“What happens when I die?”
This is easily the most important question mankind has ever asked. No matter your faith, no matter how certain you are, there’s always that lingering question of what happens when the eyes close for good.
Sure, people have claimed spiritual experiences after death (known as NDE, or near-death experiences); but science hasn’t been able to prove them real or not, regardless of personal testimonies.
Researchers at Southampton University in the United Kingdom conducted a huge study, one of the largest ever, to investigate what happens to consciousness after we die.
So far, they’ve come to an important conclusion: they’re not really sure, but something is happening.
Consciousness appears to linger after the final breath, and may even unravel after a period of time and go in different directions.
Scientists spent four years examining 2,000 people who had suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.
40% of people who survived described a degree of awareness during the time they were dead and before they were revived.
You might call this a near death experience, but it’s entirely possible that, while their hearts weren’t beating, they also weren’t dead. From the study:
“The evidence thus far suggests that in the first few minutes after death, consciousness is not annihilated. Whether it fades away afterwards, we do not know, but right after death, consciousness is not lost. We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating.
“But in this case conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.
“This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating. Furthermore, the detailed recollections of visual awareness in this case were consistent with verified events”.
Must-read book on the subject: Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives
What it Means
Obviously, researchers still aren’t sure exactly what happens after death, or why consciousness lingers afterward. But the interesting thing is that this study clearly shows that it does.
That’s a big deal.
This opens the door to idea that consciousness persists indefinitely… something that would rock the foundations of the world forever.