· Jeffrey Long is a radiation oncologist in Kentucky.
· He's also the founder of the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation.
· He says studying near-death experiences has made him a better cancer doctor.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Jeffrey Long. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Thirty-seven years ago I was an oncologist resident, learning about how best to treat cancer using radiation. These were the pre-internet days, so I did my research in the library. One day, I was flipping through a large volume of the Journal of the American Medical Association when I came across an article describing near-death experiences.
It stopped me in my tracks. All my medical training told me you were either alive or dead. There was no in-between. But suddenly, I was reading from a cardiologist describing patients who had died and then came back to life, reporting very distinct, almost unbelievable experiences.
From that moment, I was fascinated with near-death experiences or NDEs. I define a near-death experience as someone who is either comatose or clinically dead, without a heartbeat, having a lucid experience where they see, hear, feel emotions, and interact with other beings. Learning more about these experiences has fundamentally changed my view of the universe.
Near-death experiences have common threads
When I finished my residency, I started the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation. I started collecting stories from people who had NDEs and evaluating them with the mind of a scientist and doctor. I made opinions based on evidence and came into this as a skeptic. But in the face of overwhelming evidence, I've come to believe there's certainly an afterlife.
No two NDEs are the same. But as I studied thousands of them, I saw a consistent pattern of events emerging in a predictable order. About 45% of people who have an NDE report an out-of-body experience. When this happens, their consciousness separates from their physical body, usually hovering above the body. The person can see and hear what's happening around them, which usually includes frantic attempts to revive them. One woman even reported a doctor throwing a tool on the floor when he picked up the wrong one—something the doctor later confirmed.
After the out-of-body experience, people say they're transported into another realm. Many pass through a tunnel and experience a bright light. Then, they're greeted by deceased loved ones, including pets, who are in the prime of their lives. Most people report an overwhelming sense of love and peace. They feel like this other realm is their real home.
I haven't found any scientific explanation for these experiences
These experiences may sound cliché: the bright light, the tunnel, the loved ones. But over twenty-five years of studying NDEs, I've come to believe that these descriptions have become cultural tropes because they're true. I even worked with a group of children under five who had NDEs. They reported the same experiences that adults did—and at that age, you're unlikely to have heard about bright lights or tunnels after you die.
News Source - https://www.insider.com/near-death-experiences-research-doctor-life-after-death-afterlife-2023-8