Does the NDE occur only in people close to death

Some interesting questions now arise. One of these is whether an NDE occurs only in those close to death. According to current evidence, the answer is clearly no. NDEs can occur in many other situations, such as in people who were extremely tired, during rapid acceleration during training of fighter pilots (Whinnery and Whinnery 1990), during electro-stimulation of the temporal lobe (Persinger 1983; 1987), after prolonged isolation and sensory deprivation (Comer et al. 1967), occasionally while carrying out everyday activities, while dreaming, by people who have taken certain drugs, such as the dissociative anesthetic ketamine (Jansen 1989) and dimethyltryptamine (DMT) (Strassman 2001).

In addition to these, similar experiences have been described as a result of shamanic (Eliade 1964; Harner 1980) or meditative practices (see, for instance, Becker 1993), where these experiences do not seem to be as unusual as they are in our Western countries. Charles Tart tells us the story of a student excitedly rushing to his roshi (master) to describe a vision of gods bowing down to him and the feelings of ecstasy that occurred during his meditation. The roshi asks him if he remembered to keep his attention fixed on the rise and fall of his belly in breathing during the vision, as per the meditation instructions, and when the student says no (who would care about the rise and fall of the belly during such a vision?), the roshi reprimands the student for allowing himself to be distracted! (Tart 1975: 83).

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