Many people fear the actual moment of death.

They wonder and worry about things like: ????

  • what can I expect as I die? ????
  • what does it feel like to die? ????
  • is dying painful in any way? ????
  • how long does it take to die? ????
  • will I still exist in some way? ????
  • if I still exist will I still be myself? ????
  • will I see a tunnel or a light? ????

Though most of the world really has very little understanding about exactly what happens when someone dies, we now know from studying millions of Near-Death Experiencers what actually occurs when someone physically dies.

3 Common Characteristics of What Happens During Physical Death

The common attributes of what happens at the moment of physical death are typically the same across gender, culture, race, religion, age, etc. Near-Death Experiences have been studied now for 50 years across tens of thousands of individuals. Based on hundreds of researchers studying and analyzing numerous NDEs, there are seven common characteristics of what happens to us at the initial stages of physical death. We’ll cover three of them here in this blog.

1. We Leave Our Physical Body

One of the very first things that happens when we physically die is that we painlessly leave our body. Our consciousness (soul) separates from our physical form – very similar to how steam rises from a boiling pot of water – and ascends out of our human body. While our body shuts down during death and ceases to function, our spiritual essence fully awakens, separates, expands, and metaphorically unfurls its wings as it detaches from the body – much like a butterfly emerges from a cocoon.

“I thought to myself, I’m dying. This is what it feels like to die. And I wasn’t scared. It was just a very matter of fact knowing. And right at that moment, I popped out of my body. I was no longer attached to my body and the pain was completely gone. I was so detached that I then noticed that I was up on the ceiling of the room that I was in. And I was looking down at the scene below me and I could see my body lying there on the gurney but I could see that my essence was no longer a part of that body, that it was just the shell of who I am.” Jane Thompson????

“When I left my body underwater, I felt like my spirit was slowly peeling itself away, sort of like taking off a heavy wet shirt. The river current was pulling my physical self downstream, and the brilliance of the sun was pulling my spiritual self upward. From my spiritual self, I could see my body going over the front deck of my boat. I didn’t try to stop the separation and I don’t think I could have anyway.” Dr. Mary Neal ????

NDErs say they typically feel like their consciousness exits through their head or chest region and moves upward. I go into more specific details about this separation and exactly how and why it occurs in the book Comforting Truths from Heaven but virtually all NDErs report having the sense of leaving their body when they die.

“I felt an overwhelming feeling of peace and love and literally was aware of my soul leaving my body through the top of my head. There was no distress involved in this and I felt no sorrow or sadness for the body I was leaving behind.” Demi B. ????

“I was hit by this scooter and fell into a coma. It was at the intensive care unit that I saw myself leaving my body through the top of my head. I was looking at myself from about two meters above my hospital bed. I could see my body attached to a bunch of lines connected to some machines.” Marie DB ????


2. We Feel No Pain

Fortunately, NDErs say we won’t experience any pain whatsoever as we leave the body. Even though we may appear to be in physical pain from an accident or heart attack, dying itself is a completely painless process as we leave our human body and unplug from all of our physical sensations.

“During my accident, from the moment of impact until after the paramedics arrived, I literally felt no physical pain and in fact felt very little physical sensation anywhere in my body. It felt as though my entire body was numbed by a painkiller. I would have expected to be in unspeakable pain from the moment the truck impacted me, but that wasn’t the case.” Nancy Rynes ????

“Despite all the chaos going on below me, the ‘second me’ above my body was very happy, calm, relaxed, and peaceful. I did not feel anything when the IV lines were put in. I did not feel anything when they were doing CPR. But I could see it all happening. I felt no pain. The happiness and calmness I felt was in excess of anything I have felt before or since. I knew everything would all be fine.” Caroline L. ????


3. We Feel a Soul-Soothing Sense of Peace

While mercifully we don’t feel any pain, we fortunately do feel a comforting sense of peace when we leave our body and begin our transition from this world to the next. Instead of the chaos and confusion that typically happens around us at the time of death, we feel calm and a soothing sense of peace as we pass. Many NDErs struggle to communicate the sheer magnitude and magnificence of the peace and tranquility they feel as they pass. They often refer to it as the peace that passes all understanding. ????

“I was engulfed by the best feeling I had ever had in my life. I was continuing further and further, deeper and deeper, into that feeling of where I was. Never had I seen or even imagined a place of such purity and peace. Serenity, tranquility, and a calm I had never known before were present there. I could tell there was no illness, no pain, or suffering of any kind there. Nothing at all negative was anywhere in the area. Nothing bad or evil. The more I looked around, the better things seemed to become.” Joanna ????

“I was encased in a warm glow, an ambiance that was so peaceful, with a wonderful feeling of bliss and euphoria – connected to a whole, I was home again.  It was magnificent and beautiful. I felt serene, peaceful and detached.” Sharon Smith Kane ????

“I was not afraid. I remember thinking, knowing, I am taking my last breath. I had such a feeling of peace; I can only describe it as a peace that passes all understanding.” Brenda I. ????

Learn More About What Actually Happens When We Die

If you want to learn more about what actually happens to us and our loved ones when we physically die, be sure to check out our What REALLY Happens When We Die Master Class!

You can also order our new book Comforting Truths from Heaven.

“This is the book I wish I had when my son died! It offers so much hope, reassurance, comfort, and healing to anyone who has lost a loved one. It has become my #1 recommendation to every bereaved parent I meet.” EMILY GRAHAM, Author of Confessions of Child Loss

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