Life and death go hand in hand for everyone. It’s only natural that we will, at some point, face that moment of death… but what will it feel like? People who have gone through near-death experiences often recall similar phenomena. Here are the 12 most common experiences recounted by such survivors.
1. Comfort and peace
In a flash, the feeling of pain and of having reached a limit in physical exhaustion is replaced by a sense of comfort and ease. There is such a peaceful and pleasant feeling that is not like anything you have ever felt before. At the same time, you may hear or see people around you announcing your death.
2. Sounds or music
You hear wondrous music or other surreal sounds.
3. Entering darkness
You feel that you have been pulled into a vacuum that you experience as a cylinder with nothing in it, not even any air. You may feel that this is a kind of transition zone — a boundary between the living and another world.
4. The soul leaves the body
You find yourself looking at your body from the outside. For example, a man who fell into a body of water recalled exiting his body and entering an empty space for a period of time, where he was alone and feeling as light as a feather.
5. Communication barrier
You find yourself unable to communicate with those around you, although you have a great wish to let them know what you are going through. One woman recalls struggling to talk to those beside her. No matter how hard she tried, no one could hear her.
6. Time disappears
As your soul leaves your body, you feel as if any sense of time has vanished. You may re-enter and re-exit your body numerous times.
7. Heightened senses
Your vision and hearing become sensitive and more acute. One man says he experienced incredible enhancement in his vision; he doesn’t recall ever seeing so clearly.
8. Lonely and helpless
You soon feel a terribly deep sense of isolation and loneliness. Some have said that the inability to communicate with others made them feel very lonely.
9. A bright light
At the last moment of a near-death experience, a luminous, divine light appears, telling you to go back to your body as your time isn’t up yet.
10. Returning to life
Before awakening in your body, your entire life flashes before your eyes and you see it in its entirety. One person describes “reliving one scene after another in chronological order; the pictures were charged with emotional experiences.”
11. A boundary
Afterward, you encounter a sort of “boundary” that prevents you from drifting elsewhere. This barrier has been described as “a line,” “a pool of water,” “a door,” “a cloud cluster,” or “a fence in the wilderness.”
12. The return
Although when you first leave your body, you may have a strong desire to return, as time goes by and your otherworldly experience deepens, this desire may be replaced by a wish to remain free from the human body. You may develop a rejection of returning. However, after the encounter with the bright light, you are already in the process of being led to return.
Translated by Chua BC and edited by Emiko Kingswell