The plot of the soap opera America, written by Glória Perez and aired by Rede Globo, touched the issue of life after death and showed people who had contact with the dead, after being through a coma, in the phenomenon known as Near Death Experience (NDE). The cast of the soap opera had debates about Spiritism with professionals of the area, specialists in intensive therapy, spiritualists and biographers of Chico Xavier. (1)
The topic has been calling the researchers' attention. In 1975, an American doctor, Raymond Moody Jr., brought a collection of accounts of NDE to the great publish through his work "Life after Life" (2). All patients have symptoms of clinic death. The victims hover over their physical bodies, follow the events and notice they have another body, and that their conscience is with the new body, spiritual in nature.
They meet deceased relatives and friends, with great joy. Everybody tells them about the tasks developed in the spiritual world, of the need to continue working, evolving, studying. That the family ties do not break, rather strengthen, through love and forgiveness. At that moment the material means, the wealth, the power, the social status do not matter, only the goodness and the knowledge that exist in each person matter, independently of their religious or philosophical beliefs.
In an interview to "Revista de Espiritismo" (Magazine of Spiritism), Divaldo Franco affirms that: "Such apparent deaths have always happened, mainly in the past when cataleptic states were seldom diagnosed. The technique of death diagnosis was very empiric, usually through breathing and heart beats. Today, thanks to the electroencephalograph, one can detect more precisely the moment the heart definitively stops beating and the real death. However, even in those cases, studied by Edith Fiore, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross or Raymond Moody Jr., there is always the return to the heart activity and, consequently, of the brain one, offering evidences that at the moment of the apparent death of the conscience, the conscious being continues thinking".(3)
For the Materialists life after the death obviously does not exist. About that the newspaper Correio Braziliense publishes an interesting text about the topic on 09/20/94, called Cientistas Desmistificam a Volta do Além (Scientists Demystify the Return from Beyond (sic)) - The researchers of the Rudolfo Virchow academic clinic in Berlin have discovered a clear link between the syncope hallucinations and NDE and have verified "the accuracy of their intuitions and hypotheses" with a group of 42 (forty-two) "young and healthy people". The human subjects were deprived of all senses for at most 22 seconds. When back to life, they reported experiences very similar to the near death phenomena. (4)
The subject has also been studied by Americans since 1977, when the Association for the Scientific Study of the Phenomena of Imminent Death was founded in the US. According to the materialistic researchers, the hallucinations are caused by a variety of problems, whether pharmacological, physiological, neurological, or psychological ones. In fact, the psychological explanation for the NDE being a syndrome caused by the fear of death does not hold true when we see that children - who do not have such fears and do not have a cultural knowledge of the death yet - have experiences which are similar to those of adults. It is interesting mentioning that people describe their experiences as something vivid and real and that has changed their lives forever, rather than simply a passing reaction to a stressful situation.
For Spiritism death does not exist, because the Spirit is immortal and survives the decomposition of the physical body. Death (or deincarnation) is just a final stage of an evolutionary process in this life. Only the body dies.
Kardec studied that spiritual body and called it perispirit, which has been studied by many specialists and searching, however, due to the lack of instruments and laboratory equipment, we are still a long way from knowing its operational structure. Master lionês refers to the splitting or the so-called astral trips (as some spiritualistic definitions), in which the perispirit detaches from the body as in the sleep, in the hypnotic trance, in faintings, coma etc... In that process the perispirit can cross walls and other material obstacles and there are often phenomena known as bilocation, bicorporal presence, exteriorization of the double, etc...
The exit of the perispirit from the body is now scientifically proven. In the unified States, the acronym OBES - out of body experience - is used. Dr Gleen Gabbard, psychiatrist of the Menninger's Psychiatry College from Kansas reports in one of his notes about an unfolded man who attended a meeting of people who wanted to kill him and thanks to that changed his route back home and surprised his pursuers by having the details of the plan told to the police, and escaped unharmed. Gabbard, Elizabeth Klobb Ross, and Raymond Moody Jr. have long been researching the so-call NDE (Near Death Experience), in which the existence of such psychosomatic body is confirmed.
Among us, spiritists, immortality is already the Law of Life. However, we should indeed follow the debate of contemporary scientists about the subject closely. In our days, several schools such as the transpersonal psychology are based on transcendental experiences and use the argument of the immortality. Many are the professionals of the mental health are that publish books about experiences of temporary death. There is, no doubt, a holistic movement seeking for a global interpretation of man nowadays. The winds of the spiritualistic revelations blow steadily and strongly, and the scientific laboratories of the human academy now consider the plausibility of the immortal being.
1- Available to Access on March 22, 2005
2- The book "Life after Life", by Dr. Raymond A. Moody (non-spiritualist researcher), a bestseller in the US, is one of those books that deals with those unusual experiences, now complemented with his new book "Reflections on Life After Life", which brings us the results of new interviews with people who remained for some moments in the other dimension of life.
3- Available at www.espirito.org.br/portal/artigos/jose-lucas/eles-morreram.html> Access on March 31, 2005.
4- Published at Correio Braziliense on 09/20/94.