Fascinating Benefits of Being Dead

Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are badly named. As I understand it, the individuals who experience NDEs are dead. They are not “nearly dead”, they are dead. But somehow or another, they return to life after having died.

This short post is about the fascinating benefits that come from being dead.. and then returning to life.

Prof. Bruce Greyson is the former director of The Division of Perceptual Studies (DPOS) at the University of Virginia. This division is one of the few places in the world doing research that really fascinates me.

Some of their research headlines are Children Who Report Memories of Previous Lives, Studies of Psi and Altered States of Consciousness.

While doing research for the second part of my On Death series, I watched this lecture called, “Is Consciousness Produced by the Brain?” by Bruce Greyson where he gives a great overview of the research being done at DPOS.

The Fascinating Benefits of Being Dead

In one slide, Greyson shares how almost every individual who goes through a near death experience reports very similar changes in their life:

These results were collected from 1,000 cases of NDEs investigated by Bruce Greyson. A lower percentage also report:

These are incredible changes. In the Q&A of that lecture someone joked about having all of these effects in a pill – the ‘death pill’.

“One of the things about near-death experiences that interest me most as a psychiatrist is the profound after effects people reliably report – a consistent pattern of changes in attitudes beliefs and values that do not seem to fade over time.”

The key distinction that makes these benefits unique is that they persist. I know many people who have expressed profound religious, spiritual or even psychedelic experiences that overtime became a nice memory rather than something that radically transformed their lives in a lasting way. Or perhaps there was some initial change but it faded overtime.

Greyson continues:

“Almost everyone who has a near-death experience will be profoundly affected by that change and they will be transformed in their attitudes, beliefs and values. People who have the same type of unusual experience in a dream do not necessarily change their lives around and in fact if you ask them 10 years later they may not remember the dream but they will remember their near-death experience.”
I believe this research highlights the wisdom of spiritual practices that suggest contemplating your own death. If there was something that would give you greater zest for life, a purpose, more meaning and fearlessness around death, would you practice it? I’m sure if it came in a pill, we’d all take it.

4 responses to “Fascinating Benefits of Being Dead”

  1. Diego Arzola says:

    Maybe this “experience” IS in a “pill.”

    Liam, have you heard about 5-MEO-DMT? It’s usually called “the god molecule.” There’s a book list in my website about this, but to start with, I’d recommend you read Martin W. Ball, or watch’s videos about psychedelics in general.

    This substance is a fascinating field of research. P.S: a bit of openmindedness required.

    • liamchai says:

      Yes I have :-). Big fan of Terence McKenna!

      I do wonder though about whether these paradigm shifts can be sustained for the long-term. So that people who take DMT or other psychedelics aren’t just left with a pleasant memory, but a radical shift that also transforms their behaviour – behaviour that doesn’t then shift back to old behaviours after a few years as the memory fades.

      Recently I saw this video about MDMA assisted psychotherapy that I think is a tremendous step forward. I also think this combination of methods is probably the most skilful way to use these substances. It seems the psychotherapy part of the MDMA treatment is just as, if not more important.

  2. Eric Everson says:

    Dead to the world alive in Christ

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