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The Neuroscience of Near Death Experiences – Dr Tamara Russell, PhD

Aug 2023 31



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Join neuroscientist and clinical psychologist Dr. as she dives into this dense topic in a fun and interactive talk. Discover the phenomena of near-death experiences and how this research area continues to develop as more and more individuals share their observations following contact with “temporary” death. Learn about the neuroscientific attempts to understand these shifts in consciousness and the debates arising about what is considered “” on this topic. Are a paradigm-shifting challenge to the materialist position of “mind equals brain”, or just images and impressions that represent the last gasp of the dying brain as consciousness ebbs and flows?

Adopting a mindful and compassionate lens of investigation, Tamara will present both positions and offer a route to accommodating diversity of thinking that evolves the standard (predominantly western) bio-medical model. This vantage point allows us to stay curious, consider more culturally diverse opinions and hold an awareness of multiple models so we can extract the best of all positions. What can emerge if we can hold such a position of “not knowing” and willingness to be “wrong” or let go of the brain-dependent view of consciousness? At the heart of the matter, the phenomenology of the lived experience is our primary source of , so what is a skillful way to understand these (often transformative) experiences in a way that can benefit humanity? Are you ready? Let’s dive in ….

Dr. is a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist who works with individuals and organisations advising on how to use techniques to optimise performance and improve mental and physical well-being. She is the Director of the Centre of Excellence, London, which has as its aim the evaluation of creative yet authentic applications for all spheres of life.

Combining her clinical, neuroscience and martial arts training, Dr. Russell’s approach engages both body and mind, for a total solution to manage the stressors of our modern working environment.

She specialises in delivering mindfulness training in the health sector, running introductory workshops for mental health workers and other health professionals. She is also the co-founder of ‘The Death Incubator’ – an immersive and interactive learning experience which aims to improve individuals’ understanding of how to relate to end of life experiences.

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48 Comments

  1. #1

    what a waste of 2 PhD's

  2. #2

    Memories are NOT stored in the brain! The mind just Googles them from the celestial Wi-Fi 😊

  3. #3

    Why are you having this discussion at this point in history? There’s at least a thousand people on YouTube describing their NDEs. If you still have any doubts that consciousness exists outside the brain you’ve been living under a rock.

  4. #4

    I think to many scientists also dont want to believe this life is all there is. They might be raised religious, being scared of dead. Thats why some scientists already know what causes this events and other scientists just dont want to admit there is no life after dead .

  5. #5

    When you hear the testimonies of actual NDEers and the accompanying out of body experiences you know they are real. It's definitely not in the brain. Any scientific professional who tells you that is either lying, protecting their funding and career or has not investigated them thoroughly. Our consciousness survives physical death

  6. #6

    She doesn't seem completely there. Kind of disassociated. She doesn't discuss neuroscience hardly at all and references old religious beliefs regarding consciousness which haven't been proven scientifically. She throughout presupposes that mind and brain are separate without evidence. And like many esoterics talks about left versus right brain even though either side of the brain can be logical and either side can be creative. Brains are very flexible and adaptive. There really needs to be more evidence based science here. And also apparently she doesn't fully understand Buddhist beliefs.

  7. #7

    If you want to know if there is an afterlife or not. I recommend watching this life next life narrated by Dr Keith Parsons. Little known evidence for the survival of consciousness

  8. #8

    Nauro surgeon eben Alexander who went into a deep coma with bacterial meningitis which destroyed his neo cortex and had a hyper reality experience in a higher dimension and met a beautiful young woman in this realm and fast forward he saw a photo of his deceased sister that he had never met and recognised her as the woman he had met in the hyper reality realm and he collapsed to the ground and he wrote a book about this experience called proof of heaven and there is a mountain of evidence for the afterlife. Including Electronic voice phenomena which I do and it's repeatable and objective evidence although litte known or ignored evidence

  9. #9

    I'm at the 10 minute mark and this happens to be the most boring lecture i've ever heard my life.

  10. #10

    To confidently explain a NDE whilst never previously experiencing one is like trying to confidently explain neuroscience whilst not having the previous experience of studying it.

  11. #11

    I died in a sailing accident in 2013. This poem describes my emotions surrounding the experience. Dying is easy. Coming back is hard as she explains.

    Only They Can Whisper Songs of Hope, by Jane Goodall

    The world has need of them, those who stand upon the Bridge,

    Who know the pain in the singing of a bird

    And the beauty beyond a flower dying:

    Who have heard the crystal harmony

    Within the silence of a snow-peaked mountain—

    For who but they can bring life's meaning

    To the living dead?

    Oh, the world needs those standing on the Bridge,

    For they know how Eternity reaches to earth

    In the wind that brings music to the leaves

    Of the forest: in the drops of rain that caress

    The sleeping life of the desert: in the sunbeams

    Of the first spring day in an alpine meadow.

    Only they can blow the dust from the seeing eyes

    Of those who are blind.

    Yet pity them! those who stand on the Bridge.

    For they, having known utter Peace,

    Are moved by an ancient compassion

    To reach back to those who cry out

    From a world which has lost its meaning:

    A world where the atom—the clay of the Sculptor—

    Is torn apart, in the name of science,

    For the destruction of Love.

    And so they stand there on the Bridge

    Torn by the anguish of free will:

    Yearning with unshed tears

    To go back—to return

    To the starlight of their beginnings

    To the utter peace

    Of the unfleshed spirit.

    Yet only they can whisper songs of hope

    To those who struggle, helpless, towards light.

    Oh, let them not desert us, those on the Bridge,

    Those who have known Love in the freedom

    Of the night sky and know the meaning

    Of the moon's existence beyond

    Man's fumbling footsteps into space.

    For they know the Eternal Power

    That encompasses life's beginnings

    And gathers up its endings,

    And lays them, like Joseph's coat,

    On the never changing, always moving canvas

    That stretches beyond the Universe

    And is contained in the eye

    Of a little frog.

  12. #12

    She gives me a strange, uncomfortable vibe. Anyone else?

  13. #13

    Investigating the near death experience is a necessary research

  14. #14

    Your god is only Allah, except for whom there is no deity. He has encompassed all things in knowledge."

    Thus, [O Muhammad], We relate to you from the news of what has preceded. And We have certainly given you from Us the Qur'an.

    Whoever turns away from it – then indeed, he will bear on the Day of Resurrection a burden,

    [Abiding] eternally therein, and evil it is for them on the Day of Resurrection as a load –

    The Day the Horn will be blown. And We will gather the criminals, that Day, blue-eyed.

    They will murmur among themselves, "You remained not but ten [days in the world]."

    We are most knowing of what they say when the best of them in manner will say, "You remained not but one day."

    And they ask you about the mountains, so say, "My Lord will blow them away with a blast.

    And He will leave the earth a level plain;

    You will not see therein a depression or an elevation."

    That Day, everyone will follow [the call of] the Caller [with] no deviation therefrom, and [all] voices will be stilled before the Most Merciful, so you will not hear except a whisper [of footsteps].

    That Day, no intercession will benefit except [that of] one to whom the Most Merciful has given permission and has accepted his word.

    Allah knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, but they do not encompass it in knowledge.

    And [all] faces will be humbled before the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence. And he will have failed who carries injustice.

    But he who does of righteous deeds while he is a believer – he will neither fear injustice nor deprivation.

    And thus We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an and have diversified therein the warnings that perhaps they will avoid [sin] or it would cause them remembrance.

    So high [above all] is Allah, the Sovereign, the Truth. And, [O Muhammad], do not hasten with [recitation of] the Qur'an before its revelation is completed to you, and say, "My Lord, increase me in knowledge."

    Allah – there is no deity except Him. To Him belong the best names.

    And has the story of Moses reached you? –

    When he saw a fire and said to his family, "Stay here; indeed, I have perceived a fire; perhaps I can bring you a torch or find at the fire some guidance."

    And when he came to it, he was called, "O Moses,

    Indeed, I am your Lord, so remove your sandals. Indeed, you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa.

    And I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed [to you].

    Indeed, I am Allah . There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.

    Indeed, the Hour is coming – I almost conceal it – so that every soul may be recompensed according to that for which it strives.

    So do not let one avert you from it who does not believe in it and follows his desire, for you [then] would perish.

    And what is that in your right hand, O Moses?"

    He said, "It is my staff; I lean upon it, and I bring down leaves for my sheep and I have therein other uses."

    [ Allah ] said, "Throw it down, O Moses."

    So he threw it down, and thereupon it was a snake, moving swiftly.

    [ Allah ] said, "Seize it and fear not; We will return it to its former condition.

    And draw in your hand to your side; it will come out white without disease – another sign,

    That We may show you [some] of Our greater signs.

    Go to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed."

    [Moses] said, "My Lord, expand for me my breast [with assurance]

    And ease for me my task

    And untie the knot from my tongue

    That they may understand my speech.

    And appoint for me a minister from my family –

    Aaron, my brother.

    Increase through him my strength

    And let him share my task

    That we may exalt You much

    And remember You much.

    Indeed, You are of us ever Seeing."

    [ Allah ] said, "You have been granted your request, O Moses. Great Quran

  15. #15

    Our conscience is outside our body.

  16. #16

    But how can you denied a verified objective message from other side that itself proves that consciousness survives physical body , I hereby share a youtube video link of German Doctor and Scientist Oliver Lazar which is a solid proof that consc, survives physical body somehow https://youtu.be/9e1SLF7Kg8Y

  17. #17

    Most materialist today will never believe no matter how much evidence they are shown. Sir Oliver Lodge was considered one of the most, if not the most brilliant physicist in his time, and he researched OBEs/NDEs and admitted his materialistic view of reality was wrong. He became a life long student and believer in all things psychical.

  18. #18

    Problem is the people who "study" these experiences do it within a second hand report or view. I have listened to many ned's and the way that "scientists" study it is too word it into something that fits the view they congealed to. Most of the ways Dr. Russell words what these people have actually said is completely different. People do report the life review but not like Dr. Russell explains it. Atheist's, have had experiences of beings of light so to be based on believe seems wrong. Awareness like people describe should be impossible or then astral travel etc. should be possible? People only see people who have passed during this experience, why? If it was based in a traumatic brain memory replay wouldn't I also see the people who are still living base on the power of emotion/electrical/chemical processes? Why would people explain similar experiences, this is only done when something is tangible. Like, when I visit a mountain somewhere and someone else visits that mountain, we both can explain it as a mountain but if the person receiving these explanations tries to draw a picture of the mountain that was describe it will be different then what both observers seen.

  19. #19
  20. #20

    Twenty minutes into her presentation, she is still working to "widen the aperature" of our "attention and discussion," trying to make a broader landscape…a wider expansion…a mindfulness experience…WHAT? I have a deep interest in the topic and am open to differing explanations of the NDE experience. But this type of verbal gibberish wastes a lot of time and words getting to no point at all of ANY kind. Twenty minutes listening was twenty minutes wasted. Left the presentation for other more concrete ways of talking about NDE.

  21. #21

    Vagal nerve now.. heart on hand..
    Do you have to use every new trick on the book 🤣
    Your audience was to ask questions… what about working memory… you put time in between …some will forget forming questions.
    YOU HAVE ADDED LANGUAGE TO YOUR YOGA BUMPH.. what do you mean by ‘what’s landed’?!! Such MOOD MAKING! Ancients with deep understanding would consider much of your approach as MOOD MAKING. Yea…as you say

  22. #22

    I invite YOU speaker .. your words.. to GO BEYOND .. your mindfully chatting brain.. and bring to your audience some dive into consciousness or at least some legitimate attempt at a technique which might allow them to experience deeper SELF. I could NOT believe I had to watch MINDFULNESS jargon hype !
    Watered down meditation and bizzy minds still skipping on the surface.
    THIS was NOT the place to be using such weak tools . I couldn’t watch any further…
    (Scientist and long term meditator)

  23. #23

    We have a body soul and spirit. For those of you that don’t believe you’ll find out when you die

  24. #24

    ✝️❤️‍🔥🙏🏽

  25. #25

    Tbh the classic DMT-explanation are super flawed. Psychedelic researcher David Nichols notes that the pineal gland would need to rapidly produce 25mg of DMT to create a psychedelic experience and there is no evidence that the brain does it as it is dying. The pineal gland weighs less than 0.2 gramsand only produces about 30µg of melatonin per day, if anything it's just a hypothesis with no real weight behind it to back it up.
    There's a lot of materialist claims in denying these experiences, but there is apart from physicalism also substance-dualism and idealism to consider. I highly recommend the scientific work "irreducible mind" for a closer look at the mind and the brain and consciousness and a different perspective based on a lot of various evidence.
    By the way the argument of religious people are also strawmen: there being a greater spiritual reality beyond our physical one doesn't mean that their religions and religious claims are true.

  26. #26

    You don't need PhD to blab 1 1/2 h and say nothing.

  27. #27

    We are millenary spirits.
    In new edition.
    Essa não é a primeira vez que estamos aqui.
    Já vivemos muitas vidas com muitas pessoas diferentes da nossa atual família.
    Voltamos em novos corpos carnais para continuar nossa jornada evolutiva na terra.
    O aprendizado nunca termina.

    ALLAN KARDEC

    1 THE GOSPEL ACCORDING THE SPIRITSM

    2 THE SPIRITS BOOK

    3 THE MÉDIUNS BOOKS

    4 WHAT IS SPIRITISM

    LOW IN PDF

    DEEP PEACE TO ALL.

  28. #28

    Scientists say here is what happens when you die, but we can’t use the scientific method to prove that near death experiences are complex hallucinations. It’s all assumptions and we’re right because of the three letters next to our name. But they laugh at you and pat you on the head when you say you’ve had one. They have no idea about the truth and that’s fine. It’s better to live in ignorance sometimes. People want the red pill treatment but there is no going back once everything you thought was the truth and what is real is completely dismantled and the veil is pulled back. The truth is freakier than what we call “reality”. The truth is we are living in a sort of biological dream, a construct of sorts and when our bodies die, we return back to true reality.

  29. #29

    Until they separate the from the idea that consciousness is being produced by the brain, science will never find what their looking for. Their separate things, we are able to function at our sofisticated level as a result that our consciousness uses the brain, its a filter.

  30. #30

    wow! at the begging she said she claims not to be an expert and the nuro science she dose now is just consultation rather then active research and the people that she said were experts were not there on the subject……. only just hypothesis lol god bless the right people here but anyhow its not eben alexander you have to contradict but many other scientists too that are believers…..bet they would destroy you in every debate btw don't leave out key evidence every time just for self centered selfish pride there's a reason why people and other scientist don't mention you cuase I had no idea who you were until now……..there's half of scientist that believe and half that don't but the other half leaves out key evidence cuase it doesn't work with there debunking theory don't listen to her or other seudo skeptics that refuse to actually study the data and already made up there mind there just out for pride and Denies major pieces of evidence not from what eben said but many many more fundamentalists scientists.

  31. #31

    Not being able to "find" consciousness in the brain in no way shows that it comes from somewhere else, just like not knowing how the universe got here in no way proves a god. Both are leaps. The correct answer is "we don't know".

  32. #32
  33. #33

    From an evolutionary perspective, 'brain-based' or 'physical' only NDE's make no sense.
    There is no survival advantage in having a pleasant death.
    Certainly nobody ever came back from being dead to pass on that very convenient ability to future generations genetically.
    Because dead people can't make babies.
    So, if we accept that the experiences people have during an NDE are universal.
    And we accept that Natural Selection is valid.
    We have a paradox.
    How do we exhibit a universal advantageous behavior (in our brains) when that trait could not, by its very nature, be evolutionary.
    Why would nature bother?

  34. #34

    She is not compelling at all. If anything she made me think NDE are real after life.

  35. #35

    This lady is standard "expert" bullsh_t.

  36. #36

    The only neuroscientific statement was a recap of the functionality of the hippocampus, framed in the hypothesis that it might also apply to life-review memories in an NDE. How disappointing. Very low information density if you come here to actually look for neuroscientific information.

  37. #37

    It’s amazing how this women can talk so much yet say so little. 20 minutes in, I can’t take it anymore! Out.

  38. #38

    How can someone who has Never experienced a NDE tell people what is and isn't real or legitimate?

  39. #39

    If you want to travel inward and explore the inner realms, realms that reach all the way down to Hell and all the Way up to Heaven, there are tools. One can combine meditation with a substance like Ketamine.

  40. #40

    What would really be fascinating is scanning the brains of materialistic atheists trying to explain away the near death experience data , like people born blind from birth having an NDE and a life review then coming back to earth visually explaining their whole life (example see Mindsight by Ken ring) , or peoplle dieing in plane or train crashes having the same story as others who died and were resuscitated .

  41. #41

    Alfred Russell Wallace developed a theory of natural selection independently of Darwin. Having done a "deep dive" into phenomena of a paranormal nature, he concluded, " I thus learnt my first great lesson in the inquiry into these obscure fields of knowledge (conciousness?, NDEs?) , never to accept the disbelief of great men or their accusations of imposture or of imbecility, as of any weight when opposed to the repeated observation of facts by other men, admittedly sane and honest. The whole history of science shows us that whenever the educated and scientific men of any age have denied the facts of other investigators on a priori grounds of absurdity or impossibility, the deniers have always been wrong."

  42. #42

    She's describing the workings of the brain when NDEs are experienced when the brain is not functioning (other than perhaps the brain stem, which is difficult to observe). I don't buy this explanation / model.

    She also describes how we can "prepare" for these experiences, when those who have experienced NDEs said they had no preparation or a particular mindset before experiencing it, which seems to indicate that this is not a primed experience.

    While I understand that the brain can simulate these NDEs with the actual workings of the brain, it cannot be replicated (except through maybe psychedelics). Which seems to indicate that apart from powerful drugs or deadly trauma, we are not able to experience NDEs.

  43. #43

    lol on how everyone makes eckhart an idol on the subject

  44. #44

    She doesn't know what happens. Remember that.

  45. #45

    Non locality of consciousness, consciousness is more than the physical brains

  46. #46

    Bah humbug!

  47. #47
  48. #48

    To everyone who thinks NDE's are the brain's last ditch effort to calm anyone at the point of death, I'll read from your playbook in terms of evolution. What's the evolutionary survival advantage of anything that only kicks in at death? Neat trick to pass that on to the next generation. You could infer utility in some panic mitigating factor in life threatening, yet survived situations, but the warm fuzzies being an adaptation for surviving trauma, with remarkable commonality in the reported experiences? Bit of a reach imho.

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