Near-death survivors tell us stories of out of body experiences and spiritual awakening. How could it be possible for near-death experiences to result into religious experiences that would totally transform a person? Is it really possible to attain enlightenment through this experience?
Most people would perceive that spiritual awakening is associated with religious personas, like saints, yogis, and lamas. Therefore, ordinary people experiencing spiritual awakening can be both fascinating and frightening for some. There are some who intentionally journey towards enlightenment through meditation, yoga and other traditions and rituals. But there are others who experience spiritual awakening on their death-bed.
In an essay written by Dr. David San Filippo titled Religious Interpretations of NDEs, he stated that a “near-death experience (NDE) is a conscious experience in which the individual experiences a sense of being detached from the physical world during the process of physiological dying.”
Medically, near-death experiences as described by Dr. Filippo, is when the patient cannot breathe making the muscles in the heart to fail and powerful substances are released. Also, NDE survivors say that they would have an out-of-the-body experience, where the spirit or the soul detaches itself from the body. During these detachment, survivors can experience seeing darkness or the light, meeting spiritual and divine people, and somehow judging their lives.
In a survey performed in 2001, there were 13 million Americans or 5 percent of the population who report that they have experienced an NDE. Near-death experiences and spiritual awakening after them can actually transcend any culture and religion. Regardless, if the patient believes in the divine or Supreme Being, near-death experience could happen.
What happens during a near-death experience?
The survivor first feels a sense of being dead and peace. The soul or the spirit separates from the body and meets with different entities which have already passed away like family, friends, even angels and religious persona. The spirit seems to be rising into the air and encounter a Light which is often associated with the Supreme Being, whether it is God or Allah.
The survivor then senses what happened to their life and judges it. Commonly, the survivors feel reluctant on going back to the world of living. Survivors cannot sense any time or anything that would restrict them from going wherever they want.
There are significant psychological effects of these near-death experiences to the survivors. According to Dr. P.M.H. Atwater (People are dramatically Changed by NDEs), here are some the psychological effects which can also be somewhat referred to enlightenment or spiritual awakening:
• Unconditional love- NDE survivors turn themselves into fully loving and generous people who would wonder and express themselves to each person they see.
• Timelessness – survivors begin to follow the “flow” and tend to ignore schedules and time frames. They would shift their focus and give more importance on the present.
• Psychic – some survivors would wake up or return to the world of the living with heightened senses or extrasensory perception.
• The soul- survivors would show more interest on reincarnation and would later on accept this concept regardless of their previous belief. Since they have experienced the soul or the spirit separating from the body, they understand that the body is nothing but a coffer for the soul.
• Communication- NDE survivors display the use of new language or new vocabularies which is totally different with what they are used to speaking before.
These effects of NDE can be treated as spiritual awakening since the person transforms into a new person.