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11 Facts About a Near-Death Experience

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We know. It’s not the cheeriest convo to get into, but death is something that creeps into all of our minds at some point or another. It’s not always comfortable to talk about these issues but there’s really no harm in opening up and being consciously vulnerable about the things that scare us, including being close to dying. The phrase ‘near-death experience’ was first used in the book Life After Life by Raymond Moody. According to the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS): “A near-death experience (NDE) is a profound psychological event that may occur to a person close to death or, if not near death, in a situation of physical or emotional crisis. Because it includes transcendental and mysterious elements, and NDE is a powerful even of consciousness.” With that in mind, here are 15 facts about near-death experiences to know if and when this touchy subject comes up.

1. All over the world

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1Near-death experiences have been supposedly documented all over the world. They do not appear to be culturally specific nor do they have bias when it comes to age or gender.

2. Plato

The first written documentation of an NDE was found in Plato’s Myth of Er, which was written in 420 BC. Now, it wasn’t called a near-death experience per se, but that’s what it allegedly was.

3. The International Association for Near-Death

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The International Association for Near-Death Studies says: “Every day in the U.S. 774 near-death experiences occur.” We can’t decide if that’s reassuring or scary.

4. Pleasurable or Distressing

People’s NDEs fall into two categories: “pleasurable” or “distressing.” Most near-death experiences are actually pleasurable experiences that lead to a heightened awareness of the beauty of life. We’re not dying to know how the distressing ones play out.

5. Four Phases

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There are four phases in a pleasurable near-death experiences. The first phase: Disassociated—the individual does not feel connected with the physical world or his or her body. The second phase: Naturalistic—this involves more of a focus on the natural world where colors, sounds and senses are sharpened. The third phase: Supernatural—this is what most of us probably think of when we imagine a near-death experience. It’s the whole seeing the light at the end of a tunnel element, or communicating with a loved one who has passed. The fourth phase: Return—the individual may be given a choice as to whether or not they wish to return to their body. And then they do, obviously, otherwise it wouldn’t be called a near-death experience.

6. Book

Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon, wrote a book about his near-death experience called Proof of Heaven.

7. Song

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George Michael wrote the song White Light about his own NDE.

8. Celebrities

Other celebrities have had NDEs as well, including Sharon Stone, Gary Busey and Burt Reynolds.

9. Anyone

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Near-death experiences have been reported by females and males and young and old. Like we said, non-discriminatory.

10. Religion

NDEs may be associated with religion and the idea of heaven, but people of all cultures and religious backgrounds have experienced them. How incredible is that? You don’t even have to believe it could happen to have it actually happen to you.

11. You will not be the same

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NDEs can be, and often are, life changing experiences. They have been a motivating factor for many people to refocus their lives or find their purpose for being in existence.

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