Many people who've died and come back claim to have experienced what heaven is like after suffering near-death experiences or NDEs. In believing there's an afterlife, people who've sustained NDEs have shared their incredible stories of dying, seeing heaven, and reconnecting with deceased loved ones in another realm.
Others claim to have learned the meaning of life and have clear and vivid accounts of what it's like to die and go to heaven.
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Very few medical professionals admit to believing in the phenomena of NDEs. In the medical world, science prevails in the explanation of life and death. Doctors rely on scientific facts for the heavenly out-of-body experiences some of their patients describe after suffering a near-death event.
In most cases, they attribute a lack of oxygen to the brain for producing hallucinations that mimic after-death, out-of-body experiences, or travel to other dimensions. Most don't entertain their patient's stories as authentic experiences with crossing over and returning from the other side.
What Happens in a Near-Death Experience
NDEs reported from people worldwide share similarities with few deviations in how they perceive life after death and what happens when we die. These events result in profound life-changing experiences for those who’ve had NDEs.
People who are blind from birth claim to have very vivid visual NDEs and can give details of what they saw and experienced even though they didn’t have any prior reference point for what they describe seeing.
Similarly, people who are under general anesthesia and whose hearts have been medically stopped also express similar NDEs. Medical science doesn’t explain how a person who’s unconscious and whose brain electrical activity is flat can still experience these occurrences.
NDEs are a medical and scientific mystery. These experiences are transformative, and most people who report having undergone an NDE no longer fear death or what lies beyond this physical realm. The following are some of the more commonly shared experiences among those reporting experiencing NDEs.
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Almost every NDE begins with a life-threatening event. In some cases, they’re a result of trauma, a long-term illness, or a medical procedure gone wrong. Some people might have premonitions of their death for months before they actually flatline or experience another type of clinical death.
People suffering from heart attacks, medically induced comas, and complications with childbirth have reported extraordinary and supernatural experiences resulting from having died and come back.
Usually, the heart stops beating, and the brain shuts down before an NDE occurs. These and other life-threatening events are precursors for experiencing connections to the other side after suffering death.
After a near-death experience, the second most common occurrence is feeling detached from and the soul disconnecting from the physical body while simultaneously rising above it. According to some survivors of NDEs, what may happen to your spirit when you die is that the energy comes out of the body at a tremendous speed or after hearing a loud popping noise as it detaches.
Most people talk about looking down and seeing their bodies lying on the operating table, the floor where they last lay, or in the automobile they crashed in.
Floating above body
When consciousness separates from the body, an out-of-body experience can occur. Many survivors describe waking up on the ceiling and being able to look down at the entire room and seeing and hearing everything that’s going on. Finding words to describe this experience is often challenging as it’s like nothing anyone’s ever known unless having experienced an NDE themselves.
While floating, some people describe feeling or knowing of unseen energy or presence next to them attributed to God or Jesus Christ. When a person going through an NDE realizes they’ve died is at this moment of detachment. The realization is followed by seeing and acknowledging their bodies lying on the floor dead or a table attended by medical doctors and nurses. Some ways people have described this part of an NDE are:
- Remembering their body just floating
- Being surrounded by white space
- Seeing a bright white light
- Feeling free
- Being formless and light as a feather
What is Heaven Like in a Near-Death Experience
Each near-death experience can offer a glimpse into the person's perception of heaven and the afterlife. Here are common experiences that accompany many NDEs.
Travel through space and time
People of all ages describe going through a tunnel and being able to travel to many places near and far just by thinking about where they want to be.
A mother who’s died can easily transport to where her children are and then just as quickly can jump over to be with her anxious spouse pacing the waiting room floor. There’s no time, distance, or space in this other dimension that exists apart from this world that we know. Time travel is a regular occurrence in the spirit world, according to NDE survivors.
Perhaps one of the most frequently reported phenomena related to an NDE is seeing an unearthly brilliant light at the end of a tunnel. This description is what movies about near death experiences focus on when recounting what it’s like to die and go to heaven. NDE survivors explain what it feels like to travel through the tunnel and reaching this white light.
They describe having no pain, seeing a familiar person waiting for them in the distance, and emerging into the light as a perfect version of themselves.
There isn’t any universal way to describe this light. The most common shared thoughts are that it’s incredibly white and feels comforting and loving in a profound and unconditional sense. Others have reported sensing an instant connection to the entire universe, feelings of peace, and of finally being at home.
Experiencing a sense of intense love and peace is typically linked to the brilliant white light at the end of the tunnel. Men and women describe this light as being all-knowing and as perfect, unconditional love. They don’t distinguish the light from that of the energy of a higher power.
In the recounting of her near-death experience, Nancy Rynes, author of Awakenings from the Light, describes how getting struck by a vehicle while riding her bike sent her into a state of dual consciousness.
She saw herself separated from her physical body while wondering if she had died. She survived the accident but then experienced death during a medically necessary surgery days later. She describes being welcomed into heaven and feeling an overwhelming and incredible sense of unconditional love.
Cherie Aimme is an NDE survivor after suffering cardiac arrest and dying for 90 minutes. She miraculously came back to life after her team of medical professionals performed CPR on her during that time frame. She remembers flatlining and crossing over to the other side, where she describes going to a place of extraordinary beauty.
In that place, she felt connected to the family on the other side and no longer trapped in the confines of her daily life. Other survivors have also attempted to describe the unearthly beauty of this other realm.
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Going through a life review
Many NDE survivors experience what they describe as a non-judgmental life review to show how their lives affected those around them. The assessment is subjective and serves as a reminder that the energy that a person puts into the world illuminates their life and has a significant impact on them and others.
The life review is a review of the current life, past lives, and the certain impact decisions have on other people’s lives. NDE survivors describe experiencing not only their pain but that of others who were affected by their actions and decisions.
Loss of fear of death
Books on NDEs describe the fantastic and peaceful transformation from life to death. Most people, but not all, describe having a positive death experience. As a result, they no longer fear death and have a newfound appreciation for life. They're okay with dying and are okay if they died right now. Many NDE survivors describe their journey to the other side as one where they realize that their spirit was there before birth, during life, and after death.
They feel welcomed home after they die and emerge with a changed perspective on life and death. NDE survivors take more risks after coming back from the brink of death. Most of the time, they come back as entirely different people as before they died. They put their fear of death behind them and start truly living the life they’ve always envisioned.
Being sent back
Some NDE survivors explain that they heard an audible popping noise when their soul left their body and when it returned. Others describe the sensation as floating backward into their body and not wanting to return to it but are forced to because it wasn't their time to die.
They tell of how they still had things to finish here on earth or because they made an agreement with God and they must come back to fulfill their promise. Most people didn't want to return despite having left behind their children and families. They liken their returning to being compelled to do so rather than wanting to come back.
Experiencing the Afterlife
Life after death can be described as consciousness continuing when a person has been declared clinically dead for all intents and purposes. Those who’ve claimed to have experienced death describe being aware of their immediate and remote surroundings at a time when their brain stopped functioning, and they were declared dead.
People who’ve experienced an NDE go on to reclaim their lives after seeing what lies beyond this dimension. They may emerge from this experience with changed values and may choose to change their relationships and professions to align more with their new values resulting from the NDE.