What Happens When We Die?

“The only two certainties in life are death and taxes” according to Mark Twain……..and a few others that came before and after him.

So, what actually happens when we die?  All faiths and wisdom traditions have something to say about the destiny of our ‘soul’ (however that is defined) when our bodies die. But what does science say?  Perhaps this is one of the areas where scientific methodology really does not lend itself to providing illuminating and coherent answers?  Still, it is an intriguing question that occupies the research activities of many clinicians across the globe.  Investigating so-called ‘Near Death Experiences’ (NDE’s) is a contentious area of research that generates competing explanations as to what happens to the individual when they ‘die’.  Vexed questions concerning the nature of consciousness are viewed in their true light and not just as philosophical abstractions.  The evidence and arguments are complex, but their importance cannot be underestimated.

I came across a brief excerpt the other day of a presentation given by Bruce Greyson, MD, PhD speaking about near death experiences and the mind-body connection.  This presentation was part of a Nour Foundation panel discussion at the September 11, 2008 United Nations symposium, “Beyond the Mind-Body Problem: New Paradigms in the Science of Consciousness,” inspired by the philosophy of Ostad Elahi.  Dr. Greyson, who is a world-leading authority in his field, gives an excellent summary of the issues surrounding our current level of understanding of NDE’s and what they tell us about the validity of belief in an ‘afterlife’.  You can watch the clip below (courtesy of youtube):

One response to “What Happens When We Die?”

  1. I listened to Dr. Bruce Greyson’s comments on Near Death Experiences, and I believe it to be a cogent and honest explanation of this phenomenon.The key phrase is …”The separation of mind and brain.” This comment hints at the existence of a Soul or Spirit, residing within our physical organ, the brain.
    This echoes the assertion in the Bible, in Saint Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 27, Verse 50, where it asserts that Jesus …” gave up his spirit.”
    This was done by our Lord VOLUNTARILY. That is, He chose his moment of death, when His mind was separated from His brain, and thereby His body, and He died in bodily form, yet His innermost self went on to defeat Death, forever, on our behalf.
    Thus, the re-combination of the two later on the third day, on the day of Resurrection.
    Although in a state of extreme illness, our physical brain is befuddled by drugs which have been administered in the medical context, yet our mind, or spirit, or soul if you will, remains lucid, clear and uncontaminated by our physical condition ans so as Dr. Bruce Greyson correctly say, it is free to experience the world etc outsIde of the physical body. This is what we call a Near Death Experience.Yes, our physical husk perishes, but our eternal self goes on…….


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