So straight in with the second big question in as many blogs, no messing around (again): “Can human consciousness exist when the brain is fully and permanently incapacitated and does consciousness exist beyond death?”.
From the outset, evidence to support apparitions and ADC (After Death Communication) is less robust than that of NDE’s on the basis that they are not direct reports from those who are having the experience, they are as it were the projections of consciousness from other people, people who no longer reside in this plane of existence.
There are of course countless tales of ghosts and apparitions through the ages, that being a vision (or otherwise) of someone or in some cases something that has deceased which manages somehow to manifest its non-material self into being.
In the more intriguing of cases, information has been presented which the viewer could not have possibly known (should indeed these be truthful counts of what actually happened). Studies into such phenomenon pre-date (and no doubt outweigh) by some way those of Near Death Experiences.
Deathbed visions feature prominently in such studies, and that in itself is something I have second-hand experience of. My gran on my mum’s side became ill and it was her decision to pass over at home, surrounded by her family (a much more common thing is those days – 1960’s). In the hours before her death, she drifted in and out of consciousness, but towards the end of her life in this place, she became very lucid, her demeanour notably changing for the good. Minutes before she died, she sat upright in bed without aid and with a smile on her face opened her eyes. Her vision was not on those physically present in the room, but on other characters, acknowledging each one in turn at the end of her bed. Once she had finished she lay back down on the bed and closed her eyes. Interestingly, such apparitions were only presented to my gran’s consciousness; no one else in the room could see what she was seeing. Within minutes the dreaded death rattle pierced the silence in the room and she was gone.
The experience was quite profound for some in the room, whilst scary for some, others fully understood the ramifications of what they had just witnessed, a full on spiritual experience.
Penny Sartori (the nurse, now doctor, referenced in my previous blog regarding Near Death Experiences) has witnessed this exact phenomena on several occasions in her then capacity of nurse and went on to study and write a book about it. Another one for my growing list…
Further second-hand experience of apparitions involved my eldest son who came in to our living room looking a little upset when he was about four. When asked what the matter was, he said that the man at the bottom of the stairs was hurt. He told us that he came downstairs and saw an old man with blood coming from his head and that we should come see and help. We followed him into the empty hallway, my son turning to us saying he had gone away now.
Although apparitions may appear spontaneously, apparitions or ADC can be induced either via hypnosis or deep meditation (rather than through a medium), both of which altered states of consciousness. Whilst the examples are interesting (revealing “facts” that the viewer could not have possibly known, such facts corroborated via independent means) the most intriguing case for me regarded a truck driver who passed away following a crash in my home town of Liverpool. Three days after he passed away, his partners’ sister was left an answer machine message from the trucker. She contacted the telephone company and they said that it was impossible for the service to make a mistake in terms of the time when the message was left and that although rare, it was not the first time someone had experienced phone calls from the dead.
After Death Communications (not via mediums) is not a new thing, ancient cultures have always connected with those who have passed for guidance and advice, although it must be said that in the “Western World”, such experiences are by and large seen as esoteric and too delusional to be taken seriously, with the sharer often ridiculed. That said, in my opinion there is a shift in consciousness about consciousness itself, and hopefully this will lead to more experiences being shared, which should (in theory) lead to less cases being debunked, paving the way to prove that consciousness does in fact exist beyond the brain beyond reasonable doubt.
I guess one of the main reasons why I took up yoga, meditation and reiki two years ago was my individual quest for the answer to the key questions posed in both this blog and my last. I for one want to experience things first-hand, on the basis that one can only truly confirm or deny whether something exists if one experiences things with the senses we have (five or otherwise). I have attained semi-altered states of consciousness via yoga/meditation, lucid dreaming and Lucia No 3 to some extent, and I will continue to do so to see what things are presented to me. I do believe that based on the wealth of evidence as well as the cases of my gran and son, that apparitions may well exist.
Whether that constitutes immaterial consciousness and consciousness outside of the brain cannot be confirmed. Yet…