A Pre-NDE is not an NDE
A pre-NDE is a stand-alone experience.
A true NDE that may follow a pre-NDE is different from both drug trips and having hallucinations. A number of NDErs who have previously experienced drug trips or hallucinations assure us that these past experiences are not even similar to their out-of-body NDE. Raymond Moody 1 quotes an example:
It was nothing like a hallucination. I have had hallucinations once when I was given codeine in the hospital, but that happened long before the accident which really killed me. And this experience was nothing like hallucinations, nothing like them at all.
Dr Maurice Rawlings 2 MD confirms these differences:
It is true that certain stimulated areas of the brain can produce images, but there is no sequence, no consistency, and no predictability. Out-of-the-world experiences rarely, if ever, occur from the damaged brain.
This conclusion regarding the independence of NDEs from brain function has been reached and supported by a number of other researchers. For example, oxygen deprivation as a possible cause of NDEs has been discredited. In Dr Morse’s 3 studies, there was no more oxygen deprivation measured in children having NDEs than those not having NDEs. Cardiologist Dr Fred Schoonmaker 4 discovered patients experiencing NDEs had sufficient oxygen in their blood for normal brain function, and so on…
No chemical or electrical stimulation of the brain has managed to generate a sequence of images remotely similar to those described by thousands of patients who have experienced NDEs. However, some of the fanciful images recorded are similar to those described during pre-NDEs, because chemical imbalances or electrical malfunctions in the brain might be involved in certain pre-NDEs.
There have been major studies of NDEs in the last thirty years and ongoing research renders obsolete previous hypotheses that these experiences are caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, or that they are hallucinations caused by chaos in the brain, or psychological disorders, or temporal lobe seizures, or replays of the birthing process, or are the consequence of the drugs given to dying patients. Some of these might well contribute towards pre-NDE experiences because they may affect brain function in certain cases. However, none have satisfactorily explained the OBE and beyond.
To summarise – attempts to link brain malfunction or psychological disorders to NDEs have been discredited; nonetheless these may contribute to our understanding of pre-NDEs. As explanations for NDEs, they have fallen short when compared with data collected during subsequent investigations. J. Steve Miller 5 gives an excellent overview of the failure of these and other naturalistic theories.
Dr Jeffrey Long 6, an NDE researcher and Radiation Oncologist, made this penetrating analysis:
What near-death experiencers see correlates to their time of cardiac arrest and it is almost uniformly accurate in every detail. That pretty much refutes the possibility that these could be illusionary fragments, or unreal memories associated with hypoxia, chemicals, REM intrusion, or anything that could cause brain dysfunction. I looked at over 280 near-death experiences that had out-of-body observations of earthly ongoing events. If near-death experiences were just fragments of memory, unrealistic remembrances of a time approaching unconsciousness or returning from unconsciousness, there is no chance that the observations would have a high percent of completely accurate observations. They’d be dream-like or hallucinations. But 98% of them were entirely realistic.
Further recent theories have been proposed to try to debunk NDEs, and still others will be suggested in the future. Their stumbling block, however, is that they will remain with a localised material brain in a material body in a material Universe, and so will never explain the OBE and beyond, when the consciousness leaves the body behind and begins a series of afterlife experiences in novel venues. In addition, the consequences of NDEs are startling. For example, thousands of returnees no longer dread death and many are living transformed lifestyles. Something unique and powerful has happened to these people. They deserve to be listened to carefully.
From a scientific perspective, pre-NDEs will be better understood in the future as brain research powers ahead, but NDEs will not yield readily to traditional scientific investigations.
However, from a Christian perspective, as taken by this book, NDEs are explicable as spiritual experiences, and years of confusion can be rolled away.
Pre-NDE and Pre-Death Experiences
A pre-NDE occurs in total on the Earth.
In a pre-death experience, the dying person does not return to life on Earth.
In both instances, people may communicate what is happening to them and around them while in the dying process. Sometimes these accounts may provide insight about the dying process and the beckoning afterlife. Doctors, such as the Paediatrician Dr Diane Komp 7, may hear these spoken descriptions from their patients and record what they have heard. Here are comments about Diane related by Elizabeth Stalcup 8:
In the early years of her practice, Dr Diane Komp reported to the bedside of dying children out of duty. But one day just before seven-year-old Anna died, the child mustered the strength to sit up in bed and cry out: ‘The angels – they’re so beautiful! Mommy, can you see them? Do you hear them singing? I’ve never heard such beautiful singing!’ Then she lay back on her pillow and died.
Anna’s vision was the first of many supernatural visitations that Dr. Komp witnessed at the bedside of dying children. Although Komp was an atheist at the time, the children’s visions forced her to re-examine her atheist beliefs. She reasoned, ‘Surely dying children have no agenda, no reason to deceive me. They simply report what they see. They are reliable witnesses.’
That was more than thirty years ago. Today, Diane is a convinced Christian who finds it a privilege to serve families and young children facing extreme medical challenges.
Further Features of Pre-NDEs
Pre-NDEs are readily confused with the effects that may occur during heavy drug use, appropriately called a ‘drug trip’ since drugs can cause a person to feel as if they have flown away from their bodies into strange and sometimes mysterious experiences. Some pre-NDErs recover and place an emphasis on the universality of spirit and knowledge, as is common after an LSD trip; some describe transcendental experiences of music, cosmic unity, rapid travel, and merging with space or the Universe; some even become delusional about knowing the future. Others feel a ‘unity of vibration’ (or a disunity – less common) with other people or situations.
Some Examples of Pre-NDEs
Pre-NDErs may have their lives changed as radically as any NDEr. After all, we ‘live’ in our brain activity while resident in our material bodies, so what happens there is ‘happening to me’. As in the aftermath of NDEs, the changes brought about are generally towards a more loving life and simpler lifestyle. Pre-NDErs often report a great deal of satisfaction with the resultant changes.
However, in some cases personal disasters have followed.
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