s life.
Numerous stories of spirits of those who have died and then returned to visit the surviving loved ones prove more normal than not. One social worker that I interviewed for Soul Service described how her mother who had died returned to visit one night.She went downstairs and saw her mother’s rocking chair moving and smelled her mother’s favorite perfume in the air, this did not frighten her but brought her peace and comfort.
Some interesting current research being done by Dr. Sam Parnia, Director of the AWARE study (AWareness during REsusitation) and one of the world’s leading experts on NDE and the scientific study of the death process. He presents fascinating research on what happens to human consciousness after we die. According to Dr. Parnia’s research, death is not a moment in time when the heart stops beating, respiration ceases and the brain stops functioning, but rather apparently a process that can be interrupted after it has begun. The discovery is that only after death, do the cells in our bodies go through their own death process. Our cells can live for many hours after death. New techniques involving reducing the body’s temperature right after clinical death have proven effective in saving lives, but studies show they are only used in approximately half of all U.S. and European hospitals.
Also, a new advance in the resuscitation field is with CPR. In a May 12, 2013 article in the Herald Sun, in Melbourne,Australia, a man was brought back from clinical death. Colin Fiedler suffered a heart attack, and after being dead for 40 minutes was resuscitated using the new mechanical cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) machine on trial at The Alfred Hospital. This CPR machine, called Auto Pulse, performs constant chest compressions and includes a portable heart-lung machine to keep the blood flowing to the patient’s brain and vital organs, which reduces the risk of permanent disability.
These technological advances at resuscitation will allow us to define objectively and scientifically the study of what happens to human consciousness after we die, what has been up until now been only considered from the subjective, religious or philosophical viewpoint.