Reviews 2

The Most Notable Experiment in Near Death Research – A Must Read Beginning in 1988, a Dutch cardiologist named Dr. Pim Van Lommel, along with a team of professionals from several Dutch hospitals, carried out a twenty year research project with 344 cardiac arrest survivors. 18% of those survivors (62 patients) reported Near Death Experiences. The rest (82%, 282 patients) were used as a control group. All 344 subjects were interviewed within five days after their cardiac arrests. In addition, there were follow-up interviews that took place two years and eight years after the event. This research project was unique in that Van Lommel and his colleagues had access within five days to patients who had been pronounced

clinically dead, and who were subsequently resuscitated. His team also had access to these patients’ medical records.
This study was so well documented that Dr. Van Lommel’s findings were published in ‘The Lancet’, a prestigious British journal on medical research. (The article is available on […]) When Dr. Van Lommel began his study, he was a skeptic. Over the years his outlook underwent a sea change. As he writes in this book. “Our vision of death is completely transformed by the near-inevitable conclusion that after physical death, nonlocal consciousness can continue in another dimension in an invisible, immaterial world that encompasses past, present, and future.” It is worth noting that there are no comparable studies out there that provide evidence or support for the skeptics or their materialist-reductionist-objectivist views. ‘Consciousness Beyond Life’ is challenging in many ways. Yet the subject of this research project and Van Lommel’s thorough documentation make it difficult to put this book down.

More evidence of cosmic spirit from a cardiologist Dr van Lommel is a Dutch scientist and physician who worked as a cardiologist in Holland from 1977 to 2003. In 2001, he published in the medical journal `The Lancet’ a ground-breaking study on `Near-Death Experience in Survivors of Cardiac Arrest’. This book is the English translation of a book originally published in Dutch in 2007 on the same subject. There are now several books on the market (for example, those by Sabom, Fenwick, Fox) dealing with NDEs and the closely related OBEs. Most of these present anecdotal accounts of visions from patients who undergo some medical trauma (often heart attacks or cardiac surgery). The stories are verifiable in that they agree with the known facts surrounding the event. Most of these books interpret NDEs as indicating connection with some extra-corporeal spiritual state. In some cases, this cosmic energy is regarded as divine. What can be stated with certainty is that NDEs and OBEs indicate an ability of the human mind to undergo experiences that are not explainable by traditional science. There are also books on NDEs by materialist scientists who dismiss any spiritual interpretation of these events and attempt to explain them purely in terms of human physiology (for example, Michael Marsh). Those authors, like Marsh, who attribute such events to a momentary hallucination in patients as they revive are clearly factually mistaken. Van Lommel’s book is a convincing account of the study of over one hundred patients during more than twenty years practice who suffered cardiac arrest and were judged to be clinically dead (sometimes for five minutes or more) but who were resuscitated. This study therefore reaches the same conclusion as Michael Sabom, Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick, or Mark Fox. As van Lommel says here, these experiences `cannot be attributed to imagination, psychosis or oxygen deprivation.’ NDEs may not prove the existence of God or the afterlife, but they certainly show that there is a dimension of the natural world that requires more than just materialist scientism to explain it. The book concludes with a 23-page Bibliography and a detailed Index.

Massive study on the studies of Consciousness This is a serious study of the science of the consciousness. Anyone interested in the study of Near Death Experiences, intuition, premonition, and all other types of consciousness should read this book. It is not really a book but a detailed study of all the research surrounding these phenomenon, and Dr. Pim Van Lommel, MD has done his homework. The book’s detail is exhaustive, and the facts, figures, and discussions are very well documented and supported. Dr. van Lommel may be the world’s expert on this type of phenomenon, though he does not make such a claim, it is simply hard to believe anyone else has done such extensive work on this subject. He has developed a hypothesis of consciousness that is extremely interesting, and compelling, and he supports his theory with scientific analysis and study throughout. Some of that study is even done by the US Cia, Stanford, and Princeton, and he uses all of it to promote his idea that much of consciousness is ‘non-local’. That essentially means that much of the brain acts as a receiver, along with cellular DNA, and consciousness resides outside of the physical material of the brain. Information is stored as wave particles in a dimension that is space-less, and timeless, and has the ability to communicate with other intelligent creatures who live in the present, or in the past or perhaps even the future. This is a compelling book, not a bunch of psychobabble. This book will change the way to see life and death, and if you are religious, will strengthen your faith in a way you could not have imagined. I do not know if van Lommel is religious, but one suspects he may have started this study as a typical atheist Dutch doctor, but is a much more spiritual person now. Get the book, read it, it will take you some place you have not been, and it will take you there on solid ground.

More is Better I’ve been looking into NDEs for a couple of years now, and I didn’t realize that a book like this was available. I read Dr. Jeffrey Long’s excellent book, but that seems more appropriate for the beginner. It feels more like a very good summary. (I also visit their website […] frequently) The first part of this book seemed similar, but as I read on, I became excited! More aspects of the NDE experience and its possible explanations using scientific discoveries and conjectures are included. Also, refutations used by opponents of NDE theory, such as the most common one, that NDEs are caused by anoxia, are examined piece by piece. What happens in the brain when oxygen is unavailable is described in terms of the cell’s metabolism. As the cell becomes depleted of oxygen, its integrity is lost. And yet consciousness continues, and it is clear and organized. Well, I’m still reading this book and am striving to install its excellent points in my brain so that I can address those folks who are sure there is no such thing! For me, it’s the most valid evidence of the existence of God and the afterlife that we have, so the more studying, the more research, the more explanations and theories that there are, the closer we come to getting our society back to a place where we realize that the material is not everything. I see atheism as a fad, and the sooner we move away from the excitement generated by people who were brought up going to church, but suddenly “realized” that there is “no proof” that there is a god and so they don’t have to worry about all that stuff, the better. Of course… we need, someone needs, to develop a way of worshiping our creator and guidance in following a spiritual path. People just laugh at the Bible, once they’ve tasted atheism! So, Dr. Pim, here, God bless him, for this brilliant work, which I hope will be one of many along the path back to aligning ourselves with the Truth. It may actually be incomprehensible, but there are enough hints!!

A rigorous treatise on NDE I have been reading different books on Near Death Experience phenomena. I have obtained a considerable amount of information on this topic. I may say that Consciousness Beyond Life is the most informative, rigorous, and profound treatise I ever read before on this subject. This book goes beyond the boundaries of a mere informative work. It is scientifically solid, with unusual considerations and reasonings not found in other books on this matter. The NDE events are analysed in full details with clarifying insights not found in the current literature. A whole chapter is devoted to expose the possible explanations quantum physics may provide to explain the existence of consciousness after life. I strongly recommend this book to all those people interested in rigorous approaches to the nowadays common NDE events.

Interesting and Educational This book was educational and interesting at the same time. Ideas and thoughts were backed up with scientific information, Connections to spiritual and historical thoughts were convincingly presented.

A serious, scholarly study of NDE Pim van Lommel provides a highly scientific study of NDE. As a long time cardiologist he has weighty credentials to look deeply into the subject. His conclusions are based on empirical observation. They are clearly stated. This book includes findings of a few other high-level studies on topic as well. It isn’t light reading; but perhaps because of this it provides considerable “light.” Two thumbs way up.

At last! Science and Metaphysics meet This book is the result of a scientist, a medical doctor in the field of cardiology. Naturally, writing for his peers he does not speak of philosophy or metaphysics, or those things which address “why are we here” and “what is the origin of our lives”. Rather, he presents a rational and realistic look at the NDE, at non-local consciousness (and yes it DOES EXIST) and even quotes the brilliant Rupert Sheldrake by discussing Sheldrake’s concept of “morphic resonance” (DNA, heredity and consciousness). Sheldrake is a ground breaker in this area and for any studying non-local consciousness and the entanglement scenario MUST read Sheldrake. And I quote (p. 297): “Consciousness is the nonlocal repository of all past experience. The reception of information from nonlocal space rests on our free will (intention), attention, and the state of our (waking) consciousness. In all probability, our person-specific DNA has given the different manifestations of our consciousness, such as waking consciousness and the individual subconscious, their different places of resonance, both in the brain and in other cell systems, each with an individual access code comparable to a private phone number. There is also a universal or collective human consciousness that links each individual human being with everything in existence or everything that ever was or will be, and this happens vie the universal-human DNA shared access code. This is comparable to an international access code. This universal-human access code (DNA) differs from that of animals and plants……Each part is linked nonlocally with the whole.” Indeed. THIS from a SCIENTIST, no less. Quantum Physics is forcing the materialist mind of science to change direction. The fact that consciousness is ubiquitous CAN NO LONGER BE DENIED any more than we can deny the fact that the earth revolves around the sun (which was once considered a heretical concept!) I find in these pages things I’ve known since very early childhood: everything is conscious. Everything is connected. Everything is retained in the “universe” – all memory, every second, every thought – and consciousness after physical death is PROVABLE (he cites the case of Pam Reynolds which, as far as I’m concerned, absolutely proves consciousness survives death.). There are two words missing from this treatise and of course I’m not at all surprised by this. After all, a scientist wrote it. One of those words is AWE. The universe is an extremely complex organism where the macrocosm reflects the microcosm, where chaos results in in order and vice versa, where every vacuum is FULL of potential, where there is NO darkness (photons are found in the blackest of black places in space). Dr. van Lommel makes a very important point when he discusses “harvesting” organs from patients who are “brain dead”. THEY REQUIRE GENERAL ANESTHESIA FOR THIS PROCEDURE and there ARE cases of “brain dead” patients reviving. So, then, WHAT IS DEATH and what is the morality of such “harvesting”? If a man is dead, why would he require general anaesthesia to remove his heart and why would his body register elevation in blood pressure, heart rate, etc. during the procedure? Why, indeed. Our understanding of death, and our understanding of life, must be of great sorrow to the next three letter word that does not appear in this treatise: GOD. Dr. van Lommel, discussing consciousness and nonlocal space, says, “…..consciousness has a primary presence in the universe, and all matter possesses subjective properties or consciousness. In this view, consciousness is nonlocal and the origin or foundation of everything: all matter, or physical reality is shaped by nonlocal consciousness. There is no longer any distinction between nonlocal space and consciousness. This is not a new insight. As far back as the seventeenth century, Newton held that the omnipresent space might be filled with a ‘spiritual substance’; he called space the ‘divine observatory.'” Divine, indeed. Read “The Living Universe”, Gary Schwartz Ph.D.; “Just Six Numbers”, Martin Rees; “God is Not Dead”, Amit Goswami Ph.D.; “Distant Mental Influence”, William Braud Ph.D.; “The Presence of the Past”, Rupert Sheldrake Ph.D.; “Science and the Near Death Experience”, Chris Carter. And then think about that three letter word: GOD.

Science Heavy Dr. Pim van Lommel’s Consciousness Beyond Life seemed to be two books in one. What seemed to me to be the first part, chapters 1 through 10, deals exclusively with Near Death Experiences (henceforth NDE). Lommel does an excellent job of relating all the aspects of NDEs and demonstrates why many of them cannot be accounted for by any naturalistic hypothesis. What’s most important and unique to Van Lommel‘s book is his own Dutch study of NDEs that spanned almost a decade. Lommel provides accounts of numerous NDEs that contained veridical evidence. In fact, this book is worth the money just to simply read some of these amazing stories. Also important is that Van Lommel’s study was prospective and therefore had a control (patients who went into cardiac arrest and did not have a NDE). This prospective study demonstrates that neither physiological, psychological nor pharmacological explanations could have played a factor in the NDEs. Lommel also brings forth the statistics of his study and demonstrates that NDEs are found across people with varying beliefs, backgrounds, religions, social status etc. and shows that there is no difference between patients who experienced an NDE and ones who did not. Another important aspect of Van Lommel’s book is his discussion of why no type of brain activity can account for an NDE. He demonstrates that consciousness is dependent on the cerebral cortex, brain stem, and communication between the hippocampus and thalamus and that these are the first parts of the brain to go during a cardiac arrest. Thus, many “skeptic” explanations such as oxygen deficiency, chemical reactions in the brain, and electrical activity in the brain are unwarranted and cannot account for experiences during an NDE. What I take to be the second part of this book, chapters 11 through 16, are quite scientifically advanced and, surprisingly, less concrete. Lommel utilizes current Quantum Theory (e.g, nonlocality, entanglement) to outline and defend a widely-known, but not widely-held, theory which he calls nonlocal consciousness. I will not expand the theory here since I have neither the space nor the nonlocal consciousness to do so (insert laughter here) but I will say that this theory entails that matter is contingent on a sort of other-dimensional omnipresent consciousness. The problem I had with this section is that it went a little over my head. However, what I did understand seemed fascinating and shocking (in a good fashion). Van Lommel’s theory, unfortunately, is too conjectural for now anyway. But he should be commended for his unique theory and only time will tell if it’s warranted. All in all, this is a fantastic book. Even if one is not enlightened to all the science in it one will inevitably benefit from the first part on NDEs. I recommend this book to all interested in NDEs or the current debates regarding the genesis and nature of consciousness.

Exhaustive review of NDEs pointing to the survival of consciousness after death This is an exhaustive study of NDEs. I had an NDE when I “drowned” at the age of 5. I am now nearly 82. Suddenly an unspeakably beautiful spectrum of patterns of light surrounded me (bright with rectangular patterns but easy on the “eyes”} It was a most peaceful loving presence remaining unchanging for a “long time” before I returned to earthly reality with a terrible thud and then heard excited human voices and a banging on my body. Today the clarity of the experience remains as strong as the day it occurred. Consciousness does survive death in all probability. I am an anesthesiologist.

One of the best One of the best books I have ever read. It has a scientific conception of what might happen after we die. I was delighted to read about a lot of unexplained phenomena. I recommend it.

Met all of my expectations After my son died, I started reading everything I could get my hands on. This is the best of all as you can read the studies and how physics is used in some of them, plus it is a light enough read with ample material for those who aren’t ready to go into the depths of how an afterlife is shown. I highly recommend it.

Science opening its mind We were blind about what happens after we die, this books is a serious study on the subject made by medical community about life after death and the NDE (near death experience), a subject of grand interest for many. Many other books and research are being done today. Death will be an obsolete subject in the future, it will be understood by all and fear of it will be no longer.

Very good book on the subject This is a recommended read if you are looking for information on the subject. Written by a cardiologist with many years’ experience, you can’t ignore the facts anymore..

Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience  This book is about the near death phenomenon, present in many cultures around the world and even in the antiquity. It tells us the our conscious is more than our brain , in a comparison our brain is like a computer and the mind is like the internet. In this sense our bodies are like shells but the conscious is for ever. The book has an scientific approach, not sensationalist, no linked to any religion.

Not an easy read – but a fascinating book I went back and forth on whether to give this 4 or 5 stars. It is absolutely fascinating, well written and very thorough. So I went with five. But man – I found myself at times grasping maybe a ¼ of what was being said. Some very complex stuff in some parts; well beyond my ability to comprehend Quantum physics, DNA, etc.). I opted for 5 stars because A) what I DID comprehend was simply fascinating, and B) I guess it’s not the authors fault I’m not a scientist. I had read several books on life after death prior to this – so it helped fill in some blanks with good science (as opposed to just interesting anecdotes), and it offered up some really interesting theories on non-local consciousness. I would not recommend this as your first book on this subject – but as an ‘advanced’ textbook – it’s definitely worth the extra effort to read..

Challenging the Way Science thinks about Consciousness In a “Darwinian” viewed universe, some of the questions that remain unanswered is consciousness. Specifically, human consciousness. If, everything in the universe is the result of ‘time + chance’ how can human consciousness be developed, trusted and verified. Add in this scientific look at consciousness beyond clinical death and the walls of naturalistic materialism thought break down farther. Dr. van Lommel has no hard answers (as if there can be any) but offers a thorough, academic investigation into the phenomena leaving the reader no options other than to ignore it or change what they think about what comes after physical death (and it may change your views of your religious affiliation!)

Great book I believe the author has done a great job of compiling evidence on NDE’s and then trying to explain them and make sense of why and how they occur. His book takes you on a great walk through the brain, mind and consciousness. Through his lifelong studies and questions in this regard he has amassed a lot of information that he presents in an easily readable and interesting manner. For myself the book made evident the connection between NDE’s and my own spiritual development. I found this book, interesting, informative, and full of strong evidence to back up the authors theories. A great companion book to the Irreducible Mind. Will definitely read it again.

A Must Read For those who have an interest in this subject, this is a “not to be missed” explanation of the science involved in determining the validity of experiences had by individuals going through near death experiences.

A twenty year study The book is a very thorough study done by a cardiologist. He started as a sceptic, but believed it would be irresponsible to ignore the evidence.

A Most Hopeful Development in Human Understanding Consciousness Beyond Life, The Science of the Near Death Experience by Pim van Lommel, M.D. From the last few thousand years there have been reports of mystical experiences that have given rise to religious belief systems scorned today by the materialism of science. Three things have recently changed. One is that physics, once the anchor of materialism, is now exploring the depths of quantum phenomena, confronting the relevance of non-local information persistence and efficacy. Second, science is incapable of delivering its long-promised ‘theory of everything’ (TOE). There are five different theories but no objective unity. Third, thousands of patients recovering in recent times from near death experiences (NDEs) are reporting, through author Pim van Lommel and numerous other highly skilled medical professionals, conscious experiences during their clinical death that resemble earlier such reports from ancient times; reports that appear to certify consciousness beyond life with its theological implications. It would seem that the physical body and brain is but a ‘transducer’ that translates experience/information into permanent (non-local) form. All this has exactly one meaning: Creation is the flight of the eternal Subject from eternal sameness into eternal constructive novelty, where novelty is not possible except that the perceptions of the Integral Subject Agent (the good reader) be constrained by the imposed limits of time and space in a magnificent contrived universe of endless wonder and challenge. Science will never deliver its theory of everything (TOE) for the simple reason that the physical is not fundamental, but “created” in the deepest sense. Van Lommel’s work is but the beginning of perhaps the most profound and hopeful revolution in human understanding and culture in the history of our species.

The most thorough and complete discussion I have yet uncovered This is very well written and documented. A complete index and bibliography with extensive notes. Clearly written by an academic but one with compassion, sensitivity and wisdom.

ALL VIEWPOINTS ARE EXAMINED BOTH BY EXPERIENCE AND SCIENTIFICALLY This book looks at the idea of consciousness beyond life in scientific terms as well as from many personal experiences. I appreciated the extensive data, the scientific approach which gets into the workings of the brain for the layman to understand as well as quantum physics, and all the statistics. That combined with personal stories gave me an unbiased look at life after death.

The Science of Death and What it Holds for Everyone Based on Anne Rice’s review of this book, I finally got it and am reading. I did not want to wait until I’d finished to make my own recommendation: this is an excellent, sophisticated, elegantly written and well-documented book. Anyone interested in the science of the mind is highly advised to read this book. Van Lommel has put together a very compelling case that any simple explanations of NDEs and death itself are unfounded and frankly wrong. As they say, to disprove the notion that all crows are black, one only has to find one white crow. This book has a flock of them. 🙂 And one other reason to read: we will all get to experience death (100% of us, 100% guaranteed!) and some will experience a near-death phenomenon. So why not find out what it is about and be prepared? Seems wise to read up on a place before you make a journey to it, so why not treat the inevitable with the same care and planning?

A Scientist’s Rigorous exploration of the near-death-experience This book is for skeptics who doubt the veracity of the near-death experience. This author is grounded in the field of consciousness studies and is willing to confront the closed minds of his skeptical colleagues on their own ground–an exploration founded in a rigorous scientific method. Van Lommel is also rigorously honest about what can be known and what may never be known.

Excellent book All I can say is that I am very grateful scientists such as Pim van Lommel are taking NDEs seriously, and asking questions about the implications for this research. We need more thoughtful and open-minded scientists like him, who risk criticism and ridicule from colleagues who would prefer to ignore such inconvenient evidence.

Consciousness Beyond Life I really enjoyed this book and the subject of UN-localized consciousness which I have been talking about since having psychic experiences since I was a small child. How else can you explain this stuff? Which this author does very well. I think this is a great book for those just beginning to delve into layman’s physics of a unified consciousness. And of course I always appreciate the NDE experiences that cannot be explained pointing to the true mystery of life (and death).

Recommended A thought provoking well organized presentation on a topic that will no doubt never be truly explained or understood by science. Very interesting ideas regarding non local consciousness and eternal consciousness. I would recommend this book to both religious and non-religious readers. A very rounded approach blending theology and science. Some critics would argue “pseudo-science”, but this author succeeds (IMO) in presenting various theoretical origins of consciousness without becoming overtly metaphysical or new age.

Brilliant A wonderful, thorough yet easy to read look on the subject. Nice to see a real, open minded but scientific study of this area.

A One Volume Education Dr. van Lommel has, in this book, put together a one stop overview of the NDE. NDEs are ready to give our culture what it dearly needs- a view of spirituality that avoids the dogma and superstitious platitudes of religion. Science as it is practiced fumbles with the magnitude and life-changing scope of the NDE, either attempting to reduce it to one of its infamous ‘nothing buts’ or ignoring it altogether. But van Lommel is a long practicing cardiologist, and knows what he’s talking about when he tells us that the phenomenon is not reducible to mere hallucination or fantasy. This book covers the subject, and well, from what history has to tell us about the NDE to the medical aspects, and the effects to the experiencer as well- all in a clear, grounded manner that still shows his awe at what the NDE is pointing towards. Van Lommel, despite his authority, knows he’s well over his head here, as are we all, but he does an admirable job documenting what we know, and what we can know. If you only read one book on NDEs, this would be a good candidate. The only flaw is that I think he could have included more actual NDE accounts. For those, I’d suggest going to NDERF.ORG and reading some of the page ‘extraordinary NDEs’. Amazing, life changing stories. I’ve read several hundred and can easily say they’ve changed my life by just reading them- I can only imagine what it’s like to have one, and I’m thinking that one day I shall, as will we all, even if we must remove the ‘N’! What an amazing reality we live in. Sometimes it’s hard to see that- if we could only get a glimpse of the Other Side- and we can, in a way, by studying this most profound of human events. Materialism threatens our world with its nihilism. It’s time we all educated ourselves and took up arms against this pernicious philosophy. The study of NDEs is a very powerful tool to this end, and this is perhaps the single best book on the subject.