Robert & Suzanne Mays – Physical interaction in NDEs: Solving the “hard problem” of cons. – 1 of 4

Robert & Suzanne Mays – Physical interaction in NDEs: Solving the “hard problem” of cons. – 1 of 4

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Robert and Suzanne Mays — web site
Slides with cited references are available at

Presented at the IANDS 2011 Conference, Sept. 2-4, in Durham, NC

Abstract: We present a theory of consciousness that the human being consists of a non-material mind united with the brain. This theory is based on evidence of physical interactions in NDE, which shows (1) how the non-material mind can interact with neural structures in the cortex, (2) how the non-material mind can interact with physical processes during an NDE and (3) how specific NDE aftereffects can be explained, such as anomalous electromagnetic interactions, physiological sensitivities and paranormal abilities. We also address how the non-material mind, as the seat of consciousness of a person, resolves the “hard problem” of consciousness and how the mind is fundamentally “localized”, but also possesses “non-local” properties.

For more information on near-death experiences, visit

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  1. I might simply be asking for a more complicated idea here, but I wonder what this means when I am out of body, watching myself carry on a conversation.

    I entertain the idea that we incarnate with only a portion of our soul.

    The out of body mind that I have experienced does not at all seem as complicated as this explanation.

    So I am out of body and witnessing myself talk with someone. I do not clearly hear what is being said, unless I focus on the conversation. "I" am out of body, and not thinking about what to say, not fallowing what the other party is saying. The body looks to be on autopilot, having a conversation.

    It almost reminds me of when I have seen scene's from my future. I am just watching the body do what the patterned persona of me would do (or will be doing).

    I have also pop'ed in and out of body multiple times in succession during athletic performance. I was engaged in the cognitive and meta-cognitive decision navigating process, while in body. When I was out of body I had no control over how the body was performing (I remember thinking that I needed to focus, so I wouldn't mess up, but there was no connection between the body's performance and my out of body mind's focus). I would then pop back into my body, and knowing that I was going to pop out of body again in a moment, I would think to myself, I should not try any moves that require more complicated focus.

    I wanted to show off for myself. I wanted to see how I looked while performing, but I also didn't trust myself on autopilot to do anything beyond my fundamental performance level.

    I popped in and out maybe 3 times. I had no ability to modify my bodies performance, while out of body, accompanied by the irrational habitual assumption that I had some need to focus on what the body was doing.

    When I was in body I could anticipate each time I was about to pop out of body, and kind of set an intention for the autopilot, but I could not predict what was going to exactly transpire while out of body.

    Then I'd pop out and watch…

    The mind that is being discussed as being so intricately interactive with the brain can not be as limited as the out of body mind that I am experiencing during these types of episodes.

    I have also been out of body to were I had an elaborate experience that generally consisted of expanding consiousness to see the earth, expanding again beyond any knowable scale into outer space, expanding again into blackness, expanding again into another outer space, expanding again to where there were luminous beings, eternities of time(s), experienced numerous past lives, being in multiple location times simultaneously etc., and none of these out of body levels of consiousness would alone be able to perform all of these complex interactives with the brain, that are described in this video series.

    What he is offering is very interesting to consider, but there are some big jumps between the consiousness that could operate with the brain like this, and the out of body mind that is experienced.

  2. These are all very good and interesting ideas. I wish we could share in these sort of ideas without feeling the need to present them as explanations for things we certainly do not know.

    One who experiences an NDE may return with genuine understanding that they can not explain. One who has been trained to explain things in some sort of scientific model or a nother is helpful, but the two collaborating does not constitute an explanation.

  3. Happy to see it brought up about phantom pains. I lost my leg above the knee, and feel it every single minute. Painfully, about 50 percent of the pain I suffered before losing it. I can even 'mentally' move it around, foot and all.

  4. The answer to that problem is simple. The non-material never actually does interact with "matter" because matter does not even exist, there is nothing in existence that is not non-material. Reductionism is still valid except it is matter that is reduced to mind and perception forms the matrix of all matter.

  5. @gwm54 Robert covers this in more detail in the later parts of the presentation: part 1 – apparent physical interactions in NDEs; part 2 – apparent physical interactions in shared death experiences and phantom limbs, possible physical mechanism for the physical interactions; part 3 – a possible neural mechanism and interface with the brain, a model for NDE aftereffects, localized versus "non-local" consciousness; part 4 – the "hard problem" of consciousness, mind as a fundamental entity.