Up to now we always thought of death as the final point in our destination, and as an irreversible process. But what if we were wrong?
Doctors in a Canadian intensive care unit found that a person had sustained brain activity for seven minutes after turning off his life support machine. The doctors had declared the patient dead already and were about to move on when they noticed that their brain waves were still active, as if the patient was simply in a deep sleep and not dead.
Whether this means that our consciousness lives on or that we have 7 minutes to bring back the dead are the questions we now try to answer.
What Determines Death?
Even doctors used to think of life and death as black and white, with death being a phenomenon that is completely out of control. While it’s still true that death belongs to the forces of nature and is inevitable, we’re now finding out that it’s not as simple or direct as we thought.
Clinical death and brain death are not the same things. While doctors may declare someone clinically dead, their brain and biological responses still keep going. Their consciousness lives on, allowing them to even experience their own death.
7 Minutes Of Brain Activity
When you die you have 7 minutes of brain activity left. Our understanding so far suggests that during this time our brain is playing back memories in a dream sequence. We’re playing back our life like a movie, reliving the good times and seeking comfort in the defining moments that shaped who we are.
Canadian doctors in intensive care seem to have observed that a person’s brain continues to function even after clinical death. In this case, doctors confirmed that their patient because they no longer had a pulse and their pupils were unreactive. However, brain activity stopped seven minutes after the body appeared to have died.
Death Is Not The Same For Everyone
We may all be human with the same biological functioning but we don’t all experience death the same way. The researchers that observed their patient’s brain continue to operate even after turning off his life support, also found that the experience of death can vary widely among individual patients.
Some patients experience a “good” death while others not so much. Researchers identify 11 core themes of a good death as follows: preferences for a specific dying process, pain-free status, religiosity/spirituality, emotional well-being, life completion, treatment preferences, dignity, family, quality of life, and relationship with the health team.
Can We Bring Back The Dead?
The biggest question we have is if we’re still technically alive on a conscious level for 7 minutes after we die, does that mean we can be brought back to life physically during that time too?
The question intrigues scientists but they don’t seem to have an answer just yet. They need to find ways to keep monitoring the brain on the brink of death. What they find could not only unlock new abilities in the process of resuscitation but could also give insight into preventing brain damage if it’s successful.
To be able to find answers, scientists need to understand how much oxygen still reaches the brain when it’s still online even after death, and what exactly is being experienced by the brain itself.
Flatlining Accesses More Brain Activity
This study shows evidence that the patients may be declared dead by doctors themselves and still be alive. Even more interestingly, it shows that cardiac arrest survivors can return to life while they are dead.
Flatlining and coming back to life have long been the subject of sci-i movies but could now be a reality. From what we know from near-death experiences patients, such a close call to the afterlife could possibly allow patients that come back from death to access more parts of the brain. They may be able to recall really specific subconscious memories like obscure passages from a book they once read.
Dr. Sam Parnia who has studied post-death awareness suggests that the return ticket from death often includes newly acquired cerebral superpowers, which often offer a new perspective on life.
Consciousness Doesn’t Stop
Discoveries like this show that there is a distinction between our physical bodies and our consciousness. In fact, doctors have observed that in the first few minutes after death, gamma waves in the brain were stronger. This means that in our final moments, somewhere between life and full brain death, we experience a short state of heightened consciousness and memory. Who knows what kind of answers about the universe we get at that point?
These findings also show that since our consciousness is separated from our body, it may live on somewhere once our current physical bodies can’t host it anymore.
Dying Twice Over
Another layer of this study shows that cardiac arrest survivors are able to die again while they are dead, meaning that they die twice. However, this could mean that doctors could try to save them during their first death.
Near-death-experience patients who have been brought back after their first clinical death reported being able to listen to the doctors trying to save, and being aware of what was happening around them. This shows that in the first few moments after cardiac arrest, the dead body can be trapped in a state of consciousness. A patient may even hear doctors announce their death but not be able to react back.
So What’s In The Afterlife?
Many find comfort when loved ones pass, or even concerning their own death, by believing in an afterlife.
However, if we find out that our consciousness continues to live in our world somewhere even after our physical bodies die, it could change our entire understanding of life, death, the afterlife, and our purpose on this planet.
What if our brain was only tied to our physical bodies but our consciousness was tied to our soul?
Make Your Life Matter
We may not have all the answers just yet, and we may never get them until we also die. However, all we can do is live our lives here the best we can, living more than just for ourselves, and making a positive impact on each other and our environment. Are you still searching for your life purpose? You won’t believe what the science of Numerology can reveal about you!
That’s right, the numerology of your birth date, regardless of what month you were born, can reveal surprising information about your personality.
Aria Misty is a recent university grad. She did her undergrad in media, information & technoculture with a Master in Journalism & Communications in 2018.
Aria has a particular interest in all things astrology and spirituality. This is driven by her desire to create healing. In fact, Aria went back to school for A master’s in counseling p[…]