The near-death experience (NDE) is a profound and transformative experience reported by some people who have come close to death physiologically e.g. during cardiac arrest, psychologically e.g. in an accident, or both. It is estimated that, worldwide, perhaps as many as 25 million people have had an NDE over the course of the last fifty years. Experiencers describe it as a mystical, spiritual or transcendental experience, with virtually all suggesting that this is an experience without words to describe it. It is ineffable.
The NDE is associated with common themes and features such as the cessation of pain, a sense of bliss, seeing a light or a being of light, sensing a different reality, contact with deceased individuals, changes in thought processes, heightened emotions and an out-of-body experience. The NDE may also involve a ‘life review’. This is a personal evaluation of ones life as a whole, as well as of ones thoughts, actions and intentions throughout, with many NDErs suggesting that this evaluation brings significant insight and meaning to their life going forward. Significantly, transcending all of these features is the experiencer’s continued sense of self throughout the experience.