Body, Mind, Spirit & Time Part 2

There are people who claim to have had “Near Death Experiences” – though what exactly can “near” mean? How “near” can one get to death? Is a miss as good as a mile – or is there a subtle connection between life and death? In these NDEs (as they are known) some folk report classical ideas of Heaven/Paradise and others Hell! The interesting consequence of research into NDEs is the seeming ability of consciousness to leave the body. But first – regarding Heaven and Hell.

If we take these NDEs seriously (and they certainly seem to have deeply affected those who have experienced them) then I am bound to ask: has GOD decided who goes to Hell and who to Heaven? And if God has decided how is it possible to draw such a distinct line – such a black and white JUDGEMENT? It would be interesting to know from those who have had NDEs if they considered themselves “worthy” of Heaven or Hell. Had something inextricably put them in one or other “place” – or maybe it was the lack of something?!

Is there no nuance, no shade to JUDGEMENT!? Okay – you this way – you that way. You have been 51% “good” – Heaven for you. You have been 51% “bad” Hell for you! Can the judgement of God be so unsubtle?!
Therefore one asks – are the experiences authentic? And: does it matter? Well if they ARE authentic – this should get us thinking very seriously about where we’re headed – and it DOES matter because either the experience is real or there is something very peculiar happening in the mind when it is “close” to death.

Maybe what matters is that consciousness “seems” to be able to leave the confines of the body/brain. People have been able to give graphic recollection of surgical procedure and also identify things seemingly impossible for them to do – as they have been lying unconscious on an operating table! How could they know that a trainer (sport’s shoe) is lying on the roof of a particular hospital building they have never previously been to? This is the exciting stuff (and hopefully not influenced by human perception or fraud!). Quantum Physics – of which I’m no expert – talks of things being able to be in two different places at the same time or of appearing and disappearing out of or into nothingness (if such a state exists). And the further one goes down and into the minutia of matter then the greater “space” there is between things as if reflecting the universe about us. If things can appear out of nowhere and befuddle conventional thought and science then maybe our
consciousness can leave the body and move and see things without the aid of limbs or eyes?! Science seems to be moving further from neat explanations of this world to uncovering wondrous and startling new facts and existence.

During NDEs in Heaven people experienced young, healthy bodies and could move instantly to a place thought of and there was talk of the non-existence of time – yet there WAS still movement! The blind from birth could see!! Presumably those who had lost limbs had them restored – and thus an IDEAL of the perfect body…Ideal to whom/what?

We interact with this world through our senses – I say “this world” but what other world could I mean? A “world” after death? A perceived world? If the “other world” is the world of mind (thought) then isn’t that formed through our sensory experiences. We also know that our senses are flawed – that the world around us – is to some extent – manufactured by our minds. Our minds can take information our eyes “see” and alter it so that this sight makes sense to us. Or our minds can take our sight and produce something other than what we see because “it” (!) thinks this will make better sense for us. The obvious example here is the hollowed out facemask that on being turned changes to 3D and convex not concave! Because that is the way our minds view faces!!! Even if we lose sight in patches our minds will flesh out the blind spots by taking information around them and making “sense” of them. Do our minds do the seeing and not our eyes!

When we approach death does our mind “see” things pre-ordained by a death mechanism? Do we enter a death realm or an infinite time-less state with a final thought or perception based on our beliefs? So – we are perhaps guided into final thoughts by some mechanism and in this we choose a state we have come to believe in through our life experiences. If we are Christian we may indeed see Jesus as a six-footer with long hair and a beard and enter through the Pearly-Gates into a Heaven where God IS and infuses us with light and love. Maybe another faith guides us into another limitless experience? How many thoughts/ideas can be held for infinity in those dying moments? Could fear and anxiety create a sense of Hell that actually thrusts us into perpetual and classical torment?! (Be careful what you wish for or think – especially at the point of death!!)
NDEs suggest that close to death (or what would once have BEEN death – before modern medicine) we become consciousness only and thus there is no light or matter. Then comes the “light”.

We “see” dead people on the television screen – acting as if they were alive – well they WERE alive! But these are mere reflections. Would these long dead folk retain any sense of who or what they are/were when plunged into timelessness? Maybe post death it is another existence where the body and mind is sharpened and it isn’t the end of the end? Thus – there isn’t infinity or timelessness at all. Just another form of experience before yet another “physical” stage – or the final end of (perceived) timelessness and infinity – SOME PARADOX! If people gain healthy bodies – superior to those on earth perhaps their minds are sharpened too? Can think things beyond our capabilities on this parochial earth…

If we were to go into a classical Heaven – where we are received with love and light and by our family members who have “passed-on” – how far would the interest of our spirit-ancestors go? How many generations back? Would we lose interest in the world we have left (given that we could maintain some sort of contact) – would we greet all our family members forever…or until the last generations before the Earth is vaporised? When would our forefathers’ interest wane in us, or our own interest in our sons’ sons’ sons’ wane? How far would those in Heaven go back? To the earliest humans? Would Heaven cope with the different strands of humanity? The different ideas of men? If the personality were to exist how much would it need to change to cope with being in Heaven? And if none of this is important in Heaven why has it been so important on Earth? Would all religions and philosophies and ideas and prejudices melt away on arrival in Heaven? Would it be Heaven for those
who hold strong beliefs to find their beliefs utterly at odds with existence in Heaven?!

There are said to be more people alive today than have ever lived! Thus more people will die now than at any other time. People living a multitude of different lives – often boring, frustrating, mundane lives – seemingly for no purpose…people dying in absolute (seeming) futility. People of all ages dying and passing into another existence. Who amongst us would cast the sinner into Hell? What would their sin need to be? How can we judge another – “let him with no sin cast the first stone”. But God (if existing) seems to have the power of judgement if Heaven and Hell do exist. SOMETHING would cast us one way or another. Perhaps only we – deep down – know the answer.

If we are “lucky” enough to enter Heaven (of course there is NO luck involved we hope) – then as we become sharpened in mind – bereft of prejudices; bereft of many things! Perhaps enlightened in many things – and as we think ourselves to places (in an instant thought!) time may become as time in our minds…not linear time but stream-of-consciousness time. Maybe if Heaven has got “time” then it is the time of our very own perceptions. Maybe Heaven (or Hell) itself might be our very own perception. How else would the diversity of thought within a myriad people co-exist in a state where personalities still exist? How long could a personality exist and remain connected to its earthly personality? Would infinity dilute personality out of existence?! And if our personalities change – then who, exactly, are “we”?

How close to SPIRIT is personality? What is spirit and where does it reside – how is it connected to “us”? So many folk talk about being “spiritual” but what do they mean? What does it mean to live a spiritual life and from where do they draw their ideas of spirituality?

Everyone who has had an NDE has been changed profoundly. Changed in a way that a dream or a hallucination can’t quite manage to change. Not everyone who has been “near death” has NDEs – or can recall them…why do some recall or have these experiences? Is their a mechanism we all have in our brains that works when the brain perceives imminent death – are our minds simply reacting to this process or driving it? When we enter Heaven or Hell are they of OUR making? Can time exist in another realm – could we exist in a time-less realm?

As I have – finally – been prompted to write a second part to this series (and believe me there have been many false starts! Mainly in my head…) – is there a REASON for me to do this? Is there a REASON for everything we do on this earth? Is there a REASON for our minds to think and our bodies to react or not. Is there ever an end to things? Well, with this question I’m ending this second part! There is so much more to think, to write, to explore – and no certainty of any answers. But the nature of our beings is to explore – isn’t it? And we explore physically and mentally – and spiritually? We certainly can’t remain indifferent to developments in science – especially when science uncovers an aspect of us that may prove to be TRULY enlightening!

Tim Bragg – February 2011



  1. Annie Bragg said

    Jesus is supposed to have taken our sins away from us when he was crucified so none of us would go to hell. We are forgiven from the start, so how could those people with NDE have experienced Hell? Heaven, yes. Limbo, why not? But not Hell, this is the point of the crucifiction, we are forgiven.
    Also it would be interesting to have some NDE from other religion!


    • Dirk Speksnijder said

      Very well written and argued Tim, my boy. Quite enlightening.
      Like all humans, I would love to thnk there’s something beyond – but I tend towards the concept that the brain is a virtual reality computer that just (just! the most complicated known thing in the Universe and I say ‘just’) takes in the electronic signals (converted by the sense organs from photons, wobbling groups of atoms etc) and builds the complete picture of the perceivable. Unfortunately that concept means that the destruction of the brain eliminates any chance of perception beyond that (to my simple mind!). Total nothingness, like before conception.
      But the idea of self-survival after death is more romantic – but totally unfair to the brain-damaged and mentally disabled living folk – why should they be inhibited and denied full cogniscience now if we able folk can have that during life and also beyond?
      And what is beyond? Eternal conscienceness? Not with my mundane thought processes I hope!
      But who knows or will ever know?
      Strange existence – ain’t it indeed!.


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