Soulmates and Consciousness: New
Understanding from NDE Research
may be sent to Jody A. Long, J.D. at the above address.
This is part one of an ongoing study on Soulmates.
Those who experience a near death experience frequently
talk about the importance of relationships. This
study an introductory article on Soulmates that
gives background information on consciousness. Discussed
is the big picture of how consciousness studies,
NDEs, and relationships are related to the Soulmate
near-death experience; soulmates; soul mates; consciousness,
relatives, soul, religious figures, soul cluster
purposes of this study, Soulmates is defined as "a
loving relationship involving positive co-creation
and manifesting spiritual growth" (Long, 2002).
The focal points of this definition are that love
is manifested through the relationship and that
each person is able to grow in consciousness as
a consequence of the relationship. The definition
used for determining a near death experience (NDE)
lucid experience associated with perceived consciousness
apart from the body occurring at the time of actual
or threatened imminent death."
All people who have an
NDE, experience a separation of consciousness from
their body, whether they are aware of the actual
separation or not. Experiencers also experience
a fairly consistent set of circumstances and emotions
that they report after resuscitation.
the study of NDE is so connected to consciousness,
a foundational understanding of consciousness is
vital to the study of NDE. The study of consciousness
is integrally connected to the way we process information
on Earth. Moreover, information processing is the
golden key to unlocking some of the mysteries as
to what our purpose on Earth may be, what our true
human nature is and what we might be capable of
achieving with these new understandings.
As a bit of background,
annual conference in 2000, Dr. Jeff Long and I gave
a presentation on our research findings regarding
Soulmates. I recently started to write up the presentation.
One of the main questions I wanted to find out is
if, by including the new data, the results of the
study would still hold. It turned out that we had
over two times the data as when we started. Every
question analyzed had such a wealth of information
contained in each sub-category that it was impossible
to just write-up the Soulmate presentation. Therefore,
I have chosen to write a series of papers based
upon the new data and then write a culmination paper
on soulmate understandings incorporating the findings
of the separate papers.
For the study, NDEs were
collected via a web form questionnaire on the website
and the resulting answers were analyzed (Long, 2002).
From these patterns certain principles were derived
that led to the unifying theory of spirit defined
as the development of the soul in the process of
returning to our natural spiritual state.
is a necessary component of soul development. Experiencers
identified the most important principals as:
and everyone is connected;
the other side is home;
||Support from both
sides of the veil for our soul development;
||Lessons on reconnection;
is one aspect of individuals feeling connected
to a supreme creative being.
were derived from the most commonly reported elements
concerning relationships. Questions reviewed were
those asking about encounters with beings (familiar
and unfamiliar), comments about relationships, emotions,
feelings, interconnectedness, and universal purpose
the series of papers will analyze answers to the
questions of what beings were seen on the other
side, what experiencers perceive as our purpose
on Earth, what changes they made after returning
to Earth, and explore the emotional content of the
NDEs. Concepts derived from these papers will, in
turn, be used to sum up the NDE perspective on Soulmates
as reflected against the backdrop of consciousness
studies because how we process information is key
to integrating NDEs with our Earthly reality.
of consciousness is how we process information.
Most people think that our memories are stored in
the brain, much like a hard drive in a computer
with 100% available recall. Many cannot understand
that if a person claims to have consciousness apart
from the body and the brain is flat lined, how can
a person recall their NDE? This is a good point,
but easily understood when one understands the nature
of memories, the way we process information, and
the way we recall that information.
There have been several
recent studies on consciousness. One current theory
is that consciousness is where the memories are
stored, not in the brain as previously thought (Berkovich,
2001). Berkovich is in the forefront of scientists
who is exploring the theory that as an information
storage unit, the brain cannot possibly hold all
the information that is required to function in
our society. Consequently, scientist are considering
the alternative that the brain is more of an accessing
unit much like a radio receiver. The actual storage
place is somewhere else, and NDEs would strongly
suggest that place is the consciousness that survives
Recent findings have shown
that we typically store information as a core memory
attached to an emotion and then file it in a concept
area in the brain (Ornstein, 1991). When we retrieve
our memories, we are programmed to "fill in
the gaps." Therefore brain memories rarely
are 100% totally accurate. Even Freud noticed that
memories are stored by attaching emotion to them
(p. 89). Emotions organize how we store and access
information in the brain.
memory will be reconstructed using the brain preference
for order and stability. The memory will have a
certain order to it and will generally be re-told
in a way that subjectively makes sense to the individual.
Analogous to a computer hard drive, we retrieve
the memory chunk of information, by accessing a
particular emotional "directory" in a
certain part of the brain. Then the memory chunk
is connected to one or several information chunks
and the brain makes up the most logical story to
connect the separate information chunks. This means
that the information is integrated into an existing
subjective framework of reality.
That being said, the experiencers
typically report life reviews that contain every
thought, deed, and how we made others feel. Vivid
NDE examples, also noted in
the landmark NDE Dutch
study by van Lommel,
contain memories during physical death of events
categorized as veridical perception (van Lommel,
2001, p. 2043). Experiencers were accurately reporting
events they witnessed while in the out of body state
during the time they coded. They couldn't possibly
know what the doctors, staff, or relatives were
saying in the same or another room. Nonetheless,
experiencers were privy to actual conversations
and events. Dr. Ken Ring's study showed that blind
people can see during their NDE (Ring, 1999). There
are reports from child experiencers that can recall
NDEs like they happened yesterday. The youngest
NDE reported to NDERF was at age 18 months old.
The woman stated, "These experiences have stayed
crystal clear and as fresh as when they occurred."
events cannot be explained by conventional "brain"
theories, such as brain chemistry, anoxia, random
firings of a dying brain, false memories, or wishful
thinking. The model that best fits the data would
suggest that the stream of consciousness that leaves
the body does act like a computer hard drive with
100% memory recall. This is unlike the way the brain
processes routine information. When consciousness
returns to the body, it takes years to have those
intense memories of the NDE to funnel through to
the brain and to be integrated with the current
Earthly reality framework (van Lommel, p. 2043).
is that NDE is such an intense experience that it
may create access to consciousness memories and
therefore imprints in the brain in a manner similar
to what is known as a "flashbulb moment"
(Ornstein, p. 88). Flashbulb moments are times when
the brain takes a picture of a particular instance;
usually occurring in times of heightened sensory
and emotional input or life-threatening moments.
These memories are then ingrained in the brain and
the person can recall the event like it happened
yesterday. This type of memory is much different
than the way we store and recall routine information.
I would suggest that duality exists between brain
and consciousness (mind) because both serve two
very different but necessarily integrated functions.
is almost always reported in terms of a highly emotional
experience. Perhaps via the mechanism of emotion,
consciousness (and the memories contained therein)
is more readily accessed by the brain. Most of the
time, the NDE recollection is so far outside of
mainstream reality experience, that it may well
take years for a person to process the NDE memory
and integrate it into their existing reality framework
in a manner that it can be communicated to self
and the way we process information as the backdrop,
we can look at the way experiencers process information,
reintegrate it into their lives, and springboard
the process into a spiritually transformative event.
As mentioned above, experiencers typically will
report their experience in terms of emotion and
relationships. For many, this integration will change
their focus from an Earthly, material world to that
of spiritual and relationships. Therefore, this
information processing may well be a major component
of consciousness that survives the body. Further
study is necessary to understand what types of information
are retained and what part of the experience motivates
the experiencers to change which behaviors on Earth.
Some of the new soulmate research will yield clues
that answer some of these questions.
Berkovich, S (2001)
Berkovich, S (2001)
J. and Long, J. (2002)
of Consciousness, The Origins of the Way
Simon & Schuster, New York NY.
K. and Cooper S. (1999)
and Out--of-Body Experiences In the Blind,
William James Center for Consciousness Studies.
Lommel, P. et al. (2001)
Near Death Experience
In Survivors of Cardiac Arrest: A Prospective
Study in the Netherlands,
The Lancet, 358, 2039-2042.