This is quite a recognised phenomenon. When Socrates was dying, after being obliged to drink hemlock, he calmly described the process to his followers, saying that he first lost sensation in his feet as death gradually crept up his body.

Sometimes death is temporary, as when an astral sheath is undergoing an OOBE (or Out-of-the-Body Experience). This can occur through an accident, which shocks one out of the body. During this occurrence, the body-mind complex continues to create the form of an etheric body in thought, that is still attached to the physical body by an etheric umbilical cord. This cord may then draw it back to the body if one’s time is not up.

It is for this reason that Tibetan monks chant mantras to the departed for ten days after the life force appears to have left the body. Seers assert that the etheric umbilical may still be attached and the vibratory frequency of the mantras travel to the departed. They may either bring it back to the body or help it to travel on to a more positive destination*

When death ensues, what usually happens is that the mental processes blank out in the same way as when falling into sleep or a faint, or when succumbing to anaesthetic. Consciousness then re-emerges in another space similarly to finding oneself in a dream.

After dying in hospital, many flatlined individuals on being resuscitated, report finding themselves flowing down tunnels, crossing bridges, meeting beings of light, or being greeted by beloved relatives. But this is not always the case as some entities may have already been recycled back into this dimension of consciousness very soon after their physical death.

Many of those revived speak of being shown the Akashic Record—or Book of their Life, containing every thought and deed in their lives— pretty harrowing stuff as you can imagine! This often creates remorse and feelings of guilt for previous attitudes.

It’s a sobering thought and a cautionary reminder to always operate from a loving heart. Especially as some unfortunates recount having had to experience all the pain they have ever caused to others.

How do you fare on that score?

But there is neither a judge nor a jury in the after-death bardo (the ‘in-between’ state). Truly, it is your own innate conscience that makes you painfully aware of any shortcomings during the life review. You make your own resolutions to correct them for the next time you enter another life dream.

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Some who returned to life, recall being precipitated into a Living Light that overwhelmed them with love, almost too great to bear. Others found themselves in heavenly spheres, from which they had no wish to return. Those resuscitated berated the doctors for bringing them back into their crappy old bodies and this crappy old world. But others have been reported as waking up screaming that they had been in hell and yelling “For God’s sake keep me alive!”

However, these planes of being are not actual ‘places’; but states of mind, tailor–made to one’s own subliminal expectations, according to what had previously been colouring your mind. It all depends on the nature of your consciousness and the attitude of the ego at the time of transition.

Again, this may or may not happen according to your proclivities. If your spiritual vibratory frequency has developed to a higher level, you may bypass any such connections altogether.

During my own NDE in India, due to a misplaced acupuncture needle which stopped my heart, I found myself crossing a vast rock arch spanning the universe. I have never read or encountered anyone having the same experience. [Actually, I don’t call it an NDE but an ADE - an “Actual Death Experience” - as I was, after all, clinically dead for several minutes. My body had gone blue and my terrified doctor-guru was considering having to throw my corpse into the Ganges.]

But my emergence into the next plane wasn’t fearful. It was rather like just awakening into another dream. However, it was confusing, because of the sudden transition from one plane to another. It was only after a while that the arising of the ego awakened a fear of wonder.

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Where was I and how did I get there?

Luckily my mantra, which was always repeating automatically in my consciousness, asserted itself and gave me something to hang onto. I felt it delivering me back down to my body. Upon returning to life, and hearing the doctor’s frantic voice, I realised where I was. My body revived, and I was able to say, “Okay, I’m coming back!” much to the relief of the doctor whose misapplied acupuncture caused my demise.

There are many dimensions in the so-called death state so fill your heart with light before you go.

Meanwhile, I suggest you keep your tootsies warm this winter!

* If you would like to know how to chant the ‘Victory Over Death’ Maha Mrtyunjaya Mantra for sending a departed soul on its way, it can be found on the “Chanting the Chakras” CD or downloaded via this link:


British mystic, author, psychotherapist, spiritual counsellor, mantra yogi, fine artist and illustrator, theatrical set and costume designer. Founder-editor of Gandalf’s Garden magazine and Community in the London Sixties, and 3 years as columnist for Yoga Today magazine, BBC 4 Scriptwriter, author of four spiritual self-development books and two storybooks for children. 

Muz Murray