Near Death Experiences (NDE)

So straight in with the big question, no messing around: “Could human consciousness exist in the absence of a living brain?” Isn’t that the million dollar question…

I have over the years read a lot about NDE’s (Near Death Experiences) and find the whole think quite fascinating actually. I guess if one looks for evidence of non-local consciousness, then NDE’s (for me) are the most logical place to start.

Once the brain is clinically dead (and by that I infer that one is clinically dead with the cessation of cerebral blood flow and oxygen), then after a period of intense “about to die” brain activity (which could be explained as the final electrical surge during the glutamate flood), one is fact dead. Deceased. An ex-human. One is indeed pushing up the daisies…

Thinking of a logical simile, death is like a computer: when it’s time to log off you prepare yourself, click Start > Shut Down and the internal parts process such a request which results in a spike of electrical activity – shutting down all services and processes before finally presenting a black screen. Once in this mode, one can move the mouse or type on the keyboard, but alas there is no response (unless you resuscitate it by pressing the power button again of course). Our computer cannot experience or store anything whilst in this mode, so I guess this is where we as humans may differ and as such the search for synthetic or artificial consciousness will be in vain.

The catalogued NDE cases I’ve read are very interesting indeed, especially those OBE (Out of Body Experiences) where folks have witnessed items from way above their vantage points like mouse traps on high cupboards, shoes on a roof etc after all visible brain activity has ceased. No doubt there have been some seriously clever and impartial folks documenting and studying such events, and personally I would like to think that experiences like seeing deceased relatives, beings of light and tunnels are in fact evidence of something beyond this realm. If we can only experience five percent of the electro/audio magnetic spectrum of what we call reality with the limited five senses we have, then one has to conclude there is something else out there. Exactly what that is, I guess we may never know.

The more intriguing cases for me are NDE’s of the young, for surely if an infant has no preconceptions about religion, beings of light, tunnels and the concept of death, then if in those cases they were able to describe such things in detail then for me the evidence really does start to stack up. There was one case that Penny Sartori who studies and writes about NDE’s cited, whereby a four year old child (whom obviously had little/no religious experience) managed to describe their NDE in great detail; going into a tunnel, meeting people and seeing a gate which they never went through.

Whilst there are extremes variety and wealth of evidence both captured and studied, I ask myself the question whether consciousness is non-local based on the NDE’s evidence I have read thus far and can I presented can be regarded as being beyond reasonable doubt. There is still something which the logical part of me questions. Take time dilation. I have first-hand experience of time dilation when “not conscious”, through vivid dreams and the Lucid Light Device (Lucia No 3) where extensive periods of dream-time occur within seconds or minutes of real-time. NDE cases could simply be experiencing “something” during that shutdown mode when the brain is hyper-active based on preconceptions or religious/spiritual beliefs of the individual. However, what cannot be accounted for I suppose is where someone is clinically dead with no visible brain activity who experiences activities in our reality (like OBE’s in the operating theatre – as some have described in great detail) once the brain has flat-lined. What could possibly explain such a scenario other than concluding one of two things: the brain can continue to function for a time after clinical death when all observable life signs have ceased, or that indeed consciousness is non-local.

I cannot say that I have had an NDE, but I can say that whilst under the influence of Lucia No 3, I had what can only be described as near death experience “experience”. I saw a tunnel. I saw white amorphous shapes what could be regarded as beings of light. Could it be that by immersing oneself in total light, one can attain an altered state and voyage into the void, into what could possibly be the collective consciousness?

OPINION: I do believe that people do have NDE’s. I do believe that certain NDE’s are difficult to counter given some of the incredible and fantastic evidence. The more and more I read, the more and more I begin to believe that there is something else out there, and NDE’s help in some way to proving that. However, I would not go as far as to say that it is beyond reasonable doubt at this stage. No doubt if I had a full on NDE then I could be persuaded, but I’d rather not just yet if I’m honest…

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Dream Diary: Introduction

So I have decided to add another string to my “new age” bow. I have had several very interesting conversations lately, all relating to the topic of lucid dreaming. I’m also a huge admirer of the film Inception, one of the most thought provoking films I’ve seen in many a year.

I have been sent a link from my friend “M” to the website World of Lucid Dreaming, which goes into some detail about the world of lucid dreaming (oddly enough) and presents dream control techniques for beginners. I will commence with a dream journal soon (as soon as my reiki cleansing period is over and I have the time), and share my lucidity journey (or otherwise) as it happens.

But for now, what is lucid dreaming exactly? Wiki explains:

“A lucid dream is any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. In a lucid dream, the dreamer has greater chances to exert some degree of control over their participation within the dream or be able to manipulate their imaginary experiences in the dream environment. Lucid dreams can be realistic and vivid. There is evidence to show that an increased amount of activity in the parietal lobes makes lucid dreaming a conscious process.

A 1968 study of lucid dreams analysed the main characteristics of such dreams, reviewing previously published literature on the subject and incorporating new data from participants. It was concluded that lucid dreams were a category of experience quite distinct from ordinary dreams, and predicted that they would turn out to be associated with rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep), and that eye movements signalled the onset of lucidity.

A lucid dream can begin in one of many ways. A dream-initiated lucid dream (D.I.L.D.) starts as a normal dream, and the dreamer eventually concludes it is a dream. A wake-initiated lucid dream (W.I.L.D) occurs when the dreamer goes from a normal waking state directly into a dream state, with no apparent lapse in consciousness. The wake-initiated lucid dream occurs when the sleeper enters REM sleep with unbroken self-awareness directly from the waking state.

While dream control and dream awareness are correlated, neither requires the other:

  • Dreams that exhibit one clearly without the capacity for the other
  • In dreams where the dreamer is lucid and aware they could exercise control, they choose simply to observe.

Four corollaries (direct or natural consequence or result) of lucidity are as follows: 

  • The dreamer is aware that they are dreaming.
  • Objects disappear after waking.
  • Physical laws need not apply in the dream.
  • The dreamer has a clear memory of the waking world.

Some experienced lucid dreamers have learned to remember specific practical goals such as artists looking for inspiration seeking a show of their own work once they become lucid or computer programmers looking for a screen with their desired code. However, most of these dreamers had many experiences of failing to recall waking objectives before gaining this level of control.

Other phenomena associated to lucid dreaming are as follows:

Rapid Eye Movement (REM)

When a person is dreaming, the eyes shift rapidly. Scientific research has found that these eye movements may correspond to the direction the dreamer “looks” at in the dreamscape. This has enabled trained lucid dreamers to communicate with researchers while dreaming by using eye movement signals.

False awakening

In a false awakening, one dreams of having awoken. The room the dreamer falsely awakens in is often similar to the room he/she fell asleep in. If the person was lucid, they often believe that they are no longer dreaming and begin their morning routine. The dreamer remains naive to the dream either until they realize they haven’t actually woken up or until they really do wake up.

Sleep paralysis

During sleep the body paralyzes itself as a protection mechanism to prevent the movements that occur in the dream from causing the physical body to move. However, this mechanism can be triggered before, during, or after normal sleep while the brain awakens. This can lead to a state where the awakened sleeper feels paralyzed. Hypnagogic hallucination may occur in this state, especially auditory ones. Effects of sleep paralysis include heaviness or inability to move the muscles, rushing or pulsating noises, and brief hypnogogic or hypnopompic imagery.

Out-of-body experience

An out-of-body experience (OBE or sometimes OOBE) is an experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside of one’s body and, in some cases, perceiving one’s physical body from a place outside one’s body (autoscopy). About one in ten people claim to have had an out-of-body experience at some time in their lives. Some work by neurologists suggests that such experiences are generated by the same brain mechanisms that cause lucid dreams.

Lucidity is strongly associated with stage 1 REM sleep but OBEs are far less consistent, producing EEG traces that can variously resemble stage 3 sleep, a waking, eyes-closed state or other uncategorized states. However, while this may suggest that perceived OBEs are a type of lucid dream which takes place in a dream environment that mimics the actual environment of the dreamer, this falls short of supporting the idea that some conscious form of the dreamer actually leaves the body and perceives their external environment while still in a sleeping state”.

As mentioned in my latest reiki diary entry, my friend “M” is having some quite remarkable results with lucid dreaming and has recently shared instructions of setting up apps on a smart phone to track sleep patterns, as well as links to instructions on how to lucid dream (all of which can be found at the link at the top of this post).

As well as all of that (again mentioned in my previous post) is the lucid light device which may be a good kickstarter for lucid dreaming. From what I can make out, it is a stroboscopic instrument which when viewed (with eyes closed) can “allegedly” help to produce (or help the pineal gland to produce) endogenous DMT (Dimethyltryptamine), and it is whilst this is happening that the viewer has the ability to ‘travel’ to or view other places, other realms (whether it be into the subconscious, super-conscious or astral plain is down to the interpretation of the viewer). Either way, it can bring forth moments of enlightenment, much in the way deep meditation / the kundalini experience can do.

There are several lucid light devices dotted around the south of the UK, for more information on these check out the following links:

I’m up for a ‘trip’ to Light Eye Mind if any other blogger is interested in meeting up…