Benjamin Franklin said that “there are only two things certain in life: death, and taxes”. Whilst some are capable of tax evasion, we are all certain to taste death at least once in our lives- it is an unavoidable inevitability. Some people die and live to tell the tale, whilst others face their end with no prospect of return.

But what do I mean by “die and live to tell the tale”? No, there’s no Sci-Fi, dark occult related therapy here, but merely someone fitting the criteria of being “dead” and being resuscitated back to the criteria of “living”. The medical definition of “clinical death” is the cessation of blood flow and breathing; such that if someone suffers from cardiac arrest- they are considered dead in the eyes of medical professionals. But many people do have cardiac arrests, and manage to recover comprehensively, but what happens to the bodies of those who are in the “dead” phase- regardless of whether they return to “life” or not.

Firstly, your blood starts to pool in your blood vessels, your cells begin to stop respiration, and your core body temperature fall- all expectant occurrences of someone whose heart has ceased function. It must also be noted that brain function culminates almost immediately after the expiration of blood flow to the organ, resulting in neural awareness coming to a termination.

Yet those that have “died”, but have been successfully resuscitated often mention experiences that occurred after death. How is this possible if your brain has stopped working? Some accurately describe the goings-on in the medical room they were in from an extra-personal, 3rd person perspective- claims which have then been verified by medical personnel to be valid and true. These anecdotal events are scientifically labelled as “Near-Death Experiences” (NDEs).

In the event of cardiac arrest, these phenomena should not be possible, as there is no registered electrical activity in the brain, meaning that there is potentially an external factor in the involvement of NDEs, as any conscious events are beyond biological explanation. In today’s age of technological advancement and amelioration, no one has fathomed a scientific conclusion to the existence of NDEs.

However, religious figures have arbitrated a justification for the neurologists who are perplexed by NDEs. Muslim and Christian authorities have claimed NDE occurrences to be irrefutable proof of life after death, and the extraction of one’s soul; whilst Hindu prominence has postulated that this is an intermediary phase in reincarnation. Although there are differing religious views on the continuation of life after death, most religious believers unanimously agree that resuscitation would have brought back a person’s “soul” or equivalent to their body.

Thus, we are back to where we started- a neurological mystery, with no confirmed answer. No one can give you a straight explanation for the existence of NDEs; it’s an existence that you have to answer for yourself.

Hamzah Rahman

Photo Credits due to: BASICKNOWLDGE