Near-Death Experiences (NDE)
A near-death experience (NDE) is a spiritual, transcendental or
other-worldly event that can occur during a clinical, imminent or
possibly imminent death situation. The NDE can also occur while
suffering from trauma or while having an intense desire to die.
The content of an NDE is highly diverse, but commonly include such
elements as being out-of-body, seeing others who have died,
experiencing peace, unconditional love, a life-review, an
intensely beautiful realm and/ or all-knowing light or darkness.
The experience may also be partly or completely distressing.
The NDE is often profound in its message(s) or meaning leading to
lasting changes in the experiencer’s life. Emotions upon returning
from an NDE can be intense, running a range from ecstatic joy to sadness
or to anger over being sent back. A long period of
integration typically follows an NDE.
Since the term “near-death experience” was coined by Dr. Raymond
Moody in his book Life After Life, the International Association
of Near-Death Experiences (www.iands.org), which was subsequently formed
to research the experience, collected hundreds of accounts—25% of
which came from people who said they had similar experiences, but were
“nowhere near death.” IANDS calls these experiences
“near-death-like” or NDLEs.
“Nearing Death Awareness” (NDA) refers to a dying person’s
experiences in the last few weeks, days or hours before they die. These
may include pre-death or death-bed visions or observations (DBOs) of
seeing deceased loved ones or other beings.
Additionally, people who were present at a loved one’s passing
reported that they were briefly taken with their loved one on his or her
journey, but were sent back. Others reported feeling the emotions
of the dying or dead loved one during their experience.
These are called “Empathic Near-Death Experiences” or “Shared-Death
Experiences” (SDEs). See [links] for more information.
An NDE is said to have “veridical” elements if the experiencer -
while clinically dead or when conscious thought is supposedly impossible
- observed events that were later verified by witnesses. NDEs, reported
by young children, instant recoveries from fatal circumstances, sudden
development of genius talents or psychic gifts and the experience of
sight in the congenitally blind are convincing testimonies that
consciousness extends beyond a physical or material existence.
Phenomenological list of experiential and transformative elements
One or more of the following experiences is frequently associated
with NDEs, NDLEs and/or NDAs. It is not an exhaustive list, and
some of these are more commonly associated with NDEs in Western
- A sense that the experience is more “real” than reality.
- A change in the sense of time – slowing down, speeding up or
- An experience or feeling of intense peace.
- A sense of interconnectedness or feeling of oneness with
- A sense of knowing everything – how everything works, receiving
special or advanced knowledge, understanding how everything fits
- Being presented with knowledge about one's life and the nature
of the universe.
- Receiving messages in telepathic form.
- Noticing a very unpleasant sound or noise.
- Having a sense or awareness of being dead.
- Having a sense of well-being and painlessness; positive
- An out-of-body experience. A perception of one's own body from
an outside position or perspective. Witnessing earthly events or
people when out of the body. For example, some might observe doctors
and nurses performing medical resuscitation efforts.
- A sense of moving up, or through, a passageway or staircase or
tunnel; going from a place of darkness to light, from the physical
world to a transcendental realm.
- An awareness or sudden immersion in a powerful light.
Communication with the light.
- A feeling of being in a vortex or whirlwind.
- An intense feeling of unconditional love.
- Encountering "Beings of Light," "Beings dressed in white," or
other spiritual beings.
- Encountering or feeling reunited with deceased loved ones or
with one’s soul family/group.
- Being given a life review, where one's own life events are
viewed or relived and sometimes judged.
- Being given a life “preview" of events days or years into the
future that will occur when the person returns to their body, or of
potential pain others would feel if the person died instead of
returning to life at that time.
- Receiving visions of the global future.
- A decision by oneself or others to return to one's body, often
accompanied by a reluctance to return.
- Encountering spiritual or religious beings.
- Seeing some sort of landscape.
- Encountering a barrier or threshold between life and death;
approaching a border, fence or barrier.
- Seeing a brilliant landscape with enhanced senses.
- Experiencing sensations with all one’s senses or a crossover of
senses, ie., synesthesia.
- Experiencing unearthly music or colors.
- Having frightening experiences that may produce a feeling of
fear, such as feeling torment, despondency, or a “void”; seeing
unusual or scary creatures.
- Presence of concrete symbols or literal metaphors, such as
facing a door representing a choice.
to access book references on NDEs click
to access case histories of NDEs click
to access peer reviewed journal articles on
to access a list of prominent NDE
researchers and organizations click here
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