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Summary of Sam Parnia’s NYAS “What happens when we die” event:

Both the afternoon presentations and the evening panel discussion were livestreamed. Only one talk was excluded and that was a presentation by the “Pig Brain Team” from Yale, presumably because there may have been some proprietary technology discussed. They are available to view at the NYAS site now.

Recording of Livestream 1:

Recording of livestream 2: 

Recording of livestream 3 (evening panel discussion):

There was a lot of very interesting content in the afternoon session which can be bucketed into the following themes:

  1. History of resuscitation medicine
  2. Advances in resuscitation medicine and preserving the brain
  3. The ability to revive consciousness, and to what extent depending on damage to the brain
  4. The transformative nature of NDEs

I am not going to go over much of it since most of what was relevant to this blog has been discussed many times before. However, it is what was absent that was notable to me. There was no mention of the data from AWARE II that was presented over the weekend at the American Heart Association meeting and the subject of previous posts. I understand that the focus of the day was resuscitation medicine, but NDEs were discussed and I found it a bit odd there was no mention of the 2 abstracts at AHA considering this was the first data to come out of Dr Parnia’s landmark study. There was the opportunity to pose questions in the comments section on the livestream, and I did ask about the abstracts but there was insufficient time to answer the questions in the room, let alone on line.

The only tidbit that came up was regarding the sounds generated in the Bluetooth headsets. He described it as “timed sounds” that were delivered through these headsets. Does that mean that sounds were administered intermittently and for a timed but limited number of periods, or that there was a continuous stream of sound with the different kinds of sounds timed, and the time at which they changed recorded? This is very important with respect to the direction of the discussion initiated by Tim we had regarding abstract 287 at the AHA meeting. If the sounds weren’t continuous then the fact that one or more of the 4 “NDErs” heard voices from the room would potentially be less relevant, given the findings from abstract 387 depending on whether there was corresponding EEG and rSO2 data that showed sufficient levels of oxygen to support consciousness. I suspect we aren’t going to learn more at this stage and will have to wait till the data is published, which may be many years from now!

Dr Parnia did refer to a number of new studies that will be starting in the next months and years:

future studies

The one that is of most interest to me is the study looking into consciousness during deep hypothermic arrest. This is effectively COOL II. At this stage they are just performing a pilot study to help inform them on design for a larger landmark study. It looks unlikely we will hear anything from this for a number of years, but this has the potential to produce data more efficiently than AWARE II due to the controlled conditions. Also the prospective study into children’s NDEs will provide interesting insights into the differences that have been previously discussed. This will take a long long time as thankfully children are much less likely to be near death, or actually dead, than adults.

He also presented some data that had been collected from going back over historical interviews from numerous NDEs. This has been done before in various publications in IANDS, but I suspect that his team will apply greater systematic and academic rigor. I wasn’t quite sure where these NDEs were sourced from, but they included a whole host of parameters beyond the simple core elements previously described.

Finally, Dr Parnia did get a bit agitated when describing the impatience of the likes of us! He did look at the camera, and actually said that he was speaking “to the camera”…i.e. some of us. Busted! He was insistent that this research takes a long time, that there are not always enough staff to attend CA events etc. This does not explain why he didn’t refer to the abstracts from the weekend, but we must give him the benefit of the doubt and accept that there are protocols etc that he must follow. He did say that there was more data now, but not that much.

I doubt he does come to this site, but if he does, I hope very much that our enthusiasm/impatience doesn’t in anyway hinder his work, or damage what he is trying to do. If it does in any way, then he must tell me. I would rather dial back on the number of my posts than risk his work. If not, as I suspect is the case given how he is disposed to going on TV and talking about NDEs, then he must recognize that it is only natural for people like ourselves who have a keen interest in his work to be eager to learn as much as we can, and express our frustration at not having all the answers now. As always we wish him the very best in his quest to shed light on the nature of consciousness before and after death.

The evening session was just a panel discussion on what had been presented and what they thought about the various different issues. This was very much focused on the resuscitation medicine side of things and potential ethical implications.

Overall it was enjoyable, but for regulars of this blog, nothing new unfortunately. Now I’m going to bed!

Edited to add the morning after:

While there may have been nothing “new” from the perspective of insights into the recent findings from AWARE II, there were a couple of things that happened in the meetings that have refreshed my perspective.

Firstly there was the testimony of the woman who had received CPR for an hour and the doctors were ready to give up, except one, who took over and carried on. That was 10 years ago and now she is well and living a full productive life due to that doctor and modern techniques. Really rammed home to me what an amazing job the likes of Parnia and his team do.

Secondly was the NDE account described by the ER physician Dr. Tom Aufderheide in the panel session in the evening. That was mind blowing and it reminded me of why I first became hooked on the subject of NDEs. We really don’t NEED the results of AWARE II, we have hundreds, if not thousands, of reliable human testimonies, many of them from health care professionals themselves, that one hundred percent corroborate the validity of the OBE. But more than that they attest to the spiritual nature of humans and our ultimate destiny.

On here, we, I, have become so obsessed with the hit, the smoking gun, and I realised last night that I may have lost my focus on the true wonder of these incredible accounts…they are mind blowing. I don’t need AWARE II. I know from my own experience that there is another reality beyond this life. I have experienced it myself, and through the accounts of others. I know I have a soul inside of me…my brain just sometimes forgets!

Anyway, we will continue to follow developments, but Dr Parnia said to the camera, to us, that we must follow the NYU website for any updates. As much as I respect and admire him, I think I will continue to rely on the great contributors here like Tim, David, Eduardo, Z, Samwise, Chad and others who keep finding things on the web now that might just make it to the NYU website in a years time!


The Being of Light and the Middle East

One experience that is common to many people who experience NDEs is that they encounter the Being of Light, hereafter referred to as BOL for the sake of convenience. Many will report that BOL is the prophet they associate with their religious background, or that BOL is in fact God. BOL is universally described as a being that emanates pure love on an indescribable scale. None of the encounters that I have read describe BOL as a merciless monster inclined to throwing “sinners” into a pit, or giving instructions to the experiencer to go out and lop the heads off all unbelievers. So why is it that so many in the Middle East think that it is God’s will to murder others on an industrial scale because they don’t share the same understanding of who God is?

Modern apologists will blame it on the Americans who have dabbled in Middle Eastern politics and waged war in the region for a number of decades. Others will blame Israel and claim its treatment of the Palestinians is the root cause of all the problems, others will blame the teachings of Islam. But mass violence has been a characteristic of religious strife in the Middle East for recorded history. Over 3,000 years ago, Moses commanded the Jews to cross the Jordan and take the land of Canaan leaving no one alive, a command carried out by Joshua. Does this sound like something BOL would ask of anyone? There were many other atrocities committed in the Old Testament. After the Jews, many atrocities were committed in the name of Christ, and then came Mohammad, whose actions and commands give every aspiring Jihadist all the justification he needs.

Do any of these represent BOL? It is a very important question, perhaps the most important. We are currently living in pre-AWARE result times, the days before the results of the AWARE study are published and no confirmed OBEs have been reported. It may be that the days after the publication of the AWARE study, are also devoid of this vital smoking gun of a scientifically verified OBE, but I am certain that one day the evidence will come to light that the NDE is real, and when it does everything changes, not least man’s interpretation of religious texts.

If the NDE is proven real, then so to, by inference, are the other associated experiences, including encounters with BOL. This is incredibly significant and should give all of mankind pause for thought as to whether they have been hoodwinked by the so called prophets of old. We will suddenly have a verified yard stick to measure the commands and actions of these prophets against a being who might actually be God. Any prophet, or follower of a prophet, who promotes violence, or hatred etc is not speaking for BOL as nowhere is there any evidence from any NDE that such behavior is ever sanctioned.

This is a subject that I discuss at length in the book Aware of Aware. It is a subject that the men rampaging across Iraq and Syria at the moment would do well to consider, not just for the sake of those they are murdering, but for the sake of their own souls. As I mentioned in my previous post, there is evidence that the soul may not be eternal, and I’m pretty convinced that no NDE has reports of dozens of virgins waiting for those who have slaughtered others. 

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