While listening to some interviews with Natalie Sudman (whose "Application of Impossible Things - My Near Death Experience in Iraq" I have not yet read) recently, I decided to compile a restaurant-napkin list of some general observations of common themes linking NDEs, OOBEs, as well as some "channeled" accounts. Basically, I'm groping toward some ideas of the physics of the non-physical state. Since I'm not a physicist, I doubt that I will come up with much, but I still enjoy the mental exercise of trying.
The Seth books have been helpful here... Some of his more esoteric ruminations (especially "his" descriptions of the "inner senses") seem relevant. According to Seth, our physical world is "camouflage," which we experience with physical senses specially adapted to perceiving within the narrow physical range. These physical senses (in a greatly diminished way) mirror our "inner senses." Thus, when we are not focussed in the physical form, we can "see" and "hear" just as we can when physically focussed... But the "inner senses" are arguably more powerful than our physical ones.
Seth argues that any attempt to understand the "greater" reality by observing it physically will result in "distortion"; we use "camouflage" instruments to measure our camouflage environment, which we process through a brain that is also "camouflage." And while these measurements *usually* result in very consistent picture of reality, it really isn't reflective of the "true" reality. To observe and measure this, we must use our "inner senses."
Is this practical or even provable? As my camouflage brain scribbles this onto a camouflage computer, the camouflage part of me says "no." Yet, even the most materially-focussed part of me wonders, "Can the concept of 'inner senses' elucidate NDE accounts?"
After all, these accounts, while appearing to violate physical laws, are remarkably consistent, internally. This consistency suggests that they are "real," on some level. Can we gain some insight into the "greater" reality by observing the consistencies? It's worth a try.
So here is my back-of-a-napkin list of commonalities that I've noticed, which run through the majority of accounts:
*Synesthesia, with accelerated sensory perception and hyper-reality ("realer than real"). Music is felt; thoughts are seen; colors are understood.
*Lack of sense of separation between self and the perceived external environment; or, a sense of meaningful "connection" between the self and the external environment, or with beings that are perceived.
*Malleability and flexibility of time perception; instead of consciousness being confined to a fixed and linear procession of time, it can rapidly and easily be focussed in multiple directions--events can be accelerated, reversed, or examined in granular detail.
*"Cause-and-effect" is perceived as being only one slice of an event; effects can reach "back" in time and create a cause, and probable timelines resulting from choices not materialized can be followed.
*A sort of "thought transference" can occur that results in complex symbolic gestalts being instantly and non verbally "received," and intuitively understood, without needing to be "thought about."
*Experiencers are conscious of having a body that seems to be physical, but they are often unable to describe the nature of it.
*Experiencers or communicants usually cannot explain "where" they are, suggesting that "physical" concepts of space and location do not apply to the non-physical environment.