Living with death and dying
Living with death and dying

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Living with death and dying

1.3.8 Separation from the physical body

Very common is the experience of floating, sometimes on the ceiling, looking down on the body – a sense that the essential part of the person has separated from the physical body. In Michael Sabom’s survey of near-death experiences among non-surgical cases everyone had this sensation, but other studies indicate it is not universal. One woman recorded these feelings in a poem.

Hovering beneath the ceiling, I looked down

Upon a body, untenanted – my own

Strangely at peace, airy, weightless as light,

I floated there freed from pain-filled days and nights

Until a voice I heard, an urgent call,

And again I dwelt within my body’s wall.

(Sabom, 1982, p. 21)

This out-of-body experience was typically accompanied by alertness and clarity of thought.

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