For decades, the preamble of the bylaws of the United Nation's International Health Organization has defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.” However, most doctors were never exposed to this concept during their academic training, and therefore the concept has not truly been applied in common medical practice. The current IHO definition of health, which now admits that health is not only the lack of illness but also includes ecological and bio-psycho-socio-spiritual well-being, has been even more rarely adopted and applied by the great majority of medical doctors. Professionals who teach and apply the medical sciences lag far behind in recognizing the whole being as their main concern. Quantum scientists like Amit Goswami tend to see consciousness as the origin of the material world, and to investigate the phenomena caused by such consciousness. Transpersonal psychology also approaches the spiritual component directly, considering it fundamental for understanding the human being. It is therefore evident that Spiritist physicians, supported by extensive proof from mediumistic studies, could not put aside the Conscious Being who preexists and survives the body. For us, Spiritist doctors, medical practice is still incomplete, in spite of the significant progress made in the last several decades, because it does not take into consideration the fundamental part of the human being: the soul.
According to our Spiritual Instructors, the incarnate spirit or soul holds all control power over the physical organism: “From hydrogen to the most complex atomic units, it is the power of the eternal spirit that directs protons, neutrons and electrons on the infinite road of life.”
Therefore, it is the human mind that originates “the balancing and restoring forces for trillions of cells in the physical body; however, when perturbed, the mind emanates magnetic forces with highly destructive power...”
These destructive forces emanate from the physical body, and therefore affect the body in the first place, leaving it in an unbalanced state; they then go on to affect the whole environment. Experience shows that “great emotions can either cure the body or destroy it,” just as excessive worries about pathological symptoms can aggravate illness. All negative feelings and depressive mental symptoms can disrupt cell functions, unsettling and reducing organic resistance.
The psyche is usually the primary or contributing cause of illness. Research has produced strong evidence in favor of the existence of the soul. During the last quarter of the 19th century, famous scientists, like William Crookes, Alfred Russel Wallace and Oliver Lodge successfully performed important investigations that left them with no doubt as to the survival of the soul. Since the 20th century, substantial research has been carried out in several areas (such as Near Death Experiences or NDE, Visions from Death’s Bed, Out of Body Experiences, Instrumental Transcommunication and Reincarnation) by investigators who, in general, have no knowledge of Spiritism. . For further information, we recommend the book Death: a Light at the End of the Tunnel, by the civil engineer Hernani Guimarães Andrade.
A more detailed examination of this research is beyond the scope of this book. We should at least note, however, that studies of Near Death Experiences by physicians, psychologists and researchers from around the world have generated evidence of the existence of an immaterial being presiding over the human body.
Hundreds of patients who survived death give an account of the experiences they went through during the period when they were considered clinically dead. These cases can be found in patient records collected by cardiologists (Michael Sabon), pediatricians (Melvin Morse) and psychologists (Kenneth Ring and Margot Grey), among others.
In December 2001, the well-known medical journal The Lancet published a scientific article by a group of Dutch doctors led by the cardiologist Pim Van Lommel. The article reported the results of an NDE research study involving 344 patients in 10 Dutch hospitals, who suffered cardiac arrest and were brought back to life. The patients were interviewed in the days immediately following the experience, and monitored during a period varying between two to eight years. Among the survivors, 41 patients (12%) described a profound experience, with elements that characterize a NDE. Their average age was 62.2 years (ranging from 26 to 92 years old) and 73% were men. The authors found out that the younger the patient, the higher the probability of an NDE occurrence. They also observed that the percentage of NDE occurrence was lower than the 30% usually found in other studies, probably due to the higher average age of the patients.
The research on NDE leads us to many questions: are conscience and memory really located in the brain, as materialists propose? Or are they elements of the soul, reflected and expressed through the encephalon, as spiritualists believe? How could a patient experience clear consciousness, outside of the body, during a period when the brain is being affected by cardiac arrest and the electroencephalogram (EEG) shows a flat line?
The transcendental spiritualist explanation maintains that an NDE could be linked to an altered state of consciousness, during which the soul would leave the body, but maintain its non-sensorial perception, its identity, cognition and emotions independently of the unconscious body. In fact, this is the most accepted explanation by those who have been through this experience.
Dr Marlene Nobre
President of International Medical Spiritist Association