Afterlife: Expert discusses 'feelings' in near-death experiences
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The jury is still out on whether life goes on after physical death but many people claim to already known an answer. People who have gone through so-called near-death experiences (NDEs) frequently describe visions and sensations of what they believe is the afterlife. One such person is a woman named Leila, who claims to have temporarily passed into the afterlife more than 15 years ago.
Leila shared the account of her NDE with the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF), explaining how she was dying in hospital from complete liver failure.
She recalled saying goodbye to her closest family while a pastor said one final prayer for her.
When everyone left, she closed her eyes and drifted away, praying to God “to please help me”.
Leila said: “Next, I was above my body. I knew that I was dead.
“It was dark in the room, but I could see light. I was fearful at first, but the closer I got to the light, my feelings started changing.
“All fear and negativity disappeared. I did not walk into the light, yet it felt like I was being pulled into it; it was like being slowly sucked into the light.”
According to Leila, the light was incredibly bright but it did not blind or hurt her eyes.
She said it was brighter than looking at the Sun but it felt soft and comfortable.
When she reached the brightest point of the light she was no longer moving.
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Leila was then overcome with a feeling of peace, calmness and joy.
She said: “In that moment, my experience was orders of magnitude better than any kind of earthly experience.
“For instance, I consider a mother’s joy and love felt from the birth of her child is the best earthly feeling.
“But this experience makes that appear like a drop of water compared to a vast sea or ocean of this experience. There was no other place I wanted to be.”
In a bizarre twist of events, Leila said she could see a “white, shadowy, female figure” in the light.
A voice heard inside of her head then told her to “go back”.
She believes the shadowy figure was her dead grandmother who raised her as a child.
Leila said: “She didn’t say why, but I knew it was because my work on Earth wasn’t done. My children needed me.”
The next things she knew, she had woken up back in her body in the hospital, gasping for air.
Although the account is truly incredible, there is very little medical evidence to suggest it was genuinely paranormal or supernatural.
Instead, researchers have found some evidence to suggest the NDEs might be hallucinations caused by brain activity even when the heart stops.
A study at the University of Michigan has analysed brain activity in rats with clinically induced cardiac arrest.
According to Dr Jimo Borjigin, associate professor of molecular and integrative physiology and associate professor of neurology, the study found activity in the rat brains, which may even translate to human NDEs.
He said: “The prediction that we would find some signs of conscious activity in the brain during cardiac arrest was confirmed with the data.”
Other researchers have proposed NDEs are hallucinations triggered by a lack of oxygen flowing to the brain during a moment of trauma or cardiac arrest.
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