In the last three years, I have been discovering and diving into the scientific research on consciousness and life after death. Several things surprise me enormously: (1) there is a large amount of scientific evidence in favor of the afterlife and ‘paranormal’ activities related to it, (2) it is as rigorously tested as any other scientific field (if not more, due to the scrutiny it provokes), (3) it is not well-known or publicized because (4) skeptics in the scientific field are very loud and yet largely uninformed (or even unwilling to look at the data – which goes against every principle of science!). As I have come to realize, this topic is so intimate, so fundamental to our personal beliefs and our reasons for existence, it tends to be taboo and is often irrationally shut down.

My purpose with this post is to stimulate your curiosity, and in no way to provide the ultimate proof or pretend to be an expert in the field. I have wondered my entire life about life’s meaning, spirituality and religions, about why we are here, what is the point of suffering, and how to hold on to life when death is inevitable (our own death, and that of our loved ones), is there really some God when there is all this inhumane turmoil around the world? or if there isn’t, is life just a temporary coincidence on a random planet? Life can be quite gloomy and anxiety-provoking when you wrestle with these big existential questions. This is something I talked about in my previous post. If I had known there was so much mind-blowing research, and I didn’t need to rely on organized religions or woo-woo theories, searching for my life’s meaning would have been an easier enterprise. But maybe I was meant to go through those struggles to, then, be able to help others with the same.

This post is going to be a bit special, as I will provide many and mostly citations from renowned scientists, extracted from (or referencing) peer-reviewed scientific publications. The point is to show you this is not about personal opinions or beliefs, but sound material you should further explore for yourself (all links included). And of course, this is just a fraction of the research available, just some of the things I stumbled upon and found deeply thought-provoking. This is the entry door to a life-changing journey…

Bridge over a forest

The afterlife studied by parapsychology

Let’s discover what Etzel Cardeña has to say about parapsychology. But first, who is he? According to Wikipedia, he is “the Thorsen Professor of Psychology at Lund University, Sweden where he is Director of the Centre for Research on Consciousness and Anomalous Psychology (CERCAP). He has served as President of the Society of Psychological Hypnosis, and the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. He is the current editor of the Journal of Parapsychology. He has expressed views in favour of open scientific inquiry and the validity of some paranormal phenomena. The Parapsychological Association honored Cardena with the 2013 Charles Honorton Integrative Contributions Award.” More on him here.

Here are some extracts from his article “The Experimental Evidence for Parapsychological Phenomena: A Review”, published in 2018 by the American Psychologist.

“This article presents a comprehensive integration of current experimental evidence and theories about so-called parapsychological (psi) phenomena. Throughout history, people have reported events that seem to violate the common-sense view of space and time. Some psychologists have been at the forefront of investigating these phenomena with sophisticated research protocols and theory, while others have devoted much of their careers to criticizing the field.” (p.663)

“The evidence provides cumulative support for the reality of psi, which cannot be readily explained away by the quality of the studies, fraud, selective reporting, experimental or analytical incompetence, or other frequent criticisms. The evidence for psi is comparable to that for established phenomena in psychology and other disciplines, although there is no consensual understanding of them.” (p.663)

“An informed psi skeptic wrote, “Most psychologists could reasonably be described as uninformed skeptics—a minority could reasonably be described as prejudiced bigots—where the paranormal is concerned” (French, 2001, p. 7).” (p.663)

“Parapsychology can be defined as the study of purported psi phenomena using the scientific method, and the Parapsychological Association, the professional association of the field, has been an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (the world’s largest general scientific society) since 1969.” (p.664)

“At its inception, psychology and parapsychology were not clearly distinct disciplines, and foundational figures of the former also supported the latter (Cardeña, 2015a; Sommer, 2013. They include Bekhterev, Hans Berger (inventor of the electroencephalogram), Binet, Fechner, Sigmund Freud, Luria, Ramón y Cajal, and American Psychological Association (APA) presidents William James and Gardner Murphy. More recently, faculty from top-ranked universities such as Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford, including a past APA president, endorsed continuing research on psi (Cardeña, 2014). Parapsychology has also contributed to methods and subject areas later integrated into psychology, among them the first use of randomization along with systematic use of masking procedures (Hacking, 1988); the first comprehensive use of meta-analysis, in 1940 (Gupta & Agrawal, 2012); study preregistration since 1976 (Johnson, 1976); and pioneering contributions to the psychology of hallucinations, eyewitness reports, and dissociative and hypnotic phenomena” (p.664)

psi research has initiated or developed rigorous procedural and analytical strategies that mainstream psychology adopted later, and psi research is more rigorous in, for instance, using masked protocols, than psychology in general and other fields (Watt & Nagtegaal, 2004). Also, psi research has changed its procedures in response to internal and external criticisms” (p.673)


So, hopefully, these extracts should give you a flavor of how serious and rigorous this domain is researched. Before going further, I want to introduce the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies. “BICS was founded in June 2020 by aerospace entrepreneur Robert T. Bigelow to support research into both the survival of human consciousness after physical death and, based on data from such studies, the nature of the afterlife. […] One purpose of the BICS is to raise awareness among the public and within the scientific community of the importance and relevance of such an investigation. BICS hopes to provide a public service by drawing increasing attention to, and encouraging research into, this fundamental and timeless topic. We are seeking hard evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt” that takes us beyond religion or philosophy and provides a body of knowledge to be brought widely into the public arena that could be partially unifying in its impact on human awareness and culture.” I recommend you explore their website and check the impressive board of directors’ profiles (physician, molecular biologist, professor of philosophy, theoretical physicist, professor of statistics, professor of psychiatry).

BICS organized an essay contest in 2021 for scientists to participate: “One goal of the essay contest is to award contestants for writing papers that summarize the best evidence available for the survival of human consciousness after permanent bodily death.” Winners received large sums of prize money (in total, almost 2 million USD). 204 essays were submitted; it took 4 months for the judges to select the best ones. And importantly, several of these essays are available for free on the website (here and also here). These are accessible reads even if you are not an academic! Go read them, really! Some of the extracts below come from the top 4 winning essays.

Mirror in water

Near-Death Experiences

A near-death experience (NDE) can happen to people who are in life-threatening conditions, such as accidents, illness (e.g. in a coma), under full anesthesia, under cardiac arrest, etc. Not all people who have unfortunate life-threatening circumstances will experience an NDE, but a large amount do. These NDEs are sufficiently reported and give us glimpses of our consciousness being something separate from our brain and our body.

John C. Hagan, III, MD is an awarded ophthalmologist, medical researcher, and editor of Missouri Medicine medical journal and a medical textbook “The Science of Near-Death Experiences” (Missouri University Press, 2017). In his article in the Missouri Medicine journal, published in March-April 2015, titled “Near-Death Experiences: I Hope You Are Comfortable With Them By Now!”, he refers to several pieces of research. Here are some gems I found in this article:

The NDE typically includes many of the following: the mind leaving the body and travelling upward; passing from dark to a brilliant light often within a tunnel. The light which is often interpreted to be God or the Supreme Being is ineffable and transmits joy, peace, love, comfort. They meet with deceased loved ones, friends, relatives that welcome them. They have a life review in which they understand the meaning of their life and how they have lived it and how it affected others. They never wish to leave this unity with the light source of love. They return to our mortal life they say reluctantly to help those needing them on earth or sometimes involuntarily because “your time has not yet come.” Upon returning to their earthly body most live a more purposeful, love-filled life. Thereafter the fear of death is largely absent.

“Bruce Greyson, MD, Professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and a Co-Founder of the International Association of Near-Death Studies (IANDS) in November/December 2013 reviewed postulated scientific explanations of NDE including: expectancy, birth memories, altered blood gasses, REM intrusion, toxic and/or metabolic hallucinations, neurochemistry and neuroanatomy phenomena without finding a definitive explanation for NDE. In addition to the positive aspects during and after a NDE he was the first to point out “distressing NDEs” which are disturbing, even terrifying to those that experience them. He also noted that most people that have NDEs are mentally healthy and that NDEs must not be confused or equated with depersonalization, dissociation, post-traumatic stress disorder or pathologic conditions such as Charles-Bonnet Syndrome.”

“Dean Radin, PhD, one of the foremost experts in using evidence and laboratory-based science to study NDE, reported these conclusions in January/February 2014, “With one exception, NDEs may be interpreted as unusual forms of hallucinations associated with the injured or dying brain. The exception involves perceptions described from vantage points outside the body that are later confirmed to be correct and could not have been inferred. Over a century of laboratory studies have investigated whether it is possible in principle for the mind to transcend the physical boundaries of the brain. The cumulative experimental database strongly indicates that it can. It is not clear that this implies the mind is separate from the brain but it does suggest that a comprehensive explanation for NDEs will require revisions to present scientific assumptions about the brain-mind relationship”.” (Dean Radin was also a finalist in the Bigelow contest)

“Jeffrey Long, MD, a Louisiana radiation oncologist, established the nonprofit Near Death Experience Research Foundation for collection, international reporting, and study from NDE people worldwide. Please visit their website to understand how universal and cross-cultural the NDE experience is. In the September/October 2014 issue, Long elaborates on nine lines of evidence that converge on the explanation that NDE cannot be scientifically explained at this time. Among the most impressive of these nine are factual reports of events that have occurred in the past, or did happen in the future, or that transpired during the person’s NDE that were physically remote and otherwise unknowable by the person. Other unaccountable events: totally blind individuals describing accurately vivid visual events during their resuscitation and also precise accounts from individuals that were having hypothermic surgery in which they had no pulse, no heart activity, no blood pressure and a flat EEG.” (Jeffrey Long is in the top 10 winners of the Bigelow contest)

“Eben Alexander, III, MD, former Harvard neurosurgeon, […] writes, “The truth is that the more we come to understand the physical workings of the brain, the more we realize it does not create consciousness at all. We are conscious in spite of our brain! The brain serves more as a reducing valve or filter, limiting pre-existing consciousness down to the trickle of the illusory ‘here-now’ in which we find ourselves in this physical realm.” (Eben Alexander had an NDE himself, which changed his entire perspective on everything, his book “Proof of Heaven” is a must-read.)

Purple and orange smoke on black background


Here is what Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD (winner of the Bigelow contest) and Pim Van Lommel, MD (2nd in the Bigelow contest) have to say about NDEs:

William James had an unusual ability to take the complex and make it simple. His theory – the brain is the filter, rather than the source of consciousness – is one of his powerful and easy to grasp ideas. At the same time there is substantial empirical research to reinforce this hypothesis. ” (Mishlove p.16)

“Pim van Lommel, a Dutch cardiologist and author of Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of Near-Death Experience, describes controlled studies involving patients who experienced cardiac arrest in hospitals. Five independent studies have been published involving 562 patients who survived cardiac arrest. Between 10% and 20% reported having a near-death experience. Van Lommel reports that neither physiological nor psychological factors can account for their experience. This is contrary to the careless opinions offered by scoffers. “We know, during cardiac arrest, there is no brain function left. So, we would expect no conscious experience at all during cardiac arrest”.” (Mishlove p.22-23)

Scientific research on NDE in survivors of cardiac arrest appears to provide evidence of a continuity of consciousness after physical death. Consciousness is eternal, and outside of space and time. Interestingly, across all times and in many cultures, people have been convinced that the essence of man, usually known as the soul, lives on after the death of the body.” (Van Lommel p.36)



“The scientific studies on reincarnation have generally found that small children between the ages of two to four may spontaneously begin to speak about experiences they had in a previous life in many details, and usually with intense emotions and nightmares. The child nearly always describes his mostly violent death in a previous life. There have been many well-studied and quite convincing cases of reincarnation, even with birthmarks corresponding to burns, knife wounds, and other violent traumas that caused the death in a previous life. (Stevenson, 1997; Tucker, 2005)” (Van Lommel p.34)

“Ian Stevenson’s methodology: The University of Virginia, Department of Perceptual Studies, now has a database of over 2,500 individual cases in which young children report former life memories. In roughly 1,700 cases, the information led to the deceased previous person’s identification. We know these as solved cases.” (Mishlove p.33)


Child and her reflection on glass

Psychics & Mediums

Let’s talk about someone who has been doing a lot of research on psychics & mediums. “Dr. Julie Beischel is the Director of Research at the Windbridge Research Center. She received her PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology with a minor in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Arizona and uses her interdisciplinary training to apply the scientific method to controversial topics. For over 15 years, Dr. Beischel has worked full-time studying mediums: individuals who report experiencing communication with the deceased and who regularly, reliably, and on-demand report the specific resulting messages to the living. Her studies began with testing the accuracy and specificity of the information reported by mediums during phone readings performed under controlled, more than double-blind laboratory conditions that address alternative explanations for the source of their statements such as fraud, cueing, and overly general information. This protocol optimizes the research environment while also maximizing experimental controls. Dr. Beischel has also examined mediums’ psychology, physiology, business practices, demographics, and experiences and published peer-reviewed journal articles and anthology chapters discussing these and the potential therapeutic application of mediumship readings during bereavement.”

Dr. Beischel started out as a skeptic, provoked by a personal event with a medium. She couldn’t understand how this person could know such precise details. She decided to investigate in the lab this phenomenon, to “eliminate conventional explanations, including cold reading, rater bias, experimenter cueing, and fraud” (see one of her publications here). Her methodology and procedures are so strict, it is virtually impossible to deny the selected mediums’ abilities to connect ‘somehow’ with the afterlife and/or access the clients’ past and future life events. Psychic-medium Laura Lynne Jackson talks about the study protocols she went through, being studied by Dr. Beischel – it’s fascinating – I talk about it here. Dr. Beischel is also the fourth finalist in the Bigelow contest. She also shares a very interesting research selection on her website.

Here are some extracts from her Bigelow contest essay:
“Based on the science described here, this is what we know:

  1. Certain prescreened mediums can report accurate and specific information about the deceased under controlled laboratory conditions that address normal explanations for the source of the information they report.
  2. The anomalous source of that accurate information must involve psi.
  3. The two possibilities are that (a) they are communicating telepathically with the survived consciousnesses of deceased people (survival psi) or (b) they are using precognition, clairvoyance, or telepathy with the living to gather information about the deceased (somatic psi).
  4. Twenty laboratory-tested mediums and over 100 self-identified mediums have reported that survival psi and psychic readings for the living (the surrogate for the somatic psi theory) feel different. Extensive qualitative and statistically significant quantitative phenomenological research supports their claims.
  5. Quantitative findings from blinded readings performed by laboratory-tested mediums for deceased and living targets specifically demonstrated that, at the very least, love is experienced to a greater degree during mediumistic readings for the deceased compared to during psychic readings for the living.

Taken together, these facts provide the best available evidence for the survival of human consciousness after permanent bodily death. […] The most logical explanation for the collection of data described above is that people can survive the death of their bodies and can communicate with mediums.” (Beischel p.58-59)

“[…] near the end of the 20th century, at the request of Congress and the CIA, evaluations were commissioned to assess the validity of psychic functioning. The findings were reported by University of California statistician Jessica Utts and published in 1995 (and republished in 2018; 56). Utts’ findings were:
Using the standards applied to any other area of science, it is concluded that psychic functioning has been well established. The statistical results of the studies examined are far beyond what is expected by chance. Arguments that these results could be due to methodological flaws in the experiments are soundly refuted. (56, p. 118) Utts went on to suggest that, “There is little benefit in continuing experiments designed to offer proof, since there is little more to be offered to anyone who does not accept the current collection of data” (p. 119).” (Beischel p.34)

Two hands in the sun

A solid legal case

In his essay earning him 3rd place at the Bigelow contest, Dr. Leo Ruickbie compares the amount of evidence that would be required in the legal system to be convincing enough. You can read about him here.

“A common standard for deciding cases where the stakes are high – life after death would seem to qualify – is found in the legal system: it must be “beyond reasonable doubt.” The problem is, that like ‘extraordinary evidence,’ ‘reasonable doubt’ is a circular definition and law courts have conspicuously refused to define it.
In a rare attempt to make ‘reasonable doubt’ understandable to jurors, the Federal Judicial Center made the following instruction:
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that leaves you firmly convinced of the defendant’s guilt. There are very few things in this world that we know with absolute certainty, and in criminal cases the law does not require proof that overcomes every possible doubt.” (Ruickbie p.7)

“It has already been noted that the evidence for life after death would be sufficient to prove the case in a court of law. One of the earliest to do so was author John Vyvyan (1908–1975). Writing in 1966, he said “a jury might well be convinced of a life after death on the basis of these arguments.” Since then, researchers have amassed almost sixty years’ worth of additional evidence in every area concerned with life after death. If it were enough to convince a jury then, how much more so now?” (Ruickbie p.78)

Another interesting source of information comes from a retired lawyer and his wife psychologist who have been collecting evidence of the afterlife for over two decades on their website: “There is, without any doubt whatsoever, objective, repeatable, evidence for the existence of the afterlife. Retired lawyer Victor Zammit Ph.D states that the evidence collected would be accepted by the highest court in any civilized country.” Don’t just take his word for it, or mine, but dive into his thorough collection!

The argument put forward does not rely on one piece of evidence, or one case, so if one case is found in error it does not derail the overall argument. In fact, for each area of evidence considered, many other cases could be brought forward if needed. […] the amount of evidence is not the problem – the problem is why we do not believe it.” (Ruickbie p.77)


Consciousness & the brain

“A relationship clearly exists between the physical brain and the mind/self/consciousness (what makes you you). When the brain is injured or damaged, the mind functions differently. However, this does not prove that the cells and chemicals of the brain make mind. Correlation does not equal causation. Alternatively, mind may be like a signal and the brain like an antenna. Without the antenna, the signal can still exist. This non-materialist concept fits just fine with what is currently known about perception, psychology, basic physiology, biology, geology, astronomy, sociology, fundamental physics, quantum physics, and relativity.
Thinkers like William James and Aldous Huxley have conceptualized the mind as being interpreted, limited, funneled, regulated, transmitted, mediated, transformed, received, guided, or arbitrated by the brain. In the 1995 OMNI article “Supposing something different: Reconciling science and the afterlife,” astronomer David Darling explained, “The brain does not produce consciousness at all, any more than a television set creates the programs that appear on its screen”. Religious studies scholar Huston Smith used this engaging simile: “The brain breathes mind like the lungs breathe air”.” (Beischel p.6-7)

death is not the end

Final Thoughts & Implications

“The great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung addressed what he considers civilization’s primary ailment in his book, Modern Man in Search of a Soul. He wrote: “As a physician, I am convinced that it is hygienic – if I may use the word – to discover in death a goal towards which one can strive; and that shrinking away from it is something unhealthy and abnormal which robs the second half of life of its purpose.”
We hide from our own deepest identity when we postulate that consciousness is extinguished with the death of the body – resulting in a severe gap in our capacity for self-knowledge.” (Mishlove p.96)


If you have been a skeptic about spirituality, soul/consciousness, if, for you, religions have been advertising only myths and legends… like it was for me… I hope the above will make you think twice, and possibly engage you on a quest to re-define what your existence means. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • If our consciousness doesn’t die with the death of our body, if we reincarnate, what is the purpose of our existence in this body, in this era, in this specific life? and are we living up to it?
  • If our loved ones who passed away are not entirely gone, how does it feel to know we have not lost them for eternity and that there could be ways to still communicate with them?
  • If death (of our body) is not the end of our existence, but merely of this life, if we just change shape in a way, what do we make of this life?


How will this knowledge transform what you value in your life?

For many people around the world, their spirituality is a given. It is passed down from their previous generations and their cultural context. They accept it, embody it, and they don’t question it: they just have faith. And then, there are also people whose spirituality is a question mark, a challenge, a mystery, or even an absent subject in their lives. Which one are you? I’ve been the latter, and I went from being an atheist to becoming rationally spiritual…


Exploring religions

To give you a bit of context: I come from Christian ancestors, born in a Christian (but laic) culture, one side of my family is (practicing) Catholic, and the other is (non-practicing) Protestant. I have been in the middle of this silent religious competition, with one side trying to integrate me into their church. During my adolescence, I explored Christianity from different angles, as this is what was available around me then. I had so many questions, and everything seemed too metaphoric, too dramatic, too complicated, too far out there, too old. I couldn’t adhere to any of these views, they didn’t speak to me. And believe me when I say I tried. I wanted that faith I could see others experiencing. I wanted to feel something bigger had my back, loved me no matter what, and that existence made sense. But it wouldn’t click.


Trauma didn’t make sense

foggy road and forestThe moment in my life I was the closest to faith (faking it until I would make it), I was praying every night. For others, for the world, praying selflessly at the age of 16. But trauma, deaths, and pain kept accumulating in my life. If there was a God, he suddenly took away my lighthouse, despite all my praying. He let all these horrible things happen to me, to the world. Why? And why wasn’t I receiving the signs I was asking for, the signs that would help me strengthen my faith? It felt like either God had betrayed and abandoned all of us, or this whole thing about God and religion was fake. And that’s when I decided or realized I wasn’t getting answers because there wasn’t anyone ‘up there’. I was angry and in the darkest pain. Life seemed so awful, too unfair, too unpredictable. What was the point of it all? Yet, there was a tiny glimmer of hope deep inside me, some thought that maybe there was more to life than all this pain, if only I could find the way out. Psychotherapy helped me get rid of my suicidal thoughts. But the dark cloud was never far for another decade.


Science: killer of faith

A big change happened when I started university in parallel to my full-time job. I studied for a Bachelor of Science in psychology. And this scientific degree changed my way of thinking and my perception of the world. It gave me an understanding of scientific rigor: you can demonstrate something’s existence when you can test it and replicate your findings multiple times. Well, of course, it’s not that simple… but anyway, that’s how my brain saw things then. My courses explored belief systems, cultural influences, cognitive biases, etc. It showed us that we believe what we want to believe, we tend to see and register only information that confirms what we think and want. It also talked about psychic abilities being mostly manipulations by clever people. Or homeopathy that had no scientific basis, other than a placebo effect.

All this reinforced my belief that humans are an anomaly in the universe, maybe not the only anomaly, but just a coincidence that could be explained by chemistry, physics, biology, and evolution. I was then decidedly an atheist. I didn’t believe there was a greater something, that ‘things happened for a reason’, that ‘something awaited us after death’. Instead, life felt increasingly meaningless, and something that would stop abruptly. The idea of losing someone became even more anxiety-provoking if there was no afterlife where to meet again. What was the point of life, what was the point of all the pain? I felt like I was a running headless chicken.


Parapsychology changed everything

I was at a weekend university workshop when I heard that my favorite psychology professor, Professor Frederick Toates, had organized a conference about ‘parapsychology’ in the meeting room next to ours. This is the branch of psychology studying (scientifically and rigorously) ‘paranormal’ psychological phenomena such as extrasensory perceptions. I couldn’t attend, but the participants, former university students, reported having goosebumps in this ‘out of this world’ conference. Most of the speakers were scientists in the field of parapsychology, and there was evidence of paranormal things. I thought ‘Hold on, my university courses were telling me it was all fake, how come they didn’t mention that some topics have scientific evidence?’ It stayed at that for a couple of years.


Rationally spiritual, Netflix docuseries Surviving death

Netflix poster for Surviving DeathIn January 2021, Prof. Toates posted a link on his Facebook group, encouraging us to watch the Netflix docuseries ‘Surviving death’, in which appeared one of the speakers from the parapsychology conference. I jumped on my TV and watched the 6 episodes like my life depended on it. And I am eternally grateful for Prof. Toates, as this changed everything for me! And I now recommend it to everyone, either skeptics like me or those already with some faith. This docuseries explores near-death experiences (NDEs), children remembering past lives (reincarnation), mediums and psychics, etc. It’s always through the lens of science (and also with the Netflix drama spin). Not all episodes affected me equally, the ones that have made a difference are the NDEs and reincarnations. Those are mind-boggling because scientific studies have shown that these experiences are true and demonstrate life beyond death. It means that our consciousness doesn’t die when our brain and body die. It lives beyond. There is an increasing amount of studies on these events and their meaning.


“Ultimately, we cannot avoid the conclusion that endless consciousness has always been and always will be, independently of the body. There is no beginning and there will never be an end to our consciousness. For this reason, we ought to seriously consider the possibility that death, like birth, may be a mere passing from one state of consciousness into another and that, during life, the body functions as an interface or place of resonance.”
Pim van Lommel, M.D., Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (p.257)


Spiritual rabbit-hole

After watching this docuseries, I needed to explore more and connect all the dots. I read the wonderful book “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer. This book says that if you can observe your thoughts and emotions, you cannot ‘be’ those thoughts and emotions. You cannot be that body you observe, because you are the observer. We are absorbed by the objects and circumstances we observe as if we were watching TV and losing consciousness of ourselves. But if we look deep, behind the chaos in our mind, there is that consciousness, connected to everything. It’s always been there, and will always be there, thoughts or no thoughts. This consciousness goes back to what people seem to experience during NDEs or children with memories of past lives. This consciousness is not a part of our body or brain, it’s not even inside our brain! Instead, this consciousness is observing our brain and our body, and it’s timeless and immaterial.


I had come across these concepts before, as I had read other books from fascinating writers such as Eckhart Tolle, James Doty, etc. But these books were just interesting ideas, sometimes difficult to wrap my head around, and they wouldn’t connect with my real life. It felt like these concepts were from another planet, for people who were not like me. But suddenly, I could start connecting the dots and intellectualizing a sense of faith. Yes, it began as an intellectual thing, that was my gateway. And I believe that a lot of people may be like me. They have to see it to believe it.


“You’re not even a human being. You just happen to be watching one.”
Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul (p.37)


I also read the two books from Laura Lynne Jackson, one of the psychic mediums from the Netflix series. At first, that was the topic I had the most resistance with. But after reading her two books, I can no longer deny that some people have the capacity to see the past and future and to connect to the ‘Other Side’, as Jackson calls it. How do I know this? She was rigorously and scientifically tested. The story is captivating, go and read it! And if you need it, you can also read the research findings from the scientists – here. As I was reading her books, I asked (with a certain level of doubt) my deceased loved ones to send me very specific signs, as Jackson suggested. And these signs kept arriving, again and again, in a way that I couldn’t doubt or question. And they still do to this day!


The universe was speaking to me

And I was finally listening. I had so many questions, I kept telling ‘whoever out there’ (my loved ones on the Other Side, the universe, whatever it is) to keep sending clear and undeniable information and lessons. In the following months, I was recommended more books by strangers, the local TV channel did a two-part documentary on NDEs, and this topic popped up in all places and newspapers. One of these documentaries interviewed Pim van Lommel, a Dutch cardiologist. He had seen many patients on his operating table whose hearts stopped beating during surgery and yet had full consciousness of what was happening in that operating room at the very moment they were clinically dead. Van Lommel became curious and started research in NDEs. He wrote a thought-provoking and life-changing book on his findings, his hypothesis, and some explorations on the meaning of it all. Interestingly, he also included an analysis of several religions, texts from philosophers, and cultures. He noticed patterns and similarities in the conception of consciousness but also hints that the writers had likely experienced some form of NDE and/or other similarly enlightening situations.

“How is it possible for people to observe their own resuscitation from a position above their lifeless body? How can they have clear thoughts and retain their memories without a physical body? How is it possible for them to meet and recognize deceased relatives? How is it possible to experience a life review or a preview in mere minutes, as if time and distance do not exist in this other, unearthly realm?”
Pim van Lommel, M.D., Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (p.17)


Signs from the universe

Of course, I was thinking “I am looking for it, so my brain is more attentive to it, it’s just a bias”. And maybe, that information was always just in front of me and I ignored it before. But the content was nonetheless undeniable. Everything started to make sense, and life got more meaning. And ever since, I feel things and people are magically planted on my path: books to read, podcasts to listen to, names of people I should look into, encouragements in the directions I’m taking, etc. I am feeling a big relief sigh from the universe “aahhh you’re finally getting it, keep going, you’re heading in the right direction”.

This is the sign you've been looking for

Yes to rationally spiritual, no to religious

I see religions as man-made attempts at making sense of this ‘something bigger’. There are many common elements to all of them, but they are made of human interpretations. Religions also all include rules and laws on how to behave in society, which does not necessarily have much to do with spirituality, but rather population control. Many religions include forms of hierarchy and power, a separation between ‘us-believers-of-this-specific-religion’ and ‘them-believers-in-something-else-and-non-believers’, and instill fear and obedience. I struggle with these aspects of religion. To me, spirituality can be inspired by others’ thoughts and beliefs, but can’t and shouldn’t be something organized like an international corporation. This is of course just my own opinion, and I also understand how and why people adhere to religions. But religion is not my thing… spirituality is!


Since January 2021, I have delved deep into spirituality, reading parapsychology research and many books, listening to hundreds of podcasts, and discussing it with anyone curious. My spirituality has been growing ever since, slowly moving from an intellectual concept to something much more integrated and gut-based. And also, to be honest, it’s been fluctuating at times. When life throws fireballs at me, I sometimes question it all. And then, new understandings come forth. This is what I share in the chapter I wrote in this book. My spirituality has become a personal definition of why we are here, how to behave, what to learn, how to love, what comes before and after this life … It has opened the door to something much larger, to my soul and my intuition, and the infinite wisdom of Life. This understanding of our existence changes everything. And I’ve come to realize that my path to spirituality and the discoveries I’ve made are what I am called to share. As we adopt this perception of who we are and what we are here for, it reduces pain and enhances purpose and connection to others and life. And I can only wish that to all my fellow humans.


“Why are we here? To learn. To give and receive love. To be the agents of positive change in the world. What happens when we die? We shed our bodies but our consciousness endures. What is our true purpose on this earth? To grow in love – and to help others do the same.”
Laura Lynne Jackson, The Light Between Us (p.210)


I will share more information on this, hoping it will spark something in you too.


What’s your relationship to spirituality?