Pim van Lommel, MD

Pim van Lommel, MD

Nonlocal Consciousness — a concept based on scientific studies on Near-Death Experience


Unexplained experiences arising from cardiac arrest

According to our current medical concepts, it is not possible to experience consciousness during a cardiac arrest, when circulation and breathing have ceased. But during the period of unconsciousness due to a life-threatening crisis like cardiac arrest, patients may report the paradoxical occurrence of enhanced consciousness.

Often this is experienced in a dimension without our conventional concept of time and space, with cognitive functions, emotions, and with self-identity maintained. It often includes memories from early childhood and sometimes with perception out and above their lifeless body.

Scientific studies on near-death experience

In four prospective studies with a total of 562 survivors of cardiac arrest, between 11% and 18% of the patients reported a near-death experience (NDE), and in these studies it could not be shown that physiological, psychological, pharmacological or demographic factors could explain the cause and content of these experiences.

How could a clear consciousness outside one’s body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death, with a flat-line EEG? There are good reasons to assume that our consciousness does not always coincide with the functioning of our brain: enhanced consciousness can sometimes be experienced separately from the body.

I have come to the inevitable conclusion that most likely the brain must have a facilitating and not a producing function to experience consciousness. By making a scientific case for consciousness as a nonlocal and thus ubiquitous phenomenon we must question a purely materialist paradigm in science. Moreover, recent research on NDE seems to be a source of new insights into the possibility of a continuity of our consciousness after physical death.


Pim van Lommel, M.D.:

  • Graduated in 1971 at the University of Utrecht
  • Finished his specialization in cardiology in 1976.
  • Worked from 1977-2003 as a cardiologist in Hospital Rijnstate, an 800 bed Teaching Hospital in Arnhem, the Netherlands.
  • Now dedicated full-time researching the relationship of the brain to the non-local mind.


Early in his career, Dr. Van Lommel published several papers in peer-reviewed cardiology journals. Starting in 1986, he dedicated all his research efforts to near-death experiences in survivors of cardiac arrest. He is the author of over 30 articles (most of them in Dutch), one book and several chapters in other books on near death experiences.

In November 2007, his book Endless Consciousness (Eindeloos Bewustzijn), was published in The Netherlands, which is a bestseller with more than 140,000 copies sold (21st edition). It was nominated for the ‘Book of the Year 2008’ in the Netherlands. His book was published in Germany in 2009 by Patmos Verlag: Endloses Bewusstsein. Neue Medizinische Fakten zur Nahtoderfahrung (already the 9th edition), and it has been published in the English language by Harper Collins in 2010, titled: Consciousness Beyond Life,The Science of the Near-Death Experience. In 2011, the Polish edition was published (Artvitae: Wieczna Swiadomosc. Naukowa wizja ‘Zycia po zyciu), the Spanish translation (Atalanta: Consciencia màs allá de la Vida), was published in March 2012, and in May 2012 his book was published in France by Dunod, titled Mort ou Pas?. Les dernières découvertes médicales sur les Experiences de Mort Imminente. By now more than 225,000 copies have been sold in Europe and in the U.S. In 2015 his book will be published in Latvia and Italy.


In 2005 he was granted the Dr. Bruce Greyson Research Award by the International Association of Near-Death Studies (IANDS). In 2006, the president of India awarded him the Life Time Achievement Award at the World Congress on Clinical and Preventive Cardiology in New Dehli. Recently, he received the 2010 Book Award of the Scientific and Medical Network. Over the past several years van Lommel has been lecturing all over the world on near-death experiences and the relationship between consciousness and brain function.