Reflections from Near Death Experiences

There are moments when we catch a glimpse of something beyond our everyday existence and have a visceral experience of knowing we are not alone. There is a growing body of literature attempting to describe what often defies language, particularly by people sharing their stories of seeing the more expansive stages of consciousness glimpsed during a Near Death Experience (NDE). Notable writers and teachers are focused on integrating these lessons in everyday life; here are a few of their suggestions for all of us.


LA YOGA: What was the most surprising thing you learned during your Near Death Experience?

Eben Alexander portraitDr Eben Alexander   The most surprising and paradigm-shifting aspect of my journey was to discover that the brain does not create consciousness. As you can imagine, for a physician and brain surgeon, this changes everything. Like most of my colleagues, I had been taught that the brain was in control, and all such experiences, including those of some of my former patients, were dismissed as hallucinations manufactured by some active part of the brain.  But during my coma, my brain was completely shut down by the severe infection from gram negative bacterial meningitis.  It was rendered incapable of any activity, so I had proof that my experience was not an hallucination emanating from the brain.


How would you encourage people to integrate lessons for living life on a daily basis?

Dannion Brinkley portraitDannion Brinkley  I encourage everyone to realize that they will eventually be a hospice volunteer in one way or another. So I want everyone to live a life that is filled with joy and gratitude. In order to achieve this, I recommend that everyone perform a daily panoramic life review. Before bed each night, look back over your day with total honesty. Ask yourself where you shined the brightest, and where you fell short of your very best. Decide how you can make amends for mistakes made today, and aspire to higher achievements in the day to come.


Dr Ibrahim JaffeDr Ibrahim Jaffe  First we must live each day with the consciousness of death and that this might be our last day. This brings an incisive awareness to our lives and helps us to make choices that are more valuable for a spiritual journey. Then realize we are a soul living in a human body having an experience. Experience is necessary for the soul to awaken to divine consciousness and complete its journey home. All of life’s experiences are ultimately for the soul’s growth. We must care and nourish the soul the same way we care for and nourish our bodies.


Dr Eben Alexander  What has helped me the most is adopting a meditation practice, so I encourage everyone to begin meditating. With regular meditation, we realize we are much, much more than our physical bodies. We find that the answers lie within us at a deep level.


How has your life changed as a result of your experience?

Lisa GarrLisa Garr  When I am challenged by setbacks and obstacles, I spend less and less time in a place of upset and more time being resilient and coming up with solutions. As my dear friend and mentor, Wayne Dyer said, “If you believe it will work out, you will see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles.”




What hope would you offer to others?


Lisa Garr  Awareness is 80% of any solution. When you become aware of any situation, whether it’s about your health, finances, relationships, et cetera, you can move more quickly into a solution.


Anita Moorjani portraitAnita Moorjani  First, death is not final. If you have lost loved ones they are still around you and you can continue to communicate with them. Second, if a doctor gives you a grim prognosis, don’t necessarily believe it, as there is always hope. I am proof of that.


Anita Moorjani, Dr Alexander, Dr Jaffe, Lisa Garr, Dannion Brinkley, and Dr Linda Backman will be speaking on “What Happens When We Die?” on a panel moderated by Diana Maxwell at the Conscious Life Expo, held in LA February 19-21. For more information on this and the other activities throughout the weekend, visit:



Felicia M. Tomasko
Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.