Further explorations of the candid NDEs compiled in the "Near Death Experiences" book from NDERF.org.
*Universally, the "self" consciousness separates from the physical body with minimal disruption. In the case of trauma, consciousness vacates the body immediately before the trauma (or immediately into the trauma); in case of illness, separation takes a bit longer.
There is minimal disruption of identity or perception during this process--no lengthy period of disorientation, which is what one would expect. In most cases, the shift on awareness is rapid and is akin to a camera lens acquiring a new focus.
One NDEr vividly describes the transition:
Sometime shortly after this event, I passed out/went to sleep. I have no chronology of events at this point in time, but I slowly began to very clearly see my hospital room from above. It's like I was high enough in the air to see all four corners of this small room clearly, along with it's contents, of course. This picture didn't just pop into view, it slowly became bright and clear, much like a movie will sometime do, very slowly fade from black to a bright and clear picture. ("Don S")
And then, when blood is pumped into his body:
It was at that moment, my clear view of the event began to sparkle. The sparkling became more intense and finally the entire picture was blank white. A few seconds later, the white began to darken and I was looking up at the ceiling and light fixture in my room from my bed. I could see both doctors standing at the foot of my bed still working with that bag. ("Don S")
In case of surgery or medical emergency, conscious separation almost always coincides with cardiac arrest (if not immediately before). Experiencers almost always describe "waking up" above the body, viewing the operating theater below, hearing alarms go off, seeing the medical personnel reacting to the alarms, and realizing that the heart has stopped. So, separation seems to be occurring at the moment of cardiac arrest--if not just before.
The experience of "Jasun E":
I could feel the serum like a warm track going right to my heart and I knew I was having a reaction., I felt a pain in my heart. and I no longer could move anything or say anything. I heard the nurse scream and push a button on the wall,. Code red or blue? I felt the nurses and doctors trying to revive me. They had put the paddles on me twice but my heart did not start. then the doctor climbed onto my body and tock a large needle and thrust into my check and pushed the plug down I then felt my heart start up. The Amazing thing I was outside of my body looking at myself. * * * The color went out of everything and turned to Black and white then I was outside of my body looking at myself.
Cardiac arrest might trigger the separation of consciousness. Or, possibly, when the "greater" personality vacates the body, the heart stops.
The main point is that the primary consciousness--the self, the "I"--remains intact whether in the body, or outside of it. You are still "you," and you immediately recognize this, despite the confusion caused by seeing your body (which you had always assumed to be the real "you"). You are not suddenly transformed into another personality, an "angel," or a higher being. Although you may be aware of a greater reality, you are still "you."
There is a school of thought in the New Age circles (particularly Michael Newton) that argues that the human personality is a merging of a "higher consciousness" with a body consciousness.
Musings on this subject are beyond the scope of this humble blog, since my ponderous and limited consciousness hesitates to pretend to comprehend something "greater."
At the very least, however, the predominant theme of "Seth Speaks" (which I've read a bazillion times) is that consciousness is not a product of the physical body, but is, in fact, a co-creator of the physical form. Despite separation from the body, essential self-consciousness continues, with minimal interruption. The NDE accounts in the "Near Death Experiences" compilation affirm this over and over. This principle not only contradicts official science, but also strongly held Western beliefs. We are conditioned to believe that our essential consciousness is a product of biological activity--and we can empirically "prove" this to ourselves by altering our consciousness with different drugs and medications. Although there's plenty of evidence that consciousness trumps physicality (the placebo effect is the best known), it's simply easier to believe what is most useful to function in our world. "Near Death Experiences" however, points to a different and potentially more transformative reality. It's a reality that I'm comfortable believing in.